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"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16

From Eternity to Here

Today (June 9th), some of the blogs are discussing Frank Viola’s new bestselling book “From Eternity to Here” (David C. Cook, 2009). The book just hit the May Christian Book Association (CBA) Bestseller List. Some are posting Q & A with Frank; others are posting full reviews of the book. To read more reviews and order a copy at a 33% discount, go to Amazon.com or click here.

If you live in the USA, you can also visit your local Family Christian Store to grab a copy. They are having a special promotion this week. For more resources, such as downloadable audios, the free Discussion Guide, the Facebook Group page, etc. go to the official website:

http://www.frometernitytohere.org/

Earlier, a couple of brethren and I have taken the opportunity and liberty to ask Frank three questions which are posted below together with his responses. I hope you will enjoy the Q&A, guest review and the list of participating blogs.

Q&A with Frank Viola on FETH

1. How do you understand Jesus' vision of the kingdom of God in the light of God's eternal purpose, and, in your opinion, speaking the truth in love, would you say the Emergent Movement falls short of His vision?

I have no comment to make about the emergent movement as I’ve not followed it for some years. I hear from some that it’s pretty much dissolved, but I don’t know. The Kingdom of God in Jesus’ teaching and God’s eternal purpose in Paul’s teaching are very tightly connected. The Kingdom is the authority and reign of God expressed through Jesus Christ in and through the church to the world. Thus the Bride, the House, the Family, and the Body live in and under the Kingdom (God’s reign through Christ), which is essentially the headship of Jesus Christ.

2. It is well that we know God’s eternal purpose. Yet coming down to earth, do you have any advice in regards to how we could relate the daily grind to His larger eternal purpose, so that we can practically discern God's present purpose for us and live joyfully in it amidst adversity and constraint? Or should we be more realistic and concede that we can't always understand how our present circumstances work out to fulfill His masterplan?

For a person to make the eternal purpose practical, they need to head straight toward a body of believers who are standing for it in the world and expressing it in their lives together. In my discussion on the Christian’s natural habitat, I discuss some of what this may cost. My book Reimagining Church gets into what I see as the practicals on what it looks like when a local church is displaying the eternal purpose. It’s a large question.

3. If you have the opportunity to face the Lord before you leave this world, would you like to clarify with Him on issues in regards to God's eternal purpose. If yes, what will be your questions and the reasons for asking them? If no, why not?

Honestly, if I saw the Lord face to face now or in the future, I really have no idea what I would ask Him. But I am pretty confident that I would fall on my face at the sight of His glory.

Guest Review of FETH by Kevin Bowman

Have you ever read one of those books that articulated everything you already knew into far better words than you could articulate them? Have you devoured a book because it gave reason and explanation for truths that you merely feel? Have you ever known that this book you are giving your time and thought to, is to become a field guide for the journey you are already on? Have you ever finished a book with the words, "I need to buy a copy of that for everyone I know?"

I have had that happen twice in my life. The first time was several years ago when I read Tom Davis' "Fields of the Fatherless". Then the second was last night as I finished Frank Viola's "From Eternity to Here". This book rocked my world not because it introduced a new idea, but because it quilted together the very truth of God, and his passionate needs, desire, and longing for community with his creation.

The book is divided into three sections. The first section lays out the Biblical narrative in such a way that it emphasizes the church as the bride as an eternal passion of God from before the beginning of time. Perfectly connecting the heroes of the Old Testament, with the wonder and mystery of John's gospel and apocalypse, Viola illustrates that the church as the bride is not a metaphor to help us better understand the authority structure of the Christian home, but instead it is the deep mystery of God hidden in Christ before the foundation of the world.

In the second section, Viola repeats his wonderful ability to beautifully connect the Biblical narrative together to elevate in our minds the importance of God's search for a dwelling place. From the foreign land where he sent Abraham, to the tabernacle of Moses and the tabernacle of David, to Solomon's Temple, through the incarnate life of life Jesus, and ultimately into his church which is the House of God, the Lord's resting place.

Finally in his third section, Viola switches from story teller to scholar to reveal the depth of meaning in the gospels and in the Pauline writings about the church as the body of Christ. This section does not read with the majestic eloquence of the first two, and yet its content resonates deeper, and more meaningfully than any other in the book. Once again Viola slaughters theologians desire to reduce the realities of God's Kingdom into a metaphor, this time it is the body of Christ. Viola notes with meticulous detail how the church is the real physical incarnation of Christ on earth now. He reinforces our dependence on Christ and gives us truth to use as a weapon against Satan's attack on our worth and righteousness. As Christ is the Head and mind of the church, we are His body, and we are therefore in a mutual need of each other for the life giving dependence of a physical body. He ties all the thoughts together, to note how if we are the "seed of heaven" then as a new species on earth we live not intertwined into the affairs of the old species, but as colonist of the new Kingdom which is fulfilled at the reconciliation of all things.

This book is Viola's magnus opus! I have read his other three books, and they are each great teaching. However, this work is not a book to be studied, it is a very window into the passionate erotic love of God for his creation, and for his desperate need to extend the community of the Triune God among them. I say without reservation, this book will change the way you see God. It will set you free from the limited metaphor of systematic theologies. It will release you from the minimized boxed God of a religionist allegorical reinterpretation of the narrative of God. It will welcome you as participants into God's eternal purpose.

Erasmus famously quipped, "When I have a little extra money I buy books, if there is any left over I buy food." Reading this book is more important than any meal you will eat this week. If you must go hungry, and get a hold of the book. From Eternity to Here will feed you from a source that this world knows nothing about.


List of Participating Blogs
(Please note that mere listing does not neccessarily imply that I agree with the content on the respective blogs.)

Out of Ur - http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/05/viola.html
Shapevine – http://www.shapevine.com/ (June newsletter)
Brian Eberly - http://www.brianeberly.com/
DashHouse.com - http://www.DashHouse.com/
Greg Boyd - http://www.gregboyd.org/blog/
Vision Advance - http://vision2advance.blogspot.com/
David Flowers - http://ddflowers.wordpress.com/
Kingdom Grace - http://kingdomgrace.wordpress.com/
Captain's Blog - http://www.captainestes.blogspot.com/
Christine Sine - http://godspace.wordpress.com/
Darin Hufford - The Free Believers Network - http://www.freebelievers.com/
Zoecarnate - http://zoecarnate.wordpress.com/
Church Planting Novice - http://www.churchplantingnovice.wordpress.com/
Staying Focused - http://kimmartinezstayingfocused.wordpress.com/
Take Your Vitamin Z - http://www.takeyourvitaminz.blogspot.com/
Jeff Goins - http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org/
Bunny Trails - http://bunny-trails.blogspot.com/
Matt Cleaver - http://mattcleaver.com/
Jason T. Berggren - http://blog.jasonberggren.com/
Simple Church - http://www.simplechurchjournal.com/
Emerging from Montana - http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
Parable Life - http://www.theparablelife.blogspot.com/
Oikos Australia - http://www.oikos.org.au/blog/
West Coast Witness - http://www.westcoastwitness.com/
Keith Giles - http://www.keithgiles.com/
Consuming Worship — http://www.consumingworship.org/
Tasha Via - http://www.tashavia.blogspot.com/
Andrew Courtright - http://www.andrewcourtright.blogspot.com/
ShowMeTheMooneys! – http://www.showmethemooneys.com/
Leaving Salem, Blog of Ronnie McBrayer - http://leavingsalem.wordpress.com/
Jason Coker - http://pastoralia.missionaltribe.org/
From Knowledge to Wisdom - http://isthistheway.typepad.com/
Home Brewed Christianity - http://www.homebrewedchristianity.com/
Dispossessed - http://kblog.kevinjbowman.com/
Dandelion Seeds - http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Dandelionseeds
David Brodsky's Blog- "Flip the tape Deck" - http://flipthetapedeck.blogspot.com/
Chaordic Journey - http://jeffrhodes.wordpress.com/
Renee Martin - http://www.reneemartinmusic.com/profiles/blog/list
Bob Kuhn - http://organicchurchnola.wordpress.com/
Living with Freaks: http://www.livingwithfreaks.com/
Real Worship - http://therealworshipleader.com/
Fervent Worship - http://ferventworship.blogspot.com/
Julie Ferwerda Blog - http://www.julieferwerda.com/ / http://www.onemillionarrows.com/
What's With Christina?! - http://w2christina.blogspot.com/
Irreligious Canuck - http://www.irreligiouscanuck.com/
This day on the journey - http://guychmieleski.blogspot.com/
Live and Move: Thoughts on Authentic Christianity - http://liveandmove.blogspot.com/
Spiritual Journey With God - http://www.elvineve.blogspot.com/
Dries Conje - http://www.echurch.co.za/ / http://www.thejesusfeed.com/ / http://www.bookdisciple.com/

Journey with Others - http://journeywithothers.blogspot.com/
On Now to the Third Level - http://www.080808onnowto.blogspot.com/
Christine Moers - http://www.welcometomybrain.net/
Breaking Point - http://marybethstockdale.wordpress.com/
Hand to the Plough - http://www.handtotheplough.com.au/
Jon Reid - http://jonreid.blogs.com/oneanother/welcome-pilgrim.html
Weblight - http://www.blog.worldwidewebservices.se/
D. L. Webster - http://gzmproductions.com/dlwebster
Searching for the Whole-Hearted Life - http://wholeheartedlife.blogspot.com/

3 comments:

Mike Morrell said...

Nice interview.

BTW, my .02 on your 'emergent movement' question. If you're talking about emerging churches in their general or generic sense (that is, the Church that is emerging worldwide - and specific fellowships), 'the emergence' has never been stronger.

If on the other hand you're talking about Emergent Village, the fellowship of some - primarily North American - emerge-ers, well...that's debatable. There have certainly been disappointments. On the other hand, there's been a bit of a renaissance in the grassroots.

What was it that rabbi Gamaliel said nearly two millennia ago? "Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." We shall see!

Elvin said...

Thanks Mike, for your comment and links. Indeed, Gamaliel's wisdom still stands and is indeed applicable in many contexts. May the folks from the different streams be drawn continually to the One and Only.

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