I have really enjoyed reading "Reimagining Church". After the deconstruction of the traditional church in "Pagan Christianity" it is good to rediscover what should be taking its place by following Frank Viola through a whole series of "re-imaginings" of every aspect of church.
Frank is very thorough in his writing. All the major points are underpinned with references to the Bible or other writers. And there are lots of magnificent quotations from others so my book wish-list has grown. Yet he is easy to read and some of the time you can almost hear him speaking.
What comes in the place of traditional church is organic church. Church that carries the DNA of its Lord. Church that is a living body with Jesus at its head. Church that is modelled on the life of the community among the three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit. This organic nature of the church has big implications:
- the church grows of itself
- it reseeds and plant itself
- organization and control is systemic, not hierarchical
Reimagining the Church Meeting
It is becoming more and more clear that the Protestant Reformers only did half the job. They recovered the truth of the priesthood of all believers but failed to restore its organic practice. They got stuck at the theology of salvation (soteriology) and did not move on to ecclesiology.
In Reimagining the Church Meeting Frank sketches this great vision of the gathering manifesting Christ:
"we gather so that the Lord Jesus can manifest Himself in His fullness. And when that happens, the body is edified.
"Note that the only way the Christ can be properly expressed is if every member of a church freely supplies that aspect of the Lord that he or she has received. ... The Lord cannot be fully disclosed through only one member, He is far to rich for that."
Christ is assembled in our midst as each of us is a part of the puzzle and as we fit together in our places .... when this happens Christ is glorified and the principalities and powers are shamed. And this was the mission of Christ ... to (re)launch His Kingdom back on earth through His creatures together manifesting Him.
"the dominant thought in Paul's letters that the church is Christ in corporate expression"
- from human perspective the motivation is mutual edification
- from God's perspective it is manifestation of His Son