This post is one of a series in a 'Blog Circuit' involving more than 50 other blogs (see the list below). These are my questions to Frank Viola about his book "From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God" and Frank's personal answers.
Re Chapter 5 ekklesia the bride of Christ
The church was born at the resurrection. the Bride of Christ existed as a spiritual body from that moment. We are part of her.
But how does this fit with the image of the Body of Christ with Him at the head? I try to live by this model in my relationships with fellow believers and in my understanding of how we are church together under the headship of Jesus.
I begin to feel schizophrenic if I also try to position myself as part of the already existing Bride of Christ who has a different relationship with Jesus than the Body of Christ.
So my question is, how do these two things hang together? If they were just metaphors, or models, that give us some insight on reality from a certain perspective, then it could work for me. But if we are saying these are two existing spiritual realities - the Body of Christ exists and we are part of him, and the Bride of Christ exists and we are part of her. Then I have quite some difficulty understanding where I am in the here and now and which way is up.
FV: I’m not sure it’s prudent for us to try to comprehend something as great as the ekklesia of God by the employment of the frontal lobe. Such spiritual realities refuse to fit neatly into Aristotelian categories. We know that the ekklesia is a multisplended organism, just as the Lord Himself is a multisplended Person. He is Lion and Lamb; King and Priest; God and Man; Alpha and Omega all at the same moment. He is a mystery and a paradox. In the same way, the church, which is His corporate expression, is His Body, His Bride, His House and His Family all at the same time. What the mind can’t bring us toward our spirits take hold of and soar beyond.
The Bride, the Wedding, the Wife of God
This shows the whole story that the Bible tells hanging together in a way I have never seen before. It shows an organic, big plan, strategy of God, in which the essentials of our existence have their rightful place - love, relationship, male, female, ...
The way you show the repeating patterns from Adam and Eve, through Abraham and Isaac to Jesus Christ and His Bride is amazing exposition of the Bible.
My question is: why have we never seen this before? why has it not been taught this way before? how have we missed this?
FV: I’m not sure. Part of the reason, I think, is that we Christians typically read the Bible through a grid. That grid is handed to us by our teachers, preachers, and mentors. It’s reinforced by the status quo around us. Much of the paradigm that’s used today to understand God’s goal and purpose comes from D.L. Moody. If T. Austin-Sparks’ vision of the purpose of God had the impact that Moody’s did, you wouldn’t be asking that question right now. I discuss Moody’s contribution and influence in my recent talk at George Fox Seminary. His influence on evangelicalism is profound.
Shared Life Community
AB: At the end of Part 3 you give a graphic description of an eight year experience you had with a group who lived as a shared life community. Have you any guidance on how such groups come together or find one another? On page 218 you say it was a "group of Christians of like mind". For such a group to function, what is the maximum margin of deviation in that "like mindedness"? What is essential that people agree on?
FV: Yes, one way is through the Internet. Facebook is being used for this right now believe it or not. Another is through conferences and events. There’s a resource where people who are looking for like-minded people can connect through live events … this to me is the best way. www.HouseChurchResource.org is the site.
As for as the bare beliefs of the gospel, I think that if we go beyond the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed, we’re getting into peripheral areas and we’ll divide six ways to Sunday. Or we’ll form a sect. (There are already over 33,000 of them in Protestant Christianity today.) Those two statements of faith embody what C.S. Lewis called “Mere Christianity” … what most Christians have believed in most times and in most places.
In short, Jesus Christ Himself must be our center of gravity and our basis for meeting. Everything else is postscript.
Today (June 9), the following blogs are discussing Frank Viola’s new bestselling book “From Eternity to Here” (David C. Cook, 2009). The book just hit the May CBA Bestseller List. Some blogs are posting Q & A with Frank; others are posting reviews of the book. To read more reviews and order a copy at a 33% discount, go to Amazon.com.
For more resources, such as downloadable audios, the free Discussion Guide, the Facebook Group page, etc. go to the official website: FromEternitytoHere.org
Enjoy the reviews and Q&A
Out of Ur
Shapevine (June newsletter)
Darin Hufford - The Free Believers Network
Church Planting Novice
Take Your Vitamin Z
Jason T. Berggren
Emerging from Montana
West Coast Witness
Leaving Salem, Blog of Ronnie McBrayer
From Knowledge to Wisdom
Home Brewed Christianity
David Brodsky's Blog- "Flip the tape Deck"
Living with Freaks
Julie Ferwerda Blog
Julie Ferwerda One Million Arrows
What's With Christina?!
On Now to the Third Level
This day on the journey
Live and Move: Thoughts on Authentic Christianity
Spiritual Journey With God
Dries Conje - The Jesus Feed
Dries Conje - Book Disciple
Journey with Others
On Now to the Third Level
Hand to the Plough
D. L. Webster
Searching for the Whole-Hearted Life