Book Review: From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola
I just finished reading a book called From Here to Eternity by Frank Viola. Let me begin by saying who this book is for.
This book is written for church leaders and Christians looking to explore some of the deeper subjects of their faith. Specifically, Viola explores and explains the importance of the relationship of church to God. This doesn’t mean the church as a building, but he refers to all believers in Jesus Christ.
My favorite part of this book was the first section. In part one, he breaks-down quite beautifully how important we are to God. He parallels how God created Eve to be the perfect match for Adam with God creating the church (Christ-followers) to be the perfect match for Jesus.
He goes on to say that in spite of the many short-comings of Christians, this creation and pairing was, and is, part of God’s central and eternal purpose. In the same way a spouse loves their mate regardless of their flaws, God is committed to us and loves us no matter what our imperfections are.
Viola also describes God’s love for us like the passion of a lover. Every love story you have ever read in a book or watched on the big-screen, is a faint image of the best love story ever: God pursuing us.
Viola also takes to task the conventional ways of doing church, or organized religion (as he puts it). He promotes what is often referred to as the organic church, house church, or simple church movement. This is a growing trend of people who choose to meet in homes and small settings rather than the larger, organized environments of more established churches.
It is perhaps a punk-rock way to look at church. Rejecting all things ‘corporate’, some Christians want to fully break with tradition and homogenization.
The irony is (as always), that this is just another form of conformity. That’s something I had to face during the five years I spent helping start Calvary Fellowship in Miami from scratch. Eventually, no matter how cutting-edge, relevant, or new you strive to be, there are always core values and best practices that emerge in how you do things.
What I appreciate about Viola’s message, is his emphasis on making sure Jesus is central to whatever you are doing (in church or life). People need to learn about Him (Jesus) and His life above all else.
So if organized or disorganized religion is your thing, or organic or synthetic church (is that the right opposite? Oh well, I’m going with it) appeals to you, make sure you are making Jesus the center of your worship experience. Whenever we get lost in tradition or find security in ritual, we get away from the passion and devotion that needs to be the very center and foundation of our relationship with God.
With Jesus as the center of our devotion, we can keep eternity here and in our hearts.
*Here is a list of other reviews of Viola’s book if you’d like to take a look:
Out of Ur – blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2009/05/viola.html
Shapevine – www.Shapevine.com (June newsletter)
Brian Eberly – www.brianeberly.com
DashHouse.com – www.DashHouse.com/
Greg Boyd – www.gregboyd.org/blog/
Vision Advance – vision2advance.blogspot.com/
David Flowers – ddflowers.wordpress.com
Kingdom Grace – kingdomgrace.wordpress.com
Captain’s Blog – www.captainestes.blogspot.com/
Christine Sine – godspace.wordpress.com
Darin Hufford – The Free Believers Network – www.freebelievers.com
Zoecarnate – zoecarnate.wordpress.com
Church Planting Novice – www.churchplantingnovice.wordpress.com
Staying Focused – kimmartinezstayingfocused.wordpress.com/
Take Your Vitamin Z – www.takeyourvitaminz.blogspot.com
Jeff Goins – jeffgoins.myadventures.org
Bunny Trails – bunny-trails.blogspot.com
Matt Cleaver – mattcleaver.com
Simple Church – www.simplechurchjournal.com/
Emerging from Montana – wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
Parable Life – www.theparablelife.blogspot.com
Oikos Australia – www.oikos.org.au/blog/
West Coast Witness – www.WestCoastWitness.com
Keith Giles – www.Keith.Giles.com
Consuming Worship — www.consumingworship.org
Tasha Via – www.tashavia.blogspot.com
Andrew Courtright – www.andrewcourtright.blogspot.com
ShowMeTheMooneys! – www.showmethemooneys.com/
Leaving Salem, Blog of Ronnie McBrayer – leavingsalem.wordpress.com/
Jason Coker – pastoralia.missionaltribe.org
From Knowledge to Wisdom – isthistheway.typepad.com/
Home Brewed Christianity – www.homebrewedchristianity.com
Dispossessed – kblog.kevinjbowman.com
Dandelion Seeds – www.homeschoolblogger.com/Dandelionseeds
David Brodsky’s Blog- “Flip the tape Deck” – flipthetapedeck.blogspot.com/
Chaordic Journey – jeffrhodes.wordpress.com
Renee Martin – www.reneemartinmusic.com/profiles/blog/list
Bob Kuhn – organicchurchnola.wordpress.com/
Living with Freaks: www.livingwithfreaks.com
Real Worship – therealworshipleader.com
Fervent Worship – ferventworship.blogspot.com
Julie Ferwerda Blog – www.JulieFerwerda.com / www.OneMill
What’s With Christina?! – w2christina.blogspot.com
Irreligious Canuck – www.irreligiouscanuck.com
This day on the journey – guychmieleski.blogspot.com
Live and Move: Thoughts on Authentic Christianity – liveandmove.blogspot.com/
Spiritual Journey With God – www.elvineve.blogspot.com/
Dries Conje – www.echurch.co.za / www.thejesusfeed.com / www.bookdisciple.com.
Journey with Others – journeywithothers.blogspot.com
On Now to the Third Level – www.080808onnowto.blogspot.com
Christine Moers – www.welcometomybrain.net
Breaking Point – marybethstockdale.wordpress.com
Hand to the Plough – www.handtotheplough.com.au
Jon Reid – jonreid.blogs.com/oneanother/welcome-pilgrim.html
Weblight – www.blog.worldwidewebservices.se
D. L. Webster – gzmproductions.com/dlwebster
Searching for the Whole-Hearted Life – wholeheartedlife.blogspot.com