Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From Eternity to Here

I agreed to review Frank Viola's From Eternity to Here several weeks ago, and since I've read it, I've doubted whether I could write a review that would do the book justice or say anything more than what scores of articulate readers are already saying. It is one of the most enthralling books I've read in a long time, and I'm afraid that my attempt to describe it will make the book seem dull and trite when it is not. But I agreed to offer my thoughts, so I'll be brief.

You may or may not know who Frank Viola is; I did not know until after I read the book and researched his other works and ideas about Christianity, i.e. what his theses and talking points are. Apparently, he stirs both detractors to protest his ideas and sleeping believers to open their eyes to re-examine long-held traditions and practical applications of following Christ. Everyone seems to have an opinion about his opinions. Please don't assume I know all about Frank Viola's theology or his criticisms of church as an institution because I don't. I've only read this one book, and I'm only speaking about it.

Viola is a leading voice in the current trend to scrutinize contemporary Christianity through the lens of the early church. One of his main criticisms is that, "Few Christians speak about God's eternal purpose today." Thus, From Eternity to Here speaks about God's "driving passion" in a very engaging way.

The book is divided into three parts which are meant to intertwine, yet each can stand as a unit on its own. Part one is called: "A Forgotten Woman: The Bride of Christ." This is my favorite section of the book. In this volume, Viola compares the church to Eve and Jesus to Adam.

Here is one of my favorite passages from this section:

First, through death, Jesus Christ destroyed everything that would stand in His way of winning the hand of His beloved bride. To wit, He destroyed the sin that would eternally separate her from Him. He destroyed the law that would suffocate her under a mountain of religious bondage and a pile of crushing condemnation. He destroyed the power of the Evil One who would seek to take her life. He destroyed the world system, which would lure her heart away from Him. He destroyed the old creation, which would defile and corrupt her. But most importantly, he destroyed death itself; for He would ensure that the object of His passion would never taste death.

Part Two is called: "An Eternal Quest: The House of God." Chapter 12 is entitled, "The Story of Homeless God," which is an example of the turn of phrase Viola uses to shake up the reader and whet his curiosity. This section is so rich I cannot begin to speak to the content, but the focus is on the corporate aspect of the Body rather than the individual.

Part Three is called: "A New Species: The Body of Christ and the Family of God."

Throughout the book, Viola uses narrative, metaphor and scripture to expound on the plan which God held from eternity to the here and now. Since Christ, the mystery has been revealed, but even if you've been in church your entire life like I have, I promise you, if you read this book, you'll see God's love for you in a brand new way, you'll be inspired to love fellow believers in a new way and your heart will fill up with praise for our passionate God.

I'd love to give away a free copy today, but I cannot do it because I have made notes all over my copy; I couldn't help myself. Just re-reading them for this review has re-kindled my awe. I hope you don't miss the opportunity to fall a little more in love with God through this book.

The following bloggers are posting a review or Q & A with Frank Viola on his bestselling book FROM ETERNITY TO HERE today, Tuesday, July 21st. You may order the book at a discount at From Eternity to Here. It’s also on audio book. Free discussion guide, sample chapters, interviews, and a free audio of the first chapter are available on that site also. Here are the bloggers who are participating:

Jay Becker - www.jaybecker.org

Mark D - http://deadmanstravelog.blogspot.com

Igniting Hearts - Kimber Britner - http://www.ignitinghearts.blogspot.com/

Karyn - http://tiger-kar.blogspot.com

Barefoot Preacher - http://thebarefootpreacher.blogspot.com

Every Day Angels - www.WeAreEverydayAngels.com

FaithEngineer - http://www.faithengineer.com

Kristen Schiffman - http://dancinginthemargins.typepad.com/

CrossPointe: The Church at Bevo - http://churchatbevo.blogspot.com/

Crazy Love for God - crazyloveforgod.blogspot.com

Amazima Ministries - oatsvallteam.blogspot.com

Down to Write Honest - http://downwritehonest.com

A Beautiful Mess - http://blnorth1105.blogspot.com/

The Blakes on a Mission - www.theblakesthailand.blogspot.com

Words by Jud Kossum - http://judkossum.blogspot.com

Eric Jaffe - http://www.ericjaffe.org

Reconnect with God – www.Reconnectwithgod.org

2nd Cup of Coffee - http://www.2nd-cup-of-coffee.blogspot.com

Nolan Bobbitt Website - www.nolanbobbitt.com

Klappyanne - www.xanga.com/klappyanne

Daveingland - http://www.daveingland.com

Randi Jo Rooks - http://seedsinmyheart.blogspot.com

Ephesians Five – http://ephesiansonefive.blogspot.com

Michael Bayne - http://www.michaelbayne.net

Encounter Church Helena Blog - encounterhelena.org

Thoughts B4 Conviction N2 Action - tsharrison.blogspot.com

Edevotion - http://www.e-devotion.blogspot.com

Seeking After - http://seekingafter.blogspot.com

Eric Powell - www.encounterhelena.org

Borrowed Light - http://fbcnewlondon.blogspot.com


Becky said...

Sounds interesting. Who couldn't use a little reawakening? I'll put it on my list of must reads. The list is long... I may get to it around retirement.

Ginger said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing.

Debbie @Like a Rose said...

Sounds like a great choice for the book club I'm in. Whether they choose to do it or not, I'll be getting a copy.

Mocha with Linda said...

Wow. Sounds like a book to make one squirm. Thanks for the review!

Edie said...

First, Hey you changed your blog! I didn't know where I was! :)

Sounds like an intriguing book. I may have to purchase a copy. I love books that go deep and help me to grow.

Have a great week!!

Lois Lane II said...

Thanks for the info!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, sounds like a must-read book! Thanks for the review!

Melanie said...

I want to read this.
Have you read VELVET ELVIS by Rob Bell?