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