Dissent is a gift to the Church. It is the imagination of the prophets that continually call us back to our identity as the peculiar people of God. May Viola’s words challenge us to become the change that we want to see in the Church … and not to settle for anything less than God’s dream for Her. (Reimagining Church)
Shane Claiborne│ Author of “The Irresistable Revolution,” activist, and recovering sinner (thesimpleway.org)
From Eternity to Here is a masterpiece … it reads like a movie on paper.
Dr. Myles Munroe│ Pastor and author of “Rediscovering the Kingdom” and “God’s Big Idea”
Frank continues to challenge the church-at-large with a powerful mind, an impassioned voice, and a love for the Bride of Christ. You need to get this book and wrestle with Frank through the biblical passages regarding our identity in Christ as His body and the mission our God has entrusted to us. (From Eternity to Here)
Ed Stetzer │ Author of “Breaking the Missional Code”
With From Eternity to Here, Viola has given us that foundational Biblical discussion of the church, and in a compelling and creative way. I was taken aback with how much I liked this book. I read it quickly, and I’m going to read it again. Why? Because if there is a book on the Jesus-shaped church that I could recommend to everyone who identifies with my description of that journey, this has easily cleared the bar as my first choice. This is a uniquely original comprehensive tour of the threads that hold the Bible together.
Michael Spencer │ iMonk
As Viola unfolds the glorious story of God’s quest for a bride, readers will find their imaginations inspired and their lives transformed. The sheer beauty of God’s magnificent plan compels our allegiance and revolutionizes our lives. This re-telling of the ‘old, old story’ is a much needed gift to the church today. (From Eternity to Here)
Greg Boyd │ Pastor, theologian, and author of “Letters from a Skeptic,” “Myth of a Christian Nation,” and “God at War”
From Eternity to Here is a book that lets you hear the ancient whisper of the God that “so loved the world,” a whisper that has often been hard to hear amid all the noise, clutter, and meanness of Christendom. Listen and hear of a God who loves humanity so much that He can’t help but enter the mess we’ve made of the world and help us re-imagine it.
Shane Claiborne │ Author, activist, and recovering sinner
When you’re as old as I am, I don’t hear new stuff. You can hardly say anything about religion that I haven’t heard several times. But this is so new to me. It’s a whole new way of looking at the Scriptures, at Jesus, at the church, and at me. You’re going to love this book.” (From Eternity to Here)
Steve Brown │ Author, radio broadcaster, and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Of all the sticks of TNT that Frank Viola has launched into a sleepy, status quo church, this grenade (From Eternity to Here) has the most explosive potential to make the church unashamed of the gospel and to release God’s dynamic power for salvation.
Leonard Sweet │ Drew University, George Fox University
A classic … (From Eternity to Here)
Dr. Ralph W. Neighbour │ Author of “Where Do We Go From Here?”
A great work of narrative theology … (From Eternity to Here)
Alan Hirsch │ Missional strategist and author of “The Forgotten Ways”
Brings you creatively into the biblical story by immersing your heart and mind … (From Eternity to Here)
Dan Kimball │ Pastor and author of “The Emerging Church” and “They Like Jesus but Not the Church”
Frank Viola has been one of my favorite authors for years. Common threads run through his books: Organic spiritual life without organizational hierarchy, and real relationships with God and each other that are free of suppressive religious tradition. Frank’s viewpoints are well grounded in both Scripture and history. From Eternity to Here reveals the startling but simple fact that God has already accomplished His ultimate goal in the resurrected Christ. We are the focus of His passionate love, and we have received the capacity to love Him in return forever.
Don Francisco │ Singer and songwriter
I couldn’t put this book down … (From Eternity to Here)
Brian Orme │ Pastor, editor, and freelance journalist, Outreach and Church Leaders
A poetic exposé … a masterful work of art. (From Eternity to Here)
Dr. James Goll │ Author of “The Seer”
I appreciate this message so much … (From Eternity to Here).
DeVern Fromke │ Teacher and author of “Ultimate Intention” and “Unto Full Stature”
From Eternity to Here takes you on a guided tour of the Bible, tracing three interwoven storylines from Genesis to Revelation. It will help new readers of the Bible get the big picture, and it will help seasoned Christians remember what really matters.
Brian McLaren │ Author and activist
In Acts 2, Luke described a church where everyone shared their possessions, had everything in common and was devoted to practices like fellowship and prayer. If you’ve looked around the modern Church and wondered where that kind of gathering is hiding, we suggest you read Reimagining Church,which will help form your convictions into revolutionizing thoughts. Frank Viola, a leader in the home-church movement for 20 years, lays out the complicated issue of “redoing church” in a tangible and practical way, never skimming over the hard issues like unity, authority, and spiritual status quo. Spilling over with relevant scriptures and illustrations, Viola’s convictions are sure to challenge and excite you.
In Reimagining Church, Frank Viola is at the top of his game, showing a serene, soaring mastery of the theology of church as organism rather than organization.
Leonard Sweet │ Author of “Soul Tsunami,” “Soul Salsa,” and “11”
True to form, this book contains a thoroughly consistent critique of prevailing forms of church. However, in Reimagining Church, Frank Viola also presents a positive vision of what the church can become if we truly reembraced more organic, and less institutional, forms of church. This is a no holds barred prophetic vision for the church in the twenty-first Century.
Alan Hirsch │ Author of “The Forgotten Ways” and “The Shaping of Things To Come”
Most contemporary Christians are massively ignorant as to how the church got to where it is today and of how much current church practice is due simply to accumulated tradition, with little or no roots in Scripture. This book provides a useful service in peeling back the layers of tradition, showing the origins of much that we today call “church.” Christians who want to be biblically faithful, regardless of their particular tradition or church form, can learn and benefit from the book. (Pagan Christianity)
Howard Snyder │ Professor of History and Theology of Mission, Asbury Theological Seminary, author of “The Problem of Wineskins” and “The Community of the King.”
Pagan Christianity is an interesting book that will be eye-opening to many and that confronts head-on many unscriptural, unhelpful, pagan aspects of traditional Christianity. At a time when God is clearly ‘shaking the foundations’ of the way many think about the church, this book is timely and helpful. For this reason I heartily recommend it.
Greg Boyd │ Author of “Letters from a Skeptic,” “Myth of a Christian Nation,” and “God at War.”
Pagan Christianity is a landmark, a true milestone in the overall task of bringing in a new style of responsible, interactive Christianity to replace the old, severely paganized ecclesiastical forms. Frank has done us a great favor, drawing together revealing tidbits from hundreds of sources to create a continuous picture of the formation of today’s institutional church. There’s nothing like it in print. It is now THE book on church history from the point of view of the underground, open church.
James Rutz │ Author of “Megashift” and “The Open Church.”
Anyone interested in the worship of the New Testament church and how that was altered through the centuries will find Frank Viola’s Pagan Christianity very useful. The authors’ position is clear and quite well documented.
Graydon F. Snyder│ Professor of New Testament, Chicago Theological Seminary, author of “Ante Pacem: Church Life Before Constantine.”
Pagan Christianity contains a wide variety of interesting and helpful historical information of which most Christians – or non-Christians – will be completely unaware. The book identifies – in part or in whole – the pagan roots of many of our current church practices, as well as indicates some borrowed from earlier Jewish or, occasionally, more recent Customs.
Robert Banks│ New Testament scholar, author of “Paul’s Idea of Community” and “The Church Comes Home.”
This feisty book (Pagan Christianity) attacks the incipient paganism that has been absorbed into historic Christianity over the years. It exposes the syncretistic weak spots in what we assume to be basic in our way of doing church. Thoroughly iconoclastic, it is also at the same time a good apologetic for the house church movement which has strong restorationist impulses. My guess is that it will anger some readers and thrill others. I am one of the latter. Whatever, it won’t be too easy to dismiss as it is really well researched and substantiated. I think it is definitely worth the read even if I do think it is a tad purist in tone. Just don’t drop it–it is likely to explode.
Alan Hirsch │ Author of “The Forgotten Ways” and “The Shaping of Things to Come.”
Driving out demons is easy – compared with changing habits and traditions of man that develop into idols, to give us what only God should give us: identity, security, destiny. As in a child, the original God-given conscience is clean and clear. Many new born Christians feel the same and have an automatic feel for what is right. But in the case of organized Evangelicalism in the West, they are swiftly taken into a religious system that basically believes everything that Mom and Pap says — and happily embrace “church practices” that are not in the Bible. Many just “know” at some point something is terribly wrong with Church-as-they-know-it. Pagan Christianity not only substantiates these ill feelings in millions of Christians with hard facts, but it provides us with a road map for the journey ahead. Once we know where we went wrong, repentance and finding the right way forward comes much easier.
Wolfgang Simson│ Author of “Houses That Change the World.”
As a Christian Artist/Musician I’ve had a chance to experience many different kinds of churches all over the world, from huge cathedral services to bizarre charismatics and strange Third World stuff to stiff denominationals– and good and bad “house churches”. For nearly 35 years in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Australia I’ve been involved with almost every conceivable kind of Christian expression. I’ve even served on staff as Worship Pastor at a large church here in the U.S. The result? I’ve already learned from study and experience what Frank Viola and George Barna have proven by historical documentation inPagan Christianity : The traditional model of how we “do church” is very wrong — and it’s strangling Christ’s Body. No matter where you are in your Christian journey, you need to read this book. It’s truth whose time has come. Those who have never experienced His tangible presence as a regular occurrence when they meet will find it hard to believe that there is something more than what they know: It’s very hard to walk away from what you’ve invested your life in when you don’t know anything else. And the very grace of God Himself can be confusing: He’ll fill whatever cup we lift to Him, no matter how small.
Don Francisco │ Christian musician/songwriter
It’s a great read and my copy has already been STOLEN by my neighbor who is probably just as fascinated in its contents as I was. Pagan Christianity by house church guru Frank Viola and researcher/author George Barna who have teamed up to give us the most thorough treatment yet of the pagan origins of many of our most cherished Sunday church traditions. Actually, Jim Rutz nailed a few of these in his book “Open Church,” but Viola and Barna have gone far beyond Rutz, or anyone I know, in exposing more elements of Protestant church traditions to the scrutiny of historical research. Like dressing up for church. Pulpits and 3 point sermons. Clerical dog collars. Church steeples and seminary training. Pagan Christianity lets George Barna unpack his argument why the new Revolutionaries mentioned in his previous book are not rebelling against God by setting up organic house communities. And it gives Frank Viola the chance to put forward his best thinking yet in a series that has already assisted thousands of people in dealing biblically and historically with accusations of “lack of covering” or “neglecting church” or more recently, of adopting “pagan” practices in starting emerging churches. Ha! Watch as Franky and Georgy turn the tables! Controversial? Yes . . . DUH! . . and the backlash has already started. Frank and George have responded to questions and objections on their site. Anyway, the book is a great read.
Andrew Jones │ tallskinnykiwi.com
“Why do we ‘do church’ the way we do? Most folks seem to assume that our Christian religious trappings can be traced all the way back to the first century. But they can’t. The things we hold dear-sacred buildings to meet in, pulpits, sacramental tables, clergy, liturgies, etc.-were unknown among Paul’s assemblies. Pagan Christianity looks at our major church traditions and documents when and how they appeared in the ages long after the apostles. Haven’t you ever wondered why people dress up in their best clothes for the Sunday morning service? Pagan Christianity unfolds the answer to this and numerous other questions looming in the back of many folks’ minds. Reading Pagan Christianity will open your eyes to the fact that the ecclesiastical emperor really has no clothes on.
Jon Zens │ Editor of “Searching Together”
Pagan Christianity documents specific areas where contemporary church life violates Biblical principles. It is painful to read because it requires taking a journey beyond the comfort zone of our present paradigms. Whether you agree with all the conclusions the author draws or not, you will have no argument with his documentation. It is a scholarly work with an explosive conclusion. Particularly for those of us in the modern cell church movement, this is a valuable tool to force rethinking the meaning of the word “ecclesia.” The Holy Spirit is not pleased with churchianity as we practice it, nor is the watching unchurched world.
Ralph W. Neighbour│ Jr., author of “Where Do We Go From Here?” and founder of the Cell Church Movement.
Viola has done us a great service by tracing the origin of all we Protestants practice. My one regret is that this book will be only one out of 100,000 Christian books issued in the year it was printed. Three hundred years ago-or even two hundred years ago-Pagan Christianity would have been one of only a few hundred books . . . and therefore, read by a large portion of Christians. You can help remedy this by telling all your friends about this book.
Gene Edwards │ Author of “A Tale of Three Kings.”
“In The Untold Story of the New Testament Church, Frank Viola has produced a useful and engaging account of the New Testament Church, helpfully setting people and events within their first-century cultural context. While not everyone will agree with every detail of the author’s reconstruction or theological interpretation, for any such retelling unavoidably involves some interpretation, still this account helps contemporary believers more fully appreciate the remarkable dynamism of our earliest Christian forebears.
Howard A. Snyder │New Testament scholar and author, “The Community of the King,” “Liberating the Laity,” “A Kingdom Manifesto,” and “Decoding the Church”
Pagan Christianity is an important book which demonstrates that many of the practical aspects of contemporary church life, ministry and structure have little or no biblical basis and are, in fact, inspired by a wide variety of non Christian patterns and ideas most of which are inimical to Christian life and growth. Many readers will find this book challenging in the extreme but all who are concerned with the future of the church should read it.
Dave Norrington │ Lecturer of religious studies at Blackpool and the Fylde College, author of “To Preach or Not to Preach”
“Frank not only pulls fresh insights out of well-known concepts, but also keeps challenging us to go back to basics and focus on Christ himself. Thank you, Frank! This practical book will identify what church can look like when it is focused on Jesus. (Reimagining Church)
Tony Dale │ Author and editor of “House 2 House,” founder of The Karis Group
“Reimagining Church is a valuable addition to the resources being produced on the subject of organic churches. Written from the perspective of a long-time practitioner, Frank conveys these concepts with his usual clarity and insight and covers many of the practical aspects of starting a church. I recommend this book to anyone interested in organic church.
Felicity Dale │ Author of “An Army of Ordinary People” and “Getting Started: A Practical Guide to Starting Simple Churches”
“Reimagining Church is a readable (and livable!) description of organic, New Testament-rooted church life for the twenty-first century. Avoiding the weeds of both wooden fundamentalism and unreflective over-contextualization, Frank Viola paints a winsome and attractive portrait of a gospel people, inhabited by the Holy Spirit with God in Christ as their energetic center. Frank helps us learn from the peculiar genius of Jesus and his earliest followers, planting seeds for authentic, deeply rooted life together . . . Frank Viola is the heir apparent to classic Deeper Christian Life teachers, faithfully bringing their core ideas into the 21st century with his own fresh insight. Visio Dei (the face of God) meets Missio Dei (the mission of God) in this passionate examination of what motivates the very heart of God!
Mike Morrell │ Graduate Fellow in Emergent Studies, MA in Strategic Foresight, Regent University; zoecarnate.com
“For those who are not threatened by the idea that church must change, Reimagining Church is an absolutely timely and much-needed perspective, delivering a solid biblical vision for the body of Christ. Using the entire scope of New Testament church life, Frank Viola lays out the core values and the essential principles that must form the foundation of life together as the body of Christ. The book delivers an exceptionally hopeful, visionary picture of all that church can and should be.
Grace │ Blogging at http://kingdomgrace.wordpress.com
“If Pagan Christianity exposes the reality that much of our current church practice has little basis in the Bible,Reimagining Church takes the next step to establish what truly biblical church life looks like. With the inner life of the Trinity as the starting point, Viola paints an amazing picture of organic church life.
John White │ Community facilitator, LK10: A Community of Practice for Church Planters
“If we are indeed at the cusp of the next major reformation of the church, as many suggest, then Frank Viola is one of the significant voices we all should lend our ears to. Frank’s humble heart and bold keyboard have once again delivered a book to be read by those who desire to take an honest look at the state of the contemporary church. Reimagining Church calls us to first remember the church from the original blueprint of Scripture.
Lance Ford │ Cofounder and director of Shapevine.com
“From Eternity to Here is an amazing book. It’s one of the most refreshing and enlightening presentations that I’ve read in a long time. Every Christian needs to read it. I just love it! I’ve already read it three times and I feel so uplifted every time I open it up.
Jon Zens │New Testament scholar, historian, and editor of “Searching Together”
“Frank has hit the mark by unfolding to us the true foundations of faith-filled living. Father has always designed us for a relational journey of being rather than to doing. He did not create religion, but a people who would walk in His supernatural presence rather than lifeless doctrinal divisions. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to escape the systematic matrix of today, and live in the reality of Christ’s glorious Kingdom.” From Eternity to Here
Robert Ricciardelli │ Visionary Advancement Strategies
“The Untold Story of the New Testament Church has provided much needed information that is now in one place for the first time! Read it as I did with a highlighter pen in hand! Thanks, Frank, for the way you let the Lord use you in preparing this for the rest of us!”
Ralph W. Neighbour Jr . │ Author, “Where Shall We Go From Here?”
“Frank Viola has given us a different kind of church history, a history not of the institution but of the Body. It focuses on the people of God and their struggles; on Paul and his converts, enemies, disciples, and friends; on Peter and John and the churches they birthed and raised. Franks book emphasizes what went forward among the saints to create eternal value rather than what happened politically to create the church of subsequent centuries. Although most history is written by the winners to justify their victory, The Untold Story gives us a history of the early churches as Gods own people, whether they were ultimately victorious or troubled.
Hal Miller │ Author, “Christian Community: Biblical or Optional?”
In addition to the above, you can read endorsements by Matt Chandler, Ed Young, Rowan Williams, Jack Hayford, Ed Stetzer, Calvin Miller, Reggie McNeal, Gregory A. Boyd, Mark Batterson, David Fitch, Margaret Feinberg, Scot McKnight, Mark Chironna, Francis Frangipane, Todd Hunter, John R. Franke, Chris Seay, Anne Jackson, Steve Brown, Tommy Barnett, Shane Claiborne, Dan Kimball, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Phil Cooke, Sally Morgenthaler for Jesus Manifesto written by Frank Viola & Leonard Sweet.