Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Paper: The Special Office in the Church - A Defence against the views of Radical Restorationist and Organic Church proponent Frank Viola

I have written a paper concerning Frank Viola's ecclesiology and the issue of special office in the church, which he rejects. Viola is well known for promoting the house church phenomenon, specifically his "Organic Church" model. The issue with Viola has never been about meeting in homes, but about Viola's attack of all elements of church governance and liturgy as being "pagan." If anything is pagan, it is Viola's radical egalitarianism in his radizalization of "every-member ministry," as it will have been proven. Without further to do, here is the paper, entitled The Special Office in the Church: A Defence against the Views of Radical Restorationist and Organic Church proponent Frank Viola.

The desire to be biblical in all things is very much to be lauded, since Scripture is to be the rule for our faith. This desire to be biblical is worked out also in the way we do church. The accretions of superstitions and unbiblical rituals in the medieval era were largely removed during the time of the Reformation. The Anabaptists were of the opinion however that the Reformers did not go far enough in their reform. Since then, various restorationist movements like the Stone-Campbell movement have attempted to reform and return the church back to what they suppose the first century church looks like. Pentecostalism and its variants are another incarnation of the restorationist impulse, an impulse which is different from the Reformed impulse in desiring to jettison tradition altogether instead of critically engaging it.

One of the latest incarnations of the restorationist impulse is the movement promoted primarily by Frank Viola, the “Organic Church” movement, which claims that most of what is found in modern Christianity is actually pagan in its roots. Viola rejects almost all aspects of the Institutional Church, in favor of a particular house church model without liturgy or any hint of clergy. Together with George Barna, he advocates for spontaneity in every meeting and every-member ministry, in which every believer will join in contributing to church gatherings through the use of song, skit, “short teachings, revelations, and prophetic words” among others, as the Holy Spirit supposedly leads each member during church meetings.


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