Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A review and dialogue on Frank Viola's book Reimagining Christianity

I have finished Frank Viola's book Reimagining Christianity. To put it nicely and succinctly, the book is radical Anabaptist and restorationist piety reboiled and rebranded as a "new move" and "new way" of doing church.

Over at Ben Witherington III's blog quite a while back, Witherington has reviewed Viola's book rather extensively, Viola responded to the review, Witherington wrote his epilogue and Viola has the last word, as follows:

Frank Viola's Reimagining Church — Part One

Frank Viola's Reimagining Church — Part Two

Frank Viola's Reimagining Church — Part Three

Reimagining Church — Part Four

Reimagining Church — A Frank Response Part One [Frank Viola responds]

Reimagining Church — A Frank Response Part Two [Frank Viola responds]


A FRANK CODA [Frank Viola responds]

Witherington's review is extensive, though that is achieved by not being able to focus on particular issues in depth. But Witherington focuses on the main issues in contention, and drew blood where it counts, although Viola does not seem to get it.

I especially the part where Witherington deals with Viola's screed against denominationalism in his book.

pp. 235-36 [in Viola's book] can only be called a rant against denominationalism, which is even called a heretical notion antithetical to orthodoxy and dividing the body of Christ. I find it truly ironic that Frank thinks the notion of individual autonomous house churches is somehow less divisive of the body of Christ, than having denominations. Wrong Frank, you’ve just divided it up into even smaller tiny autonomous pieces in this approach!

A non-denominational denomination is STILL by definition a denomination, as it calls itself a body of Christ yet is not part of the other denominations. It is indeed supremely ironical, and hypocritical on Viola's part, to attack denominationalism by introducing yet another denomination.

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