I started reading Reimagining Church by Frank Viola last week. I read Peagan Christianity by Viola and Barna last year and enjoyed the book, so thought this would be a good read to take a break from leadership reading.
I am going to do something i rarely do, i’m putting the book down before finishing it. There are just too many other good books to read. It’s not that it’s a bad book or that i disagree with everything Viola is saying, but i do disagree with the overall premise – that organized churches are undesirable to God. Viola makes many good points that could be applied to home churches, small churches and small groups. He has a good view of how groups of people form organisms. Unfortunately he cant extend his mental picture to include organizations as organisms, Viola holds these two in contrast.
I believe there is a place and desire for the organized church in God’s plan. I also believe all organizations are organisms. The human body is an organization (with a "head") of parts and a living organism. The family is an organization of people with a "head" and a living organism. The church is likewise. Viola is set against church leadership but i don’t read that in the bible, i read many places where God set up organizational structure and leadership (even before the kings – Jacob, Moses, etc). I agree with Viola that poor leadership damages any organization, but Viola is throwing the baby out with the bath water.
I read half the book and failed to be convinced at all of Viola’s opinion, in fact the more i read his examples the more i could see counter examples. If there weren’t so many other books i want to read i might finish this one, maybe someday if my list runs out …..