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  • Why was this site started?

    slide06.jpgLet us begin with a very important fact. The goal of the site is not to criticize traditional or institutional churches. Yes, some of the articles make comparisons and some of the writers do strongly question traditional practices. However, those of us who have created this site did so for several reasons:

  • Our Best Articles

    bestartikle.jWe have over one hundred articles available on our site, so if you are a new visitor, you may be overwhelmed. Where should you start? Here you will find some of our best articles that we have posted since the s...

  • Incarnational Practices

    slide05.jpgYou are church before you do church. This is one of the fueling insights of the missional church movement. This isn't a new idea...but it is pretty provocative, especially when one considers its implications. If we take Jesus at his word when he says (as recorded in John 20:21) "as the Father has sent me, I am sending you," then we realize that our being sent is the basis of our "doing" church. In oth...

  • What is an Organic Church?

    slide04.jpg Organic Church. I've been using this term for around fifteen years now. Today it's become somewhat of a clay word, being molded and shaped to mean a variety of different things by a variety of different people.

    T. Austin-Sparks is the man who deserves credit for this term. Here's his definition:


Excerpts from Reimagining Church #2 PDF Print Write e-mail
Friday, 27 March 2009 14:09
Excerpts from Reimagining Church

We are excited to announce the publishing of a new book in Russian- Reimagining the Church by Frank Viola. The book will be available in April, but until then we would like to share with you some excerpts to give you a taste of the book.

Surprisingly, the Bible never defines the church. Instead, it presents it through a number of different metaphors.One of the reasons why the New Testament gives us numerous metaphors to depict the church is because the church is too comprehensive and rich to be captured by a single definition or metaphor. Unfortunately, our tendency is to latch on to one particular metaphor and understand the ekklesia through it alone.

Excerpts from Reimagining Church

We are excited to announce the publishing of a new book in Russian- Reimagining the Church by Frank Viola. The book will be available in April, but until then we would like to share with you some excerpts to give you a taste of the book.

Surprisingly, the Bible never defines the church. Instead, it presents it through a number of different metaphors.One of the reasons why the New Testament gives us numerous metaphors to depict the church is because the church is too comprehensive and rich to be captured by a single definition or metaphor. Unfortunately, our tendency is to latch on to one particular metaphor and understand the ekklesia through it alone. But by latching on to just one metaphor — whether it be the body, thearmy, the temple, the bride, the vineyard, or the city — we lose the message that the other metaphors convey. The result: Our view of the church will become limited at best or lopsided at worst. Do you know what metaphor for the church dominates the New Testament?
It’s the family.

The writings of Paul, Peter, and John in particular are punctuated with the language and imagery of family. Consider the following examples:

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal. 6:10)

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Rom. 8:29)

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. (Eph. 2:19)

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters. (1 Tim. 5:1–2)

If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Tim. 3:15)

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. (1 Peter 2:2)

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. (1 John 2:12–13)

While the New Testament authors depict the church with a variety of different images, their favorite image is the family. Familial terms like “new birth,” “children of God,” “sons of God,” “brethren,” “fathers,” “brothers,” “sisters,” and “household” saturate the New Testament writings. In all of Paul’s letters to the churches, he speaks to the “brethren”— a term that includes both brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul uses this familial term more than 130 times in his epistles. So without question, the New Testament is filled with the language and imagery of family.

In stark contrast, the dominating metaphor that’s typically constructed for the church today is the business corporation. The pastor is the CEO. The clergy and/or staff is upper management. Evangelism is sales and marketing. The congregation is the clientele. And there is competition with other corporations (“churches”) in the same town. But the corporation metaphor has a major problem. Not only is it glaringly absent from the New Testament, it does violence to the spirit of Christianity. Because from God’s standpoint, the church is primarily a family. His family, in fact.

Regrettably, present-day society is plagued by what sociologists call the “dysfunctional family.” This is a family that has been profoundly broken in some way. It may be intact outwardly, but it’s damaged inwardly. If the truth be told, many of our modern churches are in every sense of the word “dysfunctional families.”Most Christians have no trouble giving glib assent to the idea that the church is a family. Yet giving mental assent to the family nature of the church is vastly different from fleshing out its sober implications. It would do us well to look closely at the family metaphor and discuss the practical implications that are connected with it.

 

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