Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Review of From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola

Author: Frank Violaviola

Pages: 320 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook

Price: 10.19

Genre: Christian Living/Theology

Quick Summary:

I first heard of Frank Viola in 1987 when he was pitching the Twins to the World Series. I was excited to review his book about Jesus. Then I discovered that this isn’t the same guy that pitched for the Twins. Of course I am joking. I had heard of Frank Viola a couple of years ago with his controversial book Pagan Christianity. I never read it. Now I want to.

From Eternity to Here is Viola’s attempt to chart the three overarching divine themes revealed in Scripture. Viola believes that the metanarrative of holy writ is this: “The Father obtains a bride for His Son by the Spirit. He then builds a house in which He, the Son, and the bride dwell together in the Spirit. The Father, the Son, and the bride live in that house as an extended household and they have offspring by the Spirit. The offspring constitutes a family, a new humanity called the ‘body of Christ’.” (19)

The book is divided into three parts. In part one Viola is unveiling the bride, in part two the house of God is explained, and part three is given to the presenting the body and the family. Viola explains it this way, “The first is the story of a God who is an ageless romantic, driven by one consuming pursuit. The second is about a God who has sought since eternity to have a resting place, a habitation, a home. And the third reveals a God from another realm who visits planet earth to establish a heavenly colony that will give Him visible expression.” (17) Every bit of this book is given to telling those three stories (that’s really one big story).

What I Liked:

Viola is a very good writer. He is engaging and though provoking. The chapters are not laborious. This is actually a very fun read. More than all of that, however, I love the fact that Viola is Christ-centered. His “afterthought” gives me chills in its Christ-centered nature. Everything revolves around Christ. If this is the only message of this book and the central theme that it is proclaiming then count me as a fan. But is that really all there is to it…

What I Disliked:

Viola uses phrases and introduces themes that are huge to swallow. This book is subtitled “rediscovering the ageless purpose of God”. If that is the case then I would expect a little more teaching and attempts to prove his point. I am not sure that I disagree with Viola but I am at the same time not certain that I agree. He does not labor to prove his point but merely states it as so. At times I think he is given to far too much “sanctified imagination” and interprets the Bible more like Origen would. Is that wrong? I am not certain. There are times when I would put a question mark over whole sections or write out to the side “sounds more like Gnosticism”. It seems like he has a “spiritual” understanding of things; almost like trying to talk to a “spiritual” person from the Word of Faith movement.

But then again there are entire sections of this book that I underlined and absolutely loved. So, I dislike the fact that I cannot decide whether this book is a 1 or a 5.

Should You Buy This Book?

I have no idea. Perhaps the best advice would be to buy it and use a ton of discernment. But that would go for any book I suggest. Part of me wants to say do not buy the book but rather by Christopher Wright’s book The Mission of God. But then another part of me says buy this book AND by Wright’s book. How about this? You buy it and then explain it to me. Is it weird and borderline Gnosticism or is it biblical and Christ-centered?

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. (Just because I’m not sure if it should be a 1 or a 5)


I have reviewed this book as part of the From Eternity to Here blog tour:

The following bloggers are posting a review or Q & A with Frank Viola on his bestselling book FROM ETERNITY TO HERE today, Tuesday, July 21st. You may order the book at a discount at http://www.frometernitytohere.org/ – it’s also on audio book. Free discussion guide, sample chapters, interviews, and a free audio of the first chapter are available on that site also. Here are the bloggers who are participating:

Jay Becker - http://www.jaybecker.org/

Mark D - http://deadmanstravelog.blogspot.com/

Igniting Hearts - Kimber Britner - http://www.ignitinghearts.blogspot.com/

Karyn - http://tiger-kar.blogspot.com/

Barefoot Preacher - http://thebarefootpreacher.blogspot.com/

Every Day Angels - http://www.weareeverydayangels.com/

FaithEngineer - http://www.faithengineer.com

Kristen Schiffman - http://dancinginthemargins.typepad.com/

CrossPointe: The Church at Bevo - http://churchatbevo.blogspot.com/

Crazy Love for God - crazyloveforgod.blogspot.com

Amazima Ministries - oatsvallteam.blogspot.com

Down to Write Honest - http://downwritehonest.com/

A Beautiful Mess - http://blnorth1105.blogspot.com/

The Blakes on a Mission - http://www.theblakesthailand.blogspot.com/

Words by Jud Kossum - http://judkossum.blogspot.com/

Eric Jaffe - http://www.ericjaffe.org/

Reconnect with God – http://www.reconnectwithgod.org/

2nd Cup of Coffee - http://www.2nd-cup-of-coffee.blogspot.com/

Nolan Bobbitt Website - http://www.nolanbobbitt.com/

Klappyanne - www.xanga.com/klappyanne

Daveingland - http://www.daveingland.com/

Randi Jo Rooks - http://seedsinmyheart.blogspot.com/

Ephesians Five – http://ephesiansonefive.blogspot.com/

Michael Bayne - http://www.michaelbayne.net/

Encounter Church Helena Blog - encounterhelena.org

Thoughts B4 Conviction N2 Action - tsharrison.blogspot.com

Edevotion - http://www.e-devotion.blogspot.com/

Seeking After - http://seekingafter.blogspot.com/

Eric Powell - http://www.encounterhelena.org/

Borrowed Light - http://fbcnewlondon.blogspot.com/

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