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on 24 February 2009
As I read this book, I was at the same time relieved, troubled & challenged. Bit of a rollercoaster then! I was hugely relieved to find that it isn't just me thinking that there are big issues with church as we know it, troubled as I realised that it is unlikely that I'd be able to take my whole church (whom I love) on this journey & challenged then to find a way to act on what I'd read.
I'm not an academic & the title was a bit off-putting as I thought it might be a bit heavy, but it's not at all. It was riveting. I was desperate to pick it up each time until I'd finished it. By that point I already had 3 people in the queue to read it after me. I'm actually here to order more copies.
As I read it I was reminded of a group that met in our house when I was in my teens & I thanked God that I had had the opportunity to be part of such a group. Viola describes church as it could be, church as God intended it to be & church as I know from my own experience that it can be.
I do commend it to you if you think about church, "There must be more than this."
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on 14 September 2015
Frank obviously just doesn't like church but doesn't really articulate a persuasive ecclesiology. Apparently you need to experience it from a church which is part of his network to understand and indeed to do it properly. Perhaps his church is great but he needs to open his eyes and see the life elsewhere too.
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on 30 September 2016
Very thought provoking and challenging for all the right reasons
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on 29 April 2013
a wonderful resource for anyone considering changing how they 'do' church. ... but i havent yet read the book, its in my pending file
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on 27 November 2016
Viola makes some good points about the organic nature of new testament church, but they are drowned out by the number of straw man arguments - e.g. everything to do with the concept of covering which I've never come across despite years as a pastor. What he seems to be against are what I'd recognise as unhealthy signs in a church, but often avoided in practice.

Crucially, Viola doesn't talk through the kind of instruction that's house church needs before it can function as such. The book is therefore left as a series of criticisms of institutional churches, some of which are valid and many of which aren't, but he never really fleshes out the alternative or how to get it working...
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on 25 October 2008
Reimagining Church" by Frank Viola is one of the most inspiring,challenging and inspirational books that I have ever read(after The Bible that is!)Having read some of the reviews on the other (U.S.)
Amazon site, www.amazon.com ,I can only add that it has given me hope for the future knowing that there are others out there who feel the same way!
This book can change your life in ways that you never imagined-it is SO liberating and enlightening.We meet Jesus again and again-not through pre-conceived ideas and traditional thinking but as His friend and as a much loved member of His family.
Frank's sincerity and love of God,his empathy with others and purpose in life shines through his writing.He is practical and non-judgemental in his exploration of what is really means to belong to the "church" that Jesus came to found.
The only way you can understand what is going on is to read it yourself-(I've bought about 20 copies so far to distribute to others-Thats how much I value it)
This book is not an option-you HAVE to read it! For anyone who has been hurt by,or "put off" christianity because of all the dogma and nonsense that is such a large part of so many churches,this book helps you to get through all that-to understand where it has come from, and helps you make up your own mind as to it's importance.
If you have read "Pagan Christianity" you MUST read this-it works well on it's own but carries on where the last one left off.
BE WARNED!!!This is a book that you can't ignore-love it or hate it-you will be challenged!

Thanks Frank.
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on 4 October 2009
I was brought up 'in the church' as my dad was a minister. I became a real beliver at 18 years old and experienced Life in the Holy Spirit and a total life change! I went to Christian Life College for 3 years and lived in 'community' for a year or so. I have NEVER in the last 40 years, ever, found anything to come even close to the 'authentic' fulfilling, genuine, satisfying, loving, challenging experience of the Christian Life that I experienced at college and in 'community'. Some of community life was truly awful and should never be repeated, however, the loving fellowship was life changing and is enduring.
Nowadays, I just cannot sit in Church and be a part of the 'rules and regulations' anymore. They have become a substitute for a wonderful vibrant, on the cutting edge, relationship with God. Frank Viola's book gave me hope.
I couldn't put it down!
I shared it with my neighbours and friends and we have all admitted to being hungry and starving in our respective 'church' lives. We long for the real thing again! JESUS among us and with us and in us...
Thank you Mr Viola. You book certainly cannot/should not be ignored! :-)
For the dyslexics amongst us...Yes! I read it as 'Re imaging' the Church. Total turn off! Oh! Not another shallow 're branding' job to hide the cracks...! Sorry Mr Viola! You have started something now...I wonder where it will all go? I can't stop here... I want more...
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on 20 October 2009
Many people have had major issues with this book and often with Frank Viola himself. And to be honest, it's not at all surprizing because if you've been a christian for even a short time, there is a more than good chance that "Reimagining church" will have wrecked the ground that we have been standing on for far too long. Things that committed, loving believers will have been taught as cast iron certainties will not simply have doubt poured on them, the words of this book will leave you in a variety of places; either with heels well and truly dug in, clinging to what you have always gone with or shaken & stirred/dazed and confused {take your pick} or ready to sound a clarion call (one way or the other) or ready to drop everything and actively look for and pursue what God wants.
Personally, I think it is an excellent book. In a real sense, the messenger isn't really important, but the message certainly is. In fact, I'd say it was a crucial message and one of the grand things about the messenger is that it comes on the back of 20 years hard experience and reality. This is no theory book. One may end up amazed at how the church could have gotten things so wrong for so many centuries.
I would recommend reading this book with both an open mind and a good Greek dictionary or lexicon. For a subject as potentially life altering as this, it would be a dangerous thing to simply take Frank Viola's word for things, no matter how persuasive he may be. Most writers of just about all shades can sound plausible ! The book {and others of the 'organic church' ilk, for want of a better term} also has the added plus of helping the actual bible come alive, or at least provides an alternative angle of approach to the one so many christians tend to take in the highly organized world of Christendom.
I would even be willing to bet that people who have thus far been critical of christians {and not without good reason, sometimes} or simply not interested in God or Jesus might find this a good read. Such folk may well come away from a book like this thinking "I wish churches were actually like this !!." And they wouldn't be the only ones....
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on 7 May 2011
This should be required reading for everyone who regards himself as a church leader and after reading it should justify his position biblically. Perhaps all those calling themselves Christians should also read this in order to challenge those who claim authority over them. This is the stuff of revolution which could change the world almost as much as the the early New Testament church did - if only there were not church "officials" attempting to keep their congregations in a yoke of slavery and subservience. The head of the church is Jesus and he does not employ substitutes; this book makes this very clear and substantiates it from biblical history.
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on 16 November 2013
An interesting book, which challenges the way that the modern (Western?) church structure itself (buildings, pastors, programmes etc.), and how far removed this is from the New Testament church.

The book lays out ideas for reimagining our church buildings, management, meetings etc. Occasionally I think the author over- argues his points (and his interpretation of scripture), but it's a very interesting challenge to how we "do" church.
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