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Frank Viola – Lessons in Garden Theology or Dominionism 201?

April 15, 2012

More shall I say, rather unique theology, from Organic Church Leader Frank Viola this week on his blog? Viola whose teachings I have followed for the past two years with the ways of the Organic Church documenting a variety of methods to explain we have been doing church wrong for the past 1900 years.

This week Viola has a blog interview regarding his September 2011 Epic Jesus message leaning heavily on the philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s teachings of “Act and Being” to explain it but excludes the rather bizarre vision/dream where he said,

 “A matchless throng that no man can number from every tribe, every race, every kindred every tongue and God does something incredible – the throng turns into a whirlwind of glorious light, as glorious as the face of God, and it begins to form, and out of it, out of this whirlwind steps the most glorious woman, beyond the imagination of mortals, the bride makes her entrance, the mystery of the ages the new Eve, and gold is poured into gold and light into light, and the bride of the Lamb becomes the wife of God and the two shall become one. For behold I show you a mystery the woman was taken out of the man and brought to the man and the two become one flesh but I’m not speaking of Adam and Eve, I’m speaking of Christ and the Church. And I just quoted Paul in Ephesians 5.“ (Frank Viola)

And in which he says of the Garden of Eden:

 “And God creates a Garden and in the center of the garden He puts a very special tree it’s called The Tree of Life and that tree is pulsating and beating with a certain kind of life, it is the Life of God Himself, and He invites the apex of His creation, human beings to partake of that life but tragedy strikes and the one who created the universe watches it fall and morph into an enemy, even His own enemy.”

Incomparable words I have never heard, much less from the Holy Scripture! The very foundation of the Christian faith is trivialized to mere ‘tragedy’ where mankind falls into sin that leads us all to death, the enemy was not a tree morphed but an adversary named Satan. And what is with the pulsating and beating tree? Sounds somewhat like a scene straight out of the movie Avatar to me! With the previous introduction into fantasy thinking of CS Lewis from Prince Caspian why not think that?

 “So God’s sets out to restore His good creation and He chooses a man and from that man he chooses a people called by His name and the story Israel is the story of a God who wants to get His creation back but Israel fails and the Lord does the unthinkable. He penetrates a falling universe Himself. Time becomes pregnant in what Kierkegaard called the absolute paradox breaks into the visible universe and the unchanging God becomes fully human and pierces the veil of space time. Jesus is born in a humble village called Bethlehem…”   From: In Typical Christian Na’vi Blue – The message comes forth! “Epic Jesus: The Christ You Never Knew” – by Frank Viola 9/4/11

Frank Viola’s latest, in my opinion, is taking his Dominionism 101 teachings to the 201 level this week on his blog. Following his Modus Operandi – he again leans on the philosophy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to legitimize his ideas of Christianity, Bonhoeffer who was a man, war hero yes – but as a “Biblical” Christian well… that needs a lot more examination! Using Bonhoeffer is using an enigma at best but one who like many of the postmodernists/universalists we are dealing with believed that Christianity is not exclusive, i.e., that Christ is not the only way to God (Testimony to Freedom, pp. 55-56).

Dr. Francis Schaeffer said of Bonhoeffer and the like:
The first form was widely publicized as the “God is dead” theology. Its adherents chose the downstairs as a place to find a unity, and they have dispensed with God altogether, including the term God. When the real God-is-dead men say God is dead, they do not merely mean that God is being listened to very little in our modern secular world, but that He never existed. They put their emphasis on the lower story and seem to deny the validity of the upper story altogether. This leaves only the word Jesus downstairs. But we must be careful not to get caught out, for if we turn our backs for a moment these men use the word Jesus as a banner with upper-story overtones. We will represent it like this:These men chose to call themselves “Christian atheists.” They are atheists in the classical sense of that word; and they are Christians only in the sense that they have adopted for themselves Bonhoeffer’s definition of Christ, “The man for others.” They really differ little from today’s optimistic humanists. Schaeffer, Francis A.: The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer : A Christian Worldview. Westchester, Ill. : Crossway Books, 1996, c1982

Frank Viola defending his Epic Jesus message/short book underscores this New Apostlic Reformation {NAR) type teacher’s dependence on extra-biblical resources and in this case leaning heavily on Bonhoeffer. This is coming from a man who teaches among other things we need to get rid of the pastorate (because it is unbiblical) and reimagine church.  Viola gets in several plugs for his other books to further support his latest Epic Jesus piece but what I simply believe is DANGEROUS theology! His books From Eternity to Here and The Jesus Manifesto I sum up with these referenc:

  1. The Jesus Manifesto paints Christians with a broad brush as the world does; no definitive line between true and false believers, doctrines, and denominations.
  2. The reader is introduced to words typically used by mystics and new agers by referring to a person who got saved as experiencing the “…energy of that God-life.”
  3. Marginalizes the Biblicist position (Christians relying on the Bible), referring to it as going to the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
  4. A presentation of doctrine that anyone holding God to what the Bible teaches about His nature is to put Him into a box, denying the sufficiency of scripture, and denying the Biblicist paradigm.
  5. Following the logic of #4 with the denial of Biblical sufficiency leads us to the doctrine where others have something to bring to the table (extra-Biblical sources) – that is not Christianity but theosophy; (numerous extra-biblical sources used by them)
  6. That we know Christ through our experiences and through our brothers and sisters without mention of scriptures. Refer to #4 – new revelations are encouraged contrary to scriptures.
  7. For #3 and #4 Viola and Sweet, clarify Christians cannot judge according to scriptures calling it “a profoundly grievous misuse of the Bible.”
  8. They deny the Biblical Jesus by presenting a Jesus ignorant to His mission on Earth!
  9. Following the logic of The Jesus Manifesto and From Eternity to Here, those of the Biblicist paradigm have it wrong about the very identity of the body of Christ. Additionally at least Viola promotes a rather bizarre view that the body of Christ is the Church physically.
  10. Closely resembles the Local Church Movement and teachings of Witness Lee referred to as “cultic” by the late Dr. Walter Martin with regard to the teachings of the Trinity and more.
  11. A Local Church Movement type (Witness Lee) teaching that, “The earth awaits a body of Christians in every city who will receive Jesus utterly and completely” (Page 158). The opposite of the Biblicist paradigm and most traditional Christian teachings who are awaiting Christ to return as He said would. This point shows these teachings align closely with other dangerous false teachings, such as preparing the earth for Christ’s kingdom fitting of NAR, Dominionism, Latter Rain, and Manifest Sons of God – the implications are shocking!
  12. Addressing a crucial doctrine of the Manifest Sons of God, in the book Vengeance Is Ours, Albert Dager provides more insight to this being nothing new, “Some who have been infected by the Manifest Sons of God teachings even believe He will not return physically, but rather that Christ and the Church are becoming one in nature and essence, and that the Church, as the “on-going incarnation of God,” is Christ on earth (page 70).”

For More:

The Organic Church? Based on God’s Word or Truth from the Dung Heap?

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