Sunday, August 09, 2009


The Out of Ur blog has posted two pieces by Frank Viola on the 'postchurch.'

In the first, Viola takes issues with the idea that any gathering of two or three constitutes 'church,' as many claim it does. I've probably done it myself, although I think I've kept the sense of a larger church body in mind at the time. Perhaps two or three gathered together is a temporary, fluid bit of the Body. Viola brings more clarity to the issue by pointing out the context in which the verse about two or three gathered together occurs, and shows that it has little to do with random groups of people proclaiming themselves as a 'church,' and a great deal to do with the Body as we know it working to get things right within itself by the Holy Spirit.

In his second post, he offers six 'tests' which he says the idea of the 'postchurch'-2-or-3-gathered fail. Whether you agree with these or not, he's making a valid point that people gathering together on an ad hoc basis without reference to the wider church tend to be avoiding the very things the Body as a whole can deal with (when it's functioning properly, of course!)

As always, the comments following the posts are (almost always) as illuminating as the posts themselves.

Viola, by the way, isn't an advocate for the 'institutional' church in the way we commonly know it these days. He doesn't see value in the hierarchical church, or the business model church, or any other church that's based on something the world has cooked up.

[And apropos of the business model, I watched the movie, Network, the other night. Thirty years on, its satire is as devastating as ever. Here's one of the characters on the value of business to the world: We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that . . . perfect world . . . in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.]

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