Frank Viola, author, is working on a spiritual memoir that focuses on his experience in organic church. It is slated to release in January 2015. Here’s an excerpt:
“Being a student of church history, I have never personally met a true spiritual or theological trailblazer. Most of the people I know who are turning the sod on various aspects of the Christian faith are exploring pathways that have been populated by others in the past. None of it is brand new or completely original. As Dr. Laurence Peter once put it, “Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear, but forgetting where you heard it.” Anyone who doesn’t admit to that is bluffing.
Consequently, what you will read in this book has undoubtedly been said by someone else in some other place at some other time or in some other era. I have often made the following statement when invited to speak somewhere: “If you’re looking for new revelation, you’ve got the wrong guy.”
I have no new revelation. In fact, I have never met a person who had new revelation. Nor do I possess any “heavy revy” to dish out (that’s cute shorthand for “deep and heavy revelation from God.”)
I am a person who firmly believes what Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” In fact, all of what we have in the New Testament is found in the Old Testament—in types, images, allegories, and shadows. There is one exception, however. “The mystery” that Paul of Tarsus so passionately spoke about in his letters. That was a genuine case of “new revelation.” Unquestionably so.
To put a finer point on it, there’s only one revelation, and there’s only one Revelator. The revelation is Jesus Christ. The Revelator is the Holy Spirit. And we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. It is only by God’s marvelous grace that we can (perhaps) see further than they did.
While I’m banging this particular drum, let me add that I don’t believe that there are any elite Christians. And I certainly don’t believe that there are any elite Christian workers or ministers. I believe that the simplest saint who has met the Lord Jesus Christ is as holy, as valued, and as cherished in the sight of God as Paul, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Watchman Nee, C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham or any other name that you wish to insert into that sentence.
King David is honored in Scripture as being “a man after God’s own heart” Acts 13:22. This has puzzled many Christians because David’s life was riddled with so many failures. I suspect the reason why the Holy Spirit regarded him to be a man after God’s own heart is because David caught a glimpse of the Lord’s ultimate purpose. And he was willing to pay any price to fulfill it. David was occupied with building a house for God (2 Samuel 7:2ff.; 1 Chronicles 29:3; Psalm 132:3-5).
As I look back on my Christian life since I was a teen, I’ve been on a quest to find the church after God’s own heart.
What exactly is a church after God’s own heart? Well, it’s certainly not a church that is void of failures and shortcomings. King David teaches us that lesson quite well. But he also teaches us that the church after God’s own heart that has caught a glimpse of the Lord’s ultimate purpose and is willing to pay any price to fulfill it.”