I know you hear this a lot but for serious Christians INSURGENCE by Frank Viola is the must-read book of the 21st century so far. Below follows a series of questions and answers as I interviewed Frank Viola concerning his new book.
Read on and learn why I strongly recommend you get a copy as fast as you can. If you know me, you know I am serious about the church and I don’t play marketing games. If this book doesn’t change your life I will buy it back from you.
Let’s get started with the questions;
1) Why did you write the book “Insurgence”?
I write the book I myself want to read but cannot find. INSURGENCE: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom is a book that does the following:
* presents the gospel of the kingdom comprehensively from Genesis to Revelation. (Not just “the kingdom” but “the gospel of the kingdom”).
* declare the message without any agenda for the progressive left or the conservative right (the gospel of the kingdom cannot fit into either).
* present the material in a highly accessible and easy-to-read manner so that a high school can understand as well as scholars and theologians (due to the depth).
* give practical exercise to navigate readers to implement the message into their own lives and churches.
* give an update on the present Insurgence that’s sweeping the world.
Because I couldn’t find one book that did all of those things, I wrote INSURGENCE.
Your readers can find samples of the book (both audio and print) at Insurgence.org.
2) What is the primary difference between the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation?
I address this in the book itself, but they are the same gospel. The gospel of the kingdom stresses the kingship of Jesus and its massive implications while the gospel of salvation emphasis the Lord’s deliverance from the world system, the flesh, the grip of the devil, and God’s judgment. They are two sides of the same incredible gospel message.
3) Can you explain how the present Religious System hinders and/or anesthetizes believers from walking/working out the Insurgence?
I think one has to first define “religious system.” When I use that term, I’m referring to a system that is characterized by a hierarchical system of power that includes a clergy/laity divide where the clergy offers ministry in the form of weekly sermons to a passive laity who simply listen to the teaching. There is no real relationship between clergy and laity, and the members of the “laity” hardly know one another.
Further, in this system, the laity are merely consumers, mostly of sermons, programs, and worship teams and the songs they select. Consequently, the fruit of this system is that the majority of the laity have individualistic spiritual lives wherein Jesus Christ and His kingdom are a highly privatized segment of their already busy lives. There are of course exceptions to this, but that’s the majority. Thus, the only books that are of interest to this segment of the Christian family are those which appear on television and/or are written by celebrity Christian leaders.
That said, there are some traditional (institutional) churches today that have a traditional pastor who are moving into the Insurgence. These churches often have small groups during the week that are vibrant and active where community is taking place. Some of these pastors also invite guest speakers in from the outside to stir up their congregations with powerful messages, for they know that they (as pastors) don’t have all the light on God’s kingdom. They also introduce books like INSURGENCE to their congregations, some of them even taking them through the book chapter by chapter.
While this isn’t the majority, it’s happening in various places.
4) What has the response been so far, especially from leaders?
Better to let them speak for themselves. Here is a sampling. Collectively, they answer questions that readers routinely ask about the book.
1. I have written about fifty books, read hundreds—maybe thousands IN MY 83 years. “INSURGENCE” IS THE ONE BOOK YOU MUST READ! It is everything I believe, said much better than I am graced to say it. You ask me what I believe. I will respond: “What he said!” To all of my beloved friends and fellows who are diligently laboring for reformation, restoration and revival: “Your efforts will be unfruitful apart from the kingdom foundation clearly laid out in Frank Viola’s new book.” During the entire time of reading this book my spirit has been vibrating like a tuning fork that has just been struck!
2. Frank Viola’s latest book, “Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom” is a game changer! I want to be transparent. I am an African-American male who is fifty-five (55) years old. I have struggled with the “divide” in the Body of Christ when it comes to race, economics, etc. There have been times when I have been discouraged and disappointed with other Christians. I carried the flag of “social justice”. I carried the flag of “conservatism evangelical politics”. I carried the “charismatic” flag. I carried the flag of “isolationism”. I carried every flag, BUT CHRIST! I am a Pastor in the city of Philadelphia. I have been to seminary and I finished my doctoral work. I say all of that to say that this BOOK HAS RADICALLY CHANGED MY LIFE, MY VISION, AND MY PERSPECTIVE OF CHRISTIANITY! Frank says on page 13, “My hope in writing this book is that its message will deliver you from every other version of the gospel except the gospel of the kingdom- a gospel that has been virtually lost to us today”. Brother Frank! Your hope and prayer was achieved by the inner working of the Holy Spirit upon my heart, using the words that the Lord gave you in this book!
Lastly, this is how I read “Insurgence”. I bought the paperback version, and I purchased the version of the book on Amazon Audible. I would read a section and highlight it with a yellow marker (I would stop and either listen to the conference message associated with the section or read the essay that was footnoted). Then I would re-read that section, with a pen in hand, underlining points that struck my heart even the more the second time around, while making notes in the margins. Then I would listen to that same section on Audible, with the book opened to the same pages, following along and taking more notes as the Spirit led me. I want to thank the Lord for Frank Viola’s commitment, passion, and dedication to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have written research papers and a dissertation. This book is well researched with Bible quotes along with quotes from well respected theological authors. The extra materials on the “Insurgence Website” along with the conference and blog messages are in themselves worth the price of the book. When you add the book along with the other resource materials and just take a moment to reflect upon the work that Frank Viola and his team put into this project, YOU MUST PRAY AND THANK THE LORD FOR THEIR EFFORTS!
My advice is that you buy Insurgence and read it! Make a plan to finish it! Then implement the “Taking Action” sections.
3. As a pastor, I read a lot of books. However, occasionally in our Christian life, we come across a book that brings us to our knees. This book has brought about a revival in my own life, though every page has been a spiritual battle. Frank brings his transparent and biblically saturated style once again to the Christian world calling on all Christians to reclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom. As a Christian, I strongly urge you to invest in your spiritual life and follow Frank on a much-needed journey. As a pastor, I strongly warn you that this book will have dire worldview altering consequences to your spiritual walk. “Pagan Christianity” may have disturbed the waters of the evangelical world, but “Insurgence” will capsize the boats of the modern Christian church. If you miss this book, then you will be missing an amazing blessing. I guarantee that you will be challenged in a way that you never have before. If you are content with casual Christianity then this book is not for you. If you, on the other hand, desire a deeper walk with the Lord, then this book will become an Ebenezer in your spiritual journey.
4. Frank Viola’s new book not only paints a picture of the Kingdom of God but also encourages believers to open themselves to the power of the Holy Spirit so that the Kingdom can break into our world now. Frank writes about an insurgence, a movement of people so deeply connected to and committed to Christ that they have decisively broken out of the world system and now live as citizens of God’s Kingdom. It is revolutionary.
Frank deeply engages Scripture and the writings of others who have written about the Kingdom of God. But this is not a book that merely describes the Kingdom of God. Frank examines the work of the best scholars to help us see the beauty and power of God’s Kingdom so that we are changed and the world is changed.
This is a call to radical discipleship. Frank inspires and empowers believers to become agents of God who join the insurgence which manifests God’s Kingdom in the world. Frank provides examples of believers who have joined the insurgence and become radicalized for the Kingdom of God. He also provides some practical exercises so that readers can begin to implement what they have read. As Frank says, “Reading a book without taking action is like flying a plane without landing.” Frank gives his readers some suggestions so that they can take action to join the insurgence, experience a deeper connection to Jesus Christ and help God’s Kingdom break into our world.
Anyone who has read Frank’s other books will definitely want to read Insurgence. It pulls together many of the themes of his earlier work and advances them to new levels. It is an invitation to the deeper Christian life and an exposition of God’s Eternal Purpose that also offers followers of Jesus some transformative exercises to help us become part of God’s revolution.
I am a Harvard-educated Lutheran pastor who also teaches philosophy at a secular university. I served for six years as the pastor of the northernmost Lutheran church in the United States in a Inupiaq village north of the Bering Strait. Frank’s scholarship is excellent. Even more importantly, his commitment to the radical message of Jesus is as deep as anyone’s. The message he shares is one we need to hear.
5. Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom” by Frank Viola is an excellent, edgy and essential examination of the Gospel of the Kingdom that will challenge disciples of Christ to go deeper and higher in the Kingdom as we invite others in to join us. It prophetically addresses current hot topics in political, governmental and church relations. As a pastor, I recommend this book for personal discipleship growth in the Gospel and for a ‘book club’ composed of anyone interested in learning: 1.) the big story of the Bible, 2.) how that story culminates in the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom, and 3.) what that means for disciples of Jesus in this world. The author succinctly demonstrates the prevalent problems of two opposing false gospels centered on either legalism or libertinism. If you want some solid biblical backdrop to the current debates regarding nationalism, Romans 13, border security and social justice, read this for a re-centering on the Gospel of the Kingdom as the laser sharp focus of the “Ecclesia.” Lastly, Viola’s biblical theological insights on the supernatural worldview of the Bible are superb with excellent application to our current mission as insurgents of King Jesus and His coming Kingdom!
6. In this insightful and transformative book, Frank Viola reveals with crystal clarity just how far removed our truncated gospel is from the kingdom of God that Jesus embodied and that He calls and empowers His followers to embody. I am convinced that this wisdom-packed book will be used by God to completely transform the lives of many who dare to read it.
7. Let me be clear—Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom is not a book offering yet another parochial debate over some inconsequential point of theology. On the contrary, Viola’s message strikes at the heart of the core message of Christianity.
Dr. Michael S. Heiser
8. I own thousands of books, but there’s a very small handful of books that I keep on my desk to re-read and refer to on a regular basis. Frank Viola’s Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom is one of those books. This isn’t just a book – it’s a revelation of how we as Christians should be living our lives in today’s culture. Get the book. It will dramatically change how you look at the rest of your life.
9. Insurgence is a course corrective for the communication of good news of Jesus. Thank you, Frank Viola, for masterfully presenting the gospel of Jesus as the here-and-now good news of the kingdom.
10. There is an insurgence or a convergence of God’s people rallying around a fuller, more biblical articulation of the gospel. This insurgence isn’t just about getting our message straight, it’s about straightening out the lives of our churches. Nothing could be more important in our day. In this book, Frank Viola issues an impassioned plea to join this insurgence that appeals not simply to the head but especially to the heart.
11. I can honestly say it is the best book I have read to date! It will ruin the works of the Religious system and re-define everything we learned in the seminary. Read it at your own risk and only if you want to fall deeper in love with the beauty of your King. Let the Revolution begin!
I joke with Frank all the time and tell him “I am the Insurgence” and so are you!
Jose L. Bosque
We want to thank Frank for taking the time to let us review his new book INSURGENCE here at GodsLeader.com and we pray that the Lord would use it to set the Gospel ship aright and be the catalyst to release of a new-found passion and fire among his people.
Order the book and check out free samples at http://Insurgence.org –
Jose L. Bosque, with Frank Viola
See also Church REVOLUTION by Jose Bosque