Jesus Has Left the Building

In a recent comment dialog with Sarah over at
her blog Sarah recommended this book. Interested, I checked out a review of the book by Darren King. Here are a few excerpts from that review:

In a previous issue of Precipice I wrote a review of George Barna's popular and somewhat controversial book, Revolution. Those of you who read the book, or the review of Revolution, will remember that Barna's topic was the migration of Christians away from organized, ecclesial gatherings, i.e. the Sunday service in the local church. Recently another book has emerged tackling the very same topic. While Paul Vieira's Jesus Has Left the Building tackles the same topic, from my perspective it does so with more depth. Like Barna, Vieira not only makes note of the exodus of believers from organized Church settings, but actually suggests the phenomena is very much a move of God; similar in breadth and purpose to God's exiling of the Israelites.

So what was wrong with organized church in the local context? Like Barna, Vieira's exit was influenced by more than just a desire to proactively walk among the lost in order to reach them (though that was certainly part of the reason). His exit was also due to the fact that organized church lacked meaningful spirituality, even "amongst the brethren"- so to speak. Vieira writes:
In my experience, I loved being with God's people. But there was something interfering with our relationships and life together. This subtle, but very powerful system of values and practices does not seem to have its root in Jesus. I often use the following words synonymously (sometimes humorously), to describe this hindrance: institutional church, organized church, the religious system, the system, the corporate machine, the monster, the building, the matrix.
Vieira goes on to clarify that while he makes statements that may sound like he questions "the legitimacy of "church", he is actually only referring to the "organization typically called 'church'," as opposed to the "true church, made up of all believers in Christ." This is an important distinction to make of course. It was years ago that an Orthodox priest helped me fully grasp the difference between the two. You can catch the whole review here.


  1. I don't believe there is Biblical support for a distinction between local church and some universal church. A church is a called out assembly. The so-called universal church has never assembled together.

    There is room to improve local churches, without doubt, but nowhere does the Bible call us to forsake the assembling together in order to somehow grow closer to God. In fact, it is just the opposite. Heb. 10:24-25: "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

  2. I suppose it depends on what grid you interpret "assembling together" through. How did meeting for a 2 hour presentation in a building designated specifically for this purpose become the only credible expression of "assembing together"?


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