Frank Viola Author Answers Questions

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Frank’s ministry is called The Deeper Journey

Discovering that the Christian life really is more than you thought.

His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply, gain fresh perspectives on old or ignored subjects, and make the Bible come alive.

Frank Viola author is a prolific writer, creating dozens of books, blogs, articles, podcast episodes, and interviews. Viola’s ministry concentrates on several areas: The deeper Christian life, Jesus studies, and radical church reform.

His earlier work focuses on radical ecclesiology, his recent work focuses on Jesus and the deeper life.

From Viola’s LinkedIn page,

***PUBLISHED BOOKS***

Viola, Frank (2014). Jesus Now. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook.

Viola, Frank (2013). God’s Favorite Place on Earth. Colorado Springs: David C. Cook.

Viola, Frank and Leonard Sweet (2012). Jesus: A Theography. Thomas Nelson.

Viola, Frank (2011). Revise Us Again: Living from a Renewed Christian Script. David C. Cook.

Viola, Frank and Leonard Sweet (2010). Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ. Thomas Nelson.

Viola, Frank (2009). Finding Organic Church: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting & Sustaining Authentic Christian Communities. David C. Cook.

Viola, Frank (2009). From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God. David C. Cook.

Viola, Frank (2008). Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity. David C. Cook.

Viola, Frank and George Barna (2008). Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices. Tyndale.

Viola, Frank (2005). The Untold Story of the New Testament Church: An Extraordinary Guide to Understanding the New Testament. Destiny Image.

View details at frankviola.org/books

***PUBLISHED ARTICLES AND/OR INTERVIEWS***

TIME Magazine, Christianity Today, Relevant, Charisma, Ministry Today, Prism, Good News, CBN, Neue, Out of Ur, The Christian Post, Revive, ReThink, The Ooze, Next-Wave, ForMinistry, InSpirit, New Reformation, New Wineskins,The Pneuma Review, etc.

Specialties:* Conference / Seminar Speaking

* Audio Interviews.

* Print Interviews & Published Articles: Examples of past interview and/or article publications – TIME, Christianity Today, Charisma, Ministry Today, Relevant, Out of Ur, Life Today, The Christian Post, Prism, Good News, CBN.com, etc.

Jesus: A Greater High Priest

The following article is an excerpt from the book Jesus Now by Frank Viola Author

Frank Viola Author

Unlike the Old Testament high priest, who had to enter the Most Holy Place each year to atone for the nation through the shedding of animal blood, Jesus Christ entered the Most Holy Place in heaven once and for all with His own blood.

By this sacrificial act, Jesus obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12–28).

But that’s not all.

Not only did Jesus forgive all of our sins through His shed blood—past, present, and future transgressions—but on the cross He also destroyed the power of sin.

Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Rom. 6:6–7)

Beyond that, the blood of Christ—having satisfied God’s holiness—cleanses our conscience, removes our guilt, annihilates our shame, and takes away our sense of condemnation.

All of these things make the new covenant much more powerful than the old covenant.

A Better Covenant

It is my observation that many Christians today live like old-covenant people rather than like new-covenant people. According to Hebrews, the new covenant is far superior to the old (Heb. 7:19–21). This is because Jesus is greater than any other priest. Thus He is called “great high priest” (4:14).

Consider the tight relationship that Abraham, Moses, and David had with God. The author of Hebrews made a pretty remarkable statement in this regard. The author said that those who are under the new covenant have a closer relationship with God than our spiritual forefathers:

And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. (Heb. 11:39–40)

Is your relationship to the Lord closer and more glorious than that of Abraham, Moses, and David? If not, then you—like many other believers—are living like an Old Testament Israelite when God has given you His new covenant sealed with the blood of His precious Son.

In other words, you are living far below your potential and what God desires for you.

A Cleansed Conscience

It is the presence of sin in our conscience that hinders the unrestricted communion that we can enjoy with God. But the high-priestly ministry of Jesus cleanses our conscience. This means that the blood of Christ removes our guilt, shame, and condemnation that so often debilitates us.

The author of Hebrews argued that the blood of bulls and goats could never remove “the consciousness of sins” from God’s people. This means that even though the Old Testament high priest shed the blood of goats and bulls to cover the sins of the people, the people were always conscious of their own sinfulness. Their guilt remained. Their consciences still condemned them.

By contrast, the blood of Jesus removes the sin consciousness from our minds, giving us a pure and clean conscience, making us feel as though we’ve never sinned (Heb. 9:1–14; 10:1–22).

How can this be? It’s because the blood of Christ was enough to satisfy God. It was enough to forgive you. And when God forgives, He forgets. The author of Hebrews stated twice that part of the new covenant is that God “will remember their sins no more” (8:12; 10:17).

Consequently, the only people on this earth who should never feel guilty are Christians.

Accepted in the Beloved

I think it’s important that we be constantly reminded that Jesus Christ accepts us as we are–fully and completely. Therefore, it is a mistake to measure God’s acceptance by your circumstances or even your deeds. So many Christians are stuck on the treadmill of religious performance. They set their conduct up as the basis for their standing with God.

If you tune into Christian television or radio, a large percentage of modern-day preachers are presenting a gospel of condemnation. Their message can be boiled down to the following: “You have to do better to make God happy.” In our own strength, from our own energies, we must “work out our salvation” with a great deal of fear and trembling. It’s a backbreaking kind of labor that’s called for.

This gives birth to what I call the Phantom Christian Syndrome. The Phantom Christian is the imaginary self to which you compare yourself. You look at the Phantom Christian and think to yourself, Someday I’ll be this way. I’m going to try harder to be a good Christian.

Get clear on this. We approach Christ daily the same way we did on the first day of our faith journey; totally helpless in our own efforts, in need of a Savior to be the One to heal and carry us. Colossians 2:6 says it best, “Just as you received Jesus Christ, so also you must follow Him.” Because of the truth that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, we are always in the same posture—in absolute need of His grace and work in our hearts. We never move beyond that point.  It is only by the shed blood of Christ that you stand in the absolute sinless perfection of Christ Himself. Through the blood, the perfections of Jesus are afforded to you.

The blood of Christ was enough to satisfy God’s holy justice, wasn’t it? It was enough to satisfy His demands, right? The issue, then, is settled forever. The perfection of the Lord flows on your behalf. Jesus stands as the spotless Lamb of God for you to God and for God to you.

So if you have repented and trusted in Christ, right now you stand in His perfection.

This is a gift. You’ve done nothing to earn it. If you choose to stand in yourself, you will continue to have a condemned conscience. The Phantom Christian will emerge to accuse you, and you’ll crawl right back on the religious performance treadmill.

Your acceptance before a holy God is not a question of effort or attainment. It’s a question of what Christ has done. By Christ’s blood that was shed for you, you have made peace with God.

Thus approaching God should never be based on your attainments or on your works—whether good or bad. It is always based solely on the blood of Christ.

Put another way, your righteousness is not based on your work, but on the work of Another. For this reason, you can do nothing to make yourself more acceptable to God over and above what Jesus, your high priest, has already done for you at Calvary.

You cannot add to it, and you cannot take away from it.

The Way into the Holiest

Our acceptance is never based on our works or our outward condition. It’s always and forever based on the finished work of Christ. And that work is final and complete.

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10:19–22)

Consequently, you and I have perpetual access to the throne of God on the basis of the blood. Jesus Christ is your acceptance. God has accepted you in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6 KJV). He has placed you in Christ.

The favor of God rests exclusively upon His own Son. But the good news of the gospel is that you have been placed in Christ.

Satan’s chief attack, then, is to unseat your position in Christ. It’s to get you to question your acceptance and your right standing with God. It’s to accuse you and put you back under guilt and condemnation.

The idea that you must do something in yourself to obtain God’s love and acceptance bears all the hallmarks of the Devil.

His major weapon is accusation. His name—Devil—means “slanderer or accuser.” The nature of our Enemy is to slander, defame, and accuse us and other believers.

The remedy for his spiritual assault is to arm yourself with a clean conscience through the blood of Christ. The blood is the divine weapon against the fiery accusation of Satan.

But there must come a point in your Christian life where you believe and accept the value and meaning of the blood as God sees it. You must come to a point where you believe that Christ’s blood completely satisfies God’s requirements. Through the finished work of Jesus on the cross, your acceptance by God is absolute and unconditional.

Spiritual maturity and pleasing God is a different matter, however, and we will get to that subject in another chapter. But please understand. You don’t serve God to get God’s favor and acceptance. You serve God from the basis of having His favor and acceptance. And there’s a world of difference between those two things.

Consequently, the basis of our acceptance is the finished work of Christ (Heb. 10:19; 1 John 1:7); the sphere of our acceptance is our being in Christ (Eph. 1:6–7; 2 Cor. 5:21); and the peace of our acceptance is our standing in God’s grace by faith (Rom. 3:25; 5:2; Eph. 6:13–14).

The greatest weapon we can wield against the Devil is a fresh apprehension of the absolute satisfaction of God the Father in His Son on our behalf. This is the way of deliverance from condemnation (Rom. 8:31–34).

So the ultimate question is, who will you side with—your accuser or your advocate?

God answers the accuser by the blood of His Son. So look away from yourself and look to your high priest. Your victory over the Enemy lies there.

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The Buzz Seminar Master Class

Frank Viola Author has teamed up with three other experts to create the Buzz Seminar Master Class.

Here’s an excerpt from the website,

THIS IS A COURSE YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO IGNORE

Sound over-the-top? Consider these questions:

  • Do you want to start a blog that people actually read and that earns monthly income?
  • Do you have a blog that has plateaued in its ability to build a consistent audience?
  • Why do some bloggers succeed at generating income from their blogs while others don’t?
  • Do you have a business (life coach, real estate agent, etc.) and want to build a strong and loyal audience for your work?
  • Have you ever thought about writing a book and want to learn the highest-impact, most lucrative options for publishing it?
  • Are you an existing author and frustrated that you can’t get your book in front of the readers you know are out there?
  • Do you want to save time and frustration by avoiding the key mistakes that bloggers and authors routinely make?
  • Do you want to learn how to build an audience that consumes and spreads your message?
  • Would you like to discover the secret of seeing your book hit a best-seller list?
  • Would you like to network with and be connected to experienced bloggers with large platforms, a publisher, and people who are on the same journey you are on?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, The Buzz Seminar Master Class is for you.

The Buzz Master Class is an intensive training course that gives you the tools and strategies you need to succeed as a blogger and/or an author. One of the keys to getting your message heard above the static that clutters the online and offline worlds is building buzz for your blog or book.

That’s what The Buzz Master Class equips you to do.

Unlike other seminars that promise attendees  – implicitly or explicitly – that they will “get rich” off of blogging or writing books, The Buzz shows, in practical detail, how to get your message out to as many people as possible and to earn a decent income in the process. We call it blue-collar blogging and writing.

The Buzz removes all the fluff, distilling a proven formula that will help your blog or book spread to thousands of new readers.

 

Encouragement & Guidance

The following article is an excerpt from the book Jesus Now by Frank Viola Author

Encouragement

He restores my soul …

Like humans, sheep can feel cast down, discouraged, and dejected. A sheep that is “cast down” on its back will eventually die if someone doesn’t put it back on its feet. It is the shepherd’s job to keep count of the sheep in the flock, for if one is missing, it could very well be cast down somewhere.

If it’s a hot day, a downcast sheep could die within hours if it isn’t put back on its feet.

When the Lord’s true sheep are cast down, either because of falling, failure, or frustration, the Lord doesn’t abandon ship and leave them to die. No. He instead comes alongside them to put them back on their feet. He is the restorer of their souls.

A sheep that has too much wool can easily fall. Trying to serve the Lord in our own strength and power eventually leads to being cast down. Either we stumble and fall, or we become frustrated and burned out.

In the Bible, wool speaks of self-effort. For this reason, the priests in the Old Testament couldn’t wear wool. Meaning, they couldn’t sweat. They instead wore linen, which prevented them from sweating.

Fat sheep also are in danger of falling over. Consequently, the self-indulgent Christian who doesn’t deny himself or herself is in danger of being cast down.

In either case, Jesus, our great shepherd, is present to pick us back up and put us on our feet. We simply have to be willing to let Him do His work of restoration.

Guidance

He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake …

Sheep are habitual creatures. They will do the same thing the same way regardless of the consequences. For example, they’ll graze from the same plot of grass until the ground is desolate. Consequently, the shepherd must keep his sheep moving. This includes guiding them to different pastures from time to time.

Moving sheep takes a great deal of time and attention. Left to their own devices, sheep will wreck a piece of land. So they have to be prodded and led to different pastures. Sheep are not only stupid. They are stubborn. Isaiah 53:6 captures this characteristic:

All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way.

Jesus, our good shepherd, leads us into His paths lest we ruin ourselves and others. He will lead us into new territory if we but submit ourselves to His guidance, preferring it over our own independent ideas.

In addition, a good shepherd will never take a sheep where he hasn’t gone himself. So too, when the Lord Jesus Christ leads us by His Spirit, He essentially causes us to relive His own life. That would include death to self (crucified with Him), living by His life (raised with Him), and our victory over the forces of darkness (seated with Him in heavenly places).

Christ is our forerunner and trailblazer, always going ahead of us.

Where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Heb. 6:20)

Ownership & Supply

The following article is an excerpt from the book Jesus Now by Frank Viola Author

Ownership

“The LORD is my shepherd …”

The quality of a sheep’s life depends mostly on the kind of shepherd who takes care of it. If the shepherd is selfish and neglectful, the sheep will suffer. If the shepherd is watchful and caring, the sheep will thrive.

We have the greatest shepherd in the universe: Jesus Christ. He gave His own precious life for you, His sheep. You can’t get more unselfish and caring than that. And He continues to care for you as a shepherd.

In fact, God created sheep and shepherds to show us the relationship we have with Jesus. Think about it. It’s all an image and a shadow of something more real.

Sheep require human care to survive. They are the most needy and dependent of all animals. They are incapable of caring for themselves. God created them to require enormous attention.

In the Middle Ages, one of the most common metaphors for the “Divine Right to Rule” was relating the king to being a shepherd and the peasants to being sheep. It was said that ordinary people needed the “blue-bloods” to guide and direct them. It wasn’t until Jaques Rousseau and the French Revolution that this logic was challenged. Rousseau’s argument went something like this: we are all sheep, and our Lord isn’t someone else—it’s actually Christ Himself.

Unlike many of the cruel and exacting rulers of the world, Jesus is a shepherd who enjoys caring for you. So much so that He calls you His own.

Old Testament shepherds would mark the ears of their sheep to show who owned them. In the same way, Jesus has put His mark on you. He’s “marked you” from the foundation of the world and called you His own (Eph. 1:4–5).

Having bought you with the price of His own blood, Jesus is the rightful “Guardian” of your soul.

For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. (1 Pet. 2:25)

Supply

“I shall not want …”

This statement indicates that the Lord’s sheep are not lacking anything. There are no deficiencies.

How does this work out in real life, you might ask? This statement asks us to believe that whatever we need is in the care of our shepherd and He will supply it. It may not come in the form we expect or wish, but He will eventually meet the need.

There’s an interesting story in which a woman dreamed that she went to heaven. To her astonishment, paradise was depicted as a grocery store. When she went to the cash register, she discovered that it was God himself sitting behind the counter.

God pleasantly asked her what her heart’s desire was. She really didn’t know, so she began to dream out loud. She wished a better life for herself, for her friends, and for the friends of her friends. She asked for the solution to world suffering and an end all wars.

The woman continued to wish for orphanages, half-way houses, and schools … until she noticed God smirking. Stopping, she asked what was so funny. His reply was simple: “Oh my child—I’m sorry, this really isn’t that kind of store. We’re not a produce stand. We’re a seed shop!”

God isn’t in the business of supplying our wish-dreams Rather, He equips us with the seeds to abundance, supplying our needs as He knows, which is often different than what we might imagine.

The truth is, the good shepherd casts a watchful eye over His sheep to make sure they are loved and cared for. Even when they are asleep, He watches over them. He wants His sheep to come to Him if they have a deficiency, trusting that He will meet it.

Total dependence and trust are what He is after. The biblical word for these things is faith.

Being in Christ

In Christ – We are a new creation

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

In Christ – We are created to do good works

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

In Christ – We will be made alive

1 Corinthians 15:22

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

2 Corinthians 1:21-23

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 

In Christ – We are free from condemnation

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

In Christ – We are reconciled to God

Ephesians 2:13

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

In Christ – We are sons of God

Galatians 3:26-27

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

In Christ – We are free

Galatians 2:4

This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.

In Christ – We always triumph

2 Corinthians 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.

In Christ – We are blessed with every spiritual blessing

Ephesians 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

In Christ – We are seated with Him in heavenly places

Ephesians 2:6-7

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

In Christ – We are part of His body

Romans 12:5

So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

In Christ – We are one with the members of the body

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In Christ – We share in the promises

Ephesians 3:6

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

In Christ – We have grace, faith and love

1 Timothy 1:14

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

In Christ – We receive God’s grace and power

2 Timothy 1:8-9

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time

2 Timothy 2:1

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

In Christ – We are righteous, holy and redeemed

1 Corinthians 1:30

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

In Christ – We have been called to a heavenly purpose

Philippians 3:13-14

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

In Christ – We are perfect

Colossians 1:28

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

In Christ – We have reason to be joyful, prayerful and thankful

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

In Christ – We have eternal hope

1 Thessalonians 4:16

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

In Christ – We are saved

2 Timothy 2:10

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 

The Christian & Mental Illness: 3 Responses

by Frank Viola Author

Throughout my years of being involved in various and sundry Christian movements and denominations, it seems that Christians understand mental disorders in one of three chief ways:

  1. Mental illness is demonic in origin. So the antidote is to cast out the demons that are causing it.
  2. Mental illness is psychobabble. There’s no such thing as a “mental disorder.” All so-called mental illnesses are just sinful behaviors. So the antidote is for the person to repent and get right with God.
  3. Mental illness is a physiological disorder. The brain is a physical organ just like the heart, the thyroid, the joints, etc. Thus if someone has panic attacks or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or chronic depression or ADHD, they have a chemical imbalance in the brain, not dissimilar to a hyperthyroidism or high blood pressure or arthritis.

I cut my teeth on a movement that promoted #1. I’ve met many people who believed #2. But I believe #3 is often the case.

Yet it’s not so simple.

The problem, I feel, is that confusion over this issue seems to be rooted in the fact we don’t properly understand the integration of body, soul, and spirit.

1Thessalonians 5:23: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole SPIRIT, SOUL, and BODY be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing SOUL and SPIRIT, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The popular model of the human anatomy among Bible-believing Christians is that the body and the soul (and spirit, if you believe the spirit is distinct from the soul) are completely separate entities.

Imagine 3 circles. One circle represents body, anther soul, and another spirit.

CIRCLES1

I don’t believe this model is correct. Instead, I understand the body, soul, and spirit to be interconnected. And I think the NT bears this out. See the diagram below for an example.

CIRCLES2

According to this model, the body (brain), the soul (mind, will, emotions), and the spirit (the part of the Christian that’s been made alive to God) are all interconnected. That means that each part has an effect on the other.

God sometimes heals physical disorders supernaturally. This includes mental illnesses, such as panic attacks. But . . . not always. Sometimes the Lord treats it through medication.

Sometimes demons are involved in mental illness, but not always.

An entire book can be written on this subject, and perhaps Rick Warren will write one on it someday. But these are some cursory thoughts.

Having known people who have had various kinds of mental illnesses – including friends and family members – this is an issue that I’ve grappled with and sought answers for myself over the years.

I know many others can attest to the same thing because mental illness, like heart disease, cancer, and arthritis, touches millions of people . . . including God’s people.

I certainly don’t have all the answers . . . and the so-called “experts” disagree with each other.

But I feel that as believers, we could better understand that mental illness is not just a matter of only spirit, or only soul, or only body. It’s often physiological at its root. And this affects both soul and body. And vice versa.

(The Fall did great damage to the human soul as well as to the body.)

If we could better understand this, we’d be less prone to making detestable judgments against our fellow brethren who may suffer from a mental illness.

For instance, if you take blood pressure medicine, you have no right to judge a believer who is taking medicine for depression.

If you take thyroid medication, or medicine for migraine headaches or arthritis, you have no right to judge someone who takes medicine for bipolar disorder.

Or let’s put it in terms of what Paul and James both said: If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have no right to judge a fellow Christian.

Romans 14:4: Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Romans 14:10: You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

James 4:11: Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?

There is one who is called “the accuser of the brethren,” so be careful not to be caught siding with him in the matter of mental illness.

That’s how the terrain looks from my hill, anyway. Your mileage may vary.

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Viola Calls for Christian Leader Summit

In a recent post on his blog, Viola reflects on the greatest artists of the 1960s and muses:

“Why can’t speakers and authors who are turning the sod in the Christian world have places to hang out, dialogue, get to know one another and inspire each other?

Name your top 5 favorite authors . . . why aren’t they all spending time together, socially?

Why aren’t they learning from each other?

I’m voicing one of my dreams here.

As most of you know, I’ve collaborated with several authors on projects over the years and will continue to do so.

I’ve shared the conference platform with a number of other authors and speakers in various conferences over the years.

But I’m talking about something more focused, more intentional, and more substantial.

Something like what we saw happen among the greatest music artists in the 1960s. And those people weren’t even Jesus followers!

Perhaps this will always stay a dream. But I suppose it can’t hurt to articulate it.

Maybe one of you will put this post in the right hands to make something like this happen . . . somewhere, someday.

If it ever does, no matter how foundational, count me in.”