Rediscover Grace Through the Shocking Beliefs of Great Christians with Frank Viola

Rediscover Grace Through the Shocking Beliefs of Great Christians with Frank Viola

Change how you treat fellow believers when you hear Frank Viola share the shocking beliefs of Great Christian heroes. Listen to learn C.S. Lewis believed in praying for the dead, Jonathan Edwards agreed with owning slaves, Martin Luther was against Jews and more. You will learn why Viola gathered these stories to teach Christians how to treat others with grace instead of disdain in his new book, "ReGrace."

30 Minutes • 16 days ago

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Frank Viola

 

Change how you treat fellow believers when you hear Frank Viola share the shocking beliefs of great Christian heroes. Listen to learn that C.S. Lewis believed in praying for the dead, Jonathan Edwards agreed with owning slaves, Martin Luther was against Jews and more.

 

You will learn why Viola gathered these stories to teach Christians how to treat others with grace instead of disdain in his new book, ReGrace.

 

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: Let's begin this podcast with a quote right out of Psalm 51: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving kindness, according to the abundance of your compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgression.” Listen to that Psalm as David cried out, and my sin is ever before me. Against you only have I sinned, done this evil in your sight. When David cries out my sin is ever before me, I believe he is crying out from his heart and didn't have a concept of grace in his mind. He knew about judgment; he knew about wrong. We also know that he was a man after God's own heart. So, what I want to suggest to you today is that some sometimes we don't understand grace. We don't understand where we are in it because we have so much trouble giving it. We have difficulty allowing grace in the lives of other people who have wronged us. When we see people make mistakes in church, how, how tough we can be on them, and how harsh we can be on others, but yet expect quick grace and quick forgiveness from anyone for anything we do. It's interesting because we're going to visit with an author today, a best-selling author who wrote a book called ReGrace. Listen to the subhead: What the shocking beliefs of the great Christians can teach us today. You might be shocked what you will hear that some Christians believe or have written or have spoken. It will make you scratch your head and wonder about them. That's what makes a good podcast and a great book. So, I'd like you to welcome with me to our podcast Frank Viola.

 

You’re a best-selling author, you do a lot of conference speaking, you travel all over the country, you're well-known. You picked a tough topic here. You went right into the middle of it, didn't you?

 

Some of Frank Viola’s Books

·         ReGrace: What the Shocking Beliefs of the Great Christians Can Teach us Today

·         Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom

·         Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices

·         From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God

·         Jesus Now: Unveiling the Present-Day Ministry of Christ

 

Frank Viola: Yeah, but I felt it was necessary and I think it's gonna help, God willing, a lot of the Lord's people, especially when they engage or encounter disagreements over theology or politics with fellow believers.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: There's a little bit of that going on today, isn't there?

 

Frank Viola: Oh yeah, a little bit. I think the blood is running as high as the horses’ bit when it comes to Christians unsheathing their swords against fellow believers over alleged theological disagreements or political disagreements.

 

Frank Viola on Charisma

·         What We Can Learn from the Woman Caught in Adultery

·         50 Things the Holy Spirit Does in Your Life

·         Whatever Happened to These 5 Gifts of the Spirit?

·         Women in Ministry: Still a Controversial Topic

 

Dr. Steve Greene: Right, and I think they're about equal, theological and political; it depends on what day it is and what's in the news. But there's a lot of disagreement over a lot of things and people are willing to break fellowship over maybe even a hat you wear.

 

Frank Viola: That's true and I've been observing it on social media for a long time now, especially Facebook and Twitter. Christians are so reluctant to have these smack downs with fellow believers over disagreements wherein they even block one another on their social media feeds, which is the equivalent to excommunicating them from the kingdom of God.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: It's right up there. It’s a behavior at least, but it’s better than punching somebody in the nose.

 

Frank Viola: One of the points I make in the book is if murder was legal, we would have a lot of dead Christians over disagreements, theological and political. I really believe that; it is unfortunate and as a shocking statement as that may sound.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: Tell us about some of the things that had begun to shock you, it started to stir up the writing gifts within you. You are, after all, a best-selling author. You've written a great book called Insurgence. Most of our listeners out there will remember it, reclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. And here you are stepping into this pit of difficulties that people have with, if you're not on my side, we can't break bread.

 

Frank Viola: Yeah, it's unfortunate. I'll give me a little bit of the backstory first because I think it's fascinating. Several years ago, Rick Warren, America's pastor, quote, unquote, found a blog post that I had written about Martin Luther and in it, I basically pointed out some of the beliefs that Martin Luther held that were in my judgment and in the judgment of many others, unbiblical. I have high regard for Martin Luther. He started the Protestant Reformation, and he had a great contribution bringing grace in the forefront during the days of the legalism of the Catholic Church. But he also held to some pretty unbeknownst and unbecoming beliefs as well as all the good stuff he believed. Rick Warren saw that article and he wrote me a private email and he said Frank, why don't you consider writing a series of articles on the shocking beliefs of the great Christians with this one motive: That if we can see that the heroes of the Christian faith, our forefathers who shaped the evangelical Christian world, if we can see that they weren't perfect in their views, that they also held to some very strange, eccentric and even unbiblical views in addition to their great contributions, it should soften us as we as believers in the 21st century disagree with other believers. If our heroes didn't get everything right, if the people who are considered the great Christians of the past didn't have immaculate perception, they had incorrect views on certain things, then we should show more grace and civility to one another. So, he asked me to do that. I wrote a series on my blog, frankviola.org, titled, “The Shocking Beliefs of the Great Christians. Then Baker House, who's my publisher, wanted to put it into a book. So, we expanded the series and I wrote additional chapters to it. And here it is, and it releases March 5, 2019.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: That's tomorrow, at least from the time we're doing this podcast, I've got to ask you, where does the word ReGrace as a title come from, that series of blogs? How does that fit in.

 

Frank Viola: The whole point is that we Christians have lost graciousness in our conversation with other believers. Now, of course, there's always exceptions to that. But by and large, what the world sees, and what our fellow Christians see is God's people just slashing one another to bits, having these throw downs on social media over a theological or political disagreement. It's very ungracious and it's very uncivil, and it's not Christlike at all. It's such a bad testimony to the world to see all this, the bickering, the vitriol, etc. To ReGrace means we're getting back in touch with the grace of God not only in receiving His power, His salvation and His deliverance, but in the way we treat one another; that we would disagree agreeably; that we would be able to have a divergent viewpoint with another believer and model that in a Christlike way where we're not raking one another over the coals just because their view is different from ours.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: Brother, from what I can see, we have a lot more pulpits than we did back in the day. Let's say in the 1970s, when people disagreed over theological issues or political issues, they didn't have the soap boxes available that we do now. Maybe in their backyard with their neighbors, they could sit around and talk about it and have these kinds of conversations. But now with all these soap boxes available, with the opportunities to get out and, and speak pretty well without retribution, you could just say anything you want pretty much and get away with it except for the comments. I think that, perhaps, could be the essence of the proliferation.

 

Frank Viola: I definitely think social media, it hasn't really created a problem, it's exposed a problem that's always existed. It’s kind of like a toothpaste tube contains toothpaste. Well, if you put a little pressure on it, it exposes what's inside of it. It's not that putting pressure on the toothpaste caused the stuff to come out. It was already in there. So, what social media does is it reveals the hearts. It reveals our hearts. Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Well, out of the social media feed, the heart speaks. We really get to see where our spiritual maturity is, where our spiritual stature is when we encounter a Christian with whom we disagree either over politics or theology. That's exactly why I wrote the book because I believe that there are ways where God's people can disagree in a civil, Christlike and gracious manner to where fellowship is not broken and the witness to the world is one wherein we truly are united in Jesus Christ. That was the impetus, but definitely social media has exposed a lot of this, unfortunately, in a lot of negative ways.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: So, you spoke with Pastor Rick about this book as you read it. Is this what he wanted, is he blessed?

 

Frank Viola: Yes, he is. In fact, when we did the original articles, he was gracious enough to promote him on his Twitter feed. Of course, Rick has lots of enemies, and so even though he would promote something, these articles are really trying to foster grace in the hearts of God's people in civility. Some people just don't get don't get the joke, so to speak. So, they just sort of affirm the need for the book in the first place and the message by just the horrible way that they reacted. Of course, this is a small number of people, but it's big enough to just see that we have a problem on our hands in the Christian family.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: What surprised you must when you think about these great thinkers, writers, speakers, when you started seeing some of their beliefs, and some of the things they've said that are least eyebrow. I think for some of pastors who have said what they've said, they might be cleaned out and certain churches today.

 

Frank Viola: Well, these people are the ones who shaped the Christian faith. I'll give you a few examples of some of the shocking beliefs that were surprising to me. C.S. Lewis, a great, great apologist of the Christian faith, wonderful, brilliant brother in the Lord. But he believed in praying for the dead, of all things. He believed in purgatory. He also believed that the Bible contained errors and many other things that I point out in the book. Again, I'm a C.S. Lewis fan. I think his work is fantastic. But the point is that even C.S. Lewis can miss some things and yet God still use him. So, we don't excommunicate C.S. Lewis because he missed it on some things. Jonathan Edwards, the great Jonathan Edwards, believed it was OK to own slaves. He believed very strongly that God hated sinners worse than you and I hate poison. He was very strong in that belief. Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, he actually believed it was OK to despise Jewish people. He believed that heretics should be put to death. So, he had some strong beliefs about those things. Many other things he held to which are which are odd, strange and even unbelievable that I point out in the book. By the way, everything is documented. So, we have firsthand sources all throughout the book showing that these beliefs are not made up. John Calvin believed it was OK to call his opponents profane names and that some of the Old Testament capital offenses, those requiring those requiring debts, should be enforced today. John Wesley, the great John Wesley, who really in a in a way is kind of the grandfather of the Pentecostal movement … the Pentecostals came out of the Methodist and Wesley, of course, was the leader of the Methodists. He believed in ghosts. He believed in ghosts and the perpetual virginity of Mary, the mother Jesus, that she never lost her virginity, which is clearly unbiblical because Jesus had brothers and sisters.

 

For the rest of Dr. Greene’s interview with Frank Viola, please visit cpnshows.com.

 

 

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

 

email: greenelines@charismamedia.com

Episode Notes

Greenelines with

Dr. Steve Greene

Guest: Frank Viola

 

Change how you treat fellow believers when you hear Frank Viola share the shocking beliefs of great Christian heroes. Listen to learn that C.S. Lewis believed in praying for the dead, Jonathan Edwards agreed with owning slaves, Martin Luther was against Jews and more.

 

You will learn why Viola gathered these stories to teach Christians how to treat others with grace instead of disdain in his new book, ReGrace.

 

Introduction

Dr. Steve Greene: Let's begin this podcast with a quote right out of Psalm 51: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving kindness, according to the abundance of your compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgression.” Listen to that Psalm as David cried out, and my sin is ever before me. Against you only have I sinned, done this evil in your sight. When David cries out my sin is ever before me, I believe he is crying out from his heart and didn't have a concept of grace in his mind. He knew about judgment; he knew about wrong. We also know that he was a man after God's own heart. So, what I want to suggest to you today is that some sometimes we don't understand grace. We don't understand where we are in it because we have so much trouble giving it. We have difficulty allowing grace in the lives of other people who have wronged us. When we see people make mistakes in church, how, how tough we can be on them, and how harsh we can be on others, but yet expect quick grace and quick forgiveness from anyone for anything we do. It's interesting because we're going to visit with an author today, a best-selling author who wrote a book called ReGrace. Listen to the subhead: What the shocking beliefs of the great Christians can teach us today. You might be shocked what you will hear that some Christians believe or have written or have spoken. It will make you scratch your head and wonder about them. That's what makes a good podcast and a great book. So, I'd like you to welcome with me to our podcast Frank Viola.

 

You’re a best-selling author, you do a lot of conference speaking, you travel all over the country, you're well-known. You picked a tough topic here. You went right into the middle of it, didn't you?

 

Some of Frank Viola’s Books

·         ReGrace: What the Shocking Beliefs of the Great Christians Can Teach us Today

·         Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom

·         Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices

·         From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God

·         Jesus Now: Unveiling the Present-Day Ministry of Christ

 

Frank Viola: Yeah, but I felt it was necessary and I think it's gonna help, God willing, a lot of the Lord's people, especially when they engage or encounter disagreements over theology or politics with fellow believers.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: There's a little bit of that going on today, isn't there?

 

Frank Viola: Oh yeah, a little bit. I think the blood is running as high as the horses’ bit when it comes to Christians unsheathing their swords against fellow believers over alleged theological disagreements or political disagreements.

 

Frank Viola on Charisma

·         What We Can Learn from the Woman Caught in Adultery

·         50 Things the Holy Spirit Does in Your Life

·         Whatever Happened to These 5 Gifts of the Spirit?

·         Women in Ministry: Still a Controversial Topic

 

Dr. Steve Greene: Right, and I think they're about equal, theological and political; it depends on what day it is and what's in the news. But there's a lot of disagreement over a lot of things and people are willing to break fellowship over maybe even a hat you wear.

 

Frank Viola: That's true and I've been observing it on social media for a long time now, especially Facebook and Twitter. Christians are so reluctant to have these smack downs with fellow believers over disagreements wherein they even block one another on their social media feeds, which is the equivalent to excommunicating them from the kingdom of God.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: It's right up there. It’s a behavior at least, but it’s better than punching somebody in the nose.

 

Frank Viola: One of the points I make in the book is if murder was legal, we would have a lot of dead Christians over disagreements, theological and political. I really believe that; it is unfortunate and as a shocking statement as that may sound.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: Tell us about some of the things that had begun to shock you, it started to stir up the writing gifts within you. You are, after all, a best-selling author. You've written a great book called Insurgence. Most of our listeners out there will remember it, reclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. And here you are stepping into this pit of difficulties that people have with, if you're not on my side, we can't break bread.

 

Frank Viola: Yeah, it's unfortunate. I'll give me a little bit of the backstory first because I think it's fascinating. Several years ago, Rick Warren, America's pastor, quote, unquote, found a blog post that I had written about Martin Luther and in it, I basically pointed out some of the beliefs that Martin Luther held that were in my judgment and in the judgment of many others, unbiblical. I have high regard for Martin Luther. He started the Protestant Reformation, and he had a great contribution bringing grace in the forefront during the days of the legalism of the Catholic Church. But he also held to some pretty unbeknownst and unbecoming beliefs as well as all the good stuff he believed. Rick Warren saw that article and he wrote me a private email and he said Frank, why don't you consider writing a series of articles on the shocking beliefs of the great Christians with this one motive: That if we can see that the heroes of the Christian faith, our forefathers who shaped the evangelical Christian world, if we can see that they weren't perfect in their views, that they also held to some very strange, eccentric and even unbiblical views in addition to their great contributions, it should soften us as we as believers in the 21st century disagree with other believers. If our heroes didn't get everything right, if the people who are considered the great Christians of the past didn't have immaculate perception, they had incorrect views on certain things, then we should show more grace and civility to one another. So, he asked me to do that. I wrote a series on my blog, frankviola.org, titled, “The Shocking Beliefs of the Great Christians. Then Baker House, who's my publisher, wanted to put it into a book. So, we expanded the series and I wrote additional chapters to it. And here it is, and it releases March 5, 2019.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: That's tomorrow, at least from the time we're doing this podcast, I've got to ask you, where does the word ReGrace as a title come from, that series of blogs? How does that fit in.

 

Frank Viola: The whole point is that we Christians have lost graciousness in our conversation with other believers. Now, of course, there's always exceptions to that. But by and large, what the world sees, and what our fellow Christians see is God's people just slashing one another to bits, having these throw downs on social media over a theological or political disagreement. It's very ungracious and it's very uncivil, and it's not Christlike at all. It's such a bad testimony to the world to see all this, the bickering, the vitriol, etc. To ReGrace means we're getting back in touch with the grace of God not only in receiving His power, His salvation and His deliverance, but in the way we treat one another; that we would disagree agreeably; that we would be able to have a divergent viewpoint with another believer and model that in a Christlike way where we're not raking one another over the coals just because their view is different from ours.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: Brother, from what I can see, we have a lot more pulpits than we did back in the day. Let's say in the 1970s, when people disagreed over theological issues or political issues, they didn't have the soap boxes available that we do now. Maybe in their backyard with their neighbors, they could sit around and talk about it and have these kinds of conversations. But now with all these soap boxes available, with the opportunities to get out and, and speak pretty well without retribution, you could just say anything you want pretty much and get away with it except for the comments. I think that, perhaps, could be the essence of the proliferation.

 

Frank Viola: I definitely think social media, it hasn't really created a problem, it's exposed a problem that's always existed. It’s kind of like a toothpaste tube contains toothpaste. Well, if you put a little pressure on it, it exposes what's inside of it. It's not that putting pressure on the toothpaste caused the stuff to come out. It was already in there. So, what social media does is it reveals the hearts. It reveals our hearts. Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Well, out of the social media feed, the heart speaks. We really get to see where our spiritual maturity is, where our spiritual stature is when we encounter a Christian with whom we disagree either over politics or theology. That's exactly why I wrote the book because I believe that there are ways where God's people can disagree in a civil, Christlike and gracious manner to where fellowship is not broken and the witness to the world is one wherein we truly are united in Jesus Christ. That was the impetus, but definitely social media has exposed a lot of this, unfortunately, in a lot of negative ways.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: So, you spoke with Pastor Rick about this book as you read it. Is this what he wanted, is he blessed?

 

Frank Viola: Yes, he is. In fact, when we did the original articles, he was gracious enough to promote him on his Twitter feed. Of course, Rick has lots of enemies, and so even though he would promote something, these articles are really trying to foster grace in the hearts of God's people in civility. Some people just don't get don't get the joke, so to speak. So, they just sort of affirm the need for the book in the first place and the message by just the horrible way that they reacted. Of course, this is a small number of people, but it's big enough to just see that we have a problem on our hands in the Christian family.

 

Dr. Steve Greene: What surprised you must when you think about these great thinkers, writers, speakers, when you started seeing some of their beliefs, and some of the things they've said that are least eyebrow. I think for some of pastors who have said what they've said, they might be cleaned out and certain churches today.

 

Frank Viola: Well, these people are the ones who shaped the Christian faith. I'll give you a few examples of some of the shocking beliefs that were surprising to me. C.S. Lewis, a great, great apologist of the Christian faith, wonderful, brilliant brother in the Lord. But he believed in praying for the dead, of all things. He believed in purgatory. He also believed that the Bible contained errors and many other things that I point out in the book. Again, I'm a C.S. Lewis fan. I think his work is fantastic. But the point is that even C.S. Lewis can miss some things and yet God still use him. So, we don't excommunicate C.S. Lewis because he missed it on some things. Jonathan Edwards, the great Jonathan Edwards, believed it was OK to own slaves. He believed very strongly that God hated sinners worse than you and I hate poison. He was very strong in that belief. Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, he actually believed it was OK to despise Jewish people. He believed that heretics should be put to death. So, he had some strong beliefs about those things. Many other things he held to which are which are odd, strange and even unbelievable that I point out in the book. By the way, everything is documented. So, we have firsthand sources all throughout the book showing that these beliefs are not made up. John Calvin believed it was OK to call his opponents profane names and that some of the Old Testament capital offenses, those requiring those requiring debts, should be enforced today. John Wesley, the great John Wesley, who really in a in a way is kind of the grandfather of the Pentecostal movement … the Pentecostals came out of the Methodist and Wesley, of course, was the leader of the Methodists. He believed in ghosts. He believed in ghosts and the perpetual virginity of Mary, the mother Jesus, that she never lost her virginity, which is clearly unbiblical because Jesus had brothers and sisters.

 

For the rest of Dr. Greene’s interview with Frank Viola, please visit cpnshows.com.

 

 

Greenelines Host Information

Dr. Steve Greene is the Publisher and Executive Vice President of Charisma Media. Dr. Greene received his Ph.D. in marketing from Memphis State University. He has worked in television station management and worked directly with over 80 stations throughout the United States. He has worked in marketing capacities with McDonald’s, Jiffy Lube, and Stanley Steemer. He has owned restaurants, a national advertising agency and a syndicated marketing research firm. Dr. Greene has served as the Dean of the College of Business and professor of marketing at Oral Roberts University. He is also the author of Love Leads, which dispels the myths and misconceptions many have come to accept about leadership.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Greene, connect with him on social media!

Facebook: https://facebook.com/drsgreene/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrSteveGreene

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.stevegreene/

 

email: greenelines@charismamedia.com

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Rediscover Grace Through the Shocking Beliefs of Great Christians with Frank Viola