Jerusalem is NOT God’s Favorite Place on Earth

Bethany

In every generation, Christians face the same challenges—namely doubt, discouragement, fear, guilt, division, rejection, and the struggle against consumerism and complacency.

The Gospels narrate the incredible story of Jesus’ earthly life. Yet there is a story within this narrative that’s often missed. And to my mind, it’s the greatest story never told—a narrative within the narrative.

That narrative is the story of Jesus’ repeated visits to the little village of Bethany.[Continue Reading...]

The Race Card of the Early Christians – What They Can Teach Us Today

The following article was co-written with my friend and brother in Christ Derwin Gray

The Race Card of the Early Christians – What They Can Teach Us Today 

by Derwin Gray and Frank Viola

The Zimmerman trial and the tragedy that surrounds it has captured the world’s attention. Including that of the body of Christ.

Media coverage has heightened passions on both ends. Conversations about race, law, injustice, prejudice, guns, etc. are all being argued and inflamed.

In this article, we don’t want to weigh in on the public debate. Instead, our passion is to encourage God’s people everywhere to transcend the debate that the world is holding on its own terms by seeing ethnicity through the eyes of our Lord. There is only one race, the human race, which is comprised of different ethnic groups (Acts 17:26).

We want you, dear Christian, to take your cue from the New Testament believers, for they can teach us a great deal about this subject.

A Walk Into the First-Century Church

The world of the first-century was littered with racism and oppression. In the mind of a first-century Jew, Gentiles (Africans, Romans, Greeks, Syrians, Asians, etc.) were created to fuel the fires of hell.[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking the Second Coming of Christ

1248, 1306, 1689, 1792, 1836, 1844, 1914, 1936, 1960, 1974, 1981, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1994, 2011.

Do you have any idea what these dates have in common?

They all represent the times in which people predicted that the second coming of Christ would occur.

According to a 2006 survey by Pew Research Forum, 79% of Christians in the USA say they believe the return of Christ will happen someday. 20% say it will happen in their lifetime. 34% say the world situation will grow worse before He returns.

Rapture Fever

Many Christians, especially those who live in America, are obsessed with the second coming of Christ. Various interpretations surrounding the when, where, and how of this incredible event have spawned endless divisions among Jesus’ followers. In fact, some Christians are so fixated on the second coming of Christ that they haven’t given sufficient time to understand His first coming.

In our book, Jesus: A Theography, Leonard Sweet and I explore the return of Christ in a way that transcends classic interpretations. Rather than enter into the eschatological wars that have raged over the last two hundred years, we focus our attention on how the First (Old) and Second (New) Testaments harmonize in telling us what God has in store for the future as it concerns His Son.[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking Sickness

In Chapter 10 of Jesus: A Theography (co-authored with Leonard Sweet), I give my fullest thoughts on the issue of sickness and healing. The chapter is called Jesus: Healer and Miracle Worker.

I’m unable to republish that chapter here, but I want to discuss one small aspect that’s not treated in the book.

It has to do with one cause of sickness that’s often overlooked by Christians.

Note that I said one cause. Sickness has many causes.[Continue Reading...]

An Important & Surprising Note from the Publisher of “God’s Favorite Place on Earth”

Dear Friends,

Stay tuned for Monday’s post. I will be releasing a special conference message from 2012 on the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m confident it will bless you.

In the meantime, check out my recent discussion with Dr. Michael Brown. It was a rare and touching moment in talk radio.

Here is a special note from my publisher.

A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER OF GOD’S FAVORITE PLACE ON EARTH

Good morning, my name is Alex Field, and I am deputy publisher at David C Cook, the publisher of Frank Viola’s bold and powerful new book, God’s Favorite Place On Earth.

And I just wanted to say “Thank You.”

Thank you to everyone who purchased a copy of God’s Favorite Place On Earth in the past two weeks, a book that we are immeasurably proud of here at DCC. It is a fantastic book and we continue to pray that this message and Frank’s vision for this project will transform lives as the book gets into people’s hands.

Here’s the crazy news: We literally sold out of God’s Favorite Place On Earth at multiple outlets all over the country! The demand is high for this book, but despite difficulty in finding copies, we know that Frank’s message about how to make your heart a Bethany for Jesus today will continue to go far and wide.

I have a couple quick updates for you:

First, here’s my reality. Today we are scrambling to get more copies of the book to all retail outlets, including Amazon. We’re printing more fast! I want you to know that if you ordered the book from Amazon and got a message from them asking you about canceling your order, please rest assured, you will get the book from Amazon in the coming days and weeks. The book is on its way! It may take a little longer due to the increased demand, but again, thank you again for your loyalty to Frank and to the message of this book. It is deeply appreciated.”

Second, If you have not yet ordered the book and want it quickly, you can still get the book today at BarnesandNoble.com, at FamilyChristian.com, and at other independent bookstores.

Finally, if you have not yet ordered the book, I encourage to go out and get a copy of this book, sit down with a cup of coffee, and soak in the message of God’s Favorite Place On Earth. This is a book that will live with you long after you’ve read it the first time.

Thank you again!

Warmest Regards,

Alex Field
Deputy Publisher, David C Cook

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Rethinking the Holy Spirit

This is an aggregate post containing all of my blog articles on the Holy Spirit’s ministry.

50 Things the Holy Spirit Does

Rethinking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Part I

Rethinking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Part II

Rethinking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Part III

Rethinking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Part IV

Rethinking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Part V

Rethinking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Part VI

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part I

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part II

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part III

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part IV

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part V

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part VI

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part VII

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part VIII

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part IX

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part X

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part XI

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part XII

Rethinking the Five-Fold Ministry

The Finger or the Hand?

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Join over 80,000 monthly readers and receive free blog updates. If you subscribe by Email, you will receive my eBook Rethinking the Will of God (Revised) and my Next Reformation Seminar as a free gift. By subscribing, you also won’t miss a post. If you want to start your own blog from scratch in less than 10 minutes, click here. And if you’re looking for a hosting or domain-name service, I highly recommend BlueHost.

The Agony Over God’s Will

Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

~ 1 Corinthians 14:20

The following is the Introduction to my eBook Rethinking God’s Will (Revised). I’m giving this book away as a FREE gift to all who subscribe to this blog by Email. You will receive the book beginning on May 8th and following.

Click here to subscribe by Email. It’s free.

If you are a Christian in your late teens, 20s, or 30s, this book will be of particular help to you. It could very well spare you and your friends years of agony over searching for God’s will and making needless mistakes. So I encourage you to ask your friends to sign up to the blog so they can get their free copy. The blog is very popular among 20s and 30s who are serious about following Jesus. 

RTWGCover

[Continue Reading...]

3 Christian Responses to Mental Illness & Which One Comports Best with the Bible

This post is a P.S. to my article on Monday entitled Rick Warren’s Horrific Tragedy & The Sickening Response of Some “Christians” which has become my most viewed blog post since I started the blog in 2008.

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.[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part XII

The following is another revealing quote by Frank Bartleman. Bartleman was part of the Azusa street revival that gave birth to the modern Pentecostal/charismatic movement in the early 1900s. To my mind, his words were prophetic and ahead of their time. He foresaw the dangers of co-opting Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit. He wrote, 

In the beginning of the Pentecostal work, I became very much exercised in the Spirit that Jesus should not be slighted, ‘lost in the temple,’ by the exaltation of the Holy Ghost and of the gifts of the Spirit. There seemed to be a great danger of losing sight of the fact that Jesus was ‘all in all.’ I endeavored to keep Him as the central theme and figure before His people. Jesus will always be the center of our preaching. All comes through and in Him. The Holy Spirit was given to “show the things of Christ.” The work of Calvary, the atonement, must be the center for our consideration. The Holy Ghost will never draw our attention from Christ to Himself, but rather reveal Christ in a fuller way. We are in the same danger today. There is nothing deeper nor higher than to know Christ. Everything is given by God to that end. The ‘one Spirit’ is given to that end. Christ is our salvation and our all. That we might know ‘the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ’ (Ephesians 3:18-19), ‘having a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him’ (Ephesians 1:17). It was ‘to know Him (Christ),’ for which Paul strove . . . We may not even hold a doctrine, or seek an experience, except in Christ. Many are willing to seek power from every battery they can lay their hands on in order to perform miracles, draw attention and adoration of the people to themselves, thus robbing Christ of His glory and making a fair showing in the flesh . . . Religious enthusiasm easily goes to seed. The human spirit so predominates the show-off, religious spirit. But we must stick to our text—Christ. He alone can save. The attention of the people must first of all, and always, be held to Him . . . Any work that exalts the Holy Ghost or the gifts of the Spirit above Jesus will finally end up in fanaticism. Whatever causes us to exalt and love Jesus is well and safe. The reverse will ruin all. The Holy Ghost is a great light, but will always be focused on Jesus for His revealing (Frank Bartleman, Another Wave of Revival, Springdale: Whitaker House, 1982, pp. 94-96). 

One of the churches I planted taught me a great lesson on this score. Their meetings were completely open, participatory, and indelibly centered on Jesus Christ. They had no building. No clergy. No set order of worship.[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part XI

I am often asked what I believe about “the gifts of the Spirit.” My typical answer is that I believe in them . . . all of them. However, I believe in and practice them without the classic charismatic packages and Pentecostal wrappings.

A large chunk of my life in the institutional church was spent in charismatic circles. About sixteen years ago, however, I came into an experience of the Spirit’s work and power that looked nothing like what I had seen in any charismatic or Pentecostal church to which I belonged or visited. For me, it was a new experience of the Spirit. One that was less artificial, less contrived, and less centered on the Spirit Himself. Rather, it was an experience that was authentic, pure, and centered on the Lord Jesus Christ.

For this reason, I am neither a cessationist (those who believe that some spiritual gifts have ceased) nor a charismatic (those who emphasize spiritual gifts). Instead, I consider myself to be a post-charismatic.[Continue Reading...]