Frank Viola author was born in New Jersey. His family moved him and his sister to upstate New York where he grew up. Viola enjoyed baseball and NY style pizza and Sabrett natural casing hotdogs. He was a successful pitcher and hitter in Little League.
At 16, Viola began following Jesus. He was converted some years before but didn’t fully understand the Christian faith.
Viola says of those years,
“I believe I was saved. I trusted in Christ. And I had a few spiritual instincts. One was that I was sensitive to sin. My conscience wouldn’t allow me to cuss, do drugs, or engage in the other sins of my peers. However, when I turned 16, the lights went on. I grew to hunger the Lord. I wanted to know everything about Him, His Word, His purpose, etc. So I became a thirsty soul for Christ. I was baptized then and started following Him wholly, giving up my lost friends and finding new ones who wanted the Lord too.”
During his college years, Viola became involved in a number of para church organizations. He was well respected by his friends who saw him as a spiritual leader. Viola was still immature in many ways and far from perfect, having some setbacks, but he was still a young man who loved His Lord and kept learning about Him.
In 1988, Viola left organized Christianity and began a long journey of learning what it means to be the church rather than go to church. This was the training ground for his public ministry which began in 2005 with the release of “The Untold Story of the New Testament Church” published by Destiny Image.
Viola’s writing traces back to his twenties when he started writing Christian tracts with a friend. He became a high school teacher and left a fellowship of Christians as a club sponsor. In this capacity, Viola led some of the young students to Christ, baptizing some of them. He still has many of those friendships all these years later.
In 2006, George Barna found Viola’s work and Tyndale offered him a contract to publish “Pagan Christianity” with Barna as co-author. The book soon became a best-seller and put Viola on the map as an expert in church history and a practitioner of missional church.
Viola would write eight other books with major publishers all on the themes of ecclesiology, Jesus studies, and deeper Christian life themes.
Viola’s speaking is in demand all over the world and many of his conference messages are found on his podcast. which has been rated #1 and #12 in Canada and the USA respectively.
The influences on Viola’s thinking and spirituality are many and varied.
A.W. Tozer, Watchman Nee, T. Austin-Sparks, David Wilkerson, Keith Green, John Wimber, Andrew Murray, DeVern Fromke have all been strong influences.
While many Christians are following the New Reformed or the New Progressive movements, Viola’s ministry is geared toward the radical middle. Those who want a “deeper journey.” Those tired of the left vs. right debates and vitriol.
For this reason his blog, Beyond Evangelical, is rated as one of the most popular Christian blogs on the Web today. Not only are his articles spicy in a literary sense, but they give language to those many evangelical Christians who are tired of status quo evangelicalism which has either become libertine on the one hand or legalistic and judgmental (and even hate-filled) on the other.
Viola’s work speaks to serious followers of Jesus who know there is something more to Jesus, the church, the Bible, and the spiritual journey.
His mission statement taken from his blog is as follows:
Hey, how’s it going? I’m Frank Viola. I’m a happily married man, a father, a cat and dog lover (and owner), the author of God’s Favorite Place on Earth and From Eternity to Here, a speaker, a writer, and an entrepreneur. I love movies, music, and NY style pizza.
But this blog isn’t about me, it’s about you.
My mission is to help serious followers of Jesus to know their Lord more deeply, to gain fresh perspectives on old or ignored subjects, and to make the Bible come alive.
If you are someone whose heart cry is: “There’s got to be more to the Lord, to the Christian faith, and to church than this,” then this blog is for you. Let me explain . . .
Most Christians know that something is wrong with contemporary Christianity. They want to break free from the tyranny of the status quo. The two alternatives that dominate Christian culture today is spiritual complacency on the one hand or performance-based religiosity on the other.
Modern-day Christianity is 10 miles wide and one inch deep.
I’ve created this blog to break through to a higher and deeper expression of the faith . . . one that digs below the surface and moves beyond the shallows.
Viola has produced hundreds of free blog articles on his blog, a free podcast with almost 100 free episodes, and online courses.
Viola’s blog is “designed for Jesus followers who don’t feel comfortable with the Conservative Right or the Progressive Left, but who are looking for a more authentic, biblical expression of the Christian faith that contains and ignites passion for Jesus.”
Frank Viola’s catalog of books has been described and reviewed for public consumption.
Here is a small sampling written by Donald Stevenson:
Viola’s work has been rightly described as a meticulous collection of light and shade.
Jesus Now – Viola’s 2014 release exploring the present-day ministry of Christ. A CBA best-seller, Jesus Now is a uniquely blended composition forging a creative exposition of the seven ministries of Jesus today. A fresh offering in a neglected genre and subject. Ground-breaking and sod-turning, written with stringent clarity.
God’s Favorite Place on Earth – Viola’s crowning achievement, released in 2013. A new kind of Christian literature called biblical narrative. The book broke new ground in combining historical fiction, spiritual prose, and practical application. The book marks the apex of Viola’s evolution as a writer. Profound and moving. Poetic and electrifying. Laced with exquisite writing and sophisticated theological concepts woven into story. Brilliant.
Revise Us Again – In this 2011 book, Viola hacks the victorious Christian life by presenting fresh and powerful chapters on neglected aspects of the spiritual journey. An atomic rethink.
As far as ministry goes, Viola’s main theme in all of his work is to persuade Christians to treat others the same way they want to be treated. Not only was this Jesus’s core teaching in Matthew 7:12, but “if all Christians lived like this,” Viola says, “it would eliminate all gossip, all slander, all evil-speaking, all abuse, all lies about others, all mistreatment. If we put ourselves in some one else’s shoes before we said or did anything, it would change the way that Christians treat each other which is one of the main reasons why nonbelievers want nothing to do with Christianity. So many of them have told me, ‘Why do I want to get in the line of friendly fire. Christians are nastier than atheists much of the time.”
Viola’s ministry has helped many to act the same way they would want others to act toward them. This is the point behind all of his work.
Today, Viola spends much of his time helping the poor and the oppressed. This has taken up most of his ministry-time.
He’s also focused on training authors of all kinds and bloggers of all genres to be successful in their writing passion. In this capacity, Viola is an entrepreneur who partners with others in the same area of expertise. This isn’t a ministry nor a Christian work, but a service to all writers.
If you have questions for Frank Viola, visit his FAQ page and write an email to TheDeeperJourney @ gmail.com if a question doesn’t appear there.