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A Real Jerk!? – Answering Frank Viola’s The Art of Being a Jerk Online: 9 Sure Ways

February 17, 2012

Well I have no intention of going onto Viola’s blog to answer him but will post this openly as I did with his good friend Wolfgang Simson answering his ad hominem attack of my person. I have re-posted part of Mike Ratliff’s blog article from that I believes sums up things up to deflect justified criticism of teachings that do not align with the Bible. My comment on the blog speaks a bit to many of the dangers I see with this deflecting of criticism and also can be read on our site at  The Organic Church? Based on God’s Word or Truth from the Dung Heap?

Link to: A Real Jerk « Possessing the Treasure by Mike Ratliff

Those who cannot tolerate criticism and try to deflect by posting articles like The Art of Being a Jerk Online: 9 Sure Ways, do so by trying to make themselves out to be victims and those who are obedient to God’s mandate to be discerning are just mean, and are, therefore, jerks because they are divisive. Look at what is going on in the pop-culture soft-gospel part of the visible church right now. Everyone is embracing one another across their nearly non-existent, man-made doctrinal lines and all becoming one big happy visible church family. However, those with discernment and the courage to stand firm in the face of this “nonsense” are seen as “jerks” and will always be on the outside looking in here because they are not politically correct nor do they play ball to become popular with the masses nor do they really care what imposters who call themselves theologians or Christian leaders or pastors or whatever think of them or say about them. No, all that matters is their obedience to God, not man (Acts 5:29).

I consider articles like Frank’s to be bait in a trap that I have no intention of taking.

My Response to Mike Ratcliff’s Blog:
Well said! Will post a link from my blog TruthwithSnares.org since I do say a bit more about the teachings of Viola and crew with their overt attack on the “Institutional Church” (Any church that is not like their Organic Church that follows a number of traditions including having a Pastor or a church building) the list is extensive labeling those things “Pagan.”

Also I wonder if Viola will share his message with his cohort in the Organic Church Wolfgang Simson to who I sent an open letter following his ‘ad hominem’ attack of me? Ramblings of An Angry Lonely Old Man – Say What!?
An Open Letter to Wolfgang Simson – By John Beardsley 1/7/2012 http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/ramblings/Ramble.htm
I think you are correct, it is deflection and baiting — they forget their teachings that are in black and white print DO mean something but make it sound as if we misunderstood them, well the cults do the same sort of thing. The fact that Viola promotes Contemplative Mysticism as well is not gossip and revealing that along with a host of other things such as his open and lavish endorsement of the heretical book The Shack… well how could we have misunderstood that from a “leader” of what is called the Organic Church?

Thank you for your article,

John Beardsley (My real name and contact info here as always)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2012 2:43 pm

    As Mike Ratliff noted in his article, Frank Viola has attempted to bait a trap, and unfortunately maybe, I took the bait. But Viola’s article has put me in the frame of mind of perhaps hammering out an article that I can to when the somewhat predictable and formulaic caterwauling starts whenever one of our articles finds its mark.

    So……from Frank Viola’s blog post, with my responses point-by-point below:

    (H)ere are nine sure-fire ways to perfect the art of being a jerk online:

    1. Move from arguing the substance of a disagreement to attacking the person with whom you disagree. (This is called an ad hominem argument. Attack the messenger while you disagree with their message. People often do this when they can’t win an argument.)

    MY RESPONSE: I have nothing personal against Frank Viola, and in writing about him and his dangerous teachings, I merely seek to present his teaching alongside Scripture so that the reader can assess where the discrepancy is (hint: the discrepancy is not with the Scripture).

    2. Assume what other people think and believe rather than asking them directly. And state your assumption about what they think and believe as though it were gospel fact to others. (Did I say without asking the person whose name you’re dropping directly about what he/she believes or thinks? I’m always amazed when Christians do this.)

    MY RESPONSE: When interacting with data alone, it is unnecessary to go to the person and ask them, “What did you mean?” One must presume that one means what one has written.

    3. Say things to your fellow sistas and bruthas in Christ that you would never have the gall to say to their faces. (In other words, play the part of a gutless wonder and a spineless coward.)

    MY RESPONSE: Anything I have written about Frank Viola I would be more than happy to say in his presence. But I’m not altogether sure I would consider him a brutha.

    4. Don’t read a blog post or comment carefully. Instead, read “into it,” jump to conclusions, then go off (or go snarky) on the blogger or commenter. To be more specific, never ask clarifying questions about something you just read (such as, “Maybe I’m not understanding you correctly, but are you saying xyz?” . . . or . . . “If what you’re saying is true, what is your response to abc?”). Nope. Just lay into the person after you’ve “read into” their post or comment. Ask no questions in a gracious manner, only make statements and accusations.

    MY RESPONSE: It is in fact only through careful reading of Viola’s craftily worded teaching that a true understanding of his underlying theology can be grasped.

    5. Write something online when you are angry or your feelings have just been hurt. Give no time to bring it to the Lord. Stone that angel who is telling you to wait because you’re not in the Spirit. Instead, let your emotions control your reaction.

    MY RESPONSE: My feelings aren’t hurt by anything Viola has said. As I noted above, none of this is personal. But as he is a false teacher, his false teaching must be pointed out for the sake of the sheep, so that he can be separated from.

    6. Presume to know what another person is thinking and assume you know the motives behind their words and actions. Put yourself in the seat that only God Almighty occupies and impugn their intentions. (Anytime a person says something like, “You said that because” . . . or “You were trying to xyz when you said or did abc” that person is judging the motives of another mortal.)

    MY RESPONSE: Frank Viola is just restating his #2 point again, so my response is the same as above.

    7. Engage in “drive-by” character assassination by posting a comment on other people’s blogs that smears the reputation of another child of God. Don’t post your real name and your real email address when you leave the flaming comment. And hope that the blogger is sloppy enough to not notice the comment so they don’t delete it immediately. (As heinous and immature as this is, I’m sorry to say that some “Christians” actually do this sort of thing. Interestingly, every comment left on a blog has an identifiable IP address. So it’s not that difficult to identify the person.)

    MY RESPONSE:

    (1) As for the “drive-by” character assassination charge, my response is, again, the same as in point #2. In fact, I find this to be something of an ad hominem attack by Viola himself (who helpfully has written out what an ad hominem attack is in his #1 point). Oh the irony of someone who engages in the same ad hominem attacks that he accuses his crit- oh, never mind.

    (2) As for those who post anonymously, well I have to agree with Viola there. I don’t care for “Anonymous” posting either. At our blog at the very beginning, we used to post our articles anonymously. I don’t know why we did it, we just did. It certainly wasn’t an attempt to “hide” our identities. Then I asked a friend of mine who knows Phil Johnson to ask him to weigh in on this topic and anonymity in general. Johnson responded (and I’m paraphrasing here) that anyone writing publicly ought to, for the sake of credibility, post their real names, with at least a minimum amount of biographical information. I thought that made sense, so we changed our blog to reflect our new policy. (And for the record, my name is Christine Pack, I write at the Sola Sisters blog, and my email address is: christinepack@yahoo.com)

    8. If someone gives you a response, ignore their response and repeat your points over again. Have the attitude, “Don’t confuse me with the facts,” and disregard what they say. Just keep pushing the same points over and over again, hoping that they will eventually agree with you.

    MY RESPONSE: Well, Viola got this one partially right, which only proves that even a blind squirrel can find an acorn once in a while ;) In all seriousness, when given a response that includes false teaching, I can only respond with truth and Scripture, so if that looks like I’ve got my needle stuck, well, so be it. I’m going under the assumption that God’s sheep know truth when they hear it and will respond to it (John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”)

    9. Forget what your Lord taught you. Defy your spiritual instincts and grieve the Holy Spirit of God by treating other people (especially those you don’t like) in a way that you would never want to be treated yourself. Post things online to and about others that you’d never want posted to and about you or your loved ones. In other words, claim you believe Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12, but disobey them without wincing.

    MY RESPONSE: I’ve already addressed the ad hominem charge that writing articles which challenge Frank Viola’s false teaching is something personal on my end; it is not. Must I go further and state I have never said anything personal about Frank Viola’s loved ones? Apparently I must. So let me state for the record that none of this is personal, but neither is it about niceness. This is about truth. My “spiritual instincts” are to proclaim truth and protect the purity of the gospel with all my might. Truth cannot be compromised. Truth must be proclaimed because it is truth that sets people free from the bondage that comes from false teaching. Lies can never set people free.

    Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

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