For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong… (1 Cor. 1:26, 27)
Dr. Greg E. Viehman is a skin surgeon, a bright and articulate man who came to salvation in Jesus Christ nearly 10 years ago at the age of 36. That he came to the Lord in the first place is remarkable, then again that any of us are saved demonstrates by what great lengths God will move to bring us to Himself.
Born in Delaware and raised in an agnostic family, Christian terms such as “salvation” and “born again” and “savior” were foreign to Viehman. This may seem hard to grasp for those of us raised in the church or in a dedicated Christian home. But, like so many young people born and raised from the 1960s on, their personal lives and absolute truth never intersect. Even if some do attend church, they may go out of sense of duty with the pastor obligingly performing the expected religious rituals. Those rituals can inoculate congregants against biblical truth, giving them just enough of God without surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ.
The God Diagnosis
Viehman’s book, The God Diagnosis, reveals to us by what lengths an individual may travel in a bid to learn the truth. Raised in a home where he had everything, learned much and enjoyed all that the world had to offer, Viehman had no need for God. Or at least he didn’t think so until he realized that God was pursuing him.
It took a move from one Cary, N.C. neighborhood to another one to be exposed to people that claimed to be Christians, individuals that he found were hypocrites. Set out to prove that what they believed was wrong, he began his own clandestine study of the Bible. His study went well beyond reading the word and taking notes — he contacted Bible professors, read books and asked other people for their opinions. He applied his medical mind while keeping in mind his evolutionary beliefs — that we came from nothing, are here for a time and will soon return to nothingness.
No Heart Surrender
Along the way, Viehman discovered that a lot of people say that they know God and that they read His word. But, that knowing is more of a mental ascent as they read God’s word without believing that it is true. Viehman compares what these people do with a doctor giving a patient the cure for a disease — instead of taking the drug, they just look at it or put it to the side.
When it comes to reviewing authored work, rarely do I get to meet the one who has written the story. Viehman, however, attended my church for several years and I recall him sitting at men’s study with his iPad in hand, searching the scriptures. Later, he was at men’s retreat and just two years ago my family sat next to his family at a church picnic in Wilmington, NC, where we struck up a conversation about his family’s move to that area. Viehman also took to the pulpit once in Cary, but it wasn’t until I read his book that I pieced together who he is.
Your Intellectual Friends
“The God Diagnosis” can be a particularly helpful read for the intellectual people in your life. You know, the person who is steeped in evolution, prizes the accomplishments of man and is highly educated, perhaps even financially well off. They’re the “tough nut” person that you may have wanted to reach out to and were looking for a tool to introduce them to Jesus Christ. Perhaps your earlier words were rebuffed, maybe your invitation to church was turned down or your “Bible talk” was cut short. Give this person a copy of Viehman’s book and preface your conversation with an overview of Viehman’s educational background and medical achievements. And of course pray that God would stir your friend’s heart.
As is often apparent, Viehman did not come to faith apart from outside intervention. Including divine intervention. Early on, we learn that a certain “Bible Lady” worked in his office, a woman who had been praying for him for years. Also, one of his nurses followed Jesus Christ.
The doctor entertained at least one angel unaware, a 50-something individual with skin cancer that told him of his need to repent. The encounter scared and stunned him — weeks later, when he attempted to find this man to thank him for his intervention and to ask him some follow up questions, all record of his visit to the office was not found. Days of carefully searching written and logged reports revealed that the man was not there. But, an angel disguised as a man had been.
Religion v. Relationship
Viehman’s testimony is not too unlike the experiences that other bright people had when they came to know Jesus Christ. C.S. Lewis was an atheist. The author of “Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” Josh McDowell, was an agnostic who set out to disprove the historicity of the Christian faith in college, but came to find out that it was true. Lee Strobel was an acclaimed journalist for the Chicago Tribune and an atheist who launched his own faith investigation following his wife’s redemption from sin.
Throughout Viehman’s book, an underlying message often comes to the forefront: many people are religious, professing Christians at that, but they have not surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ. Many Americans have the religion, but not the relationship — the former will take you to hell, the latter to heaven and will also provide a real and amazing life here on earth. Just as Dr. Greg Viehman has told us about in his first book.
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