Monday, October 29, 2012

A Fistful of Chan

Francis Chan is an author who has recently come to my attention. I've read all three of his books in the past few months, and he is one of the most refreshing reads I've had in some time. I've also listened to a number of his podcasts, and I really appreciate his easy-going style of communication, coupled with a firm but exceedingly gracious commitment to the Bible. (He actually reminds me of my friend Kevin Loten, one of Canada's finest unknown preachers.)

Francis' first book, Crazy Love, tackles a topic that everyone loves: to hear more about how crazy God is about us. Except that Francis goes much deeper than that -- he calls us to a radical lifestyle of serving others as the fruit of having "crazy love" for God, flowing out of experiencing God's "crazy love" for us. I won't steal any more of Chan's fire -- this is one of the more noteworthy books on being loved by and loving God that I've read.

Forgotten God came next, and it's a fascinating book -- from my perspective, after writing Post-Charismatic? a few years ago -- dealing with the opposite end of the spectrum. It seems, sometimes, that the pendulum continually flies to the opposing edge; you are either forced to embrace all the craziness and extremes, or relegate the Holy Spirit to a kind of Divine Administration position. Forgotten God is a well-crafted introduction to something in between.

Erasing Hell is the most recent, and the most risk-taking, of Chan's books. Let's face it: talking about God's love, our responsibility to the poor, and the Holy Spirit will make you more friends than enemies. But to adopt a view of hell, as taught by Jesus in the Bible, tends to bring out the villagers with their torches and pitchforks. I admire Chan for taking this risk, and I am very impressed with his tact, compassion, vulnerability, and graciousness as he tackles a very important and unpopular topic. I would lend this book without reservation.

Bottom line: I would highly recommend any of these three books by Francis Chan. Each one of them will provide encouragement, provoke thoughtful reflection, and challenge us to dig deep into what we believe, and why, and what we're going to do with it.

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