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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Food For Thought--Chan, Driscoll, Harris Discussion

What's Next for Francis Chan? A Conversation with Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris from Ben Peays on Vimeo.
I am intrigued and moved by what Francis Chan says in this interview. In the last couple years especially, I have had trouble reconciling what I see in my own heart and in American Christianity with what I see in Scripture. Worldliness, selfish (often ruthless) ambition, comfortable apathy, arrogance, materialism, legalism, vanity, partiality, and plain old lack of love are plagues in the American church (and in my heart). A really sad part of this is that many unbelievers often see these as defining qualities of the American church--they see us as "jerks for Jesus" and too often they have good cause to do so. This picture does not fit with the sincere, geninue, devoted, Spririt-produced, Spirit-powered, pursuing, sacrificial, inconvenient, difficult, and humble love that is modeled by God, poured into us by God, and ought to pour out of us to our spouses, families, church family, brothers and sisters in Christ (near and far), neighbors, unbelievers (even the ones who mock us), the poor, the broken, the opressed, the nobodies of this world, and even to our enemies. This IS the cross we are called to carry. This call inevitably involves suffering--not as an end, but as a necessary means to something infinitely greater. From what I was hearing in this interview, Chan's willingness to step back from a high profile position that garners praise, wealth, and influence sounds like it is coming from sincere, God-glorifying love for God and for his church. He sounds like a shepherd concerned for the sheep entrusted to him (and for himself)--that their hearts (and his heart) would be captivated by Jesus himself rather than the glittery distractions of this world. Chan's position also recognizes, that while God uses charasmatic preachers like him, the God of the Universe is dependant on no one.  He will advance His mission period.  Don't get me wrong--I am not saying that there is anything wrong with large churches or dynamic and popular preachers. God frequently uses these men in mighty ways.  That is not my point. I don't think that is Chan's point either. The heart reflected in Chan's words remind me of the heart behind this quote attributed to George Whitfield, who was a dynamic preacher who drew large crowds:

My brother [John] Wesley acted wisely. The souls that were awakened under his ministry he joined in class, and thus preserved the fruits of his labor. This I neglected, and my people are a rope of sand.
I hope this conversation will continue to inspire those of us in churches to consider what it is that draws us to a church, what it is that keeps us at a church, how we steward our ministry gifts while living as disciples, and how our answers to these questions fit with true love for God and true love for others.

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