What’s Next for Francis Chan? A Conversation with Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris

The Gospel Coalition council members Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris sat down with Francis Chan and asked why he resigned as senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and what he plans to do next. Brushing aside the planned discussion topic, Driscoll took charge of the conversation and says to Chan, “Everybody thinks you’re cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. You’ve got a good church going on and you hit the eject button and now you’re an international man of Fu Manchu mystery. What is going on? What are you thinking? And what’s going to happen to your church?” See how Chan responds.

A What’s Next for Francis Chan? Conversation with Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris from Ben Peays on Vimeo.

  • Pingback: Driscoll to Chan: “Everybody Thinks You’re Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!” – Justin Taylor()

    • Susan

      I’ll bank on the “Cuckoo”any day. This looked like more of a “correcting/questioning” than seeking to understand Chan’s heart in the matter. Sadly not surprising.

      • jim sharp

        brother chan’s view of sanctification sounds like KESWICK redux.
        why should chan view himself as doing something “extreme” sets him apart from the rest of us who tweak, tweak, tweak and make, hopefully, some kind of progress in Christlikeness. if his “fame” is in the way … just go give everything to the poor but don’t tell anyone about it. ministering is not a chief means of sanctification but loving Christ is! me, me, me, vs. Him, Him, Him. WHAT MORE CAN HE SAY THAN TO YOU HE HATH SAID … just get biblical brother and leave the matter of place and circumstance up to the Lord. contentment and singing can happen in a prison cell.

      • Susan

        If anyone has any question about the decision Francis has made, they should listen to the Cornerstone Church podcast from 4/18/10 called “Surrender” where he explains it. I seriously wonder if these two men have listened to it, or if they have questioned John Piper in the same manner for his sabbatical (?)

        • JC

          Cuckoo? I definately believe that there are personalities that like to start but not maintain. That wiring is an important attribute. When did it make sense to be the only teaching pastor for multiple churches in multiple cities and now states? This is not about a certain teacher teaching…it is about God! Churches should reflect this. Way too much dependence takes place. Rock Star status Pastors are walking a very narrow line. Ego takes hold…you are human. If nothing better comes of this, perhaps Francis Chan’s departure will open the eyes of Pastors that are beginning to cross over the line. Godly risk, humility, radical living…all attributes that I believe Rock Star Pastors should begin to embrace. We (including influential Pastors) are not entitled to a life of ease and success. Showing that fragility is a powerful thing. Francis, this resignation has been a very powerful message to me…the most powerful one to date that I have have experience from a Pastor!

  • Pingback: Combing the Net – 8/30/2010 « Honey and Locusts()

  • Radiance

    The LORD is using Francis Chan to challenge the American church and American pastors to return to their “First Love.”

    Being “hot” in our theology and doctrine does not translate into being true *LOVERS* of Jesus. Selling more and more secondary books may be a good marketing gimmick, but it may actually distract believers from becoming intimate with God through reading His Word: THE BIBLE!

    Merely being “moral” as compared to the rest of the culture is not setting Christ up as our standard.

    Having all our intellectual cards right and drawing more people to our churches, does not translate into us being true representatives of Christ to our dying and broken society and world.

    There is always so much more we can give, so much more we can sacrifice, and so much LOVE we can be expressing if we truly want to be a model of what the New Testament describes.

    Francis Chan is one of the few high profile leaders who reminds us that we must take the very words of JESUS literally–the Jesus of the Gospels. The one who said “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” The one who said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

    All too often we just think “Jesus is the way to be saved.” Not “Jesus is the way to LIVE and BE.”

    Thank You LORD for raising up Francis Chan and may the American Church experience a much-needed Re-Awakening.

    • Radiance

      Some other words of Jesus come to mind:

      “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” ~ Mark 10:21

      “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” ~ Matthew 10:39

      “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” ~ Luke 9:23

    • http://www.discoverthebible.com discoverthebible

      Radiance – I think you nailed it.

      Christians should not be questioning Chan for wanting to follow Christ’s lead. We should applaud him and then take a closer look at why we are not willing to sell out completely for Jesus.

  • http://www.technologyinclass.com/blog Ben

    I’m just waiting for Driscoll to shave his head too.

    • Rajed

      Hahaha, that was a good one. I noticed that Josh and Francis are asian and Mark isn’t.

    • jun

      yeah, that would look interesting, it would be like 3 shaolin monks talking about Jesus :-)

  • http://theparkersfour.blogspot.com Wesley

    What i like about Chan in this interview particularly is that he is seems to understand his own heart/proclivity towards idolatry in a certain area and is seeking to war against that, even if he doesn’t know exactly how that will look for him and his life next. That’s cool. What i appreciate about DRiscoll and Harris is that they are emphasising the responsibiity a pastor has to his congregation and it get’s complex when you wanna just hand off that responsibity to others as it CAN hurt that body. Also, i appreciate Driscoll calling Chan on the percieved “asceticism” and i appreciate Chan’s honesty that there may be some guilt motivation to his desire to live simply. In the end, they all seemed to affirm that what we need to be pursuing is Christ and not poverty or suffering or wealth or blessing. How that looks for each person my be different but, HE must be the pursuit above all else.

  • KG

    Why does Driscoll seem so bothered that God is calling Francis Chan to serve and minister among the poor? Why do people question so much that God would call such a gifted servant to serve in a place where they won’t gain wealth?

    • http://magnifyChrist.wordpress.com John

      I think the concern is whether or not God is really calling Chan to leave.

      • http://www.discoverthebible.com discoverthebible

        That is how I understood it also. I am just perplexed why Driscoll and Harris would be questioning whether God is calling Chan to deny his flesh and feed his spirit. It seemed as if they were trying to encourage him to come back to the comfortable life of a successful pastor with a growing ministry while Chan was saying first and foremost I am about serving God and right now he is calling me elsewhere.

        Whom have I in heaven but You?
        And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
        – Psalm 73:25

        • Jim

          “comfortable life of a successful pastor”? umm clearly you have never been a pastor in local church ministry.

          Read the book of Acts, read the gospels. The plan for the gospel to go out is the local church, there is no other plan.

          God calls people based on clear scripture not vague feelings and notions. Chan is not above being questioned about this.

          • http://www.discoverthebible.com discoverthebible

            I had a feeling that would draw a response. The life of these pastors is comfortable in comparison to say Paul’s life. All of us living in the US have it comfortable compared to where Chan wants to go. I am in the process of moving and it is a war with my flesh. Do I satisfy my wants and upgrade or do I simplify and use the excess to help someone else in need? I know what Jesus would do and yet it still is hard for me. I applaud Chan for recognizing that he has a short time to sell out for God. I pray I will have a similar heart.

            • Matt

              but would you be willing to do anything? even serve in the post modern, rich, post Christian, vain, puffed up with knowledge America or Europe? Good to be careful when you think you “know” what Jesus would do. Did he call the centurion to leave the army, or the tax collector to do something else for a living? Not in those cases, which is why we need to be careful about a cookie cutter image of what God wants us to do. Nevertheless, it seems to me that what Chan is doing is from God and has as much to do with his church(i.e. taking away a possible idol in their lives, namely a good pastor and teacher) as it does with sanctifying him personally. In that way, he is pastoring them by leaving.

      • trUthSEEker

        Define calling and give me a biblical basis for this “call”.

        • KG

          I am not sure if this is the whole answer, but in Chan’s case I just keep hearing him say in this interview and in other places that “as I read the Bible”… “I hear God saying this”.

          It seems that in Chan’s case, over and over and over again when he reads God’s Word he has sensed the Holy Spirit moving him to take action. He seems like a man who has been convinced by God’s Word that he needs to make some serious changes to his life.

          So in this case it seems that “call” for Chan is reading the Bible and doing what it says. Do we need a Biblical basis for reading the Bible and obeying it? Not sure.

    • jun

      don’t think he’s bothered, he’s just concerned that people would get it the wrong way

  • http://facesoflions.wordpress.com Dave Wilson

    This interaction is a great example of “iron sharpening iron.” Christians in general, and Christian men in particular, can receive much grace from friends who are willing to ask the hard question. I have benefited from this personally over the years, and am grateful to be a part of a church where this kind of dialogue is valued and encouraged.

  • http://newleaven.com T.C. R

    Let’s lift the brother up in our constant prayers.

    • Clay Zirkle

      I so agree! If Chan disappears from the “big time” and saves a single child – do we think God will be displeased? Just ONE man lead Billy Graham to Christ – and what God did with that anonymous man’s commitment to Him…

  • Pingback: Manic Monday: Be real & listen « Learn. Dream. Live.()

  • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

    That was painful to watch. Francis Chan seems to know he wasn’t the captain of his church ship. Did he leave his church in the lurch if Jesus is at the helm? No. Did he leave his church in the lurch if he himself was at the helm? Yes. That ship needs to sink.

    When Driscoll asked whether Chan would leave his next church and whether the people he builds with would worry about that, I’m pretty sure that Driscoll has an “institutional” view of what Chan is planning to do next. I don’t think it is based on his endorsement of Neil Cole’s “Church 3.0.” I’m not saying I know what Chan is “planning,” just that he’s given clues to his philosophy of ministry from here on out …

    • http://www.HatsRCool.com Colin

      I agree. I think there’s a feeling of, “Francis, you built this so that it can only last if you are there to maintain it.” That whole philosophy of “church” shows that what is built CAN’T last. Maybe it can last as long as Chan is alive, but it doesn’t build up the members of the body to a maturity that makes them INTRAdependent disciple-makers; free and released to go and do the same by the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than by the power of Francis Chan’s one gift.

      Also, releasing Francis Chan to help build up a new group of radical disciples to be able to grow to maturity is the best use of Chan’s gift.

      But like Burly said, that’s assuming what Chan wants to build isn’t a new institution based around him, but what he wants to build is a new group of radical disciples dedicated to making others into radical disciples. If Chan wants to build a less flawed institution, then Driscoll is right, Chan will just get burned out again by the institution’s flaws.

      Man, this is awesome to see 3 guys who absolutely LOVE Christ working through the difficult strategy of how to empower God’s people. Thank you Mark, Francis, and Joshua for pursuing God’s call in your lives!

  • http://www.prolifetraining.com Scott Klusendorf

    I know a little bit about Francis Chan, have spoken at his church, and I trust him on this. He challenges me to live fully for Jesus.

  • Sarah

    What a fantastic example of iron sharpening iron.

  • DF Wilcox

    We attended Chan’s church for 4 years – I’m sorry to have to report that when we engaged the pastor(s) re: basic and fundamental Christian doctrine (i.e. justification, sanctification) not only were they unable to articulate biblical, protestant explanations; but they rigidly defended their heterodox positions…

    • tracylee

      DF Wilcox,

      I too attended Cornerstone at one time. Can you explain to a not so bright : ) layman such as myself what you meant by this? Seriously, I am really interested in learning.

      “but they rigidly defended their heterodox positions”

      Many thank yous,

  • Martie

    I would agree with him that he seems to be in a “fog” right now. This was evident at the Southern Baptist Convention when he spoke there in June. I’m also bothered by his emphasis of love for the elders, rather than a love for the church.

  • http://boycecollege.edu Owen

    You could do a lot with Mark Driscoll and Josh Harris as your counseling team. Easy to see why people follow them and are blessed by their ministries.

    Driscoll’s directness is a blessing and a challenge to many of us who lack not training, theology, experience but directness, boldness, clarity, and courage. That’s a huge part of why people flock to his teaching–clarity and conviction. In a “Greenberg” world, it’s beautiful to see, especially if it’s married with humility.

    • Susan

      My experience in one of Harris’ Sovereign Grace Ministry churches is 16 + years in the same church that had 6 Sr Pastor changes. Chan was the Sr pastor at Cornerstone for 16 yrs. Go figure.

    • http://unconsciousstreaming.wordpress.com/ Alex

      I wonder if anyone is prepared to be as direct with Driscoll on why he drives a Gas-Guzzling open top Jeep when there are over a billion people without clean drinking water in the world and hundreds of millions more without food and in extreme poverty?
      It’s a fascinating disconnect that Mark struggled to understand why Francis thinks simplicity is good for us.

      • J.Kru

        Alex, I suppose you’re not writing on a computer valued at over $500, are you? Not when there are over a billion people without clean drinking water in the world, I hope.

        • http://blog.alexgreen.co.uk Alex

          >$500 computer bought over 6 yrs ago which still works just fine vs Gas-Guzzling Jeep with a $500 per month fuel bill???
          I think you are losing perspective.
          What would Jesus drive?

          • Valentin

            Alex, why didn’t you just use a computer at a public library instead of spending >$500 on a computer when there are over a billion people without clean drinking water in the world and hundreds of millions more without food and in extreme poverty? And how do you know that he spends $500 on gas each month? Do you have access to his bank statements?

            • http://blog.alexgreen.co.uk Alex

              Seriously? Have you seen the fuel consumption of one of those Jeeps? 10 to 15 l/100km (something like 15-22mpg even at most generous) so even at average mileage driven in US terms (NHTSA estimate 15,000/yr) you are looking at consuming (conservatively) 680 gallons of fuel Which at today’s prices is about $200 per month. (If we had been less conservative, that could reach nearly $300 per month, maybe more) So yes, my guesstimate was a little off initially, but that would rack up more than the cost of my computer in little over 3 months.
              Why didn’t I use a library? Legally, a library wouldn’t let me use it as a place where I can run my business and my computer is crucial to me running that, which as an aside has enabled me to earn enough money to give thousands of pounds away every year since I bought the computer to provide clean water and food to the aforementioned people. Without the initial expenditure, I wouldn’t have been able to donate to help people!
              But you missed the point again.
              What would Jesus drive?
              He’d probably not drive at all, but if he did, I imagine it would be utilitarian and economical, not flashy and wasteful.

              The bible lauds simplicity and being content with ‘enough’ (Proverbs 30:8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread) So why is Driscoll calling Chan for pursuing sound scriptural principals of having just enough – ‘daily bread’?

              Have a read of the lower commenter Jeff http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/tgc/2010/08/30/what%e2%80%99s-next-for-francis-chan/?comments#comment-17538 It’ll be much more useful than carrying on this ridiculous exchange.

  • ptl00

    kinda wished francis chan had this kind of counsel and discussion with these guys before he made his decision. some very challenging and thought provoking questions here.

    • http://www.discoverthebible.com discoverthebible

      Can someone fill me in on why Francis Chan stepping down to go serve somewhere else is a bad thing? I admit, I do not know the man, have never been to his church, so maybe I am missing something that others know that would explain why this is being viewed as a man who is confused.

      • Member of Cornerstone

        As a member of Cornerstone for over ten years, I appreciate the comment from discoverthebible asking why Francis leaving to minister in the inner city is being viewed as a man who is confused. Francis’ transparency and honesty in being willing to examine his motives and thoughts is NOT the same as confusion. Our church body is thriving as we see Francis seek to live out more fully what he sees scripture calls us all to do to follow Christ. In leaving the role of head pastor of Cornerstone he has continued in his practice of urging us to live for and love Christ and follow Him more fully. He has clearly preached that not all are called to serve in the inner city; but all followers of Christ are called to lay down our lives to follow Him. We are being challenged to seek the Lord to learn what that will look like in each of our own lives. If people are calling what Francis is doing “crazy” then what should we call Paul and many of the other disciples who gave up so much to care and love others enough to devote their lives to reach them, often in far away places?

  • Pingback: Francis Chan is “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” | A Watchman for the Morning()

    • Sean

      Read the Trellis and the Vine. THe typical church service is not the church, the people are. This is what we are suppose to be doing, Making and training disciples. Quit building the trellis and work on the vine. People are the vine,not programs buildings expository sermons ect ect. They are all good and helpful, but the gospel has to go out and be told, by mouth or by word. I think this is what he wants to get back to the roots of Acts instead of thinking church is just Sunday morning plus more bible training and more bible training. We train and we train and we train but we never get in the game and play. Which is making disciples. How do you make disciples? You start with Evangelism and then teach them all he commanded. Sunday service and programs and whatever like our american churches are is not church. Give somebody a job in the church and they feel they are bought in. Get a problem and you get pastor time. We need to be making disciples……..Way to go Chan!

      • Patrick

        Sean, I’m sure God can use all church models. You can disciple Christians in megachruches as well. Look at the Acts 29 network of Driscoll’s or Tim Keller’s redeemer church.

        Whether an organic church or not, God can use them all to transform peoples’ lives.

  • Sean

    One more comment, If we fall into this model with todays church tradition with the typical sunday sermon and church service, what do we make.?

    (Congregation)Spectators and consumers….thinking what can I get out of this.

    Lets love God and love others and go serve our King!

  • Chris

    Francis Chan is the real deal. I have read both of his books and watched all the messages I can find. This dude reads the bible and does what it says. PERIOD. I think Driscol made a good point about how we don’t have to be in poverty to gain sanctification. But I believe Francis when he says it is out of love. I think Francis deeply desires the early church power and contintment in God. More power to him.

  • BroDan

    How rare it must look to those who have worked to achieve a level of success in Christian vocation, when another is willing to give it all away to bring glory to Christ.

  • kevin

    These were tough questions that needed to be asked, I appreciate these guys. Awesome video, you guys are great.

  • Ryan Clopton

    Seems Francis Chan has the calling of an apostle a.k.a. frontline church planter as described in Scripture over the calling to being local long term Church planter…(guy named Paul had this gift as an Apostle w/ cap. A.

  • Andrew

    Has Chan really “given up everything” and “sold everything to give to the poor”?

    Or is he just changing jobs?

    Let’s not overspiritualize this…

  • Brett

    I think a better question from Driscoll would have been “how did your fellow elders help you come to this conclusion.” The answer to that question would be telling:

    If Chan reported his decision to his co-elders, I think Driscoll’s suspension would be warranted. Such a move would by-pass God’s ordained means of making these kinds of decisions (i.e. referring to the counsel of the board of elders).

    On the other hand, if Chan took his concerns to his co-elders and they together affirmed Chan to make this decision, then I would argue that Driscoll’s suspension is unwarranted. If Chan’s decision isn’t violating some clear directive from Scripture, upon what basis could we challenge the decision of a group of elders from a healthy local church?

    Does anyone else see this as obvious?

  • http://thegospelforoc.com Chris

    The dudes are all friends. They are three friends having an honest and challenging conversation. No badgering going on here.

  • Patrick

    It sounds like Francis Chan has been convinced that the
    organic/simple church model is the way to go.

    Check out his forward of the book, Church 3.0 by Neil Cole who’s the author of Organic church.

    I just hope that Francis continues to love other church models and stays Christ centered and that God can use any church model to transform lives and communities.

  • Jon

    Look above to Jim’s comment on the local church. The church IS THE ONLY BIBLICAL MODEL…that’s it. ‘Reinvention’ is a dangerous slope toward pride.

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      Chan’s convictions are not articulated within the paradigm of ‘reinvention’ at all, but rather ‘reclamation’. If one really wants to wrestle with the concept of reinvention, a comparative analysis of the Anti-nicene church fathers with post-Constantine Christendom would provide the necessary framework.

      Such studies consistently reveal that much of what has been accepted as Biblical is cultural reinterpretation.

      As for our ‘biblical church models’… Chan is simply challenging the accuracy and validity of these many long held interpretations of ecclesial praxis, and I appreciate his heart for doing so.

      May we all find our way closer to the heart for intimate community and love that Jesus incarnated.

  • Doug

    My goodness. I love Francis Chan. I am very much like him, I think. I see in this video two men (Mark and Francis) who have very different spiritual mannerims and very different calls and desires, and Mark is having trouble understanding Francis because they’re so different in certain ways. When Driscoll started asking quesions (especially the last one), I was kinda like, “Yea, let’s see what he has to say. That’s a good question.” And I don’t know if I could be more satisfied with Chan’s answers. I’d like to hear Driscoll’s assessment of that conversation and how he thought Chan defended his actions. I thought I saw Driscoll really understanding near the end and beginning to see Francis’ heart and vision for all its childlike wonder and joy.

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      Agreed!! – That childlike wonder and joy – that is Kingdom!

  • Radiance

    Maybe Francis Chan does not feel comfortable holding the status of “celebrity pastor” and being treated like a member of some “elite crew.” Maybe he realizes his church is not about him, and does not “need” him, it’s about JESUS. To imply that he’s just leaving it over to some second-rate pastor is to suggest every pastor who’s not Driscoll, Harris, Piper, or featured somewhere on the TGC website is “not up to par.”

    Maybe he finds the cults of personality which unfortunately result from a lot of American megachurch ministries to be unBiblical and idolatrous. Maybe he’s challenging pastors who attain some level of fame and fortune from their book sales and speaking engagements to give more of their profits away to the poor and towards missions.

    He’s NOT saying every pastor is called to follow in his footsteps. God’s plan for each one of us is unique and different! However it’s clear Chan’s radical devotion to Christ convicts and challenges even his peers.

  • DF Wilcox

    TracyLee: The then Exec. pastor (now head) articulated and vigorously defended positions on justification/sanctification diametrically opposed to the biblical/protestant view – hence, heterodox. DA Carson has probably done some of the best recent work in this area – see Themelios 35.1 (2010) 1-3
    Funny; Driscoll’s 1st question to Chan re: leaving was “is your replacement solid”? We had to conclude he is not.

    • TracyLee

      Thanks DF. This probably isn’t the place for me to write this, but since I am not well versed in the bible, it’s all kind of confusing. I came out of Mac’s church pretty beat up, and then went to Cornerstone. As I said earlier, I am no longer there, but just confused. Thanks for the info!

    • Davey G.

      DF…could you please give me the sermon(s) that demonstrate this heterdoxy that you reference? I would want to hear these. No offense, but for all I know you could be slandering him???

  • http://www.firstbaptistmicanopy.com Hayden

    I am very encouraged by this exchange. I have followed Mark’s ministry for years and not always been ‘on board’ with him but I really see some mature questions that he posed. Praise the Lord for his insight and help in challenging Francis here. Outstanding!

  • Pingback: Non-cuckooness: Chan, Driscoll, and Love for the Church « Reading to Walk …()

  • Chris

    I can only download the first few seconds of the video. Any suggestions?

  • jp

    Great video. Conversations like these need to be sanctifying and honest. Driscoll’s and Harris’s straight forwardness need not be viewed as attacks on Francis, but a healthy questioning of his motives. The best spiritual brothers in Christ, out of love, don’t just blindly affirm something but they help each other make good discernments. I learned this while reading Mortification of Sin with an older wiser friend and looking at the potential deceitfulness of my own heart- even in doing the good and greatest things. Remember that these men have ministries that have ministered the Gospel well where they are at. They are not affluent superstar pastors who think that Francis is weird for giving what they have up. That would blow it all out of proportion. Francis is changing ministries and styles in order to better love Christ and the people in LA(in accordance with what he said). The style doesn’t make him more holy than others- it hopefully means he is following Jesus in this. We’ll see!

  • Pingback: Fingertoe.com » Driscoll, and Harris and Chan, oh my.()

  • http://www.christmycovenant.com Moe Bergeron

    The one thing that I found disappointing and to be honest scary was when the conversation touched upon sanctification. Sounded a lot like sanctification through our own works.

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      I think that was what Driscoll wanted to challenge. His suggestion was that a view of sanctification via simplicity/poverty/suffering was an incomplete view. Driscoll was very diplomatic in expressing his very valid concerns.

      Chan’s response was very well articulated on all these points – His view is not that disciplines of simplicity/poverty/suffering are the essence of sanctification, but rather that these core disciplines facilitate opportunities for love to be expressed. According to Chan, Sanctification is the process of pursuing love, ‘becoming an image of Christ’…

      On this point, I loved Chan’s frankness about being rich.

      Driscoll’s concern about ‘poverty vs prosperity’ was built on a dichotomy which is transcended by love. Love says, I am rich because I am free to love…

      In response, Chan articulates the inspiration in his heart to embrace material simplicity and even material poverty for the very real joy and excitement of experiencing the fullest expression of love that he can possibly embrace…

      This is a very real picture of Christ’s call to the rich young ruler who ‘lacked one thing’… what did he lack? The text implies that he lacked treasure in Heaven. This is the treasure that Jesus has called Chan to pursue.

      • haley

        thank you Nathanael for your sound comment. I was reading other responses up to here and reading your response finally cleared up my unease… God bless.

  • Nick

    This was incredibly encouraging. To be able to sit in on a conversation with 3 incredibly godly men and listen to them discuss the things of God is amazing. Thanks.

  • Rev. Doyle Peyton

    Is some of this a combination of a sanguine, I like change personality, and the American fad of finding some new way to feed constantly changing emotions?

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      I highly doubt that, personally. Everything Chan is expressing here is consistent with his writing and voice in the pulpit. I’m surprised that people didn’t see this coming for him years earlier.

      Chan tends to confront and critique these fair-weather fads rather than embrace them, and he has consistently cultivated an ethos of the celebration of sacrifice for the gospel.

  • JL

    Francis Chan is walking by faith, not by sight. His willingness to stand against the tide and obey the Lord no matter what is refreshing. He’s not conforming Christ to fit into an american mold. His pursuit is to allow himself to be molded into the image of Christ, pure and simple. He’s transparent in his struggles which is completely biblical and grossly underpracticed.

    Has he done as much as he can do to help Cornerstone stand on its own? Listening to his sermons, it looks like it. No church should be dependent on any one person except Christ Himself.

    Worse case scenerio, Chan is struggling with his convictions and instead of slapping on a fake smile and pretending everything is ok and preaching from the pulpit like nothings wrong, he is stepping back which would be better for the church that he did if thats the case.

  • DF Wilcox

    Davey G:
    I stand by previous posts. As I stated, “When we engaged the pastor(s) re: basic & fundamental Christian doctrine …”

    This blossomed into a full blown series of email dialogue and from that, I am making my charge. I’m not alone in this as another person was involved in this conversation with a very similar series of emails.

    Notice the rather catholic, ascetic jokes posting now. There is some basis for this. As for giving you more than that (info) your going to have to “haul your own water here.” I’ve explained our experience there. Be a Berean.

    • AT

      As a faithful attender of Cornerstone for years now, I can say that these statements are completely invalid and indeed, slander. Our statement of faith is clearly posted on our website and those statements are held to by every pastor that speaks at Cornerstone. I stand by our new lead pastor and felt the need to express (since DF Wilcox placed this in a public domain) that he is a man of faith, student of the bible, and one of the most “solid” men I have ever known.

      • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

        Thank You AT,

        As an outsider seeking perspective and clarity on the specifics of DF Wilcox’ allegations, I appreciate your statement. I pray God continues to bless your community!

        @ DF Wilcox: whereabouts do you suggest us in the global community begin hauling water in response to your allegations, or would you mind bringing some light to exactly what your concerns are?

  • http://www.moncriefphotography.com Jimmy Moncrief


    Thanks for doing this guys!

  • doug

    I have some concerns after watching this video (which was sent to me to watch). Maybe I am being hyper-sensitive, but I have to ask- Why does anyone care about this conversation? Is it because of the theogical weight of the dialog that makes it worth watching? I don’t think so. Bottom line it is because it is Francis Chan and Driscoll and Harris. We can say that the conversation is “helpful” or “challenging” to those who are watching, but the truth is that if this were Pastor Joe Blow from down the street sitting with two other local pastors nobody would give a rip. This video is like a Christian version of “People Magazine” as we poke our noses into the lives of our Christian culture’s celebrities – Driscoll: “Everyone thinks you are cuckoo for coco puffs” (who is everyone? All his fans?) Chan: “People are concerned that I remain in the public eye” (Yeah, you don’t want disappoint your fans). Can you imagine a conversation like this with J.I. Packer and M.L. Jones? Of course not because they are (were) not “hip” and “celebrity” enough. Doesn’t this give it away? I’m not saying that I think they are bad people. They clearly hold good doctrine but, as David Wells says, “We are so compromised we cannot see how compromised we are.” We fans watch this gawker video and don’t even realize what we are doing.

    • Chris

      Spot-on. The medium is the massage.

      • Andrew


        Your comment rubbed me the wrong way.

        • http://www.xristopher.com Chris Zodrow

          Lol. We should have probably shaken hands first.
          It was Marshall McCluhan’s idea. http://amzn.to/ayWOsA
          Neil Postman vamped on it in “Amusing Ourselves to Death”.


    • Radiance

      Agreed and I was getting the feeling that the points you bring up doug, are the reasons why Pastor Chan was getting to feel convicted and uncomfortable with his “megachurch – bestselling author- celebrity status.”

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      Doug, your critique brings to mind a number of questions:
      – why and how have these three individuals engendered so much trust and engagement within their niche?
      – What does this mean or say about the modern world’s engagement and perception of the gospel?

      Understanding the cultural implications of Chan/Harris/Driscoll’s social equity would be no light study. Perhaps the fact the there are voices in modern western Christendom who can draw a strong audience is an important thing in terms of the relevance of their message.

      I do care about this conversation – not directly because of the brand names of ‘megastar pastors’, but rather indirectly because of the ongoing dialogue that their brand platform inspires.

      This extensive blog conversation is both case and point. It has served to facilitate one of many gathering spaces for compelling conversation and cross-pollination among kingdom hearted people.

      @Chris, your application of McCluhan’s ‘the medium is the massage’ maxim to this case study is kind of open ended … any thoughts about how it applies here?

  • Pingback: Francis Chan Interview «()

  • Pingback: Links of the Week « My World()

  • NatObser

    Despite his being ganged up on by the arrogance of Driscoll and Harris, you cannot help but be moved by Francis Chan’s authentic, humble response and holding his ground.

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      Amen re: Chan’s authentic response.

      I don’t think Driscoll and Harris ganged up on Chan maliciously… The premise of the dialogue was to engage engage Chan’s perspective honestly and with rigor. I believe all parties were satisfied with Chan’s response and thankful for the interaction. And I certainly wouldn’t label Harris and Driscoll as arrogant. There was a deep diplomacy to the interchange that demonstrated mutual respect, and it was in this context that Chan’s vision for growth and sanctification truly shone.

  • DF Wilcox

    For AT:
    your wrong — your statement “I can say that these statements are completely invalid and indeed, slander” is incorrect. you were not involved in either the conversation(s) or email dialogue(s) as myself and another individual were. The statement of faith you refer to does not address justification or sanctification (this is lamentable; it should) so I fail to see how this makes your point.
    Re: public domain; I’m glad you expressed. I will express too – I stand by my comments. Be a Berean.

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      DF Wilcox,
      I do not believe it just to publicize an allegation as you have and not articulate its contents. You are abandoning the global community to speculate individually while negatively colouring the corporate conversation. No amount of individual ‘water-hauling’ will remedy that injustice, irrespective of your legitimacy.

      I am very interested in your allegations. If you are interested in soliciting engagement on this matter, please express the content of your concerns and empower the public conversation.

      What specifically is your perception of Cornerstone church’s view on sanctification?

  • Tara

    I was actually saddened for Francis that he is being questioned in this way by “friends”- the Holy Spirit is our teacher and we follow JESUS, not men. I praise GOd that this man is following Jesus right out of the institutional system that he recognizes can not be “tweaked” anymore, becuase Jesus never asked us to show up at thes big (or even small) buildings once a week. He asked us to love Him and love others and get together to encourage our brothers and sisters in Him. The stage/alter was part of the Old temple system that Jesus came to fulfill (and destroy- see Matt 23). May the Lord give us all eyes to see and ears to hear HIs truth- to read the scriptures with His vision, not the false “church” eyes we have been using for 1700 years. I am encouraged by the humility and love Francis demonstrates while being being interrogated.

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      @Tara, I really appreciate you’re heart here. Amen to “the Holy Spirit is our teacher, and we follow JESUS, not men.”

      I don’t believe that Harris and Driscoll were attacking Chan – but rather that their challenge was intended as an invitation for Chan to express this grace and humility that God was inspiring within him. They all share a relationship of trust where it is appropriate to question one another for the purpose of understanding and growth.

      On another note, I don’t think that Chan believes that modern church operations can’t be tweaked to help them become more authentic expressions of Kingdom… His work at Cornerstone truly did help their community grow in authenticity and love. His writings have also challenged many church communities globally to mature. He also indicated that his decision was also meant to help cornerstone continue to grow in maturity as they learned to seek God and not men. Nonetheless, he is certainly making a bold step to encourage Christians everywhere to be the church where ever God has called them, and this step is truly an act of commendation for the organic church movement in America.

      I am deeply resonating with you this belief that the call of God is very organic in nature. It is a call to a lifestyle of love and truth that cannot be boxed or sold by institutions of any size, but certainly can be lived out by communities of all sizes.

      All that, however, does not add up to the conclusion that all institutionalization is inherently idolatrous and evil. Institutionalization is merely a formation process for structural social agreements and operations that empower community values. The virtue or vice of an institution depends upon the content of the implicit cultural values of the community, the integrity of the structural agreements, and the implications of how these agreements mediate social power.

      The Kingdom of God is not an institution, however societies must always wrestle with the social agreements that support their cultural values. In the west, our culture of materialism and individuality has shaped our institutions to mediate power in an ungodly way. To honor God we must cultivate cultural values of humility and interdependance which celebrate and champion the spirit of God restoring the image of God reflected in the design of one another locally and globally. The cultivation of such social movements will naturally inspire relevant supporting structural agreements, and by extension, relevant institutionalization will organically occur.

      Our mission should be to champion ‘kingdom-ful’ communities, and Christ calls us to deconstruct/tweak/redeem anything within our sphere of responsibility/leadership that is inhibiting this goal.

    • Mike

      I want to respond to Tara and to several others that have expressed disappointment with Driscoll and Harris for questioning Chan.

      Yes, Tara, the Holy Spirit does lead us, but He often uses other people in that process. Proverbs 11:14 and 24:6 tell us that many counselors are good for us, and in Proverbs 27:17 that iron sharpens iron. Many of the gifts of the Spirit are spoken gifts given to specific people to talk to other people in the church for their own benefit as well as the benefit of the church. Sometimes those words are hard, including the example of Agabus foretelling Paul’s imprisonment in Acts 21, or Paul questioning Peter as described in Galatians 2.

      Furthermore, as leaders are to guard the flock from false teachers (Acts 20:28), what Driscoll and Harris are doing is a service not only to their own flock, but also for other people who like Chan. Now I don’t think that Chan is a false teacher, but it is certainly okay for a public figure to be put to the test by other respected leaders.

      In fact, I was encouraged that Chan was willing to be in conversation with these guys. It shows that while he is serious about his relationship with the Lord, he understands that this relationship includes the the body of Christ.

      • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

        Well said Mike!
        Wholehearted agreement :)

  • Kristen

    I’m surprised so many questions had to be asked, in so many different ways to see Francis’ heart here. It is clear the man feels the power of the Scriptures and the Spirit leading.

    “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” ~ Mark 10:21

  • http://www.reunionministries.net Brian Hennessy

    Tara is right. If Driscoll and Harris were “friends,” they were giving us the modern day example of Job’s friends. That was like watching a foreruner to the next Inquisition. What D and H don’t see yet is that the body of Christ is waking up to the awful truth that the Reformation never set us completely free from Catholcism. That we corrected some false doctrine but continued with the institutional model. We never got completely free of our religion. And God’s Spirit is now is calling us to come out all the way and come to Him “outside the camp” (Heb. 12:13). The one who questioned Chan about sanctification still thinks church attendance will do that, rather than the Holy Spirit. I applaud Chan for his courage. He is hearing God’s Spirit and doing what He felt God had been telling him to do from his youth. To leave the institutional church system because God isn’t it – and never was.

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber


      I agree about the Reformation. I’m not sure that the core of the Reformation was ever about completely ‘freeing the church from catholicism’… Luther’s 95 were nailed to the Wittenburg door in hopes that the subsequent dialog would inspire reform within the Catholic Church.

      I think that ‘the call to come outside the camp’ is fairly well articulated by Darren Hufford (http://freebelievers.com/about). I agree that It is a separate conversation from the reformation. Frank Viola’s work ‘Pagan Christianity’ is also stirring up its own furor of relevant dialog – which Driscoll has spoken up fairly vocally against.

      Anyway, I find the statement that Driscoll believes sanctification will be accomplished by church attendance to be a pretty bold leap from what he actually articulated… What makes you think that that is what he believes?

      But back to your main point. You finished your thought with the pretty sweeping statement that God has never been in institutional church systems… Something I’m genuinely wrestling with. Could you help me put some scope on your thought? How do you define ‘institution’? Do you mean to say that all institutional structures everywhere that purport to be designed for the enculturation of Christian values are in fact impostors to the Ecclesia?

      Also, I’m very interested in understanding the premise of your conclusions. Thanks!

      • http://www.reunionministries.net Brian Hennessy

        Hi Nathaniel,

        You’re right. I doubt Luther or the Reformers ever saw the total emancipation of the church from institutional Catholicism as their primary goal. Although Luther did preach the “priesthood of all believers. He just never followed through on it. (He couldn’t ad still keep the System going.)
        But I believe that was the goal of the Holy Spirit. That every revival in church history has been to awaken the body of Christ to come out of the institutional framework. A famework that will cause even the the most on-fire congregation to become in time some dead form of Roman Catholicism. Look how the Reformation withered and soon became the same oppressive system they had initially opposed. The only difference it was now decentralized, establised in Germany, London and Geneva. Just ask the anabaptists.

        Viola is right on with his Pagan Christianity, but it seems even he is now trying to institutionalize the home church.He still doesn’t see that unless you throw out all the leaven it will just come back and puff you up.

        Although Driscoll did not verbalize his formula on sanctification exactly as I said, what else could he mean? He was comparing his understanding of the role of the institutional church with Chan’s and he found it lacking as a means of sanctification. I’d have to rewatch to be more specific. But that was my take.

        As to my main point,yes, I believe that God never wanted us to start the institutional church system. That is religion, which was clearly a development from the teaching of the early church fathers. As Paul reminded us, “the just shall live by faith.” That means live by faith continuously. We have a predisposition towards religion – i.e.building church sanctuaries were we can find God on a regular basis, celebrating holy days (even though they are not in the Bible), establishing a professional clergy (though we are all priests) – because we really don’t want to walk by faith. We want to walk by sight. And a religion let’s us do that.

        It really is all about sanctification. Most Christian will get saved by faith, but then on the counsel fo godly men return to the religious formula of works rightousness to stay saved. Probably to attend the same dead church they attended all their lives that never brought them to faith in the first place.

        As for the churches, I believe God works all things together for our good, as He tells us in Rom. 8:28. And He is very patient and longsuffering. So He has been willing to walk us through this thing, waiting for the day when we would see the awful apostasy we have been apart of and come out to walk with Jesus once and for all. That day, I believe, has come. So He is quetly speaking the truth to those who have ears to hear. Sounds like He has gotten a hold of yours.

  • D Boone

    seems like there’s a big difference between “hitting the eject button” (Driscoll) and a sabbatical…

    • Susan

      Obviously there is a difference…I only wonder if there would have been more respect given, if this was Piper. Certainly Chan has asked all of these questions and more of himself, and had his own elders asking him, plus others. I guess that wasn’t enough.

  • Missy

    Francis Chan is way too subjective as he tries to find himself. He needs to focus on preaching the WORD and shepherding the flock of God…

  • D Boone

    A pastor hits the eject button on a mega-church and he’s beyond question? your beyond belief bro.

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      @D Boone
      Not sure what I said that gave you the impression that I think Francis Chan is beyond question – I’m thankful that questions are being asked here. I just happen to be impressed with Chan’s answers. I think the perspectives and concerns that Driscoll and Harris raised were fair, important and insightful.

    • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

      Doesn’t “hitting the eject button” imply “leaving in a moment of danger/panic.” Do you (and/or Driscoll) have the evidence to show that he made such a rash move? I only have evidence to the contrary through Chan’s writings and sermon when he left. Shouldn’t the first question have been, “was this departure akin to ‘hitting the eject button’?”

  • D Boone

    Oh yeah; I get it – you mean “eject” like when I’m done listening to a cd.. kinda “rash” don’t ya think?

    • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

      No, that’s not what I meant. I understood the saying to be more related to a pilot of a jet hitting the eject button, which is what I thought I implied. I am sorry if I did not. In popular usage, the Los Angeles times had an article dated 8/30/2010 in which the title is “Dodgers hit the eject button on Manny Ramirez.” The line beneath the title said, “The formerly beloved, now out-of-favor slugger will be shipped to the Chicago White Sox …” indicating that they got rid of him (read: hit the eject button) because he had lost favor with the orgainization. Perhaps it was not a rash decision, but it was not a pedestrian decision such as merely removing a CD from a player. I did not use the term initially, so I suppose now we can spend time defining what you mean by the term and what Driscoll means by it.

      You asked, “A pastor hits the eject button on a mega-church and he’s beyond question?” It appears that you saw “hitting the eject button” as something more serious than removing a CD from a player. If not, can you clarify why you would need to question a pastor for doing something so pedestrian?

  • D Boone

    I’m simply repeating Driscoll’s term. Not everyone would agree with an LA Times article for the context of “eject button” I’m sorry, but I do not agree with your contention that his leaving is beyond question, or “so pedestrian”(your words). Apparently Driscoll and Harris don’t either.

    • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

      You said: “I’m simply repeating Driscoll’s term.” No, you repeated it and then defined it as “like when I’m done listening to a cd.” You then, presumably indicated sarcastically, “kinda ‘rash’ don’t ya think?” As if “hitting the eject button” wasn’t a big deal. So which is it? A big deal or not?

  • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

    And it can surely be questioned. I’m just saying that if Chan “hit the eject button” like removing a CD from a player, why would that be questioned. If Chan is being accused of “hitting the eject button” like ejecting from a cockpit, then it is a big deal. My contention is that it does not appear (from his writing or his sermon when he left) that he did not leave in the latter sense.

    Perhaps I am simply wanting to respond to your sarcasm to “win” on Justin Taylor’s blog. For that I apologize to both you and Justin Taylor.

  • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

    Wait a minute. You said, “but I do not agree with your contention that his leaving is beyond question, or “so pedestrian”(your words). Apparently Driscoll and Harris don’t either.”

    That is not what I said. I said that you redefined “hitting the eject button” to mean something pedestrian. I was simply saying that I think rhetoric (hitting the eject button) would have been better qualified with the question, “did you hit the eject button.” But if it really does mean something as pedestrian as “removing a CD from a CD player,” then it wasn’t the rhetoric I am claiming it is.

  • http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com Kasey

    Hello, forgive me if I am being a bit over simplified, but I’d like to point a significant difference in what both Brian and Nathaniel said.

    Brian stated:
    “ …the institutional church system, …God isn’t it – and never was.” A statement with which I agree, God is not an institutional church.

    On the other hand, Nathaniel then questioned him with a bit of a misquote, “God has never been IN the institutional church systems” a statement I do not agree with.

    To me, the argument seems a lot like saying that the Ark of the Covenant was God. But it would have, of course, been wrong for the Israelites to have worshipped the actual chest where God said His spirit resided. But would anyone criticize the Israelites for building the ark in the first place?

    We cannot blame the church for becoming a dead institutional framework anymore than we could blame the golden calf for becoming a worshipped idol. In all cases where the bride of Christ has backslid into apostasy, we-the sinners are always where the blame rests. I think it’s a huge jump to make, to blame the local church for providing an easy way to live by sight rather than faith as you stated. (I could be mis-interpreting what you said, but it sounds like you are making the statement that the Christian doesn’t need a traditional church, if we ourselves are where Christ resides?)

    I definitely undestand your point that God did not want the church to be so splintered by doctrinal beliefs, but I also believe there is a clear role that our stick-and-mortar church plays in helping to teach, lead, and provide an outlet for service to those who are trying to be obedient to God. It serves a launching pad for followers of Christ to learn and serve (it does not sanctify us I agree). I’m sure you are not indicating that the actual institution of the church is the apostasy that “we have been apart of” and hopefully you mean the idea that we have been misled into thinking the old “if I sit in church, I’m saved” notion.

    And in response to your quote

    “Most Christian will get saved by faith, but then on the counsel fo godly men return to the religious formula of works rightousness to stay saved. Probably to attend the same dead church they attended all their lives that never brought them to faith in the first place.”

    I would venture to say that every Christian, (not just “most”) are saved by faith. And a typical Christian journey, including perhaps your own, starts with faith but almost always slips into some sort of legalism. Scripture is filled with instructions on what to do when it happens, ITS GOING TO HAPPEN! Do you feel like guarding against this path, is a bit unrealistic and maybe even naïve?

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      Hey Kasey!
      Definitely thankful that you caught that :)

      When brian made that statement:
      “… leave the institutional church system because God isn’t it – and never was.”

      I was aware of the specificity which He articulated – not that God could never be present in the midst of an institutional context – but rather that God Himself is not that context (as you aptly highlighted with your ‘ark of the covenant’ example). Nonetheless – Brian suggested leaving this context… (If your example were to continue running in parallel – that would be like ‘leaving the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant’)…

      Because Brian’s point was suggesting that Institutional systems should be left behind… I wanted to directly clarify wether Brian’s thesis was that Institutions and systems are not of God’s design. I could have been more clear in my question… but that is what I meant when I asked if Brian was indicating that “God has never been IN the institutional church systems” – I really meant to ask if Brian was suggesting that God has never been directing, designing or building institutional church systems. ‘IN’ in this case was meant to mean ‘executively invested’.

      Now that that is hopefully clearer –

      I really like how where you just led this conversation. You revealed the exact layers I’ve been trying to identify and question.

      Now it sounds like you’re asking the same questions I am… I’d love to hear Brian’s thoughts in response to yours :)

  • D Boone

    Apology accepted

    • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

      Thanks, D Boone.

      • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

        And I retract my apology to Justin Taylor. Just realized that I was posting on the GC blog, not JT’s blog!

  • Pingback: What’s Next for Francis Chan? A Conversation with Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris « Doulos()

  • http://www.reunionministries.net Brian Hennessy

    I see my remarks have left some confusion. First, let me say that my comment about the IC that “God was not it- and ever was” was a typo. I meant to say that God was not IN it – and never was.” So I apologize for that (and for misspelling your name Nathanael). But now that that is cleared up, let me explain further.

    I did mean, as you say Nathanael, that He has never been “directing, designing, or building institutional church systems.” As the Creator of all things, He certainly is not opposed to institutions and systems per se. They have their place in the secular world, for as we know all governmental authority “is from God” (Rom. 13;1). And the world couldn’t operate without them. But in the Church He has provided a better way. It’s not an “it.” It’s a He. Namely the Holy Spirit. It is clear to me that the only time God is “in” the IC is when we are in it. And when we leave the building, He leaves with us.

    I believe the IC is the golden calf. We have been told it is the way God wants us to worship Him, but it is not. In spite of all the good it does, and it does may good things, it is ultimately a distraction and an impediment from following Jesus. It becomes the “religious formula of works righteousness to stay saved” as you put it Kasey. It causes us to walk away from living by faith and to start living by law, which was the very thing Paul warned us against in Galatians. Even though he was primarily arguing against the Mosaic Law, law is law. Whether it is a Jewish religion or a Christian one.

    Again my ”thesis” if you want to call it that, is that Protestantism did not protest enough. But rather just continued the idolatrous Roman Catholic system without many of the bells and whistles. But if you give it enough time it will return to Mother because they are the same system.

    Jesus has called us to follow Him. That requires a walk of faith. Which is the opposite of religion. Any religion.

    Hope that at least clarify what I am saying, even if disagree. Have you seen Chan’s latest understanding? He is definitely waking up to this truth that the Church is man’s invention, not God’s. Check it out.


  • Pingback: Gospel of Wealth? « Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam()

  • http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com Kasey

    Brian and Nathanael, thanks- both great comments and clarification- I appreciate the responses.

    You have given me some interesting stuff to think about, specifically this: that the IC is a distraction from following Jesus, and as Nathanael mentioned the idea of leaving IC behind.

    I gather that this is the reason you feel Chan is leaving the church? I simply thought he was leaving because he felt his own popularity was getting in the way. I believe Paul did the very same thing when he spoke in 1 Cor 1:10–17…people began to be followers of him, and not Christ specifically.

    I’m in the middle of listening to Chan podcast you recommended, thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.reunionministries.net Brian Hennessy

    Watch the podcast to the end, Kasey. That’s when he really opens up about what he is now seeing.

  • http://www.reunionministries.net Brian Hennessy

    I should add, Kasey, that his popularity was just a symptom of the real problem. Which is the IC. The IC is designed to make the pastor the focus of attention. The whole building screams at you when you walk in, “It’s what’s up front that counts!” Granted the success of his book added to the problem, but it is the system that perpetuates it.

    • Patrick

      I think you’re looking too much into it. The church, ‘people of God’ can be organized in a way that is big or small, centralized or decentralized.

      There’s also nothign wrong with being a celebrity. The reason why people like Driscoll and Francis is because they are the few who will radically live and teach and abide in Christ, not because of an institutuionalized church. In other words, they are in one sense more like our parents who we can learn from as they model how we should live. They’re popular due to the likes of the internet more than how the ‘church’ is organized. People are attracted to people who represent what it means to be Christ like. Yes, it’s ultimately Christ, but even apostole Paul essentially said to Timothy, ‘to be like me.’

      • http://www.discoverthebible.com discoverthebible

        I want to preface this comment by saying that my intention is not to start a verbal fight. I actually have been wrestling with lately…

        Is it possible that the majority of Christians aren’t actually obeying Christ’s call? Is it possible that a majority of pastors are not shepherding according to Christ’s call?

  • J.Kru

    He gave away all the money from his multi-million dollar book, didn’t he?

  • Melissa Johnson

    Well, it was an interesting conversation, but I still don’t quite follow what the hoopla is all about. Then again, I may be one of the few who has no real clue who these guys are. All I know about Joshua Harris is that he wrote “I Kissed Dating Good-bye.” I’ve heard Mark Driscoll’s name and seen one video of his warning to parents about the whole “vampire worship” etc we’re allowing our kids to get into; and I have NO IDEA who Francis Chan is.
    I DO know I’m very leery of the whole megachurch culture. It all seems to be mostly numbers, numbers, numbers – the churches are “a mile wide but only an inch deep” when it comes to the maturity of it’s members. The concern seems to be all about making the gospel “relevant.” ? Since when does GOD need to be made relevant? He’s certainly powerful enough to make Himself known to those who are seeking, and the Word is a double-edged sword – it does not need to be made “relevant.” It’s never been irrelevant.
    Anyway…I am happy in our little teeny church with a pastor whom most people have never heard of. He preaches the WORD, lives the Word, and tries to help the rest of us do so. He knows our names, our kids’ names, who’s in what sports, who has what hobbies, what’s burdening our hearts, and he listens. He corrects us when he sees an issue popping up; he LOVES us…even when it hurts. He’s a SHEPHERD…I have a hard time figuring out how a pastor can shepherd a congregation when it gets to be a megachurch…trying to get to know your people would be a fulltime job, forget about trying to prepare a message.
    Well, whatever…like I said, I am not familiar with these guys, so have had a hard time following the hoopla here. They just assume that anyone watching this is going to be “in the know” – those of us who are not are left a bit in the dark!

  • http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com Kasey

    Brian, I finished watching the podcast and it adds a whole new light to the choice that Francis is making. I think I am going to re-watch the above interview again, in light of what he said.

    I am completely struck at–frankly, the audacity of him to stand in front of his own congregation and confess his struggle with the revelation that own church (and all ICs)may not be biblical. I really liked the sermon, and the way he explained exogesis vs. eisegesis. That type of “audacity” that is tremendously humbling and bold. Wow.

    I’m left with the question, What is the appropriate response to hearing something like this, for a congregation member?

    • Tara

      (btw- Brian is my Dad:) I also watched that video and was amazed at Chan’s honesty about his struggle with what he sees in the conflict of scripture not matching this thing we call “church”.

      The Lord led me out of the institutional system a number of years ago. (long story-but took a few years for me to believe Him) When I read the Bible I did not see Jesus(or Paul/Peter..) asking us to attend a “service” once a week and that also “He does not dwell in temples made with human hands”. If that was not in there, how could so many of us been led to think this was right? Yet as I hungered to follow after what the Lord wanted me to be spending my time on, I really began to see how much TIME the system was taking from my life. It was actually keeping me from all the “good things He has planned for us to do”. The head of the true church- Jesus has so much to do through us out in the world, not all hanging out together in our clubs/denominations. He has real stuff- like sharing Him with the lost, meeting financial needs of neigbors, praying with and ministering to people with illness, divorce, poverty, abuse…. but when all of our time and money is invested in the “buildings/system” it is actually robbing the Father of the purposes for His children. Yes a lot of good things are done by churches- but is it men doing “work” and asking God to bless it? I am so grateful for the freedom Jesus paid for us to have. Along the way He has perfectly connected me with so many of His followers that have encouraged, admonished, taught, and ministered to me along the way and I know He has done the same through me for others. That is truly how HIs body operates in unity, when each one is allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us to use the gifts He gives for others in this living, growing, temple…

  • http://www.reunionministries.net Brian Hennessy

    What’s the response? I would say any congregant who respects this man as his pastor should do exactly what he says.

    Go back to the Bible and read it prayerfully, asking the Lord to open his eyes to what He is trying to tell them through their pastor. THis revelation that Chan is tuning in on is as big as the Reformation. He is waking up to see that what we have called “church” for at least the last 1700 years is not what Jesus died for.

    That we have been following a man-made program of religious works that has distracted us from experiencing the true life of the body of Christ. He is telling us to stop playing church and listen to His voice! Because the day of the church system is about to end.

    If I were Chan I would stop all services and bring his whole congregation before the Lord in fasting and prayer, refusing to have one more meeting until they had heard from God.

    • http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com Kasey

      Brian, you just mentioned that Chan’s congregation should do exactly what he says. That seems a bit like following Chan, instead of God. Do you not agree? Chan is just as fallible as his congregation and could actually be wrong. However, I don’t think that Chan actually asked his congregation to stop church, on the contrary I think he asked them to change the way church is behaving. I think the confusion is that he, himself, is leaving for his own reasons that God has spoken to him about.

      • http://www.reunionministries.net Brian Hennessy

        Kasey – I do agree that Chan is fallible, as we all are. But he is also a sincere man of God who was obviously recognized as such, which is why he is their pastor. And he is saying DON’T listen to me, don’t follow me, but go to God and prayerfully read the Bible in a different way. Start looking at it without our traditional “Christian” glasses on, but for what it actually says. No sounder advice could any pastor give his congregation.

        Ironically, you make my point, though. Our officially-appointed leaders are only men. The ONLY one we can we really trust is the Holy Spirit. So why do we congregate around them? By doing so we are putting them on a pedestal, undermining our own priesthood and relegating ourselves to being lowly “laity.” Like the guy in Florida wanting to burn the Koran, these men often lead us to do all sorts of things that are unloving and scripturally inaccurate. But because “Pastor said…” we go along with it.

        I see you responded to Tara’s post also. I’ll let her answer for herself (she may be my daughter, but she is her own woman of God),but I will say this much:

        (a) I do not believe the Scriptures teach we have to worship Him one day in seven. That is the OT. He wants us to worship Him EVERYDAY – 24/7. “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Rom 12:1).

        And (b)- we have been given a Teacher to rely on, as I said earlier. He is not a man, but the Holy Spirit. “And as for you, the anointing which you receied from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you, but as His aninting teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him!” (1 Jon 2:27).Teachers may teach, but it is ony the voice of the Spirit that instructs our spirit with the truth.

        These are some of the things Chan is seeing and trying to get his congregation to discover also, and to meditate on.

        • http://www.reunionministries.net Brian Hennessy

          I realized I said “OT,” regarding the Sabbath day. I meant “OC.” Big difference.

  • http://www.changingthefaceofchristianity.com Kasey

    Hi Tara, it’s nice to see a dad and daugther interacting in the same forum, how cool!

    I hear what you are both saying, but I gotta disagree on some points. I’m not sure that the appropriate response for an entire congregation would be to walk out of church or refuse to meet again until we hear from God. I know my own propensity is not to worship God on my own outside of a weekly meeting place.

    1. If we leave a church setting, how many of us would you actively still worship God once a week, on a sabbath day? I think you would agree that we are asked to keep one day Holy for the purposes of remembering and worshipping God, but that your problem lies with how it’s being done. But I would like to ask further, what is your specific motive for leaving the institution of “the church”, is it because you didn’t believe in what was being taught in the message? Or is it something less deceitful? I would challenge us to evaluate the motive. Are we motivated by pure love to do God’s will, or is it to be unique, different, and “fight the powers that be” lest we just seem to be looking for a fight to fight? I cannot actually look at what the church is today and come to the conclusion that satan is actively working in the minds of believers to decieve them into meeting in a building, singing contemporary music, and hearing a message about Christ. I can see that once we are there, we need to be vigilant about CONTINUING to grow spiritually. Where is my heart when I’m in church? Am I too concerned about who is delivering the message (Francis Chan?) Am I overly annoyed that we are not singing my favorite worship song? Do I mentally critique the message? Am I just relying too much on being spoon fed? I still believe we should attend church, be it institutional or not, because apart from it….I am not able to encourage myself or keep the practice of staying in the word for long. The focus should lie in my corrective need to produce fruit through the Holy Spirit’s lead, not so much how someone else is telling me how to do it.

    2. Also, there are people that work for a living outside of the church to satisfy secular needs that we have as well. We have a need to rely on some sort of teacher, this is why we are gifted differently… Where would a grocery manager with 3 children who works 45 hours a week to satisfy the needs of his own family- go if he could not actively serve God day to day by feeding the poor in Botswana?

    3. The church is ill…but I’m not sure the response is “leave it.” Marriage is also an instituion that has become a complete failure in many people’s eyes, but does that mean we should walk away from it as a society? You might not find that Jesus, Peter, or Paul spoke on the importance of attending a “service” but I don’t believe they spoke on how we enter into marriage either, meaning the actual ceremony. Is it wrong that we can only be joined in marriage by an ordained official? Why can’t I be married by my own father, who is not ordained to anything? My point being that there are some things that are not explicitly defined by scripture, because they differ depending on the day in age, the person, and several other factors. I think the things that we are asked to be obedient to are cleary defined by God as DO or DON’T, and we shouldn’t expect that we are going to have to guess about anything that we feel is not Biblical.

    4. Following up on the last point is this…there is a history of devoted men of God, who have not ever given rise to a movement of leaving the institutional church. I would have to believe that if God was asking us to do something as critical as this, that we would hear the voice from many different sources to validate the truth of the message.

    Just like you may not see that it says in scripture to meet in a service that looks like our current day church, I also do not see “do not congregate in a man made church”.

  • Tara

    yes- I am blessed to have a huge family who loves the Lord and my Dad who loves to blog :) I would just encourage you to keep looking deeply at this issue and seek the Lord’s will on how you are to follow Him. In response to a few of your statements….
    1. Contrary to what you are suggesting :) actually now that I do not attend a weekly service/church building, I actually spend more time worshipping the Lord- where ever I am, in my car, taking a walk, praying with other believers as I meet them for coffee or a meal, spending time in His word- alone or with others. Yes- I left the institutional church because I see it as the system of Babylon that Jesus clearly describes in Revelation 17 & 18. It is the harlot that has been enticing His bride for 1700 years and when I understood that the roots are pagan and of the enemy, I could no longer participate in being unfaithful to Jesus.
    Your statement of saying you need to go to church because you are not able to encourage yourself or stay in the Word for too long emphasises my point- you are depending on the system to “keep you in line” instead of trusting(the other word for faith) in our Lord Jesus and HIs Holy Spirit who dwells INSIDE you to lead, guide, direct, teach, encourage and connect you to other parts of His body. Jesus wants to be our ONLY source, He is jealous for that position in our lives. ANd the coming destruction to the harlot who has decieved so many of His own is proof of His righteous jealousy.

    2.I do not understand what you are saying about the grocery man- could you explain that? Yes, we are all gifted by the Hold SPirit and are able to use them anywhere we are with other people, at my job in a dentist office, with my cousins at a Bible study in one of their homes- it does not have to be in a special brick building with a cross on top to be considered using a spiritual gift. (sorry-not sure if that was what you meant in that point?)

    3. Marriage is an institution the Lord created- He uses it to show us the picture of how He desires us to be with Him, so no we should not leave that. But the intitutional church is NOT something He created. What He did create is this: “Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone in whom the whole building is growing into a holy temple in the Lord: in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God IN THE SPIRIT” (Eph 2:20-22) It has nothing to do with brick and mortar- in fact read Jesus’ words about the temple system and what He allowed to happen in 70 AD- “not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” Matt24:2 As long as we are truting in this false system, we can not be living by faith trusting our Lord to be the One building us.
    4. In almost every century there have been people who have come forth with new revelation from the Lord for the times they are in- God has a perfect plan for how this is all going to end up and each generation of people who love and follow Him have been used according to His purposes. I choose to follow His lead, even if it means going against popular opinion because He warned us that life following Him would be that way.

    I think it is awesome, Casey that you are willing to even to talk about this topic. The most important thing each of us can do is to seek the Lord for His will and direction in our lives- and not ever settle for doing things just because this is how it has always been done. I want to be counted in the cloud of witnesses of Abraham, Jacob, Elijah, Moses, Rahab, Ruth, John the Baptist, Mary, Peter, Paul……. who all left the “normal” way of doing things to follow our God. May He lead you and bless you in your search for the true church.

    • Steve

      Perhaps a re-reading of Acts 2:42-47 along with Heb.10:23-25 and couple that with Mt.16:18 would give you a biblical view of who and what the church is. Yes it is a community of believers BUT they were called out and did in fact meet together in an assembly of which we are called “not to forsake.” And, most if not all of Paul’s letters were written to “the church at…” which had elders as leaders appointed by him. Food for thought I hope!

      • Tara

        Thanks for the food for thought – I went back to re-read the verses you mentioned and I actually love that you chose those verses because that is exactly the description of the True church that I love and follow. The fellowshipping,sharing, encouraging, meeting together is all about “doing life together” with other believers. Eating, singing, talking, praying, giving each other money or other needs- being a family. That is how I live with the believers I know and love in my “community”- some live in other states, some live in my town and neighborhood, some are my biological relatives, some are my co-workers but I love and care for them beacuse we ARE the church. I look to a number of believers I know as “elders” in the faith because they have been walking with the LOrd longer than I. I respect their leadership as given by the Lord, and not because they have a degree from a seminary.(THere are no seminaries mentioned in the Bible- remember that the Lord is the one who taught the apostles and His SPirit teaches us) And I don’t go any place on Sunday mornings- which actually is the Biblical view of the living church that Jesus, the head and chief cornerstone is building. :)DOn’t get stuck looking at scripture through the lenses we are so used to – ask the Holy Spirit to show you HIS Truth as you read the scriptures. Jesus died so we could follow Him- not the traditions we have been brought up to THINK are His.
        In Him, Tara

  • Pingback: random ruminations | Teapot Theology()

  • http://www.jcjax.com vic cuccia

    I would love to see a very prominent and respected pastor sit down and question Driscoll this same way. I wonder if he would respond with the same humility that Francis responds with? “God gives grace to the humble and opposes the proud”.

    I have read a lot of what Chan has written and listened to many of his messages. I don’t get the sense in any way that he is preaching a theology of poverty. For Josh Harris and Driscoll to imply that this message of simplicity can be as harmful as the message of entitlement and prosperity that is plaguing the church in America today, is astounding to me.

    We certainly have enough ego centered, personality driven churches. Don’t worry guys, there will always be a market for that. However to pursue Christ in such a way that says “no” to this prosperity or prosperity light message that has become so widely accepted in America and to challenge the church, its members and its leaders to a life of love and sacrifice, is a rare commodity.

    How about we allow God to do what He is obviously doing in, through and with Francis Chan and keep our focus on making sure that our own lives and ministries are reflecting true Biblical Christianity?

  • Tara

    Vic- Extremely well said!It is an exciting time we are living in as the end of this age draws to a close. Our only hope of overcoming is to draw closer to Jesus, stay in His Word and follow the voice of HIS Spirit, not the many voices which are clamoring for attention to themselves which sadly seems to be the majority of “public Christianity”. Chan is truly a rare follower of Jesus in that arena.

  • BB(:

    I’m a new Christian. I understand Doug’s wisdom that all this hype is the Christian version of People Magazine. I agree with Tara’s kind comment that the Holy Spirit is our teacher, not men, so ultimately “tweaking” the “institutionalized church” is not a good repeat-repeat-repeat option for Chan. I hear peaceful Nathaniel’s assertion to kind Tara that the questioning was not aggressiveness… to the guys who were wondering, by Driscoll’s comment to “hit the eject button”,I say he likely meant to “bail-out on your flock entrusted to you, leaving them to possibly crash and burn”, because I know Driscoll to fiercely and aggressively love the flock God has entrusted to him…so yes, it was a very aggressive question. And I believe good Brian H. that the reformation never fully freed us from Catholicism (or sin) and also hear the guy who asserted we gotta avoid worshiping the ark of the covenant (religion) and the other joyful guy who said that Driscoll uses the “cuckoo for cocoa puffs” cutesy soundbite too glibly. Who lovingly mentioned that yesterday 60,000 people died from poverty and today 60,000 more and tomorrow 60,000 more, half of them children, and the majority didn’t know their Savior? CHAN DID. If Chan (or Driscoll) desired to abandon their $10,000 or $20,000 dollar speaking engagements to get way way down closer to THESE IMAGE BEARERS, and the Spirit moved them to (responsibly) exit their lucrative American mega churches, then I am certain our Father would make provision, as the other gentle man said, for that ship to either mercifully sink (as in the case where a superstar pastor was at the helm) or to remain afloat and prosper (as in the case where Lord Jesus is at the helm). I am also certain, that in either case, many qualified replacements eagerly wait in line for a crack at that spotlight of “famous servitude”. So is Chan faithful then when he says that with a spirit of love he throws aside wealth to pursue this new calling? I remind you of the comment made by the fellow who humbly mentioned that he was disinclined to attend church without the “Institution” there to motivate him. Did Jesus ask us to attend church or to be church and have His law of love written on our hearts? And, am I blind?..I can’t seem to find in God’s Word mention of anything resembling the “IC” you all speak of except where it is chastised. Fully lacking self-control of my own I am fully aware that my wandering heart desires things more that the giver of those things. Yes, sometimes I want to put things into the shrine of my heart, into my spirit, and worship them- notGOD…and what does it say about my faith then, if when I see another believer, like Chan, faithfully discard or “lose” those things (money-mega church-comfort-fame) or “lose himself” and I resent him for doing so, rather than to encourage and give thanks for and pray for him?

  • Pingback: What Francis Chan Said at Desiring God()

  • http://strugglingpastors.com JS

    I think the questions asked here were fair and Pastor Francis didn’t try to brush them off with stock answers. With his recent announcement of going to Asia, it’s exciting to see what the Spirit will do with Him next.

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      Definitely agree with you!

  • CM

    I used to attend Cornerstone and Francis is definitely a gifted speaker. But I have to say that his gift is speaking not pastoring. He’s even said on stage that he is not a people person and he doesn’t like to counsel or talk one on one. Also, he was never around, he had speaking engagements pretty much every week (Monday-Friday and even some weekends) and I think this example trickled down to the pastors/elders, several who also have second jobs. So maybe it’s good that he left.

  • Jeff G

    Obviously posting pretty late, but I did have a relevant thought. When I heard that Piper was taking the sabbatical (as someone mentioned above), and had even cited being troubled by the dreaded “celebrity” status that people were foisting upon him, the first thing that came to mind was, “I hope John Piper’s not thinking about doing what Francis Chan did!”

    It was one of the reasons I wanted to attend the DG conference (which I did, for the first time) — as at least a private and personal show of support for Piper’s ministry which I believe is so valuable to the Church. Not Piper himself as such, as he were some sort of superstar or celebrity by virtue of his persona or mystique, but rather the content of his ministry. (Would that many more would take up and likewise passionately proclaim.)

    This was my thinking — if God has given someone such a God-honoring Christ-centered message, that brings vital health and strength to the whole Church, they don’t have the personal prerogative to just set it aside for the sake of their own private devotion or spiritual (let alone “social”) pursuit. Of course if God calls any of these guys to “sell all” (including their ministry) and become mendicants like St. Francis (or whatever), then they need to obey His call and we all need to unequivocally support them. Fear of one’s possible pride, though, and the fact that there are so many glaring material needs and injustices in the world, are not the same as a call of God.

    Like Calvin and Augustine, both of whom wanted to pursue personal devotion (in their case, in the monastery or study), sometimes the Church needs the equipping ministry of those men that God has given to the Church for precisely that purpose (Eph 4:11ff), more than they need to “forsake all” for some more “humble” personal path. Hopefully, properly-equipped believers will serve God multiplied times more than those men could through their own personal lives alone.

    I don’t feel the same way about Francis Chan as I do about Piper. I think most of Chan’s message fits well with his decision to step down and work more directly with the poor, and what he is doing, and will do, will help reinforce this message when he or others preach it. Many of us would do very well to love and care about people more, the way Francis Chan both exhorts and practices.

    But the gospel is always the primary thing. The gospel not only saves, but transforms entire cultures. Not so wealth redistribution. The right reason to forsake all, is NOT (like the aforementioned St. Francis, not a good example to follow) just to be free FROM those things, but to be free TO the particular service to which God has called you (and for which those things represent a hindrance).

    • http://nategerber.com Nathanael Gerber

      Here at the Lausanne congress today (www.lausanne.org) John Piper shared a powerful exposition of Ephesians 3. It was excellent, and I truly appreciated your sentiment.

      I am compelled to believe that the gospel transforms whole cultures, because the gospel binds us to justice. We must contend by faith for the fulness of God’s image and creativity to be revealed and restored in the earth. This love of God’s kingdom vision for the whole world calls us away from every material preoccupation – emboldening and enlivening us to extend our hearts across every barrier with humility, in honor of the dignity and beauty of God’s image bearers – Mankind.

      With this in mind, I would suggest that wealth redistribution must frequently play a strategic role in community transformation and systemic change.

  • D Boone

    For N. Gerber:

    “With this in mind, I would suggest that wealth redistribution must frequently play a strategic role in community transformation and systemic change.”

    A truly frightning quote from Mr. Gerber on many levels,
    So much for the gospel …

  • Jeff G

    Indeed disturbing.

    The gospel transforms cultures because, as Carson had said, it entails (that is, brings along with its being preached, received, and practiced) increasing love and good works on the part of believers. Marxism (to any degree or in any “flavor”) is no gospel, nor even (in my view) an acceptable Biblical understanding of the role of government. Its materialism is contrary to Biblical values. Its class envy is an unredeemable evil (that is, unlike emotions such as fear and anger, there is no “good version” of envy). And its statism necessarily represents a form of idolatry (which is generally very overt, as should be evident to even the casual student of history).

    N. Gerber’s comment represents the error I referenced in another thread ( http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/tgc/2010/10/18/asks-carson-justice-evangelism/#comment-6250 ):

    • Jeff G

      (quote missed)

      It’s probably no accident that many, even Christians, directly involved (as you said) in “social justice” will quickly turn to the State as champion of this cause, and seek to grant it more and more power for the “greater good” (i.e., the “social justice” end justifies the “statist” means).

  • D Boone

    Acts is a historical narrative; not an imperative. The gospel is indicative; an announcement of what Christ has accomplished for us and is appropriated by faith – we cannot “live” the gospel anymore than we could save ourselves.

    • http://unconsciousstreaming.wordpress.com/ Alex

      You’re taking off on a tangent.
      My point was that it seemed that Driscoll was calling Chan and not understanding how Chan’s pursuit of simplicity was a good thing.
      The Gospel message is simple.
      The Medium by which the message is conveyed often overcomplicates things and alters the message massively.
      A Megachurch medium can (not always, but it has more propensity) to appeal to consumer Christians, to people who enjoy being ‘spoon fed’ as opposed to studying deeply themselves and to appeal to people that like the setup of ‘get your coffee in the foyer, have a cinema-style seat and enjoy the entertainment’. I’m not saying they are all like that, I’m not saying that isn’t a valid step in the journey towards God, but if you get stuck there, the medium of the megachurch, in the way things are done for your comfort, the ‘all about you’ subliminal message, though clearly not something that was designed that way, just a by-product of making it nice for everyone, detracts from the real message that it’s all about God and we are just extras.
      I fail to see what Chan has done and how he has done it (listen to the whole back catalogue of his podcasts from cornerstone, it’s all leading to this point) can be a bad thing. It has got people talking about getting back to the roots of what church is for and questioning why and what we do. That’s a good thing because it turns our focus back on God, the important bit!

  • J.Kru

    If we can’t live the Gospel, how can we obey it?

  • D Boone

    the gospel is a proclamation of God fufilling his old testament promises through Christ (life, death, resurrection) The gospel is essentially “what has been done” and it’s proclamation is in the indicative.
    We are called to repent and appropriate this work of Christ through Spirit wrought Faith … “repent and believe”; this call or demand being a biblical imperative. The gospel itself can only be addressed to people as an indicative, for it is done for them and is past, finished and perfect.

  • J.Kru

    1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not

    obey the gospel of God?

  • D Boone

    1Pet 4:17 offers a rhetorical ques. re: those outside the covenant community of God, That is, since even those w/in the community will be judged, certainly those outside the community will be judged as well. As a result, those who suffer in the church must not turn away from God. Only continued “faithfulness” to the Gospel – even in the midst of suffering – will be rewarded.
    The greek here – apeitheo – “disobedience through unbelief”; refers more to inward attitude which is outwardly expressed.

  • D Boone

    For J. Kru
    It would be helpful to respond (as I have) to each others points. Your response to my point below is?

    the gospel is a proclamation of God fufilling his old testament promises through Christ (life, death, resurrection) The gospel is essentially “what has been done” and it’s proclamation is in the indicative.
    We are called to repent and appropriate this work of Christ through Spirit wrought Faith … “repent and believe”; this call or demand being a biblical imperative. The gospel itself can only be addressed to people as an indicative, for it is done for them and is past, finished and perfect.

  • D Boone

    my points relate to your comments about “living the gospel”, did you read them? otherwise I don’t understand your “tangential” reference. I actually agree with your point on the marketing of the church, and the reality that it is “all about God, and we are just extras” (your words)
    That’s the point of the gospel too – Christ did it, it’s all outside of us, and we appropriate it by faith. His work is reckoned to us when we trust him in faith. By definition, we can’t live this out. If we could, we would not need a savior (who did live it out) We follow the imperatives of God once we believe, but we do this imperfectly in this life as a war rages between our flesh and the indwelling spirit (Rom 7, Gal 5) until we are glorified with Christ in the life to come.

    • http://unconsciousstreaming.wordpress.com/ Alex

      Yeah, maybe I should have said ‘living to display the gospel’.

      By the way I live, I attempt to display the gospel (good news of Jesus) as my joyful response to the incredible saving work that Christ has achieved. That also brings responsibilities, one of which is to do my best to try not to be a hypocrite as much as that is at all possible!

      So I believe I can live a life that is Good News and a life that speaks out Good News. Is that not living the Gospel?

      Clearly not in a ‘my life will justify me before God’ kind of way, but in a ‘why would I ever want to live any differently having been so changed by God’s spirit at work within me’.

      To look at it purely and only as an intellectual appropriation to a belief or set of doctrines is surely to miss a huge portion of what it’s all about.

      If all we are doing is biding time waiting for Christ to come again, then we are disengaged with the world and therefore not actually taking part in the continual redeeming, restoring and renewing that God wants to achieve through us.

      That’s what I was referring to when I said ‘living the gospel’ hopefully that clears up any misunderstanding?

  • http://www.faithbarista.com Bonnie Gray | Faith Barista

    That was a great discussion.

    The gem was this when Mark said:

    “Poverty theology is same error as prosperity theology– that holiness comes from have or have not, not who is.”

    It is also true that we can get wrapped up into the what we’re doing rather than who we are becoming.

    • http://plantingjesus.blogspot.com Burly

      That’s definitiely a gem as a stand alone statement. Because it’s true. In context as a thinly veiled accusation, it was pretty lame.

    • http://unconsciousstreaming.wordpress.com/ Alex

      How about the theology of ‘enough’ which is what I think Chan is really pursuing.

  • http://www.kelybreez.com kelybreez

    Why not start over every few years? It raises up new leaders when we get out of the way. Paul did it again and again and again.

  • http://www.robertalangella.com Roberta

    Francis Chan says he wants to follow Christ and live a life that is more BIBLICAL yet he speaks at Pastors Conferences where the leadership is corrupt? Financial and spiritual abuse run rampant. A church where the pastor uses church maintenance workers to renovate his private 3.8 Million Dollar home while being paid by the church. That money comes from tithes. Is that who Francis Chan wants to be associated with? A pastor who has zero accountability? A pastor who used an ex choir members social security number to collect $33,000 in royalties from Warner Brothers Records without that member knowing? A pastor who lied in his new book You Were Made For More and was forced to remove a story? See for yourself. The Evidence is overwhelming. When will church leaders hold other church leaders accountable? When will the church hold the church accountable? You can write this off as a crazy blogger. But you can check to see if these things are true by going to http://www.robertalangella.com.

    • http://unconsciousstreaming.wordpress.com/ Alex

      Do you believe in ‘guilt by association’? If so then everyone is condemned.

  • Moe Bergeron

    Dear Roberta, If that is your real name. How do you dare malign Chan or any other brother or sister in Christ simply because they at one time or another share God’s Word at such and such a venue? Was Jesus guilty through simple association? Please, Bring your case to the legal system and do not malign the character of others in the manner that you have.

  • Pingback: Radical Christianity? | Redeemedography()

  • Pingback: How the Gospel Makes Us Generous and Content with Our Money – The Gospel Coalition Blog()

  • Pingback: How the Gospel Makes Us Generous and Content With Our Money « Hope Christian Community Foundation()

  • Jeff

    Let’s be honest here, most pastors don’t have the balls to do what Francis did. Mark’s first question, “Who’s going to preach?” says more about where the current state of the church is now. We value preaching way over discipling people! I think what Francis did can be the new standard of achievement in being a pastor. Instead of pursuing to get to the place of where pastors become celebrities, and let’s be honest…that is what it is…we should pursue replacing ourselves with those we have invested in to do the job. Mark’s question just shows that he isn’t about replacing himself as much as he is about making his own kingdom a success. Have the balls to be about something different!

    • http://blog.alexgreen.co.uk Alex


  • matismele

    With all due respect. All I hear from Francis Chan is “me” and not so much”Jesus”. Isn’t Being a fully devoted follower of Jesus all about dying to ourselves (Luke 9:23-24 NIV)? Did Jesus say, “You know what God, I’ve been living a good life as a carpenter and I have been making 12 disciples for about three years now. I think it’s time for me to abandon my call and not go to the cross, in order to pursue my own desires and figure out what it means to live life according to the scriptures”? No, he did not. In fact the scripture says that Jesus, “humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philipians 2:8

    Jesus denied himself for our sake out of obedience to our Heavenly Father. (John 12:24, Matthew 26:39)

  • Pingback: Direction « simonparksays()

  • Pingback: Making Disciples: Is “Multiply” Adding to the Gospel? « bloggingmakesperfect()

  • Pingback: The “Radical Gap” | TheStuffedOtter()