Disclaimer: You probably should listen to at least the first 20 minutes of this message to fully understand what I am getting at.
Years ago, when I heard that Francis Chan left the church that he had started and pastored for 16 years, it didn’t make sense to me and I sinfully judged him for it.
Today, when I listen to messages like this one, I completely resonate with him and am thankful for the courage God has given him to speak out. It’s not an easy road to stand up and question ‘the way things have always been done’. You’ve likely noticed that if you’ve ever had the courage to try.
I know my husband and I tried a few times. It didn’t ever seem to go so well, either because we weren’t so good at communicating or the person we were talking to wasn’t so good at receiving-more than likely a combination of the two. The most common response? A charge of idealism. “Oh, the church will never be like that–you’re too idealistic!”
You know what? I am ok with idealism when it comes to the church. Do we Christians make that statement in a pejorative way in any other area of life? Do we say things like-
“Well, I know the Bible says I should be faithful to my spouse, but that’s too idealistic. That would be really hard, so let’s not aim for that”? NO! We don’t say those things. The only area that I can think of the accusation of idealism being tossed out (at least in my hearing) is when it concerns what the church should look like in practice. I read the book of Acts and other places in the New Testament and see a church that, for the most part, doesn’t look like the church in the US. We make all sorts of excuses for why that’s the case. Even in extremely Biblical and conservative churches. Why is that? Why have we given up and given over? “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16 Do these verses scare you? They put the fear of God in me!
I love the Church! Yet, I yearn for a modern church that throws off the worldliness that has crept inside. One that returns to its first love. May it be so, Lord. Send your Spirit to renew and revive.
And to Francis Chan, if you should so happen to read this the next time you Google your name and read all the way through to page 300,011-please forgive me for sinfully judging you. I was wrong. I didn’t know the whole story of what God’s been doing in your heart. I understand now. May God bless your ministry.