Neither Super Nor Natural?
I’m enjoying teaching a class based on Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love on Wednesday nights. I’m using short clips (many of which I’ve edited to make a little shorter) of him teaching on the material. OK, I didn’t love the fact that I spent $25 buying the teaching DVD only to discover that most of it is available on YouTube for free. And I’m not sure I like how much some of my class rave over how great he is. (Last week there was an audible groan when I announced we’d run out of time and wouldn’t have time for Chan’s video). Chan was pastor of Cornerstone Church, a megachurch in Simi Valley California, until he walked away last year to travel in China working with persecuted Christians and orphans. With life change as background, it is easy to see where this article. Here's some of the article; you can read the full article here.
Church today has become predictable, says bestselling author and influential preacher Francis Chan. "You go to a building, someone gives you a bulletin, you sit in a chair, you sing a few songs, a guy delivers maybe a polished message, maybe not, someone sings a solo, you go home," Chan says in his latest "BASIC" video.
The Crazy Love author is concerned about the big disconnect between what the church looks like today and what it looked like 2,000 years ago. "When you read the New Testament, you see the Holy Spirit was supposed to change everything so that this gathering of people who call themselves Christians had this supernatural element about them," Chan explains in the video series, produced by Flannel…
Chan observes what church looks like today and what it's supposed to look like, according to the Bible. "I heard one person say the church nowadays is neither super nor natural," he says. "Everything is predictable and everything is expected."
"There's a truth to that," he admits. "I feel bad about it. Being around a church culture, even leading a gathering of believers, I've gotten pretty good at predicting what's going to happen in a church service. Was that the way it was supposed to happen?"
"When Jesus said this power (of the Holy Spirit) would come upon you, it really did come upon them and they were powerful beings (Jesus' disciples)," Chan points out. "Why is it that in the church so many people are weak or defeated or we get so insecure because we look at ourselves rather than God? It doesn't make sense."
Though Christians believe in an almighty and all powerful God who places His spirit in believers, the response among His people today is: "Hi, welcome to church. Here's your bulletin. We'll get you out in an hour. Come back next week. I mean, really? Is that all God intended for us?"
Neither SUPER nor NATURAL? I have felt the same frustration he expresses here. I grew up in a church that said it was serious about restoring the New Testament church (and that said it was the only church interesting in restoring the New Testament church). But what we talked about was restoring the forms and formats of “the ancient order." But even as we stressed a cappella church music and the place of baptism in the conversion process (which Chan does a good job in this sermon clip and this clip from his Crazy Love series), I never remember hearing too much about the the radical life of New Testament Christianity. I mean, I grew up in a church that claimed to restore the church of the book of Acts but NEVER even mentioned the Holy Spirit? Really?
So I’m looking forward to Chan’s new series “BASIC.” I'm sure that I won’t agree with everything he will say (but then I don’t always agree with everything that I say). And I'm sure he’ll beat me up even better than he did in Crazy Love. May God help us to be more eloquent at living out His call to be His church in the world today.