Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Francis Chan’


I woke up this morning thinking about my new sermon series and text. I begin a series on Philippians called Partners in the Gospel with the first two verses. Theoretically I’ve begun this series by looking at Acts 16 for the last four weeks to see the beginning of the church in Philippi through the ministry of Paul and Silas (and Timothy).

Image result for huddleJesus made each of those three men His partners in the gospel. He also made them one another’s partner for the gospel. We see Jesus then forming a partnership with Lydia and the jailer. These new Christians are not only partners with the church planting team, but one another particularly as Paul & Silas are shown the door by the city leaders.

I’ll be exploring this theme of being partners with Jesus and one another for the gospel in Tucson.

The resources I’ll be using are on the shorter side of things. The Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series I’ve grown to appreciate recently does not have a volume on Philippians. I almost picked up the Baker Exegetical Commentary by Moises Silva.

Rather than get the larger, more technical Ralph Martin volume on Philippians in the Word Biblical Commentary Series, I decided to settle for his volume in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series. It should hit the highlights of his more technical commentary.

I like the practical nature of the Let’s Study series. The Philippians volume is written by Sinclair Ferguson. It only makes sense that I use that one.

I’ve had the D.A. Carson volume Basics for Believers: An Exposition of Philippians collecting dust for awhile. Time to read it.

I often use the Bible Speaks Today Series, and this will be no exception. Alec Motyer is the author of The Message of Philippians.

Lately I’ve enjoyed some of the volumes in the Focus on the Bible Series, so I’ll be reading David Chapman’s volume on Philippians.

For the Dead Guys, I’ll be reading Calvin’s Commentary on Philippians.

I will be trying a new series called Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Philippians. The authors are Tony Merida and Francis Chan. Merida, along with David Platt and Daniel Akin, is a series editor. I’m not sure if Chan is a plus or a minus at this point. But I want to make sure I’m keeping the focus on Jesus.

It sure sounds like a lot of reading but none of these books is big. If I don’t find particular volumes helpful, I can drop them easily. Overall, I’m looking forward to Philippians. I hope it will be encouraging, challenging and keep pointing people to Jesus, our partner in the gospel.

Read Full Post »


In his newest book, worship leader and song writer Matt Redman, uses a Mirror Ball as a metaphor for the main message of the book.  The mirror ball is not a source of light, but does reflect light so that light is sent into many different directions and many different places.  The glory of God in the gospel is like light (2 Cor. 4) which transforms us (2 Cor. 3).  This is essentially what the book is about.

Worship doesn’t start with you.  It begins and ends with a merciful, majestic, and powerful God.”

When most of us think about worship, we think about worship services, songs, prayers and the like.  But Matt rightly (biblically) expands that notion to all of life.  The words translated worship usually mean service or to pay homage to someone.  You serve the one you worship.  His point is about integrity of life.  We can sing and wave our hands all you want, but if you live the rest of your time as if God didn’t exist you are not a worshiper of God.

“The true test of our passion for God will always be our lives. … It involves a life laid down in service and adoration.  The concrete evidence of whether our worship has lived or died in us will always be our lives.”

(more…)

Read Full Post »


This post will look at the third and last position discussed in Baptism: Three Views.  First, Dr. Bruce Ware used a (truncated) systematic theological approach to defend believers’ baptism.  Then Dr. Sinclair Ferguson used a biblical theological approach to defend infant baptism.  Now Dr. Anthony Lane will use a historical theology approach to defend what he called the dual practice approach.

Here is not what he means- most Reformed paedobaptist churches do not bind the consciences of credobaptist members.  They do not exercise church discipline for not practicing the doctrine of the church.  Most often such members are not eligible for office, however.  Some baptist churches also recognize the infant baptism of members, refusing to bind their consciences.  Those members often are not permitted to hold office due to their divergent views.  This is not “dual practice” per se, but extending grace to those who differ on a non-essential.

Dual Practice occurs in denominations, or congregations, that have no official practice but allow freedom to parents on the issue of whether or not to baptize or dedicate their children.  When I was between pastoral calls, I was open to considering the Evangelical Free Church since they were considering removing pre-milennialism from their statement of faith.  But they eventually decided to keep that, ruling me out.  Congregations there are free to practice each according to the theology of the pastor & lay leaders.  In the Evangelical Covenant, mentioned by Ware, they officially practice both based on the desire/convictions of the parents.  Ware was opposed to this, seeing it as binding his conscience.  As a good Southern Baptist, he has no problem binding the conscience of others forcing them to be baptized if they want to become members.  My mother-in-law was forced to do this to join an independent Baptist church. So his comments come across to me as hypocritical.

Back to Lane’s views.  He states that Marcel’s defense of infant baptism (which was very helpful to me) led him into believers’ baptism.  And then Beasley-Murray’s book led him into dual practice despite the author’s intention.  He sounds to me to be a contrarian.  The NT texts, he says, teach a converts’ baptism.  Baptism, in his view, is part of the conversion process and that there is not true conversion without it.  He believes the NT is silent on the issue of infants, and believes that this could be part of a biblical practice of converts’ baptism.  He thinks that some household baptisms involved infants, but this is not conclusive.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


Radical by David Platt is one of the books that has been enjoying lots of word of mouth among American Calvinists (mainly neo-Calvinists) since its release.  When I had the opportunity to get a review copy, I took it.  I wanted to read it to see what the buzz was about, and the topic interests me.

“I am convinced that we as Christ followers in American churches have embraced values and ideas that are not only unbiblical but that actually contradict the gospel we claim to believe.”

Years ago, I preached my Advent series from Revelation.  One of those sermons was on the dual strategies of the Evil One to destroy the church.  The Beast represents governments that persecute the church.  The Prostitute represents seduction, as the world seduces the church such that she slowly becomes like the world.  In some countries the church experiences persecution, but here in America we face the Seductress.  It goes without saying that the message was not well received by some.  So, that being said, I get what David Platt is trying to say in his book.

This is not a new subject.  Michael Horton has written numerous books on the subject of how American Christianity has been warped by American values (instead of the influence going the other way).  People like Ron Sider, Francis Chan and a host of others have tackled this subject in the 25 years since Christ rescued me.  In fact, this book is part Horton (he stresses some theological ideas contrary to American thought- Calvinism), part Francis Chan (a ‘radical’ approach) and part Ron Sider (“pack your bags, we’re going on a guilt trip).  Which makes this a difficult book to review.

“A command for us to be gospel-living, gospel-speaking people at every moment and in every context where we find ourselves.”

Radical is not as good as the hype nor as bad as most (poorly informed) critics make it out to be.  But let me start with some good things, because there are things I appreciate about the book.  There are things the American Church needs to reckon with regarding how we’ve been seduced by our corner of the world.

Read Full Post »


Whenever you read an insanely popular book, there are some traps and snares along the way.  The first of which is the insane popularity of the book.  That can create enormous expectations of the book.  As a result, your expectations are unrealistic.  The other side of that coin is really annoying those who love the book.  It could be as simple as not buying into the hype, or as serious as recognizing huge theological problems (like in Velvet Elvis or The Shack).  Either way, those who have been (rightly or wrongly) impacted by the book will be mad at you.

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God is one of those insanely popular books.  Francis Chan became a well-known pastor as a result of this book.  As a result, I had very high expectations for this book.  It didn’t meet those expectations (that does not mean it is a bad book).  On the positive side, it was not dripping with heresy like either Velvet Elvis or The Shack.

Books of this sort are to be both practical and theological.  John Frame rightly, I think, notes that you haven’t really understood a doctrine until you apply it (or at least begin to).  Each book has its own blend of them.  Some are heavy on the practical, and some are heavy on the theological.  Sadly, some are so far skewed as to be no good to the soul.

Chan’s book, which I suspect is adapted from a sermon series, is skewed toward the practical.  There is theology in the book, but it leans toward the practical.  This is part of its appeal to many.  But I prefer to have my heart warmed and stirred by theological truth so I am pursuing a sound lifestyle (see 1 Timothy 1).  I felt more manipulated than instructed.  I don’t mean it to sound that terrible, really.  Francis is very passionate about his topic, and says many things we American Christians need to hear.  My issue was more with the presentation, if that makes sense.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


Glenn Beck has spread lots of heat, but not much light, on the issue of social justice.  The topic is confusing, particularly since people mean different things by the term.  But the Bible clearly teaches that God is concerned about social justice (just read the Minor Prophets) and that we should be too (try Isaiah too).

Social Justice is a slogan that has been co-opted by any number of groups.  What Beck is afraid of is the kind that is preached by politicians.  Politicians often take the duty of the church and apply it to the state in an effort to get people dependent upon the state (since they don’t believe there is a God anyway).

Some theologians have separated social justice from the gospel.  I don’t mean we are nice to people so we can preach the gospel to them.  I mean that social justice flows out of the gospel.

That means that as the work of Christ is applied to me by the Spirit, I become more like Christ in my character and concerns.  I will act justly and love mercy (Micah 6), as I walk humbly with my God.

This means that social justice is also an expression of the gospel.  It is a foretaste of the new heavens and new earth.  It reveals something (not everything) of God’s heart.

There have been a number of books that have recently come out concerned with social justice.  I haven’t read any of them, but some guys I read have.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


I ran across this tonight.  I’m astounded- in a good way!  See, not every big church pastor is interested in big buildings and big programs.

Several months ago I heard the story of the further missional directive of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California. They were set to spend $20 million on a new facility when teaching pastor Francis Chan said, “Nope.” He said he couldn’t in good conscience be the pastor of a church that spent $20 million on itself. He suggested instead that they build a much, much cheaper outdoor amphitheater and community park. And the multi-millions left over? He said they should give it away.

His board agreed. Several hundred reportedly left the church, so unnerved and inconvenienced were they by this decision. But Chan and his fellow ministers committed to giving away millions and millions of dollars. They said that one great message the outdoor space would send is that whenever it was too hot/cold/rainy/windy, it would remind those gathered that there were many people around the world who never have a roof over their head.
Furthermore, Cornerstone Church amended their budget to now give 50% to missions. Half of everything they receive goes right back out the door to the hurting, poor, starving, and dying.

It cost them to be extravagant in this giving (or prodigal…).  The folks who were all about the big programs and big buildings weren’t the staff in this case.  Not every church can build an amphitheater, but many churches can consider giving away lots more money and spending less on themselves (like Element is going to do).  Sounds something like Jesus, who impoverished himself to make us (spiritually) rich (2 Corinthians 8).  Smaller churches have a harder time doing this- as a small church pastor I know this firsthand.  There is not much fat in their budgets.  But as the church seeks to expand their giving it provides an example for the people as they think about their own finances.  We are easily caught in the trap- whether individuals, families, churches, businesses- of selfishness, thinking only of what benefits us.  Love considers what also benefits others.  And the result is compassionate ministry!

HT: The Gospel-Driven Church

Read Full Post »