Letters to the Church

Books and Bibles, Church life

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                                         LETTERS TO THE CHURCH

Author FRANCIS CHAN

Publisher DAVID C. COOK

ISBN 978-0-8307-7658-0

Some will know of Francis Chan and have been much taken with the sincerity of his writings and testimony.  A man who built up a mega-church in Simi Valley California and then left it to spend time with his wife and family in various parts of Asia looking at churches there is clearly a man on an honest search for a more ideal expression of church in the 21st century.  That he made discoveries is most certain.  His dissatisfaction with the Simi Valley mega-church is, to a degree replaced by a return to what has been lying in plain sight all the while in the New Testament.  He is writing for the American church and nailing its consumerism, selfishness, youth orientation, in short, its worldliness and probably, (though this is not clear) encouraging a return to a more first century expression of church life.  As I read through I could not help but feel a little sold short.  Why is so much of the present day church worldly?  Is there no deep hunger for God?  If not, why not?  Is there no willingness to forsake the comfort zone and pursue His ways in both personal and church life?  These questions are not posed and their challenge not faced.  It is as though we are presented with a book that makes some points vital to true church life and we all must try to follow them by forming house churches instead of music dominated concert and ted talk churches.  Clearly Francis Chan has been prepared to make costly choices along the pathway to the writing of these ‘letters.’  So we thank the Lord for what we read but long for a more prophetic call not simply an instructional one based upon personal experience discovering what has been plainly set forth in New Testament scriptures all along.  Wherever we see the Western Style church ‘model’ reaching into Asian countries, and this often goes along with western materialism gaining ground in those places, we see the tarnishing of the brightness of the original glow of a holy faith and love and hope that prevailed in the earlier days of those churches.  The whole challenge lies in this.  Probably, we could say that it is easier to be a Christian who is burning for God in deep fellowship with Him and fellow believers in days of great opposition hardening into persecution than to be one manifesting those qualities in the context of a materialistic society permeated with hedonism and self love!  This is a book to read but it should not simply be allowed to make the reader become frustrated with the status quo in their churches and become among the multitudes of thoughtful complainers that most certainly are present in churches in the USA and most westernised countries.  Pastors  who read this should be examining the scriptures but also their own hearts as to whether they are pleasing men or God and in fact, all of us should be doing so and so come under the powerful convicting presence of the Holy Spirit and pay the price of Calvary worked out in the practicalities of life where we are set.  

Last modified: March 13, 2020

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