LONDON – Radical living was not only for the early church believers, but it's what the church today is also called to, said one pastor.
Francis Chan’s latest book, Crazy Love, has sold one million copies worldwide, a figure he says demonstrates the extent to which he is not alone in feeling a sense of frustration with "comfortable" Christianity.
Speaking at the Christian Resources Exhibition Thursday, Chan said he had experienced resistance to the radical extent of his service for Christ, not from non-believers but from fellow believers.
He said that all Christians were called to live like the early church believers who denied themselves, took up their crosses, sold their possessions to the poor, and shared everything they had.
“To me it’s crazy to live any other way than a completely radical lifestyle,” he said.
“It wasn’t just for the apostles. It wasn’t just for the early believers. It’s for us today.”
He lamented that Christians were too often “missing it” – the level of commitment and passion to spreading the Gospel demonstrated by the early church.
“You go to church these days and you stare forward and sing a couple of songs and listen to the message and go home,” he said.
“Haven’t you wondered how come everyone’s so content and everyone acts like this is the norm and this is okay when in your heart it’s driving you crazy and it doesn’t square with Scripture?”
He said it was easy for Christians to say “Amen” to sharing in the fellowship, resurrection and glory of Christ, but not so easy for them to say “Amen” when it came to sharing in His sufferings.
Even though it could be difficult, Chan told Christians it was in the midst of the danger and conflict that came with going out into the world and making disciples that the real peace of Jesus could be experienced.
“I feel very concerned for those people who walk into these buildings we call church and think they are Christians because they said a prayer and made a decision,” he said.
“Saying a prayer means nothing if there’s no follow through.”
He continued: “Where’s the obvious truth and where’s the obedience because I think we’ve missed some obvious things and created a system that doesn’t really make sense and we’ve done that because we don’t really want to live out Christianity, we don’t really want to become like Christ.
“Do you really want to be like Christ – rejected your whole life, spit upon, crucified? ... We don’t want that part of Christ and yet it is those times when we are rejected for the Gospel that we really feel the peace and come to remotely resemble Jesus.”
Chan’s appearance at this year’s international CRE comes just weeks after he announced to Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif., that he was stepping down after 16 years as its senior pastor.
He said he had decided to leave the church he and his wife planted because he feared that he liked his popularity too much.
He spoke of his admiration for fellow evangelical pastor John Piper, who recently announced that he was taking some time off to tackle his pride.
Chan will deliver his final sermon at Cornerstone later in the month. He said he plans to move with his family to a developing country.