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Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

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Have you ever wondered if we're missing it? It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you've verbalized it yet or not, we all know something Have you ever wondered if we're missing it? It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you've verbalized it yet or not, we all know something's wrong. Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts-it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything. Learn more about Crazy Love at www.crazylovebook.com


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Have you ever wondered if we're missing it? It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you've verbalized it yet or not, we all know something Have you ever wondered if we're missing it? It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you've verbalized it yet or not, we all know something's wrong. Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts-it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything. Learn more about Crazy Love at www.crazylovebook.com

30 review for Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Breeden

    Mark this one under the Good Premise, Terrible Execution category. Chan seeks to combate the "lukewarmness" of the American Church by calling us to live a radical "obsessed" life for Jesus. Lots of good ideas here. The American Church certainly is lukewarm and quickly going the way of the increasingly churchless countries in Europe. Chan argues that our call to live radically is rooted in God's crazy love for us, and that's certainly true. I have no doubt that Francis Chan is a solid follower of Mark this one under the Good Premise, Terrible Execution category. Chan seeks to combate the "lukewarmness" of the American Church by calling us to live a radical "obsessed" life for Jesus. Lots of good ideas here. The American Church certainly is lukewarm and quickly going the way of the increasingly churchless countries in Europe. Chan argues that our call to live radically is rooted in God's crazy love for us, and that's certainly true. I have no doubt that Francis Chan is a solid follower of Christ with a big heart for his God and his neighbor. But because this book has made such a big splash in the Church in the last few years, I felt that it warranted a very careful consideration and, to be honest, I found it to be a well-intentioned but profoundly flawed book. The problem is, the house Chan builds has a pretty soggy foundation. It's not rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, but in this amorphous notion of God's love. In one cringe-inducing paragraph Chan actually asks, so why does God love messed up people like us so much and his response is that he doesn't really know. What? We do know the answer, God loves us because of Jesus. He's united us to Christ and his love for us is because we are "in Christ.". This lack of gospel-centeredness is the biggest problem here, because then all of the imperatives that follow are guilt-driven, not gospel-driven. Sure, Chan says once or twice that he doesn't want us to be motivated by guilt, but simply saying that doesn't remove the guilt-driven ideas throughout the book. There are some other unfortunate theological choices as well. Chan gives us a heavy individualism with very little attention given to the Church. He talks of taking four day retreats to be alone in the woods with God and uses lots of the warm, fuzzy, quasi-romantic "fall in love with God" language which I keep hoping will run its course in our culture. The book is also not especially Christ-centered and leans heavily on the unhelpful sacred/secular divide in several places. I also think Chan doesn't consider the believer's battle with sin realistically. He acts like we could be 100% sold out for Jesus if we just wanted to, but consider Romans 7 where the apostle Paul-- as mature a Christian that'll ever walk this earth-- bemoans his own divided heart and how he doesn't always do what he wants to do but he does things that he hates. The Christian life is a constant battle with indwelling sin. I spent years of my life trying to be 100% devoted to Jesus and couldn't figure out why I kept failing spectacularly. The other big problem with this book is how Chan describes this radical Christian life that we ought to be living. He really hammers home the importance of working with the sick and the poor (those in America, but especially those around the world, and even more especially those in Africa it seems-- he mentions people going to Africa a lot) and giving away money, selling possessions especially houses (he mentions people selling their houses a lot). The problem with all that is I can sell all my possessions, spend decades in Africa doing missionary work and still not love Jesus. Chan's call to radical Christianity doesn't necessarily address the primary problem in the American Church, he's just giving us something new and exciting to do, something that's frankly easier than taking up our cross daily and following Jesus. The problem in the American Church is that we love other stuff more than we love Jesus. And not everyone is called to go to Africa, some people are called to go next door. And not everyone is called to sell their house and downsize so they can give more money away, some folks use their homes as tools for ministry. Chan holds these activities up as the definition of radical Christianity and tells us countless stories (an entire chapter devoted to them, in fact) of people who've done these sort of things. But he's missing the problem, namely, our wayward hearts. He's addressing the symptoms, not the sickness. As a pastor in the American Church, I don't want everyone in my congregation to sell their possessions and move to Africa. I'd be delighted if some of the did that because of a genuine sense of the Lord's calling. But the Church is a body, Paul tells us, and each member has different functions and different uses. What I want for these people is for them to love Jesus more than they love their houses, their jobs, AND even mission trips to Africa. I want them to be faithful spouses, parents, and children. I want them to be godly bankers, truck drivers, doctors, business owners, teachers, retirees, students etc. I want them to be faithful and boring and I want them to love Jesus more today than they did yesterday. Radical Christianity takes many different forms, sometimes it means going to Africa and dying for the gospel there and sometimes Radical Christianity means being genuinely OK with the fact that God has called you to be a boring, faithful Christian in your small town. Because what makes Christianity radical is not how much money we give away or how many countries we do mission work in, what truly makes Christianity radical is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ which every single day is pulling people out of darkness and into the light and then sending them into every nook and cranny of this world with the good news of a Perfect King and a Coming Kingdom.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This is one of those WOW! books that cause you to read something and then quietly close the book, lay it on your lap and meditate on what you have just read. So many times while reading this I had to stop and wrap my mind around what I just read. Francis Chan has taken the very things that I need to focus on and concisely and passionately expressed them in this book in a way that I totally get. How to live my life in a way that I am showing a God who loves me that I love Him back. Francis writes This is one of those WOW! books that cause you to read something and then quietly close the book, lay it on your lap and meditate on what you have just read. So many times while reading this I had to stop and wrap my mind around what I just read. Francis Chan has taken the very things that I need to focus on and concisely and passionately expressed them in this book in a way that I totally get. How to live my life in a way that I am showing a God who loves me that I love Him back. Francis writes in a way that is convicting without seeming judgmental or accusatory. He gives examples and every day methods of living out the scriptures. I finished this book early this morning and now am deciding who I should give it to next. Without a doubt one of the most influential books I have read. Read this only if you care about being what God created you to be.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate Davis

    I've had a serious theological problem on literally *every* page of this so far. Here are some highlights: Chan is dismissive of life, even it's highest joys and lowest sorrows, because the story is about God, not people. So that's all that matters. In addition, a person's life boils down to how many people they've "saved" (which seems to mean "have gotten to say a prayer"). Not sure where this leaves, say, Mother Teresa, who focused more on taking care of people than convincing them to say praye I've had a serious theological problem on literally *every* page of this so far. Here are some highlights: Chan is dismissive of life, even it's highest joys and lowest sorrows, because the story is about God, not people. So that's all that matters. In addition, a person's life boils down to how many people they've "saved" (which seems to mean "have gotten to say a prayer"). Not sure where this leaves, say, Mother Teresa, who focused more on taking care of people than convincing them to say prayers. Oh, and now Chan's confronting the problem of hell. A student asks how a loving God can demand we love him via threats of punishment, and Chan's response is that God does it for our own good. He threatens us because he loves us! Wasn't that student listening when her boyfriend hit her? It's for her own good, it's because he loves her!! Apparently God's love for us isn't crazy in the sense that it's so abundantly good, it's crazy in that stalker-boyfriend-with-a-knife-who-ignores-a-restraining-order kind of way. So remember: when your partner threatens and punishes you, it's acceptable, because that's how God works. Next (Ch 4) is a misinterpretation of the 'lukewarm' verse in Revelations (for a great interpretation, Rob Bell has a sermon in Mars Hill's series on the Letters to the 7 Churches. If anyone's interested, leave a comment and I'll look it up. The verse is concerning water; both hot and cold water are useful in that time and place, lukewarm water was unhealthy and unuseful). Chan says "good" or "real" Christians aren't lukewarm, which seems to boil down primarily to morals within sex: not getting divorced, not having sex before marriage, not cheating on your spouse (this is taken from early Ch 5). This is where I stopped reading. I don't feel badly about it; there are plenty of great theological authors I'd rather put my reading time towards.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matt Rundio

    My initial reaction to Francis Chan’s Crazy Love First of all, “Crazy Love” is a terrible and misleading title for this book. It is not about love (until, maybe, chapter 10, but by that point it is too late; too much damage has already been done). It is certainly NOT about God’s love for us mortals. When a friend asked me about the book, this was my initial response: I was hoping for a good read, but all I’ve seen so far (a bit more than halfway through) is an angry God. It’s as if the title [Crazy My initial reaction to Francis Chan’s Crazy Love First of all, “Crazy Love” is a terrible and misleading title for this book. It is not about love (until, maybe, chapter 10, but by that point it is too late; too much damage has already been done). It is certainly NOT about God’s love for us mortals. When a friend asked me about the book, this was my initial response: I was hoping for a good read, but all I’ve seen so far (a bit more than halfway through) is an angry God. It’s as if the title [Crazy Love:] means, “You are so stupid and such a failure and so incredibly lame, it is crazy that God, who is disgusted by you and beat up Jesus because of it, would love such a low-life as yourself.” Here is another picture of my reaction to the book: The following are summary statements and reflections I made of each chapter. I wrote them down immediately after reading each– I was honestly summarizing and reflecting upon what I took from that part of the book: Chapter 1: Summary: “God is crazy awesome, stand in awe and fear of him.” Reflection: “MISSING: the words ‘God is love.’ This should have been first in his list of God’s attributes, but that idea was missing altogether – instead God seems a bit angry.” Chapter 2: Summary: “You might die soon, is your life a waste?” Reflection: “Didn’t really like this chapter. It seems manipulative – wrong somehow. Excitement for life, not the imminence of death, should be our motivator. It seemed shallow to me.” Chapter 3: Summary: “God loves you even though you’re a stupid sinner.” Reflection: “Again, don’t like this chapter. It’s OK, but weak. Not compelling. Still with the angry punishing God. Still will the ‘I deserve death and hell’ junk.” Chapter 4: Summary: “You suck at really following Jesus.” Reflection: “He once more (again!) seems harsh. It occurred to me that Shane Claiborne frames the same kinds of things in a way I find compelling. Shane tells stories of living fully committed lives – this book just badgers me. This book makes me feel attacked; Shane [in Irresistible Revolution:] makes me feel inspired and convicted and reflective of my life.” Chapter 5: Summary: “You make God sick because you aren’t good enough (you don’t do good enough things).” Reflection: “More of the same: I make God angry. I make God sick. I make God disgusted.” Chapter 6: Summary: “You need God’s help to stop making him so angry and to stop being a pathetic failure.” Reflection: “This is a small correction to the rest of the book so far. We do need the help of God in order to live fully committed lives.” Chapter 7: Summary: “If you are not extremely generous, God will be extremely displeased with you (and you’ll probably burn in Hell forever).” Reflection: “Ok, two in a row that are less bad – but still guilt-filled and ‘angry God’ stuff abounds along with a ‘this life doesn’t much matter’ problem” (That last point, by the way, is a problem with Gnosticism creeping into the Church – it shows up when we disparage this world, the earth, matter in general, and think only “heaven” is any good… but that’s a longer and different topic.) Chapter 8: Summary: “Being obsessed with God will/should change everything about your life.” Reflection: “By far, the least bad chapter so far. Pages 132-3 are very good, in fact. But still contains the ‘angry God disgusting human’ bit. Also, almost Gnostic in the way it focused on ‘heaven’ rather than this earth/life.” Chapter 9: Summary: “If they can do it, so can you; great stories of real people living for God.” Reflection: “Finally something compelling – not shame/anger/guilt based…” Chapter 10: Summary: “Figure out what God is asking of you and do it!” Reflection: “This is more of what I expected from the book – but it is too little too late.” The book, in general, feels like old-school hell-fire and brimstone preaching: “Point 1: God is bigger than you, Point 2: You are a stupid sinner, you make God angry, and you deserve death, Point 3: luckily for you, God might forgive your sorry self, but you better live right because, like I said in point 2, you are really rotten and deserve to suffer and die.” That, as it turns out, is the basic outline of Crazy Love. I suppose if I were used to Puritan preaching (with famous sermon titles like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”), I might not have been so bothered. But I was (and I still am). Perhaps it is my visceral reaction against hell-fire and brimstone preaching that causes me to dislike the book so much. Needless to say, I was unimpressed and disappointed with most of Crazy Love. It was NOT what I expected. I thought I’d be reading a book about God’s wonderful, unfailing, increasable, CRAZY love for people. What I got was a book about how completely horrible I am and that God is very angry with me and it is crazy that he would love such a punk. But, despite my initial (and prevailing) thoughts, there was some good in the book, and to that good, I now turn. The better parts of Crazy Love The best part of the whole book is, without a doubt, chapter 9 and the second best part is chapter 10. Chapter 8 was also mostly good, and chapter 1 has some great things to say. Chapter 9: This chapter contains a number of true stories, stories of people who lived (or are living) their lives in complete surrender to God. The stories inspire, they contain beauty, and they demonstrate the wonderful variety of ways people might give their lives fully to Christ. Chapter 10: This is the second-best chapter. It does a descent job of communicating the fact that each of us will have our own story to live, our own calling to follow, our own choices to make. We should not try to live someone else’s life, but our own. And that when one lives a life of love, it changes everything. Chapter 9 and 10 were more of what I expected. (Too bad they are only 20% of the book and come at the very end!) Chapter 8 is where the book stopped being so horrible. Page 132 contains a quote from Frederick Buechner. The encouragement to love even your enemies and even when love doesn’t seem safe were very well done. However, the chapter was still not great, overall. For example, the chapter contains this lovely phrase, “[God:] knows what we are, that we are disgusting…” That, unfortunately, (as I read it) summarizes the major thrust of Chan’s theology and anthropology (that is to say, the way he views God and the way he views people): God hates me, I disgust God. Chapter 1: The best part of this chapter is the reminder to notice to whom we pray. God is wonderful, huge, creative. God has made an intricate, delicate, breathtaking world in which we live. We should remember this before we pray; stand in awe of the creator. But, again, there were some problems with this chapter. Chan overemphasizes fearing God, that God is about punishment, that Jesus was beat up and killed because God is so upset with me, etc. So What? I, personally, would never recommend this book to anyone. It seems that Chan is trying to shake up lazy Christians. That is a good thing. We need to be honest about our lives. Too many of us are caught up in materialism, safety, etc. Too many of us don’t really listen to God, don’t really follow Jesus, etc. Too many of us, to many churches, are asleep, and we need to wake up. But Chan’s approach (and much of his underlying theology) I find offensive, shallow, antiquated, an not at all compelling. Instead of this book, I’d suggest two in its place: Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution (which, ironically, is recommended by Chan himself in Chapter 9) and Mark Labberton’s The Dangerous Act of Worship. Both of these superior books aim at similar thing as Crazy Love: to wake up a sleeping church. But Claiborne and Labberton both do it in much better, much more compelling ways. And for a book that communicates, in a powerful way, the crazy love that God has for us mortals, I highly recommend The Shack by William P. Young. It does a wonderful job of painting a picture of God as he truly is: Love. Allow me to end with this, my own words to you: God is crazy in love with you. You make him happy, just because you are you. God sings wonderful songs because of and to you. He weeps with you when you cry, he laughs with you when you laugh, he enjoys watching you smile (even if your mouth is mis-formed or your teeth are missing). God thinks your eyes are beautiful (even if you’re blind) and that your skin is one of the best things ever (even if you are horribly scarred). God desires you. He not only loves you, he really, deeply, truly, and with no strings attached, LIKES you! You see, God IS love – it is his very nature. And you, you are the Beloved of God. You are the object of his affection. Allow that crazy love that God has for you to fill you up and empower everything there is about you. May you, filled with the love of God, become more fully human, more fully you. May you, motivated by the mind-blowing love of God, love other people and all of God’s creation in the same way. May you see other humans, not as objects of God’s wrath, but as objects of Gods unfailing love. And see yourself in the same light: you, despite whatever shortcomings, failings, or horrific things there are in your life, you are loved by the creator of the universe – God likes you and wants you. You are loved.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Totally whooped my tail. Probably THE most convicting spiritual book I've ever read. Challenges you out of any luke-warm tendencies. Challenges you especially in the realm of giving financially and sacrificially. Really, really good - prepare to be challenged out of your mind.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    4.5/5 stars What an incredibly powerful and convicting read. This book really challenged me a lot - I'm gonna have to change some things after reading it! I really like Francis Chan's style of writing and how personable his narration seems. Really really great!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Just flip through the ratings on this book. It looks like that there are about two possible reactions for a devout Christian to this book. It seems like about 60%-80% swear by this book, and the rest dismiss it on theological grounds. For me, all through high school, theology was my god. God's love, God's grace, and God's compassion didn't register for me. I "saved myself" by knowing how to refute consubstantiation and by knowing what year the Council of Chalcedon was. I could argue with the abs Just flip through the ratings on this book. It looks like that there are about two possible reactions for a devout Christian to this book. It seems like about 60%-80% swear by this book, and the rest dismiss it on theological grounds. For me, all through high school, theology was my god. God's love, God's grace, and God's compassion didn't register for me. I "saved myself" by knowing how to refute consubstantiation and by knowing what year the Council of Chalcedon was. I could argue with the absolute best about predestination infant baptism. But it was all shallow, and it was all empty. The 18 inches between the head and the heart are some of the longest in the world. Forget love; it never really struck me that the infinite creator of all the world actually liked me. A lot of things have changed for me in the last few years. I struggled deeply with suicidal depression and I nearly lost. I was a broken individual let down by my church, my friends, and most especially myself. I could say the words "Jesus loved me" over and over again, providing verse after verse to prove it, but in my heart, I believed God didn't like me one bit. God reached me in the darkest stage of my life, and today I'm the happiest man in the world. I'm not going to say that this book changed my life forever and ever and therefore you need to read it and love it. But God used Francis Chan in my life to make me ask questions that I wouldn't have asked otherwise. I realized that I couldn't put God in a box. He is greater than anything I could ever imagine and, unbelievably, *He likes me*. I guess, if I have a point, I said all of that to say this: I know as well as anyone else that the theology here is kinda suspect. I understand that there's a lot more emotional arguments than rational arguments. But you know what? I'm not sure that that matters too much. Is theology very important? Yes. Should you hammer Chan for misinterpreting some verses, making a few stretches, and throw out the challenge that the book offers? I think that that's a cop-out. Chan isn't saying that everyone needs to sell everything and live in a van or a commune or something. But you need to be willing to. At least, that's what Jesus told the rich man in Matthew 19. OK, so not all of the stories make sense. Pulling out all of your teeth is over the top. Got it. Fine. But maybe putting your head and your logic above your love for God is dangerous. And I can hear you know. That's not what YOU'RE doing. Well, if you're damned sure about that, fine, then the book wasn't written for you. But it helps a lot of people who need to hear what this book has to say. Lukewarmness is a problem in the church today, and Chan's message, whether you deem is intellectual enough for you or not, is something that the church today has to hear. So many people have missed the point of this book in the reviews. It isn't about condemning people to Hell and it doesn't boil you down to how many people you saved. It does the opposite. It frees you up to live you life with a true sense of passion and purpose. St. Augustine one time said "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, and then do what you want." It isn't about moving to Ethiopia, but about loving God back. Chan understands this. I don't believe Chan wants you to move to Ethiopia. But if that's what it takes for you to love God back, so be it. As for condemning people to Hell, it does ask everyone to seriously contemplate their faith. Matthew 7: 21-23 still exists, even if we don't like it. Those are (to me) some of the scariest verses in the bible, and it's important to discuss it openly. But as opposed to condemnation, you can approach those verses with the understanding that Jesus both likes you and loves you more than you can possibly imagine and that his grace is stronger than you can imagine. This book isn't without its faults. Two friends of mine that I think very highly of gave this book a one-star rating, and I'm sure that they weren't just plugging their ears to reject the premise. They aren't luke-warm. After all, theology is still very important. We don't need to "please God" like the book seems to imply. Christ's righteousness is enough for us, which is great because our righteousness is as dirty rags to him anyways (Isaiah 64:6). This may not be the best book for a recent convert because of the theology. It could be possible to incorrectly get the idea of works based salvation from this book. However, this book helped breath new life into my relationship with God. It restored my perspective on love and liking not only between Jesus and me, but also between me and my community. This book powerfully delivers a message that the American church needs to hear.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim Yearneau

    I have to be honest, I disliked this book. I respect what Chan tries to accomplish and for the choices he has personally made, but I disagree with him wholesale on many levels. The theme is very Catholic in nature; I deserve nothing, I am not worthy, I must constantly suffer, accomplishing personal goals and dreams are only a manifestation of greed and selfishness. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Ok, fine, I admit it; I am a former Catholic. I applaud him for walking the talk; downsizing his house, taking I have to be honest, I disliked this book. I respect what Chan tries to accomplish and for the choices he has personally made, but I disagree with him wholesale on many levels. The theme is very Catholic in nature; I deserve nothing, I am not worthy, I must constantly suffer, accomplishing personal goals and dreams are only a manifestation of greed and selfishness. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Ok, fine, I admit it; I am a former Catholic. I applaud him for walking the talk; downsizing his house, taking the same salary as when he first started, choosing a much smaller footprint for church expansion, etc. But dreams and goals come from God to begin with. So why are they bad? I don't agree we should all downsize and live at the same economic level to eradicate poverty. He mentions the movement where we all live on $46k per year and donate the rest. Redistribution of wealth has been tried and it doesn't work, i.e. communism. I don't think it's a requirement to demean ourselves and jump on the sword in order to help our fellow man. I offer the Parable of the Talents. In it the Master rewards the servants who not only used their talents, but multiplied them. He punished the servant who played conservative and didn't use the talents given him. I offer Doctors Without Borders as an example. They work hard to develop their talents and gain personally from those talents, but choose to share their talents, while at the same time not demeaning themselves. Chan promotes a radical philosophy that says "you downsize so others can upsize." To back this up he refers to the Apostle Paul who mentions that in the Jewish culture those who had plenty shared with those who were needy, as someday it might be reversed. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact, it is admirable. However, he ignores that Paul also stated it shouldn't be a case of now the other person has is easy while you suffer. Chan further points to a singular verse in the Bible where it says to sell all of your possessions and give to the poor as being the singular Truth we should all live by. His example of this Truth in action is of the guy at his church, upon hearing the Truth, donated his house to the church and moved in with his parents, stating it didn't matter where he lived as long as he has a house in Heaven. While this is noble, it says God is finite. Everything I have read or heard says God is infinite. God's ability to provide isn't like a pie, where there are only eight slices, and if you have two slices someone else gets none. My other problem with Chan's singular Truth is it focuses on one line, "...sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor..." He ignores what comes before and after that statement. In that passage, Matthew 19:16-26, Jesus prefaces his answer to the rich man by saying "If you want to be perfect..." After Jesus answers the rich man the passage states, "The disciples were astounded. 'Then who in the world can be saved?' they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, 'Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.'" The before and after is significant and can't be ignored for it makes the entire passage less dogmatic and open to other interpretations than just what Chan offers. For example, perhaps Jesus is reminding us that as humans we think and operate in terms of limits, and God does not. Personally, I'm focusing on "'But with God everything is possible.'" In summary, my fundamental problem with Chan's book is the idea that it's a requirement that we demean ourselves in order to help out our fellow man. He gets dogmatic in that he tends to focuse on one line in a passage without considering the whole context. The way Chan presents it, success is evil. I contend that dreams and goals are not bad, they're good. For example, Milton Hershey didn't skimp on his dreams and goals, yet gave away his fortune for the greater good. Every Tech Ed program in America can thank him for that. I contend that opportunity eradicates poverty...give a man fish or teach him how to fish. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Chuck Feeney, and Abraham Flexner are modern day examples of those, like Hershey, who multiplied their talents in the spirit of the Parable of the Talents, and gave back to society. We should share our skills, talents, and abundance, but I don't think it's a requirement that we tear ourselves down to do it. Thanks for listening.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This book is incredible. One of my all time favorites. Chan takes simple truths we have heard our whole lives, but actually challenges and dares us to change our lives.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    I'll admit up front that I went into this book with a bias. I've seen Chan give talks and read one of his other books. Something has itched at me about him. This book helps me understand why I have been bugged, but I don't think it's fair for me to speculate too much in public. I'll just say that I understand now why he chose to leave his church, seemingly sell his family's possessions and "follow the Spirit" wherever. I don't think he could have published this book with a straight face unless h I'll admit up front that I went into this book with a bias. I've seen Chan give talks and read one of his other books. Something has itched at me about him. This book helps me understand why I have been bugged, but I don't think it's fair for me to speculate too much in public. I'll just say that I understand now why he chose to leave his church, seemingly sell his family's possessions and "follow the Spirit" wherever. I don't think he could have published this book with a straight face unless he eventually did so. I'll just say that this book is really one chapter, one sermon, stretched into 180 pages through a saturation of scripture quotes (not a bad thing) and repetition. My positive take is that Chan is UNDERSTANDABLY concerned about the state of American Christianity and HIGHLY COMMITTED to his understanding of the gospel and the God he sees in Scripture. My theological take is that Chan knows only the law (not the Gospel) and, ironically for a Pentecostal, does not seem to trust the Holy Spirit to produce fruit, seen and unseen, in the lives of those who hear the Word in faith. Chan's "gospel" is a new and higher form of the law (love) and nearly entirely misunderstands grace, faith, and baptism. He will acknowledge salvation by faith alone, but the entire message of the book is salvation by love alone, as evidenced by a very particular experience of God, personal righteousness, and works of the law. It is a strange thing to speak against love, but in our present reality where the old Adam hangs around our necks even as we are new in Christ, we live by faith, not sight, not love, not feelings. Love is wonderful when you feel it, but it is fleeting, it is not primary and it is not justifying. By his logic, Chan does not want us to trust in the Spirit's work in Word and Sacrament, but instead asks us to turn our eyes back onto ourselves and look for signs of real/true/crazy love for God and love in action for others. I.e., if we are not Beyonce for God, we are not saved. Instead of the authentic paradox of a sinner-saint like the father in Mark 9, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief," Chan sees things in black and white. You are "all-in" or "all-out." My pastoral take is that his style and tone can only fail to produce the type of Christians he is calling for. Martin Luther's Heidelburg Disputation includes, "The law says, 'Do this' and it is never done; grace says, 'believe this,' and behold everything is already done." Chan's crazy love at best produces obedience, but cannot give freedom, or ironically, love. Love is only love when it doesn't score points. I don't feel like taking the time to unpack my takes any further, but if you want to engage in conversation or push back, please leave a comment.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hansen Wendlandt

    If you like the idea of a cool surfing Jesus, who sends most surfers to hell for not being deeply committed Christians, this is a book for you! If you need your regular boost of weak theology, flat Bible interpretation, and smiling preachers talking about a distinctly depressing God, this is a book for you! To be fair, Crazy Love does in fact add a touch of narrative creativity and useful morality to the basic, useless evangelical message: that God loves everyone, but if you don’t believe just r If you like the idea of a cool surfing Jesus, who sends most surfers to hell for not being deeply committed Christians, this is a book for you! If you need your regular boost of weak theology, flat Bible interpretation, and smiling preachers talking about a distinctly depressing God, this is a book for you! To be fair, Crazy Love does in fact add a touch of narrative creativity and useful morality to the basic, useless evangelical message: that God loves everyone, but if you don’t believe just right and act just so, God will smite your @$%… One thing Francis Chan adds to that weary tripe and trope is a refreshing invitation to downsize. Despite his all-too-regular message that God will bless true believers, and his obvious and unobjectionable call to donate more of our blessings, Chan embraces solidarity with the poor and repudiates any hint of the prosperity gospel, in ways uncommon to the evangelical community. This is a highlight amidst his general failure to escape ‘boring American Christianity’ (21). Another creative aspect of Crazy Love is its view of creation. Chan’s God does not simply and magically create a universe full of pretty furniture, but takes billions of years to make everything, from the value of laughter to the feeling of E-minor. If Chan could apply that sort of non-literal reading to even a few of the hundreds of Scripture passages he quotes, he might preach himself into a decent book. He does have, after all, a gift for turning a useful phrase (“Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want to be saved from the penalty of their sin.” (70), “There has to be more to our faith than friendliness, politeness, and even kindness.” (130), “We never grow closer to God when we just live life; it takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” (170)), and he can craft a clever sermon illustration (history as a movie about God, in which you have a minor role as an extra, (42); and check out the shocking Biblical imagery of filthy rags! (60)). As it is, however, Crazy Love brings nothing special to Christian literature. Meanwhile it forces us to deal with theological inconsistencies (Is the book right, that God must punish sin (34) or the video that God can choose to punish us?; are we supposed to read the Gospels “from the perspective of a twelve-year-old” or “objectively”? (85)), and downright bad Christian advice (prayer is never an excuse for skipping the doctor (41)).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ben De Bono

    I honestly don't like being the person who winds up disparaging books that everyone else seems to adore. I enjoy excellent work and do my best to avoid a cynical perspective that looks for reasons to be critical. Nevertheless I seem to often find myself as one of the lone dissenting voices amid a cacophony of fawning praise. And so it is with Crazy Love. My friend, Dave, mentioned in his review that Francis Chan seems to be one of the most genuine people out there. I'd have to agree. This book i I honestly don't like being the person who winds up disparaging books that everyone else seems to adore. I enjoy excellent work and do my best to avoid a cynical perspective that looks for reasons to be critical. Nevertheless I seem to often find myself as one of the lone dissenting voices amid a cacophony of fawning praise. And so it is with Crazy Love. My friend, Dave, mentioned in his review that Francis Chan seems to be one of the most genuine people out there. I'd have to agree. This book is written with the utmost sincerity and conviction. In addition, most of the material present isn't wrong in and of itself. My negative reaction to the book doesn't stem from a belief the Chan is going against Scripture with his teaching or anything of the sort. So why the low rating? There are a few main reasons I'll highlight. 1. The book is mired with the individualism that is such a negative force in evangelical theology. No doubt many who have read the book will raise an eyebrow at that statement? Doesn't Chan spend an enormous portion of the book talking about caring for the poor and disavowing selfish Christianity? Yes he does. But consider the way he goes about advocating that position. His arguments are focused on how God can use YOU as an individual. It's clear throughout that Chan's ecclesiology, like most of evangelicalism, is virtually nonexistent. Even more to the point, the first half the book only encourages the just "me and God" mentality that is truly a scourge of evangelical theology. A personal relationship with God is important and biblical, but it must be grounded in the covenantal and ecclesiological context put forward in Scripture. When it's not, we're left with individualism. It may be selfless individualism, but it's individualism all the same. Chan's points are true but they lack a proper context. As such, they serve to only encourage a major evangelical error. 2. The book promotes the anti-intellectual attitude that is far too prominent in evangelical thought. Consider this passage from chapter 5: In an earlier draft of this chapter, I quoted several commentators who agreed with my point of view. But we all know that you can find quotes to support any view you want to take. You can even tweak word studies to help you in your effort. I’m not against scholarship, but I do believe there are times when we come to more accurate conclusions through simple reading. I don't want to claim that the Spirit can't work through a "simple reading" of Scripture or that there are no valuable insights to come from such a reading. However, what Chan is doing, intentionally or not, is encouraging his readings to disregard scholarship in favor of their own readings. The hermeneutical problems with that are abundant. In addition it encourages a cultural arrogance that far too many 21st century readers already suffer from. I don't think it's Chan's intention do so, but intended or not, that is the effect of his words. 3. I've spent a great deal of time in my ministry trying to combat the anti-masculine bias present in modern Christianity (note: for more on that topic, check out David Murrow's book Why Men Hate Going to Church). The tone Chan writes with in this book only combats the efforts of myself and others with similar concerns. As a straight male, I'm tired of being told, as Chan does repeatedly in this book, that I need to "fall passionately in love with Jesus." I love Jesus very much, but I am not "in love" with him. We're keeping things platonic, thank you very much. I'm being facetious and overstating things for the sake of making a point, but it is a very serious problem. If we want to turn around the masculine crisis that Murrow documents so clearly in his book, we need to stop using the language Chan does in this book. It's not helping and it will only drive men further away from the church. I don't want to act like the book is all bad. I applaud Chan's efforts to point out that grace is a starting point, not an ending point. But overall the book is riddled with problems. I understand why it's so popular, but I find the fact that it is so a little disheartening. If we want to turn the church around it is essential we fix our ecclesiology, stop eschewing intellectualism and stop driving away men. Unfortunately, this book does the exact opposite of what is needed in those three areas. For all its admirable qualities, it ultimately does much more harm than good.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I'm not a very good Christian these days - heck, I'm not even sure if I qualify as Christian, since I'm not big on evangelism - but I do believe that the way Christ lived is the way we should live - loving, giving, sacrificing, and with minimal possessions. So I find myself wondering how there can be so many wealthy Christians in the world; doesn't hoarding and having so much when others have so little go against Christ's teachings? I'm glad to know now - after Chan's call to live "to the median I'm not a very good Christian these days - heck, I'm not even sure if I qualify as Christian, since I'm not big on evangelism - but I do believe that the way Christ lived is the way we should live - loving, giving, sacrificing, and with minimal possessions. So I find myself wondering how there can be so many wealthy Christians in the world; doesn't hoarding and having so much when others have so little go against Christ's teachings? I'm glad to know now - after Chan's call to live "to the median" and trust God to provide - that I'm not the only one out there that thinks that. He's a pastor and he thinks it. Maybe I'm not such a heathen after all. This book is bound to get some people thinking about how much they have and how much they should be giving, which is a very good thing. The things I dislike about the book have more to do with what I dislike about Christianity in general and not the book or Chan himself. It's a worthwhile read for anyone who thinks there journey as a Christian is never complete and they can always sacrifice more (shouldn't that be everyone?).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mason Wren

    This used to be a 5-star book for me. I've read it multiple times. I started a devotional study around this book before the group material and videos were ever released. It was extremely important and helpful for me during that time in my life. But as I have grown in my faith and understanding of God, I have seen many flaws in its theology and perspective and I don't believe it accurately portrays the heart of God, the father of the prodigal. In my opinion, this book called crazy love falls shor This used to be a 5-star book for me. I've read it multiple times. I started a devotional study around this book before the group material and videos were ever released. It was extremely important and helpful for me during that time in my life. But as I have grown in my faith and understanding of God, I have seen many flaws in its theology and perspective and I don't believe it accurately portrays the heart of God, the father of the prodigal. In my opinion, this book called crazy love falls short of capturing the God who not only loves, but is love, and who's every action is defined by love. Instead this book often uses fear, guilt, and shame to attempt to get people to love God back by doing what he requires us to do. And if we don't do those things, this God will reject us and punish us forever....this doesn't sound like the God who is love. Again, this book was really helpful for me at a more beginning developmental stage, but I don't believe it is the most accurate picture of the love of God and how that love transforms us and inspires us to our full potential of what we were created to be. For a book on the love of God, I recommend Brennan Manning's "Abba's Child."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    Because reading this book was a rather personal experience, I want this review to be personal. I’d like for this to sound familiar and homey. My Dear Friend, I think you and I should make time to sit down in the parlor with two steaming cups of tea (or coffee) and a plate of your favorite scones, or cake, or cookies—or some of each—I’ll make whatever you want to eat as long as you’ll sit with me for a while and have a nice little chat about life. Life is a lovely thing, isn’t it? But it’s terrib Because reading this book was a rather personal experience, I want this review to be personal. I’d like for this to sound familiar and homey. My Dear Friend, I think you and I should make time to sit down in the parlor with two steaming cups of tea (or coffee) and a plate of your favorite scones, or cake, or cookies—or some of each—I’ll make whatever you want to eat as long as you’ll sit with me for a while and have a nice little chat about life. Life is a lovely thing, isn’t it? But it’s terribly short, and I think we ought to make time for conversing over cups of tea. I feel very comfortable and warm and if it’s alright with you, I feel like talking about God. I love God. I love Jesus. And I think maybe we don’t talk about Him or loving Him because for some reason, somehow it became something that “isn’t such a big deal.” And why is that? The past few months have taught me anew that it is the biggest deal in the whole wide world and we should talk about it as much as we possibly can because it is a huge deal! So let me tell you about this book, my friend. I have a whole pot of hot tea and no one but you to share it with. :) About halfway through this book I was struck with a terrible case of depression. You probably noticed I stopped writing to you for a while…actually, I stopped writing at all. I stopped reading this book, too. It just seemed unimportant. I felt like it was telling me all these things I already knew…and it made me tired. So I’ve forgotten too much of the first half of this book, other than that I read most of that half in one day—I think it was a day or two after Christmas—and then I forgot about it with one thing and another. I thought, “Here is yet another one of those Christian books, telling me—as a Christian (because I proudly claim the title)—to love God and not to be lukewarm and all these things I’ve heard a million times before.” But then there were those few weeks where nothing seemed important at all. Nothing. Like the world was suddenly very big and empty and I was very lost in it. And then that passed and I buried myself in a lot of things. Clothes, travel, work…for about a month. I replenished my wardrobe, I worked every day, I visited NYC for a week… And the world still was feeling rather empty, though a bit smaller than before. And I was still feeling mostly aimless in my existence. (Don’t we all feel that way sometimes?) Then I returned to this lovely little red volume and I was frightened because, right after the part where I stopped reading, was a section about serving God, and how He’s supposed to come before everything and everyone else. Stuff I already knew but had, I guess, sort of just forgotten about. Page 103 to page 111. I’ll quote a few places… “When we are focused on loving Christ, it doesn’t mean we do less. I used to do many of the same things I do now, but I was motivated by guilt or fear of consequences. When we work for Christ out of obligation, it feels like work. But when we truly love Christ, our work is a manifestation of that love, it feels like love.” I had to think about that. I guess I haven’t really been focused on loving Christ. If I did my job as unto Christ, I don’t think I’d be able to hate my job so much. I would be happier. It wouldn’t feel like such a chore. Maybe if I really did my work for the Lord—in a roundabout way, because I don’t work at a church—I’d have that peace that passes understanding and that joy that we all have met with at some point or other in our lives…that magnetic happiness that so few people seem to genuinely have. Once I said to a friend, “I’d like to be infectiously happy.” The only way to be infectiously happy is to become infected with the love of God. “If you merely pretend that you enjoy God or love Him, He knows. You can’t fool Him; don’t even try. Instead, tell Him how you feel. Tell Him that He isn’t the most important thing in this life to you, and that you’re sorry for that. Tell Him that you’ve been lukewarm, that you’ve chosen _________ over Him time and again. Tell Him that you want Him to change you, that you long to genuinely enjoy Him. Tell Him how you want to experience true satisfaction and pleasure and joy in your relationship with Him. Tell Him you want to love Him more than anything on this earth. Tell Him you want to treasure the kingdom of heaven so much that you’d willingly sell everything in order to get it. Tell Him what you like about Him, what you appreciate, and what brings you joy.” Maybe I’m a little idiot, but the thought never had occurred to me to tell God all of this. Tell Him that He’s not the most important thing in my life? Why? Why would I confess that to Him? I’d never thought of that because it seemed so wrong. All my life I have struggled to put Him first and failed to do so over and over, and yet I never thought of telling Him about that in my prayers. I’d confess every other struggle and failure to Him but never that one. Maybe I was scared to, and I’m not sure why. But I never thought to do that. Why would I? And here’s why… Because HE is the only one who can change the heart. If I’m not praying that I might put Him first, do I really want to put Him first? Sometimes, my friend, I really don’t understand myself. Or anyone else, for that matter! But I’m learning. I’m learning not to be afraid to talk to God about everything. He knows it all already, certainly, but it’s important that I tell Him about it anyway. As I’ve said before, every relationship requires work, including my relationship with the Lord. And it’s the most important relationship of all. So this book told me a few things I’ve heard before, but it hit home in a lot of ways I wouldn’t have expected. I don’t know if I thought this little book was just going to make me feel all warm and fuzzy and loved…I kind of think that’s what I was thinking when I picked it up! It didn’t really do that. It made me reevaluate my life, in a good way, and for that I am so very thankful. Being convicted like this isn’t usually comfortable, but it’s usually a good thing. Now, my friend, I think this letter is long enough, don’t you? Like I said, next time you’re in town we’ll sit down and have tea together and talk about everything under the sun. [image error] Until then, Affectionately Yours, Hope P.S. There were soooo many other things in this book that had a profound impact on me, but for some reason that specific section really struck me one evening and sometimes I’ll harp on one section like that. All I can say is that I recommend this book to everyone. I loved it very much and I intend to re-read it in the near future with a highlighter or a pencil nearby to mark my favorite parts, because there were many! Happy reading! And remember, live recklessly for HIM. You won’t regret it in the end.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kamsin Kaneko

    I guess this book is pretty challenging, but something about Chan's style or his theology or just his general intensity didn't quite sit right with me. Maybe I used to think that God was calling me to "give up everything" and live only for him and give away everything to the poor, the way this book says. But now I think that I don't need to be "crazy" to love God. Maybe quiet, day to day acts of faithfulness, in a fairly ordinary kind of a life are just as important as the big, "wow, you're so a I guess this book is pretty challenging, but something about Chan's style or his theology or just his general intensity didn't quite sit right with me. Maybe I used to think that God was calling me to "give up everything" and live only for him and give away everything to the poor, the way this book says. But now I think that I don't need to be "crazy" to love God. Maybe quiet, day to day acts of faithfulness, in a fairly ordinary kind of a life are just as important as the big, "wow, you're so amazing" acts which Chan seems to advocate. I don't know. I mean how many people show up for work every day and try to find the best in themselves and each other? Especially as a teacher, it seems so many teachers have little faith in, or respect for, their students. And all the simple day to day things like loving your spouse might not seem very heroic, but how many people actually do this consistently? As for his ideas on Christians living safe, comfy lives. I don't know exactly what God has to say about that, but whilst walking round a photography exhibition with photos from some of the worlds most troubled and dangerous places, I left thinking the world is a pretty scary, unsafe kind of a place for the vast majority of people. Maybe trying to protect what with have is a natural reaction to that fact? Anyway, Chan seems to be super popular and I keep seeing his words quoted on blogs and facebook, but for whatever reason, I'm not a fan.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This book has a huge fan base in the evangelical world. So many of my personal friends have gone gaga over this book that I feel a little guilty busting it down to two stars. However, I have several reasons that I must do so. Is it because I'm a calloused Christian that isn't willing to be "overwhelmed by a relentless God"? No. It's that I'm not overwhelmed by this book...let me count the ways. 1. I am really hard pressed to find any new material in this book. Recently there has been a wave of si This book has a huge fan base in the evangelical world. So many of my personal friends have gone gaga over this book that I feel a little guilty busting it down to two stars. However, I have several reasons that I must do so. Is it because I'm a calloused Christian that isn't willing to be "overwhelmed by a relentless God"? No. It's that I'm not overwhelmed by this book...let me count the ways. 1. I am really hard pressed to find any new material in this book. Recently there has been a wave of similar books calling for comfortable suburban Christians to get Radical about their faith and realize that there is a Hole In the Gospel (well...at least their Gospel), and that each of us is called to be a disciple and Not A Fan. That covers several of them anyway. I haven't read all of these books, so I will refrain from commenting on them and stick to Crazy Love. Here's the deal Tozer and Bonhoffer said it better. I'll stick with them. 2. I usually like books that give me a kick in the pants, but this one did not engage me at all. I agreed with much of what Chan was saying. Christians play it entirely too safe and half-heartedly worship Christ all the time. So, when I was bored to tears reading this book, I sat down and analyzed why. This point alone will require subpoints (sorry folks, that's just the kind of mood I'm in at the moment). A. Chan should have fired his editor and hired a new one who would tell him when he was going all over the place, or say, "Hey, Francis, could you flesh this out more. This was just starting to get interesting and you left it dangling only to repeat some of this in a further chapter." Or maybe someone should have said, "You are making broad generalized claims about Christians, the Church, America. They seem true but if you really want to sell me, it would help to have some supporting data or stories or whatever." The fact is that the book could have been greatly improved by shifting some of the content around--dispersing some of his illustrations throughout the book and developing arguments well the first time instead of rehashing the same old arguments half way several times over. Am I being hard on Francis? Maybe but that is because... B. I like good writing, and this is not good writing. Reading this felt like reading a blog instead of a book. "Well, Nick, Chan never claims to be a great writer!" Fair enough, but when Crazy Love is receiving such high accolades I feel that it is my duty to critique it. I am probably spoiled by reading guys like C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer, and N.T. Wright. That might be true, but if you are going to the work of publishing a book learn how to write well. C. This may just go back to subpoint A...I'm still not sure, and so it gets its own subpoint. Chan's approach to his goal is confusing and muddled. I notice that several other reviewers have picked up on this as well. He begins his book by talking about how we SHOULD be in Love with God and be AWED by him. So he sends you to some websites (I hate when books do this by the way. I'm reading a book. If you wanted me to link to something, write a blog. Take the time an describe or quote the content for crying out loud!). What happens a couple years down the road when these sites are dead links? Your book is outdated that's what. But I digress. He spends several chapters upfront trying to guilt the reader into loving God more. Then it seems that he back pedals somewhat, saying that you cannot make yourself love God more. He spends a whole chapter on the "Profile of a Lukewarm Christian" in which some of the traits are distilled from Scripture and some have no referent other than the opinions of Chan. He makes some hard claims, but then softens them in the next chapter. He says that he is not trying to preach works and that the Holy Spirit must do the work. I believe that he is attempting to preach a gospel of grace, but his delivery stinks. He needs to build clearer, more nuanced arguments instead of making sweeping claims that he has to clarify later. In the end, I am kind of confused about how Chan wants his readers to go about being "overwhelmed by a relentless God." Perhaps this is because he never fully diagnoses the reason why many Christians are in the shape we are. He states the problem and says we need to change, but when it comes to reasons why this is the case he comes up short. 3. And finally, it suffers from the same problems that many of these type of books do, namely it focuses on extreme examples of social justice or financial stewardship. If you aren't downsizing your house or biking to work, then you aren't an extreme enough Christian. These types of books give lip service to less dramatic ways of serving God, but they don't get page time when it comes to examples. Nor is there ever any insight into what "Crazy Love" might look like in rural Kentucky or Montana rather than Urban/suburban Chicago or San Diego. This last point reveals the limitations of the authors, but if you are going to make general statements for the American Church at least get a peek into the world of average small town America. Well, I guess I was pretty hard on this book. It works for a lot of people. I actually liked some of what he had to say, but in the end I have to say that I think this book is greatly over rated. The huge success of this book, and others like it, reveals that there is a desperate need in our churches for real, life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. I commend Chan for speaking out against self-absorbed, cushy Christianity. I only wish he had done a better job.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Adriane Devries

    When asked if Crazy Love’s author Francis Chan believes God calls us to live a radical, crazy life, Chan responded, “It should be the only thing that makes sense,” and in these pages he gives compelling evidence pointing to a church that is not living Biblically. He compares modern American Christians to a boy asking a girl on a date, but not wanting to drive her to the restaurant or to pay for her meal. Likewise, for many Christians the cost of truly obeying Christ is too high, calling into que When asked if Crazy Love’s author Francis Chan believes God calls us to live a radical, crazy life, Chan responded, “It should be the only thing that makes sense,” and in these pages he gives compelling evidence pointing to a church that is not living Biblically. He compares modern American Christians to a boy asking a girl on a date, but not wanting to drive her to the restaurant or to pay for her meal. Likewise, for many Christians the cost of truly obeying Christ is too high, calling into question whether we are fully committed to Him or not. If we are justifying our choices of entertainment and hobbies, or avoiding sacrificial service, we are reflecting a heart condition towards God that is lukewarm at best. Chan talks about the myth that we are in control of our lives, how pride plays into it, and how worship, prayer, and purposeful joy result from giving this control over to the Lord. He, in turn, takes our offerings and multiplies them, like the fishes and the loaves that came from a boy’s small lunch and fed the five thousand gathered to hear Jesus’ sermon. It’s “not how much we make or do compared to someone else. What matters is that we spend ourselves” on behalf of Jesus. “Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” (Tim Kizziar) “God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.”

  19. 4 out of 5

    Le Chuck

    This book is like the literary equivalent of boot camp. I don't need to read one more "Christian" book that reminds me what a failure I am and how far I fall from the mark. I just don't think God had this type of " evangelism" in mind, call me crazy. No pun intended. I also love how the author calls for us all to practically quit our jobs and follow God to the ends of the earth. So... Who would be around then to heal the sick? Grow the food? Police the streets? Teach our children? I don't need o This book is like the literary equivalent of boot camp. I don't need to read one more "Christian" book that reminds me what a failure I am and how far I fall from the mark. I just don't think God had this type of " evangelism" in mind, call me crazy. No pun intended. I also love how the author calls for us all to practically quit our jobs and follow God to the ends of the earth. So... Who would be around then to heal the sick? Grow the food? Police the streets? Teach our children? I don't need one more "pastor" telling me that I should drop everything and go on mission trip. Perhaps God has put me through 15 years of post graduate education so that I can utilize it? Or perhaps I should stop being such a bad Christian, have more faith, quit my career, and move to some place where I am not welcome and do things I am not trained to do, all the while watching my student loans compound and multiply. Yeah, I think God understands that we can't all be missionaries. I wish more of my peers would figure that out. In essence, this book exemplifies many of the attributes of modern evangelicism that I find to be counter productive.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Richie

    Everybody should read this book. It's an eye-opener!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chriskimpston

    I struggled on whether or not to give this book 2 or 3 stars. While I liked the book, certain ideas about Christianity bothered me. The more I investigated the things with which I disagreed, I realized that it wasn't as much the actual theological ideas as much as his wording. Therefore, since Chan's book was an articulate communication of the love of God, I went with 3. The book is pretty good, save a few things that I personally took issue with. These are just MY opinions, I'm not saying that I struggled on whether or not to give this book 2 or 3 stars. While I liked the book, certain ideas about Christianity bothered me. The more I investigated the things with which I disagreed, I realized that it wasn't as much the actual theological ideas as much as his wording. Therefore, since Chan's book was an articulate communication of the love of God, I went with 3. The book is pretty good, save a few things that I personally took issue with. These are just MY opinions, I'm not saying that my opinion is the correct one, I'm just going to articulate where my beliefs differed from Chan's, or where I disagreed with the wording. A couple of different instances, Chan speaks about "pleasing God," speaking of it as a priority. If God is as infinitely and relentlessly loving as Chan portrays Him, then "pleasing" him is a silly idea. "Pleasing" God belongs to pegan sacrifices, not worship for a God who would die as a human for the very people who tortured and murdered Him. A couple of wording issues within the book appeared, leading the reader to certain conclusions that might not be what Chan means to communicate. Chan, near the end of the book, goes through various examples of individuals who made incredible sacrifices for God and their faith. While I am not trying to diminish the greatness of their actions (because they are truly, VERY great!), Chan seems to attempt to instill guilt in whoever isn't selling their home for a charity, or some other example of self-sacrifice. Chan speaks of the necessity of "constantly putting yourself in situations of discomfort," so that God can come through and provide. While trusting in God in times of struggle is important, it seems that Chan is saying that you should never be in a position of comfort or contentment, and if you are, you are doing something wrong! Do I think this is what Chan is saying? No, I just think that he didn't articulate his point very well. He doesn't adress that doing good acts should be based on an internal desire placed by God to do so. It needs to start in the heart, because if you act simply out of obligation, it's an empty deed. God wants you to do things for Him because you love Him, not because you are trying to buy your way into heaven. This leads into another strange wording, when Chan says that we need to act with our "minds on the life to come." I'm sure he means that we should know the age to come in heaven is much better than the struggles of this life, but it can be misconstrued into someone thinking they are performing good acts to get into this "life to come." Chan does mention bringing heaven to earth, but it needs to be reinforced in the instances where his words can be misconstrued. The issues that I have with the book is more with the way that it was written and worded, and less with fundamental differences in beliefs. Despite these couple examples of a few issues I had with the book, the book was a lovely communication of God's goodness and how He should be central in our lives. Again, these are just my opinions, I'm not claiming to be an authority. God bless Francis Chan, his family, and the good I'm sure he will continue to do in the world! -Christopher Kimpston

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I'm always skeptical when approaching a book like this. Why? Because I've taken classes on rhetoric and argument, and these books tend to use a lot of emotional manipulation to support the argument presented in the book. Emotional manipulation can take the form of a bizarre, crazy story that is meant to move you...and, of course, it's a true story as well. At church, it usually ends in an altar call. These kinds of stories inhibit real emotion, I believe, and a story like what I just described a I'm always skeptical when approaching a book like this. Why? Because I've taken classes on rhetoric and argument, and these books tend to use a lot of emotional manipulation to support the argument presented in the book. Emotional manipulation can take the form of a bizarre, crazy story that is meant to move you...and, of course, it's a true story as well. At church, it usually ends in an altar call. These kinds of stories inhibit real emotion, I believe, and a story like what I just described appeared in the first chapter of the book. Basically, the stories in this book mean to move and inspire you actually just confused me. In one, Chan told us about a man working with Ethiopians suffering from Mossy Foot, but he got a toothache and had to leave to take care of it. He never wanted to have to leave Ethiopia again, so he had all his teeth pulled and wore dentures for the rest of his life. I don't know, I thought it would be more beneficial to get a dentist to Ethiopia. The woman who was a prostitute and now caters to prostitutes as a Christian was an awesome story, though. Chan did say some awesome things about the general complacency of Christians, and outlined what being "obsessed" with God looks like, though. The "Profile of the Lukewarm" was very convicting and great for examining character. He also addressed how others perceive Christians, which I always think we need reminding of. However, I wish he reminded us about Grace a little more throughout the book. At one point, after writing a few chapters that are meant to challenge your character, he finally realizes that what he says could cause doubt, but God's grace covers us. I think he should have reminded us that the "profile of the obsessed" is not attainable without the grace and help of God. http://thebookishsarah.wordpress.com

  23. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Like some here and on other websites, I'm one of those who was done with this book by chapter 4. Having recently read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, this book couldn't stand in higher contrast. Chan's tone seems faintly aggravated and impatient from the very beginning, but he makes his agenda abundantly clear once he's reached the section on "Lukewarm Christians". No argument can convince me that this isn't, for all intents and purposes, a works gospel, and I just don't have time for Like some here and on other websites, I'm one of those who was done with this book by chapter 4. Having recently read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, this book couldn't stand in higher contrast. Chan's tone seems faintly aggravated and impatient from the very beginning, but he makes his agenda abundantly clear once he's reached the section on "Lukewarm Christians". No argument can convince me that this isn't, for all intents and purposes, a works gospel, and I just don't have time for it. Not any more. There's no doubt in my mind that Chan lives and believes the way he says he does, and that he's coming from a place of true love and concern for Christians as a whole, but I believe his overall message is worrisome at best, and potentially devastating to someone who is living his or her life believing they are simply not good enough, not selfless enough, not hard-working enough, and not "Christian" enough to truly accept Christ's gift of grace. On page 84, after an exhaustive passage describing what he calls the "Lukewarm Christian" (a passage in which EVERY reader, no matter what their walk with God, is bound to see some of his or herself), he says, "As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there's no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are 'lukewarm' are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven." As far as I'm concerned, we can read this one of two ways: either as someone who falls snugly into his outrageous category of elitist mega-Christians, or as someone who, simply put, isn't going to Heaven. It falls short of what I know of my God - who IS love, and patience, and grace - on so many levels I can't even count them. Don't believe it for a second.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    I was quite surprised at some of the reviews here. Personally, I approach books that deal with God looking to listen and learn from others experiences and take what I can incorporate myself from those things I feel I can improve on - in other words, pretty much everything. Some people seem to struggle with his views on loving God. We are all different so, of course, it makes sense that everyone experiences their walk differently so I can understand the statements from both sides on how they rela I was quite surprised at some of the reviews here. Personally, I approach books that deal with God looking to listen and learn from others experiences and take what I can incorporate myself from those things I feel I can improve on - in other words, pretty much everything. Some people seem to struggle with his views on loving God. We are all different so, of course, it makes sense that everyone experiences their walk differently so I can understand the statements from both sides on how they relate and experience God's love. Naturally, a relationships growth hold many components. Of these two main ones that immediately come to mind are the physical time of a relationship and the quality of time vested in the relationship. Not much different than the relationships with people here on earth. If I have learned anything in my own walk with God, it would be I am imperfect, and in need of love, both giving and receiving in my relationship with Jesus and I am thankful my salvation is a free gift since I could never have earned it otherwise. I am so far from what He wants me to be, I just keep getting back in the saddle, thankful for his tender mercies He renews daily. Ultimately, this book had a positive influence overall. I am comfortable enough to take what I can agree with and not fuss over the areas I may disagree with, right or wrong. I felt the sincerity in Chan's writing and think he added an interesting view of God through his personal relationship and his growing understanding. He came across as a man seeking God, serving God and loving God. All positives in my book!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Mcneill

    It was a good book. It's short, simple and easy to read. It talked about God's love and how our response should be enthusiastic and selfless living. I have some criticisms though. I think he could have spent more time on who God is and what he has done in order to ground our response to God. He spent most of the time focusing on our response to God and that left the book slightly lop-sided. The chapter on lukewarm Christians was an important warning shot to people who live careless lives without t It was a good book. It's short, simple and easy to read. It talked about God's love and how our response should be enthusiastic and selfless living. I have some criticisms though. I think he could have spent more time on who God is and what he has done in order to ground our response to God. He spent most of the time focusing on our response to God and that left the book slightly lop-sided. The chapter on lukewarm Christians was an important warning shot to people who live careless lives without thinking about God. But when he says that such people are not Christians and will not enter heaven, I think he goes a step too far. Works should never be a criterion for assurance; we are saved by faith. Furthermore, casting doubt on a person's salvation will not motivate them to serve God out of love. It will motivate fearful living in the hope of maybe being good enough for God. I'm not denying that there are many people who claim to be Christians and are not. But I am saying that we should make such people examine their faith, not their works. Get people to put their faith in Christ and to see how magnificent his love is. Then on the basis of that assurance let them live for God in full assurance of his love for them. Get them to build on that faith by seeing that every promise of God is reliable and that living for him is more precious than living for self. Otherwise this was a good book. I enjoyed it. But there are other books which ground radical living more firmly in an understanding of God's grace.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Adam Calvert

    This book is one of the most confusing I've ever read about the Christian life. Chan offers a mixed view of saying the Christian life is lived out of love and not out of fear-and-guilt, but then mainly tries through fear-and-guilt to persuade his readers to live the Christian life. Throughout the book Chan seems very confused and inconsistent in his approach to either stir up the idle Christian or convert the non-Christian. And you’re never sure which of those actions he’s trying to do. Frankly, This book is one of the most confusing I've ever read about the Christian life. Chan offers a mixed view of saying the Christian life is lived out of love and not out of fear-and-guilt, but then mainly tries through fear-and-guilt to persuade his readers to live the Christian life. Throughout the book Chan seems very confused and inconsistent in his approach to either stir up the idle Christian or convert the non-Christian. And you’re never sure which of those actions he’s trying to do. Frankly, I’m not sure he himself is quite sure at any given point which one he’s trying to do. For instance, he says on the one hand, we're basically all lukewarm, halfhearted, stagnant Christians (p. 22), only to say later that "lukewarm" Christians aren't even Christians at all (pp. 83-84ff), only later to assume again that his reader is a Christian and also a lukewarm believer (p. 111). The inconsistency abounds so greatly throughout the book that it would be difficult to list all the examples. But as a reviewer I would caution the reader to beware of this fact and to be on the lookout for a multitude of false dichotomies (either this, or that, when it very well could be both this and that, or something else entirely, etc.). Now commendably, Chan recognizes a problem in the church where many Christians seem to have a very shallow Christian life. The reason for this I think Chan presents very well in his preface: "I don't think my church's teachings were incorrect, just incomplete. My view of God was narrow and small" (p. 20). "The core problem isn't the fact that we're lukewarm, halfhearted, or stagnant Christians. The crux of it all is why we are this way, and it is because we have an inaccurate view of God" (p. 22). To put it clearly, many Christians in today's church have shallow Christian lives because they have a narrow, small, inaccurate view of God. And I would whole-heartedly agree with this assessment. (For a particularly compelling article on this same assessment, I suggest A.W. Tozer's, "The Knowledge of the Holy," which to Chan’s credit, he quotes in his book.) However, while Chan sets up the problem clearly in the preface, the rest of the book falls very short of the solution. The title in full is, "Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God," with two arrows on the cover, the first one pointing down and the second pointing up. Now my first impression from all of this is that the book is going to be about God’s relentless, overwhelming love toward us (the sinner), and then following from that, our response of loving Him (the Savior). It seems reminiscent of Paul's style of teaching - the teaching about who Christ is and what He's done (Rom 1-11, Eph 1-3, Col 1-2), then flowing from that, the teaching of our response to Him (Rom 12-16, Eph 4-6, Col 3-4). But when you actually read this book, it is far from any of this. If the problem is a narrow, small, inaccurate view of God, one would think the solution would be to present a deep, grand, accurate view of God. But Chan seems to give little attempt at this; for he spends only three chapters on the person of God (and really not very well) and the next seven chapters on the person of the "Christian"? This is puzzling. While the problem assessed is that the church has an inaccurate view of God, instead of writing to correct that, Chan spends most of his time writing to persuade the reader that he or she should be living a more “radical” “risky” “adventurous” life, not once recognizing that sometimes we truly are called “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind [our] own affairs…” (1 Thess. 4:12). This unbalance in his book is truly unhelpful. And in keeping with this unbalance, instead of Chan writing about how it’s the atonement that frees us to live a godly life (Gal. 5:1, 5-6, 13) and the Holy Spirit who enables us to live a godly life (Rom. 8:11; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 5:16) [for these teachings indeed would be correcting our inaccurate view of God], Chan instead uses fear and guilt to bring about our own self-reformation. [To be fair, Chan does visit the topics of grace and the Holy Spirit; but they really are touched on minimally.] It’s very odd, because Chan himself recognizes that fear-and-guild is not the solution (p. 101). Yet he can’t seem to keep himself from that approach. For before that chapter and after that chapter there’s just not a whole lot other than “Shouldn’t you be giving more? Shouldn’t you be working harder? Shouldn’t you be loving better?, etc.” To make matters more difficult, while not really making a clear distinction as to whether or not he’s writing to an unbeliever who thinks he or she is saved, or a believer who is saved but is idle, Chan often takes Scripture out of context in order to get across his own agenda. For instance: At one point he makes abiding in Christ in 1 John 2:28 somehow mean "spending ourselves" (p. 127). He writes: "What matters is that we spend ourselves. 'And now little children, abide in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming'" (p. 127). Chan makes this verse mean that we must "spend ourselves" or else we'll shrink from Christ in shame at his coming. [Even though Chan says fear-and-guilt is not a proper motivator, here is a clear example of him trying to use it as such.] Yet the Biblical context has nothing to do with "spending ourselves" but is rather about abiding in the gospel: "No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you....And this is the promise that he made to us - eternal life. And now little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming" (1 Jn. 2:23-28). Abide in Him, in Christ, in His righteousness! This is about abiding in the confession of the Son, not "spending" ourselves in human effort. So Chan makes this passage end up meaning the exact opposite of what it means. There are many more, but probably the most interesting example of a passage out of context is when Chan says, "As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there's no such thing" (p. 83-84). And it is at this point that Chan "exegetes" (?) Revelation 3:15-18. He goes to great lengths to explain why these verses are about unbelievers and not true Christians - that lukewarm Christians are not really believers at all. Chan says, "Many people read this passage and assume Jesus is speaking to saved people. Why?" I think the answer to his question is found in verse 19 - the verse he for some reason leaves out of the passage: "Those whom I love I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent." Why do we think the passage is directed to a church of saved people? Because God loves them and disciplines them! Does God love the reprobate in a way so as to reprove and discipline them? (Rom. 1:18-32; Heb. 12:5-11) It seems clear in Scripture that He doesn’t. It also seems pretty clear from the context of this passage that it's directed toward believers, who may have some professing unbelievers mixed in with them; but to say the whole group is purely unsaved...I'm not sure how that interpretation can stand. But it’s here where we start to see why Chan can interpret the Bible apart from context, and it is here that it strikes my very heart as a seminary student. Chan again ably recognizes a problem: "In an earlier draft of this chapter, I quoted several commentators who agreed with my point of view. But we all know that you can find quotes to support any view you want to take. You can even tweak word studies to help you in your effort." Yes, that's true. So what's the solution then? Compare the commentators and word studies in the original languages while examining the context of the passage to find the most likely meaning - given a historical-grammatical understanding of the text? No...instead: "I'm not against scholarship, but I do believe there are times when we come to more accurate conclusions through simple reading" (p. 85). Translation: don't worry about context, original audience, authorial intent, etc. Just read it. I wish I was joking about my "translation" but it's confirmed in his very next paragraph: "And so I've spent the past few days reading the Gospels. Rather than examining a verse and dissecting it, I chose to peruse one gospel in each sitting" (p. 85). I have no problem with this. The survey method of study is very useful. However, here's what he says next: "Furthermore, I attempted to do so from the perspective of a twelve-year-old who knew nothing about Jesus. I wanted to rediscover what reasonable conclusions a person would come to while objectively reading the Gospels for the first time." [GASP, says every seminary student who took a hermeneutics course worth its salt.] What?!?!? Let me get this straight. To understand the gospels better, we're not going to try to discover the historical/cultural context in which they were written, the original language that was employed in their composition, the original audience to whom they were written? We're not piecing all this together to ascertain the most likely authorial intent in the Scriptures? But instead, we're going to assume the ancient document capability of a twelve-year-old (um...none) and pretend we don't know anything about Jesus (we're in effect now an unbeliever)? Is that the best way to interpret Scripture? Are we ever told in Scripture to take the mind of Christ off in order to come to a more "reasonable" "objective" conclusion? (Eph. 4:17-24; Col. 2:6-10; 1 Jn 2:26-27) [And by the way, unbelievers are not objective (Rom. 1:18-21; Matt. 12:30)!] Yet this is Chan's take on how to approach Scripture! Want to know the Scriptures better? Ask the unbelieving twelve-year-old. This is a bad idea! Read the above referenced Scriptures and tell me if unbelievers are reasonable and objective and whether or not Christians should pretend we don't know anything about Christ when reading Scripture. Yet this is Chan's approach. It's no wonder he so often confuses the accounts in the gospel literature, of what Jesus says to do to this person or that (and which were always written with their author’s own [inspired] theological scheme in mind), with the Christian life laid out in the rest of the New Testament (the things Jesus had not yet said to His disciples but intended to after He was glorified - Jn. 16:12-14). This is why Chan is constantly mixing the law (to which we are not bound - Rom. 7:4-6; Gal. 5:18), and the Christian life of love (to which we are bound in our connection to Christ - Gal. 5:1, 5-6, 13). This confusion is brought out in too many passages to cite, especially in the gospels and Old Testament. But for an instance, take the story of the rich young ruler (p. 74, 90). The point is not that he wouldn't give his money away (which Chan repeatedly makes it), but that this man thought he was actually good enough by himself or could be good enough by himself to inherit eternal life (Lk. 18:18-30). Jesus plainly tells him, "No one is good except God alone" (v19); yet he stubbornly maintains, "All these [commandments] I have kept from my youth" (v. 21). The crowds are distraught, sure. If this rich man, for whom it's easiest to keep the commandments, and who by his own admission has kept them all from his youth - if he can't inherit eternal life, then what hope is there for the rest of us? “Who then can be saved?” To that Jesus replies, "What is impossible with men is possible with God" (v. 26). You see, doesn't this in itself point to the very gospel of Christ? [But to interpret it this way we would have to know that Luke was writing with a theological point in mind… we would have to know some context.] Don’t you see that Christ is the One (the only One) who was good and truly did keep all the commandments (1 Pet. 2:22), and He is the One (the only One) who was truly rich and gave it all up - and He did it for our sake (Phlp. 2:6-8; 2 Cor. 8:9)! Only Christ can meet His own demands! And He did so on our behalf (Heb. 4:14-16, 7:23-25, 9:24, 10:14, 19-23). Truly such a great salvation is impossible with men, but with God it is possible! But Chan fails to bring this out, as he does in many other ways. He speaks about our offering our best and quotes the old covenant (p. 91), but he utterly fails to see that Christ IS our best! And it was He who was offered, on our behalf, under the new and lasting covenant (Heb. 8:6, 9:15; 2 Cor. 3:4-18). What then comes of the Christian life? It's clear throughout the Scriptures. We do love others (Jn. 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10; Eph. 5:1-2; Col. 3:14; 1 Thess. 4:9), we do give money (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:8-15, 9:6-15), we do help those in need (Ti. 3:14, Ja. 1:27, 1 Jn. 3:16-18). We do many other things out of love, but it's because we know who God is and what He's done (Gal. 5:5-6, 13). It is because we are free (Gal. 5:1), it is because Christ paid for our sins by his blood (Eph. 1:7), it is because everything has been accounted for and we know that we have no debt toward God (Col. 2:14), it is because of the redemption that we have in Christ and Christ alone that we are able to love the Lord and love others. While Chan somewhat recognizes this in theory, he fails to bring it out in practice in his book. At one attempt in demonstrating (?) God’s “crazy love” Chan says: “In the midst of our failed attempts at loving Jesus, His grace covers us” (p. 87). So after we try our hardest, that’s when grace kicks in? Is that the kind of crazy love God has for us? The Scriptures say that it’s not just in the midst of our failed attempts that Jesus’ grace covers us. It says that we were dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1), enemies of God (5:6, 10), hostile in our minds (Col. 1:21), and hateful in our beings (Ti. 3:3); and before even having the ability to give a God-ward failed attempt, that’s when God saved us (Eph. 2:4-5; Rom. 5:6-11; Col. 1:21-22; Ti. 3:4-7)! Grace doesn’t just cover our failed attempts - grace does it all from beginning to end (Eph. 2:8-10)! But grace is profoundly scarce in this book on God’s crazy love. The problem that causes shallow, "lukewarm," stagnant Christian living is indeed an inaccurate view of God, as Chan rightly assessed. But this book is nowhere close to providing a solution. Even in the chapter about how much God loves us, Chan simply gives us the analogy of him loving his own kids (p. 55). Sure, it's a nice story, and I'm glad he loves his daughter. But it's natural even for unbelievers to love their own kids. Compare that though to Ephesians 2, where God sees us naturally as children of wrath, and yet still loves us. Or the same concept in Romans 5 where even while we were rebellious sinners toward God, it was then that Christ died for us! It's natural to love our kids; it's supernatural to love rebellious objects of wrath. And THAT is God's love! Yet that is what is missing from Chan's book. Because of all these things I cannot recommend the book at all for Christian living. Yet if one must read the book, I would encourage the reader to contrast Chan’s style with the apostle Paul. Notice even in Paul's prayer life, he didn't pray so much that believers would "surrender" themselves or "spend" themselves. (Surely he would mention this from time to time, but it was never his emphasis. He knew that the Spirit would bring that about in their lives as they grew in their walk with the Lord.) But what did he pray? He prayed that the eyes of their hearts would be opened (Eph. 1:17) so that they would know the greatness of the hope they have in Christ (Eph. 1:18), that they would know they are somehow counted as riches in God's eyes (Eph. 1:18), and that they would somehow understand that the same power God used in raising Christ from the dead is the same power He used in bringing them into the newness of life in Christ (Eph. 1:19-21, 2:1-7). He didn't pray that they would do "more stuff." He prayed that Christ (His person and work) would dwell in their hearts (Eph. 3:17) through the power of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:16), so that they would somehow be able to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love, and to KNOW the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge (Eph. 3:18-19). And from that knowledge Paul would encourage (and charge) the Christian life. But it’s that knowledge that is absent from this book. Contrary to the impression this book gives, the Christian life is not based on who wants it more. It's based on how well we know the Lord Christ our Savior. "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (Jn. 17:3). Our eternal life is dependent on knowing Christ. Our Christian life is no different (Col. 2:6-10). The more we know Christ, the more we will do for Him because it is He who works in us (Col. 1:29; Jn. 15:1-5). But how are we set-apart (sanctified) from the rest of the world? Chan stated it correctly. We need an accurate view of God. And how do we go about getting that? "Sanctify them in your truth; your word is truth" (Jn. 17:17). We gain an accurate view of God by gaining an accurate understanding of God's Word. But I have to ask, does Chan know the Word of God? Chan writes, "The Israelites hid themselves whenever God passed by their camp because they were too afraid to look at Him, even the back of Him as He moved away. They were scared they would die if they saw God" (p. 36). The Israelites? Whenever? Is there a passage at all in the Old Testament that talks about God passing by the Israelite camp and the Israelites being scared they would die even if they looked at the back of Him? There's no such passage! Search the entire Scriptures! There is nothing remotely close to this claim in the Bible. It's as if someone told Chan the story of Moses seeing God's glory (Ex. 33:18-34:8), and Chan contorted it into this regular occurrence with God and the camp of the Israelites. So either Chan doesn't know the Scripture but he thinks he does, or he's making this up. Either option is not one from whom I'd want to learn a more accurate view of God (which, if you remember, is what he says is the solution to stagnant Christian living). (He doesn't know the Scripture, doesn’t seem too concerned about context, yet he's writing this book about the Christian life that’s supposed to correct our view of God... If you think about it, this is crazy alright…) Chan ends his book saying "one day I will have to stand before a holy God and give an account of my life" (quoting Daniel Webster, p. 174). God's Word tells us that as Christians we've already been judged in Christ and have been found righteous in Him (Jn. 5:24; Rom. 5:1, 8:1, 33-39)! Therefore, we are free, not to do whatever our sinful nature wants (rather, we are free from that - Rom. 6:6-7, 20-23), but we are free and able, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to serve Him in love (Gal. 5:5-6). So then, I would say, contrary to the message of this book let us not seek a more “radical” Christian life based on out-of-context readings of Scripture. But let us seek the true meaning of Scripture and let us seek Christ (Col. 3:1-4). Let us seek to know Him (Phlp. 3:7-8). Let us abide in HIM and in his message of grace, that we may take hold of the promise of eternal life (2 Jn. 2:23-25) and through that have the ability in the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life (Rom. 8:9-11). I’m glad Chan desires Christians to have a more meaningful Christian life. But desire without knowledge is not good (Prv. 19:2). Let us then seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18)!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    An amazing look at what it truly means to live for Christ.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Fauchelle

    Ugg don't you wiggle arround when a book challenges you to do better. This sure did this to me. All I can say is I am a work in progress. Am I spending enough time with the Lord? Am I listening to His call on my life? Am I giving to thoes in need with a loving heart? Am I doing things out of love or guilt and fear? Am I denying myself for His purposes? What am I putting first in myt life is it me or God? Am I dealing with sim or am I justifying? It's good to be challenged and to grow in my Faith. I don' Ugg don't you wiggle arround when a book challenges you to do better. This sure did this to me. All I can say is I am a work in progress. Am I spending enough time with the Lord? Am I listening to His call on my life? Am I giving to thoes in need with a loving heart? Am I doing things out of love or guilt and fear? Am I denying myself for His purposes? What am I putting first in myt life is it me or God? Am I dealing with sim or am I justifying? It's good to be challenged and to grow in my Faith. I don't want to stay as I am. I want a deeper relationship with the Lord.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Lee

    I am one of those people who does not respond well to phrases like "You've GOT to read this book!" or "You HAVE to see this movie!". I have to? Really? What are you going to do if I don't? These kinds of comments, while well intentioned, bring out the rebel in me. For example, I still haven't read The Shack. Sorry. I'm sure it's awesome. But it crossed the line from piquing my interest to mildly annoying me with every passing mention. Enter Francis Chan's much discussed Crazy Love. It has been t I am one of those people who does not respond well to phrases like "You've GOT to read this book!" or "You HAVE to see this movie!". I have to? Really? What are you going to do if I don't? These kinds of comments, while well intentioned, bring out the rebel in me. For example, I still haven't read The Shack. Sorry. I'm sure it's awesome. But it crossed the line from piquing my interest to mildly annoying me with every passing mention. Enter Francis Chan's much discussed Crazy Love. It has been talked about lately. A lot. To the point that another recommendation or two might put it over the edge. So I HAD to read this book. Not because you told me to, but because I wanted to read it before it was too late! And I'm so glad I did. For the first chapter or two, I really wanted to like Crazy Love. But it was a little slow. Readers are encouraged to pause and ponder things like the vastness of creation. It's a nice thought, but I still found myself thinking "OK why is everybody so 'crazy' about Crazy Love?". Things start to heat up in Chapter 3, "Crazy Love". The point Chan is trying to make here, and for the course of the whole book, is that while we can never comprehend just how much God loves us, we should try. And once we, through our broken human condition, begin to understand just how much God loves us, it will change the way we carry out our lives. Instead of being bored or complacent or playing the compare game with other believers, we will want to live our lives differently, to not settle. From the outside it will look radical, but from the perspective of one who lives his life from truly seeking to love as God loves, it will be a natural extension of our relationship with God. Chan has a passion for God, and it shines through in every page. And it is contagious. As I was reading Crazy Love, I got fired up in much the same way I do when I read A.W. Tozer or Dan DeHaan. This is some esteemed company, but I think it's exactly where Chan belongs. I was reminded of Tozer's concept of the "fellowship of the burning heart", which is in many ways a precursor to the concepts found in Crazy Love. My only point of contention with Chan is his view of lukewarm Christians: "As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there's no such thing." I am a firm believer in the concept of "once saved always saved". If you know that you have a point in your life where you put your trust in Jesus as your Savior, and you really meant it, you are a Christian. Period. If you have done nothing to earn your salvation, how could you do something to lose it? Giving Chan the benefit of the doubt, he could be saying that there are people in the church who act like Christians but who were never really Christians in the first place. This is an awfully slippery slope to step on, and it is strewn with guilt. And guilt seems to be the complete opposite of the message Chan is trying to convey with this book. I realize, of course, that we are not all going to agree on every point of theology, and my reservations about this issue only slightly affected my overall enjoyment of Crazy Love. So after reading Crazy Love, I've only got one thing to say. You've GOT to read this book. Just kidding. But seriously - if you're looking for a good book to get you fired up about your faith, look no further.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    I participated in a summer Bible study reading this book, and both the study was great and the reading was enlightening. The study itself was excellent, because it really helps to have other people to talk to about what's going on and how it impacts me through my identity as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Chan hasn't set out to write a book about Christian theology. Instead, he seeks to probe at the heart of the reader and ask them to search their heart and decide if their life truly shows I participated in a summer Bible study reading this book, and both the study was great and the reading was enlightening. The study itself was excellent, because it really helps to have other people to talk to about what's going on and how it impacts me through my identity as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Chan hasn't set out to write a book about Christian theology. Instead, he seeks to probe at the heart of the reader and ask them to search their heart and decide if their life truly shows the love they profess for God. And what does that mean, anyway? When did Following Jesus become a "ticking the boxes" or "going through the motions" exercise, instead of the manifestation of a genuine love relationship with the Savior? This isn't always the most comfortable book to read. At times, I felt as though I couldn't live up to a standard that radical love for God seems to set. The truth is, I will always fail at that, in my own strength. Good news is God provides the resources for me to live a live of supernatural love. However, that wasn't the point of this book, and Chan clearly states that. Instead, he encourages the reader to seek out a daily, open relationship with God, and to let that impact every part of their life. I take from this book, that being 'safe' in my walk with God doesn't represent the full dimensions of what being a believer in Jesus can bring to my life. I also ask myself what does my love for Jesus inspire me to do today and how can I tap into that love relationship with him. And from that flows the behavior that reflects my Savior. Yeah, this is a sucky review. I know it. I'm glad that God loves me even though I don't get it right, most of the time.

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