Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God (Anglais)
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However, as others have pointed out, the tension between salvation by grace and the need to serve wholeheartedly always needs to be kept in balance. The call to real christian living does need to be balanced with the knowledge that we're not saved by works.
Some other really good Christian books:
Godstone - The Kairos Boxes
A lire si vous n'avez pas peur d'etre touché !
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There are two ways of critiquing the church. We can critique out of love or out of disgust. Chan is committed to critiquing the church as an act of love. In a recent interview, when asked about the emergent church, he said this: "As a pastor I hear a lot of emergent leaders talk about what is wrong with the church. It comes across as someone who doesn't love the church. I'm a pastor first and foremost, and I'm trying to offer a solution or a model of what church should look like. I'm going back to scripture and seeing what the church was in its simplest form and trying to recreate that in my own church. I'm not coming up with anything new. I'm calling people to go back to the way it was. I'm not bashing the church. I'm loving it." And his love for the church is obvious throughout this book.
The format of Crazy Love is straightforward and effective. Chan dedicates three chapters to renewing our understanding of the character of God and seven chapters calling Christians to examine themselves. Within the book are two ongoing themes that are going to get people talking.
The first theme is that we must painstakingly examine ourselves. We cannot assume we are saved, or to use the biblical metaphor, we cannot assume that we are the good soil. Chan calls the reader to a serious self-inventory through a chapter that provides a profile of the lukewarm. He concludes, "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." God wants all or nothing.
The second theme is deeply counter-cultural, going against the stream of both Christian and secular culture. It is this: live your best life later. Chan wants to see Christians living differently--living in a way that is markedly different from those around them. He wants to see Christians forgoing much of what we consider necessary, what we consider our due, in order to focus on treasures that are eternal. He wants us to get outside the realm of what is comfortable to us and focus instead on radical obedience. "God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through."
These two themes and a focus on the Scriptures serve to create a powerful and deeply challenging book. There is a very obvious commitment here to teach Scriptural principles from the Scriptures and to invite the reader to verify what he is writing from those same Scriptures. Not surprisingly, the book's weakest chapter is the one that depends least on the Bible. It is a chapter providing examples of men and women who have made radical choices to live radically different. At least a couple of examples are of people who are probably not the best examples overall because as they've jettisoned their old lives, they've also jettisoned too much good theology.
That small critique aside, I found that this is a paradigm-shaking book with a message that Christians desperately need to hear. Too many of us are living too safely and too easily. But for the brief moments we spend at church each week, we are practically indistinguishable from the unbelievers around us. This is not the way it is meant to be. The church could use a loving exhortation and Chan delivers well.
It's that good. It's beautiful, hard-hitting, easy to read, convicting, life-transforming.
Remember a time when you had fallen in love? How everything in your life seemed to change? You did some crazy stuff. THAT'S exactly how our lives should change, if we truly fall in love with God.
Here is a summary of each chapter of the book, to give you a preview. I'll say it again, READ THIS BOOK!
This book is to convince you that by surrendering yourself totally to God's purposes, He will bring you the most pleasure in this life and the next.
Our problem isn't working harder, but realizing who God is, how "crazy" his love for us is, and falling in love with God. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything in your life.
On the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. It's crazy that we think today is just a normal day to do whatever we want with. Do you live with the fact that perhaps today you will die? Life is all about God and not about us at all.
The greatest good on this earth is God. Period. God's one goal for us is Himself. Do you believe that God is the greatest thing you can experience in the whole world?
Remember the parable of the soils. DO NOT ASSUME YOU ARE GOOD SOIL. Most American churchgoers have thorns that choke any seed that is in them. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it.
Jesus clearly states over and over he wants all or nothing. We can not give him leftovers, we cannot give him only what doesn't hurt us or only what doesn't put us at risk.
To change our hearts, what we value, what we risk, how we act, we don't need more guilt or more rules, we just need to be in love with God. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.
Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.
God wants us to trust Him with abandon. He wants to show us how He works and cares for us. He doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come true.
People who are obsessed with Jesus care more about the Kingdom than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress, live lives that connect them with the poor, will do things that don't make sense in terms of success or wealth, will seek humility, take joy in loving people, will be known as givers, not takers, will orient their lives around eternity, and will be characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God.
There are people who really do live with a crazy love for Jesus, and if you look at their lives, it will eliminate every excuse for not living a radical, love-motivated life for Him.
How you live your days becomes how you have lived your life.
Love. Risk. Listen to the Spirit. Be committed to live each day as if it is your last before you meet Jesus.
Chan spends the first eighty pages right on target with his message: Christians need to live as Christ called us. We should live sacrificially, we should live completely and totally sold out to Him. But Chan's method is sometimes very disturbing. He makes the assertion that if one believes in Christ, but doesn't follow His commands, then that person isn't going to Heaven. Pages 83-84 he states:
As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there is no such thing. To put it plainly, church goers who are "lukewarm" are not christians. We will not see them in Heaven.
He defines "lukewarm" as someone who does not follow Christ's commands. We're all guilty of that. So I can lose my salvation? So am I even really saved in the first place? Does one sin after accepting Christ negate my accepting of Christ?
We all sin, even as Christians. By sinning, we are disobeying God's commandments. Because we all still sin, we are all a little "lukewarm." Some are "hotter" than others who are "colder." This I understand. But Chan fails to mention what "temperature" at which we all get to spend eternity with Christ in fellowship. He says that lukewarm Christians will not go to heaven. Mr. Chan, I don't believe it's a gray scale, it's whether you accept Christ as your savior or not. If you do believe he loved you enough to die in place of you to save you from original sin, then you go to Heaven to be with Him forever. If not, you don't.
If Chan's implications are true, then WHO exactly HAS salvation? Romans 3:23 says that we all sin. Paul spends half of chapter 7 of Romans outlining his own struggle with sin. So I can't expect to see the Apostle Paul in Heaven, because by Chan's suppositions Paul isn't there? Even if I manage to get there, which by Chan's suppositions, I won't because I disobey God.
It takes him 86 3/4 pages to mention the concept of grace. This seems to be the turning point of the point, where the shovel goes from digging the hole, to refilling it.
Chan's vehicle for change seems to be guilt and fear. Romans 8:1 has one cure for that, while 1 John 4:18 has the other one.
This book is great for Christians who need a kick in the butt. It's also simultaneously not great for young Christians first learning to walk, because it is perilously close to condemning at times, and fails to mention grace until midway through the book. Chan seems to imply (and frequently has to apologize for such implication) that in order to prove that you love God, you have to live "crazy." If "works-based salvation" were a circle on the floor, Chan dances dangerously around the outside from all directions.
He could have simply said that works are a manifestation of your faith and salvation, and not a precursor to it. Faith happens first, salvation immediately follows, then works is evidence of the faith. It is devoid of the discussion of grace until midway through the book.
I understand that his implications that without the works, the faith can't be proven alive. He also fails to mention that some people are called to live incredibly mediocre and mundane lives, in which they go to work, make money, and donate generously to charities and to bankroll the missionaries. Jesus does say to the rich young man to sell all his possessions and "Follow me." This right young man thought so highly of his own possessions, that Jesus wanted to prove a point. But what of Abraham who demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice Isaac? The willingness is key. If we are not willing to sacrifice all we have to God, then we are lukewarm. This is where Chan isn't abundantly clear, and his message can be misinterpreted easily for "works-based salvation."
But the message at its core is good. Just be careful in recommending to young Christians.
Others have already said it well, but I'll add my 2 cents.
First off, if you struggle at all with believing God's love for you, or His forgiveness, or if you struggle with feeling insignificant, please, PLEASE do not read this book. It will leave you feeling nothing but despair.
In Chan's world, lukewarm people are not saved, and almost everyone is lukewarm. You are doomed. If you live a life of quiet, but wholehearted, dedication to God it doesn't matter. You are only saved if someone else can look at your life and see radical change.
In Chan's view of Christianity--
--If you are a stay at home mom prayerfully and sacrificially giving your all to raise children who will know Jesus while you strive to have a godly marriage, that is not enough. You are lukewarm.
--If you go to work each day and try to honor God in your ho-hum job, and make just enough to feed and care for your family and manage to pay all your bills, but have nothing left over to "radically give", that is not enough. You are lukewarm.
--If you struggle every day to overcome sin, and with God's help you are able to stay out of the gutter, or out of addiction, but you don't experience some huge, radical change, then that is not enough. You are lukewarm.
Remember, Chan says that you are NOT saved if you are lukewarm... (I would like to read some hermeneutical scholarship on Jesus' words that He will spit them out of his mouth-- I don't know if it is a statement of one's eternal salvation or not. ??).
About halfway through the book, Chan tosses a perfunctory nod to grace. I get the idea that in his view of God and salvation, grace plays a very minor role.
Basically, rather than believing that God cares about the direction of the heart--whether or not you have given over yourself to Christ and are trying to lead a life free of sin-- Francis Chan apparently believes that that it's all about what you do THAT OTHERS CAN SEE. It is works-based, "For Show" Christianity, where the transformation of the heart matters little and outward behavior is everything.
Yes, I believe wholeheartedly that our behavior will change as we bear the fruit of the Spirit. I also know (from Scripture) that God cares deeply about how we act and what we do. But Chan has swung the pendulum so far in the direction of actions that he has left no place for the SLOW, SOMETIMES LIFELONG, TRANSFORMATION THAT THE MAJORITY OF US EXPERIENCE.
Francis Chan makes the critical mistake of elevating one part of Scripture (Rev. 3:15) over other parts of Scripture (every verse that talks about grace and mercy). All of Scripture must be taken together and heeded as a cohesive whole.
Finally, since I started my review with what NOT to read, I want to give a couple of recommendation for books that are GOOD to read and that I sincerely believe will help you in being a true follower of Jesus Christ.
#1 --I strongly recommend Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. This is a book everyone should read.
#2--Pursuit of God (also by Tozer). A great, balanced, scriptural presentation of what it means to follow Jesus Christ.
#3--What's So Amazing About Grace (by Philip Yancey)-- Yancey paints a realistic and beautiful portrait of what grace looks like in the real world.
#4--My Utmost for His Highest (by Oswald Chambers) -- an excellent treatise on how to live as a Christian.
#5--The New Testament of the Bible.
God is crazy in love with you - believe it - but don't expect this book to tell you that. Find the truth in the WHOLE of Scripture instead.