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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2009
This book was recommended by my pastor, and after listening to Francis Chan's podcast for weeks I was excited to read this book. I have been thrilled with what I have heard from Francis Chan's teaching, he is challenging in a way that I think a lot of preachers are afraid to be today. Chan is not afraid to present what he feels the church should be, and when preaching he conveys these ideas with hope and encouragement along with a challenge to act these things out in our daily lives. While I am sure that many "older" Christians might be able take this book as a genuine challenge to live their faith more boldly, I find very little in the way of encouragement in this book. I think that this book is downright dangerous to newer Christians. I at least thought I had been growing in my faith over the last several months, but this book put a nice big question mark over all of that. Frankly, by the time I was finished reading this book, I didn't feel in any way inspired to be a better Christian... I felt like I had been torn into little pieces, I felt destroyed. I am lucky enough to work in the same building as our youth pastor, and fortunately (I love how God works) I bumped into him in the hall, and we had a brief conversation that did a pretty good job of patching me up, but I hate to think how I would be doing right now if I wasn't that fortunate.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2010
Francis Chan's bestseller, Crazy Love, was a bit of a disappointment for me. Like many other books that I've heard hyped up in mainstream evangelicalism, I found the basic ideas of the book to be somewhat rudimentary and a little cliche.

Still, there were a few bright points to the book, and it wasn't a complete wash.

The basic premise of the book is summed up in the Hebrew metaphor of the heart. Ancient Hebrews considered the heart not to be necessarily the seat of human emotion (as post-Victorian Europeans and Americans might), but rather the seat of human decisions.

Francis is telling us that to love God means to make decisions in our life based on God's will.

It's a challenging point, and he excels in making it challenging. Francis encourages you to dream big, not small. He attacks the "lukewarm" who rely on some misguided nominal and false sense of Christianity. He provides a "cloud of witnesses" of modern day Christians who live out the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. He encourages you to live day by day, giving all you can, being obsessed with living life as a Spirit-guided Christian.

Yet, noticeably lacking from this treatment of Christianity is Jesus - at least Jesus presented as a redeemer and Savior. Little time is spent on the "crazy love" that God has shown us in the cross, and that....well....it's just crazy.

My favorite explanation of the Lutheran concept of "Law and Gospel" is "Disturbing the Comfortable and Comforting the Disturbed." (Lex and Terry Radio Show by-line). Francis succeeds in disturbing the comfortable, but not in comforting the disturbed and giving the empowerment to do that which God has set before us. To me, that means that the job is only half-done.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2009
First off, I would say that I respect the author & what he is trying to do. I also think that I learned some good lessons from studying this book & I am now thinking more carefully about decisions I make.
However. I must say I would not recommend studying this book. Here's why.
Francis Chan does state in the book that he does not believe works are necessary for salvation. I was grateful that he said this, because I felt the rest of the book did not reflect this. I felt that he was saying being responsible and thinking through your decisions wisely is not very important or necessary. That is what bothered me the most about this book. Also, while I agree that most of the American church needs to be "jump-started", it seemed like he was trying to accomplish this through guilt. Overall, I just felt confused by this book.
So, while this book might be good for a read-through, I would recommend rather reading books from Jerry Bridges such as Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love or a book on God's sovereignty (something I felt was lacking in Crazy Love) such as Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink. Or, if you are a new Christian, a book like Basic Christianity (IVP Classics) by John Stott. Let these books shape the way you think & therefore live.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2011
I really enjoyed some of the things Chan had to say in his book. I felt challenged to think about things in a new way and to try to live out my faith more fervently.

At the same time, I feel that his book pushes a "works over faith" mentality. He focuses very much on "What are you doing to show that you are living for Christ?", which is good to a point, but can also push people to focus so much on what they're doing that they forget to actually maintain a relationship with God. I found myself feeling very attacked at some points. I disagreed with some of his claims to things that should and should not be seen in the life of a follower of Christ. Biblical people who had sin issues in their lives despite being followers of God are completely ignored (David, Moses, Aaron, etc.). Instead, Chan gives the perception that people who have given their lives to Christ shouldn't have questions, shouldn't struggle, etc. Those that do, he appears to question their salvation.

Chapter 5 was the chapter that really upset me. If it were not for the fact that we were reading this book for my life group, I would have stopped reading the book right there. Chan does have good things to say both in Chapter 5, before, and after, but some of the claims he made in Chapter 5 upset me so much (he suggested that a person asking if you have to be baptized to go to heaven is simply asking, can I not follow Christ and still get to heaven) that I was in tears and sick to my stomach.

I think Chan had good intentions, but I do not agree with some of his claims and was very upset by several. Therefore, I would not recommend this book.
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87 of 112 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2010
I'm not going to write much because most of the other one-star reviews capture the idea. This book made me feel depressed and discouraged, as if there was really no way I could ever do it right, no way I could ever be anything more than "lukewarm". And I am one of those people who (at one point in my life) actually did sell all of my possessions and move to a third-world country to help the poor because God called me to. Though I know I'm far from perfect, I thought I was at least pointed in the right direction. This book made me feel like why should I even bother? Nothing I can ever do will be good enough, so I shouldn't even try.

Not even touching on theology (a lot of other reviews already have), this book just felt wrong. Rather than inspiring me to draw closer to Christ, it pushed me further away. I definitely wouldn't recommend this... there are lots of other actual good Christian books out there that are inspiring, encouraging, motivating, and theologically sound. Try, for example, Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson.
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43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2009
I enjoyed what he had to say in the first four chapters... but I found his thoughts on salvation starting in chapter five to be disturbing and biblically unsound.

Although he says he doesn't believe it's "works for salvation," that is essentially what he is saying. Lukewarm Christianity is both a tragedy and a reality that the author claims doesn't exist. I disagree.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2011
Well, I finally got around to reading this very popular book by Francis Chan. I admit that I was kind of hesitant because books that have a lot of hype a lot of times don't live up to it.

I read a lot of the reviews of this book before taking it on myself. There were some who took Chan's message in Crazy Love as works salvation. They felt the tone was condemning. The main objection was Chan's statement that lukewarm Christians won't make it into heaven. For example, Chan gives examples of "ordinary" Christians who have given their lives in service to others. One example is George Mueller who began orphanages in England in the 19th century and completely lived by faith for the needs of the orphans.

Other reviewers were glowing in their assessment of Crazy Love. The feeling is that Crazy Love is a much needed kick in the pants for a North American church that is complacent. We have become self-satisfied and comfortable. We often see no need for real change. Crazy Love does its job in terms of being confrontational. It is meant to upset and disturb. It is not meant to be pleasant but medicinal. Medicine can be painful but accomplish a greater good.

After carefully reading the book, I would have to say that Chan does not believe in works salvation. He would affirm (I think) that we can never earn any good favor with God. Chan sees the impossibility of doing that. After all, no man can attain to the perfect standard of God. Yet, Chan would insist that good works are a must for the believer. It is a fruit of the work of the Spirit in the believer's life.

Since this book is a book of correction and admonition, we should not be surprised when Chan holds up as examples to follow, the leaders who have done great things and sacrificed much for the Lord.

While this is good as far as it goes, I think I would fault the book at this point. Probably for most of us, God does not lead us into extraordinary ways of service. We may serve the Lord faithfully in discipling our children, leading a small group, teaching Sunday school, volunteering in children's ministry, going on summer mission trips, volunteering at a local homeless shelter, taking up collections of food for the poor, etc. While these are ordinary ways of serving the Lord, they are also true expressions of our love for God and love for our neighbor.

God can and does lead some to the extraordinary, but I think for most of us he does not. The not-so-subtle message does come across in books like this (whether intentional or not) that we must do something extraordinary for God in order to determine whether or not we fall into the category of "lukewarm". The thinking is that if we are not doing something extraordinary, then we are possibly lukewarm. Then if we are lukewarm, we are not true believers and will burn in hell as a hypocrite. Chan tends to conflate those called to extraordinary service as being ordinary or normative for true Christians. Extraordinary service is certainly something we should prayerfully consider, but we should not feel guilty if we are not serving on the mission field or as a pastor.

I think that this is the crux of the criticism the book has received. Overall, I did appreciate the book because I felt like it did challenge my sin and complacency. Chan speaks from a loving heart, not a condemning heart. Chan has helped me to see areas where I could do more and give more of myself to the Lord. I would, however, respectfully disagree with the idea that only extraordinary service is the only kind that is acceptable to God. The book lacked balance in this respect.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 29, 2010
Chances are people won't see this review. The book has so many phenomenal reviews, and I understand why. It's a great book...but, personally, I had some difficulties with it.

Now, I firstly thought it was Chan's message. It cuts right to the core, to the point where I felt like a pile of dung. He doesn't mean harm; he means help. He means salvation. We should all strive toward perfection, even though we won't reach it until we reach divine life. Even then, we still won't be perfect; only God is perfect.

But there is where my qualms begin.

The first is his view of relationship. The Christian walk is not a walk of rules and regulations. Yes, they are part of it, but not the focus. They are there to help us along the way, but even Jesus broke them when necessary.
Chan mentions that he had a very strained relationship with his biological father. Now, to bring this topic up is very touching, raw, but also leaves one vulnerable. If I were to treat his strained relationship with dishonor, that would be monstrous of me. However, I feel that, from the emotion portrayed in his writing, his strained relationship may have tainted over to his spiritual relationship.
The fear of God is a deep message I get from this book. There is some love, but there is a lot more fear. We must do things in order to appease God, so that we don't get punished. We must be forced to love Him lest we incur His wrath. I'm not saying we shouldn't love Him; but we should WANT to love Him. God makes ways for us to desire Him, and I just don't think Chan expresses those ways in his writing.

Another thing is the message of the lukewarm being thrown into the dump heap. I definitely agree with this view, but I think Chan takes it a little too far. What Chan is doing is taking the impassioned writings of the Scripture's authors and applying them as if they actually lived this way 24/7. God knows that many can write better than they live, so it is impossible to imagine that these forerunners behaved inflamedly every moment of their lives. David sinned egregiously; Solomon was a terrible husband and father; Cephas renounced his rabbi (3 times); Moses hesitated a lot.
But are these people lukewarm? No. Absolutely not. Are the people who just go to Sunday service Christians? Probably not. But there are people who don't travel across seas to heal the sick and poor and are still going to paradise. Why? Because they reach the lost in several ways.

Take a look at a lot of the Christian writers recently. Some have never left their own country, yet their passion for the Lord is greatly embedded in their text, and these words continue to inspire and disciple the lost and the saved alike to this day.

I wish I could flesh out more points, but these are two that I had some serious issues with when reading Crazy Love. It's a great book that I'm sure will help many (one of my closes brothers highly praises it), but I found that these aforementioned issues perhaps don't drive home, but rather drive away from it.

But these are merely my personal opinions, and I can't wait to meet Chan anyway, whether in this life or the next.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2010
Let me start off by saying I agree with much of what Francis Chan had to say about people who call themselves Christians taking their faith much more seriously. Most Americans are far too happy with living their day-to-day lives with no thought of eternal reprecussions and what truly matters most in this life. Calls to action, like Chan's, are constantly needed.

My problem with Chan's book came in its simplicity and cheerleading style. I think this book would have been great for me during high school when a spiritual pep talk made me feel much more motivated to "be a better Christian." But reading it at 23 made it seem hollow and void of any true insight. Yes, we need to be less lukewarm. Yes, we need to get out and have an effect on our world. Yes, our actions do matter eternally. But by Chan's critiques I'm left thinking God wants every Christian in America to sell everything, move overseas to evangelize, and realize the hollow nature of all that was left behind.

It's easy to tell people we need to be radical for Jesus. But times change. We live in a modern world so a critique by Chan showing us a Christian navigating through the maze of our actual day-to-day lives would have been helpful. What does it mean to be radical? Surely Jesus doesn't want every Christian to ditch his or her current life and move. What does living a stable life by Jesus' ideals look like in America? Chan only offered explanations to muddle any helpful modern day critique of the church. If I summed up Chan's book it would be: "God's love is crazy, now let's go live crazy." That's nothing practical in that.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2010
I'll admit, I only read parts of this book and threw it in a drawer. I have issues with Chan's concepts of "suffering" for Jesus to prove our dedication to God. He seems to equate being poor with being a good Christian. While God might call some people to sell all they have and go to the missions field, I don't believe that God works the same through all of us. He seems to believe we have to "work" to show our righteousness, when Jesus has already made us righteous by dying on the cross. I would be exhausted if I had to jump through all the hoops he seems to think are necessary to prove that you are a "good" Christian. God's will for each person's life is not the same.

For example - he seems to think a missionary is ready for sainthood because he had all his teeth pulled out so he would never have to leave the missions field again to go to the dentist. Sorry - but I don't believe God requires you to give up all your good teeth to serve him! He seems to equate how dedicated you are to God by how poor you are and how much of a self-righteous sacrifice you make to serve God. While I agree that there are LOTS of complacent Christians out there, it's because they have not submitted themselves to God's word and they have not experienced the true love of Jesus. I don't believe that God requires us to be poor and barefoot and constantly starving in order to serve Him. To me that is just poor theology.
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