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“Christian famous” pastor quits his church, moves to Asia
December 22nd, 2010
06:00 AM ET

“Christian famous” pastor quits his church, moves to Asia

By, Eric Marrapodi, CNN

He pastored a 4,000-member church in California. He was a sought-after speaker at major conferences, wrote two best-sellers and launched a DVD teaching series.

Then he abruptly resigned and left the country.

But in Francis Chan’s unexpected journey there apparently is no hidden scandal, no money trail, and no ‘other’ woman.

“I just want to disappear for a while,” he said in late September as he prepared to leave Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California for an undisclosed location in Asia.

Before selling his house and packing up his wife and three children, Chan was becoming “Christian famous” in Evangelical circles.

“Even in my own church I heard the words, ‘Francis Chan’ more than I heard the words, ‘Holy Spirit’,” he said.

That was a big part of the reason he walked away at the peak of his professional career.

“I think there has been too much emphasis on me. I want to be used by God, but I think we have this desire to make heroes out of people rather than following God and the Holy Spirit.”

He quotes the apostle Paul, who told his followers “I didn’t die for you.”

In his world of big conference crowds, multiple services each week, and instant access to social media, the notion of pastoral care had begun to change. His fame was straining his work as a pastor.

“When there is a large constituency, there’s a lot of voices,” he said. “It makes you arrogant or it makes you want to shoot yourself. When thousands of people tell you what they think, how can I be quick to listen, like the Bible says? I don’t want to be a jerk and tune everyone out. At the same time you, can’t love every single person and answer them.”

So after lots of prayer and soul searching, Chan decided it was best to leave the church, country, and Internet behind to focus on serving others one-on-one.

Chan’s rise in popularity began with the founding of Cornerstone Community Church in 1994. Like many independent churches in the United States, Cornerstone is not tied to a larger denomination. Chan reluctantly calls it an Evangelical church, but says “titles on churches don’t always match up. You walk in with assumptions.”

His first book, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, has hit the New York Times best seller list since he left for Asia. His second, The Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, offers a glimpse into why he left.

“I was giving a lot of people just five minutes here and five minutes there,” he said in an interview, describing the book’s central theme. “I need to get better at just saying no to people and no to the crowds...Jesus worked a lot with individuals and his twelve [disciples].”

Two DVDs in his four-part teaching series, Basic, have been released, with more to come in March.

In Basic: Fear God, Chan says he doesn’t think we fear God enough. He appears starkly lit in front of a black backdrop to hammer home his metaphor, in which a woman tied to a bed watches as water slowly fills the bedroom. The water level rises until she is completely submersed and struggling to get free. Only then does panic set in.

If we were to meet God in person, Chan said, “I think the first thing He would say is you don’t take me seriously. You have no idea how to fear me.”

It is just one way Christians miss the point of the messages in the Bible, he said, a notion he aims to correct in the DVD series.

The New Testament, for instance, calls for a much greater commitment than many churches reveal when wooing new converts, he said. “We almost simplify it. We won’t tell people how painful it could be. It’s almost like joining the Marines and saying how fun it will be. Yet Jesus says, I’m worth it, I promise you I’m worth it.”

Chan was not drawing a salary at Cornerstone before he left, and never made more than $36,000 a year. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing things just because I was paid to,” he said. Mike Steinwender, the current administrative pastor from the church, told CNN in an email that “There were/are no budget or financial health issues that led to Mr. Chan leaving.”

Chan’s departure from his 9 to 5 gig to pursue his passion is something many cubicle dwellers can only dream about. But not every pastor agrees with his choice.

Joshua Harris is the Senior Pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He skyrocketed to fame in Christian circles with his book in the 1990’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which influenced many young Christians to do the same.

Harris and Chan have spoken at length about Chan’s decision, and Harris knows first hand about the rigors of the being “Christian famous.”

“Gifted people often become more the focus than the gospel,” Harris said. “But you can’t build a church around a personality. You get up and you preach a sermon and people walk away thinking what a great guy - and that’s a failure as a pastor. Our job is to proclaim Christ.

He said he understood Chan felt God was leading him in a new direction. But he hopes there won’t be an exodus of pastors from their pulpits. “There’s a tendency to idolize one person’s choices. We have to say, ‘you know what, there are a lot of ways to see what faithfulness [to God’s calling] looks like.’ Not every pastor of a big church should leave.”

Chan has been traveling across Asia, according to his website, where his wife Lisa has posted periodic updates.

She wrote that the family has been to India and Thailand, visiting small churches and missionaries. In an October update, she mentioned Chan was preaching again: “Francis spoke a great message of encouragement to this little body of Christ hidden away in a slum in India . 100 years from now we will be worshiping together. We will look each other in the eye and KNOW that it was worth it."

Chan plans to return to the states in January. He is already scheduled to appear at the Passion Conference in Atlanta, which has drawn a crowd of more than 20,000 in the past, and do a stint in the chapel at the NBA All-Star game in February.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Asia • Belief • Books • California • Christianity • India • Pastors • United States

soundoff (343 Responses)
  1. Scott in Atlanta

    Is it just me, or do a whole lot of "athiest" spend a great deal of time commenting on religious stories/sites? Could it be that maybe, just maybe, they're really seeking God? That would explain the vitriol in their comments. Hell hath no fury like an athiest that wants to believe, but get's dissappointed when he holds up flawed man as the standard, rather than the perfectly sinless genuine standard, Jesus. Just a thought Rene, just a thought.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • Bob

      I don't spend time because I'm looking for God. I've read the best that the Christian community has by way of arguments and they're all vapid, nonsensical or misrepresent known facts. Why do I spend time writing on these sorts of things? Because my life is directly affected by your belief in nonsense.

      I could care less if you want to believe in a magical sky daddy that will protect you from death, who invents sin and unfairly applys it, but when you say that I shouldn't do certain things simply because of said belief, then we have a problem. So believe what you want, but don't limit what I can or can't do based on what you "think".

      Here's a few things that I can't do based on your religious nonsense and not based on any sort of fact or reality (not saying I would):
      – Buy beer or booze on the sabbath. Or housewares or a car. Depending on state.
      – Marry who I choose.
      – Get a prescription for birth control, depending on the person.

      So, the reality of the situation is that I need to post to help push back the crap you guys constantly spew. I can understand legitimate, logical reasons, but "cause the bible says so" is no different then sharia law in the middle east (in principal).

      December 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Bob, if you are REALLY seeking God and don't want to believe us. Just Ask this:

      Jesus if you are real show me!

      If you ask with a sincere heart, He will show you who He is!!

      December 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
    • Risskia

      @Stevetheone – Dude – you do realize the insanely gaping logic in what you've asked Bob to do?

      Ask him with a sincere heart and he'll show himself? So...how about this. You ask the flying spaghetti monster WITH A SINCERE HEART to reveal her noodly appendages, and she will answer you.

      Can't do it?

      Why not?

      Don't believe in FSM?

      Bob has the same dilemma. Your Jesus is his flying spaghetti monster.

      But less tasty.

      December 22, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • MeMe

      I'm with you Steve. Bob the reason we all believe is because we allowed God to reveal Himself to us. I've seen too much of Him to not believe. I'm not the type to push God on people, but i will try to explain things if needed. I just let people see the God in me, and when they see it, they ask. The light of Christ follows every TRUE Christian, and there is no denying what you see when you see it.

      Also, God did not create sin, He created the ONE who brought sin. Lucifer was music in Heaven. All men and angels have free will, you can do what you want. Lucifer saw how much praise God was getting, and he wanted it too. Iniquity was found in his heart then. Sin did not exist until Lucifer wanted to be praised. Yes, God knows what you're going to do before you do it, but He wants us to WANT to love and praise Him and to do good...He's not going to make you do anything you don't want to do.

      December 22, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Risskia
      @Stevetheone – Dude – you do realize the insanely gaping logic in what you've asked Bob to do?
      Ask him with a sincere heart and he'll show himself? So...how about this. You ask the flying spaghetti monster WITH A SINCERE HEART to reveal her noodly appendages, and she will answer you. Can't do it? Why not? Don't believe in FSM?
      Bob has the same dilemma. Your Jesus is his flying spaghetti monster. But less tasty
      ----------------
      Risskia,
      Honestly, The only way to find Christ is through FAITH, not logic. Logic is the product of a finite mind and often is not logical at all!.

      December 22, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
  2. BOOTLEGGER

    RENE I WILL PRAY FOR YOUR SOUL MAY GOD BLESS !

    December 22, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  3. jay

    Eddie Long's sitting somewhere reading this article on his iPad and he's like "$36,000 a year? GTFOH!!!!" That wont even cover the oil changes on my Bentley for a year!

    December 22, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  4. Curtis Washington

    Good story on a powerful man of God. We must remember that in the end of our life we will see our creator. Some my not believe in that but wait and see. God is real and you can see His mighty works daily. Read the Bible and see if it is real to you. God Bless Francis Chan!

    December 22, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  5. john

    I've worked on the TV show that a major tele-evangelist broadcasts 8 times a week. The show is ALL about money and how many different ways the "Church" can soak little old ladies out of their social security checks... he is as evil as they come. It's nice to see someone unaffected by all that. I believe all pastors should be un paid and churches should be TAXED like everyone else. It's so refreshing to find there's the real deal out there.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  6. farmerjeani

    Jesus made it clear. We are to serve. If we seek our rewards on earth, there will be none in heaven. We are to go into our closets to pray (in other words, don't do it for 'show'), we are to give freely to others-yes even the smelly beggar on the corner, we are to truly love others as ourselves, including Muslims. If we Christians are all wrong and there is no God. no eternal life, then we have still been rewarded-knowing that we we really tried to help someone without judgment, that we will have left the world a better place because those we have served will in turn serve others. But I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW. GOD has touched me so many times and so many ways that I can't doubt.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:07 am |
    • Fluffy

      I most certainly agree!!! Even if I never see Him, trusting in Him has brought through many hardships into a place of peace and love for ALL my fellow man.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  7. jay

    Wow! A Pastor that's actually passionate about the Gospel and not about feeding his over inflated ago. Refreshing!

    December 22, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • Kevin

      Refreshing? I guess if the extent of your knowledge is what you hear in the news. Likewise, I suppose hearing about a moderate Muslim could be considered "refreshing", though only relative to the average Muslim-related news story. In reality, these things are quite common.

      December 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  8. Craig Greenwood

    All these comments are about this man being good, and churches being good or bad and making judgement calls based on that. This man, like all men, is a fallen, sinful wretch. Churches, created by man, are imperfect and fallen and dirty. All of us dirty people need to come to dirty churches and worship a perfect God together. There presentations of science in these comments as if science is the opposite of God. Science is a study of how God has done the things He has done. Science can't exist without God and vice versa. Science is AWESOME...it is the fingerprints of God. God is awesome. Pastors are just people, and while they can say inspiring things, they are no different than you or I, or anyone else. A good pastor is a great thing, and God bless this man for shunning materialism...something most of us are unable to do ourselves. Something to be said about camels going through needle eyes. I HAVE read the Bible cover to cover multiple times. I am by no means an expert on every spiritual matter, just as no one is an expert on any scientific matter. I've never heard of this Francis guy before. I hope beyond hope this isn't the beginning of another Eddie Long story, or Jimmy Swaggart or the scores of other very public Christians who have been caught in the dept of their humanness.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  9. JB

    Renee, God loves you no matter what, just wish you could realize that. Praying for you today.

    Romans1:16

    December 22, 2010 at 10:05 am |
    • Bob

      Why do you quote the bible as if it's some sort of fact. Can I quote the Quran, which has about the same level of evidence as your bible does as fact too?

      December 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Bob,

      You asked why someone quoted the Bible as if it where fact. We as Christians belief the Word of God is indeed fact! I know that you don't so just consider he quoting te Bible (Word of God) as free speech. I am not trying to be funny or belittle you but it was quoted as the writer believes it is truth and that is not what you will accept. So maybe you will accpet the right to quote the Bible as a free speech issue!

      December 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Marna

      @ Steve:

      >Steve the real one
      Bob,
      You asked why someone quoted the Bible as if it where fact. We as Christians belief the Word of God is indeed fact! I know that you don't so just consider he quoting te Bible (Word of God) as free speech. I am not trying to be funny or belittle you but it was quoted as the writer believes it is truth and that is not what you will accept. So maybe you will accpet the right to quote the Bible as a free speech issue!

      ---------

      The bible was written by man, not god. It was supposedly an influence of god – and as your religion dictates, man is fallible. If man is fallible and was the one to pen the bible, that means that the bible is fallible. Not to mention that King James re-wrote the bible to what you see today, removing 7 books of the bible and multiple verses to fit in with his agenda. If god exists and inspired the writing of the bible, then today, you're not even reading the right one... you're following the CliffNotes version.

      So, don't treat it as fact because a lot of people of power messed with your precious little book from what it was originally so they could better control their people.

      December 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Marna
      @ Steve:
      The bible was written by man, not god. It was supposedly an influence of god – and as your religion dictates, man is fallible. If man is fallible and was the one to pen the bible, that means that the bible is fallible. Not to mention that King James re-wrote the bible to what you see today, removing 7 books of the bible and multiple verses to fit in with his agenda. If god exists and inspired the writing of the bible, then today, you're not even reading the right one... you're following the CliffNotes version.

      So, don't treat it as fact because a lot of people of power messed with your precious little book from what it was originally so they could better control their people.
      ----------
      More Logic? Once again, it is not about logic. Logic tells us man came from monkeys. Christianity is not based on a finite human mind! It is based on faith in Christ! The preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing! Not logic but faith, not the head but the heart! I choose to accept it by faith. Your logic gets in your way!

      December 22, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
    • ICEMAN

      @ Marna you are right 100%, but that don't stop me, i'm one of Yeshua's followers, trying to be i fall alot but i'm not affraid to say it but we have to search history to find our truth cause it's not just in the bible, 95% of christians don't realize this. It's kinda like looking up the black race, white europeans tryied to cover it up to make it seem we have none at all where in fact we started civilization.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:27 am |
    • ICEMAN

      @ Marna i was talking about 100% right about the bible not bout being a monkey. Heck you might as well say we come from banannas.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:30 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Steve,
      Following logic has served humanity much better than any religion. It keeps you alive crossing intersections, selecting healthy food, building shelters, obtaining medical care, using tools, watching where you step and pretty much every other aspect of existence. Yet somehow religious people expect you to ignore all logic when it comes to believing in a god and all the tenets that accompany such belief. All pretty much out of fear of their own mortality. I guess a scary god is not as scary as simply going to sleep forever.

      December 23, 2010 at 8:15 am |
    • Steve the real one

      MarkinFL

      Steve,
      Following logic has served humanity much better than any religion....... I guess a scary god is not as scary as simply going to sleep forever.
      -----–
      1. I agree with you when you say logic has served better than religion. The only problem is I am NOT talking about religion! I am talking about having a RELATIONSHIP with God through Jesus Christ. Understand that Christianity is NOT religion but instead a relationship with God, God reaching out to man and man responding while religion is man's attempt to reach out to God! BIG difference!

      2. You HOPE that all we do is go to sleep forever. The Bible CLEARLY indicates that is NOT the case. We will ALL be conscience of an eternal existance whether in Heaven or Hell! You are waging your soul that you will simply go to sleep. Markin, one of us is wrong! if I live as though there is a God and found out there is none, according to you I just go to sleep forever. I have lost nothing. If you live your life as though there is no God and later find out He is, you have lost EVERYTHING! I am not willing to take the risk that you are! Why? because He does exist and I have experienced Him in my live! You will NEVER find Him with your logic! It takes faith!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  10. j-son

    Oh I fear God!!! He's supposedly the flawless Creator of this deeply flawed world who created US in His image. Considering all the unspeakable horrors we humans commit on each other, if we are truly created in His image, we should be terrified of Him.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  11. Scott in Atlanta

    My only sadness is that this story comes as a shock to us. What does that say about how The faith has been perverted? I just wish this story weren't so "unusual".

    Forgiven much...

    December 22, 2010 at 10:01 am |
    • Steve the real one

      Scott, I hear you but bad news sells! What I mean by that is I do not believe Francis Chan is the only one who is living by this standard! Its just those who normally make the news are not!

      December 22, 2010 at 10:23 am |
    • Scott in Atlanta

      I agree Steve. I agree...

      December 22, 2010 at 10:54 am |
  12. Dan

    Rene–better be careful; many atheists have educated themselves right into theism (Anthony Flew and C.S. Lewis to name two)

    December 22, 2010 at 9:59 am |
    • well read

      Don't forget about Josh McDowell

      December 22, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • Risskia

      The reverse? She be true, too. And more often.

      December 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
    • doobismoobie

      yup, people can change their minds. Doesn't mean they're right though.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  13. Guest

    Jesus Jesus Jesus!!! I liked this story. God bless him and his family. Jesus is the reason – not money, not fame, but Jesus Christ and sharing the Gospel. God bless you all in Jesus' name!

    December 22, 2010 at 9:46 am |
  14. Jeanne

    Most churches function with at least 90% volunteers who do have their own jobs and still serve at their churches. Those that are paid are those doing it full time (pastors, childrens program directors, secertaries – whose responsibilities take up the entire time, if not more, of a full time job). The congregation should make up the 90% of volunteers. So if you want to find a church that has no paid clergy, you better be prepared to serve too – to serve will be to live out your faith. To attend only and reap benefits without giving back in thanks an faith, would have very little meaning and purpose.

    December 22, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • CRAIG

      I agree totally, I applaud the pastor.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • Mark

      Though i do not attend Church, my little brother has worked as a volunteer at a very, very small community church – and you are right – they put in ALOT of work and of their own time. But he once reminded me it was 20% of the people doing 80% of the work, just as you describe with many that come but contribute little if anything.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • Dan

      @Muneef

      Al-Fatiha:
      Do you know the difference between your Muslim "Religion" and my Christian Relationship (the quran & Bible)? The bible was written over thousands of years, much of it long before the birth of Christ, all prophesies fulfilled. It was written by 40 authors over 1/3 of the geographic world. All old testament scriptures were fulfilled, as was the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Christ, LONG before his birth.
      Now, your Quran was written 610 years AFTER DEATH by a lone author. Of course, this author could pick and choose what he wanted to write.
      Merry CHRISTmas.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  15. Mongolicious

    Francis Chan is the real deal who walks the walk while he talks the talk. His messages always are centered on God's word, and not on himself. It's so amazingly effective, and he is such an effective communicator, that is has driven his fame. If you've followed his books or his videos at all, this move is not a surprise. He truly does his best to follow Christ's instructions and encourage others in their walk to a full relationship with the Savior.

    December 22, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  16. Scott

    Nice to see someone live as guided by Jesus instead of being led by the masses. Humbleness is a good quality.

    December 22, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  17. Greg

    Why not find a church with no paid clergy? KInda like the apostles, they had their own careers but still served. Just a thought.

    December 22, 2010 at 9:32 am |
    • farmerjeani

      Greg, it is unfortunate, but not all people who shouldn't be preaching are doing it for money. Some do it for power and control. I have attended many churches pastored by 'unpaid' clergy, and some have been excellent, some have been very bad. As a christian devoted to serving God, I am still looking for the 'right' church, but I think that pastors really do need that educational background to know how to shepherd a flock. We all should be able to listen to the voice of God and follow it, but too often we listen to the voice of man proclaiming to be the voice of God. It would seem that Francis Chan truly is listening to God.

      December 22, 2010 at 9:58 am |
    • Guill

      Those Mormon bishops and priests aren't paid and have a career of their own...

      December 22, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • Adam

      1 Timothy 5:17 says that church leaders are paid. It's biblical to financially support your spiritual leaders

      December 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
    • Bob

      Of course it's biblical to support your church leaders. Otherwise they wouldn't be profiting from your belief.

      December 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • Sarah

      Greg,
      I think that this would be an amazing thing if pastors could do it. My in-laws' pastor does just that. He works full-time somewhere else and yet has a wonderful, growing church where he leads. He has set a great example for people and you can tell that he is very spirit-driven. But I also know that there is a necessity for other pastors to work. My own father has been a pastor for nearly thirty years. His salary has always been quite minimal, but he is not in it for the money. He is serving the Lord in the calling he's been given and has a great ministry as well!

      December 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • kirk

      Yeah....and what about all those low-life, unethical, selfish and self-centered Doctors that make money from your illness. You talk about sorry human beings. I can't believe that people can be so worthless. Driving their expensive cars, living in their huge , sending their children to expensive private schools and eating only the best foods...and simply because they make money on your sickness.

      December 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  18. forklift

    Though I am against most churches, this is a pretty interesting story. He seems to be a good guy. I'm surprised.

    December 22, 2010 at 9:31 am |
    • Rene

      He's not a good person. He wants you to "fear" a mythical being. A good person does not instill fear into the minds of others. That's what dictators do. Can no one see this wolf in sheep's clothing?

      December 22, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • myheartwork

      He's the real deal. This is what the church is supposed to be like. There's churches out there that are for real. Don't give up on all of them.

      December 22, 2010 at 9:53 am |
    • Steve the real one

      Het Rene,

      Just live your life! You are fussing at Trey 117 for re-thinking atheisism, and as I am a Christian, I think that is wonderful. You are fussing about Francis Chan not being a good person. I am sure you don't know him or his heart! This all indicates to me you are not happy! The one thing that will bring you overwhelming joy is the same thing you are fighting against and that is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ! Please notice, I said nothing about being religious!

      December 22, 2010 at 10:19 am |
    • Rene

      Steve the real one – I am extremely happy, and of course it would make you happy to have another clone running around. You are brainwashed as well. I am not telling anyone what to do. Even if they sound like orders, they are merely suggestions. I have no ruling over anyone. I just hate to see a good mind go to waste.

      December 22, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • Steve the real one

      Rene, I am not brain washed! Many will miss the kingdom of God because they try with a finite mind, to disect and understand it! As long as there is a lack of child-like faith, it cannot obtained. Look at it like this: A little child, jumps off a bed into the arms of the father, fully believing the father with catch him/her. The child does no calculations wondering wind direction, speed or height of the jump. The child does not pause because the stats don't line up. The child jumps because the father invites the jump. In a sense, that is Christianity! I jumped because I came to the place of trust in Him! You did not jump because the calculations don't make sense! I pray one day you stop looking at the calculations and just jump because you have been invited to!

      December 22, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • TC

      @Rene, I don't understand how you can completely contradict yourself so much. You are preaching here about Atheist. And as far as fearing God, He never asks you to fear Him. Maybe you should read your Bible again. God is a good God and He does help far more than you could ever know especially since you don't know Him. Maybe that's part of the problem. I have had my life saved due to his angels and followers and I will always know what a wonderful God he can be. I also have lost many loved ones including my own mother when I was 3. But I ended up with an amazing stepmom who allowed me to grow up into a great person. I CHOOSE to follow God because of all I can see He has done. Apparently, you are a "I must see it to believe it" type of person. I pray that when your eyes are opened, it is in a good way and not the way you are headed now. Maybe you should try talking to God yourself to find the answers

      December 22, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • Richard

      Rene-
      You profess to be an atheist...that there is no God. How did you arrive at that belief/conclusion?

      December 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • Kevin

      "He's not a good person. He wants you to "fear" a mythical being. A good person does not instill fear into the minds of others. That's what dictators do. Can no one see this wolf in sheep's clothing?"

      @Rene: This was the first response I was expecting after reading the article. All too often I hear atheists asking why we're supposed to want to be "scared" of God. But that is not what "fear of God" means. It's a variation on the meanings which has similar roots but different implications. Fear in this sense basically means a committed reverence, awe, etc (something to that effect, anyway). Any theologian can tell you this. Actually, I just sorta winged that explanation, and just googled it to see what others have said. Found pretty much the exact same thing.

      December 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
    • Bob

      @Richard you said: You profess to be an atheist...that there is no God. How did you arrive at that belief/conclusion?

      Atheist is not the belief in no God. Atheism is the lack of belief in a God. There is a difference between the two.

      I do not believe in a God because all the arguments I have been presented with are silly and/or prove nothing. It's a matter of faith, and I consider faith to be unreliable, as demonstrated by all the other religions that are wrong if one of them is actually right!

      December 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So the bible doesn't say to fear God and his wrath?
      LUKE 12:5
      "But I will show you whom you should fear : Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."

      How about Psalm 11:6
      "On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot"

      That sure sounds like a scare tactic to me. Live your life the way we tell you or suffer eternal damnation....

      December 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Richard

      @Bob- So you are saying that atheism is the disbelief in the existence of God or gods? And that you deny the existence of God because the arguments that have been presented to you are silly and/or prove nothing? And that faith is unreliable...as demonstrated by all the other religions being wrong if only one of them is right?

      So what do atheists believe about the existence of the universe in which we live? How do atheists answer the "big questions of life?": Where do we come from? How did we get here? Why are we here? Where are we headed? Does it really matter?

      December 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Rick

      Chan is like what a real Christian should be like... Just check out some of his stuff.

      December 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  19. Mike

    This is an all-too uncommon story. It's so refreshing to see a major leader in the evangelical community not get caught up in the accolades and money, and instead stay focused on what his/her calling really is. This story is representative of how so many "lesser" leaders view their life and ministries (at least the ones I know). I can only hope that it serves as a gut check for those who have lost perspective (or never really had it at all).

    December 22, 2010 at 9:16 am |
    • myheartwork

      Agree!

      December 22, 2010 at 9:50 am |
    • Jeff

      I agree I was very impressed by this mans actions. I'm an atheist so I tend to judge more critically the "celebrity pastors" but this made sense. To do his job for himself and his congregation this makes sense. Don't they say not to worship false idols?

      December 22, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • Mark

      I've read of him before, always struck me as very down to earth and unfazed by the fame and money that has lured other mega-church leaders. And he is right, when your church becomes more about you than your faith, there is something very wrong in all of that – something other pastors ought to perhaps reconsider?

      I am reminded of that other leader, was it Rev. Long? The one with massive banners of himself. I cant recall if he ever stepped down and did the right thing for his own church.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  20. tray117

    Man, if this guy's legit (REALLY no scandals) then he makes me want to cast off the oppressive shackles of atheism and become a convert. Seriously, a man of god that's for real?

    December 22, 2010 at 8:23 am |
    • Praying for Francis

      He's legit. You should check out his books...they have truly changed the way I read the Bible and live my life. Francis is as real as they come.

      December 22, 2010 at 9:35 am |
    • ProudGeek

      For realz.

      December 22, 2010 at 9:42 am |
    • myheartwork

      He's absolutely the real deal.

      December 22, 2010 at 9:49 am |
    • Hypocrite Atheist

      @ Rene- Don't do as you're told BUT do what I've told you because it's correct! The other way is wrong, so don't do that, DO THIS! Little bit hypocritical?? Atheism is very close to a religion itself- teaching beliefs, a way of life, codes to live by. Be very careful telling others what do Minister Rene- I mean...sorry, got confused.

      December 22, 2010 at 10:13 am |
    • Dolce21

      There are a lot of real Pastor's that really do go into hiding, because people don't look to God they look to them. I pray that this continues. Because it is about the Lord not man! He is for real!!!

      December 22, 2010 at 10:20 am |
    • DJOHNSON

      Your statement implies that you have a desire for God, but that others who were entrusted with teaching you how to develop your relationship with Him, failed you. I have been exactly where you are at, but believe me, there are some real, spirit filled people in this world, who love and care about your spiritual development just as much as their own. Going to Church alone will not get you to heaven. Remember, the Kingdom of God is within you, spiritual leaders are only supposed to teach you how to get to know that part of yourself better. Begin to seek God first and foremost, tell Him what your questions and hesitations. Tell Him how men have failed in your eyes. He will reveal truth to you. http://www.onmywalkwithgod.com

      December 22, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Rene,
      You just offended all the Zen Buddhist that do not believe in God by saying they are not a religion.

      The Bible is such a horrific book, God steps down off the throne to be Immanuel, God with us. All along being the perfect penitence for our sins. That is the catch of Christianity.

      “Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person-and he would not need it.”

      Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

      Horrific, horrific story of love and sacrifice.

      December 22, 2010 at 10:55 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Rene,
      Sorry one more thing as Zen Buddhism is a religion, a system of beliefs, so is atheism.

      December 22, 2010 at 10:56 am |
    • 4 Living Creatures Creations

      Rene: I find Aethism quite fascinating and would like to hear more about your beliefs and faiths. I'm not interested in preaching to you nor in trying to convert you. Many Christians get that part wrong. They get so excited about what THEY believe they allow that to supercede their consideration for others, causing them to treat the beliefs of others as if they were irrelevant. I won't do that to you. If you want to know about my beliefs, simply ask for them, otherwise, they are a "No Fly" zone.

      But what DO you believe, Rene? You present that you've read the Bible, cover to cover, but I've never read the Bible cover to cover, so I don't disblieve you, I just don't have the same point of reference. So forgive me that I am compelled to ask you did you personally read the Bible cover to cover, or are you, too, just going on the word of somebody else that claims to have read the Bible? If it was you that read the Bible, as presented, what did you get from it? Did you see lessons for living and gardening and how to treat others? Did you see a historical based fictional account? What did you get from the Bible?

      What makes you so certain in your faith in Science that you would declare it a superior faith than Religions? Aethism is certainly faith based, because Science has proven and then been proven wrong MANY times throughout the years. So it is faith in the imperfect man's ability to explain that which IS without having been there to see it actually happen, right?

      And I don't want this to sound like I'm trying to force you in to defending your faith. Not at all. I just want to understand your faith and these are just specific areas that I don't understand.

      Did you know that at one time, science had proven that as meat rots it develops maggots? Did you know that at one time science had proven that the Earth was the center of the universe? Did you know that at one time science proved there was no God?

      Of course, science has a lot of neat tricks it can do with evidence and proof. It can make an elephant dangle from a daisy over the edge of a cliff. Science performs seeming miracles every day, though, right? Medical miracles, people living when all evidence said they should have died. Stuff like that. Science can't explain WHY we animate our bodies yet, though. Did you know that? Science can't generate life from non-life. Did you know that? Certainly can mimic life VERY well, and can use life to make new life. But science cannot generate life where it wasn't already. Doesn't it take just as much faith for an Aethiest to stick to their refutal of God as it does for a Religious whackadoo to believe in an invisible man in the sky that wags a disapproving finger at you, waiting to punish you for doing bad things in a world full of chances to do something worse?

      What makes your faith work? Is it the flexibility to change what you believe once it is proven to be untrue? I do find that VERY appealing, personally. If tomorrow somebody proved that Jesus was a trick of the Devil and that God was still an angry God, then I know a lot of people would have trouble reconciling with that change. But if somebody proved there was a God tomorrow, would you be able to become a believer?

      December 22, 2010 at 10:56 am |
    • Joe

      Why do you want to carry an oppressive shackle? Christ died so that you can be free from the shackle. Accept Him today and He will remove the shackle. This race is a personal one and everyone will give an account to God. @Rene our conscience tells us when we are doing the right or wrong thing. Do u think that its just an accident? why dont animals have conscience? Whether we accept God or not we will all give account of our lifestyle. Think about it, what will you answer if you die today and you appear before the judgement throne of God? its a food for thought

      December 22, 2010 at 11:02 am |
    • Juanito

      Hi Tray, I've struggled for YEARS being a self-proclaimed 'intellectual agnostic', and weighing all the evidence and waiting for the jury to abjorn, but the conclusion is the same as any college education: we as humans, trapped with the limited capabilities inherited with our condition, will NEVER completely understand the mind of God, much less a complete field of college study. This is an understanding that comes from humility. Think about it: the leading 'scientists' of the day once thought the earth was flat and we were the center of the universe. To think we are at the apex of human knowledge now, and to assign an 'incomplete' value to God, much less His existance, is just as laughable and arrogant. I've always believed in God but without conviction. Then conviction years came, and I've literally seen the light. The belief must be there to see the miracles, both large and small. And it will literally amaze you. I've given my life to Jesus, and it is not as easy as I once thought, but it's been so intellectually, spiritually and emotionally rewarding I can't begin to tell you. Chan is in the walk with Christ and the Holy Spirit, and it's not an accident that you read about this and are seriously reconsidering your belief. The best advice I can give you is to just do it: give your heart to Him, proclaim Jesus as your savior and be prepared because things will start to happen. In peace and His love, John.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:02 am |
    • Steve the real one

      Tray117,

      There are a lot more folks like Francis Chan than you might think! They just don't make the news! I give you tremendous credit because it appears to me you are at least open minded! I pray that the Lord reveals Himself to you! At least you are being flexible!

      December 22, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • somedude

      @ Rene,
      Wow, I've never seen such ignorance. That's exactly why the bible tells us "my people die from the lack of knowledge." You're ignorance is uncany. In fact, it goes to show you yourself don't really understand the bible by reading it cover – cover. You don't even know what was meant by "fear" in the bible, and you are here telling people all sorts of nonsense. But you know what, I'm not going to lash out at you cause that isn't a "Godly" way to do things... Instead, I suggest you repent and believe in the gospel. The bible teaches about the past, present and things to come. Just like how a history book (and I hate history) would tell you about the wars and all the horrific things that took place in the past, so the bible tells you about what happened to the people of those days, both those who served God and those that disobeyed.

      Perhaps you need a better understanding, because so far, your rational seems messed up.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • Julius

      Rene, I truly admire your passion and knowledge but i have to call you what the bible calls people like you "a fool". Reading your bible cover to cover does absolutely nothing for you, it is not a mere story book that you pick up to see how quickly you can read. While i would not lecture you about the bible, i will however lecture you about God. It amazes me that a mere mortal like you and I would ever question the supremacy of the living God. Dust is what you are and that is what you will return. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches love and compassion, if that is a bad thing, then i'll take my chances. What if am right about God and you are not? I go to heaven and you go to hell. What if am wrong and you are right? Well, we both have nothing to loose, right?

      December 22, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • John Richardson

      I'm not ready to become a christian, let alone an evangelical. But I agree that it is very refreshing to read about a pastor who apparentlyreally IS more about god than about himself.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • Marna

      @ 4 Living Creatures Creations
      Not certain if you were being totally serious in your post or not, but it still came across as a bit condescending.
      That said, I don't think you quite understand the point of 'atheism'. As an agnostic myself, the two are closely related. Neither is treated like a religion, though you are correct in stating it is a belief. However, the difference between a religion and atheist/agnostic is really simply logic. It is logical that there is no god – it is logical that when you die, that's all there is. Therefore live your life to the fullest while you can. It's pure logic.
      Once you believe in 'logic', there's really no turning back. You can't go back to a faith-based religion, because faith is illogical. There’s a quote by Camus that states, ‘Beginning to think is beginning to be undermined’. Kinda true.
      Also, I can state this from both point of views. I was once a Christian – in fact, I went to school to become a missionary. It’s when I read and expanded my knowledge that I decided religion wasn’t for me, though it’s totally great that it works for other people.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:49 am |
    • Marna

      @ Julius
      Completely the wrong reason to believe in god. You should believe in god because of your faith, not so that it's a fail-safe in case he/she exists. Please don't use this argument in the future – it's kinda silly and doesn't prove your point.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:51 am |
    • Todd

      I'm a minister and I'm humbled by his example although obviously if every pastor resigned it would be tragic. But I have seen interviews with Chan and I think he's 100 percent legit. His life is a living, breathing bible, in essence.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:58 am |
    • Angela

      More and more people are moving just like Chan. Read the books and see where we are heading.

      December 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      John Richardson,
      I'm not ready to become a christian, let alone an evangelical. But I agree that it is very refreshing to read about a pastor who apparentlyreally IS more about god than about himself.
      -----------
      John, Why do you feel you are not ready to become a Christian? Are you concerned about what you may have to give up? Just wondering what your reasons are! Thanks

      December 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
    • Kevin

      @tray117: Not sure if you're being serious or not, but there are many like him, you just normally here abut the crazy ones or the ones that are involved in scandals (because that's what makes for tantalizing news). Ideally, he is the kind of role model to be set in Christian faith. I had a pastor who sounds very much like this man. He was the definition of Christian. An extremely down-to-Earth, polite, friendly and wise man, and one who never made more than a very modest income (he wouldn't have had it any other way). People like my pastor and Mr Chan will always be 10x more of a role model to me than the typical idolized types today. That said, he is very wise to be conscious of the amount of attention he receives vs the amount of attention his messages receives. I pray for all the best for him and his family in their new adventures!

      December 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • Bob

      TIME FOR AN ASH-WHOOPIN!

      Dispelling misconceptions one person at a time!

      @Mike not Me, you said: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

      Christ died to save us from the sin that God created. God is responsible for sin, as he is the originator and made us to sin by virtue of being omnipotent and omniscient. In essence, Christ died to make up for a mistake that God made.

      @Mike not Me, you said: Sorry one more thing as Zen Buddhism is a religion, a system of beliefs, so is atheism.

      It's not a system of faith. It's a lack of faith. That's all. We don't say God does not exist, only that belief in such a being is unjustified logically. I know you want to equate atheism with your own faith so you can say "ha ha, we're on the same playing field." But it's simply not the case. I have been on both sides of the coin sir, I doubt you can say the same.

      @somedude, you said: Wow, I've never seen such ignorance. That's exactly why the bible tells us

      Ignorance is caused by not knowing things, however ignorance is also caused by accepting things as true so you don't learn further about things. Given that you start your message with "the bible tells us" lets me know all I need to, which is that you consider a book that has been shown to be wrong as an absolute source for authority. I don't think you have justification to claim anyone else is ignorant.

      @4 Living Creatures Connections you said: But what DO you believe, Rene? You present that you've read the Bible, cover to cover, but I've never read the Bible cover to cover, so I don't disblieve you, I just don't have the same point of reference.

      You should read the bible. You should see the way God acts when he tortures Joeb on a bet with Satan. You should wonder why God needed dirt to make Adam, when he created the universe, an expanse infinitely greater from nothing, you should question why it is God creates us to sin then condemns us for it. You should really read the bible and think about what you believe, not what you've been told to believe.

      Peace out!

      December 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • Doles

      Agreed, although I'm not going to say that he's legit based on his books. One thing I would add...I hope his decision was thoroughly debated and that his family concurred. If that was the case then I'm all for it even if it would turn out to be ill advised. I bring his family because I don't want him to make such decision based solely on his personal wisdom. Anyone can wrap a decision into something that some people will interpret to be good (that's how you have so many religions/groups). From the look of it, I have to say, I do hope this is the real thing and boy would I feel good to know these people really do exist! I pray to the Almighty God that you are legitimate. Moreover, I do hope He had something in this. God Bless You!

      December 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bob

      @Marna As an agnostic myself, the two are closely related. Neither is treated like a religion, though you are correct in stating it is a belief.

      You have no idea what you're talking about. I'm an agnostic atheist. Perhaps you should look up the definitions.

      Agnostic means you reject concepts of knowledge of God. Atheist means you reject concepts of the belief of God.

      I don't say that God doesn't exist. I say that I haven't been convinced by the evidence and the concept of "belief for belief's sake".

      December 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Sorry Bob but wrong! God did not create sin. Adam sinned because he disobeyed God! Same as today! Ever hear of lucifer (the created being)? He sinned because of pride. God did not create sin, nor did it take Him by surprise. GNo Bob God did not create sin but He provided the remedy for sin. The very Jesus Christ, whom you reject is God's ONLY remedy for sin. Secondy, atheism is a belief AND Faith system. You have faith that God does not exist! That is what you place your trust in, hence a system of belief! !

      December 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • husbandaddy

      I feel the same way... it is awesome to witness someone who is living life for Jesus, regardless of what it does to his popularity.

      December 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
    • Marna

      @ Bob

      Actually, I was just stating that both atheists and agnostics base their beliefs on logic. I didn't actually define the difference between the two, so please, don't state that I don't know what I'm talking about. I am not an atheist, but agnostic, and I do know the difference between the two.

      Other than slamming me, I liked your posts – though now I kinda consider you a total d***. Cheers!

      December 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
    • Bob

      > Sorry Bob but wrong! God did not create sin.

      Sorry, but you are wrong. Before God there was nothing. Nothing. God created the universe and the rules that control it. He dictates what sin is, so therefore he created it.

      Adam may have committed a sin, but it was God who created it, and who is ulimately responsible for it.

      Logic for the win.

      December 22, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      Bob, are you the type of person that spills hot coffee on themselves then blames McDonald's that they burned you. For they are the ones that created the hot coffee?
      So then it's the wright brothers fault for 9/11, they taught us flight?

      Nice try though. Grow up and get off your self exaltation.

      December 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
    • Bob

      @Marna you said: Actually, I was just stating that both atheists and agnostics base their beliefs on logic.

      That's not true for two reasons. The first is that you cannot define a group based on what they don't accept. Can you tell me how rational and logical people are simply because they don't believe in a dragon named phil with three cow heads?

      The second reason is that in terms of only atheist or agnostic, beliefs are not upheld because of logic. Only concepts are rejected because of logic and reason. That's why they're atheists.

      > I didn't actually define the difference between the two, so please, don't state that I don't know what I'm talking about. I am not an atheist, but agnostic, and I do know the difference between the two.

      So let me understand this. You think that we cannot have knowledge of God, yet you don't reject the concept of belief? Isn't an unknowable God the same as a non-existant God? I didn't think there were agnostics that weren't atheists.

      > Other than slamming me, I liked your posts – though now I kinda consider you a total d***. Cheers!

      But given how you wrote can you blame me? It genuinely read like a Christian who was impersonating an atheist. Plus, while Christians will back each other up, we don't have any such alliances. I do fully expect the same scruitiny to whatever I write and dont' consider it an insult if you were to tear me a new one. 😀

      December 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • Bob

      @Mike not me you said: Bob, are you the type of person that spills hot coffee on themselves then blames McDonald's that they burned you. For they are the ones that created the hot coffee? So then it's the wright brothers fault for 9/11, they taught us flight? Nice try though. Grow up and get off your self exaltation.

      Your comparisons are moronic. McDonalds did not set the temperature threshold for burning of human skin. And the Wright brothers did not create the sociological atmosphere to generate the events that led to 9/11.

      The only person that can be responsible is the prime mover, the one who is responsible for everything. The omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe. God.

      Clearly critical thought is not one of your strong suits.

      December 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
    • Mike, not me

      The analogy is valid in that it follows youfr invalid line of thinking, but thanks for the name calling that solves everything. And way to logically come to the answer of its all the Beings fault which you "logically" dismissed as existing. So in the end your answer "The only person that can be responsible is the prime mover, the one who is responsible for everything. The omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe. God."
      boils down to "there is no responsible one and its all relitive so I can never come to the conclusion that anything is wrong, including the statements in this blog"

      Unless you do believe in a "the one who is responsible for everything. The omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe. God."
      But then that begs the question where have you learned that God is omnipotent, omniscient. You can't say the Bible is false and then accuse God of being that described in the Bible.

      Furthermore because you were slow to catch on, these arguments are not of my own so your last statement re4ally says

      "Clearly critical thought is not one of [CS Lewis, Tim Keller, Plantiga Bauker, Dennett] strong suits."

      December 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • CaroleJ

      @Bob you said:
      Christ died to save us from the sin that God created. God is responsible for sin, as he is the originator and made us to sin by virtue of being omnipotent and omniscient. In essence, Christ died to make up for a mistake that God made.

      God is HOLY & God is good. God did not create sin, he gave those created in His image (angels & humans) FREE WILL. The angel, Lucifer, CHOSE to be prideful & was thus thrown out of Heaven. Man CHOSE to disobey & was thus thrown out of the Garden of Eden. God knew that we would sin, but in His Omnipotence & Omniscience, He gave everyone FREE WILL. You get to make your own choice Who and what you believe.

      Christ died because God is HOLY and cannot abide sin, so when God looks at a believer, He sees Jesus' blood, not our sin.

      December 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bob

      @Mike not Me you said:

      > The analogy is valid in that it follows your invalid line of thinking, but thanks for the name calling that solves everything.

      Tell me how it's invalid that a being that created everything, setting the rules and predetermining how everything would occur by his/her own design isn't responsible for it. It would seem to me that you're incapable of logically reasoning through an argument.

      > And way to logically come to the answer of its all the Beings fault which you "logically" dismissed as existing.

      Again you go to making stuff up again. I haven't logically dismissed him. I've said time and time again that a God may very well exist, but I don't have sufficient evidence to actually justify thinking he/she does exist.

      The bottom line is if the bible is correct, God is directly responsible for sin, for it has he who made humans able to sin. It was he who crafted each of our personalities and directly determined what situations we'd be put in. Not maybe, not if, not sorta. Otherwise he is not all powerful and all knowing.

      > So in the end your answer "The only person that can be responsible is the prime mover, the one who is responsible for everything. The omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe. God." That boils down to "there is no responsible one and its all relitive so I can never come to the conclusion that anything is wrong, including the statements in this blog"

      When did I ever infer that. I'm stating a fact. Just as I am responsible for a good/bad project that I design for work, God is responsible for a good/bad universe he created. If you're saying I'm wrong, please provide me with a intelligble reason why.

      What's even worse is that you mix up the concept of a premise for an argument with my own personal views. They're not necessarily one and the same. For the sake of this argument I'm saying "Let's assume the bible is true". It doesn't mean that I believe it, it's designed to put forth a foundation to the conversation.

      I mean really? Really?

      > Unless you do believe in a "the one who is responsible for everything. The omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe. God."

      See my answer above.

      > But then that begs the question where have you learned that God is omnipotent, omniscient. You can't say the Bible is false and then accuse God of being that described in the Bible.

      Premise of an argument. 🙂

      > Furthermore because you were slow to catch on, these arguments are not of my own so your last statement re4ally says
      "Clearly critical thought is not one of [CS Lewis, Tim Keller, Plantiga Bauker, Dennett] strong suits."

      Agreed, they are not critical thinkers. A good chunk of their arguments are nonsense. I'm sorry you're not swift enough to understand why.

      December 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • Bob

      > God did not create sin

      He must have. He created the universe, he created the heavens and the earth. There was nothing before himt. He created a universe which there was sin, and given that he is all powerful and all knowing, then he would have had to understood that his plan allows for sin.

      God created the universe and the rules of the universe. He dictates what is and isn't a sin exclusively. He allows sin to occur knowing that it will occur based on how he created the universe.

      God is responsible. I really don't care if the bible tells you he's not, but he is. It is impossible for it to be the other way.

      It's like existing and not existing at the same time. I bet if the bible told you God exists and doesn't exist at the same time, you'd be arguing that too.

      December 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • Marna

      Test, test 'Your comment is awaiting moderation.'
      *sigh*

      December 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • Marna

      @ Bob – 'yer killin' me...

      Lemme try this again...

      First off, you're reading way too much into what I said, but since you're completely shreading the point I was trying to make, let me rephrase.

      >That's not true for two reasons. The first is that you cannot define a group based on what they don't accept. Can you tell me how rational and logical people are simply because they don't believe in a dragon named phil with three cow heads?

      Personally, I believe in Phil the Three-Headed Moo Dragon, but that’s neither here nor there. I was using a very loose, very generalized definition that Christians, as a whole (again, a generalization) are able to better grasp. Stating that Agnostics/Atheists/Nihilists(which, in itself, is a contradiction)/Whatever are more followers/believers of logic rather than having faith that there’s a dude in the sky that says what’s what. You just took what I said and made it way more a discussion than I ever intended. I have had this discussion with my husband (a believer) on occasion and what I wrote seemed a more easy way to explain how I feel and how I have basically summed it up to him. His is a faith whereas mine is the lack of based on that it just doesn’t seem very damned likely. Trying to say what I personally believe is a ‘religion’, as one brain-dead dude said on here, is ridiculous. I don’t attend the 'Church of God Probably Doesn't Exist'. Religion requires faith. Not believing does not.

      In short – ‘logic’ is not ‘faith’. That’s why they’re two different words in Webster's. :p

      >The second reason is that in terms of only atheist or agnostic, beliefs are not upheld because of logic. Only concepts are rejected because of logic and reason. That's why they're atheists.

      Right – I don’t disagree. Let's continue.

      >So let me understand this. You think that we cannot have knowledge of God, yet you don't reject the concept of belief? Isn't an unknowable God the same as a non-existant God? I didn't think there were agnostics that weren't atheists.

      Hrm – I put it more simply. Athiests state ‘God Does Not Exist’. Whereas an Agnostic would say, ‘God Probably Doesn’t Exist’. All evidence points that god doesn’t exist, but we don’t really know, do we? So, I cannot logically discount a ‘god’ (whatever that may be) because I do not know. But all signs point that there is no heaven nor hell nor angels nor anything else, and if this life has taught me anything, it’s that we should get used to being disappointed. This is why I keep the two terms separate, because really, they are.

      Agnostic – skeptic thinker, Atheist – no god.

      >But given how you wrote can you blame me? It genuinely read like a Christian who was impersonating an atheist. Plus, while Christians will back each other up, we don't have any such alliances. I do fully expect the same scruitiny to whatever I write and dont' consider it an insult if you were to tear me a new one.

      Hrm – well, yes, I suppose I can see how you would assume that. But we all know what happens we assume, don't we...? :p

      I suppose I'm getting tired of people assuming that because you have no religion, you're a lost sheep... an evil person – someone with no morals, whatever. No one can accept that we all think in our own terms and we don't necessarily have to agree. We don't have to be saved – we don't have to partcipate in saying 'grace' when we eat. So when I see someone of like-mind, I prefer to choose to support them.

      And Mike... if you say 'God created all things', then he created all things... not, "Well, he created some things, but other things made all the bad stuff'. If God created the earth and people and everything else, then it comes with the territory that he created sin. If we are his creation, and if you state that he didn't create sin, then you're saying he didn't create everything, and you're smashing your point in the ground like the Hulk – and god has lost all his power in one little sentence.

      December 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
    • heather

      He is the real deal, alright. Jesus changed my life years ago; and folks like this who truly show the world what knowing AND FOLLOWING Jesus looks like.

      December 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      "If we were to meet God in person, Chan said, “I think the first thing He would say is you don’t take me seriously. You have no idea how to fear me.”

      Chill dude, didnt your god die for your sins ?? I cant give you both, either I fear god and make my way into heaven through his mercy or I owe him nothing coz he DIED so he could pay for my sins... Which ONE is it ??

      December 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      -Steve the real one

      John Richardson,
      I'm not ready to become a christian, let alone an evangelical. But I agree that it is very refreshing to read about a pastor who apparentlyreally IS more about god than about himself.
      ---–
      John, Why do you feel you are not ready to become a Christian? Are you concerned about what you may have to give up? Just wondering what your reasons are! Thanks

      -

      Will christians stop asking stupid questions for god's sake! "Are you concerned about what you may have to give up?"
      Stupid question my "evangelical" brother coz he wont have to give up anything since the god of christians DIED to pay for the sins of humanity!!..Yes, GOD DIED as hilarious as it might sound its a chilled path to heaven so shut up and pimp the ride John

      December 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • christopher

      He's the real deal. Obviously I don't know him personally but i've read some of his stuff and he isn't trying to gain a following like most evangelicals. He really want to direct people toward God. Most christians aren't christians at all. The term "christian" has been dragged through the mud to where it is meaningless now. I am ashamed to call myself that sometimes but not because of God, because of people. My advice, don't base your view of christianity on what people who claim to be christians do. Chances are they are lying to you.

      December 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • kirk

      Very cool. You ought to consider with Jesus gave up for all of us...you and me especially.

      December 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Rick

      He sure seemed legit on the messages he gave and I heard on the church website. cornerstonesimi dot com.

      December 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • austin tomlinson

      i did that same thing two weeks ago

      December 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • K

      He is the real deal. What a cool testimony. Hope the media gets it right. He was not demonizing the church or Christianity but just being obedient to God's call.

      December 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • Muneef

      4 Living Creatures Creations.
      Well chosen and well arranged words of wisdom,knowledge and confidence...wish I had the same power to express as you did..
      Have noted you calling Rene to Believe in and not to Reject Jesus or the Christ? When yet he does not believe in God?? So shouldn't we ask him to believe in God first and then the Holy Books&Messengers?
      Another thing was about reading the bible from cover to cover?? Well we should say understand the bible cover to cover..but which ones or how many bibles do you need to read cover to cover? Is there any one in particular that is a default to all ? 
        

      December 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
    • Muneef

      Al-Fatiha
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful (1) 
      Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds (2) Most Gracious, Most Merciful (3) Master of the, Day of Judgment. (4) Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek. (5) Show us the straight way. (6) The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, Those whose (portion) is not wrath and who go not astray. (7).
      Al-Ikhlas
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Say: He is Allah the One and Only; (1) Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; (2) He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; (3) And there is none like unto Him. (4).

      December 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • TrvlSEA

      There's real Christians out there.. "you will know them by their fruit" actions, not words are what you for

      December 22, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
    • TheDotCom

      As real as they come! it really blows my mind how individuals can remain so humble. Support!!

      December 22, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
    • Kay

      Yeah, right. Sure. I have a couple of hints for you. First of all, the next time you want to lie and proclaim yourself to be an atheist, you might want to avoid the "throw off the shackles" comment. And turning to someone who advocated FEAR of God???? How silly is that? But, most important, since you're obviously pretending to be an atheist, you might want to consider that your god frowns on lying.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • Anonymous

      If you have children, you would understand this logic. First, do you believe that God created your child or that you created your child? If you believe that you and some significant other created the child together, you would also soon realize or realized already that the child grows up to be autonomous and self-seeking without being taught. That's "free will" (in Christian terms). Though you were the creator, you cannot control the behavior and actions of your own creation. You created them to be autonomous and with freedom to choose. However, whether you believe or disbelieve in who God claims He is in the Bible, He created mankind with this freedom of choice and with Him set in every person's hearts. Whether you believe in Him or not, just thinking about or speaking about Him proves that He is in your heart. The plan of sending Jesus Christ into the world as a sin atonement is not a "mistake coverup". It's to cover for all the sins or wrongdoings of mankind for choosing to do evil and not believe/have faith in Him, just as a mother who loves her child so much, she would jump in front of her child to take a bullet aiming for her baby. Evil exists because of our choices, however, good exists because He exists. He exists so that good can exist in the world. Any good is from Him, whether you call it Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. Goodness is from God.

      December 23, 2010 at 3:21 am |
    • ICEMAN

      @ Marna um, how do you know this for sure? it's logic ? i suppose to believe something appeared from nothing? Life should be enjoyed nomatter what color or religion you are? What should matter is that you are happy when you die. That's Logic 101 for me.

      December 23, 2010 at 3:48 am |
    • star

      We need to FEAR GOD more?? geez where have I heard this before.... I know these guys, spiritual masochists and ego dominators...

      December 23, 2010 at 5:05 am |
    • michael

      Throw off the shackles off atheism, snap on the chains of deism. whatever gets you through the night.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:40 am |
    • Bob

      @Marna Hrm – I put it more simply. Athiests state ‘God Does Not Exist’. Whereas an Agnostic would say, ‘God Probably Doesn’t Exist’.

      You are wrong. These are not the definitions for these words.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:52 am |
    • MarkinFL

      People of faith cannot seem to understand that atheism is not a belief system. Atheism is nothing more than not believing in a "god" in any form. After that it is completely individual as far as your life view goes. If Atheism were a religion then it would be one with tens of millions of denominations, each with one member. Atheists are just people, no better, no worse. Its also not a choice. You either believe in a "god" ( or godlike power ) or you don't.

      December 23, 2010 at 8:03 am |
    • Cassandra

      He's 100% legit! Crazy Love totally changed my view on the Bible. It truly made me a deeper Christian.

      December 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • doobismoobie

      Oppressive shackles of Atheism? Are you for real? I know you're not an Atheist. The great thing about being an Atheist is there isn't anything to throw off. We've already done that. Remember, everyone is an Atheist about old gods (Odin? Zeus?). Atheist are just one step ahead.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @DJOHNSON

      OMG! This is like talking to myself...It is a lot like praying. LOL

      How do you know there is a god? Spirit filled people don't really impress me. I consider them to be on the verge of insanity.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT1xhksjjhQ&w=640&h=360]

      December 24, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
    • Dianosa

      HE is legit! That is why they would have made him call the quits.

      There is no place for legit people in the church. Church is a business and the pastors are professionals.

      December 25, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
    • me

      @4 Living Creatures Creations

      you fail to see the main advantage of science as a way of figuring this place out versus religion.

      notice how many things you point out from the past that you claim were 'proven by science'. Now think about the current understanding of those things. Science always begins with the assumption that our current description can be incorrect and should be attacked with tests and trials every year to get a better understanding. To throw away all our understanding because we let it get fixed for the better each year is grasping at straws.

      Why is this the opposite of religion one might ask? If you hold the bible to the same tests and trials it immediately fails miserably. You need to turn a blind eye to the bible's vast problems and inconsistencies or just remain ignorant of it's violence and lack of description of this place. The bible is clearly a fragmented description with the purpose of controlling the ancient uneducated (illiterate also!) population largely through fear and violence as the above article points out. It clearly came from the knowledge level of politicians thousands of years ago. Why isn't there a single description of a simple galaxy in the whole book (of course if you don't appreciate what a galaxy is you can't understand this point)? Because the people who wrote it didn't have a simple telescope. So the creator of the universe couldn't see them either? Much much more likely a 'creator of the universe' had nothing to do with the bible.

      Science welcome's your attacks. This is how it improves. Religion has no room for improvement, just gets more outdated each year and tries to hang on.

      December 26, 2010 at 8:48 am |
    • walkingfeather

      He is for real.

      January 5, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • it's for real

      hey buddy, i've read and heard a lot of stuff from Francis Chan and he is for real. But what makes him legit is not anything he is doing on his own power. What makes him legit is his reliance on the Holy Spirit in his life.

      The life devoted to Christ is one that is free from the bonds of this world. John 8:36 says, "If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed." Those who believe and trust in Christ, realize that they have done nothing in themselves to earn a way to God. That is what the Gospel is about. We look forward to a day when we will have eternal fellowship with God forever, as He has promised: one day "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain" (Revelation 21:4).

      January 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • jake22

      Amen. My sympathies exactly after reading this.

      January 13, 2011 at 5:59 am |
    • k8e

      You know? There are quite a number of men of God but you'll never hear about them. They are the ones around the world., faithful to the Lord, who never write a book, or seek fame in any way. They just live the life of Christ. We are so subject to the handful, in relation to these many God men, who in their humaness, stumble. Fingers are pointed and the skeptic cry goes up, "See, see!" Yet, for every one of them, there are millions of others who are fighting the good fight.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.