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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. perry fisher

    What? He is without a black man,moreover, he probably stole something and is leaving before the news becomes public

    December 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • wmsJAX

      Could you please elucidate your statement? I don't understand what you're trying to say.

      December 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  2. Lindsey

    God calls us to GO. From Genesis to Revelation God reveals this call and his heart for the NATIONS.

    Genesis 12: 1-3
    Psalm 46: 10
    Matthew 28:18-20
    Revelation 7:9

    Not only is Francis dying to himself by denying fame, but he is answering God's call. He is truly walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. I cannot deny God's calling on my life to go to the nations like this.

    Francis is reaching the unreached people. He is seeing his life as what it really is: a vapor.. and he doesn't want to waste it!

    His fame from this point (like this article) is not of his doing. People are intrigued by this strange behavior. God is receiving the glory from his life and now people are going to hear about it.

    December 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  3. wmsJAX

    Wow, a refreshing article about a pastor/church! A coworker and I were discussing something similar last week and we came up with a motto for the preachers/congregations (ourselves) "Get the people out of the church and into the streets". The Lord's work is not inside the 4 walls of church... church has become a social meeting place for other believers. A thought provoking song “Not of it” ( by Avalon) makes a statement “the danger is if our world don’t collide".

    God bless you Mr. Chan for recognizing that church members can get confuse and start glorifying man vice God! I only wish other pastors/members can see we're suppose to Lift up Christ & He will draw all men upon Him.

    December 22, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • ProperVillain

      I completely agree. Churches have become social clubs. I haven't attended a church for over 3 years and feel that my walk with God is more real and, realistic, than it was when I was in the 4 walls. So much has changed for me in a good way and I really owe it all to walking away and just living for a while without the weekly meetings....

      December 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  4. richunix

    4 Living Creatures Creations

    Atheists are not a faith nor is it a religion. It follows the logic (or) illogical (chaos) of science and the laws of nature. But what it is not, a belief in pure fantasy. Theories that are created from twisting the facts to support in order to support these beliefs. I do not discount that these people and place existed, remembering that these stories were created by the same people who believed in Zeus, Hera etc.

    The Bible falls under the fallacy “Begging the Question” because it written and therefore it consider itself to be true without any proof of the claim. Example are: John has a dream one night and the “Book of Revelation” is created, nice I had a dream last week to and it did not end with the world blowing up. In 1666, a poor young declared he was the second coming, unfortunately this happened in a time when science was discovering that the SUN did not revolve around the earth and science was quickly explaining away myths and fears of old, that were held dear to mankind, needless to say he as was found to be false.

    The number of supposed miracle of all religion would fill a library that is two city blocks wide and yet there is no proof period and I mean PERIOD! Everything from Mohammad ascending to heaven from the mount in Jerusalem (and he was buried in Mecca and had never been to Jerusalem) to the great flood and the parting of the “Sea of Reeds” (for you Christian the Red Sea). Of course we have angels and every thinks they will be one when they die, but in the Jewish belief we are not angels, they are a creation of god to serve him. Which comes to the name JESUS, which is not a name but a combination of Hebrew and Aramaic words, which means Messiah (sorry not a name) Christ is the from the Greek work Christos which also mean Messiah. The But JEWS do not name their children Messiah ben Messiah, it’s more like Joshua ben Avarham (Joshua son of Abraham). Bottom line here is no one know his real name and it is a 3rd century creation (once again twist those facts) that he was somehow in the house of David. For me I believed a man existed, but not like the Catholic church has created “Son of God”

    GOD is a 6th century word of Germanic origin: So what did they call this deity? YAWH or Hasheim. Which brings me back to the point. Didn’t the Egyptian call their god’s name, such as Ra, Set etc… Using the universal word GOD, make is sound more important, along with more believable.

    Sorry your misguided by your belief, each religion has stated they are “The one true” religion, so please who is right based on your you rather weak argument?

    I will leave you with this. I believe in mankind and are companicy to be good. The only evil in this world is the evil men do amongst themselves. I do believe we live forever, as I see it in the children of our future. I do not fear my own mortality, death is part of life and I will die. I do not need to placate my fears with religion in order to accept death. The universe is expanding within the laws of nature and we will expand with it. A great philosophy once said concerning death: To fear death is to make yourself fearful of life. For when you die you will know then if there is a heaven or hell; for there is not, you will not know nor will you care. Therefore the fear of death is needless.

    Enjoy your beliefs as they are yours.

    December 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  5. Anna Nwa

    Mine is prayer, that all the atheists on this page will see the light and harken to the voice of the Almighty God. Our Lord Jesus Christ died for all. He is always at the door of every heart including the atheists' knocking, asking to be let in. Lord Jesus, I pray asking You to draw that Your beautiful curtain a little bit, and let them see your Glory! Amen!

    December 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  6. Chris

    rene,

    I admire your passion for what you believe in but you have to see the irony. In the same way that you believe that letting someone believe in God is wasting their mind, a Christian passionately believes they must share their faith to someone that they believe is wasting their life. Religion is not the belief in God... it is a belief system in the unexplained. Each religion accomplishes at least one (if not, all) of 3 different questions: 1) How did we get here? 2) What is our purpose 3) What happens after we die? Atheism is not so much the belief in no God but more so the belief in chaos created life. Atheism answers the 3 "religion" questions with 1) Chaos and chance put us here, 2) we are here to exist in whatever way we choose too within reason and logic (what you may describe as freedom from religious oppression), and 3) when we die we cease to exist. Atheism is a religion in the sense that it tries to answer the questions that create the need for religion.

    In your heart, you believe that God's existence is a lie so you show compassion on others to try to save them from your view of oppression. Bless you for your good intentions, but you must recognize that you are encouraging others to share the same mindset as you while critisizing others for doing the same attempt at conversion as yourself. I can tell that you have some concerns with the "idea" of the Christian God... I kindly disagree with your assumption of who God is. You believe the Bible is a message of oppression by an angry God but I see a message of mercy from a just God.

    Take this example: You go to a foreign country where committing adultry is punishable by death... here in the States it is the norm and has no consequences. The judge says to you that you must be punished b/c the law is the law and if they didn't have the law, most marriages and families would be torn eventually apart by spouses in the moment of passion making a selfish decision (this is the case in the States, my family included). Please disregard whether adultry is worthy of death... this is merely an anology. The judge tells you that he knows you are a good person and your life is worth saving but the laws were set in place to deter you from hurting yourself and others... if he shows compassion and let's you off free, he is being a bad, soft judge (like the kind that let child molesters off easy) breaking his oath to be just and to enforce the laws created by their country. If he allows you to be executed, he is being heartless, unmerciful, cruel and ruling over his people with oppression and fear. The law was set in place to use fear of punishment to create an action that was in the best interest of all the people. Can you look at the judge and tell him, "I don't like your laws and find them unfair. Therefore, I choose to not acknowledge your existence or threat of eventual punishment and I will post bail and continue to live my adultrous life." This would result in your eventual execution b/c your belief has nothing to do with his existence. The judge seeing your rebellion, tells you that, I have come up with an alternative solution to our problem. My own son that is an attorney in this courtroom today, whom has lived the same life as you and has managed to overcome all temptation and has never broke one single law of our land (not even speeding), and he has freely offered himself to take your place and be executed instead of you. The judge tells you that this would allow him to be just because someone was punished for the crime that was committed and the replacement was worthy of making that decision because he was unblemished himself. The judge knows that you would love him and his son for this gift if he were to allow this... he does want your love as he loves you as one of his subjects. The son steps forward to take the punishment and is executed before you can stop him. You look at the judge and tell him, if I accept this then do I have to stop committing adultry? The judge tells you must at least try to stop and if you fail, you only have to come and tell him and ask for sincere forgiveness for messing up again. At this point, you can refuse the offer or accept and run to tell others of his love and mercy? Why do you think these sinful, pathetic human beings knows as Christians, continue to proclaim their faith to others? It is only natural. Why do you think that non-Christians continue to refuse his existence? They don't want to change and they misinterpret God's plea for them as a message of terrible oppression and fearful servanthood.

    Do what you will, but the decision is yours to make. Take care, friend.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
    • Kiera K

      Wow thats Good!!!

      December 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • Bob

      @Chris, I don't know how you manage to know what atheists think, because you're way off base. I'll dismantle your misconceptions point after point.

      > I admire your passion for what you believe in but you have to see the irony. In the same way that you believe that letting someone believe in God is wasting their mind, a Christian passionately believes they must share their faith to someone that they believe is wasting their life. Religion is not the belief in God... it is a belief system in the unexplained. Each religion accomplishes at least one (if not, all) of 3 different questions: 1) How did we get here? 2) What is our purpose 3) What happens after we die? Atheism is not so much the belief in no God but more so the belief in chaos created life. Atheism answers the 3 "religion" questions with 1) Chaos and chance put us here, 2) we are here to exist in whatever way we choose too within reason and logic (what you may describe as freedom from religious oppression), and 3) when we die we cease to exist. Atheism is a religion in the sense that it tries to answer the questions that create the need for religion.

      Atheism at it's core is the lack of belief in a God. It is not the belief that the natural world caused us to exist. I can be an atheist and say "God may exist and he may in fact have created the universe." However, I do not find any logical reason to believe in him based on shabby, inaccurate writings of goat farmers. When someone asks the questions you list, here are the answers...

      1) I do not know, however, the Big Bang theory gives us a bit of insight at the start of the universe.
      2) Why do we need a purpose?
      3) I don't know. However I'd assume that the brain shuts off and we slip into nothingness, based on how the natural world works. But I don't say strongly either way cause I really don't know.

      > In your heart, you believe that God's existence is a lie so you show compassion on others to try to save them from your view of oppression. Bless you for your good intentions, but you must recognize that you are encouraging others to share the same mindset as you while critisizing others for doing the same attempt at conversion as yourself. I can tell that you have some concerns with the "idea" of the Christian God... I kindly disagree with your assumption of who God is. You believe the Bible is a message of oppression by an angry God but I see a message of mercy from a just God.

      I don't believe God's existence is a lie. Who told you as such. I simply do not think your religion is provable and accurate. Look at it this way, let's assume one religion has it bang on and absolutely correct, that means there are thousands that don't. And each expects you to believe in what they tell you simply on faith. I don't like those odds.

      And I don't try to convert people. You have this mistaken concept that atheism is some sort of religion, I'd assume, because that's the only way you can see it. I could care less what sort of nonsense you believe, what days you pray or where you bless yourself with water blessed by magical incantations. However, it's when people of faith begin to impose their wills and their beliefs on others that I have to take action and slap people to wake them up. For example, Gay marriage. There is no reasonable reason why this shouldn't be allowed, except for religious arguments.

      Each person has what we would call a certain bias. You see a kind God, I see a completely evil being. The difference however is that I really don't need to defend God or attack him because I don't believe in him. I'd submit that my view of the bible is correct because it's not tainted by the "rose coloured glasses" that you've been forced to wear. Explain to me how the story of Joeb is the action of a kind and loving God.

      > Take this example: You go to a foreign country where committing adultry is punishable by death... here in the States it is the norm and has no consequences. The judge says to you that you must be punished b/c the law is the law and if they didn't have the law, most marriages and families would be torn eventually apart by spouses in the moment of passion making a selfish decision (this is the case in the States, my family included). Please disregard whether adultry is worthy of death... this is merely an anology. The judge tells you that he knows you are a good person and your life is worth saving but the laws were set in place to deter you from hurting yourself and others... if he shows compassion and let's you off free, he is being a bad, soft judge (like the kind that let child molesters off easy) breaking his oath to be just and to enforce the laws created by their country. If he allows you to be executed, he is being heartless, unmerciful, cruel and ruling over his people with oppression and fear. The law was set in place to use fear of punishment to create an action that was in the best interest of all the people. Can you look at the judge and tell him, "I don't like your laws and find them unfair. Therefore, I choose to not acknowledge your existence or threat of eventual punishment and I will post bail and continue to live my adultrous life." This would result in your eventual execution b/c your belief has nothing to do with his existence. The judge seeing your rebellion, tells you that, I have come up with an alternative solution to our problem. My own son that is an attorney in this courtroom today, whom has lived the same life as you and has managed to overcome all temptation and has never broke one single law of our land (not even speeding), and he has freely offered himself to take your place and be executed instead of you. The judge tells you that this would allow him to be just because someone was punished for the crime that was committed and the replacement was worthy of making that decision because he was unblemished himself. The judge knows that you would love him and his son for this gift if he were to allow this... he does want your love as he loves you as one of his subjects. The son steps forward to take the punishment and is executed before you can stop him. You look at the judge and tell him, if I accept this then do I have to stop committing adultry? The judge tells you must at least try to stop and if you fail, you only have to come and tell him and ask for sincere forgiveness for messing up again. At this point, you can refuse the offer or accept and run to tell others of his love and mercy? Why do you think these sinful, pathetic human beings knows as Christians, continue to proclaim their faith to others? It is only natural. Why do you think that non-Christians continue to refuse his existence? They don't want to change and they misinterpret God's plea for them as a message of terrible oppression and fearful servanthood.

      This is not a correct analogy, for God is responsible for the crimes of the individual, not the individual. I'll prove this to you through logic.

      A) For the purposes of any theological discussion, the source material must be seen as a perfect representation of what actually occurred. Otherwise, there isn’t any discussion, for anyone can claim “How do you know” and no progress is achieved.

      B) Given A, the God described in the discussion is omnipotent, that is to say, all powerful. This necessitates omniscience, he property of knowing all. For if he wasn’t omniscient, he would not be omnipotent.

      C) Given B, God knows the future. Knowing all, and being all powerful, this knowledge is by definition, perfect. Because if it was wrong, he wouldn’t be all knowing.

      D) God creates man with specific mental attributes expressed by DNA.

      E) Given C and D, God creates man and every successive man’s mental traits and how those traits will and won’t cause the brain to operate in the situations that are already known.

      F) Given E, God creates the universe and all you actions are prescribed by his decisions.

      G) Given F, you have no free will. Mind you, this also shows that you cannot sin, because the actions of God are by definition (due to A) good and holy.

      God is responsible for sin. He's responsible for your actions and my actions as written in the bible. There's no way around this. God is responsible for it all.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  7. Dan

    @David Johnson, just curious to what you refer to when you said you are not big on fiction.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  8. Dan

    I am a CHRISTian, and challenge ANYONE who says there is no GOD:
    Think about what you would like to patent, and make millions of dollars at. I think we all have that dream.
    Once you figure out what you want to patent, there is ONLY one stipulation: you CANNOT use ANYTHING to make it. You just speak, and it happens. That's what God did.
    Secondly, the bible (you can deny it's authenticity all you want), says in John 14:6: JESUS said "I am THE way, THE truth and THE light". No one comes to the father but by me". He didn't say one of the ways, he said THE WAY.
    Merry CHRISTmas.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • richunix

      thats ans easy one. Who said there was?

      December 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
    • ProperVillain

      I'm a Christian but you can't prove the existence of god with the bible. That would be like me proving the reality of the Enterprise by showing someone and episode of Star Trek. More importantly, we can't really prove the existence of God anyway. It really does come down to a leap of faith. I have plenty of atheist friends and they have been better to me than my so called christian
      "brothers". Belief, non-belief in god, I find, has very little to do with moral bearings. The only way anyone will "see god" is if Christians talk less and just live out the life.

      December 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  9. Katie

    This makes me respect him even more. I have read his books Crazy Love and Forgotten God. I got a lot out of both of them. Kudos to him for pointing others away from himself and towards God.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  10. Squeezebox

    A lot of atheists are focused on the bad things that people do in the name of religion, but people do some pretty amazing things too. How many aetheists give up their lives to work with homeless people or people with contagious diseases such as leprosy? Why is it that msssionaries of all faiths do so much more to improve the lot of humanity than aetheists do? Why do missionaries feed the poor when aetheists don't? What did Ayn Rand do other than publish a few books?

    December 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  11. Bird

    I'm a little shocked at all the responses from christians that are so negative to atheist, agnostics, etc. I do not believe the same thing as them but I am called to love them as a follower of Jesus. Too many times our words are the reason that someone may not turn their lives to Christ or even consider him. Paul stated without love our words are like a sounding gong.
    At the same time I'm also shocked at some of the statements made by christians here that are not biblical.
    Jesus Christ is about love and God is full of goodness. Too many times we portray him as some God out to get us...and that could not be farther than the truth. God loves us so much that he has done everything to make it possible to be one with him and at peace. I think in terms of Francis Chan that we do not have the right to judge him...unless we know him personally.
    To atheists that have read the Bible cover to cover...one important thing you may have missed is that the spirit of wisdom and revelation that Paul prays for in the New Testament is important in us understanding the words in terms of our soul. Try asking for a spirit of wisdom and revelation before reading. You may be surprised at what connects in your rational mind and heart.
    Science is amazing in that especially in the last few years....more and more has been found out that actually proves more and more in the Bible. I do not discount science ...it's just taken a few years for it to catch up with what we as christians already knew.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
    • jaysus

      kudos bird. unity above all.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  12. Reformer7

    You walked away from your Church because people were paying more attention to you than to God?
    I don't buy that. There's something else behind this man's decision to walk away that he is not saying.
    What is he going to do if, like the Californians, people in his new Asian location decide to pay him more
    attention than the word of God? Is he going to move again to an undisclosed location in the African bush?
    Listen people: This man should have done what the "great Apostle Paul" did when people thought he
    was a god and started to worship him: Put ashes on his head, wore sackclothes, vehemently denied that
    he was some kind of a deity, and ceased the opportunity to preach the "Real God" and the "Real Jesus"
    to the people.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  13. Louie

    "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."

    Plus a book on the NY Times best selling list and a new DVD released in March. It seems like the pastor have no problem to "keep" cashing in big time, "all in the name of the Lord." I wonder if the pastor were to meet God in person, would God say that the pastor takes him seriously. I think the pastor decided that he has outgrown his market and needs to move to the next level but doesn't want to burn any bridges, so he's using spin to have it both ways.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  14. Dan

    Here is the difference between a Christian and all other religions.
    Knowing Jesus Christ as savior is a "relationship", not religion.
    Jesus Christ, don't leave earth without him.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  15. coryc

    It takes an empowered filled Holy Spiritual person to put God before all else. For in the latter days--men(women) shall be lovers of themselves(selfishness).2 TIM 3:2
    This is an act of the. Great Commission of Christ. Go Ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son. and of the Holy Ghost: Matt28:19.
    Even to the atheists......He died for you that you may live.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  16. Sheila Burd

    He really is the real deal. His books are incredible! I have read Crazy Love many many times!

    December 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  17. justcurious1

    What a great reminder of what is prescriptive, but sadly so rarely normative, for all Christians.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  18. James

    @Rene: "Read the bible from cover to cover, and I believe that will deter you from going into religion"

    That is an even a worst reason for being an atheist. You either believe there is a GOD, or you believe everything around you exploded into existence from nothingness. Why would the latter belief be in any way influenced by biblical scriptures?

    Scriptures harden the heart of the unbeliever and softens that of the believer. The choice is yours.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Correct James. The point here is if one wants to know the TRUE meaning of a book, just ask the one who wrote it. In the case of the Bible, it was written by the Holy Spirit. Any one reading the Bible from cover to cover without guidance of "the author", will not get the TRUE meaning.

      December 22, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  19. MiMi

    ..Sometime too much is too little to feed body,mind and soul.The fullness of the gospel has reached its point.
    I think chans PASSION has grown to much greatness and he feels he needs to step back and find the small of smallest, to reach out and spend more one on one time,with over looked and needed missions.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  20. MichaelR

    God does not give us a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7) and He does not want us to fear as it pertains to torment. Proverbs 8:13 states that the fear of the Lord is to hate evil. I do not serve a God and would not serve a God who wants his children to fear as the world sees fear. Hear me plz. If you truly want to know what is the truth, or rather who is the truth, then begin with a few foundational keys. 1) The world sometimes has definitions for the same word that exists in the Kingdom of God, but the meanings are very different (ex. fear, faith, love). 2) Don’t try to understand God by what you see. You’ll never know Him that way. 3) Understand God from the basis that He is Love (1 John 4:8). Then and only then, will you begin to understand what you see. I assure you that any other basis will lead to confusion and a misrepresentation of God. 4) God has a permissive will and a perfect will. His perfect will is that all men be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). His permissive will is that man is given the right to choose (Deut. 30:19). 5) Because of sin, for a time, Satan is being allowed to be God of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). Adam handed it over to him. God is just even to Satan. Like a gift given and then given away, the first giver doesn’t have the right to take the gift away from where it currently resides and still be just. However, God does have a plan of redemption. It is a gift that can be accepted or rejected. The choice is yours. 6) Bad things happen in this world because of Satan, not because of God (John 10:10). The authority was delivered unto him by who had the gift of authority before – Adam (Luke 4:6). 7) There is no other way to know God and accept his plan for your life without Jesus (John 14:6). I understand that you don’t have to accept what I’m saying, but I tell you the truth that there are many reasons why Jesus is the only way. It is my hope that you will seek the truth for yourself with a focus on understanding, regardless of what you believed before. If you decide to search, remember that your intellect can only take you so far. It is like a box that allows you to see only within. To go beyond, will require a change in your heart; otherwise, you will never see beyond its walls. Seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you (Luke 11:19). I beseech you, when you seek, don’t seek with wrong motives, and what you will find will change your life.
    Peace.

    December 22, 2010 at 12:05 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.