It took me a while to actually get around to reading this book, so I already knew a lot about it before I read the first page. But once I started it, I finished it the same day. (Make sure that you watch the corresponding chapter videos at www.crazylovebook.com. I thought this was a nice interactive touch, and the videos augment the readings nicely.) I’ve known of Francis Chan for a while, have heard him speak a couple of times, and really appreciate his heart as a shepherd-teacher. But I was not ready for my heart to be challenged by this book in quite the way it was. Francis organized the book as the Apostle Paul organized most of his New Testament letters: lead with theology and then follow that with application. He set the table with the first three foundational chapters, which in turn encouraged the reader to reflect on the majesty and glory of God, the brevity of life, and the fatherhood of God. In the remainder of the book, Francis relentlessly attacked the complacency of the church, frequently drawing on the lukewarm Laodicean congregation of Revelation 3:14-22 as a case in point. Perhaps the two most effective chapters are the ones in which Chan juxtaposes the “profile of the lukewarm” (Chapter 4, describing the current state of the American church) with the “profile of the obsessed” (Chapter 6, describing the Christian or church consumed with Christ). Ironically, Chan effectively framed the tragic indictment against the shallowness of the 21st-century church by quoting 19th century pastor Frederic Dan Huntington:
“It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel. It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity.”
This quote left me with the eerie feeling that Pastor Huntington might have been in some of the same church buildings and meetings that I’ve attended! There is indeed a widespread dissatisfaction with business-as-usual church and a much-needed awakening the urgent need for the gospel in our generation. Francis Chan, Matt Chandler, David Platt, Mark Driscoll and others like them have stirred a renewed passion in my heart for the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. May ours be the generation of those who throw off complacency and are obsessed with the name and renown of our great King.