Erasing Hell: Thoughts on Francis Chan and his new book

Francis Chan’s new book Erasing Hell will be coming out July 5th.

That isn’t important though, the more important thing is that this post is better than the JesusneedsnewPR blog. Teehee, I’ll delete that sentence later, but anyway–I can’t say I’m a fanatical fan of Francis Chan, I’m excited with what he says and what an influence he has on other people. Ask any youth group who their favourite preacher is and it most likely will be either Rob Bell or Francis Chan. I much prefer the latter by a long shot, and indeed, Francis Chan has, since the release of “Crazy Love”, exploded in popularity. I’m currently listening to Crazy Love through audiobook, and I’m about halfway through it and I can see why. There is a certain humility in his work, that is relevant and relatable to the audience to whom he is addressing. This is further amplified listening to him speak, he speaks with utmost conviction, which comes across, you’ll see in the video below. Reading that he has given all royalties from Crazy Love to a ministry to children trapped in sex trafficking — his ambition and convictions are ever clearer.

There is another side to Francis Chan that makes me uncomfortable though. I’ve read Forgotten God before–actually I’ve read it a couple of times because I was blessed by it a lot the first time. It undeniably has had a great influence on my Christian walk actually. Yet for all its importance and relevance, what is distressing to me so is how little was dedicated to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. I’m not doubting he knows his material about the Holy Spirit, but he jumps quickly to the application of the Scripture without addressing the subject where he drew it from. Without creating that Scriptural foundation, his applications seem bare and according to his own agenda. Why yes, in case you were wondering, I do have complaints about every single author out there! Naw, I truly do like Francis Chan, he’s a great guy. I truly hope you get to the time to watch the video and purchase his new book though — you won’t regret it.

Nevertheless, I always look forward with anticipation to any new project of his. This one seems in a direct reaction to he-who-shall-not-be-mentioned. There is a simple honesty and down-to earth attitude that pervades everything that he says, and I admire that in him above all else that he does. Apparently in the youtube comments, his honesty and fervour is taken as over-acting and false, but I would argue otherwise. I see his willingness to engage and provoke thought in people is wonderful.

There is a moment in the video where he muses the relationship between God and men described by Paul as the relationship between a clay and a potter. He laments how he is a piece of clay, and it is expected of him to teach other pieces of clay about the Potter, and what he is like. At about 1 minutes in, his genuine nature comes through especially in this scene. I wonder what depth that statement truly means in our own lives–perhaps with greater humility we do need to approach things.

There was an interview I read where Francis Chan was asked about the emergent church, a potential hot potato that no one wants to own up to or reject often. This is what he said: “As a pastor I hear a lot of emergent leaders talk about what is wrong with the church. It comes across as someone who doesn’t love the church. I’m a pastor first and foremost, and I’m trying to offer a solution or a model of what church should look like. I’m going back to scripture and seeing what the church was in its simplest form and trying to recreate that in my own church. I’m not coming up with anything new. I’m calling people to go back to the way it was. I’m not bashing the church. I’m loving it.”

What do you think about Francis Chan, which books of his have you read? Would you be purchasing Erasing Hell? Does he have a lesser emphasis on doctrine and understanding, and greater emphasis on the application of bible verses? Do you see this in his writing, and how does it compare to other authors who have written on similar topics like “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper or even, “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne?