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Crazy Love: Right Diagnosis, Wrong Prescription?
on 8 July 2011
Crazy Love is a popular book. Its cover declares that over one million copies have been sold and it contains endorsements from Joni Eareckson Tada, Kirk Cameron and Chris Tomlin. It seems its influence has been widely felt and its message well-received.
Chan's book contains many important, yet neglected truths. He emphasizes the necessity or a proper view of who God is, describing the splendour of His creation and the glory of His attributes. He reminds us of the `vapour' that life is...in a rendition that brings to mind the first line of Rick Warren's bestselling The Purpose Driven Life: "It's not about you." He also heralds the cry that "the greatest good on this earth is God...God's one goal for us is Himself." (62)
The core of Chan's book is its insight and criticism of average Christianity. He rightly diagnoses professing Christians of living distracted lives, lives full of things other than God and barren in true spirituality. In a landmark chapter, he has the courage to make the most devastating statement in the book, one our culture desperately needs: "As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there's no such thing. To put it plainly, churchgoers who are "lukewarm" are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven." (84) In one sentence, Chan sounds the death-knell of most of professing Christendom.
While Chan's book is good, it fails at one point, perhaps the most important point of all: not the diagnosis, but the prescription. After a breath-taking analysis of `lukewarm Christianity' Chan encourages readers to seek God and "focus more on Christ" (104) in the final chapters. However his call is missing one major component: an emphasis on the necessity and efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ. There is little or no mention of repentance, of the Gospel, or of sacrifice for sin. The omission seems glaring in pages which seem to offer little more than generalities...and which could be fatally understood as encouraging a type of works-salvation. While Chan's analysis of contemporary Christianity was wonderful, his prescribed cure seems less so. This is disheartening and dangerous and may leave the reader disappointed, with more questions than answers, knowing the sickness but not the solution.
The only solution to lukewarm Christianity is to truly understand that Christ was not lukewarm for us. Sin was so serious that He must pay the ultimate price. The cross that divided history is the only hope for fallen man. Only when we are illuminated by the light of that cross will we receive the grace that can truly make us "hazard our lives" for God...in response to His "crazy love" for us.