Monday, October 18, 2010

Crazy Love? A Book Review

by Sean Richardson,

I have been asked my opinion of the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, so I felt like I should read it. Since I teach Bible at a Christian school, I’m often asked about such things. I must admit up front that I knew very little about the author or the book, even though the book has been out a couple of years. But once I saw the book cover, I knew this was going to be work, not enjoyment.

The back of the book held this blurb – “Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions?” One question is more in line with eastern mysticism (the idea of breaking free from this world), the other more in line with existentialism. The book itself builds on these two ideas, and rarely gives us an explicitly Christian line of reasoning. There is much here with which a Hindu or New Ager might find agreement.

I believe the overall shortcomings of this book can be summed up this way – it is assumed that Christians already know enough, they’re just not doing enough. This is why it seems there is no gospel here and it’s all oriented towards works. You get a lot of the same thing when you read Rick Warren.

The book has much about what we call the natural, or general, revelation of God, but hardly any mention of the message of salvation contained in the special, Biblical revelation of Jesus Christ. The identity, work, and ministry of Christ is merely acknowledged or assumed, left undefined. You cannot and should not assume anything in these days in which we live and I fault the book for missing a great opportunity to expound the mediatorial role of Jesus Christ. The role of the Holy Spirit is also missing. We are supposed to be radical about living like Christ, but are nowhere informed about how the Holy Spirit enables us to do those things. So, we are left to do a lot of things ourselves – radical, authentic things (like the guys in the Mountain Dew commercials).

If you’re wanting to know what you’re not doing right, then this is the book for you. If you’re looking for guilt, here it is. If you want to burn out because you haven’t done enough, buy this book. But if you’re wanting to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified, then look elsewhere.

A book that succeeds where this books fails is by another Francis – Francis Schaeffer’s True Spirituality. That is the book that needs to be read, not Crazy Love.

photo credit: williamhartz via photopin cc
photo credit: mccmicb via photopin cc

Note: Guest writer Sean Richardson has a blog called, where you can comment on this book review