Francis Chan’s Crazy Love

Nick Batzig and Jeff Waddington speak about Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, Augustine’s De Trinitatae and Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo.


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25 Responses

  1. Thadd

    I believe I heard Nick define the “Lordship Salvation” incorrectly (after about 8 mins into audio). Lordship Salvation mean that there is no Salvation without a Lord. I think Nick stated “Salvation but no making Jesus Lord”??
    So, to verify MacArthur would say “one is saved when regeneration acknowledges Jesus as Lord”.
    Therefore I wasn’t clear in the audi if you were saying that Chan strayed from this thought?


  2. Thadd,

    It was a lapsus linguae! Sorry about that. I meant to say that MacAurthur, and I assume Chan, rightly combated the idea that someone could be saved without having Jesus as “King” and “Lord.” This is, if I am not mistaken, a corrective to the “free grace theology” that MacArthur rightly rejects in favor of “Lordship salvation.” So, mea culpa! Thanks for catching that.

  3. Bob McDowell

    Jeff [and/or N.T.],
    Is there a “primary source” for your aphorism “What is proclaimed and affirmed by the first generation is assumed by the second, ignored by the third, and denied by the fourth”?

    I’ve heard various forms for various people, but I wonder if there is a primary source for this?


  4. Excellent episode of the Reformed Media review. Much better than the movie reviews or the latest comic mediocrity Philosophy for Jokers. Nick “Serious” Batzig & Jeff “The Brain” Waddington do an excellent job warning the church concerning the Chan book and informing us concerning two of medieval theology’s greatest figures.
    More Waddington, Batzig and the books please. Less of the movies and jokes.
    BTW enjoying the special debate on Christ the Center at the moment.

  5. In reading the Statement of Faith outlined on the Eternity Bible College website:


    …of which Francis Chan is the founder and chancellor, it appears his theology IS reformed and Calvinistic, in that they say that man is totally depraved, salvation is God’s Sovereign choice, and those redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ are secure forever. I too have just discovered Chan, actually last Saturday while on the internet, and I am a staunch Calvinist/Reformed Presbyterian, and thus far I have not heard anything bad from Chan. Although I have not read the book “Crazy Love”, I appreciate the review of it, and appreciate your ministry. Soli Deo Gloria

  6. Michael,

    That’s interesting. The doctrinal statement at the Cornerstone Simi website is, at least partially, doctrinal Arminianism. So maybe they are trying to function in a sphere of Calvinistic churches while not being themselves Calvinistic. It is true that total depravity is a necessary tenet of Reformed theology, but their statement on regeneration certainly does not reflect that they believe this. Under their doctrinal beliefs they write, “That all people are lost sinners and must turn to Christ in saving faith and repentance for regeneration by the Holy Spirit. (Salvation)” That is an Arminian understanding of the work of God in regeneration. The Reformed are monergistic in regard to regeneration. Chan and Cornerstone Simi seem to hold to a form of synergism in this regard.

    1. Nicholas,

      Thanks for the reply. I haven’t fully perused his website; like I said I just found him last weekend. He did have some good things to say, but I too question some of his statements. Thank you again for your ministry and dedication to our Lord.

  7. Richard L. Lindberg

    I appreciated the discussion about Chan’s book, though I have not read it. In regard to the comments about the Amish, while their style of Christian living can be seen as moralism, it flows out of a commitment to Christ as Lord. They extended forgiveness to the man who killed the Amish students and his family because it is what Jesus requires and because they also have been forgiven. They take the words of Jesus at face value, a practice criticized in the discussion. But when they take the words of Jesus at face value, it is part of their theological system in which Jesus is Lord and his words are to be obeyed. Perhaps this is an aspect of Lordship that Reformed theologians and pastors need to consider. I have had discussions with some Reformed people who do not take Jesus’ words and commands seriously and indeed consider them to be less important than what is taught in the Westminster standards.

  8. Tim H.


    This was extremely helpful. I’m very thankful for how much you thought this through. Probably the best review on RMR since James Dolezal took on Concise Reformed Dogmatics over a year ago.


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  10. I enjoy the diverse group of men commenting, including the humor; the interesting personalities bring a delightful element to ur presentations. so much of the studied opinions and scholarship exressed is edifying, keep up the oustanding ministry.

  11. Justin

    I really appreciate this review. This is the third time I’ve listened to it, and I’m trying to refer everyone I can to this explanation of the imbalances “Crazy Love”. I just overheard an elderly lady ( who is a member at the local church I am a member of) that is reading this book saying “I don’t want to be spit out of the mouth of God” and it just reminded me of the fear I went through when I read this book.

    again thank you so much for the work you guys are doing, not only in these areas, but apologetically, as well. I Praise God for the ministry He has given you

    1. Steve Young

      However that is what Jesus states. If we are lukewarm, we will be vomited out. We should fear Jesus and also revere Him. God is a love of God, but He is also a just and righteouss God. The gate is narrow. Francis Chan is trying to trigger a response from Christians today because is church and believing truly walking into a building, listening to a guy talk, and then leaving and doing what we did before we entered that building?

      Paul writes that we each of us should work out our faith with fear and trembling. James writes that faith without deeds is dead. As Christians, we should respond to the love that we receive from Christ Jesus. We should deny ourselves and love our neighbors. That is one thing I get out of Crazy Love.

  12. Steve Young

    I listened to Nick and Jeff on their podcast today. I have a lot of questions, but the thing that makes me squirm the most is, Nick and Jeff are trying to make Crazy Love fit into their understanding of scripture and their life experiences. We can’t fit God into this mold and if something doesn’t fit that mold it’s not valid or helpful. Yes, we should test everything as Paul cautions us. When I read Crazy Love, I understand that in my faith I also need to respond and do what the Bible says. James says that we should not merely listen to the word and so deceive ourselves. As Christians, we need to do what the word says.

    If you read scripture from front to back, you realize that as followers of Christ we need to deny oursevles and love our neighbors. Too many Christians want to live comfortably and to also have salvation without doing anything. We are justified by faith, but that doesn’t mean we sit on our butts and go through a weekly routine. We need to respond to that faith because faith without deeds is dead. Not all of us are called to be poor or to live in poverty, yet we are called to be good stewards with what God gives us (Parable of the Talents).

  13. Kenneth Chang

    Nick and Jeff, THANK YOU FOR THIS REVIEW! I have yet to read Crazy Love, but I’ve heard of it after many of my brothers and sisters in Christ at college have been reading it and raving about it. After seeing one of my friends blog about it, her response was one of worry–that she doesn’t want to be lukewarm–and it was bookended by the Greatest Commandment: to love God and love people. I’m afraid of the further confounding of the Law/Gospel distinction that this book may propagate (if it already hasn’t). XP

    About Nick and Jeff’s understanding of Scripture, the redemptive-historical approach is an actual AND biblical way to understand the Bible. Jesus Himself told the Pharisees that all of the Prophets speak of Him (John 5:39), and Jesus Himself spoke from Moses and the Prophets that He was the suffering servant and their redeemer, which the apostles recount on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32-35). They’re not putting God into a mold–they’re seeing through the lens that He has talked about in Scripture.

    I have yet to read Crazy Love, but I will get around to it in order to see what many of my brothers and sisters in Christ at UCI are getting hyped up about. However, what I’m concerned about is that they are being driven to love not through being reminded of what Christ has done for them and through the work of the Spirit in sanctifying us, but through being reminded of the imperatives–of the commands to love God and your fellow neighbor. Being able to love God and to love our neighbor–which itself is the Law distilled to its very core (Matthew 22:34-40)–is a fruit of the Spirit working in us, turning our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. If we really want to love, we have to confront the fact that all of us hate God and our neighbor, and that inclination to hate is the first and foremost inclination of our hearts. The Law helps tell us of that, and shows us where we must repent, but that alone won’t save us. We need a Savior who is righteous and is loving, who can cover our shortcomings and transgressions!

    That’s why I’m a bit wary about Crazy Love–it’s going to be all imperatives and trait listings that will leave people fearful about their salvation and standing before God. When Paul said that we must live out our salvation with “fear and trembling,” it is not fear as in terror of being removed from God’s presence and being anathema. “Fear and trembling” is to be in awe and reverence of He who enables you and strengthens you to work out your salvation in Christ Jesus.

    1. Tim

      It’s always difficult to take someone’s commentary seriously when it begins with “although I haven’t actually read the book…” Suddenly, you’re grouped with everyone- quick to offer an opinion without having taken the time to research the issue. Mathew 18 sets a good example of how to address conflict- and it is sans mere opinion.

      I read the book yesterday and liked it a lot. Francis Chan presents his challenge to the Church to surrender all to Christ, if indeed you call him Lord. He also is very careful not to pretend what such a surrender looks like for you, but implores readers to go to the Word and listen.

      I appreciated the end of the book where Chan addresses the idea of people seeking God’s will for their life. He points out the examples in Scripture that God didn’t illuminate His will for a person’s life, as much as He provided His will for the moment, for the next step. Chan encourages us to rely on God through the Spirit, as directed by Jesus, to listen, trust, and follow. Again, Chan is clear to say that familiarity with God’s Word provides discernment in knowing His voice through the Spirit within us.

      How quick we are to play devil’s advocate and take an opposing position to many things our brothers and sisters say as they seek Christ. Read the book, any book, and see if God is speaking to you- not others- but YOU. Chances are His plan involves the pain of transformation into Christ-likeness. Not others, but your heart and mind. I know it’s painful for me to see my unending list of sin- but it’s the way I’ve chosen if I’ve chosen to forsake all and follow Christ.

      Read Francis Chan’s book.

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