Francis Chan On Aging Biblically

(Updated this post to better reflect my feelings on the video, so if you read it earlier, you might have the wrong impression. Sorry about that.)

What do you think of this new Francis Chan video?

I think Chan is right on one level. We should see our possessions as gifts from God given to us for His purpose, and for His glory. We need not worry about hoarding possessions, though we should certainly be wise and prepared for the future.

On another level, and maybe its tone, but Francis always comes across to me as feeling really guilty about his financial status in life. He seems to me to feel guilty that he is fed, housed, and clothed. If this is true, then I’m not sure he is viewing God’s blessing as blessing, but maybe as a curse. What do you think?

Some have criticized this video because of Chan’s age. They felt that he isn’t old enough to say some of these things. My feeling is that truth is truth. Just because a guy hasn’t experienced what you’ve experienced doesn’t mean he can’t identify areas that need correcting.

I have another problem with the video though. It seems to me that Chan’s style is to apply pressure and guilt on people in a pietistic, world denying way. I get the feeling that Chan would probably rather be a monk living in a desert somewhere, and I’m certain that type of pietism seems to ignore the goodness of God’s gifts in this world.

Lastly, and I speak here from my own experience and observation, I don’t see that many “selfish” retirees. In fact, some of the busiest, most serving people in my church are those who are retired. I have found them to be indispensable partners in ministry. In my experience, I don’t see unconcerned or selfish retirees. I do sometimes see some tired folks who deserve a rest. So, I think it might be a little over the top to impugn an entire generation over this.

That said, I really like Chan. He’s a guy I could hang out with, and he always speaks with earnest. I do respect that even if it gives me pause.

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3 thoughts on “Francis Chan On Aging Biblically

  1. I’ve heard many great things about Francis Chan but have not had the opportunity to read any of his books yet. I disagree with several premises he makes in this short video.

    First, I think he bases too much of his anxiousness on linear time. It is as if he is saying that time is running out for him to get rid of all of his stuff or Jesus is going to catch him with a trinket. We already have eternal life. When we pass from this state to the next, it is not the “End” as he puts it. So if he is waiting to change something about his life, why wait?

    Secondly, he acts as if Jesus can not see him right now but when he dies all of a sudden Jesus is going to catch him with a TV and he will be mortified when that happens. Again, why wait? He should be mortified today if that is what is going to happen. If someone hold a possession over Christ, they *should* be mortified and should abandon it immediately.

    When we get to heaven, we shall live forever. Time will no longer be the shadowy grim reaper stalking our every move. What does that look and feel like? Well, when that days comes, we will forever have “now”. I suggest this, if you follow Christ that day already came and time is an illusion. Growing old is an illusion (albeit a very good one.) and all we have is the moment known as “now”.

    If Jesus was telling the truth when he said “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” then for one who keeps his word, death is also an illusion.

    Therefore by framing our lives into sectors of youth, middle age, and retirement, we set up another illusion on top of them.

    I think his core message is good “be more obsessed with the work of God than accumulating possessions” but he is confusing it by implying all possessions are bad to have (which I think is wrong) and cluttering the message by accusing the elderly. The elderly have limited earning power, if any at all. How are they to eat, live, and provide for themselves if they don’t have a savings?

    Good message, great media, poor execution. Anyone else have visions of Mel Gibson getting his intestines ripped out in the final scene of “Braveheart”? (the music that was playing 🙂

    • Some good points, Joe. I’m chuckling over the Braveheart music. Seems kind of odd for a video like this.
      My feeling in a lot of what Chan says is that he would only be happy if every Christian were living as monks in the desert.
      Francis is an interesting guy. He is always so intense, I wonder if he doesn’t view possessions as troublesome. I read Ecclesiastes to be saying that “under the sun”, there is nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor. It is good to enjoy the gifts of God, just not be obsessed with them.

  2. Eric–Although I liked Crazy Love, I agree about what you said about Chan’s ‘style’. I felt that way after reading his book. I guess that’s not altogether bad but it tends to make me question things based on what HE says a life should look like.

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