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Francis Chan: ‘what kind of church would people like?’ Is the Wrong Question

Chapter 1 of Revelation is a severe warning for the American Christian.

That’s the message Francis Chan delivers to Azusa Pacific University students at a chapel service.

Listen Up, American Christian

In the first chapter of the Bible’s final book, John sees Jesus in all his glory, and he was terrified to the point of passing out.

In that meeting, Jesus tells John to take a message to the seven churches in Asia. His message to five of those seven was repent, or else.

Chan told the students in this video, the sins of the churches in Asia and the consequences of failing to repent should strike fear in the hearts of American Christians. Jesus tells the churches if they don’t repent, he’ll spit them out, remove them, and wage war against them.

Chan likened the tone Jesus takes in the chapter to a parent warning a rambunctious son of the consequences of running into the street without looking for traffic– if you don’t pay attention to what I’m saying the consequences could be severe and fatal.

Then he asked, “What about the church in America? Do we really think we’re one of the good ones?”

The Problems in the American Church

In America, we go to a building we call a church, if we don’t like the music or the speaker or any minor thing about the service, we just move down the street to another church.

Chan was recently in China and described the American church that way to the people who attend the underground church—and he said they laughed hysterically.  And then they asked, “what happened to you?”

In America, Chan lamented, people won’t show up at church unless Hillsong is singing or Tim Keller is preaching.  On the other side of the world, Christians worship to be in the presence of God.

“What must God think of that?” Chan asks.

The church in America is self-centered and consumer driven and sadly, Chan says we don’t even see it.

The strong warning Chan received from reading Revelation, a read that he points out only takes 26 minutes, caused him to question how we do church in America.

He said Americans treat church like they do all of their other decisions, based primarily what pleases them and hoping God will tolerate their decisions.

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Bob Ditmer has worked in Christian media for more than 20 years including positions with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Focus on the Family.