Monday, January 26, 2009

Book Review: Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Crazy Love was one of those books that came with a lot of hype. When I first picked up my copy, I had already heard some great reviews and glowing praise for this book. All the hype definitely played a part in my decision to buy the book and read it. Aside from this initial praise for the book, I knew a little about Chan himself. I had heard some great stories about his leadership and some of the things the church he preaches at was doing. So, right from the start I had high expectations for the content and what I would glean from Chan's writing.

The first few chapters deal exclusively with the greatness of God. Chan is not making any assumptions about the reader's knowledge of God. Right from the start, you go back to the start of it all - creation. Chan starts by painting several pictures for the reader of God's greatness seen in creation. From here, he spends a few chapters adding to this case that God is greater than anyone or anything ever. Though I appreciated this reminder, it seemed to drag on longer than I thought necessary (and maybe this stems from my upbringing and subsequent Bible College education).

Once this foundation is laid, Chan then starts the challenges. He spends the rest of the book challenging the reader to be more like Christ, to take God at His word and to live out what Christ calls us to live. While reading, there were moments I found myself rereading sentences just to make sure I was grasping what was being written. There were other sentences that grabbed my attention and caused me to stop and think. Sentences like, "Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy. Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers." and this quote from Tim Kizziar, "Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter."

Crazy Love is a good book and its definitely worth a read. Is it a book for you, though? I believe the best audience to read this book are those Christians who are complacent with with their faith. If you or someone you know is struggling, lukewarm or stagnant then this is a great book to read and let soak in.

God's love for you is crazy. His love for me is crazy. At the least, you will walk away from this book with that understanding. But my fear, and I think Chan's fear as well, is that you can walk away from that understanding and do absolutely nothing to change your life. Do not allow yourself that option, act on what you are challenged to change.

My advice (rating) – borrow from a friend (3 out of 5)


  1. Love this book! Crazy for God who is has a Crazy Love for me! a friend from Orlando gave this book to me! now its everywhere, i let my friends read it too, and they were blessed by it. :D awesome God!

  2. glad you liked the book and more importantly glad you are crazy for God - who is awesome!

  3. I'm planning to get this book on Thursday and there's a lot of hype about it but also a lot of people saying "It was irritating by Francis always telling me to go to this website or that." and other people who said it was misleading and never got deep enough or scratched the service on North American Church issues. With that in hand, I am doubting if I should spend my money on this book.

  4. My 16 year old got this book from her youth group and I wanted to see what it was about. I thought it was annoying. I'm turned off by books that like to tell you how you should look, what you should be doing, if you really knew how crazy God is for you, then you would be doing "such and such". Very superficial, and legalistic. Does not get to the heart.

  5. I agree that this book is aimed mostly at complacent Christians. These days however, most people would fall in that category especially the way Chan defines it. Check out my review here:

  6. There's a full-length review of Crazy Love at the Free Grace Alliance Website:

  7. I just found that Crazy Love was included with my ipad Bible Study App, and after some quick scan through the book, I noticed the word lukewarm seemed to appear lots of times. The app's book reader has a nice search feature, so out of curiosity I searched for "lukewarm," lo and behold it appeared 51 times.

    Francis Chan gave characteristics of lukewarm Christians. But here is where I began to see where he is going. The book is about Crazy Love for God, so obviously the so-called "lukewarm" Christians must be the ones to be spoken to.

    But this is where I found Francis Chan's crazy love is probably not for God, but it's a form of self loved projected on to God.

    First of, according to the letter Jesus sent to the church in Laodicea in the book of Revelation, the term lukewarm is not about zeal for God, because if it was, how does "cold" fit into Chan's description? Because Jesus said we should be either hot or cold. He meant His door was open to the "hot", the one in Him, or the "cold," the one yet to hear of the gospel, even as His enemies still have a chance for repentance, while the lukewarm are those that have tasted God's grace but still use the law as their guide, or those that say they trust Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God and still secretly, or openly, offer burnt sacrifices, or other rituals to get right with God.

    Another problem with the fuzzy definition of "crazy" in our relationship with God. Whose standard is Chan using? Some subjective spurious measure of something only the Spirit knows?

    In the wheat and tares parable, Jesus expressly commanded us not to pull the tares lest we also damage the wheat, and leave the judgement to God at harvest time. Is Chan attempting to identify wheat and tares in God's church? Wouldn't such a movable standard cause some gentle souls still possessing feeble faith to lose their hope of salvation?

    Mr. Chan ought to check his theology again. Self righteousness can be very deceiving, and most often, the one possessing it, lives in such denial to see his own depravity. As fallen creature, our love for God is but filthy rags. And this is love: not that we love God, but He first loved us (1 Jn 4:10).