Pastor Tim Challies Says Francis Chan’s ‘Letters to the Church’ Is Too Critical of US Churches and Pushing House Church Movement

In a review of Francis Chan’s new book, Letters to the Church, Pastor Tim Challies argues that while the former megachurch leader makes many strong points, parts of the book are too “hyperbolic” about the state of the American Church.

Challies, a Reformed theologian who’s the pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Canada, said Wednesday in his review of Letters to the Church that he has a number of concerns about the recently released book.

“I am concerned about how often he overstates his case. Chan consistently states the problem and his solution with far too much force and far too little nuance. His book is packed full of hyperbolic statements about the woes of the American Church and the superiority of house church[es]. Some of these are uncharitable while others tip into the absurd,” he writes.

The Christian Post reached out to Chan for comment regarding Challies’ review, and will update this piece when a response is received.

Citing points he disagreed with, Challies listed quotes from the book which seem to argue that gangs have a stronger sense of family than the American Church; and even calls for all Christian leaders in the U.S. to be “renewed or replaced” as part of a new wave of godly leadership.

“I am concerned by his failure to identify God’s grace. The majority of Chan’s critiques are not sniper shots directed at one specific model of church but buckshot meant to hit every American church,” Challies asserted.

“It would be easy to read his book and conclude that house churches are the only faithful churches left, the only ones that are really honoring God. This is conveyed by a consistently negative tone,” he continued.

Chan is a former pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in California, who left that megachurch and has devoted himself to church planning for the past five years. Challies also argues that the book might have been written “too soon.”

“Every husband who has been married for five years is convinced he can write a great book about marriage and every mother who has a 5-year-old child is convinced she can write a great book about parenting, but wisdom and maturity soon show five years is only the barest beginning,” Challies wrote.

“I am not the least bit opposed to house churches, but in my estimation, it is far too soon to laud and recommend a model that is only just beginning. It will take many more years to expose and correct its inevitable weaknesses.”

Still, the pastor was full of praise for other aspects of Letters to the Church.

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Source: Christian Post