Dee at The Wartburg Watch writes of remarks recently made by Francis Chan about criticism of “anointed” church leaders on social media.
My feelings toward Francis Chan are complicated: There is much to commend about him. He pastored a megachurch in Simi Valley, California. Why there? Because he wanted the assignment of challenging people living in one of the safest, most suburban places on the planet toward radical engagement with the cause of Christ. When they built a permanent facility they did not build a huge building that would be expensive to maintain, instead they built an outdoor amphitheater with athletic fields that the community could use anytime. Recently Chan gave it all up to become a missionary of sorts, traveling the world to see and learn from those who were doing Christian community in places where it is extremely challenging to be a Christian. He gives most of his money away.
And yet there is much about Chan that rubs me the wrong way. He takes an extreme view of Christian discipleship which basically makes God and Christianity out to be the enemy of much that is good in human life. So much so, that when he and his wife took her grandmother out to see a play, the grandmother wanted to get up and leave in the middle of the show because she did not think Jesus would want to see her there if He came back then. And he held this up as an example of proper Christian devotion.
This is another instance in which Chan rubs me the wrong way. Regarding social media and all the possibilities this opens up for expressing one’s opinion:
[Chan] said the culture of relentless feedback and criticism in which pastors work today has made it much more difficult for them to lead.
“We live in a time when people are quick to criticize church and leadership, with this assumption that they know better. It’s just a very, very difficult time for Christian leaders to lead,” he said.
The implication is clear: Accountability is for the sheep, not the leaders.
In this day and age, with Andy Savage, Bill Hybels, Frank Page, the Sovereign Grace sexual abuse scandal, and others that have yet to come to light, it is not a good look for Christian leaders to be doubling down on their own untouchability.
Mr. Chan: I am sorry that you are finding it difficult to lead as you would like in the current climate. But don’t put the blame for that on the rank-and-file Christians who are sitting in your pews. I suggest you tell the Andy Savages, the Frank Pages, and the C. J. Mahaneys of the world that it is time for them to get their shit together. That would make life so much easier for the Christian leaders out there who are trying to lead the right way.