Wills Point, USA – Three of the best-known and most influential Christian leaders in the western church are calling for an end to bickering and bitter conflict in the church — warning that it’s tearing apart the “family of God.”
Francis Chan, best-selling author and former California megachurch pastor, cited a surge in blogs attacking fellow believers online, as well as acrimonious church splits over non-essential differences.
“It looks like this family is in shambles, and who would want to join (it)?” he said.
Urging believers to “get back to love,” Chan — author of Crazy Love — said segments of the church in America are “at war” and “screaming at each other” instead of seeking to be “in one accord,” like the early church in the Book of Acts.
Taking part in a new roundtable video discussion — Why Is There So Much Division in the Body of Christ?: And What Can We Do About It? — Chan, Gospel for Asia founder and Never Give Up author K.P. Yohannan, and ‘Bible Answer Man’ Hank Hanegraaff agreed fighting within the church flies in the face of Christ’s prayer in John 17 for his followers to “be one, even as (I and the Father) are one.”
Click here to watch the roundtable discussion.
Yohannan, who launched Texas-based Gospel for Asia (GFA World, www.gfa.org) four decades ago, drew attention for his groundbreaking book Revolution in World Missions that shook up the traditional Western approach to overseas missions. Some have accused him of being too critical and judgmental of the Western church.
Love: ‘Greatest Doctrine’
“My place in life is no more to even think (judgmentally) towards other people,” Yohannan said. “Love is the greatest of all doctrines. When that is violated, we become (like the) Pharisees.”
Hanegraaff — author of Truth Matters, Life Matters More and a well-known radio show host, stirred up a hornets’ nest when he converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity three years ago — said: “It can boil down to… in essentials, unity; non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.”
In the wake of stinging criticism aimed at him, Hanegraaff said he’s learning humility. “I’m often labeled the ‘Bible Answer Man’… but I am not the authority.”
The three leaders have been heavily criticized online and in other venues for challenging the status quo of modern Christianity, which Chan says focuses too much on “charismatic personalities” and “popularity contests.
As a result, Chan says, some in evangelical circles have branded them “heretics.” “Many lovers of Christ, that are part of his true church, are misunderstood,” said Chan. “All of us know in part and see in a mirror dimly. How do we become ‘perfectly one’?”