QUEENSLAND, Qld -- 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, GFA World 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 Australian-based GFA World, www.gfaau.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 criticised 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’?”
GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.
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