John Meunier

'An arrow through the air'

Francis Chan on God’s holiness

Francis Chan said that if he had only one thing to tell people about, it would be to speak of the holiness of God — which he said almost no one really gets right.

One thing I admire about Chan in this video is the way he speaks what he feels is the necessary truth in a way that strikes me as loving and humble.

I notice as well, I’ve been linking to a lot of Calvinists recently. Where are the Wesleyan preachers talking and preaching in serious ways about holiness, sanctification, and other Wesleyan themes?

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Written by John Meunier

February 5, 2013 at 4:49 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Perhaps when you hear Wesleyans talk about holiness, you don’t recognize what they’re talking about as holiness. The only thing I’ve encountered from Francis Chan, Erasing Hell, used very shoddy exegesis. I can’t watch the video right now because I’m on my phone. Does he talk about God’s holiness as something to be adored for its beauty or something to be afraid of because it’s basically just another word for wrath? When people describe it as the latter, it makes me suspicious that they’re trying to prove something about their zeal and doctrinal correctness which raises questions for me about their understanding of justification by faith.

    Morgan Guyton

    February 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    • I hear Chan talking about it both ways but with a certain emphasis on the “otherness” and awe-ful experience of encountering God.

      John Meunier

      February 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      • I think of God’s holiness as a light that will burn our eyeballs out unless we’ve got the Jesus drops. I just don’t see value in naming God’s zeal as anything other than an infinitely potent love for His creation that blesses and disciplines out of this love. I don’t think we lose anything other than our piety points by narrating God’s holiness as a beauty that rages against ugliness rather than a rage that enjoys torturimg people.

        Morgan Guyton

        February 6, 2013 at 1:41 pm

  2. So, John, setting aside the Calvinist vs. Wesleyan question, and looking at the Sermon, what if Francis is right??? We modern day Methodists tend to have trouble with the idea of God’s wrath. Wesley didn’t!!!! One of the only requirements for membership in a Society was a “fear of the wrath to come.” It is, afterall, still a main part of the General Rules!!!!

    Pat Glazener-Cooney

    February 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    • We forget that Wesley was not that far removed from Calvinism on several points. It was limited atonement, irresistable grace, and perseverance of the saints that they divided over. Original sin and wrath, not much at all.

      John Meunier

      February 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    • My concern with the Francis Chan gospel is it either leads to the wrong kind of fear like the third servant in the parable of the talents (“I know you’re a hard man so I was afraid and I hid your talent in the ground”) or it becomes a weapon we wield against whatever scapegoats we use to self-justify (gays, Arabs, illegal aliens, etc). I’m not shy about talking about God’s wrath (it’s tagged more than love on my blog), but if it’s viewed as an abstract perfectionism rather than a fierce solidarity for those whom God loves, then you either cower from it and have a very stunted spiritual growth or you pretend to be afraid of it as a display of piety to one-up others in theological conversation and embrace the false “discipleship” of correct position-taking. This is the result of Anselm’s curse of making the cross into the solution for an abstract entirely vertical question of infinite debt to God rather than the means of horizontal reconciliation between people who have sinned against each other. For better or worse, Wesley like all 18th century Anglicans lived under that curse as do most 21st century evangelicals. I don’t think we are bound to Anselm or the 18th century as we continue to grapple with the implications of the theology that says most fundamentally “no scripture can say that God is not love or that His mercy is not over all of His works.”

      Morgan Guyton

      February 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm


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