A few quick things on Francis Chan and his proposed new book, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity. I’m speaking mainly to the points offered up in this article.
For starters, and perhaps I’m quibbling, God didn’t ask Chan to write it. He felt it needed to be written. I prefer honesty rather than the “God card” being played. All sorts of people like to make the claim that God asked them to do something, but it’s a) white noise; and b) an insult to the sufficiency of Scripture. Don’t get me wrong: books can be helpful and insightful. But do we have to insist on making them divine? Let’s reserve that for Holy Scripture.
One thing I noticed immediately is the habit that Chan has of taking “serving the Kingdom” and making the primary means of serving the Kingdom some sort of set of social justice activities. The more “activist” it sounds (e.g., awareness of human trafficking, feeding the poor, adopting the orphans, etc.), the more spiritual or “appropriate” it seems to be. You can almost taste the piety off of someone who talks like this because it’s just a spiritual keeping-up-with-the-activist-Joneses type of game. Sure, many folks are in it because they legitimately care, and I can respect that: we are called to help those in need. But more on this in a moment.
Our roles of father and husband or mother and wife are some of the most precious roles described in Scripture. It is one of the first things we are told to do in Scripture, and one of the most talked-about and ubiquitous ministries in which almost all Christians participate. It is the means by which we pass on the Gospel and the Covenant. It is the means by which our race is continued (this should need not be mentioned). Furthermore, out of everything that is most challenging in this particular day and age, representing a Christian family as a father or mother and a Christian marriage as a husband or wife is the most attacked ministry of any Christian (except perhaps those in countries where they are being killed for their beliefs).
So back to the social justice stuff. Compare that to raising a godly family and keeping a marriage together. Find for me, in Scripture, the places where: a) Scripture puts our children or spouses BELOW the mission to feed the poor; or b) Scripture advocates “doing ministry together” to solve marital or parent/child strife.
Unfortunately, Chan (and Platt, at times) is known for this. Shelving the mundane practice of marriage and/or child-rearing for the ministry to the poor as a “crazy love” or a “radical Christianity”… Sound familiar?
Tell me: what good is it for us to feed the poor if our own marriage falls apart into adultery and our children walk away from the teaching of Scripture for the world? When I stand in front of Christ, I don’t think He’s going to be okay with, “But Lord, I fed the poor in your name while I neglected my immediate, obvious mission.”