Many of you have probably heard that Francis Chan is going to keynote at the Tulsa Workshop in 2013. When Terry Rush broke the news back in April he mentioned Chan’s connection with Wes Woodell helped work out the speaking arrangement. I am really excited that all this is working out and I think that will be a big plus for Tulsa next year. I don’t know Francis Chan but I have heard and read a lot of what he has to say. What I really like about Francis Chan is that he says so many biblical things and so many challenging things…the best part is he is usually doing both at the same time. He doesn’t challenge you just to challenge you and isn’t biblical for the sake of just being biblical. He is trying to move people’s hearts closer to God. I admire that.
If you have listened to his preaching you have probably noticed that Francis Chan says things that of us who have grown up in Churches of Christ find really familiar. He is very plain about wanting scripture to shape and guide our faith, worship/ecclesiology, theology, and mission. He often makes the point that if we just read our Bibles from the most non-biased perspective possible is all of this (church world) what we would come up with? That is a question we all need to ask ourselves. When I hear him say things like that it all it reminds me of our own traditional hermeneutics in the Churches of Christ.
About a week ago I noticed Wes had tweeted something about having lunch with Francis Chan before moving from California so I asked Wes how familiar Chan was with the Restoration Movement. Wes said that Chan actually did attend a church with Restoration roots while in seminary in Los Angeles for 6 months. My first thought was that my intuition was correct…he surely has some Restoration Movement influence in some of the things I have heard him say. Honestly, as interesting as I find that connection is, who knows if that is the case. Maybe he was attracted to that based on some of his own prior theological leanings and interpretations. What is most important is not who inspired who but that Francis Chan is in love with Jesus Christ and is helping others gain a more biblical worldview through his preaching and teaching. That is a God thing that transcends the labels we often like to put on things. Praise God for that!