Everyone knows how Mark Driscoll rose to popularity. The so-called Rockstar Preacher struck a chord with worldlings as an attractive role model. However, Matt Chandler was different. Long before Chandler drifted into charismatic practices, among other things, he seemed more polished as a man of character, and everyone thought he was an outstanding Preacher. The Reformed Community of Christianity was buzzing with excitement about it. As a formally educated graduate from Seminary, Chandler personally understood complex theological doctrines, and yet he was able to effectively communicate them in a simple way that was agreeable to laymen. This is how Matt Chandler became a Celebrity Preacher! ...and then calamity struck.
By sovereign design, the LORD unearths secrets through tragedy. When mortal man is faced with death he becomes much more sincere and introspective. Matt Chandler is no exception. After waking up one morning and suffering a horrific seizure before the eyes of his wife and children at home (due to an unknown tumor in his head), it turns out that this Celebrity Preacher had some confessions to make. As usual, Chandler chilled the mood of the audience by describing the following confessions as "a few random thoughts". Nevertheless, these sins are so grave that everyone should be asking themselves: "Is Matt Chandler Unconverted?".
The following excerpts are from a blog post that was written about a year after Matt Chandler's surgery to remove the tumor.
"This Saturday, Dec. 4 marks the one-year anniversary of the 7-8 hour craniotomy that removed a malignant cancerous tumor from my brain and started a year of radiation, chemo and recovery. To say that we’ve been doing some reflecting as a family would be an understatement. So on the one-year anniversary here are a few random thoughts I’ve had:
If it’s not by grace alone, I’m in a lot of trouble.
Jonathan Edwards was right to resolve, “to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.” The thought of dying, though repulsive to most of us, brings an uncanny clarity to life. I was told in mid-December that what I had was fatal and that the average lifespan was 2-3 years after diagnosis. So I have at max, 2 years left (I want to quote Twain here on statistics but don’t want to answer the e-mails and complaints in the comment section I would get). When you hear that kind of news, you do some real soul searching and here is something disturbing I found out about me. I don’t trust all my motivations in ministry. Now don’t get me wrong. I deeply, deeply love the God of the Bible. I love to proclaim Him and think about Him and talk about Him to anyone who’ll listen, but I learned in college that when I do that, good things happen and by good things I mean good things for me. People want to hear me teach; they pay me money. I’m actually “famous” in some circles. What a dangerous culture we live in. In some places being used powerfully by God can get you killed and here it makes you “famous.” Hear me confess this. I like it. I like that people download me, watch videos of me, want my take on things and I believe that there is a part of me (that’s hopefully dying) that likes it not just because it makes much of Jesus but makes much of me. That is an embarrassing truth about me, and I have fasted and prayed that God would put it to death. So to quote Lecrae “If Heaven ain’t a gift then I ain’t getting in.”
I suck at praying.
I didn’t think I did before this. I thought it was a strength, but I was wrong. When you realize that all you are is His, you realize or at least I did, that I don’t stay connected to Him as I have been commanded to. I would spend some time praying in the morning, but my life wasn’t saturated in it. I lived like I put my time in and now I can handle this. So again, I confess that I went into hundreds of meetings over my first seven years as pastor of The Village without asking for direction and wisdom, without asking for power and clarity. Although I knew I wasn’t wise enough, experienced enough or seasoned enough, I went and tried to be what they needed. I have grown exponentially in this area this year and I’m hoping that when I’m done with my race, I would be known not just as a faithful preacher of God’s Word but a man who communed with his Father without ceasing."
"Ye shall know them by their fruits." - Matt. 7:16
"So again, I confess that I went into hundreds of meetings over my first seven years as pastor of The Village without asking for direction and wisdom, without asking for power and clarity."
"For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." - Rom. 16:17-18
"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." - 1 Cor. 2:3-5
"But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:" - 1 Thess. 2:4-5
If Matt Chandler had come to the Lord Jesus Christ the right way - through the Cross! - the man would not be so rattled-up by a sudden brush with death from the tumor in his head (Mk. 8:34-38). The Cross requires sinners to do some soul-searching! Really. It's called counting the cost (Lk. 9:57-62, 14:16-35). No stone is left unturned. Furthermore, the Gospel has power to transform evil men, making them sincere, holy, and free from sin (Jn. 8:31-32; Heb. 12:14). The power of the Holy Spirit in a true conversion to Christ makes sinners more sincere and repentant than the uncanny clarity provided to a hypocrite when faced with 2 years left to live (2 Cor. 5:17, Tit. 3:3-7).
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." - John 10:1
The rich and famous work in Hollywood - not in Biblical Churches. Popularity isn't one of the perks of the job as a biblical Pastor. No! You can be sure that the job description will bring about tribulation, persecution, dishonor, and unpopularity (Acts 14:22, Matt. 24:9, 2 Tim. 3:12). Why? The Cross! "For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God" (Lk. 16:15). Confessedly, Matt Chandler was enticed to take on the job as a condemned hireling, with money on his mind. He thought it would pay well for him. All people everywhere should beware of such men (Jn. 10:10-13). The congregants at The Village should do some soul-searching while repenting in dust and ashes.