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The Advocate



Basic.Fear God by Francis Chan

Reviewed by Amy Sondova

"Francis Chan's excellent knowledge of the Bible and charisma make Fear God a fascinating DVD showcasing why Chan is such a popular author/speaker."

Basic.Fear God is the first DVD in the Basic series from Francis Chan. The Basic series hopes to instill foundational beliefs about Christianity into believers so that people can stop merely going to church, but start being the church.

In Basic.Fear God, Chan explains that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and is essential in understanding the character of God. The church has been plagued by faulty thinking, Chan says, by being taught that fearing God is synonymous with revering God. However, biblical accounts of man's encounters with God show a much different reaction. Using the prophet Isaiah and the Apostle John as examples, Chan notes that these men were anything by mildly fascinated by God--they were scared out of their minds! The fear of God is real and terrible fear, but God does not leave His followers to be afraid, instead He hastens them to, "Fear not!"

Chan's 14-minute talk is intercut with scenes of a girl in a black dress on a black bed in a white room. As she lies on the bed paralyzed with fear, water begins to fill the room. Eerie background music plays and then builds to a crescendo as the girl peacefully floats to the surface of the water. In the end, we learn, she is only dreaming. Of course, I became so consumed with the story of the girl in the room that I was more worried about what happened to her (Would she drown? What was happening? Where did the water come from?) that I stopped focusing on Chan's message. In trying to use visual elements to brand the sermon into the viewer's mind, something is lost. While fear does feel like being trapped in a room while the waters of anxiety rise, there was too much happening at one time--music, visual, sermon. Too much, even for me, a child of the MTV generation.

Basic.Fear God is best viewed with a small group and the beautiful full-color discussion guide just begs to be used. If you are going to spend around $15 for a short video, you will definitely want to make sure you can use it more than once--perhaps as an addition to a trendy church library. Francis Chan's excellent knowledge of the Bible and charisma make Fear God a fascinating DVD showcasing why Chan is such a popular author/speaker. Hopefully, the next DVD in the Basic series, Basic.Follow Jesus, will be a little less creepy.

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Amy SondovaAmy Sondova is a writer specializing in media writing, including interviews and reviews, as well as blogging. Having interviewed over 30 of the top musicians, writers, and speakers in the Christian media, Amy has also written countless columns, reviews, and articles on various topics including mental illness, self-injury, working with teenagers, and Christianity. As well as holding a B.A. in communications, Amy holds a M.A. in biblical counseling, and has worked as a professional therapist. You can visit Amy’s online playground at BackseatWriter.com which offers a combination interviews, reviews, personal columns, and photography.