Multiply, Disciples Making Disciples, by Francis Chan and Mark Beuving (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2012) 333 pp., paper $8.00
I will begin the review by stating that Multiply is nothing like Chan’s original book Crazy Love. Where Crazy Love taught a truly radical, “crazy” (in the full sense of the word), and distorted understanding of Christian service and ministry, Multiply offers a balanced, biblical and helpful approach to making disciples. As I read through Multiply I kept expecting Chan to drop the “social gospel” bomb that dominated Crazy Love but it never happened. Apart from a couple of unexplained references to providing for the poor (pp. 129, 192) Chan stays with the biblical script on the importance and means of developing disciples.
Chan states, “Multiply is designed as a simple resource that you can use to begin making disciples…the goals of the Multiply material areto help you understand the Scripture and to give you the tools to disciple others in this process” (p. 9). The plan includes working through Multiply and watching a five minute video weekly with those being discipled. Throughout each chapter are discussion/applicational questions to facilitate this process. The book itself is divided into five parts:
- “Living as a Disciple Maker,” in which a disciple is defined and the command to make disciples is emphasized.
- “Living as the Church,” where the importance of the church is stressed and its role as a light-house rather than a bomb shelter is detailed (p. 66).
- “How to Study the Bible.” In this part Chan offers simple but helpful advice on the importance and methods of Bible study. This section would need to be supplemented in a discipleship program but it is a good start.
- “Understanding of the Old Testament.” This is a useful, if short, overview of some of the main themes of the Old Testament. Chan recognizes that Christians are no longer under the Mosiac Law (p. 192); nevertheless, the Old Testament is foundational to understanding our walk before the Lord today.
- “Understanding the New Testament.” As with the previous part this one gives the reader insight into some of the most important teachings found in the New Testament.
While the reader may disagree with a few statements along the way, Multiply is a biblically sound resource. Chan writes nothing novel and numerous other books and materials are available covering the same ground. But with Chan’s popularity with younger believers it is most refreshing to read of his commitment to biblically-based discipleship. One difficulty facing the one wanting to use Multiply as a discipleship tool would be how to do it without providing a link directly to Chan’s unbiblical approach to Christian living as found in Crazy Love (see my review of this book at www.svchapel.org).