Nick Franks is an experienced blogger, filmmaker and photographer who, for more than a decade, has been serving his loyal readership with Biblical challenge, faith-filled exhortation and soul-nourishing creative content.
Never one to shy away from speaking truth in love, Franks possesses a unique ability to spot the falsities and counterfeits that threaten to rob the evangelical church of its gospel witness. And now, the 39-year-old has penned a book that is sure to send shockwaves through the broader Christian community.
Faithwire caught up with Nick just a few days after the self-published release of his title, “Body Zero — Radical Preparation for the Return of Christ” — a “polemic, pastoral and provocative word for the Body of Christ at this compromised and confused time in history.”
What burdened you to write such a hard-hitting book? Were there any experiences or personal triggers that got you fired up?
“It started in 2014 — around the time of the re-definition of marriage and the change of the UK law,” Nick explained, noting that he was compelled to challenge the increasingly liberal narrative with a Bible-based response that would empower Christians to do the same.
“Marriage is not a sociological construct, it’s a theological reality. Even Christians don’t understand why it was so earth-shattering when the UK decided to change what God says about God.”
Franks added that the “burden then grew and spawned different emphases as things in culture have changed, particularly to do with gender, sexuality and the aggressive nature of trying to get rid of the Judeo-Christian family.”
What do you think are some of the most pressing issues facing the modern-day evangelical church and its witness?
“The rise of the ‘exvangelicals’ will prove the point that there is something rotten within the understanding of what it means to be an evangelical,” Franks explained. “The pressing stuff is going to be about sexuality and marriage — that’s the linchpin.”
“Because marriage and sexuality is the ultimate pointer God has given the planet to who he is. The fact that the church is arguing about who God is, is the ultimate expression of human pride.”
You only have to do a quick Twitter search for #exvangelical to see exactly what Franks is talking about — it a relentless slating of every aspect of the evangelical church. While many may have legitimate grievances, it is clear that the criticisms have gotten completely out of control.
“There is a pervasive myth, even (or especially) among non-Christians, that the Jesus character is essentially a good guy. He really isn’t,” one person tweeted, tagging their message with #exvangelical.
The other prominent issue facing the church, Franks said, is unity — or rather “counterfeit unity.”
“There’s a lot of airtime given to trying to look after ecumenical unity, which is just fake,” Franks noted. “It’s not relating to who Jesus says He is, it’s more to do with a political, traditional, stylistic form of unity, which ultimately will crumble before Jesus returns.”
Why should Christians or the Church care about the rise of progressive culture? Are we really called to influence this?
“Well, there has to be a serious question mark over someone who calls themselves a Christian and doesn’t care about these things,” Franks declared, noting that “for too long, being a Christian has become a social, convenient and “#blessed” add-on to life.”
Instead, Franks instead chooses to invoke the powerful verse, “to live is Christ, to die is gain,” and urges believers to take the call of Jesus more seriously.
Would you give your life to share the gospel and influence our world for Jesus? Many would give a resounding “no.”
Indeed, a recent Barna Group study showed that around 50% of young Christians are afraid of proactively share their faith. As such, it is becoming increasingly rare for young believers to use their faith to inform their opinions on big issues of the day. But why?
“Because of this snowflake, hypersensitive culture we live in,” Franks argued, noting that young Christians must grow into true “lovers and followers of Jesus,” and be bold in speaking out on the many controversial and progressive issues of our time.
That’s all well and good — but what is so dangerous about Christians taking liberal stances on issues of sexuality and gender identity?
“We’ve underestimated the evil and spiritual forces behind liberalism,” Franks declared. “To entertain a liberal view of sexuality, marriage or gender is actually to willfully turn a blind eye to the depth of depravity and evil that is behind this LGBT stuff that has been simmering away for decades.”
Franks noted that the “sole intention of the LGBT narrative is to destroy the Judeo-Christian family — the husband, wife and children.”
“We are increasingly seeing state-sponsored child-abuse,” the Scottish-based author added, referring to many of the mandatory LGBT pressure groups that are influencing church schools and insisting that gender transition becomes acceptable at an extremely young age.
“Ultimately, our own salvation is whether we bow the knee to the lordship of Jesus Christ and what He teaches — if we lean towards what culture and liberal theology says about that, we’re precariously close to the edge,” Nick explained. “It leaves us fruitless, spiritually impotent and bored.”
“Liberal theology is not just one option, it is fake. And there are far few people calling it out.”
How should we respond to those who are pushing a progressive theological agenda in the church? (I.e. increasingly liberal representation in CofE synod and rampant LGBT agenda-pushing in CofE schools).
One thing that angers Franks more than anything is when Christians refuse to respond to the extremely concerning progression of a militantly liberal social agenda. Too often, he says, people think “I shouldn’t judge,” and choose to simply let things pass them by.
“If our children are being told they can explore gender-fluidity, if they are taking their cues from gender-neutral pop idols, it’s because the church has failed to lead society and culture as they were ordained to do so,” Franks said. “We should respond by calling it out.”
“Time is too short for entertaining devil-narratives about what God says about God, primarily affecting our children.”
Noting that the “call to action of the book is radical,” Franks warned that “many will struggle with it.”
“Because people are so entrenched in denomination,” he said. “Denomination is the biggest barrier to Jesus coming back — the Church is the biggest problem. God’s not the problem, the Church is.”
With an increase in entrenched habits of tradition and a commitment to toeing the denominational “party line,” Franks is convinced that Christians must begin to start thinking for themselves if the Church is to be adequately prepared for the return of Christ.
“People need to be willing to reconsider everything they’ve ever known about what it means to be a Christ-lover, a follower, in the 21st Century,” he said.
But denominational unity can also be good, right?
“Unity is, in one sense, a beautiful unrealized reality for most of the church,” Franks explained. “We are supposed to do everything we can to maintain the bond of peace.”
So when does it become unhealthy?
“The problem today is that you can’t be critical of each other,” Nick said. “You can’t issue rebuke without being unloving — that’s a complete lie. Part of the answer is to rebuke — there needs to be a rebuke to the churches that are wayward, and we need to be able to call out the culture as well.”
Franks said we need a “total renovation of what unity means and looks like.”
So what does that actually look like?
“We have to gather around what Jesus says about Jesus,” Franks explained. “When the early church, 120 of them, were gathered in the upper room, the unity there stemmed from everybody agreeing with who Jesus said he was. That was the litmus test for unity.”
“If anybody disagreed with Jesus, they’d be out!” Franks added. “Whereas today, we’ve got imams preaching in Christian churches, and we’ve got interfaith nonsense left, right and center.”
What are the key things the church should be focusing on in preparation for the impending return of Christ?
“Pornography is a huge thing,” Nick said. “I think the Church needs to come to a place of addressing that… taking it and facing it head-on. That is going to be a huge part of the culture of spiritual potency and holiness as the return of Christ nears.”
“Prayer and fasting, as well. Our Christian lives are often at best lived on a 2:5 ratio — two days where we might be involved in church and five days doing ‘the rest of life’.”
“We are supposed to be on it 24/7 gathering around scripture, gathering around prayer, crying out and longing for Jesus to return,” Franks added.
“Finally, this whole thing of Word and Spirit — it must be fully restored. That’s going to require everything that we know, at the core level, to be challenged.”
Franks initially obtained a book publishing contract for Body Zero, but, after much thought and prayer, he decided to pull the plug and go independent. Why?
“We had signed a publishing contract by a mainstream Christian publisher in the UK,” the author explained. “But we felt like the end product was going to be better if we did it ourselves.”
“The main reason that you would use a publisher is for distribution. But there’s no reason that can’t happen ourselves!”
You can watch their home-grown distribution business in action below:
Nick is also launching a teaching series to accompany the book. You can find out more about this by heading here.
You can pick up a copy of Body Zero here.