By Elizabeth Prata
Mr Chan was big news in March, because he was participating in a conference called The Send, at which were false or heretical preachers including Bill Johnson, Daniel Kolenda, Lou Engle, Todd White, Benny Hinn, Jesus Culture, Hillsong, etc. These men are the rankest of the rank heretics, and many people have become concerned that Chan continually persists in attending conferences such as these, where heretics reign. The concerned ones cited the verse to Chan, Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14). Chan revealed that many people spoke to him, imploring him to correct his course and stop affirming these people as brothers. His response? “Whatever.” (18:30-19:30).
For example, Chan first appeared as a speaker in 2013 at the International House of Prayer’s conference, OneThing, in 2013 with Mike Bickle. He repeated his attendance there in subsequent years. Chan explained in 2018’s conference that actually he initiated the first invitation to OneThing. Chan had sent an email to Mike Bickle, asking to participate in OneThing, not necessarily as a speaker but because he wanted to be a part of what was going on there. They made him a speaker. Chan accepted.
Chan did this because he said he’s impressed with Bickle having “led people into the presence of God 24/7 for 20 years, and I just want to be around…” and also “because of when the Lord speaks to Mike and tells him about things…there’s a trust I have in Mike. If the Lord has been speaking to you [Mike], and you have been learning things from the Word, I just want to come under that and I want to learn from that.”
With these statements, Chan affirms that he relies on charismatic utterances and believes that the Lord speaks today to individuals outside of and apart from the Bible. He said as much in 2019, stating on his We Are Church website, that his “theology leaves some room for hearing directly from God.” Chan must have learned well during these years of participating and learning from charismatic folks like Mike Bickle, because now Chan regularly hears from God himself, too.
In defending his decisions to tacitly affirm these false teachers and heretics, Chan has in the very recent past explained why he participates in them. Chan told Christianity Today last month that it is because he wants to preach the word. Oh. Again, why?
The short answer: to share the truth. … Chan warned followers that he plans to continue to accept invitations to conferences whose speakers fall outside his own beliefs. “I recognize, now more than ever, that sometimes my participation can give the impression that I align with every other speaker at the event. I’m not sure what to do about that other than to tell you that I don’t,” he said.
Oh, but he does. He absolutely does, more than he aligns these days with Protestant evangelicals. He said in the 2018 OneThing stage that he was intrigued by Bickle’s ability to hear from God and wanted to ‘come under that and learn from that’. This is the opposite of sharing the truth.
But wait, it gets worse. A friend recently made me aware of a video from OneThing 2018. It is the entirety of Chan’s session at the Catholic Ecumenical track of the conference. Did you know that the IHoP’s intention is to minimize the doctrinal lines between the Catholic/Orthodox/Coptic Church and the true Bride of Christ? That folks there accept and promote Catholicism as part of Christ’s church? That they consider the Catholic/Orthodox/Coptics as just another denomination, another ‘tradition’? At the sessions at OneThing’s Catholic Ecumenical Track, they sing Taize Chants and Lectio Divina, Chanting Liturgy of the Hours, they have Mass, and they engage in ‘new evangelism‘. New Evangelism is a program in Catholic church where they seek to re-evangelize Catholics who have fallen away from the Catholic church. And if errant Protestants are evangelized into the Catholic Church, too, all the better.
Back to Chan’s Catholic Ecumenical stream video. After Chan was introduced, Chan goes on to speak for a length of time about his wish that the ‘labels, boxes, and categories’ as Chan calls them, things that keep Catholics and Protestants apart, are just that, labels. Chan continually affirms Catholics as brethren.
But wait, it gets worse.
Before I write this next bit, please understand that this pains me greatly. When I watched the video and got to this part, it was a ‘crossing the Rubicon‘ moment for me. I realize that even though much material is available online that documents Francis Chan’s growing apostasy, many people are not aware, or haven’t looked, or refuse to put the pieces together that form the conclusion I have arrived at. That’s OK. We are all at different places on the discernment line, and everyone has their one moment when they step off. For me, Chan has stepped away from orthodoxy and aligned himself on the other side of the river where the false teachers and heretics are. To me, he is gone.
This moment in the video is my own jump the shark moment. Chan says he goes to these conferences because he loves the organizers, and he loves the people who come, and he wants to share the word. But this moment unquestionably demonstrates, he does not. Not any of it.
At the 52-minute mark, we see a woman at the microphone identify herself as Catholic. She asks Chan the following:
I wanted to thank you for being here as well. This is my one comment. This morning when I saw you and you started speaking I said ‘I just love his heart’ and the Lord said to me, ‘It’s because he has my heart.”‘
Ummm, Okayyy. She continues please note that her reference to reset is the theme of 2018’s conference,
I wanted to ask a question…as we’re in this church, (gesturing to their immediate location) I feel like this reset is also for Catholics and the whole church. This is a call for all of us to go deeper into the heart of the Lord. As I’m reflecting on that and as I’m trying to enter into some of the challenges in our own church, I just wanted to ask in your eyes…like, you gave a beautiful word this morning about being an outsider stepping in and having a word,
I wanted to see if you had any words for the Catholic Church and the time that we’re in, what you see as an evangelist in the church, the needs and the heart of the church as someone who loves the bride as well and what message that would be for our church today and the tensions that we face. [italics mine]
You see what she is asking. You hear her voice and hear the sincerity. You can practically hear her soul begging for truth. When she is finished you hear Chan go “Wow”. You hear the audience go ‘Whoa’. The audience laughs nervously then whoops. They know what she is asking. Here is the moment! The Rubicon River is flowing in front of Chan at his feet! Here is the very reason Chan says he comes to these places! To speak the word! To evangelize! At last, to proclaim Christ to those who ‘believe differently!’ She opened the door wide for him to share the seeds of the Gospel with lost souls!! To explain. What will he say?
Chan responds. “I don’t believe I’m supposed to answer that question. …” “I don’t believe the Holy Spirit wants me to answer that question.”
He begins his response by saying to the woman, pointing to her,
“It’s that spirit that I love”. He enters a 1 1/2-minute segue about his son-in-law and goes on a rabbit trail on the badness of doctrinal differences. Then Chan praises the woman for her seeking heart and her spirit of wanting to know, of the importance of wanting to conform to what is in the Bible (waves Bible). He thanks her for so earnestly “wanting to know.”
Then he keeps her in the dark.
He stops and looks up to the ceiling silently for 15 long seconds. That’s when he says the Spirit doesn’t want him to answer.
A Catholic woman asked him, as an evangelist, what message he had for those struggling in this day in the Catholic church. Chan had none.
Do you realize how repulsive this is? Do you realize how blasphemous this is?
He did the most unloving things a person, especially an evangelist, could ever do. He kept the Gospel seeds to himself. Worse, he co-opted the Holy Spirit in his repugnant answer.
The session included four priests praying over Chan, to which Chan submitted. Chan’s feet were also washed, also something to which he submitted.
When Chan responded that the Holy Spirit did not want Chan to give an answer to the lost person asking for a message from the evangelist, it was disobedience (1 Peter 3:15) and it was blasphemy. Why? It involves “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 12:31-32). Though the blasphemy against the Spirit verse has been argued over and controversially understood, John MacArthur’s explanation has made the most sense to me over the years.
Those who spoke against the Holy Spirit were those who saw His divine power working in and through Jesus but willfully refused to accept the implications of that revelation and, in some cases, attributed that power to Satan.
In today’s charismatic circles, there is a modern blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, as MacArthur again explains in this other link–
The leaders of Israel committed the unpardonable sin, and what was that unpardonable sin? It was attributing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit. Remember that? It was attributing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 12:31-32. What’s going on today is the opposite. Attributing to the Holy Spirit the work of Satan.
It is the Holy Spirit’s ministry to point to the Lord of Truth. To illuminate the Word to people’s minds. To draw them to Christ. The Spirit would never ever ‘tell’ an evangelist NOT to share the truth. Chan’s reasons for not doing so were meager and paltry “I don’t know you well enough”. “It isn’t the right time”. But mainly because “The Spirit doesn’t want me to”. It is satan who does not want us to share the truth. It is satan who delays the sharing of the word. It is satan who makes cowardly the supposedly passionate evangelist. What happened here is that Chan attributed the work of satan to the Holy Spirit.
Did John MacArthur hesitate when asked the question put to him by Jewish man Ben Shapiro? No. That is the work of the Spirit. The seeds were sown. The growth is given to the Spirit. But MacArthur was faithful to share. Did Justin Peters hesitate to share the truth at any time he was asked on his many travels? No, never. He turned up the volume, in fact.
Chan instead pretended to be hearing from the Spirit and attributed his failure and cowardice to Him. Shame on him for being ashamed of the Gospel.
Ladies, I urge you to mark and avoid Francis Chan. Absorbing his materials and speeches would cost too much. Following him would cost too much. What would it cost?
–to begin to see the canon as open
–to seek and accept personal revelation from Jesus or the Spirit
–to partner with heretics
–to wave away and gloss over foundational doctrinal differences that make the faith The Faith
–to call foundational doctrinal differences with heretical churches merely labels or denominations or boxes
–to drop out of church, calling it a problematic institution
–to avoid submission to orthodox elders but instead to seek submission to heretics
–to become an evangelist who will not evangelize
–to become a hypocrite
That last two are a logical end game to one who will not describe and adhere to doctrines that make Christianity what it is. If there are no doctrinal lines, all people are your brother. If there are no doctrinal lines and we’re all brothers, there is no need to evangelize. Sadly, one becomes a hypocrite who blasphemes the Spirit.
So on The Christian Worldview, Mike Gendron, a former Roman Catholic and now founder of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministry, will join us to explain what the Roman Catholic Church teaches (from their own documents), why born-again Christians should not enter into spiritual enterprise with Catholics, and how to reach out to them with the biblical gospel of faith alone in Christ alone by God’s grace alone.