Perhaps you haven’t had much experience with Josh Harris. But maybe you’ve had people close to you fall away from the faith: a family member, a dear friend, a relative, a colleague, a college roommate, a pastor. But when these events occur, we can’t leave our questions hanging in mid-air. Unless we train our minds to go to the Bible when we hear of professing Christians denying the faith, we will be tossed to and fro by confusion, discouragement, and spiritual insecurity.
I can understand. If you have invested time and money and energy following a teacher and they fall or they ‘leave the faith’ it might send you reeling. ‘What now?’ you might ask. ‘What next?’ Worst of all are the doubts such an event leaves behind. ‘What does this mean for my faith, my discernment?’ Josh Harris, according to Wikipedia,
…is an American author and former pastor. Harris is widely known for his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, in which he laid out his ideas concerning a Biblically-based Christian approach to dating and relationships. I Kissed Dating Goodbye “helped shape purity culture” for many Christian millennials. Wikipedia
I said ‘alleged’ because there is no such thing as a Christian deconversion. 1 John 2:19 says “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
If someone “leaves” Christianity, they never were Christians. It might seem impossible when you’ve been watching a long-term pastor suddenly go out from the faith, or someone who has such good works, or another who wrote books that spoke to your mind and spirit. But external works are not the only evidence of faith. It’s perseverance too. If God has you, He HAS you. He will not allow the evil one to snatch you from His hand, nor can you leave Him (and why would you want to? If His Spirit is in you, you are part of His body).
Let’s say you are a person who has an interest in education, and you silently attended all the classes in a university without having been enrolled, and then after 4 years of participating in study groups, and being seen in the library, and taking all the tests, decided to ‘quit college’. CAN you quit something you never were an official part of? No.
Your fellow study buddies might be shocked, but then when they hear you had never taken SATs, never applied, never were accepted by the Dean, and never actually enrolled, never accumulated any credits, would never be an Alumni, then they’d understand. “Oh!” They would probably say. “He never was part of the College.”
There are many pretenders in the faith. Many. (Matthew 7:22)
If something like the Joshua Harris issue leaves you questioning, that’s good. It’s good to question our own faith once in a while. Examine our motives. (2 Corinthians 13:5). Whether we are truly saved or not saved, we are always moving. The falsely saved/ sadly deluded, as Josh was, move downward and away from the cross. The truly saved in increasing sanctification always move toward the cross.
Almost 40 years ago, writer Eugene Peterson coned the phrase that sanctification is a “Long obedience in the same direction.” Despite his latter difficulties with the faith, that was a terrific coinage. You can turn it around and say the opposite is also true.
The deluded or pretenders display the same thing- a long obedience in the same direction…just movement toward and obedience to satan and not Jesus. Eventually the split becomes obvious to others or unbearable to the false Christian pretender, and they “leave” the faith. The sad punctuation point for Harris is that once you have tasted the Gospel and reject it, you can never be brought to repentance again:
Hebrews 6:4–6, It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance.
Because Harris has tasted and spit Jesus from his mouth, so, Jesus will do the same to Harris. (Revelation 3:15-16).
For the truly saved, nothing on heaven or earth can tear us from the Father’s hand. and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:28-30).
Marty Sampson, a prolific worship music writer known for his work with Hillsong Worship, Hillsong United, Delirious and Young & Free, revealed he is losing his faith and believes Christianity is “just another religion.”
So, this tells us that Marty Sampson was never saved in the first place. Jesus said that no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand. Once you’re saved, you’re always saved. The Holy Spirit is sealed in us as a guarantee of this. (2 Corinthians 1:22). No man can UNseal what God has sealed.
1 John 2:19 also makes this promise of security of salvation. When someone leaves it’s the evidence they were not ever saved to begin with:
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
Thus, you can’t lose your faith.
So how does this happen? How is it that someone who is vigorous for the faith, working inside a church for the church, departs?
It’s a visible demonstration of this verse,
Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. (Matthew 13:5-6)
The pagan who is trying to keep up appearances finds that it’s all very tiring. Look how hard the Pharisees had to work to keep up the pretence of care for their flock and submission to God- fussing with lengthening tassels, praying long prayers in public, vying for best seats, outdoing each other in fasting, giving, and memorizing…it’s hard work to pretend.
Eventually the unrelenting spiritual anguish, resulting depression, religious confusion, and physical exhaustion gets to be too much. It’s easier to leave. And that is what Sampson and Joshua Harris and so many others did. Like Demas did, whom Paul said was in love with this present world, left the faith. Judas spent three years with Christ day in and day out, and still was revelaed to be an apostate when he sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and left him behind in Gethsemane.
Imagine how hard it was to pretend to care for an unseen world that in your heart of hearts you’re never sure exists, or that you even want to be a part of in the first place.
Here is a sound podcast about the issue of apostatizing.
But there is one thing that never gets easier: when an individual who has professed Christ, immersed in the local church, and served in ministries, departs from the faith. AKA, “apostasy.” John Owen defined apostasy as “continued persistent rebellion and disobedience to God and his word,” or “total and final and public renunciation of all the chief principles and doctrines of Christianity.”
Wanted: SBC Church desires a substitute Sunday School Teacher for women. Term: 1-year. Prefer untrained young candidate, motivational speaking a plus. Responsibilities: Teach the word of God eisegetically to women older than yourself. It’s OK if you just think up things to speak about on Saturday night and then match some scriptures to your thoughts. Note: We will let you flounder for 9 months of the 1-year term before stepping in to help. And even then, we will only expect you to take 1 doctrine class. Bonus: Afterward, consider yourself equipped for a 35-year Bible teaching career!!
Don’t you love genesis stories? How things began? I watched the original episode that got Paladin started on his “Have Gun – Will Travel” career. That popular TV show from the 1950s and 1960s where the main character goes around fixing wrongs, featured Richard Boone, the good man in a black hat. Or the pilot episode of Gilligan’s Island (that went missing until 1992?) Did you know John MacArthur started as a youth pastor? Or that Phil Johnson started as a proofreader? Or how the universe began? Fortunately, we can read that genesis story in Genesis, starting with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth …”
How did Beth Moore get started? The Southern Baptist Convention’s darling and biggest moneymaker Beth Moore started as a motivational speaker completely untrained for handling the word of God and in fact floundered in eisegesis for 9 months and even afterward only took 1 class in doctrine. The job description above is accurate, not a spoof or made up. It’s taken directly from Beth Moore’s own mouth as she related her genesis story to Transformation Church in a sermon to that congregation in May 2019.
Beth Moore began in her early 20s as a Christian motivational speaker. Beth herself stated in May 2019 at Transformation Church during her famous Mother’s Day sermon to the congregation that “I was already what you’d call a Christian motivational speaker.” When she was 27 years old, her church asked her to substitute teach a women’s Sunday School class of 28-31 year olds. The regular teacher was pregnant, and they needed a teacher to teach the class for one year. The youngest person in the Sunday School class was older than she was, Beth noted.
She said “It was a treacherous year”. Why? This inexperienced young motivational speaker, charged with teaching people older than herself, was thrown into the deep end with no support and no training. Further, she was a young woman teaching older ones, instead of as Paul advises in Titus, the other way around. The mistakes are multiple and overwhelming. Mistakes like this have conseqences for the entire Church, not just a local church, as we will see.
‘The church’ as Moore identified, had asked her to do something for which she was biblically unqualified on several levels. We don’t know who asked her to teach, she only says ‘the church’ asked her. ‘The church’ should know better. In the first place, a wise elder board or pastoral staff should be raising up men and women for these positions. It’s their literal job to keep an eye out for teachable anointed ones and train them up for the edification of the body so that when opportunities come, they are ready to install a trained, if hopefully experienced, man or women. Throwing a young, inexperienced woman into a class where the total job is to handle the Word rightly, is against so many scriptures. (Titus 2:3-4; Hebrews 5:12; Proverbs 1:5, Acts 8:30-31; 1 Peter 5:5-7…).
If Moore was humble, she would have declined. If she was wise, she would have asked for help early on, instead of allowing her “treacherous year” to continue so long to the NON-edification of herself and the other women.
Sadly, the floundering method Moore employed for herself, “thinking up stuff to say and then matching verses to it the night before” as she stated, never stopped. When I attended a Living Proof Live event in 2011, she related to us this exact scenario as to how she arrived at her two-day lessons she’d be delivering at the conference. She was still doing it, years later. Her early mistake became cemented-in.
Even more sadly, this widespread penchant for installing untrained and unready people into leadership positions continues, despite what the Bible says about qualifications of leaders. Rachel Held Evans, Jen Hatmaker, Beth Moore, Joshua Harris, Mark Driscoll, Jennie Allen, all examples taking advantage of the millennium’s global platforms to launch themselves untrained in positions of authority and teaching. With book deals. As conference speakers. With web pages or Instagram accounts intent on ‘building a brand’ and gaining followers rather than training up in the word.
It is a recipe for apostasy. Indeed, those I just mentioned are either gone or in the process of it. In fact, Moore just this week singled out Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) celibacy as a “tremendous sacrifice“. “Let’s not be scandalized by what I’m about to say” she began, saying that SSA people who have dignity have “chosen to fellowship with Him [Christ]” by “choosing celibacy”. And that she has recently read about “my culture” and “gotten to know my culture” and that “it’s not our parents’ world”, and “we need to have good conversations and dialog.” Anyone with a finger on the evangelical pulse knows those are code words for soon claiming homosexual acceptance.
It’s the very reason we don’t put untrained, unguided, uneducated, youths into positions of care or teaching. Would you seek a doctor answering to the job description I’d posted above? A lawyer with pedigree of Beth Moore? A motivational speaker with one law class? Of course not. So why do so many churches install the young and untrained? Souls are at stake. The spotless name of Jesus is at stake.
Put into position of leadership early, we were all both horrified and grieved at Josh Harris’s departure-from-the-faith announcement, an utter rejection of Christ and all His holiness and righteousness. At age 23 he ran a Christian magazine. Three years later he was tapped to be a pastoral intern. A couple of years after that, he authored a book that sold a million copies. Phil Johnson recently said that he had been worried about Harris from the beginning, because his first book, on dating, no less, (“I Kissed Dating Goodbye”) was first published when Harris was in his early twenties and not yet a pastoral leader. It wasn’t written from a pastor’s view, but from a layman’s.
Anyway, Harris was off and running. Sadly, at age 44, he repudiated the faith and ran away from it. His goodbye to the faith was both nightmarish and crushing.
I’m not saying that someone young can’t ever be a pastor or a leader. Some can, in certain circumstances. Paul was mentoring young pastor Timothy. (1 Timothy 4:12), after all. The Bible does suggest, though, that it’s often best when candidate elders or teachers have had a time of seasoning before they lead. What I am saying is that unmindful appointment of untrained or unready youngsters can and does do damage to the worldwide faith. Joshua Harris and Beth Moore are prime examples. My plea is for sober-mindedness, adherence to scripture, and a carefulness when installing men and women to various positions. May God always be glorified.
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.
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.
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.
Apostasy is defined as ‘a defection or revolt’. It is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy in religion (or who apostatizes) is known as an apostate. In Christianity, it is important to remember that apostates never really were saved. 1 John 2:19 says,
They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
Apostasy is a process. No one wakes up one day and says “Gee, I hate Jesus and I’m not going to church anymore.” The first part of apostasy is a (usually slow) drifting away of the key doctrines of the faith. That’s the beginning. With that comes an eventual abandonment of the things of God and an attraction to the world and to the false teachers of the world. Unless a drastic repentance occurs this slide will grow and grow. Demas apostatized, we don’t know if he ever corrected course.
The second part of the process is the final abandonment of Christianity. Apostasy is in fact a process that progressively reveals the truth of one’s inner self, that one was never saved at all. Judas is the example here. He enacted a total repudiation of Jesus and what He stands for. Judas’s apostasy was hidden from even his close intimates, the disciples, until the very end. But it was there all along.
Apostasy begins with sinfulness. Sometimes it’s corrected by repentance, sometimes not. If not, it’s the first slide toward apostasy. An example of how apostasy is born of sinfulness might be that a woman wants to live with a man in sexual sin. Someone from church approaches her about her sin, and she rejects it as sin, perhaps saying that “The Bible never explicitly addresses this,” or “Only Paul wrote about that, not Jesus”. They present an excuse that in some way rejects the authority of the word of God. They might be approached about it again, and reject again, saying, “The Bible never says we have to gather for church, I’m going to worship at home.” Then after a while they don’t worship at all. They hang around with like-minded people who affirm their sin, they sin some more, and eventually they abandon the faith totally.
Francis Chan has been the object of much ink of late. Chan is a former graduate of The Master’s Seminary. He started Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley CA in 1994 with his wife and 30 other people. Eight years later the church had grown to 1600 members. By 2010 the church was a bona fide megachurch, and Chan decided to resign.
His reasons were, among others, due of the failure of the people in the church, Chan said. They ‘weren’t using their gifts’ and they were only ‘sitting around listening to my sermons’ Chan explained. It is ungracious and unhumble to blame your members for your departure. After 16 years no one would really fault a pastor for ‘feeling called’ to move on to another pastorate or position, though leaving the church you started IS a very big deal. However, to blame the resignation on your congregants and not yourself reveals a great deal about a pastor. It wasn’t even true. According to this essayist, the members were using their gifts and vibrantly serving.
If your members are not using their gifts, whose fault is that? Were they false converts allowed in as members to a rapidly growing church focused on growth and not souls? Or were they genuine converts not using their gifts due to unaddressed sin and thus a failure of church discipline? Both of these reasons lay at the pastor’s feet.
His second reason for resigning from Cornerstone Church was that his church ‘cost too much to run.’ He felt that there were too many wasted dollars. Chan continues at length in the above link and in other interviews about the money. In fact, his subsequent project, We Are Church, a house church movement, touts that it’s free and costs nothing. Not even the pastor gets paid. Hmmm. Isn’t that a violation of 1 Corinthians 9:14?
Anyway, that was the beginning, and a clue. He left his church, and not well, either.
Secondly, the We Are Church movement is another clue to Chan’s growing apostasy. Chan was obviously disillusioned with his megachurch, Cornerstone. Did you know that Chan founded Cornerstone in the first place because he had been disappointed and discontent with his previous church? That same old discontent reared its head again. Here is what he said about his discontent with Cornerstone:
But over the years, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was still missing. It wasn’t a problem with the church members or with the staff that God brought to help me lead. We were successful in staying on target with the goals that had set the DNA for the church. But something was off.
He readily admits that the church was loving, giving, hearing the word of God, and vibrant. Yet “Something was missing.” I recall Sarah Young saying much the same thing when she stated why she wrote the heretical book Jesus Calling. ‘The Bible wasn’t enough’, and she yearned for more.
So Chan resigned from the church he founded, even though he said “God was stirring hearts,” “There was so much life at our services”, and “Lives were being changed.” He said, “There was no church I would rather have been a part of.” Yet…for Chan, something was missing. Remember, apostasy is inner sin, the flesh wants something other than Jesus.
When Chan resigned from Cornerstone in 2010, he took his family traveling in Asia to rethink church. At this point in his publicly recounted history Chan admits that his “theology leaves some room for hearing directly from God.” And on a certain day, Chan says he did. Yes. He heard directly from God. What did God say? “He was telling me to go back to the States and plant churches.”
That is clue #3. First it was disappointment with the churches he had been a part of, despite his own church admittedly doing well. Secondly it was a feeling that he needed to “rethink church”. The normal church model had disappointed Chan. Chan wrote that many people want the early Acts church’s “unstoppable power, miraculous love, and outrageous sacrifice of the first church” and in order to get that, it is more likely found in home churches, not the regular structure of churches ‘in big, expensive buildings’ we have come to know. In other words, he yearned for more.
It can be said that though megachurches are more difficult to manage, Charles Spurgeon’s church was mega, and clicked long just fine. There were regularly 800 or so weekly in his “Boiler Room’ AKA the prayer closet in the basement. John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church is a megachurch that also does well. 900 volunteers last week served in various areas at The Shepherds’ Conference. There are many small groups and fellowships ongoing. Megachurches can work just fine.
But Chan’s disappointment with Cornerstone generalized to the point where in 2013 he decided that home church, not a traditional church, was the way to go. Sadly, these home churches have as part of their model, an unhitching from the traditional sermon exposited by a qualified leader or pastor. Instead, they just all get together and “as a body we can wrestle with Scripture together.” (Source)
He also places man-made numerical limits on how many can join a home church until it needs to split and form another one. Nothing about submitting to the authority of the Spirit who sends however many people He wants. Nothing about 2 Timothy 2:15, only another man made limit on how long the home facilitator (not pastor) can speak (5-10 min, and only if he really feels the need).
Pastors shouldn’t be the ones to speak for the majority of the time in our gatherings. If they do, it subconsciously teaches people that they don’t have as much to offer. Source
Well they don’t have as much to offer, at least as far as biblical insights go. A new Christian needs the word explained to him so he can be trained in righteousness and teaching. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
This is stepping stone #3 on the dark road of apostasy. We’ve seen Chan’s disappointment with his former churches. His ungracious throwing of his former church fellow members under the bus. His discontent with traditional church model. He mourns that “all the gifts aren’t being used” (Code for being a secret continuationist). He leaves church. He hears personally from God. He rethinks church. He creates a home church model that has no eldership in authority. He unhitches from the Word explained in a sermon. He begins to speak at heretical churches and partners with heretics.
In addition to being busy in 2013 planting home churches with that aformenentioned numerical limit, it was also in 2013 that Chan spoke for the first time at OneThing conference, the heretical International House of Prayer annual gathering. Chan stated that he loved its main speaker and founder, Mike Bickle, affirming him as a brother.
Chan spoke again at OneThing in 2015, 2016 and again in 2017, which included a Catholic Ecumenical track and a speaker who is a Catholic nun in the Society of Our Lady.
In 2018 Chan revealed that he is a continuationist, and likely always has been. “All his life” he’s felt a “disconnect” between voices in his head & inner feelings, and “what I would read”. He said he previously preached through Acts, but he “didn’t like reading Acts.” [the 6:40 mark & onward]. He now believes it was “the worst sermon series in history.” Why? Because though he preached, it “I didn’t believe it” [that the gifts in Acts were only for that generation].
Chan has admitted publicly that he wants to speak in tongues. He has asked God to give him that gift. He believes speaking in tongues is possible today. He pleaded with the IHoP crowd to affirm Chan as a brother to them even though he doesn’t speak in tongues.
He uses charismatic language to describe personal revelations from God. “On the plane here, it was revealed to me…” He said the Lord began instructing him to give away specific amounts of money, $50,000, $1M and so on. During The Send pre-rally in January 2019, Chan said he was given a room for an hour alone to commune with God in scripture and prayer. It was during this meditative moment that Chan divulged exact words God said to him,
“the Lord revealed something to me tonight, just a couple hours ago,” … “He said, ‘Francis, you’re not supposed to be Moses. You’re not supposed to go up on that mountain top and have everyone go, ‘What’d He say?’ See, something happened at the crucifixion: The veil was torn. (The Send pre-rally)
And remember that it was allegedly God who spoke to Chan in telling him to start home church network in back in 2013. Note that a “voice from the sky” also told Jennie Allen to start the IF:Gathering, a parachurch discipleship movement separate from the church.
Let me say this. Cessationists that turn into continationists that turn into charismatics, always apostatize. Always. Why? Because they are separating themselves from the Bible as their sole authority, an act that always leads away from Christ.
Very worrisome is Chan’s stance on the role of the sermon. I’ve read and listened to buckets of material in preparation for this essay. One constant thread is that Chan disbelieves that a person should preach from the word authoritatively, explaining it to hearers. It’s one reason he said he was quitting the church he founded. It is a hard and fast practice of his home network not to preach. Chan is fascinated with Acts and the notion of a group breaking bread in homes and poring over scripture together. This is a good thing of course, but it is not a substitute for regular church. To Chan, it is.
He doesn’t think people should ‘show up just to sit and listen to him’. He mentions it again and again in various sermons (But that has not stopped him to speak incessantly through the year at mega conferences where people show up just to sit and listen to him).
In 2019 Chan has been soundly criticized for appearing at The Send event, a pit of percolating heresy and suppurating false teachers. Speakers included Lou Engle, Todd White, Benny Hinn, Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Heidi Baker, who are all noted as the worst of the worst.
No excuse. None.
Chan has been coy in his public speech. He carefully crafts responses. I noticed this since the beginning of his downward journey. One response he has made to the current criticism for partnering with the heretics listed above, is to say
“It has not been my practice to ask who will share the platform with me and to research the other speakers.”
Yet at the first IHoP OneThing conference he opened his speech by saying that research was the first thing he did after receiving an invitation to speak there. Quote,
This is the first time I’ve ever been to an IHoP event. It’s kind of crazy to me, because I didn’t know that much, so I kind of went on the internet and started looking things up. And, man, there’s a lot of great things going on here.
As I mentioned, apostasy is a process. Hebrews 2:1 says “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” The moment Chan left his church (and I have not been able to discover if he is in submission and fellowship at any other church since then) and formed a home church movement that deliberately did NOT teach the word of God to the people, he was well on his way to apostasy.
Francis Chan sadly is apostatizing before our eyes. He hasn’t just begun. He isn’t in the kiddie pool. He is in the deep end, swimming with sharks, coyly denying that they’re sharks in the first place, and saying the water’s fine.
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it. (Genesis 4:7).
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:15)
I value what my wiser brothers have had to say on this subject the past month. I’ve read most of it, and I’ve pondered and thought deeply. I’ve watched Mr Chan for many years, because I know many young people who like him and are confused by his actions and words (because they don’t match up). I write this with no joy. I pray he comes back to the fold, and reconciles his errant views on the role of and structure of the church, the role of pastors, his partnering with and affirmation of heretics, his direct revelations, and his stance on the continuation of charismatic gifts, before it is too late.
Apostasy is defined as ‘a defection or revolt’. It is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy (or who apostatizes) is known as an apostate. It is important to remember that apostates never really were saved. 1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”
There are two kinds of apostasy. It shows that apostasy is a process. No one wakes up one day and says “Gee, I hate Jesus and I’m not going to church anymore.” The first kind of apostasy is a drifting away of the key doctrines of the faith. The second is a complete abandonment of Christianity. Remember, if you are saved, your salvation is eternally secure. If you have submitted to Christ no one can snatch you out of His Hand. (John 10:28 says “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” so we read that if He gives eternal life, then no one can take you away from Him. Equally, because it is He who gives eternal life, mere man cannot nullify His decision.
The primary essential doctrines of the faith one must stick to, According to Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, (scriptures supporting them are here) and I agree with these as the essential ones, are–
1. Jesus is God in flesh, and Jesus is the proper object of faith. The Doctrine of the deity of Christ includes:
–There is only one God in all existence
–That Jesus is both God and man.
2. Salvation is by Grace alone
3. The resurrected Christ
4. The Gospel
They are called the primary essentials because the Bible declares them to be essential to the faith. Secondary essentials are necessary truths, but there is no declared penalty for their denial — yet they are still essential to the Christian faith. Those include:
–Jesus is the only way to heaven
–Mary’s virgin birth
FYI, the recently departed evangelist Billy Graham denied both of the above.
An apostate very slowly starts to doubt the essentials. He or she begins to read and absorb other things that are contrary to those doctrines. Paul called false teachings gangrene because they quickly pollute the body and mind. (2 Timothy 2:17).
The Bible says that at the time of the end there will be a great falling away from the truth. Look to 2 Thessalonians for the prediction regarding the “falling away.” 2 Thess. 2:3-7 says, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”
The lawlessness is sinfulness and the fact that Paul says it is already at work means that there have been apostates throughout the Church Age, even in Paul’s day. The verse I mentioned above in 2 Timothy 2:17 speaks of Hymenaeus and Philetus who spread false teachings, two men who “wandered away from the truth” and became “more and more ungodly”. (2 Timothy 2:16; 18). So you see, apostasy is a process.
Sanctification is a process, too. Just as apostates-in-the-making drift away from the faith, either fast or slow, those being sanctified progress toward holiness, either fast or slow. The Lord’s people will never, ever be lost to Him nor will they even become apostate. Ever.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28).
Praise Him for all His ways, His grace, and His priestly ministrations, and His sovereignty that keeps His sheep.
Since the beginning, satan sends his representatives to pollute and destroy. He began with a serpent and continued with wolves and blossomed his lies into every religion in the world that is not the true faith of the worship of the true Jesus Christ.
Resisting and pointing out idolaters, blasphemers, and wolves has been the business of the Christian since Peter’s day, right through until the moment almost 500 years ago when in Wittenburg Germany, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at Castle Church, criticizing various elements of the Catholic dogma as having no foundation in the Bible.
“Pope Francis is convinced that the Reformation is already over”. Source
The attempt to reform the Catholic Church from within proved futile. It ended with a massive split, a gulf between the true Christianity and the false Catholic church. This event is known as The Reformation.
And there the gulf stayed for 450 years. The Protesters became a denomination known as Protestant, and the Catholic stayed Catholic. The gulf seemed fixed and immovable until within the last 40-45 years. John MacArthur noted bridges being built back to Rome in 1973.
More lately, disparate whispers emerged from wide-spread places in Christendom. Masked and wolfish “evangelical” eyes turned toward Rome in increasing volume and quantity. Some evangelicals pilgrimaged there, to kiss the hand that lit the match that burned brethren in former eras. Judases, all.
Most recently, we read in last July’s Catholic Herald that the Pope personally considers the Reformation to be over and is likely about to sign a public document stating so. He has believed this ever since the Lutherans signed the 1999 declaration making clear they no longer disagree over justification by faith. Pope Francis has been pursuing a reversal of the Reformation and reunion with other Protestants ever since. To that end, he has been successful. Now, news emerges of a document that declares the Vatican’s opinion that the Reformation is over. This document, which is not widely known, is called “Declaration of Faith in Unity for Mission.” All it needs is Francis’ signature.
Somewhere in Pope Francis’s office is a document that could alter the course of Christian history. It declares an end to hostilities between Catholics and Evangelicals and says the two traditions are now “united in mission because we are declaring the same Gospel”. The Holy Father is thinking of signing the text in 2017, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, alongside Evangelical leaders representing roughly one in four Christians in the world today.
If you want to know what will make the biggest stride toward the Great Apostasy and who will form the bulk of the greatest false religion on earth, just picture 1.2 billion Catholics with half a billion Pentecostals and Charismatics, along with millions of liberal Evangelicals led by the likes of Rick Warren, Kenneth Copeland and James Robison, Beth Moore, Ann Voskamp, and Rachel Held Evans- all uniting under a false Jesus and declaring a false gospel.
Is the Jesus you’re worshiping “this same Jesus”
of Acts 1:11?The Catholic Herald article I quoted above gives quick recent history of the reversal of the Reformation from Pope Francis’ perspective. I recommend reading it. Though many in America have been perplexed by Protestant leaders’ rapid softening toward Rome, from Pope Francis’ perspective it is no surprise, because he is the one behind it.
For example, in 2014 several “evangelical leaders” which included Kenneth Copeland, James Robison (Beth Moore’s mentor) and Geoff Tunnicliffe, along with Bishop Tony Palmer and Pope Francis, met for three hours in the Vatican, decided to agree on their faiths, and drafted a declaration stating so. This is the “Declaration of Faith in Unity for Mission.” The declaration has three parts:
1. the Nicean-Constantinople Creed, which Catholics and evangelicals share;
2. the core of the Catholic-Lutheran declaration of 1999 making clear there is no disagreement over justification by faith;
3. a section asserting that Catholics and evangelicals are now “united in mission because we are declaring the same Gospel,” (according to Gloria.TV, in an article titled Reformation Anniversary: Dialogue Paper Between the Vatican and Evangelicals?)
It’s that third section that is the most astounding. Catholics and Protestants agree that they are declaring the same Gospel? This is huge. Such a declaration, if signed by leaders of both faiths, would effectively be declaring the Reformation is over – AND that it was a mistake.
The Catholic Herald again, on how Pope Francis closed the seemingly immovable gulf between the faiths-
When Francis wanted to reach out to Evangelicals after he was elected Pope, he didn’t do the obvious things. He didn’t ask the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity to organise a conference or seek advice from the group Evangelicals and Catholics Together in America – arguably the most advanced such dialogue in the world. Instead, he rang his old friend. During a leisurely meeting at the Vatican, [Tony] Palmer recorded a video of the Pontiff on his iPhone.
Designated an “Apostolic Representative for Christian Unity” by Francis, Palmer took the film to a ministers’ conference in Texas organised by prosperity gospel preacher Kenneth Copeland. Palmer introduced the film with what must count as one of the great Christian orations of the 21st century. “Brothers and sisters, Luther’s protest is over,” he said. He told the audibly stunned audience that he was speaking to them “in the spirit of Elijah”, who prepared the way for something much greater than himself.
Francis then proclaimed that “the miracle of unity has begun”. The audience greeted the video with whooping, laughter and a babble of tongues. Copeland summoned Palmer back on stage to record a reply on his iPhone. The video ended with all the ministers – some of whom may have believed the Pope was a false teacher just minutes earlier – raising their hands and addressing Francis in unison with the cry: “Be blessed!”
Still shots from that national meeting below:
“The Spirit of Elijah is the spirit of reconciliation.” Bishop Palmer,
introducing the Pope’s video message. Source.
They’re already united: in satan.
Yes, but which God?
After the message finished, Copeland led American evangelicals
in a prayer to bless the Pope
Now, with the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation looming in October 2017, great strides have been made in destroying the visible faith by a satanic reunification and total reversal of the most important religious movement on earth since the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Will Pope Francis publicly sign the ‘Reformation is over’ document? The Catholic Herald thinks so.
Francis hasn’t given any public sign of whether he will sign the declaration. But he has taken steps that seem to prepare the ground for it.
Meanwhile on our own shores, this disappointing ChurchLeaders.com article breathlessly gurgles an undiscerning excitement that Pope Francis will attend the Washington DC Together2016 event this weekend, by video message-
Having the Pope is certainly a bold move on the part of the evangelical leaders of Together 2016, yet one that makes a clear move toward the unity of all Christians in America. (Source)
The author of that article breathlessly continued to state that the whole Pope-Evangelical thing is “pretty cool”.
In one sense, the “leaders” who have been promoting this hellish union with Rome, such as Rick Warren, SBC’s Russell Moore and Ronnie Floyd, Joel Osteen, James Robison, Kenneth Copeland, Ravi Zacharias (is there any ecumenical gatheiring he won’t attend?), Michael W. Smith, Mark Batterson among others, (and most of tho men I just listed will be attending the ecumenical event this weekend), are already united with Rome.
There are only two faiths. The faith with satan at the head and the universal Christian church of saints, led by Jesus Christ. There IS a gulf fixed between the two, and anyone partnering with Rome to declare that they share the same Gospel is not of the faith of Jesus Christ. It’s one, or the other.
This next part is for ladies. Sisters, we have been warning you about the dangers of many of these liberal/mystical/ecumenical “teachers” for a long time, many of whom are participating in the upcoming Together2016 event this weekend. These are women such as Lindsey Nobles, Jennie Allen, (IF:gathering,) Christine Caine, (Propel Women, A21 campaign), Ann Voskamp (Romantic Panentheist and Mystical Romanticist).
Again and again not to partake of the evil fruit these women produce. That these Pope-friendly women are partnering at an ecumenical event, buying into the Pope’s unification agenda, is to turn their backs on millions of martyrs who cried out to the Lord for mercy on their tormenters. It’s to ignore the dark history where the shining Gospel was twisted, perverted, and suppressed- usually at the end of a sword. It should be the clarion signal that these women have nothing to offer you, nothing, not even one single tiny seemingly insignificant scripture quote you repeat on Facebook. Do not follow these women.
Catholic Philly reports that Lead organizer of Together 2016 and founder of PULSE, a youth campus ministry, Nick Hall, had a two-hour meeting with the pope on June 9. Hall told CNS he spoke to the pope about the event and spent time in prayer with him. Together2016 is at root, a Popish event, a ploy with an antichrist agenda. Don’t buy it and avoid every single person associated with it.
Christianity is therefore the absolute religion, the only, essential, true religion. It tolerates no other religions as of almost equal worth and worthiness alongside itself. It is, according to its nature, intolerant, even as the truth at all times is and must be intolerant with respect to the untruth. It will not be satisfied with being the first of the religions, but it claims to be the only, true, full religion, which has absorbed and fulfilled all that is true and good in other religions. Christ is not a man alongside of others, but He is the Son of Man, who be the resurrection was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, and received from the Father a name above every name, so that in that name every knee should bow and every tongue confess, that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Herman Bavinck, The Sacrifice of Praise, p. 67
The closing of the gap between (falsely) professing Protestant and Catholic is rapidly upon us. Yet the true Protestant is still protesting. We are still declaring the faith in THIS SAME JESUS (Acts 1:11) who ministered and came to seek and save the lost. True Protestants know that our salvation is-
If you listen to old time radio pastors from the 1930s through 1950s and later, each one at some point, has said that this generation of church-going Christians or this era of Christianity is going downhill. Charles Spurgeon famously published an anonymous article actually written by his friend Robert Shindler (with input from Spurgeon himself) addressing a visible downgrade in an 1887 issue of his magazine, Sword and Trowel. That article, and its follow up, famously brought the “Down-grade controversy” to the public’s attention.
A hundred and fifty years before Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards wrote about the devil’s triumph in squelching a religious revival in New England and a lack of religious affections that had become evident in the people.
We can trace the genealogy of apostasy back to Genesis 6, or to Genesis 3. So is it anything new to say that this generation of church-going Christians, that visible Christianity itself is downgrading itself in a compounding manner, faster and faster as we go? No.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1)
Kay Cude is a poet whose sensitivity to the glorious salvation of Jesus Christ is uniquely expressed through poetry and picture. Here is her latest offering, in which she explains her thought process. Enjoy
If you look closely at the tower, you’ll see a tiny figure of someone, which refers to the statement, “As gazed I o’er the valley fair, to there below from tower high.”
That little figure caught my eye, as well as the city lighted up and the storm approaching from the left (approaching spiritual death). So I began to write. The city represents the safety of true salvation in Christ and understanding His Gospel.
The people represent those captured by a “different gospel” suggested as the “real” place of safety. Even though they “know” God’s truth — they are persuaded to run to false teaching and reject Christ.
Christ’s refuge is known to them and still stands in its truth, but when extreme peril approaches, they are convinced by someone’s whim (spiritual deception), to flee to eternal death and separation. Even the donkey digs in his heels against the “unknown” way,” and the dog barks at their sudden rejection.
Their end is eternal separation and eternal living death because they quickly deserted Christ’s truth for a distorted gospel.