Posted in discernment, theology

A Catholic asks Francis Chan to bring her and her church a message as evangelist…Chan’s answer is shocking

By Elizabeth Prata

Two weeks ago I wrote an essay about Francis Chan titled “Francis Chan is apostatizing before our eyes” and the next day I followed up with “A few further resources on Francis Chan“.

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.”

WHAAAAAT?!?!?!? Nooooo…

chan

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.

I wept.

The session included four priests praying over Chan, to which Chan submitted.  Chan’s feet were also washed, also something to which he submitted.

chan and priests genuflect
Starting at 25:24 in the video above
chan and priests
The priest behind Chan is making the sign of the crucifix, the symbol
Catholics use which has Jesus still hanging on it

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.

————————————-

Further resources

TOPIC: Why Are Evangelicals Reversing the Reformation Divide with Roman Catholics?

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.

ABC’s of Effective Witnessing to Catholics

Francis Chan’s entry in the Museum of Idolatry

Francis Chan: Why I quit my megachurch and started again

Francis Chan Tosses His Old Church Under the Bus

A Response to Some Concerns By Francis Chan

The Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Posted in discernment, theology

A few further resources on Francis Chan

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday I wrote a comprehensive article documenting the slide from orthodoxy in Francis Chan. These things grieve me, but they are necessary to look into. Here is yesterday’s piece:

Francis Chan is Apostatizing Before Our Eyes

I’d mentioned that wise brothers had written about Mr Chan and I respected their opinions.

Here are some of their interpretations of the situation for your reading or listening perusal-

FURTHER RESOURCES

Francis Chan tosses his old church under the bus

A few thoughts on Francis Chan’s step of faith

Francis Chan Defends His Friendship With False Teachers 

Farewell Francis

Video – Wretched radio with Todd Friel: Francis Chan responds to concerns

 

Posted in discernment, theology

Is Francis Chan apostatizing before our eyes?

By Elizabeth Prata

**Phil Johnson and Todd Friel discuss this article and the issues within on Too Wretched for Radio, below. Phil articulates the issues so much better than I did, please take a listen

https://www.wretched.org/wretched-radio-04-15-2019/

—————–

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.

FrancisChan
Source

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).

the send jan 2019
The Send, Orlando, January 2019

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.