Verdict: Various discernment ministries have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Francis Chan is a false teacher.
Part of how this Discernment ministry operates is taking in reader questions about prevalent teachers. Francis Chan has received a record number of requests (previously held by Levi Lusko), and due to him leading the field of requests, this investigation into his teachings was undergone. You can make a request here and see our answered verdicts here.
In the Discernment world, there is no shortage of material regarding Francis Chan. In addition to his prominence, Francis Chan is widely covered because of his theological background at Master’s Seminary. His deviation from the doctrine he was instructed with has been tracked for a long time by various ministries like Pirate Christian/ Fighting For The Faith, Pulpit and Pen/ Protestia, Reformation Charlotte, and a host of other, generally, reformed ministries. This verdict will therefore be a verdict of the evidence brought forth from other ministries and the concerns that they raise. The main concerns that have been raised with regards to Francis Chan are as follows:
- Unsubstantiated claims of faith healing
- Preaching Various Heresies
Evangelical Dark Web does not consider continuationism as grounds for marking someone as a false teacher. However, it would be unfair to characterize the concerns about Francis Chan’s charismaticism as merely continuationism. Moreover, ecumenicalism encompasses Francis Chan’s associations with false teachers and those outside the bounds of Christianity.
Unsubstantiated Faith Healing Claims
On February 11, 2020, Francis Chan claims to have healed an entire village in Myanmar. “Every person I touched was healed.” This is a rather audacious claim by Francis Chan. He does not provide evidence, although he points out that this was not the norm for his missionary work overseas. We should be weary of claims of faith healing. These claims are not bolstered by Chan’s associations with a litany of false teachers, many of whom are self-proclaimed faith healers. Therefore, without sufficient evidence, this verdict concludes that these claims are not credible.
Ecumenicalism here is not simply meant by Francis Chan’s embrace of other religions but his embrace of those who preach a false gospel. The limitation of ecumenicalism is that partnership in fulfilling the Great Commission is unwise when two parties have substantially different meanings of what making disciples entails.
Francis Chan’s embrace of Catholicism is perhaps the most profound syncretism observed during this research. Francis Chan spouts edgy elementary Catholic lies about church history, that there was one church for fifteen hundred years that believed in transubstantiation until Martin Luther came along. Transubstantiation is nothing more than superstition, yet Chan embraces this. This is part of an overall pattern in embracing mysticism and hyper-emotionalism. Furthermore, the fact that he believes such a revisionist account of church history that the church was united under a pope for fifteen centuries is disqualifying on the grounds of his inability to teach (1 Timothy 3:2).
Moreover, Francis Chan has spoken at Catholic conferences. Therefore his ties and embrace of the Catholic Church are a major red flag in his ministry.
The list of prominent associations with false teachers that Francis Chan has is massive. It must be emphasized that Chan is not merely associating with false teachers to get more exposure. This is not comparable to Jesus and the Pharisees. Francis Chan actively endorses the ministry of false teachers.
Francis Chan has done numerous conferences with false teachers. One of the most notorious is The Send, a massive gathering that fills stadiums, in which Francis Chan shared a stage with Lou Engle, Benny Hinn, Todd White, Bill Johnson, Daniel Kolenda, Michael Koulianos, and more. The Send is a conference that is part of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement.
The most profound association appear to be with Todd White and Mike Bickle. Both of these men are obvious false teachers.
Moreover, Francis Chan has defended these associations; meaning, when people have lovingly called him to correction, he has refused.
I am asked to speak at approximately 500 events a year. I decline approximately 90% of the requests. It’s a difficult thing to do. Often times, I decline because other speakers will be at the event who believe almost exactly what I believe. My reasoning is that it may be a waste of Kingdom resources for all of us to be there, speaking largely to people who already agree with us. It seems more effective to speak where there is less Bible teaching. It has not been my practice to ask who will share the platform with me and to research the other speakers. While some may be dear friends, there are many that I know little about. This current experience has caused me to consider exercising more caution and to develop a team to help me research. That being said, I speak in many places where I am not in alignment theologically. I actually believe that is where I can be most effective, as long as they give me freedom to address anything I believe the Lord wants me to address.
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. Unless the elders of my church direct me differently, I will continue to be found preaching in venues with those I disagree. I will preach in just about any kind of setting if I’m given freedom to preach from any passage of scripture. The elders and I are trying to come up with more safeguards for future events to hopefully prevent misunderstandings. Pray for us.
The problem with Francis Chan’s defense is that he does not substantiate his disagreements. Therefore, we do not know what teachings of Benny Hinn he does not endorse. Chan could merely be talking about soteriology as opposed to an entirely different gospel like the Prosperity Gospel.
I still strive to boldly call out false teachers, but I have found it hard to collect accurate data. I am willing to do it, but I want to do it with caution. I will be judged for every careless word spoken (Matthew 12:36). Whether it is due to carelessness or a desire for fame, many Christians have fallen into the worldly practice of creating fake news. Exaggerations are made because it makes things interesting, driving more traffic to their sites, leading to greater revenue and attention. Over the years, many things have been said about me that simply are not true. I can’t know the motives, but I am sure it is untrue. In the same way, friends of mine have been misrepresented and their reputations unfairly tarnished. I want to make sure that I am not guilty of the same thing.
We live in a time when it is hard to discover the truth about any one person because there are a slew of voices quick to state their opinions as fact. So I now have a team of people researching to try and differentiate between rumors and truth. As I gather that information, I will seek out the teachers and address the issues in a biblical manner (Matthew 18). I will pray for and seek their repentance in love. If there is not repentance, I believe it is right to warn against false teachers and separate from them.
Francis Chan claims here to that he practices discernment yet is essentially arguing that there is not enough evidence to level anybody a false teacher, let alone Mike Bickle or Todd White. This is suspicious. Being a Berean entails testing what people say and do with Scripture. And since much of this information is public, the matter is left to an interpretation of people’s words and actions, their fruit. Many such in discernment believe it to be unfathomable that a legitimate Christian minister would progressively delve deeper into involvement with notorious heretics.
Preaching Various Heresies
New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)
Briefly, NAR is an unbiblical movement largely within charismatic churches that asserts that churches are to be led by apostles. The NAR understanding of Apostles comes with supernatural abilities and new revelations from God.
The New Testament understanding of Apostles is equitable to Old Testament Prophets. However, the qualifications for an Apostle laid out in Acts 1 require that someone having witnessed seeing the Jesus post Resurrection. What an Apostle says we should be writing down. The books these pretender Apostles write would be canon if they were legitimate in their title. Acts 1:21-26 ESV reads:
21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
It is supremely narcissistic to call oneself an Apostle. There are other theological issues with NAR including its Kingdom Now belief and a reductive Christology.
One of the foremost figureheads of the NAR movement in the United States is Mike Bickle. The International House of Prayer (IHOP) is a New Apostolic Reformation organization and conference. Mike Bickle is a very influential leader in this movement. Francis Chan has been participating with IHOP since about 2013.
Although Francis Chan has not started calling himself apostle, prophet, or even bishop, Chan is embracing people who do.
Little Gods Doctrine
Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith breaks down a street sermon in which Francis Chan does compare us to the god-status of Jesus, basically suggesting that we are like God now, an unwitting reference Genesis 3. Rosebrough reasonably concludes what Francis Chan is preaching in Hong Kong is heresy.
A question remains as to whether Francis Chan is misspeaking or purposefully wrong is what remains. A person can unintentionally say something that is heretical on something like the trinity and perhaps even the nature of the Holy Spirit living inside of us, as Christians. But is that a reasonable conclusion to draw based on Chan’s words? This verdict does not believe that it is.
Is Francis Chan Woke?
In this podcast, Jon Harris of Conversations That Matter dives into the question of whether Francis Chan is woke, given over to the pagan Social Justice Gospel. The Social Justice Gospel is far from the biggest concern with regards to Francis Chan. However, Jon Harris does demonstrate that at the very least, Francis Chan is compromised or weak on this issue. It is more likely that Francis Chan is going along with the prevailing winds of Social Justice than actively believes in this heresy.
With preaching likened to a hyper-emotional thespian, it’s safe to assume that on the spectrum between logic and emotional side. Part of the draw to a teacher like Francis Chan is his zeal. The problem is where is his zeal directed towards. It was once safely assumed that he was a passionate preacher of the Lord. Yet a man with a theological upbringing influenced by John MacArthur has since strayed far from his initial trajectory. Francis Chan has fewer scruples in who he will align with than almost any false teacher covered by Evangelical Dark Web. In this, he downplays different gospels as disagreeing on secondary issues. Being able to teach requires knowing right teaching from wrong teaching. In this regard, Francis Chan is not a qualified pastor.
It’s undeniable that Francis Chan has strayed from orthodoxy, from embracing NAR to peddling Catholic lies. This makes his faith healing claim in Myanmar all the less believable. Chan’s hyper-emotionalism makes him susceptible to all sorts of false teaching like the little gods doctrine or the Social Justice Gospel.
Francis Chan’s downgrade is going on eight years at the minimum. Sanctification is where we become more Christ-like over time starting from where we were when we were saved. In contrast, false teachers get worse over time, thus exposing themselves. Discernment ministries have made a compelling case that Francis Chan is a false teacher, by exposing various errors and heresies. Francis Chan has rebuffed attempts at correction already for his unacceptable associations.
Therefore, how much longer should we wait before making a definitive call? The fact that he graduated from Master’s Seminary is the only reason to not lump him in with the other NARpostles. To extend this partiality to Master’s Seminary is both unjust and unbiblical. This lone distinction does not excuse false teaching and the uncomfortable conclusions that we must draw from one who partakes in false teaching. Therefore, Francis Chan is a Category Four false teacher.
 Taken from Is Bill Johnson a False Teacher?
A call to action
Evangelical Dark Web is an online ministry that fights to maintain the orthodoxy’s and orthopraxy of Evangelical Christianity. We are specifically set up to fight three false gospels in particular: the Social Justice Gospel, Prosperity Gospel, and Popularity Gospel. We also do in depth research to answer reader questions about false teachers. Consider subscribing to support these efforts.