Theologically Sound. Culturally Relevant.

Francis Chan

Is Francis Chan a false teacher?

Category 4

Verdict: Various discernment ministries have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Francis Chan is a false teacher.

Preface

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.

Scope

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:

  1. Unsubstantiated claims of faith healing
  2. Ecumenicalism
  3. 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.”[1] 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

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.[2]

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.[3]

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.

Conclusion

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.


[1] Founder’s Week 2020 – Francis Chan Feb 11, 2020
https://youtu.be/CPkAwItqmN8 35:06

[2] Taken from Is Bill Johnson a False Teacher?
https://evangelicaldarkweb.org/2020/10/06/is-bill-johnson-a-false-teacher/

[3] Francis Chan loves Mike Bickle (12/30/2013)
https://youtu.be/hroxHAmpsHw

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3 Responses

  1. Several years ago, I “used to” watch TBN. They had a smorgasborg of some really weird stuff going on there, as well.

    However, they started bringing in Catholic priests onto the show. And many people got angry at that. They started losing viewers because of that.

    Now, I can tolerate the prosperity gospel people, because I’m not listening for the prosperity stuff. But I can listen to other things they talk about, and learn something that I didn’t know before.

    I’m non-denomination, and what I have learned by not being aligned with a certain denomination, is that there is FREEDOM in discernment. I throw out to the trash the word “Orthodox”, because it’s only orthodox to a particular sect, i.e. Catholicism, Calvinism, Lutherans, etc.

    I can actually learn from all of them. I’ve learned that Catholicism is STRANGE, I’ve learned that Calvinism is the most dangerous of them all. I haven’t studied the Lutherans, but when I do, I’m sure I’ll find major differences as well. But what I have learned, is that both Calvinism and Lutherans would STILL BE CATHOLIC had the Catholics REFORMED themselves. Luther had a focus on grace, which was a major plus for protestants. But other than that, the indulgences is what made him most mad, if I am not mistaken, that all one has to do is pay money to be promised heaven without going through the Catholics purgatory.

    I do like the Pentacostals, very much, but I’m not hip on their mandatory requirements of speaking in tongues as evidence of being “born again”, which all that causes is people speaking jiberish on purpose, so as not to make the pastor mad at them, meaning, that the people are lying. But they have prophesy insight.

    Look, if Jesus is the one building the church, and protestants came from a reformation, we can indeed learn SOMETHING from them all. Not everyone is right, not everyone is wrong…well, except for maybe Catholics and Calvinists.

    But here is the main reason for my comment, and I challenge ANYONE to prove me wrong. Both Catholics and Protestants have the COMMUNION wrong. Most protestants have no clue that the Catholics believe in Transub…, whatever that word is. But then again, Catholics is all about ritualism anyway. However, the protestants took that “ritual” and modified it to symbology.

    My problem with it is no matter whether you are a Catholic, or a protestant, it’s a RITUAL, and people actually think that it is a “commandment” to participate in this ritual of eating bread and drinking wine, remembering the crucifixion of Jesus.

    Has anyone actually read the section of the Bible pertaining to this at all?

    1 Corinthians 11:17-34 is the COMPLETE story. But it seems that people are isolating the story down to a couple of verses only, thereby CREATING a ritual called, Communion.

    When you read the complete story, you will see that this is nothing more than a CHURCH BANQUET with the teaching of ETHICS on how to conduct yourselves at the dinner table at this church banquet, and Paul uses the LAST SUPPER (Passover meal), as his example as how to be polite, and this church BANQUET is called The Lords Supper. It’s not about Bread or Wine. It’s about eating and drinking, tho.

    Let’s review:

    First, let’s see what Luke has to say regarding “do this is memory of me”:

    Luke 22:19
    Then Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do this in memory of me.”

    NOTE: It is important to note that none of the gospels indicate anything about “EVERYTIME YOU DRINK OF THIS CUP, DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME. But Paul mentions those exact words. Do you know what that tells me? That tells me that there is a MISSING testimony that never got put in the Canon of scripture. But that’s another topic.

    Now, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (The COMPLETE story). Let’s do this in the NIV version, then you can go back to your favorite version of your preference.

    17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

    23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

    33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

    And when I come I will give further directions.

    Conclusion:

    You decide. Is this really about a ritual called communion, or is it about a church banquet?

    Ed Chapman

  2. Although Francis graduated from Master’s, it’s hard to say how much of that influence actually stuck. He never really wore a suit when preaching, and most of his sermons tend to be more topical than expository. These things don’t signify a false teacher, but it just shows you he probably departed from The Master’s Seminary way of thinking MUCH earlier.

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