Definition of False Teacher: One who presumes to teach in the Name of the Lord when God has not sent him.

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False Teacher – Francis Chan Revisited

We received this note in response to our posting about Francis Chan:

It is wrong of you to stand in judgment of Francis Chan. Period. Jesus Christ is the only judge.

Paul’s reply:

Hi Jon,

It would be wrong to judge Chan after the appearance, but that’s not what we’ve done on our site. We’ve judged Chan according to the righteous judgment called for by God:

“Do not judge according to sight, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24 MKJV).

Think about it, Jon, how can you go through life without exercising judgment? Do you believe everything everyone says? Do you follow Muhammad and Joseph Smith because they claim to be God’s latest messengers? And if you don’t follow them, do you have good reasons for not doing so? In other words, are you judging them righteously?

Don’t you see the value and dire necessity for righteous judgment?

That’s exactly what we’ve provided regarding Chan, and the fact that you present nothing whatsoever to refute our judgment goes to show how empty your pronouncement and judgment against us is, not to mention contradictory. What sins are you harboring that blind you to your hypocrisy and cause you to oppose Christ’s righteousness?

Go back and see if you can pinpoint any error in what we’ve said about Chan. Give us godly substance and Scripture to back your contention, and not just your opinion.

Add into your consideration the following material, a letter I wrote to someone since we posted Chan as a false teacher:

You asked us to watch the hour-long video of Francis Chan on prayer. I have done so and here’s what I have to say:

If Francis Chan was being drawn by God to walk with Christ outside the camp when he left Cornerstone Church, to leave behind the works of men by faith in order to follow the Lord, he drew back very quickly and is as steeped as ever in his own righteousness and works.

Chan is another star performer of Mystery, Babylon the Great, playing the part of a hero who inspires people in their flesh to pray like Elijah. Yes, Chan is right according to James 5:17 – Elijah was a man of “like passions as we are.” But who among Chan’s hearers is righteous, not in his or her own right, but because they’re walking in Christ’s righteousness as Elijah did?

“Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much. Elijah was a man of like passion as we are. And he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for the time of three years and six months” (James 5:16-17 MKJV).

People certainly won’t be walking as Elijah did by following Chan, and if they are Elijah’s brethren in faith and obedience, they won’t be following Francis in the first place. They’ll know the difference between faith of the Spirit and faith of the flesh. They won’t follow the voice of strangers:

“And [the Lord’s sheep] will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:5 MKJV).

The focus of Chan’s prayer life is himself, not the Lord Jesus Christ. In the video, all we hear is how he loves God and his prayers are answered. Yes, Chan talks about prayer as a way of walking in love and abiding in God. Yes, he praises God as almighty and wonderful. We’re not arguing against any of those things. We’re drawing the curtain back, however, on where Chan is coming from. We expose his heart, judging all things by the Spirit of God, the mind of Christ:

“But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16 MKJV).

Satan comes as an angel of Light, and his servants come praising God, but their hearts are far from Him.

“Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people draws near to Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men’” (Matthew 15:7-9 MKJV).

Let me address the matter for a moment by stepping outside what’s talked about in the video. Chan recently wrote a book, Erasing Hell, piggybacking on the sales success of Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins. In his book, Bell raises many solid questions puncturing holes in the doctrine of eternal (never-ending) torment in Hell. In his book, Chan avidly defends this diabolical doctrine (here is a short rebuttal – Diabolical Doctrine: Never-ending Torment).

This is the man who praises God as so powerful and wonderful in lowering Himself in Christ to save the helpless children of men. Yet in his book, Chan characterizes God as either a liar or loser (or both) Who can’t or doesn’t save the lost souls for whom He sent His Son to die and rise again from the grave. Chan is calling Christ’s total victory a sham, reversing His position over death and Hell, making those consequences of sin the ultimate victors over the majority of humanity, with God the ultimate loser. With Chan, it’s no longer, “Where sin abounded, grace abounded more,” but, “Where grace abounded, sin abounded more.”

A more heinous lie about God and His victory through Christ couldn’t be told. (See The Restitution of All Things.) Men of God just don’t do that. Chan is a man of men, not a man of God.

How can Chan’s heart be with God when he’s teaching the fabricated, treacherous doctrines of men? Jesus said such a heart wasn’t with God, but was far from Him. That means Chan worships God in vain, as do those who follow him.

Chan boasts about his prayers being answered, mentioning three in particular – 1) having the money and freedom to take a vacation, 2) getting a particular golf club, and 3) having money in general to give away to others. How can we say these answered prayers are a sign of God’s favor? What about the one “whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9 MKJV)?

Can’t Satan bestow the things of this world on men? “And [the Devil] said to [Jesus], ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me’” (Matthew 4:9 MKJV). Serving in the works of men, the gates of Hell, is certainly falling down to worship Satan. Is it any wonder, then, if there are signs and wonders in Chan’s ministry?

Also, one can only take his word for the answered prayers. How do you know he had those prayers answered? Are there two or three witnesses? No. But what does the Scripture say?

“Let it not be! But let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, ‘That You might be justified in Your sayings, and will overcome when You are judged’” (Romans 3:4 MKJV).

But you say, “Let Chan be true, without further witnesses.” Thus, you worship Chan and make God out to be the liar.

And here’s further proof positive that Chan’s works are of the flesh. He says to his audience of church pastors and leaders that they should want what he has from God because, “Don’t you want to be that guy… that people go ‘Wow, you’ve got a connection with Him, your God listens to you; He doesn’t listen to me like that’?

Does anyone truly believe that such was Paul the apostle’s motivation or objective, or Peter’s, or any of the apostles’, or the Lord’s in the days of His flesh? What do the Scriptures say of Him?

“He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as it were a hiding of faces from Him, He being despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:3-4 MKJV).

Does the flesh appreciate the things of the Spirit? Where do we find that anywhere in the Scriptures?

“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these things oppose each other…” (Galatians 5:17 EMTV).

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God…” (Romans 8:7 MKJV).

Chan is walking in the flesh, speaking of what he knows. The kind of envy he desires isn’t found in any Scriptural examples, except those along the lines of Simon the sorcerer:

“And when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that on whomever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 8:18-19 MKJV).

The only time I ever heard a person say he wanted what I had from God, it was an evil covetousness on his part, not a holy desire. No, the preaching of Christ is to bring people to recognition of their wrongness and of His righteousness as Lord, so they might turn from their sins and destructive ways to receive Him and live. It’s never about making people desire the personal relationship you have with God, especially if they envy the fact that prayers are answered, as if following God means He becomes your personal genie.

Of course many people want to be God’s friend. As it is written: “The rich has many friends” (Proverbs 14:20). Salvation in Christ, however, is about us doing God’s will, not Him doing ours.

Chan does his own thing, glorying in himself and his supposed relationship to God. It is anathema to God. These are express examples of the abomination of desolation.

When the apostle Paul boasted of what God had given him, he said he spoke as a fool. He wasn’t boasting to make people want to have his relationship with God; he was making a point to the Corinthians about those who boasted in the flesh and how they responded:

“For you gladly bear with fools, being wise. For you endure if anyone enslaves you, if anyone devours, if anyone takes from you, if anyone exalts himself, if anyone strikes you in the face” (2 Corinthians 11:19-20 MKJV).

Chan is one of those who exalts himself, which makes him a devourer and abuser of mankind. The kisses of the enemy are indeed deceitful. Woe to those who follow Chan.

Another important distinction: The apostle Paul boasted of such things as persecution and distress suffered as a servant of God. How many unrepentant people want those things? And the things God gave Paul, like great revelations, came with a messenger of Satan to buffet him. Do unrepentant people want that? Even repentant people don’t want such things, but accept by faith and the knowledge of God that all things work together for good under His sovereign care and direction. In other words, they take up the cross and follow Him.

Nowhere did Paul boast of receiving answers to personal prayers, especially for vacation money (do you think Paul took vacations?) or to indulge sports hobbies. But if Paul or any saint ever does speak of answers to prayers, it’s to glorify God and not to make people envy their personal relationship with Him.

A personal relationship with God is always at His initiation and choosing. Each believer has a unique calling and position in the Body. And the focus of every believer is on Him, not on what we might get from Him or what another saint has.

“Seeing [John], Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what of this one?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I desire that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me’” (John 21:21-22 MKJV).

“Therefore let no one glory in men. For all things are yours, whether it is Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23 MKJV).

Surely peace and joy in the Holy Spirit are the inheritance of all saints, and are readily available to all those whose eyes are on Him, who hear the Word of God, believe, and obey Him. But Chan is after greatness for himself and recognition of his greatness, which is what envy and emulation are all about.

That’s what Victor talks about in his testimony, when he was “converted” by Billy Graham, not to follow Jesus Christ, but to have whatever it was Billy had – charisma, conviction, and power with men, etc.

Chan asks the other ministers: “Are you about Him? Do people see that in you?

The Scripture says: “It is not good to eat much honey; so for men to search their own glory is not glory” (Proverbs 25:27 MKJV).

One more word about Chan’s answered prayers – I’ve spoken of two accounts, but what about the third, of having money to give away? That sounds good, doesn’t it? After his wife expressed this desire, Chan made millions with his book, Crazy Love, which he claims to have given away to charity.

First point: Is it proper for ministers of Christ to sell the truth (not saying Crazy Love is the truth, but speaking on principle)? What precedent do we have for that in the Bible, as examples of the actions of ministers of God?

How about: “Buy the truth, and sell it not…” (Proverbs 23:23 MKJV)? “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8 EMTV)?

Second point: To whom do we give alms? Just because there are needs, does that mean those needs are all worthy before God? Any reasonable person would have to say, “No.”

Are we then to believe that God is in Chan’s windfall of money for almsgiving, especially when obtained in a way God doesn’t endorse?

Here’s another signpost pointing to another god with another love, and not to the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God: Chan compares his love of God to the “giddy feelings” he had falling in love with his wife. This is a carnal love of the flesh, which, translated into his religious context, becomes the love of the harlot, Mystery Babylon. It’s a love that’s about feeling good, getting high. It’s a selfish love; indeed, it’s the very opposite of true love, one of getting and benefitting, not of giving.

The love of God isn’t a feeling or sensation, but is a choice and exercise of the will in faith, as with Abraham offering up Isaac. It goes way beyond feelings or the carnal senses, which are all subordinate to faith:

“But those belonging to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts” (Galatians 5:24 MKJV).

“The Kingdom of God does not come with observation” (Luke 17:20 MKJV).

“But as it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,’ nor has it entered into the heart of man, ‘the things which God has prepared for those who love Him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9 MKJV).

I see Francis Chan ever loving and never entering the love of God. Francis is forever seeking and never finding God, because he seeks his own glory. He has his reward, therefore, one which is of man and the world. His displays of distraught emotionalism come not from being connected to God, but by being disconnected from Him, because he doesn’t come to the cross and die.

The theatrics say, “I’m still alive; see how fervent I am in my desire for God!” But his fervency is for saving his life without the cross, not for losing his life through the cross, by which he would gain life everlasting. (Read The Cross – Only the Death Sentence Will Avail.)

Francis said something very revealing at the end of his talk. He mentioned how other believers asked him what he was doing next, yet none asked him about his prayer life. He was speculating why this was, and put this assumptive thought in the mind of those asking: “Of course you’re not going to start a ministry without walking the streets praying and begging God to direct you and lead you….

True teachers, prophets, and servants of God don’t start ministries. God starts and directs all His works. For this reason His servants don’t wander around begging Him for direction. Did Moses have to do that? Moses tried to beg off starting, but because God initiated the work, He prevailed and guided all the way:

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (Exodus 13:21-22 KJV).

Did Moses pray? Of course, but he didn’t have to wonder about where or how he would serve. Serving was God’s idea, and He took full responsibility for the work. Chan is still out there doing his own thing, nothing more than a beggar in the sight of Heaven, though rich in this world’s goods, particularly the praise and esteem of men.

Paul Cohen
Victor Hafichuk

Jon never replied.

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