FRANCIS CHAN RESPONDS TO CRITICS

Followers of my blog know that I promote Francis Chan’s view of the church. He has come under severe criticism for his involvement in the recent SEND Conference. This is his response.

WHY DO YOU SOMETIMES ACCEPT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS IN PLACES THAT TOLERATE THEOLOGY THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM YOURS?

I speak at events almost every week of the year. Often times, it’s more than one event a week. I don’t really enjoy it—I hate the travel, but try not to complain about it. Despite the toll it can take on myself and the family, it is always an honour to preach the Word. I believe it is my calling. Some question my choice to speak so often, but my best discernment and the discernment of the elders of our church is that it is still a part of my calling in this season.

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 recognise, 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 SEND: 59,000 GATHER TO WAGE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

If Christians want to see an awakening and revival, then they need to not only pray, but actually go out into the world and get to work. That was the message of The Send, a charismatic mega-event that continued without ceasing for nearly 12 hours straight on a sweltering Saturday in Orlando, Florida. According to Youth With a Mission’s Andy Byrd, 59,000 people attended the free event, held in the Camping World Stadium, and peak attendance at one time was 40,000.

“We are here because we are crazy enough to believe that we are called for the greatest move of God in human history,” said Byrd. The Send is not led by any one individual or ministry. At one point during his message, Francis Chan wryly remarked how unfair it was that The Send attendees got “20 speakers and 15 bands” while there are people around the world who have never heard the gospel.

Fixing that disparity was the main goal of The Send, to hear its speakers explain it. Evangelist Kolenda said he’s used to seeing crowds this size in countries like Africa or Asia, quipping that in Africa, “We do our counsellor  training in a stadium this size.”

Regarding neighbourhoods, Liebscher and Chan urged Christians to take everyday evangelism seriously, emphasising it as a matter of personal responsibility. Liebscher said many believers, without knowing it, approach church with a worldly mindset rather than a kingdom mindset. He says people often come into church not wanting to be equipped but wanting the church to do their Christian life for them.

“We approach the church more like a restaurant where I’m coming because I don’t want to do certain things,” Liebscher said. “I don’t want to cook. I don’t want to clean up. So I pay you money, and you do that.”

But Liebscher said that doesn’t work for church, because God explicitly demands certain things from every one of His disciples: praying for the sick, widow and orphan care, discipleship, generosity and evangelism.

“It is not your pastor’s job to see your friend saved,” Liebscher said. “One of the biggest prophetic words God wants to give to the church right now is two words: ‘personal responsibility.'”

“I believe God’s message today is first be faithful in your neighbourhood,” Chan said. “Do the people on your block know what you believe and that you love them? Have you warned them about who they’re going to face? Have you told them they can have peace with God? If not, why would he want to send us somewhere else—to not do the same thing in another language?

“I so want to see God do huge things, but he’s not going to pick you unless you’re faithful in the small things: with forgiveness, with relationships in the local church, with getting the pornography out of your life, with getting the immorality out of your life, [with] the discipline of studying the Word of God so you know what the heck you’re talking about.”

Francis Chan concluded the segment with a prayer reminding all in attendance they are adopted too: “You are a Father to the fatherless, and You want us to be the same. How can the love of God be in us if we pass by those who are in need? I ask your forgiveness, Lord, for not thinking about all these children who are in need.

“Every time we cry out ‘Abba, Father,’ from the depth of our souls, we are reminded of the many children who would love to say that.”

What a great message conveyed at The Send. A timely message for this hour and further confirmation time is running out to preach the GOOD NEWS. I hope it challenges you, as it did me.