"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. -- Matthew 7: 15-20 (ESV)
The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. -- Acts 17: 10-11 (ESV)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. -- 1John 4: 1 (ESV)
Beloved the Bible cannot be clearer on the subject of false teachers and prophets. Everyone from Jesus through the New Testament authors all warned about them. Jesus knew full well that after He left this earth, many would be led astray down the broad path that leads to destruction by those that twist and distort the word of God. It seems in these end times, with the proliferation of social media, that false teachers have grown exponentially leading untold numbers of people to the eternal doom. What is truly sad however is that often sound doctrinal preachers side with the ravenous wolves over the slaughtered sheep. In some cases they simply stand aside and let the wolves into the sheep pen. In other cases they support the wolves completely against the very people they were charged with protecting. It is not a mystery why Jesus chose the sheep-shepherd-wolf imagery. The sheep are portrayed as helpless and easily susceptible to being led astray. The wolf is depicted as voracious and predatory because that is what they are. The man of God is portrayed as a Shepherd because Christ expects them to love the sheep, tend to the sheep and protect the sheep. The shepherd carries a crook, or staff, to help direct the sheep. He also carries a rod, which is a weapon designed to beat away the predatory wolves. In these end times, too many pastors wield the rod against the sheep to protect the wolves.
Let us quickly review the key verses which help provide some scriptural support for this. The first set of Scripture is from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is instructing the people, not just the leadership, how to spot false teachers. This implies a few things most notably that we are absolutely supposed to judge the teaching we sit under. Do not hand me the twisting of touch not God's anointed! The wolf is not anointed of God. Standing in a pulpit makes you no more a shepherd than standing in a garage makes you a car. Titus teaches us that if we are minsters then we are REQUIRED to rebuke false teachers. Note that I said teachers and not teachings. It does no one any good to rebuke a teaching and let the wolf into the pen by not calling them out by name. The second set of Scriptures denotes that the Bereans were judgmental for making sure they were being taught correctly. Wait a minute, that's not right. They were considered disruptors of the unity for daring to check the word of God against what they were being taught. No, that doesn't sound right either. No beloved they were considered more noble for ensuring what they were receiving was indeed from God. This coincides with the final key verse for today that implores us to test the spirits because many false prophets have gone out into the world! Because we know the wolves are out there we need to test everything we hear to make sure that it is from the spirit of God and not the devil. How do we test? By doing the work of a Berean and holding the Word of God up to the teaching. When we have done out due diligence we should know what is false and what is true and hold onto the good. By their fruit we will indeed know them beloved.
So we come to the rotten fruit of Francis Chan. It gives me no joy to say that as Chan was once the darling of the Gospel-centric preachers. He used to be a no nonsense, heaven and hell preacher. Then he met Mike Bickle. Chan spoke at the IHOP annual conference and suddenly the descent down the slope of compromise began. He gushed at the first conference that he loved Mike Bickle. The same Mike Bickle that has offered direct revelation from God that has proven false. The same Mike Bickle that presides over one of the worst youth indoctrination centers of false teaching in the world. The same Mike Bickle that fully supports the NAR and the Kansas City False Prophets. The same Mike Bickle that endorses dominionism, Joel's End Time Army and the Bridal Paradigm. This heretic, destroying the work of God, was embraced nationally by Chan and as a result, Chan has been invited back every year. You cannot continue to hang around with false teaching and not think it will affect you. We started to see cracks in the theology of Chan's teaching. He started turning on the sheep, calling American Christians the "fattest on the planet." I was afraid of what was coming and this past month Chan indeed went full heretic on us. In a recent sermon, Chan was preaching on unity but his free-flowing preaching style led him to some dark, disturbing, and regrettable places. The Bible explains who really causes disunity in the church:
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. -- Romans 16: 17-18 (ESV)
It is the wolves that cause division by inserting doctrines that are false into the body of Christ. Another translation of these verses says we are to mark them and it is sad to say but we must mark Francis Chan now. In a recent sermon Chan speaks about unity by discussing various times in the Bible when God was wrathful. When He struck Uzzah dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant. When He refused to allow Moses to enter the Promised Land for striking the rock. When he slay both Ananias and Sapphira for lying about the value of a piece of land they sold. Then he dives off the theological cliff to defend some of the most obvious wolves on the planet. Let us reason together through the low lights: