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April 13, 2019

Debunking the Latest Defense of Francis Chan and the Wolves He Defends

By Anthony Wade

Response to latest defense of Chan's fall from grace...


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Shane Idleman wants to be a player on the Charismatic cult of personality pastoral circuit. Without the name recognition and street cred of the more popular names he is reduced to pimping himself through Charisma News to build his brand. When I first started seeing his writing on Charisma, it was not so bad. He seemed somewhat focused on sin and repentance with some minor straying from doctrine. That is not a recipe for success on Charisma however and as time wore on he has devolved into a full blown charismaniacal figure who does not mind protecting his fellow wolves as we can see from the above linked article. Apparently last week was "defend Francis Chan" week as this was one of two articles attempting to give cover to Chan's recent horrific decision to appear at Lou Engle's Heresy-fest known as "The Send." Idleman goes off the deep end here however excusing some of the absolute worst false teachers on the planet with absurd logic and no biblical support. Let us reason together once more beloved.

"I was recently asked for my take on the controversy surrounding Francis Chan speaking at what some call "questionable events." I took time to pray while driving three hours to one of these events to meet Chan and hear him speak. When I posted the picture on my Facebook page, it created quite a firestorm, branding me as heretical, ecumenical and part of the NAR (I don't even know what that is unless they meant the NRA). The irony is that nothing could be further from the truth; listen to the controversial sermon here beginning at the 18-minute mark and judge for yourself. My ministry allows me to meet many different Christians. Last week, I attended the National Religious Broadcasters event, was invited to Fox News studios in Los Angeles just days later and worked with Pure Flix's Billy Hallowell on the new series After Columbine earlier in the month and was able to chat with Ray Comfort before filming. My schedule provides many opportunities for me to observe what's going on in American Christianity." -- Shane Idelman

Let's clear up some of the muddying Idleman tries as his foundation. First of all "some" were not calling it "questionable." People with an ounce of discernment were calling it heretical. There is a vast difference. Chan has appeared multiple times with renowned false prophet Mike Bickle at his annual IHOP conference. Chan was not shy in gushing on stage about how much he loved Bickle. IHOP has been considered a cult by many who have managed to escape. The list of embraced heresies include the bridal paradigm, dominionism, the NAR, Joel's End Time Army, Easter Mysticism and contemplative prayer -- just to name a few. Bickle also claims direct audible revelation from God. Chan also recently attended the Send and shared the stage with the likes of Todd White, Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson. He also wrote a scathing article condemning people who would criticize such heretics to eternal punishment! Oh and as a side note, spare me the feigned ignorance of the existence of the NAR. It rings as ridiculously implausible as when Dr. Michael Brown tried the same tactic.

"When I met Chan backstage, I found him to be very humble and eager to listen as we talked about these issues. True to form, he also delivered a powerful message on repentance. Isn't that our goal as preachers? The event moved me deeply during worship, and I had the opportunity to meet some of the other speakers such as Corey Russell and Derek Carr. Their passion for the lost and their heart for "genuine" revival was evident, as thousands came forward to recommit and renew their relationship with the Lord. The irony is that when I try to tell the other side of it, heresy hunters are not open, humble or teachable. The old adage "Don't confuse me with the facts" comes to mind. Why are emotional worship, nights of prayer and pressing into God viewed as fanatical when these things are actually biblical? Why do I never see the heresy hunters at all-night worship services or broken by the Lord at the altar? This question demands an answer--and the answer is that many have never been filled mightily with the Holy Spirit. They can't say, like Jeremiah, that God's Word is in their heart like a burning fire (Jer. 20:9). Read more here on emotional worship and listen to my sermon on the true cost of revival here. The men and women who do the most for God are always people of prayer and worship--heart-wrenching, soul-searching prayer. Prayerlessness is the great sin of America today." -- Shane Idleman

To the point of preaching repentance, yes Shane that is the goal. No one however, is suggesting that everything a false teacher does or says is false. The really dangerous ones are far too slick for that. Chan's problem is that while he may preach a sound message he is leading the sheep directly into the grasp of voracious wolves. The other point here is the defense of emotionalism. It is an often used technique of those defending wolves. Usually it is couched as "I know their heart" or "they really love Jesus." No offense Shane but we do not need your personal emotional opinions about someone. That is why we have the bible. It is our measuring rod. It alone determines what and who is false. Humility and eagerness to listen are no replacement for doctrine that remains true to the bible. Remember that the Pharisees were passionate to win people to their side was well and Jesus still said they would make their converts twice the sons of hell that they were. As for the attempt to demean, I would rather be a heresy hunter than a gullible damned fool. I am completely open to be taught but you may want to try and bring a bible with you -- I have yet to see a scriptural reference. So it is not "don't confuse me with the facts" Shane. It is do not waste my time with your carnal opinions. And do not assume so arrogantly that people who have discernment do to tarry before the Lord or travail in prayer just because you do not see us at the local mega church rolling around on the floor. One last point here is that the statement that prayerlessness is the great sin of America is patently stupid. Why would the world pray to a God they do not believe exists? Their great sin is not having faith in the preached Gospel. Prayerlessness is however a great sin within the church.

"For those interested, many of the teachers I listen to are featured on our radio network, and I use The MacArthur Study Bible often. I love solid teaching and sound doctrine, as well as the movie American Gospel: Christ Alone . I also desperately need the power of the Spirit, as Spurgeon said every time he walked up those famous steps in London, "I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in the Holy Spirit." Unction is the dire need in the pulpits today. I've noticed that the division between cessationists and continuationists is causing a lot of the controversy. Cessationists tend to be leery of emotionalism, and continuationists tend to be the polar opposite. What about Roman Catholic priests at events? The theology of Rome cannot be reconciled with historical Christianity. This type of ecumenicalism is not biblical. When asked why no one says anything when leaders allow priests on the stage, I'm saying something now: It's not right. Maybe some leaders don't understand Rome's theology, but to hastily charge them as heretics and part of the one world order is naive at best, dishonest at worst. I can't speak for Chan, but I'm assuming he believes the same. -- Shane Idleman

Bzzzt. Thanks for playing Shane. I am a continuationist who is very leery of emotionalism and anything else that is unbiblical. The divide is between those who mistake their emotions for a move of the Holy Spirit and those who understand that the spirit leading them into all truth refers to biblical truth. The reference to the problem with ecumenicalism and Rome is a microcosm of the problem. If you believe that it is wrong it is your job to not be a part of it -- not merely offer lip service while you share the stage with them. Years ago Matt Chandler agreed to speak at Steven Furtick's Code Orange and he used his speaking time to preach against the narcissistic preaching that Furtick embodies. That is speaking light in the darkness.

"And how do we know that Chan isn't bringing solid teaching into the charismatic community? I would love to see more of that. Maybe John MacArthur can reach out to Jesus Culture; John Piper to Bethel; and Alistair Begg, or better yet, Paul Washer, to Elevation Worship. No, I'm not joking. I would love to see more unity." -- Shane Idleman

Wow. This really is the heart of the disconnect from those pastors who insist on defending wolves. Their wrongly assume that the wolves are somehow redeemable. They are not. I know that may seem harsh but find me one instance in the bible where a false teacher repented. There isn't one. In fact the bible says their destruction has been set from long ago. The bible is very specific that disunity is brought into the church via false doctrine. We do not unify with people who espouse such unbiblical doctrine. Do you honestly think Bethel has not heard the rebukes? That Elevation church has not heard that reading oneself into the biblical text is heretical? That Jesus Culture has not heard that fire tunnels are demonic? Not to mention this level of ignorance thinks nothing of the sheep. Where is the concern for the victims of false teaching?

"What about some of these people with eccentric behavior such as Todd White, Heidi Baker and Lou Engle? Personally, I don't understand many charismatic mannerisms, nor do I agree with some video footage from past events, but I would have to speak to them directly and see the fruit. I love Lou's heart for prayer and fasting. Some people are eccentric and very emotional. It's difficult for me to properly evaluate everyone because I tend to be reserved, and I sometimes judge those who are different (meaning, not conservative like me). I can neither endorse nor rebuke speakers I don't know unless something is clear and evident, such as when I debated a pastor on Fox News about gay marriage. Click here for the quick video version and here for the hour-long audio. If Todd White has said controversial things in the past, let's give him the opportunity to clarify. Would some of these leaders be willing to go on the podcast "Remnant News" and answer these questions with me, and my podcast "Idleman Unplugged" where I talk about controversial issues? Both can be found on iTunes and Podbean. I did a recent interview on "Remnant" that just posted on YouTube. Todd, Heidi, Lou and Mike Bickle ... I'm easy to reach. Would love to try to better understand your ministries." -- Shane Idleman

Eccentric behavior? Is that all you think we are talking about? Seriously? Todd White performed the debunked "growing leg trick" in the heretical Holy Ghost" movie. It was a scam Shane -- not eccentric behavior. Heidi Baker pretends to be drunk in the spirit while rolling around on the ground shouting "shaba"; "shaka baba" and "whoa!" That is demonic; not eccentric. Lou Engle lies that he has heard things from God, which the Lord has never said. That is false prophecy -- not eccentric behavior. The heart of what is wrong here is the notion that we must first speak to the wolf about their wolfish behaviors. We do not. We merely need to hold up their teaching to the bible and let the word of God dissect it and diagnose it for us. What can be gained by speaking to them first? They will simply say they love Jesus and you will claim they have great humility and an eagerness to listen. What Idleman fails to see here is he has no problem confronting the world about what he views as false but not someone involved in the church.

"Do I have concerns with Benny Hinn? Absolutely, but I recently heard he restored his marriage and denounced the false gospel. Has anyone checked these facts? Again, I'm not endorsing him; based on what I have seen in the past, I have several issues with his ministry, especially if repentance has not taken place. My question isn't why did Chan speak to a huge group of people, but why did Benny Hinn if he has not repented of the false gospel? If he hasn't, why did organizers allow it? Again, we need clarification. If I were offered the chance, as Chan was, to speak to thousands of people about the true gospel--to preach hell hot and heaven sweet and call the stadium to repentance--I would have a hard time saying no. Speaking at an event doesn't always mean endorsement. Chan and I don't follow many of these ministries closely; we don't always know who is safe and who is dangerous. If our motivation for going into a dark and dying world is to preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, that should be taken into consideration. I tend to be "safely" conservative when considering the power of the Holy Spirit, however, Scripture clearly supports the miraculous work of the Spirit today. I'm open but cautious. I think we have too many prophecies and not enough humility, too much self-centered worship and not enough waiting on God. We need sound doctrine and the power of the Holy Spirit. It's possible to be "Bible taught" but not "Spirit led"--straight as a gun barrel theologically but just as empty. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (see 2 Cor. 3:6)" -- Shane Idelman.

I have checked these facts. It is easy for Hinn or Joyce Meyer to stand on the millions of dollars they have fleeced from God's flock and lament that maybe they were too extreme on the prosperity side. Benny Hinn should be low hanging fruit for a discerning Christian. He pretends to knock waves of people over with his suit coat. He has mangled the bible to defend bilking people of their money. Speaking at an event is tacit endorsement Shane. Unless you preach against the very people or theologies of the event, as Chandler did, you are endorsing them. Remember Chan has also publicly praised the wolves in question and threatened Christians everywhere with hell if they dare criticize them. And don't hand me this nonsense that you do not know who they are! Research! Google is available to all! Do the work of a Berean if you claim to be a pastor! The verse from Corinthians is being misused here. This is about how the law kills but the Holy Spirit brings life not that the bible kills. If we are truly spirit led we will allow the spirit to lead us directly into all truth.

"Don't get me wrong. Theological and expositional teachings are essential to Christian living, but how often are theology students encouraged to fast and pray as well as study? How often are they taught brokenness and repentance in addition to translating the Greek language? How often are they taught the surrendered life? We can sometimes be more concerned about a master's degree than a degree from the Master. All of us need to be filled with God's Spirit. We need gentleness, love, grace, and mercy to overflow from our hearts. Then, and only then, can we preach, write and speak with boldness for the truth. Sadly, it appears that many are eager to be critical. God help us. When we point out error, we should be broken and humble, not excited about it." -- Shane Idleman

This is a staple of the NAR Idleman feigns to not know about. To downplay scripture in favor of the "spirit", which is a fancy way of saying our emotions. The sound bite about a degree from the master might make for a cute bumper sticker but it is absurdly ridiculous. As if the Master would give you a degree outside of His Word. You cannot speak the truth boldly if you relegate the truth to a subservient position in your growth. While I agree that pointing out mere error should be humble to correct that is not what we are speaking about. I am excited for the sheep when they come out from under the darkness of false teaching!

"Many bloggers disqualify themselves by their attitude, and most have limited facts. They grasp at a picture here or a YouTube video there and begin their tirade. I have a question: When was the last time you led someone to the Lord, visited the sick, worshipped and prayed for hours and served your family with humility? Those are true marks of a believer. A defender of truth should also be a defender of love and grace. This lack was the pitfall of the Pharisees." -- Shane Idleman

You arrogant, arrogant man. You do not know who has been "led to the Lord", what sick have been visited, or the family life of the people you are trying to embarrass! And then to misplay the Pharisee card is just the poetic justice you deserve. The pitfall of the Pharisees was not that they lacked love and grace Shane. It was that they lacked correct doctrine! Pointing out that Bethel is a cesspool is not a tirade -- it is a fact. It is also not as simplistic as watching a YouTube video. It involves reviewing sermons, quotes and research. It is to do the work of Berean and have the true mark of a believer -- a concern for what sayeth the Lord.

Shane Idleman finishes with some wistful desire for something the bible has never promised and is straight up NAR -- revival. He actually concludes this hit piece on discernment by asking of we truly want revival. The answer is no Shane because the bible does not say it will happen. It says that we will have however a great end times apostasy and what you are defending is a huge part of that apostasy. There still remains so much right about your preaching desires Shane. Sin and repentance being at the center. But you are running with a wolf pack Shane and it is time to remove yourself and get back to caring about the sheep you will answer for. That means removing yourself from Charisma News and realizing that if you were truly being led by the Holy Spirit He would not be leading you to your emotions. He would be leading you to the Word of God.

Reverend Anthony Wade -- April 13, 2019

Authors Bio:
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.