Awhile back we shared pastoral thoughts on Kanye West’s profession of faith in Jesus.
We spoke about what was encouraging and what was troubling to us.
But in the end we left it with some simple points to consider:
One was the very bad tendency for people to gush over a celebrity while showing little concern for the neighbor down the street. The call for everyone to pray for Kanye but you don’t see the same call in the forums for the masses of unknown people God is putting in the paths of believers.
Another was the level of snark that many showed by doubting if Kanye was truly converted. We noted that the amount of time devoted to talking about him was frankly just silly and unhelpful for most people. They have no interaction with him and therefore should just stay out of it all.
Instead we pointed out that the best thing that he could do was step out of the limelight and become a faithful disciple of a godly man who can help bring him to maturity in the Lord.
Finally we said that each person who listens to us should consider their own field that God has given them. Are they faithfully bringing the gospel to bear where they are at? Are they diligent to call sinners to repentance? Or are they distracted by the news about Kanye.
Well some time has passed by since that podcast and he was in the news again but this time with Justin Beiber. Along with that we have the latest news about Francis Chan and his story of mass healings. So we decided to give a few minutes of time to talk about all three of these people.
In our first episode, we talked about how the many bad and false teachers who are prominent in the American church were courting him. Though he was influenced by some sound men, we were nonetheless concerned, as he was a celebrity himself and the celebrity tendencies in these people’s work would make sense to him.
Since then, we know that he did one of his services at Osteen’s church which is just sad. It gives the false idea that Osteen is actually pastoring a church, and again, confuses the gospel that Kanye professes to believe with the false gospel Osteen spews out with great vigor.
He did a Super Bowl service in Miami as well. The pastor who preached for him was Rich Wilkerson of Nous church. Wilkerson has his wife as a co-pastor and he is one who is on the fringe of the Charismatic world. His messages are vague at best, and filled with self-help and Osteen-like prosperity and health messages.
Again, these are people who are influencing Kanye and it is disturbing at best.
But what is also interesting is how silent so many have become regarding Kanye.
A few months ago everyone was urging people to pray for him. They were all thrilled about him and he was the flavor of the day so to speak.
Now, you find little to nothing about him. Are those same people calling for prayers still praying? Or have they moved on to the next celebrity event?
Are they still burdened for his soul? Or were they ever truly burdened? Only the Lord knows.
He hit the news in the Christian world by recently talking about his claim of faith in Christ.
He is now giving mini sermons to people such as the paparazzi who shadow him. He leads worship at the church in L.A. Sadly it is one connected to Hillsong and all of its errors. The head pastor is a guy named Judah Smith who preaches and teaches in the same strain as Perry Noble and Steven Furtick. In other words, bad stuff.
In a recent interview he describes himself as a Jesus follower and wants to be led by the Spirit. He shows a desire to make some sort of impact in other people’s lives.
Here are his own words, "So now the way I look at my relationship with God and with Jesus is, I'm not trying to earn God's love by doing good things. God has already loved me for who I am, before I did anything to earn and deserve it,” the He goes on.... “It's a free gift by accepting Jesus and just giving your life to Him, and what He did is the gift. The forgiveness is the thing that we look at and say, 'I'm going to worship You, God, because you gave me something so good.'”
He talks about the reality of sin and the need to change. But also talks about the false idea of self-righteousness and even speaks to the idea of indwelling sin. He speaks of the great pain in this world and how people are looking for an escape. It is in this light that he gave that above quote.
So, now he does a surprise showup at Kanye’s Sunday service and again everyone is talking about him.
So what do we say?
The same as with Kanye. If he is making a profession of faith, then great. But now grow in respect to his salvation.
Find a place of solid teaching and become a learner and not a leader. His celebrity status does not translate into the Church and people in the Church need to stop trying to do that.
And most importantly, time will tell. Jesus said it so simply, “he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Countless lives have started on what appeared to be the narrow path, only to be cut short as the broad path became more attractive.
Francis Chan is quite a challenge for us.
On one level we have benefited from his ministry. We have enjoyed his passion for God and to see people come to faith.
On another level we find ourselves consistently concerned with the trajectory he seems to be on.
He left his church in Southern California several years ago to try to experiment with what and how “church” might look like in a different context. Perhaps we will do an entire episode or two on him as there are many things that are worth exploring.
He has a ministry in San Francisco called We Are Church. There he seeks to train other pastors to pursue church in a very different manner.
Here is how he describes this effort:
"Haven't you always been a bit confused about Church? You read about the unstoppable power, miraculous love, and outrageous sacrifice of the first church. Then you wonder if it is even possible for the church today. We believe it is not only possible, but it is promised and commanded. And we want to invite you to dream with us and hopefully reignite your hope for the church. Join us to take a fresh look at the Scriptures, and experience how we pursue these biblical ideals for church in San Francisco."
I think that it would be unfair to assume we understand everything that Francis Chan is thinking and was thinking as he made a massive transition from S. Cal to San Francisco.
Since then he has announced that he is now heading out to Hong Kong to be a missionary. This is again quite eye-opening and gives us pause to think why it is necessary. But again we are not part of his decision-making so we leave it there.
However, what we have noticed is how his circle of relationships and influence is definitely much larger than before.
He is now publicly preaching and sharing the pulpit at conferences with folks like Mike Bickle of IHOP and Todd White.
He has made some incredibly bad statements regarding the nature of the Lord’s Supper. Things he should know better than to say.
But what hit the headlines most recently was his trip to a remote village in India.
He relates the event in a sermon given at a conference at Moody Bible Institute.
Basically he speaks of how after asking God to work through him and bring healing that all of the sudden everyone he touched was healed.
It is interesting to hear him talk about it. He does it in his normal, passionate manner. He talked about how uncomfortable he was and how this was not expected. He talked about how he was there with others, with whom he had significant theological differences, but we have never found out who they were.
But the reaction on the web has been very similar to that of Kanye and Bieber. For many this was just another example of the outworking of God’s power and they were very excited. For others there was a shock, a sense of sadness, or outright anger.
Our free thoughts.
First, we wish there was video, but to date none is forthcoming. In a day and age when everything is videoed we would love to see some clip of this time.
Second, we would not ever say this could not happen. God heals even now in accordance to His desires. Most certainly this could have happened.
Third, we do find it at least intriguing that he was in a remote village with no apparent recordings when this happened. We would love to hear others in that group give their observations.
Fourth, in reality it becomes a “so what.” And we do not mean that in a harsh way, but we are simply forced to ask, “So?” What changes? Nothing. God is still God. The gospel is still the gospel. The means of salvation is through the proclamation of the gospel.
We are unwise as people to assume that when we see miraculous events that they must be proof of God’s blessing.
We are concerned with this story as it does play into the very bad theology of the NAR who argue that the new so-called apostles like to point to miracles as proof that they are truly apostles in every way.
Jesus rebukes those who lean upon miracles as proof of anything in Matthew 7.
In each of these there is a common thread flowing. It is the lust by so many to see famous people come to faith as if that is something greater than a common prostitute.
Along the same line, it shows the great shallowness and immaturity of so many professing believers who are quick to jump on any and all bandwagons that give a whiff of spirituality.
It shows us that there is still much work to be done from the pulpits and in the lives of believers. There is still a great need for sound teaching that creates stable, faithful believers who are not easily tossed about by every new teaching, event or personality.
It shows us that the cult of personality is still alive and well in many parts of this world and it is a grievous sin in the church.
We end with these words from the bible:
"As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;"