Before evangelical leader Francis Chan spoke at the International House of Prayer’s OneThing Conference last year, he was asked, “Why would you go there? They are creepy.” Chan gave this answer: “1 Corinthians 12:21.”
In this video, Chan discusses the chasm between charismatic churches and evangelical churches in America as a division in the body of Christ. Paul gave the Corinthian church an analogy of different members of the church being like parts of the same body (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). He seems to be warning them to avoid this division we so clearly see in the church right now.
Indeed, Paul was very concerned about division, a theme he wrote about multiple times. In Titus 3, we are instructed to “avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” He goes even further by telling Titus to enact a “three strikes and you’re out” policy with divisive people.
Chan admits there are differences in the church, and he admits he doesn’t know how to work through them. What he does know is that he’s so much stronger when he’s united with other members of the body. What he can’t understand is when people say things about charismatic leaders like Mike Bickle that seem so divisive. He says he hears things like, “I know Mike loves Jesus; I know he’s got the spirit of God, but…” But what? Chan asks. “The eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of you!”
“Sure, I could live without my hand, but I don’t want to,” Chan says. He even makes a point of saying he loves Mike Bickle.
In a very candid moment (one he visibly and vocally deliberates about sharing on stage) Chan admits, “I don’t speak in tongues.” But it’s not because he doesn’t think it’s possible. He’s even asked the Lord for this particular gift, but hasn’t received it.
Personally, Chan believes “there are different ways to show the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.” Speaking in tongues, he feels, is not the only way. He asks the crowd if they consider him a brother in Christ with God’s Spirit, and they erupt in cheers and shouts of “We love you, Chan!”
He then turns to Mike Bickle, Matt Maher and Audrey Assad who had taken the stage in preparation for the upcoming music set. “I love you guys…I don’t know if you all speak in tongues, but I see the spirit of God in you. I feel like you would die for him. I feel like we’re going to stand for what’s true and what’s right even if we’re hated—and I don’t have a lot of friends like that, you know?”
Chan does a great job of addressing the differences we all feel in the church while applying God’s word to the situation.