Francis Chan recently opened up about his change in perspective regarding the gift of healing. The author and pastor spoke about how he used to “ridicule” people who did things like speak in tongues and who believe they can heal other people. But, after praying for gifts of healing for many years, Chan said a few months ago he saw these gifts manifest for the first time.
“For many years I didn’t believe in healing. I didn’t believe in miracles—it was pretty much what I was taught in seminary,” Chan told Jean-Luc Trachsel during a segment of a virtual conference called Presence 2020 hosted by International Association of Healing Ministries (IAHM). Chan went on to say that his perspective changed after he honestly evaluated the things he read in Scripture about the gift of healing.
Chan told Trachsel he was a little surprised he was asked to speak at the Presence 2020 conference since he was relatively new to healing ministry and emphasized he was “still on this journey.” The conference was streamed live over the course of four days and included online healing rooms where participants could seek prayer for miraculous healing.
The author and pastor, who recently moved to Hong Kong with his family to pursue ministry, spent a big portion of the hour-long interview talking about humility and its antithesis, pride. Chan said “Pride is something I fight everyday” and addressed the need for all ministers to eschew arrogance when ministering to other people.
In our culture, Chan explains, everyone is trying to make a name for themselves—even Christians. He admitted he often struggles with pride when he is speaking to large groups of people. For this reason, Chan says, whenever he is preparing to speak to a group of people, he asks himself “Do I really love these people?” Referring to 1 Corinthians 13, Chan reasons he can only manage to sound like a clanging gong if he speaks to people without loving them—even if what he is saying is theologically sound and true.
Chan implied pride and speaking without love are reasons those in more “conservative” faith traditions (meaning those that don’t believe in speaking in tongues or that God endows people with the gift of healing, for instance) don’t receive messages about healing. Chan said he identifies with those more conservative tradition groups and understands their reluctance. “We would see a pride or maybe a flamboyance or a showiness in those who believed they had the power to heal…it put us off.”
It’s hard to hear a message from an self-promoting person like that, Chan explained. On the other hand, Chan said he’s seen some conservatives “speak with such arrogance.” An arrogance, Chan admits, he used to display. Chan says he used to think “you guys are such idiots. I understand the Greek better. I understand the Hebrew better. I’ve studied much longer…” and therefore believed he had more mature theological beliefs.
“Pride is repulsive to all of us, but we just don’t often see it in our camp,” Chan concluded. For this reason, Chan said he asks God to heal his character on a regular basis.
Trachsel said he feels that the world needs God’s healing power now “more than ever” yet those who use these gifts of healing sometimes lack the humility necessary to use it properly. Trachsel asked Chan for his advice for ministers who believe in the healing ministry of the Holy Spirit yet lack this humility.
Chan said he was “so grateful for the faith many of you possess” but reminded viewers that God opposes the proud. He suggested asking the Lord to give them a heart for their audience before they speak. “We don’t want to be like Simon the Magician who just wanted power,” Chan said while praying for the viewers.
“I know that we can have ministries and see the power of God and not truly know him,” Chan went on, referring to Matthew 7:21-23. For instance, Chan says as far as we know Judas performed miracles, just like the other disciples. Yet when he was tested, Judas betrayed Jesus. He acted as if he didn’t even know the Lord with whom he had shared so many life experiences. “Don’t hide behind a ministry” or use certain “lingo” that makes it appear like you know God when you might not, Chan warned. In other words, don’t participate in ministry as a show or an act.
Trachsel also asked Chan if he felt like he had to switch camps, so to speak, when he became more open to healing ministry and things like speaking in tongues. “Not really,” Chan said. Before, Chan found himself speaking to many different denominations. He will speak wherever he feels led to speak, with the understanding he doesn’t necessarily agree with everything that group teaches and so long as he is free to say whatever he feels the Holy Spirit is telling him to say. Chan said he’s even open to speaking in secular settings, with that same understanding.