This is strange and awkward, even for Francis Chan

Francis Chan recently spoke at International House of Prayer (IHOP), the Kansas City church led by controversial minister, Mike Bickle. It doesn’t take too much searching on Google to discover that Bickle has made more than a few enemies in his day. And even if you dismiss the plethora of people whose personal interactions with Bickle and his ministry have been less than pleasant–heck, some are downright strange–there’s enough crazy in Bickle’s “theology” and “ministry” dealings to make the average believer approach with caution. There’s that terribly dark “vision” he had for America. He’s also quite connected to the Christian movement in Uganda, the same movement that helped create the intolerant laws against gays and lesbians in Uganda. And then there’s his cultish church, IHOP. And that’s just the tip of the IHOP iceberg. Like Chan says in his introduction, lots of people think Bickle is “creepy.”

And so not only does Chan ignore the drama and speak at IHOP (which is his right, of course), he begins his sermon with an over-the-top and very awkward public testament to how much he LOVES Mike Bickle. Chan has always had a somewhat quirky delivery, a seemingly earnest passion that just doesn’t always translate on video like it does live or in person. His expressiveness can often get in the way of what he’s really trying to say. (For instance, remember his book trailer for Erasing Hell?

Even if you don’t agree with Chan’s theology, most still find him endearing as a speaker. Yes, he’s quirky. But his passion is believable. Which I think is one of the reasons he’s garnered such a massive fan base.

But here, in the above clip, Chan’s quirky love for “creepy Mike Bickle” isn’t believable. I think he wants to believe it. But I’m not sure he really does, not like he believes in and loves Hell.

What do you think? Does Chan really LOVE IHOP creepy, Pastor Bickle? And if so, isn’t it an odd and awkward match?

(Clip found at Christian Nightmares.)


  1. says

    I think maybe Chan was deliberately making a statement. Maybe he was very well aware that he was going into a place that has been and continues to be marked by division, controversy and suspicion – a community whose members have learned to expect outsiders to be suspicious and critical of them – and he wanted to contrast this with the way that the Father wants us to love one another in spite of our differences. Yes, he seems a little overly earnest, but I guess that’s partly just down to style. On the other hand, maybe this is something he feels deeply personally convicted about, and he was preaching to himself and exhorting himself just as much as he was trying to speak and model reconciliation in a place of division.

  2. says

    He’s Gilbert Gottfreid: but with the awkward relationship between Champ Kind and Ron Burgundy:

  3. ecarnine says

    So weird. I love Francis Chan, but there was something about this that just didn’t seem like him. Of course, I’ve only seen the surfing video where he’s walking down a trail to the ocean. I know he’s a passionate guy, and I definitely admire his heart for following Christ, but this doesn’t seem 100% genuine. In fact in parts, he reminds me of French Stewart’s character on 3rd rock from the sun. The squinty one.

  4. gbdill says

    I applaud Chan’s efforts in making peace and trying to like/love someone who is quite theologically different than himself. But, the bigger question for Mr. Chan is… why couldn’t he have done this for Rob Bell?

  5. says

    We’ve been warned that prior to his return! there would be great deception EVEN within the body of Christ — that IF it were possible, it would deceive even the very elect,
    A LOT of those elect are just soaking it in – taking it for granted that if “so-and-so” said it, it just MUST be from God. What a sad, sad story.

  6. DavidMarshall3 says

    gbdill Because it has been a few years and people learn from their mistakes. Not saying that it’s right, but maybe there’s going to be some reconciliation in the future. Who knows!

  7. karlkroger says

    I actually think Chan’s desire to show grace and love, and seek unity is to be commended—whether it appears awkward or not. Leaders within American Christianity by and large suck at associating with persons they have significant theological disagreements with. I don’t care for much of Chan teaches, but his lesson here should inspire us all.

  8. ryanjpugh says

    Seriously, man? Why don’t you start building people up? Encourage the body. Do more that causes followers to keep following and the body to seek the unity of Christ.

  9. gbdill says

    ryanjpugh I love it when a reader acts all righteous and flogs another brother in public for all to see, rather than approaching them in private… you know… the biblical way.

  10. ryanjpugh says

    Ok. Maybe we should better understand what it even means to be able to call someone brother in context of approaching a brother in private. If we did, we wouldn’t get too worried about calling someone to a more
    beneficial use of blogging and time.

  11. texasrough says

    I was there.  It seemed very sincere.  Watch the whole sermon.

  12. Frank1991 says

    gbdill ryanjpugh  Has the writer of this blog approached Bickle privately? A comment is just what it is, a comment, written directly to the blogger. Whereas this blog was not written to Bickle, but rather to the Body of Christ about a brother in a non-building-up way.

  13. Frank1991 says

    This much I know. Chan has met Bickle and personally, you have not (otherwise you’d have mentioned it). So I’d trust Chan’s discernment over yours at least for now.

  14. EricaLynneJohnson says

    gbdill ryanjpugh Didn’t you just “act all righteous and flog another brother” in public as well. And, since you’re calling out ryanjpugh, why don’t you call out Matthew Paul Turner? Because, honestly, all he really ever does is publicly flog people. Furthermore, that scripture is in regards to church discipline, not Christian blogging. Believe me sir, there is a difference in disciplining a fellow believer and revealing on an already open forum that someone’s perspective is a bit jaded.

  15. says

    I’m sorry. Did I say something to offend you? I didn’t throw any stones, did I? Or name any names? You don’t know me – but yes, I absolutely could write a book. You, however, appear to be making my point for me – and without my even having to say anything else. How long have you been there?

  16. ah440z says

    Annunk No, comments like yours do not offend, only amuse.  It is the “arrogance” the “ego” in your comments that amuse me.  Very typical with the Christian community…holier than thou…looking down on others as if they have it all figured out….and instead of looking inward …they look down and see all those who do not think like them.  It is sad that you do not realize your ignorance.

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