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.

    • says

      We are not supposed to compromise Gods word ever and also Chans attendance validates the conference and Mike Bickle ministry which is evil at any level that you look at it. I used to be a MB follower of his teaching and the church and ministry has been deceived and infiltrated by the Kundalini Spirit. Please do not roll your eyes until you have done some homework on this subject. Your Brother in Christ Raymond Clements

      • Ashley says

        The bible doesn’t contain the word “Kundalini spirit” therefore I don’t believe it is of God. We, as believers of Christ, are called to be disciples. How can we make disciples, let alone make more believers, if we don’t connect with sinners. Christ was persecuted by the Pharisees for meeting with sinners. Christ came for the “sick” not the “well”. He came to save the sinners. How can we save the sinners if we don’t connect with them? Francis is demonstrating saving the “sick” by preaching at IHOP. We should all be in the presence of the “sick” to share the love of Christ within us to bring them to repentance. We all are “sick” to a certain degree. Even us in Christ. We need to keep growing and we need each other to build each other up and not tear each other down. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. Some of us I see stay fixated on the weaknesses and instead tear people down because they are not perfect.

  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.

  17. Doug says

    I’m not sure how I should judge his comments, In fact, I am sure I shouldn’t. And actually the more I read through your blog, the more I think I see a common thread. I’ll leave it at this, and let the true believers to be led by the Holy Spirit to make the correct judgments based upon his leading. God Bless.

  18. says

    I don’t understand how something so subjective could be called into question and be for edification. Could the awkwardness be a function of your own misgivings and interpretation. Just saying ‘even for Francis Chan’ implies a level of assumed awkwardness to begin with – so objectivity is not even a part of the foundation of the observation.

    I’m grieved by our constant pursuit of opinion – either it’s regarding the edification of the Body or it’s a concern for the health of the flock. If we believe heresy is an issue at IHOP – would we not want our messengers to go in prayerfully and in strength and wisdom to demonstrate to the body what sound doctrine looks and sounds like. Ignoring the heresy of the leadership to approach the body seems like a more godly approach than believing one’s self to be too righteous to attend.

    For Heaven’s sake, Jesus taught in the synagogues of those He called vipers. It was probably awkward when He spoke to them in parables that were beyond their comprehension.

    As the parable about the fig tree approached by its’ master in the vineysard tree goes – worry about yourselves.

  19. Hunter McNeel says

    This was one of the most bold messages I have seen, I watched it all live stream. Mike Bickle started a prayer movement, a ‘house of prayer’ which from Jesus’ mouth exactly said that His house would be a …? “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 7:11, and Luke 19:45-46. You are so afraid of going to an uncomfortable level with the LORD that you do not experience His fullness and even tear down brothers who are doing much more in the faith than you. You can be great in the kingdom, just ask and believe you do not have to stay where you are at, literally the Holy Spirit can give you knowledge of all things. We do not need these great words of wisdom from men to ensure our faith. What did Paul say in 1 Corinthians 2? He did not speak in words of wisdom and great theological understandings… but in the Power of the Holy Spirit so that the people would not put their trust in the wisdom of men but in the Power of God! Christianity is made simple when we just have faith like a child and let the Holy Spirit use us 🙂 I love you 🙂 If there is anyone that wants prayer then ask.

  20. ron copperman says

    I am Jewish.

    While visiting I got a profound healing at IHOP-KC

    Several years later I was just visiting IHOP-KC and my Dad (who is a doctor) called while I was sitting in the last row of the prayer room relaxing. He said had cancer and had 60 days to live.
    To put it simply, God spoke to me and said, No.
    My Dad lived about 4 more years and died…of old age. He was going to turn 93.

    Play nice and enjoy each other…and if all else fails…pray

    Thanks for reading…
    (oh, by the way, …me and Jesus are way cool with each other now…He`s jewish ya know. harharhar)

  21. James says

    The tone of the article is down-right negative. It is difficult to wonder whether or not the intention is for the well-being of body of Christ.

    It is not by controversy nor by cherry picking theology, but by one’s FRUIT that we know whether someone is the follower of Christ. If a ministry is drawing you closer to Christ, it is of Christ because whoever is not with Christ is against Christ (Matt 12:30).

    Francis Chan recognizes this fact and has welcomed Mike Bickle and his ministry with open arms. It’s that simple.

  22. says

    This might be my least favorite blog of all time. I’ve been around just about every christian circle for years and while I certainly think that IHOP has its creepy moments and I personally prefer the stylings of NT Wright, Rob Bell, and Brian McLaren the negative tone about Bickle and his ministry seem way uncalled for, especially when still holding Francis Chan on a pedestal.

    Everything that I disagree with IHOP on theologically or from a practical standpoint are all the same things that I disagree with Chan on. They are a perfect match in most ways.

    With that said they both have amazing hearts despite some super conservative theology that I don’t personally agree with but I don’t find out of the norm for the majority of Christians. Their only fault is probably taking the bible too literally and fundamentally.

    Most of what you read about Bickle online is extremely exaggerated, completely false, or stuff from the 80s which he has completely distanced himself from and considered wrong and admits was super creepy and weird.

    IHOP is filled with some of the most passionate lovers of God and has produced a worship movement which we can thank for the likes of Jesus Culture, Misty Edwards, and many more.

    Christianity is creepy in itself and while I personally find myself on the fringe of it and atheism, i personally will always view Mike Bickle as one of the most humble, honest, and least creepy guys i’ve ever had the chance learning from.

    • says

      I have Jason 13, Kayla 15, Joseph 5, and Orie 2.

      I have so taught my kids the work of the ministry and to LOVE their neighbor that:

      Just a few days ago Jojo thought it was his turn and said to Jason “Jason its my turn” Jason didn’t answer. So Jojo said “Jason when is my turn?” Look mercy, openness that maybe he was wrong. Jason said “I don’t know”. Now at this point Jojo use to get frustrated or sad. But this time he asked Kayla to help him. Kayla gave up the activity she was doing come into the room and said “How can I help?” Jojo again said to Jason “Jason when is my turn?”. All three of them had a conversation and agreed that in five minutes it was Jojo’s turn.

      It has lessened my work. Kayla loved Jojo and Loved Jason. She sacrificed her activity to help them with fairness and unity. Jojo at five knows conflict resolution!

      I have never met a Family of God that even knows what the work of the ministry IS!!!


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