A few years ago, I was mere feet from Francis Chan when he gave this statement (on the video) and I was very concerned about what he said and to a lesser degree, how Mike Bickle handled it. I have given a lot of thought to that day since. I also am aware of a newer video where Chan seems to have changed his mind.
Before getting into this, it is important to state that Azusa Report is classic Pentecostal. As such, we hold that praying in tongues is the initial physical evidence of the Holy Spirit. It is not a salvation issue and you can go to heaven without being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Francis Chan was at OneThing that is put on by Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. He was one of several speakers that year. At the end of the message, he came out with his position on praying in tongues.
I was close to the stage and was in unbelief of what was being said and how it was handled by Bickle, a man that I respect. The line should have been drawn in the sand right there that tongues is for today and anyone can be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Anything less is Gnosticism.
Francis Chan said what?
What can we make out of this? One thing that seems to be coming out is that he does not have a clue about the different purposes of praying in tongues vs speaking in tongues. This much is known. This is not an issue of heresy but it is concerning for someone standing on the platform of OneThing to be saying.
Chan was educated under the teaching of John MacArthur and has many Calvinist influences to this day. It is a stretch for him to even understand that spiritual gifts are for today in these circles. The last place many of these friends would want him is in Kansas City speaking to tens of thousands of Pentecostals.
I am sure from their point of view, Francis was putting his neck really out there saying that praying in tongues are possible. However, he was in the presence of some of the most outspoken Pentecostals in a conference hall. He was trying to affirm our position but failed horribly.
As I said, the other concern was how Bickle handled it. He was before the masses and had the opportunity to publicly take a stand for praying in tongues and the critical need for praying in the Spirit daily. Mike believes in praying in tongues and has openly admitted to doing it daily. However, this opportunity was missed.
All the way across the board, it should have been handled much better but was not. I understand that Mike was trying to graciously honor a guest into the conference but this was so off from what Pentecostal believe that it should have been corrected.
It was a very awkward few minutes to put it lightly.
A new views on Tongues
In early 2018, Chan came out about a different view on the subject. It was much closer to what Pentecostal hold to. It was not fully “praying in tongues in the initial physical evidence” but it was closer to the being biblical faithful than he was in Kansas City.
It seems that he is slowly making a change from his radical education from John MacArthur and it it being seen before the whole church world. The view he has now is different than he had at OneThing and I would bet that view is different than he had while in bible college.
He will not be Benny Hinn anytime soon but I am sure that he will do something big for the Holy Spirit among the traditional movements of the mainstream churches. Some of these churches having a large meetings with spiritual gifts on full display would never happen with Reinhard Bonnke. These same churches could be open to a meeting with Francis Chan though.