Francis Chan has issued a warning to the body of Christ against division, stating that Satan is “getting the victory" as theological divisions, slander, and gossip continue to divide the U.S. Church.
During a sermon delivered at the 2019 Church Leaders Conference, held at the Zacharias Institute in Alpharetta, Georgia, Chan, former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, first emphasized that unity is important to Jesus.
“If He had it His way, we would be so united in this room ... He wants oneness among us,” Chan said, citing Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John: “We are one — I in them and You in Me — that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me.”
Disunity and division are among the things God says He “hates,” Chan said, adding: “God wants unity; so it’s an abomination when there’s some stirring up among the brothers,” the pastor emphasized. “He wants so badly for His glory to be seen; He wants so much for people to see who Jesus is, and our oneness is vital to that.”
Yet, the Crazy Love author acknowledged that division is “so much easier."
“Some of us grew up in different denominations,” he explained. “And it’s easy if you grew up a conservative evangelical to just stay in your circle and talk about how those charismatics don’t know the Word of God; they just go by feelings, they don’t care about hard truths, they’re just all about their visions.”
Likewise, those in charismatic circles are tempted to stay in their circles and “talk about how conservatives are so arrogant and divisive and powerless,” he said.
“We all agree in our little circles,” he said. “We’re just in our own little world, and that’s so much easier.”
Chan admitted that recently, he watched an old video of himself teaching and was brought to tears by his own “arrogance and division.”
“I apologize for my lack of clarity sometimes,” he said, adding that now, he sometimes comes under fire for appearing on the same stage as those with controversial theological viewpoints.
“If I have an opportunity to go anywhere and present the life-saving, soul-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, I will go there at the risk of being misunderstood. You’ve got to understand the greater risk of the Gospel not going into some of these places. That’s my heart.”
Chan exhorted the audience to “fight against some of this divisiveness.”
“Sometimes it can feel impossible,” he admitted. “Are there charismatics out there that do not know the Word of God and don’t even care to and just want to dream tonight? Sure. Are there are conservatives that are so stinkin’ arrogant and just think that anyone who speaks in tongues is an idiot? Sure. I was one of them.”
“But then there are those in so many different camps who really seem to love [Jesus],” he continued. “We’ve got to work toward this oneness because something is supposed to happen when we become perfectly one that Satan doesn’t want.”
“Unity is what God wants, it’s what Jesus prayed for, and we can’t be paralyzed by the magnitude of it,” Chan declared. “How are we going to fix all of these hundreds of years of division? I don’t know. I just know this is my start.”
“He hates this fighting, and when we become one, that’s when the Enemy is going to lose,” he concluded. “That’s when the world is going to believe in the Messiah. That’s when that fire is going to come down on the temple like it did in Acts 2 and fall upon His church, His temple, which is us. There’s something about that unity.”
“I just want to be one of those voices,” he said. “My prayer is that some of you hear me screaming today ... to use your voice to say, ‘we gotta stop fighting. This is not what Dad wanted of His church.’ This is huge. Satan is getting the victory right now, and we can do something about it.”
The event description states: “What does it look like for the church to be reconciled to God, to forgive one another as the Lord forgave, and to live out our message of reconciliation in a deeply-divided culture?”
In addition to Chan, speakers included Ravi Zacharias, Becky Pippert, John Bechtel, Michael Ramsden, Lisa Fields, Abdu Murray, Judy Dabler, Vince Vitale and other members of the RZIM team.