Francis Chan Endorses Baptism, Rejects Sinner's Prayer

Francis Chan is a powerful speaker who really lives out his faith, having planted a church that gives away half of its income to the poor, and now, leaving a megachurch to plant a church in downtown LA. In this clip, from the DVD series on Crazy Love, Chan says that we should check and make sure that our beliefs are biblical. Chan says that the "sinner's prayer" is really not found in the Bible as the pathway to becoming a Christian, but that repentance and baptism into Christ are the pathways that are found. This quite profound conclusion by this well known speaker could impact a lot of people's thinking on this subject.

What do you think about Chan's thoughts on this subject? Please share below.

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Comment by Eric Johnson on August 3, 2017 at 2:13pm
In this video Chan misses the mark about baptism. He does say or seems to believe one must repent and get baptized, but he doesn't state for what reason. This is what our evangelical friends do to sound biblical and in keeping with the command of Mark 16:16. But it's still unbiblical. Baptism by faith is "for the forgiveness of sins." Its the exact point in ones obedience where the blood of Christ is applied to the sinners soul - Not before. I don't know why Chan and others resist glorifying God fully in public by missing this very important truth about salvation. I still cannot call Francis brother. Until he states publicly he was baptized for the remission of sins, he still needs to finish obeying the gospel. We need to pray for him.
Comment by Zack Blaisdell on April 29, 2012 at 2:11pm

Wonderful video! i have read Chan's book Crazy Love. Really good book.

BTW, anyone know how James Nored is doing? Praying he gets 100 % real soon.

God bless. Grace and Peace.

Comment by James Nored on November 29, 2010 at 2:07pm
Wonderful! Thank you, Ann. I just commented on this post and sent it out to all of the members of this network.
Comment by Ann Dunagan on November 29, 2010 at 12:01pm
I just added my first blog post here on Missional Outreach Network. It's related this discussion, with a MISSION-MINDED FAMILIES focus: "Nurturing What God is Stirring in Your Kids."
Comment by Ann Dunagan on November 29, 2010 at 11:17am
James, thanks so much for allowing me to clarify and retract my last comment, since I later realized (after I went back and listened to the end of MacArthur's video) that I didn't "agree with everything" he said. And yes, I did appreciate the "How the Lost Are Found" video you posted. It reminds me of the Albertine music video by Brooke Fraser with a local-outreach U.S. mission emphasis.
Comment by James Nored on November 28, 2010 at 11:06pm
Thanks, Ann, for these thoughts. I too have thought about Jesus' statement in John about him coming so that we might find life and applied it to this discussion. Jesus saves us from our sins, but he also saves us for something - a life of sacrifice, service, and mission - which you and your family absolutely live out. Mission-minded families are so rare. I am so glad that you are promoting this lifestyle!

I can edit discussions, but can only delete comments. So I'll delete your original comment, per your request, and repost the rest of your comment here. I thought that you might not have caught all of MacArthur's statements, since you obviously emphasize the here and now life that God calls us to. Thanks for clarifying!

Previous comment by Ann Dunagan - I actually spoke on some similar topics this week on Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh Demoss -- It's under the topic "I was Naked, and You Clothed Me" -- and a big portion was about having a passion for the salvation of the LOST, and about hell and eternity. here's the link-- and also you might want to note some of the discussion, as there were some "doosey" mission questions.
Comment by Ann Dunagan on November 28, 2010 at 8:19am
I wish I could go back and delete my last comment. I agree with the point that Jesus came to save the lost,a nd that we need to remember eternity and heaven and hell. But there is a life here, and needs, and he's called us to live with compassion and love. Jesus hiself said, "I have come that yet might have life, and have it more abundantly." Whether that means being able to rejoice from a prison cell like Paul and Silas or Richard Wurmbrand of the Voice of the Martyrs, or being able to have peace in the midst of anything, or live as families, with a JOY and sacrificial LOVE that will reflect the kingdom of God and impact our neighbors. I went back and reviewed the MacArthur video (I had only listened to the first portion of the video when I said I agreed with everything.) Could you please delete my first two sentences. I don't see a "delete" key here, but I would like to retract my response to the MacArthur video. Thanks!)
Comment by James Nored on November 27, 2010 at 11:20pm
Ann, MacArthur says that Jesus did not come to fix anything in our present world or in anyone's life today. Jesus only came so that we would go to heaven. However, Jesus did feed and heal people. He also said that he came to serve others. And we are going to be judged on whether or not we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, etc. (Mt. 25). It is this exclusive future occupation that has deprived the church of one of its primary witnesses to the world--serving others and caring for others. I can see from your link and from your life that you believe in the importance of serving others.

Service only (feeding the hungry, helping orphans, etc.) is not what we are called to. To do this and leave out eternal salvation is to miss our mission.

But to only care about people's future salvation and ignore their present needs and areas of brokenness is to miss out on an essential part of our mission as well. We were created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph. 2:10, and we are to be a light to the world, doing good deeds before men so that they will praise God (Mt. 5:14-16). Jesus cared for people in their entirety, not in slices. and so must we. Your thoughts?

Thanks for sharing this Revive Our Hearts link. I'm going to read it in its entirety.
Comment by James Nored on November 27, 2010 at 9:36pm
If you want to understand some of what I think Chan is trying to address, watch/listen to this short clip by John MacArthur. In this clip, MacArthur rejects any emphasis in salvation other than being forgiven so that a person "can go to heaven." Now, I'm all for going to heaven, but there is a life here and now that Jesus calls us to live. Really, I was quite shocked at MacArthur's words here. I'll look forward to you guys' thoughts on this.
Comment by James Nored on November 27, 2010 at 9:31pm
Ann, I have appreciated our dialogue together on this by email (or MON mail). I put in the title of this that Chan rejects the sinner's prayer and endorses baptism. This is a bit of an attention getting way to summarize this video clip.

I'll share here some of what I shared with you. I think that there are a couple of points that people like Francis Chan and others are making.
1) Many people come to faith gradually, like the disciples. Trying to get them to make a decision for Christ too early is often counter productive.

2) There is no exact example of a sinner's prayer in Scripture. The Scriptures show that faith in Christ is expressed in believe, repentance, and baptism.

As to the first point, I think that it is true that many people belong before believing, and it takes some a lot longer to come to faith in Christ. I do think, however, that at some point, a person ought to make a conscious decision to follow Jesus.

As to the second point, the elements found in the sinner's prayer of deciding to follow Jesus, acknowledging our sins, and asking Jesus into our hearts are biblical concepts. Many have criticized this as leading to a very nominal Christianity, where in exchange for a prayer and intellectual belief, people receive forgiveness and go on their merry way. This, of course, is not what you or I or virtually anyone else I'm sure intends on teaching. But if we only emphasize that Jesus is Savior, but not Lord of our lives, then it might be easy for people to get this impression. In the past, I think I emphasized the benefits of accepting Christ, and not much of the commitment. This was done afterwards. But now I emphasize in the conversion process that accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior is about a way of life in the here and now, including a call to mission, not just receiving of forgiveness.

When Chan says that the Bible shows that repentance and baptism are the pathways to salvation, not the sinner's prayer, I think that he is not only pointing towards what the Bible says, but also he is trying to address the nominalism that many see currently exists in many Christians.

You are right that we should rejoice every time someone decides to follow Jesus and accept him into their his or her heart. Whatever word is used for this--repentance, accepting Christ, etc., this is an important part of becoming a Christ-follower that we should not minimize.

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