Francis Chan, Evangelical Pastor, Faces Backlash After Preaching on the Real Presence

Last weekend a sermon by Evangelical pastor Francis Chan went viral, as in the sermon Chan shared about Communion and his discovery of the scriptural and historical basis for transubstantiation – that the bread and the wine become the literal Body and Blood of Christ.

The sermon was maligned by many Protestants and praised by many Catholics, with speculation as to whether Chan is moving toward a conversion to Catholicism. Chan is an internationally recognized preacher and author, and former pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA, so his sermon came as a shock to many in the Evangelical world.

Chan began his sermon by sharing, “God has taught me so much in the last month or two. I feel like I’m on another level, like I’m so excited about the future because I feel like there’s nothing in store for me but greater and greater intimacy with God.”

He then acknowledged that, “There were some things about Communion that always bothered me when I read about it in Scripture.” Chan described the Scripture passages that did not fit in with his understanding of Communion as an Evangelical, and explained how he began to study the Early Church. Through this he discovered the scriptural and historical basis of Communion as the literal Body and Blood of Christ. Below is a clip of the full sermon:

Patrick Madrid played a clip of Chan’s sermon this week on The Patrick Madrid Show, and said, “This is an example of the power of the testimony of the Early Church, namely the early Church Fathers, but not only them. … Please be aware that when people lock on to what the early Christians said and believed, their eyes are opened. I’ve seen this happen countless times. I recognize the symptoms of somebody who is discovering the history of Christianity, the history of the Church.”

Patrick expressed gratitude for Chan’s way of speaking about his discovery of Catholic history and doctrine without needing to use specifically Catholic terms. Patrick pointed out, “He’s teaching them about not only the Holy Eucharist, he’s also teaching them about the Mass. He’s teaching them about the Communion of Saints without using those Catholic terms.”

“It’s an incentive for you and for me to do a better job of explaining and sharing the faith,” Patrick acknowledged. “Yes, there’s a time to defend the faith. It’s called apologetics. But all apologetics all the time is a real drag. Trust me on that one. Just sharing the truth about what the Catholic faith really is – this treasure house of things that belongs to all of our non-Catholic friends. They have a right to every single thing that you and I have as Catholics. They’re invited to that, they’re promised that they have a right to it.”

Another topic that Chan discussed was the division that is found in the Church, and how historically there was one Church, whereas today there are tens of thousands of Christian denominations that are not united to each other. Patrick expressed his hope that Chan’s sermon and his journey of discovering the Early Church would be one step closer to the unity among Christians that Jesus desires.

“Jesus did not come to form this sort of loose confederation of like-minded believers who kind of sort of believe the same thing, but not really,” Patrick said. “I mean, after all, St. Paul speaks about this in 1 Corinthians 1:10. That’s what Pastor Chan is referring to earlier in this audio. And here’s what St. Paul says, ‘I appeal to you, brother, and by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there would be no dissensions among you, but that you would be united in the same mind in the same judgment.'”

“You don’t see much of that nowadays, do you? But that’s the biblical mandate. That’s the blueprint, and that, of course, is simply an echo of what Jesus Himself said in John chapter 17 in His High Priestly Prayer,  ‘Father, may they be one as You and I are one.;’ So, this is a beautiful thing to behold.”

The Patrick Madrid Show airs weekdays from 9:00 – noon Eastern/6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.