Monday, February 6, 2017

If:Gathering: more information, including video claiming direct revelation

Three years ago I had an inquiry from a sister in the faith about the women of She Reads Truth and the IF:Gathering. In looking at these two organizations, which feature overlap of the ladies who participate in them, I discovered they adhere to a too-forward lifestyle, and teach an aberrant theology that's unhealthy for women. A series resulted.

Three years later, the IF:Gathering and its women have only embedded themselves deeper into the faith and are tainting even more women with their brand of liberal theology, shaky hermeneutics, usurping lifestyles, and their idol of social justice.

Last week I received two additional, separate inquiries from women who sent me material showing why they were concerned over the IF:Gathering women. I decided to post about this para-church/social justice/liberal organization once again. I am adding new information.

Source youtube, also below.


The title "IF:Gathering" comes from their motto, "If God is real, then what?" The purpose statement on their IRS forms is to equip women by having them share their feelings about Bible passages posted online. I'm not joking. Here's their IRS tax form statement of purpose: (click to enlarge)


Did you notice the 'like-hearted' community? The faith is not about feelings, but about what we know about Jesus. Like-minded.

In any case, these women teach other women, usually younger, based on a foundational question that doubts God's existence. Their entire activity is one of simply hedging bets.

The 'gathering' part is actually brilliant. They purport to disciple women in gatherings at homes and other locales, sometimes churches. They know where to gather through social media, which is employed in a major way. That's why their embeddedness and vigorous activity is hidden from view and thus their danger is not readily seen. There aren't posters, advertisements, billboards, pamphlets. etc. There's texts, social media whispers, person-to-person promotion, all of it done in a way that is more subterranean than any other generation's activity.

IF:Gatherings are ongoing in living rooms and lawns by the thousands. There are A LOT OF GATHERINGS. Look. This map is three years old and their gatherings are only increasing in number:


The idea to disciple women is a good one. However, that is an activity that the church is responsible for. These gatherings take place outside of the auspices of the local church and its pastoral authority.

The gatherings were born from the mind of a young woman named Jennie Allen. At the first Gathering, she revealed that she had heard God whisper to her, and after a few years decided to step out from her church to enact this so-called God-whispered "vision to gather, equip, and unleash women to live out God’s calling on their lives." She further wrote that she-

"together with a team of friends, formally established IF:Gathering. ... Some of the first friends to believe in her vision put aside their own individual ministries to leverage their collective influence for the glory of God and the good of His Church." (Source, source).

So they abandoned their local ministries to go online for the good of the global church? Exactly wrong. Here is Jennie Allen claiming direct revelation from God as the catalyst for IF.

video


They abandoned their ongoing locally accountable ministries, to follow a young woman who'd heard a whisper, in order to establish Bible studies about a God they doubted existed, in order to equip women to discuss feelings about the Bible, enact social justice, reconcile the world, heal the nations, and disciple a generation. Hmmm. I'm not being satirical. All the previous verbiage is from their own statements.

I live in a rural county in Georgia with a population of about 27,000 people spread through five towns in an area of over 286 square miles. My town itself is small, about 1,113 people, and it's the largest town in the county. And this month there are not one, but two IF gatherings in my town. IF is everywhere, pastors, leaders, and ladies!

From the IF pastor's packet: (speaking of the years 2013-2015)
In the first two years, our gatherings have reached more than a million women in 50 countries worldwide.
Rather than re-hash the information I'd first published three years ago, I'll simply offer some new information. First I'll list some bullet points of concern. Then I'll post lists of speakers who are involved with IF. Lots of links throughout.

Basic concerns with IF:Gathering:

Founded on Direct Revelation: Founder Jennie Allen said she heard a whisper from God telling her to start a discipleship group. (source, also see above). Direct revelation is hazardous to one's soul. If you test a direct, audible command from God against the Bible and it's there, you do not need the audible command. If it is not there, it's a lie and you don't need it anyway.

Doubting God: The premise itself is based on study of a God those gathered doubt exist. IF God is real? Doubt is not noble. The Bible says doubt is a destroyer of life. (James 1:5-8).

Lack of male oversight and involvement: Jennie's husband Zac says he provides theological oversight, but he is listed as working only 10 hours per week at the 501(c) 3 non-profit, and the only other males on the Governing Board are Larry Cotton, who is listed as working 1/hour week and Treasurer Jonathan Harper, who is also listed as a 1-hour a week. The 40-hour/weeks are put in by Jennie and Lindsey. It's Jennie's baby, she is listed as Principal Officer on the tax forms. It's led by Lindsey Nobles who's listed as CEO. In fact it operates as a para-church organization with little local accountability and pastoral oversight.
IF:Gathering IRS tax return year ending 2015. Source Guidestar
The IF:Gathering's premise is flawed and so are its goals. Again, from their IRS form, it states that their goals are to foment a 'global movement' that 'promotes healing around the world'. Is that what the Bible says women are to do? Unleash movements? These women are mothers. With children at home. The Bible tells us what we are to do: raise the kids, support the husband. Did even Jesus come to promote healing around the world? And just what IS "healing", anyway? More on that just below.


Goals are postmodern and extra-biblical: As Tim Challies said, the words reconciliation and healing have a different meaning to the postmodernist liberal than they do to the Christian fundamentalist:
"...perverts the Biblical meaning of "reconciliation." The Bible does not use this word arbitrarily, but speaks of the reconciliation of man to God and how this can be accomplished. It speaks of redemption! Salvation! Our ministry of reconciliation is not relational healing of myself to my neighbor (right and good as that may be), but the far more important relational healing of a sinful man to a holy God.
The 'reconciliation' the IF-ladies mean is the latter, promoting relational healing. Hence their emphasis on feelings and their activity of social justice.

Very good critique from Lighthouse Trails on IF:Gathering. Please read.

Emergent IF: Gathering Conference Coming to a Town Near You (Coming For Your Daughters and Granddaughters)!


Who is involved with IF?

Ann Voskamp. Does she even know how to use the English language anymore? Below is a recent tweet. I thought teachers were supposed to be 'able to teach'. (2 Timothy 2:24). Being able to teach presumes a facility with the language so as to communicate truths in a way that will edify the hearer. Voskamp's gone beyond #babble all the way to to #Babel.


The remaining list of IF speakers and participants was sent to me by a concerned sister, which I appreciate. I am familiar with many of the women, and I'm unfamiliar with several. I've used the links sent to me and also added links and statements from their own bios where applicable. As always, do your diligence and research yourself.

Jenny Yang (self-described "visionary who works on behalf of refugees as the Vice President of Advocacy & Policy at World Relief." AKA social justice).

Ann Voskamp (concern, concern, concern, concern)

Lysa Terkeurst (concern, concern, concern, concern)

Jeanne Stevens: self-described teacher who urges women to "take any opportunity to encourage people to live boldly from the fullest part of themselves". Rather than die to self and live in the strength of the Spirit?  Jeanne is also a Female Pastor -Co-Pastor of Soul City Church with her husband.

Jennie Allen (concern, concern, concern, concern)

B. David Smith: ("B. David loves helping people cultivate their artistic potential and use their gifts, voice, and lifestyle to create God encounters". What does that even mean?)

Tann Smith (Singer at Andy Stanley's North Point Church. Need I say more.)

Angie Smith ("Her greatest passion is to make the Bible feel accessible and relevant". Again with feeling the Bible and not studying/knowing/believing)

Roce Anog ("helps people who don’t speak the majority language to express their worship to God with the use of music, art, dance, storytelling, and food". So she helps people learn about God through dancing and food? Nope. 1 Corinthians 8 has something to say about that.)

Amena Brown (poetess, which is cool. vision-caster, not cool. Friend to Louie Giglio and Passion conference. Uncool.)

Jo Saxton (Female Pastor. A director of yet another 'movement' whose goal is "to CHANGE the world by putting DISCIPLESHIP and MISSION back into the hands of everyday people." Emphasis theirs. I guess ordinary people haven't been living and dying for the Gospel these last 2000 years.

Keisha Polonio (helps leaders of Tampa's microchurches)

Bianca Olthoff (author, Bible teacher)

Christy Nockels (singer)

Shelley Giglio (wife of Louie Giglio)

Esther Havens (photographer)

Lindsey Nobles (CEO & strategist of IF:Gathering)

Shauna Niequist:  (Congratulated Jen Hatmaker for affirming homosexuality,  other concerns)

Ellie Holcomb (singer)

Andrews Lage (singer)

Latasha Morrison ("justice fighter, a bridge builder and a champion of people. Through the work of her non-profit Be the Bridge, she is fostering healthy dialogue around the topic of race." Just like Lydia, Esther, Mary and the Proverbs 31 woman. Oh wait.)

Kate Merrick (writer)

Rebekah Lyons (wife of Gabe Lyons)

Vivian Mabuni (Campus Crusade for Christ worker)

Britt Merrick (pastor, surfer, founder of Reality Churches (multi-campus)

I hope any of this information helps you. IF gatherings are occurring every day in living rooms and lawns near you. No town is too small, too rural, too citified or too sophisticated to host an IF:table. The brand of Christianity the women promote is far from the Bible's, due to their emphasis on social causes, feminist living (i.e, gallivanting off to Africa while the kids languish at home), doubting God, and discussing their feelings. I pray you protect your daughters and granddaughters from any and all IF activities.

IF God is real, then what? IF:Gathering
Hath God said? Satan, Genesis 3:3



18 comments:

  1. "Ann Voskamp. Does she even know how to use the English language anymore?"

    ROFL! You nailed it! Your comment might be the winner for "quote of the day".

    Let's call this a paraphrase of Paul: I'd rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than 10,000 words in unintelligible babbling. (1 Cor 14, verse 19)

    -Carolyn

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    1. PS Elizabeth,

      One thing that hit me when I looked at that map for the IF Gathering, was how many PRIVATE homes were involved. At least in my area, there were not many churches "hosting" events; rather, most of the events were in women's own private homes.

      This is so radically different than a traditional women's conference, where women go to a large venue to attend. Where the teaching is public and visible, and can be openly critiqued. Where women have to go through the inconvenience and expense of traveling to get to the conference...

      This is worse! Much worse! This is Satan truly creeping in unaware, right into homes... easy as pie... no traveling, no inconvenience... just entering homes of stay at home moms and housewives, whose *husbands are likely away at work. Using nothing more than a livestream and other internet means to spread his falsehoods. That is a LITERAL occurrence of 2 Tim 3:6...!

      I would totally despair, except then I read 2 Tim 3:9. God says these deceivers ultimately will not make progress, because their folly will be evident to all. Furthermore, the Lord knows His own, and His sheep hear His voice (the written word) and a stranger they will not follow.

      I still think your comment about Voskamp is hilarious. I don't know that you meant it to be funny. But you were so correct. One obvious mark of a teacher is that they are "apt to teach". That requires an actual working command of the language in which you are speaking. When someone such as Voskamp speaks in such nonsensical babble, that should be a red flag that she's not a credible teacher!

      -Carolyn

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    2. Whoops, my * by husbands was supposed to be followed by a comment that Christian women can and should equip themselves with the written word, and not just rely on their husbands. Every Christian is a believer-priest, and is commanded by God to know His word.

      -Carolyn

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    3. Hi Carolyn,

      I agree about the gathering in private homes. I was soooo shocked when I saw the map and the white pins. One of the two gatherings in my town this month is a private one. No name listed, but the address was. I looked up the tax rolls in my town for who owned the property at which the IF party would be held, and discovered the name that way.

      It's troubling about the 'privacy' levels. The IF leaders have come up with a spectacular idea to infiltrate homes and insinuate their false lifestyles and doctrines ...

      "They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires," (2 Tim 3:6 NIV)

      Delete
  2. I am really grateful to the Lord alone that He allowed me to find this blog. I was on Instagram and saw a post by Matt Chandler's wife, Lauren Chandler, regarding her attendance at the IF: Gathering. Never heard of it so I decided to Google it. I read through the website and initially thought "cool idea about women doing life on life with other women". So I registered to view the livestream. I even posted a link in my Twitter. So I log on the 1st night of the conference and was aptly listening. Red flag was when I just kept hearing emotional and forward thinking talk meshed with God this and that. Then there was a break to a group of women talking about I have no idea the purpose. It was like an episode of that tv show of all women. Chaos. Then as it progressed they introduced Lysa TerKeust! My heart sank. I shut down the feed and started Googling "IF Gathering and False Teachers". Your blog pops up and I felt relieved and upset. Relieved that the Holy Spirit was warning me and upset that women are being led astray by this ministry founded on nonsense. I even posted a warning on Facebook about this ministry but it seems allot of "Christian" women are huge fans of TerKeust, Shirer, Moore, Young, and so on. In a nutshell, thank you for being so direct and thorough in your posts. I was just looking for IF: Gathering information but found much more that really shook me up a bit. God be glorified and may He continue to guide you as you make Him known without compromise.

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    1. Hi Katherine,

      Thak you somuch for commenitng. Praise the Lord for His work!!!! What a wonderful thing itis forthe Spirit to lead women out of or away from false teachings. I'm so glad for you, and relieved, myself! I'm sad too that so many women are led by these IF ladies (and the She reads Truth women and so on). When I did my original series 3 years ago and found the map with all those pins in it I actually wept. I was SO shocked. But praise Him for women like you who are diligent and concerned and who contend. Bless you Katherine and praise the Spirit who brings us into all truth.

      Delete
  3. Thank you so much for your posts;this one reveals something so insidious! How creepy and scary and sad. Lies that come wrapped in such a way that no wonder so many women are being swept away by these false teachings.

    I had borrowed Ann Voskamp's book, "One Thousand Gifts", from a client who had received it as a gift, and was dismayed and confused by many of the things I read. "This doesn't seem like a Christian book", I thought...though I had been told she was a Christian writer.

    I am more determined than ever, to stay grounded in God's Word and not be a foolish woman, carried off...

    God bless you.


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    1. God bless YOU Lisa! I'm so glad you have Spirit-given discernment, and use it to maintain an untarnished witness.

      Ann Voskamp isn't a Christian writer, no matter how many people tell us she is. She is a mystic, seeking sensuous experiences and misusing the English language to bamboozle women into thinking she is some kind of gentle poet. But she isn't.

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  4. I am grieved that Voskamp mentioned Queen Esther and a Beyonce reference(re "getting in formation") in the same tweet. Sadly, I think that statement says much about where her heart is.

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  5. I agree on all counts! I just attended the IF Gathering this past weekend and I don't even know where to begin. I knew there were issues and I warned the woman who was putting it together for our church ladies that their might be issues and what to look for. It seems I'm the only one that was deeply concerned with what I heard. The IF women were preaching half and twisted truths. I heard a woman said, "I'm worthy of Jesus," Repentance was not said or rightfully explained. Voskamp was scary, and all the women agreed with me there. I seriously think she is demonically influenced. The whole thing was agonizing for me and yet women were crying at the end and praising God for it all. UGH

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I feel so much empathy for you for having attended the IF convention. I know how utterly depressing it is to see so many women glow in the bright shadow of false teaching. It's so depressing. Someone actually SAID "I'm worthy of Jesus"?!?!? Well there;'s some self esteem gone amok, hellishly certain of that!

      I think there has been an uptick on Voskamp's waywardness (to put it kindly) of late. If there are levels of craziness, she has jumped several levels at once. It's just really obvious to many that she isn't tracking along on the same plane as us. Demonically influenced for sure, I agree with that

      Delete
  6. I too attended IF Gathering 2017 (at the request of my husband). I went reluctantly, having read your blog and the lighthouse pamphlet. What I saw was very concerning and very dangerous. The first session was hypocritical and shallow. Jennie shared her concerns that people weren't doing the invisible acts and everyone thought they had to "go big". However, just before she shared that concern, she was telling us all how many women were watching, in how many countries all over the world. A case of "Do as I say and not as I do" I guess.
    The "Women of Color" talk was very concerning to me as well. God doesn't see us as women of color or the white privileged. One of the "women of color speakers shared how her small group or church told her not to be angry, but her anger was a justified anger. James 1:19 tells us not to be quick to anger. But if that person sinned by telling her not to be angry, then she needs to go to that person, not air her grievances in front of thousands of women at a conference. I do not see how the "women of color" segment is supposed to bridge the gap and create unity. All they did was lecture the "privileged white" about how we need to treat "women of color".
    Those were not the only concerning things. The whole thing seemed to rely on an emotional high, mixed with Bible verses thrown in here and there.
    I shared the lighthouse pamphlet on FB (maybe not a good way to go about it) and my pastor's wife said that the pastor "has concerns with how [Lighthouse] discerns doctrine" and "doesn't like the way they talk about other Christians". So he doesn't seem like someone I could approach to share my concerns with. So now, what am I supposed to do (about this and the Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer and Rick Warren studies that make up the women's Sunday school lessons).

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  7. Hey, my name is Doug. I actually just stumbled across this article after originally starting on Pulpit and Pen's web page reading about the hot mess named Bethel "church". Anyway, one click led to another, and eventually here. My wife is an inspirational speaker. She is a C-5 quadriplegic who shares her story and inspirational message with lot's of groups - mainly youth and health care. Anyway, I was talking with a woman just yesterday from Austin TX who wanted to have my wife come down and speak at her church. Towards the end of the conversation she mentioned that she wanted to buy some of my wife's books to give to various people, I presumed, at her church. The not-so-funny thing is one of those people that she wanted to send the book to just happened to be Jennie Allen. That's when she mentioned this IF conference. I'd never heard of it, but immediately my discernment radar went up, as I've discovered through my own research, as well as the helpful research of others, the sad fact that many of these so-called Christian conferences these days are dangerous. I've also learned a thing or two recently - thanks to the testimony of former New Ager-turned born again believer Warren B. Smith - about New Age practices that have covertly entered the church. Some of the more notable ones include positive confessions and affirmations (Word of Faith), channeling, automatic writing, and spirit dictation, which it seems Sarah Young employed in the mega-popular Jesus Calling empire ("Another Jesus Calling" has some illuminating insights on this). Anyway, it began to click now why so many have fallen for the un-Biblical notion of "hearing direct revelation". So needless to say, I don't believe it was coincidence that I happened upon this blog tonight. I do indeed believe my wife is a born again believer, but she definitely gets defensive if I begin to question any of the popular "celebrity Christians" in America, despite the fact that several of them seem to be yoking up with Rome in the name of this false unity. For my part, I have stopped listening to nearly all of the "celebrity preachers". The question on the table for me is: how do I now respond to this woman who wants to try and put my wife's name in front of Jennie Allen? This is tough because this woman in Austin has a connection to my father-in-law so I want to be gentle and tread lightly here. Any advice would be welcome. Thanks, and may the Lord bless the work that you are doing to bring light and discernment against deception in these perilous times.

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  8. God forbid we actually meet in homes like the early church did. Good grief! You obviously spent a lot of time on this. Time that could be better spent for the kingdom rather than tearing down the global church. For the record, if it is a free simulcast that is an open forum to be critiqued. The emphasis this year was on discipleship which is a small one on one kind of growth, just like Jesus focused on with his disciples.

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    1. Sarah Kate,

      I am sad you obviously spent no time on this. I made many biblical assertions using scripture, especially regarding the unbiblical nature of direct revelation, unbiblical lifestyles of women, and the problems with social justice as a gospel witness. Contending for the faith INCLUDES tearing down strongholds.(2 Cor 10:4).

      That is how we grow the kingdom, not be ignoring its borders, but by strengthening them. I pray you come to understand the importance of hard and fast doctrinal lines. She who stands for nothing falls for anything.

      If you'd like to further comment I'd ask please to include a reference to scripture, used correctly, germane to the post. Thanks.

      Delete
  9. As I too stumbled onto this blog......my thoughts are:
    We need to be praying for all involved in If Gathering. I always find it disheartening when sarcasm is thrown around and our sisters that are in deep trouble are being thrown under the bus. Truth some may not be saved and other have been deceived. Isn't it our job to bring them back to the faith? Slamming them in hurtful ways may not be the right tactic. Are we not to go to a sister and try to bring her back and if she doesn't listen bring two more....it's so easy to be critical online. Some call it discerning...I get that but they will know we are Christians by our love. I am not the judge of my brother or sisters heart, only a God truly knows that. Why don't all of us that have concerns regarding all the people on this list, to which I only know a few....pray for them!! That God would intervene and bring all things false to the surface and expose them and bring them to repentance. God have mercy on us. The world is watching how we treat our brothers and sisters!
    Lynn

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    1. We need to be praying for all involved in If Gathering.
      Yes. We are and we do.

      I always find it disheartening when sarcasm is thrown around and our sisters that are in deep trouble are being thrown under the bus.
      I find it disheartening when people who claim to speak for God pervert His word and lead others astray.

      Truth some may not be saved and other have been deceived. Isn't it our job to bring them back to the faith?
      Yes, and no. After warning them once or twice, you are to have nothing more to do with them, and in fact, try to silence them.

      John MacArthur is preaching here on the importance of not tolerating false teachers. They must be silenced, Paul said to Titus, here JMac is explaining Titus 1:19,
      "So Paul is instructing Titus that in setting things right in the church, as he says in verse 5, and in appointing or ordaining elders in the church, he must also be ready to silence some damaging voices. There are men who must be silenced. We have the same need today. The church is certainly irresponsible in many cases in silencing them. They threaten the very truth of God. They threaten the purposes of God. They threaten the people of God."

      Are we not to go to a sister and try to bring her back and if she doesn't listen bring two more
      You're referring to Matthew 18, part of the process outlined in which overseers are to enact church discipline. this is not a church discipline situation. The IF ladies use a public platform to promote their teaching, outside the church. In these cases where it's not a church situation, we are to speak up and warn.

      Paul said, "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." Acts 20:19-30

      In Romans 16:17-18 we read one of the many things we are to do,

      "I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive."

      That God would intervene and bring all things false to the surface
      He did./ He brought knowledge of the false to the surface. Now what are we to do with that information? We're told biblically to be obedient, warn, mark, silence, and avoid, among other commands. Don't be one of the naive.

      The world IS watching. And when they see a church that's serious about pure doctrine and that it's dealing with sin, they fear and respect the church, as they did in Acts 5:11, & 13.

      Delete

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