Posted in theology

Bullet points on why Joyce Meyer is a false teacher

By Elizabeth Prata

Joyce Meyer is a very popular female Bible teacher and preacher. She has been on the scene for decades, and shows no signs of slowing down. She has 10 offices around the world and employs 500 people. Her brand of charismatic/name-it claim it religion has deceived many. This is sad, but the Bible says that many will be deceived by false teachers. I pray that anything here will spark a further Berean investigation by the reader and through prayer, come to the other side of discernment in understanding why Meyer should be avoided.

  1. Joyce Meyer preached that Jesus was a sinner, had been born again, stopped being the Son of God, paid for our sins in hell (from 1991 Booklet called The Most Important Decision you Will Ever Make), and was tormented there. Meyer preaches a different Jesus. She is a heretic.
  2. Joyce Meyer preaches to men and mixed gender audiences in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12.
  3. Joyce Meyer operated as an associate pastor in a church in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12.
  4. Joyce Meyer preaches that it is normal and expected to hear directly from God, when contrary to her claim, the scriptures claim they are sufficient (2 Timothy 3:14-17), and the Word is closed. (Revelation 22:18-19). Yet she teaches that God speaks individually to people today. Example, in essay “It’s not that complicated” she wrote -“Do you ever wonder if God speaks to people? You’ll be happy to know the answer is yes. But first let me explain how distractions can hinder His voice” and taught more from her book How to Hear from God or in this video.
  5. Joyce Meyer claims she is not a sinner. This is in violation of 1 John 1:8, which says that such people are deceived and the truth is not in them.
  6. There’s more, but these should suffice to illustrate to the reader that Joyce Meyer’s teaching is not edifying.

Please do not allow a teacher’s longevity lull you into thinking they must be good. Please do not allow a ministry’s global breadth to lull you into thinking he or she is good. In fact the Bible says that popularity is often a mark of falsity. (Luke 6:26). The world wants their ears tickled. In 2 Timothy 4:3 we read

For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires,

If you follow Joyce Meyer, please consider these things. Please stay in the pure, undefiled faith, and find some good Bible teachers to follow, beginning with your own pastor and elders at your own church.

Posted in discernment, false teachers, joel osteen

What Joyce Meyer believes & teaches, what Joel Osteen believes & teaches

On Twitter, A Call for Discernment ‏( @call4discern) posted a few pictorial cheat sheets on what several of the false teachers believes and teaches. I asked permission to post two of them here, What Joyce Meyer believes and teacher,s and what Joel Osteen believes and teaches.

A Call for Discernment’s bio blurb states that it “calls for Believers to stand and contend for the Faith. Our ministry is to expose the wolves that have infiltrated the flock.”

Click to enlarge

A Call 4 Discernment posted; “The teachings of Joel Osteen compared to Scripture. #falseteachers pic.twitter.com/Cp7AHlSzL9”. Click to enlarge

Note: the falseteachers.org website at the bottom of Joyce Meyers photo is a redirect to a church in Orlando FL.

Posted in beth moore, discernment, doctrine, false teacher, Joyce Meyer, unity

Discerning Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer’s discussion on "Enjoying Everyday Life" about "unity"

On August 18, 2014 I published an essay regarding the joining of Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer on Meyer’s television program, “Enjoying Everyday Life”. Moore and Meyer, along with friend Christine Caine, had tweeted excitedly about Moore’s interview on Meyer’s program and upcoming broadcast of that interview. The topic was “unity.”

Most discerning Christians know and understand that Meyer is a false teacher. She does not preach the same Jesus as revealed in the bible. Some discerning folks know and understand that Moore is also false, but many more were until lately reluctant to declare her so, instead of being just wayward, misguided, or temporarily mistaken.

Wheat or tare? Emmer wheat, Persian, darnel?
A skilled eye can tell. Public domain

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-18)

It takes time for fruit to ripen. And so Moore’s has ripened to the point where we can now detect whether her fruit is bad or good. For the record, it’s bad.

When Moore joined Meyer on Enjoying Everyday Life, it was another nail in the coffin, so to speak.

The actual program aired yesterday, October 31. It is currently available here.

I watched it, and here is a review of the program.

Meyer opened the show by saying “Today we’re going to talk about unity and peace and getting along, what could be accomplished if we could all get along and work together? How can we avoid allowing our differences to hinder us in bringing the gospel to a lost and hurting world?”

Meyer included Moore’s bio in her opening introduction, saying in part, “She ministers to women of all faith backgrounds. She has a heart for unity in the body of Christ and a vision to reach women of all denominations.”

This sounds very good, and is actually fairly biblical – unless you know that Moore includes Catholics as a regular Christian denomination. This fact is not stated in the video.

Joyce Meyer gave a personal anecdote to start, beginning the discussion of unity as unity within the home. Meyer said she has learned to “Keep the strife out of your life. I’ve discovered Jesus works in an atmosphere of peace, not turmoil and anger. What have you discovered [Beth Moore] along these lines in your walk with God?”

For those who may be anticipating an essay full of biblical debunkings of plainly heretical or false statements either or both ladies made during the interview, you will be disappointed. They made no outward heretical or false statements, except the one above and perhaps one other.

Rather, they alluded to things, they skirted issues, they were cloaked and guarded, they were non-specific; so that if one was unaware of the previous contexts in which they taught, or previous situations in which they had been called to account, nothing untoward seemed to be said. This is even more dangerous than plainly speaking heresy, because satan is subtle. (Genesis 3:1)

This will be a discernment lesson on how to be discerning not with what a false teacher says, but on what a false teacher does NOT say. False teachers have to be right some of the time. Even a broken watch is right twice ever 24 hours.

As for the ridiculous opener from Meyer stating that Jesus worked in an atmosphere of peace, it can be plainly seen from scripture that Meyer is totally wrong.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. (Matthew 10:34-3).

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. (Luke 12:51)

The “atmosphere” in which Jesus worked was filled with anguish, strife, perplexity, anger, and death. The Pharisees tried to kill Jesus a number of times. They even tried to kill Lazarus. (John 12:10). Even though Jesus healed the terrible demoniac the Gadarenes were all so afraid of, they asked Jesus  to leave town! Meyer’s assertion is biblically unfounded and patently ridiculous.

The first part of the discussion the two women had was about their own coming to terms with how to biblically nurture peace and unity within the home, as wives. Moore said that she harangued her husband (who had come from “a different background spiritually” and “accepted Christ” when he and Beth were dating) to go to church, and it was when she prayed and left it to Jesus that her husband started coming around. She said that she stopped trying to control him and quit trying to change him and began respecting the man God had sent to her life. Meyer said the same, that when she concentrated on being a godly wife instead of trying to change her husband, peace reigned in the home. These are good thoughts and actions for women to take. I agreed with them.

The second part of the interview was when the two women began to discuss unity in the body of Christ. However, they never defined the body of Christ. We know from following Moore that Moore considers Catholics part of the body of Christ. A person who came in cold to the broadcast or was otherwise unaware of this belief of Moore’s would never know this.

After the break Meyer asked, “How can we have more unity in the Body of Christ? Or even unity within one church?”

A good question. There is nothing wrong with and everything right with unity among the brothers. 1 Corinthians 1:10 makes an appeal for unity among the brothers. Psalm 133:1 promises blessings for those who dwell in unity.

Moore replied: “Even the topic of unity causes division! Disunity is not the heart of Christ, it is the will of God to be unified.”

Sometimes the topic of unity does indeed cause division, lol. However neither woman biblically defined unity. Meyer said that though she married a Lutheran and was involved in the Lutheran church for years, and Moore is a Baptist, and they might not agree on “every little point of doctrine” they would still consider themselves loving sisters in the faith.

There was only vague talk of denominations, but no declaration of the biblical standard under which someone would be considered in the body of Christ.

Here is where they strayed from the center line of biblical truth, though. Meyer said even though she might disagree with Moore over doctrine,

“I agree with your heart and your spirit and with your teaching in the Body of Christ. People disagree over little things.”

Doctrine isn’t a little thing.

Moore replied, “The witness of our disunity is deplorable. Throw down those denominational lines. It is insulting to Christ to be separate. … We love the same Jesus. We love the same scriptures. … Even if we did not have that in common, if we could say our salvation is found in Christ if He died and rose again and how to be saved and Jesus sits at right hand of God, then that is my sister, my brother.” “I would serve anywhere and anybody even if they didn’t have close to the same belief system.”

And here is the danger. Mormons claim Jesus is the source of salvation and that He died and rose again and is sitting at the right hand of the Father. So do Jehovah’s Witnesses. So do Catholics. Their discussion alluded to the fact that we must be united at the expense of doctrine. They intimated that we must have harmony with anyone who simply claims Jesus. Even if they “don’t have close to the same belief system.”

So one wonders, how far afield does one go in order to unite, and where does one draw the line? Does one even draw a line? One could not tell from their discussion. The bible is clear, there MUST be divisions. There must not be an unequal yoking in service. Neither woman made that distinction which of course is totally unhelpful. The statement of Moore’s that she would serve alongside anyone even if they don’t have close to the same belief system is unbiblical. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says,

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

There are supposed to be divisions along doctrinal lines. It is what makes us Christians. The women taught during their discussion that the only doctrinal line is whether someone mumbles the magic password: ‘Jesus’ and that’s it. The Pope invokes Jesus. Muslims invoke Jesus. Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, even Presbyterian USA denomination invoke Jesus. But it is not the same Jesus.

There are many who “claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” (Titus 1:16)

Good fruit? Bad fruit? Worm in fruit? Inspect before ingesting!

Over the years, both Meyer and Moore have made unbiblical statements, and they have been soundly criticized for it. Neither woman likes that. For a while the pair discussed rebukes they’ve received and they condemned these rebukes as disunity within the body. Using cloaked and non-specific language, Meyer said,

“How can we possibly say we love one another if all we do is find fault and differences and be judgmental and critical and say things about people when we have no knowledge of what they’re talking about? I know of you, I know your reputation, but I don’t know YOU yet, in order for that to happen time has to be spent together. It’s unfair for people to have an opinion when they haven’t spent time. People have so many opinions they don’t know anything about me or even you and they know nothing about. They don’t know me at all. They’ve never asked me a question. They think something that is uninformed and they pass it along from person to person. God doesn’t agree with me about everything but we have a good relationship.”

The context for her comment was that people see her on TV or read her books or see something she said and are critical of it and she believes this unfair. Why is this unfair, according to Meyer? Meyer used the verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:12 Amplified Bible, which says,

Now also we beseech you, brethren, get to know those who labor among you [recognize them for what they are, acknowledge and appreciate and respect them all]—your leaders who are over you in the Lord and those who warn and kindly reprove and exhort you.

Her point was that unless one has “gotten to know” her, they cannot and should not reprove her. Of course, the standard translations do not translate it “get to know.” They all say, honor, or respect, or acknowledge or appreciate or know or recognize. The commentaries explain:

Matthew Henry: The people should honour and love their ministers, because their business is the welfare of mens’ souls. And the people should be at peace among themselves, doing all they can to guard against any differences. But love of peace must not make us wink at sin.

Meyer’s statement is even more ridiculous considering that she is NOT submitted to a pastor and does NOT attend a church where a pastor could get to know her and rebuke her if differences in doctrine arose. The only church she ever attended was a Lutheran church for a few short years, then shortly switched to a non-denominational church where she taught a bible class, and then became associate pastor. We know from the bible that women pastors are unbiblical. When her class grew large, she quit the church and founded her own ministry, first on radio then took it to TV. Her statement about getting to know someone and spending time before criticizing was hypocritical in the extreme. Why? She has insulated herself from being able to be gotten to personally, and therefore has added a barrier over which no one would ever be able to reach in order to even begin to criticize. A neat trick. (Source below)

We command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you stay apart from every brother who leads an unruly life, not according to the tradition which you received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6) If you have someone in your church who is teaching error, you cannot have unity with that individual. If you have someone who is leading an unruly or sinful life, you cannot have fellowship with that individual. So what we’re talking about here is the pursuit of the true unity of the Spirit, that belongs to those who surround the truth, and affirm it, and who live godly lives. ~John MacArthur

Moore agreed with Meyer. She said, “I get weary at things taken out of context, that people have quoted me about…even when WE choose to love one another and unite together people in those camps will be disunified. This is the time on the kingdom calendar to come together.”

Matthew 18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:12 have no application to a public leader and his or her public writings. Whatsoever. 

Both women are public teachers, and their teaching must be examined. Both teach unbiblical things, and both have been reproved, rebuked, judged, and criticised. This is biblical. However, in their pursuit of unity, they include themselves under the overly-large doctrinal and denominational umbrella, and claim that to even criticize at all is ‘unfair’ and promotes ‘disunity.’

Moore and Meyer discussing the ‘unfairness’ of being criticized

If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” (1 Tim. 6:3-5).

Their discussion was pointed about including any and all ‘denominations’ (and we know they mean Catholics) into the fold, disregard doctrinal differences, and claim that love will triumph over all.

Here is what John MacArthur said about the kind of false unity Meyer and Moore promoted:

There is a drive today in evangelicalism – and what a bland term that has become. But there is a drive in evangelicalism for an ecumenism that ignores sound doctrine, that overlooks error, and accepts even what we would deem as heresy. There is a kind of evangelical ecumenism that says we’re all one, and we need to enjoy one another without regard for any of our doctrinal differences. That is a false, and unbiblical, and displeasing unity, if indeed it is unity at all, in the sense that it dishonors and displeases the Lord. There is another kind of striving for unity that wants to disregard iniquity, and embrace everybody no matter whether they are walking in obedience to the Word of God or not, overlooking their sin and their iniquity.

But quite the contrary – the Scripture says if there is someone in your midst, according to Titus chapter 3, teaching error, if there is a heretic there, admonish him once, admonish him twice, and then put him out. He’s forfeited a right to lay any claim to acceptance within that unity.

The discernment lesson comes where we understand that in their televised discussion, Meyer and Moore taught unity through love, but not in doctrine. They failed to mention that there are many scriptures, and the above is just one, where the one preaching a different doctrine is to be put out…not tolerated…called to repent…confronted…handed over to satan. They failed to mark their discussion by presenting scripture on both sides of the scale. The failed to define unity, did not define the Body of Christ, and did not warn listeners about the dangers of overlooking sin and false doctrine. Discernment is about what false teachers say and what false teachers don’t say. That is the true both sides of the scale.

For example, both women talked about Luke 10, where Jesus sent 72 disciples out two by two. They said that if the disciples came to a town and were received, that was good. But it was so peaceful if they were not received because all they had to do is shake the dust off their feet. How peaceful and non-confrontational … but they did not read to the end of the passage, where Jesus said, “I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”

Not so peaceful after all, when Jesus said that those who reject Him and His doctrine will be judged more severely than the town that was burned to the ground in fire and brimstone.

Matthew 11:20-23 expounds more:
Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.

Jesus was warning those towns that failure to accept His doctrine and truths by repenting of sin and believing on Him would result in hell and permanent cursing of their town. Jesus was drawing the lines of division: who would be cursed and who would be blessed and which behavior results in both. The townspeople had accepted the miracles but rejected Jesus. Standing with one foot on both sides is not unity. Jesus was all about one or the other. Yet Moore and Meyer taught that love while overlooking doctrinal differences is all one needs to be unified. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In conclusion, Moore and Meyer taught that unity above doctrine was paramount, blindly accepting anyone who says “Jesus” is our duty, serving alongside anyone even if they have a wildly divergent belief system is OK, pursuing peace and love across all denominational lines without regard to the nuts and bolts of a person’s adherence to the bible is a given, and that to criticize one’s doctrine without spending time to get to know them is unfair.

All of the above was cloaked in loving language and even some tears at times. It seemed Christian-y, it was kind of bible-ish. But it wasn’t. It was what they did not say that was the problem.

How can a person know what someone is not saying? Know what the bible says. And listen for the whole story from your teachers.

At the end of the discussion, Moore laid the syrup on Meyer. Moore said,

“I’m astounded at the magnitude of what you’ve done, through God. I asked God how to bless you, Joyce, in my hotel room this morning. I offer you my respect. I offer you my esteem. I say to you, you are a mighty woman of God, you have run a race well.”

This should nail it for those who still may be unsure of Moore’s proclivities. Meyer is an obvious, rank heretic. For Moore to publicly lay on her esteem, respect, and proclaim Meyer a woman of God shows a massive lack of discernment or else a massively pragmatic conscience in unbelief. (2 Peter 2:3).

As an aside, we know that the last few years Moore has been reaching out to Catholics. I got curious as to what the Catholics think of Moore. There are many women Catholic forums and there is often a question from one Catholic woman to another as to the value of Moore’s studies or as a Catholic, whether one should partake of Moore’s studies. The verdict from most forums I scanned? Catholic women see Moore as biblically shallow, overly sentimental, given to emotionalism with not much bible. Their general consensus was that Moore is a motivational speaker but in no way a bible teacher. That is pretty discerning for women who aren’t even saved. Here is what one Catholic woman wrote:

Let me stress, her underlying message seems okay, but her delivery bothers me. She could write some great self-help books from a Christian perspective but her Bible study method is lacking. What bothers me: She comes up with a theory and then searches for scripture to back-up her theory. Seems backwards, but whatever. At the end of lesson 5 she asks everyone to stand up and repeat a pledge/prayer. If I’m going to make a pledge before the Lord I’d like to know what I’m pledging.

Interesting. Would that all women who are genuinely saved be so diligent about who they should follow into studies and so discerning about Beth Moore.

Another lady said Moore taught that,

“The Bible is Complete and Fully Sufficient.” Ironically, she can’t make this point without referencing 8 sources outside scripture.”

One Catholic woman on a forum inquisitive about Moore and whether her study would be profitable for her, a Catholic, said “I looked her up on Google, and found that she is a Southern Baptist speaker. The Statement of Faith of her organization was quite encouraging, as she does not include a “Bible is the Sole Source of Authority” point.”

And that says it all. If a teacher’s statement of faith page encourages people outside the faith, the teacher is doing something wrong. What is NOT there in a person’s teaching is just as important as what is.

—————————-

To gain discernment, just ask!

Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments. (Psalms 119:66)

—————————-

From a news article about Joyce Meyer from 2003:

It was while at Life Christian that Meyer began one of the more unusual chapters of her early ministry.

In an audiotape series called “How to Fight the Devil and Win,” Meyer recalled how she read a book on freeing people from demons. She saw the book as a revelation from God and began what she called a “deliverance ministry,” much of it out of the family’s home on Codorniz Lane in Fenton.

“I had every person, I think, anywhere within 10 miles who had a demon come knocking at my door wanting deliverance,” she said. “And I was staying up half the night, almost every night, Dave and I were, casting out devils.”

She said she got on people’s backs and rode them “all over the house, with these demons of anger and fear and violence … you know our kids are back there sleeping and we’re in the living room screaming at demons half the night. …

In November 1998, Meyer made the big time with a cover story in Charisma & Christian Life magazine, one of the nation’s leading publications for followers of the charismatic movement. On its cover, the magazine called Meyer “America’s most popular woman minister.”

———————————————-

For Further Reading:

At what point does one declare a teacher like Beth Moore false? Here’s some help.

John Stackhouse: Why I Criticize in Public

Posted in beth moore, discernment, false teachers, heretic

Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer: Bad company (UPDATED)

Updates here and at bottom.

At what point does one declare a teacher like Beth Moore false? Here’s some help. 

——————————-

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)

Joyce Meyer tweeted this tweet and photo today:

In the photo are Beth Moore, left, and on the right is Joyce Meyer.

For her part, Beth Moore tweeted this:

Joyce Meyer is a heretic. There is no doubt about this. She preached that we are little gods, that Jesus stopped being the Son of God, that Jesus paid for our sins in hell, that she herself is not a sinner, and more. Though Meyer is a gifted speaker, and uses the scriptures correctly sometimes, she teaches too many doctrines that are contrary to the truth to be called a woman of faith.

Beth Moore is a heretic. Readers of this blog and those who have read other blogs concerning problems with Beth Moore will know that many have been writing that Beth Moore has gone wayward. Moore says she speaks to and hears from God audibly, in full sentences, that He gives her revelation that is not in the bible, and that He tells her to teach these new concepts. Moore says she has visions sent by God. She says she had a supernatural experience writing her book “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” which was actually occult channeling, or ‘automatic writing.’  She promotes and practices the Catholic mystical activity of contemplative prayer, does not handle the word rightly, and infuses all her teachings and studies with pop psychology and personal experience, which she tacitly AND and not so tacitly demonstrates by her teaching as equal to scripture.

To see a pairing above should not be surprising, because that is the natural trajectory of the natural man. Evildoers gather together. Last year Moore partnered with non-believer Roma Downey at a new bible study/convention. Last year Moore also praised and recommended the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, another book written by a woman claiming to have heard directly from God.

It is ironic that Meyer and Moore met at Meyer’s broadcast studio to talk about “unity.” They are already united – in satan. For all are either under satan, or under Jesus. There is no in-between. There is no gray area. Either one is in the truth or he hates the truth.

I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked. (Psalm 26:4-5)

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Psalm 1:1-4

Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? (Psalm 139:21)

From Christine Caine’s Facebook page Aug. 13: That time you sat and watched
Beth Moore & Joyce Meyer talk about unity
& you could not stop the tears streaming down your face…

—————————

Further links on this topic:
At what point does one declare a teacher like Beth Moore false? Here’s some help.  

World View Weekend, Topic: Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore, Brannon explains why he is now willing to call Beth Moore a false teacher after several years of giving her the benefit of the doubt. Guest, Justin Peters. Topic: Our phone lines fill up with listeners that want to respond to the actions and statements of Beth Moore. [Ed Note: sometimes certain of the WVW clips and programs go behind a paywall after a week. If you plan to listen, listen soon.]

Do Not Be Surprised: Beth Moore talks ‘Unity’ with Word Faith Teacher Joyce Meyer

Posted in "Any Minute" review

"Any Minute": a review of Joyce Meyer’s book

Any Minute is an inspirational novel written by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford, published June 2009. It cannot be called a Christian novel. The premise is that the protagonist, Sarah Harper, is a barracuda on the Chicago Commodities Exchange floor and a whiz in forecasting futures for her financial firm. She drives a Lincoln, multi-tasks, pulls the long hours, and expects the little people to get out of her way.

Sarah’s husband, Joe, and her 8-year-old son Mitchell and baby Kate are increasingly making do without their mother at home, and when she is, she is cell phoning, computering, and texting, sometimes all at once. Sarah is important.

As the story unfolds, Joe is increasingly unhappy and actually, so is Sarah, but neither know what to do about the widening gulf between them, except retreat further into their respective positions after several clumsy attempts to find a middle ground. Mitchell is so unhappy that he sees an angel behind the scoreboard at Wrigley Field and spots him again as a homeless man on the street as his mother drags him along to the office for a day of “fun” and “bonding”. Cue the harps.

At the office, Sarah spies on her nanny through one of the gazillion placards pasted on every baby item they own, and Joe drops a wrench at his garage. He outfits Miatas for racing. Creepily, this nanny webcam is also open to any other person on the web and they may also not only spy on the child but post reports about what they see. Pedophiles are popping popcorn as I write.

After one particularly heated fight in which the “D” word was almost uttered and a sleepless night for all ensued, the next morning Sarah races off to work angry and driving like a maniac. Driving like maniac is what she always does, and as the story told us (not showed us, an amateur mistake in writer’s craft) she is called Mario Andretti at the office because of her penchant for ramming any vehicle that attempts to obtain her coveted parking space next to the elevator. You would think a senior analyst for a major brokerage firm would have an assigned space, but there you go. I am obviously numerically illiterate as well as corporately naive. But today Sarah is particularly maniacal, intent on proving her worth to all by analyzing numbers like no one ever has before, even if it means getting to the office first and jumping that river bridge that ominously has bells ringing on it and is on its way up. Thinking she can make it, Sarah drives past the lowering guard rails and accelerates, only noticing belatedly that she is driving uphill, which usually means in stories like these, that the bridge is being raised.

Aw, man, she almost made it!

But alas, gravity won the day and Sarah and her Lincoln plunged into the river and without so much as a glub glub, she and her status symbol sink like a stone.

The next scenes show Joe grief stricken and guilty that he hurled all those three or four angry words at her when he put up his hand and said “Excuse me. Your husband needs your attention.” Vicious man, he is. Now he will never have a chance to make it up. Meanwhile, Sarah’s last conscious thought as the cold and murky waters closed over her was “I’m in trouble.” Yes, you drove off a bridge. Trouble is the least of your troubles. Sarah awoke under a homemade quilt in her dead grandmother’s house in a place that glowed honey gold. Or maybe it was apple jelly gold. Or maybe it was sunshine gold. Anyway, it was gold. Also, it was peaceful. Sarah basked in the peacefulness where it felt like nothing was ever wrong. So immediately dispensing with eternal bliss, Sarah grabbed her cell phone so she could call her boss and tell him to tell the client that she would be late for the Eggs Benedict breakfast meeting. The cell phone said “Searching for signal.” I am not making this up. The angel of the Cubs Scorebard comes in and gently chides Sarah for thinking she could afford the roaming charges from this location. Just kidding. He came in and says “You really think that phone’s going to do you good in this place?”

Her grandmother and the Cubs Angel take Sarah on a tour of her life, her mother’s life, and her future life. As Sarah is shown her daughter Kate all grown up in college, studying hard and resisting the dastardly temptation to go bowling, Kate sighs and tells her roommate that she really wished she had a mom to talk to at times like this. Sarah, viewing the scene from above moans and wishes she hadn’t died. Here comes the emotional gut twister. Get ready. Here it is. It was a moment from the future with Sarah alive. Incredibly, Sarah would have continued to alienate her daughter and her relationship with her would have been in ruins even if she had not died. Man, I hadn’t seen that coming.

Back at the office, her co-workers flip a coin for her parking spot, and her boss gives her job to his son. Sarah, crestfallen, learns that life in the cutthroat commodities trading fast lane is, well, cutthroat. And that people don’t matter. Only money matters. The only person who says anything nice about her is her intern. He still wants a job at the firm.

She is given a chance to live again, and she undergoes a remarkable transformation after waking up in the hospital. She buys a cappuccino for the lady in front of her in line. She says hello to a homeless person. She only spies on her nanny three times in a day instead of 300. She says thank you to her intern. And, cue the music, Sarah decides to be real and genuine with everyone, especially her husband.

Review: you might have been able to tell that I am no fan of this book. I consider it subversive in doctrine and accommodating to feminism. As far as doctrine goes, the bible is clear, no person is allowed to talk to the dead. (Deut. 18:9-11) Having Sarah’s grandmother as a character that interacts with the living is an egregious doctrinal error and one that I found hard to get over.

As far as subtle doctrinal issues go, there was no mention of the sins of anger, greed, selfishness. There was no emphasis on the roles of each gender in the family, nor the importance of time spent with them instead of money being made for them. This is not surprising, Meyer’s last annual take was 95 million and she owns 5 homes and a $100,000 Mercedes-Benz. There was no mention of repentance. There was no mention of what kind of person Sarah had become and her new clarity that that was not God’s intent for women, mothers, or daughters. The most we got was a promise from Sarah to “be genuine” and a hurry up and get back to work-ethic.

Most important, one would expect that Sarah’s lifestyle of consumerism-accumulation on the back of betting on commodities prices was not the best as a mother. Rather than decide to raise her children herself, she simply decided to treat the nanny better. A request from her boss to stay at the office after 5pm was met with a threat to leave and start her own business, which anyone who has their own business knows, means more hours than she was even working at the outset of the book. Her boss looked at her with respect after making the threat, rather than pity her that she is missing yet another Cubs game with her son.

In one place in the book, Sarah’s grandmother tells her that “God wants you to be happy with yourself.” This notion is typical of the prosperity Gospel crowd where “it’s all about you.” God did not come to earth to make you feel better. He came to save you from your sins which any mention of was conspicuously absent from the book. Most people in the bible who were shown the unutterable glory of heaven fell on their face crying out to God their unworthiness, not reaching for their cell phone muttering they “probably didn’t belong here.” There was no sense of honoring God, no awe, no worship. No gratitude. Worse,  the only appearance of God was this stomach-crunchingly embarrassing conversation God had with the assigned angel:

“Mitchell Harper needs you,” said the Creator of the Universe. “Are you willing to help the boy?”
Yes,” Wingtip said. “You know how I feel about that kid. I’ll do anything.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, Lord.”
“Even if you have to leave your post at a crucial moment in the game?”

WHAT?! Yes, it would be a tragedy of incredible proportions of the Cubs’ Angel failed to be on hand for the score. Sigh. How demeaning of angels and of God.

At one point early on, Sarah mused that their chosen lifestyle was untenable and as a matter of fact, the more money they made it cost them more to keep it up. Car for status, and gas to propel it during the commute. Clothes befitting her station for meeting with clients. Nanny, babysitter. Large house, private school. I was expecting a transformation to include simplifying and streamlining these things with something that is seen all too little of these days: sacrifice. But there was not any sacrifice, not one iota. Except for her parking space.

Essentially, Sarah returned to her former life with a barely transformed personality. Certainly the event had not made a spiritual dent in herself or her relationship with Jesus. Compare that to the transformations of the woman at the well, Zaccheus, the Centurion, John the Baptist, Isaiah, John the Revelator or any other interaction in the bible between a sinner and either an angel or the Lord, and you see the sad circumstances Christian fiction has fallen to these days. The message of this book is ‘be genuine’. ‘Feel good about yourself’. And for heaven’s sake, let the Cubs win.

Posted in theology

‘God Told Me’ – part 2: How can we confirm a voice we hear? And if it’s not God, then who’s speaking?

By Elizabeth Prata

Part 2 of an ongoing discernment series addressing the issue of women, many of them ‘Bible’ teachers, who are claiming to hear directly from God. Part 1 here. Questions addressed in the previous part were

1. What is the “God told me” religion?
2. Does God talk to us audibly?

Today’s questions are:

3. If we do hear a voice, how do we know it’s from the Lord?
4. And if it’s not from God, then who is speaking?

Part 3 here
Part 4 here
Part 5 conclusion

Continue reading “‘God Told Me’ – part 2: How can we confirm a voice we hear? And if it’s not God, then who’s speaking?”
Posted in encouragement, high priest, jesus

It feels like there’s no one left who is a true believer…

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

Apostasy is a hard, hard thing. For anyone who is righteous, seeing loved ones succumb to the sway of a false doctrine, or follow a false teacher, it is a torture to the soul and a agony to the mind and a hardship on the soul. I see a Blackaby book on a pastor’s desk and I worry. I hear a woman refuse to acknowledge Joyce Meyer is false “because she preaches straight from the Bible” and I mourn, I see a woman wear a “Walk to Emmaus” tee shirt and I fear. Encountering these things in my daily routine is grieving.

It’s not to say that these people or any person who reads a book, accepts a teacher or participates in a retreat once is an apostate. I participated in both the Experiencing God study by Henry Blackaby and a Beth Moore Living Proof weekend and a DVD retreat, but in doing so alerted me to the falseness of their teachings. It gave me a close-up view of what it was that troubled my soul so much. That’s what false teaching does, it either grieves the soul and alerts one to its falsity or it entrenches one deeper into their lack of discernment. I worry because I know when someone doesn’t or won’t see the falseness of a particular doctrine or teacher, the false teacher or a false doctrine has successfully taken root into their mind. Satan won’t let that go. Unless they refute it and repent, it will grow like gangrene. That is the way of things. (2 Timothy 2:17; Acts 14:2)

It feels sometimes like there are hardly any people with discernment left. It feels like so many friends and family are falling away. I know from your emails and blog comments that many of you are in locations where there literally are no good churches or where false teaching abounds. Doesn’t it feel like were the only ones, sometimes!

Here is where we praise the gracious Lord for His examples for us in scripture. We are not alone! Elijah thought he was alone! Jeremiah was tortured by the apostasy around him and in his lifetime, judgment came! Noah preached 120 years and only had 7 converts! Isaiah was told to prophesy until there was literally no one left!

“And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”… God assured him, Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:9-10, 18)

My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. …These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.
(Genesis 6:5-6, 9)

“Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste,” (Isaiah 6:11)

In the New Testament, imagine there being no ‘church down the road’ you could switch to when apostasy is so rampant in your church you have to leave. The Corinthians were having chaotic services, drunken Lord’s Suppers, and immorality and sexual impurity were a problem. But that was the ONLY church. Can you imagine how the few pure and holy Corinthians felt?

I’ve seen a massive defection from the faith since 2008. I’ve also seen a horrific decline in discernment since then too. The rise in apostasy to my mind and according to how I interpret 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is that the time is near when the rapture will occur. The defections of millions from the faith and the fast tsunami of apostasy in even evangelical denominations shows this, in my opinion. The curtain on this age is coming down, and fast.

Each of the prophets named above walked closely with God. Even in times of terrible apostasy when they were literally the only ones in their sphere left who were faithful. They were human, to be sure. Elijah suffered a bout of depression. Jeremiah was tearful and mourning much of the time. The key is, they clung to God.

Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9b)

Take encouragement! The Lord Jesus is near to us. At the time of His incarnation, there were few faithful ones. His religion had been turned into a mockery. They rejected His words while clamoring for His miracles. They wanted His ‘stuff’ but not Him for Himself. He knew apostasy! He knows the pain we feel when people reject our precious Jesus and go astray! Don’t give up the fight!

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)

He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. (Hebrews 5:2)

Pray for those who are ignorant and going astray. Pray for yourself in your weariness and sadness. Jesus is with us. It is good.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Posted in theology

My Last Word on Ravi Zacharias, and a discernment reminder

By Elizabeth Prata

In 2016 I wrote a discernment essay raising troubling concerns about Ravi Zacharias. I noted his slide downward, his praising of Catholic mystics, some untruths regarding his credentials, and his refusal to take a position on whether the Catholic Church is false (saying the two churches have merely ‘doctrinal differences!), creationism vs evolution, the Doctrines of Grace, or most of eschatology.

A Christian Apologists’ job is to take a stance on the doctrines of the Bible and proclaim and defend them, so the refusal to be clear on 40% of the Bible seemed a nonstarter to me. I’d also noted that I had attended a live speech event, and had listened to many of Ravi’s other speeches online. I said that he seemed to me more of a spellbinding anecdotal storyteller and secular philosopher than a Christian Apologist or evangelist. Lots of mentions of Jesus, not a lot of talk about sin, wrath, and repentance.

I wrote later that year that Ravi had spoken at false teacher Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and called Warren’s church “one of the greatest”. I’d noted that he had also appeared on false teacher Joyce Meyer’s television program, and said Joyce puts out “great Bible teaching.” His partnering with false teachers spoke volumes both about his lack of discernment and his lack of courage.

Two months ago, in December 2020, I updated the situation when the Ravi Zacharias International Ministry (RZIM) itself had investigated their founder (who had recently passed away). They announced confirmation of newly revealed sins Mr Zacharias had performed. RZIM made this preliminary report public. The RZIM organization promised to be forthcoming with the conclusions of their hired investigation ended. I attached the RZIM updated facts to a discernment lesson, here.

RZIM’s hired investigators submitted their final report this past week and what they found was disheartening in the extreme.

Continue reading “My Last Word on Ravi Zacharias, and a discernment reminder”
Posted in discernment, theology

False Doctrine is like John Prine’s song Bruised Orange

By Elizabeth Prata*

A friend of mine recently asked me how my summer went. I said good and asked her about hers. She is a lady with whom I speak about Jesus quite often. She replied that she loves her summers so she can listen to sermons and study what the person said in it. I asked who she listened to and she said she loves Joyce Meyer, and Joseph Prince. “I love them!” she said.

Joseph Prince is a false teacher.
Joyce Meyer is a false teacher.

I went away mournful. I am also perplexed. I often speak of Jesus in my daily life, whether at work, or church, or at the store. I often speak of false doctrine and false teachers, specifically on my blog and in general at church. Sometimes if a specific situation comes up, I make an appointment and lay out specific concerns to my pastors or elders, and step back to prayerfully allow them to do their leading and pastoring regarding what I’ve shared. Continue reading “False Doctrine is like John Prine’s song Bruised Orange”

Posted in theology

Review of Jennie Allen/Beth Moore webinar, and the ‘big announcement’ revealed

By Elizabeth Prata

The introduction will be a bit long. This is for two reasons. In case the reader is not familiar with the movement of IF:Gathering, and also for the reason I’ll state in the conclusion.

Introduction

Jennie Allen, founder of IF:Gathering, and Beth Moore, founder of Living Proof Ministries, recently sat together in Jennie’s living room and recorded their conversation about Jesus, trials, and living out their passion for God. Jennie assured viewers at the opening of the video the in-person sit-down occurred prior to the mandated stay-at-home quarantine. The one-hour discussion was posted at the IF:Gathering’s niche inside the RightNow media host of streaming Bible studies.

Annotation 2020-03-27 113810
Jennie Allen introducing IF:TV

IF:Gathering is a digital para-church ‘discipling’ movement founded by Jennie Allen in 2014 after she heard, in her words, “a voice from the sky” that instructed her to “gather and equip this generation.” The first conference was held in 2014.

That initial conference was touted mainly on digital media with a vague motto, “If God is real, then what?” with no speakers announced. Interest was sparked on Christian blogs, other social media, and word of mouth. This digital approach worked- the initial conference sold out in 42 minutes, surprising organizers, so digital-savvy founders quickly set up local watch parties across the U.S. and 22 other countries to allow for participation via simulcast.

Reportedly, over 40,000 people watched and 1200 attended in person, and the hashtag #IFGathering trended to the top on Twitter. Initial speakers of this below-the-radar movement busy gathering and equipping your women were Allen, of course, Ann Voskamp, Christine Caine, Shelley Giglio and Jen Hatmaker. Original advisers to Allen and other leaders in the of the corporation were Christine Caine, Shelley Giglio, and Debbie Eaton- all women.

Six years later, the corporation is a 501(c)3 non-profit with recent revenues standing at 3.6 million dollars (but net assets of half a million). Their stated goal for the annual conference held in Austin at that time, was, “If Austin: a two-day gathering that brought thousands of women together in Austin and at local gatherings across the globe. The gathering is a fresh, deep, honest space for a new generation of women to wrestle with the essential question: if God is real… Then what?” and for the rest of the year, “If Equip: a holistic, strategic, deep way to connect online with a like-hearted community and relevant resources. We hope to prepare women around the world to know God more deeply and to live out their purposes by sharing comments and feelings about daily passages posted online”.

Thus, If Equip is centered around local gatherings studying IF-written devotionals and discussing their feelings about the verses outside of the church and apart from pastoral oversight.

The movement is ecumenical, not mentioning any particular denominations specifically but stressing that women “from different traditions” or “different camps” are welcome “for the sake of unity.”

Webinar

Jennie opened the Webinar conversation by relating a story of her earliest memory of meeting Beth Moore. It was early days, Jennie said, she was in college and Beth had just started. She said she wept hard during Moore’s talk to about 300 women, because she connected with the passion and love for Jesus that Moore displayed. Allen said it was a relief to meet someone who felt the same way about Jesus that she did. As that long-ago event concluded, Allen approached Moore and stated that she felt about ministry like Moore does. Moore put her hands on both Jennie’s shoulders and proclaimed, “I affirm that calling of God in your life. Now go and learn your Bible.”

The webinar conversation published this week began with Moore talking of the importance of fulfilling one’s gifting to communicate, if that is the gifting, but on a larger scale for women to find traction in their walk of faith. “Fulfilling that place that God has for them. I believe with all my heart Jennie that we really get into the momentary that seasonal place God wants us to be,” Moore said.

Jennie shared that she worries that the generation coming up has made an idol out of their phones and digital life. (?! A startling admission from the founder of a movement whose promotion and existence is almost entirely digital.)

Jennie asked Moore how do we do ministry well. Moore answered that “it’s much more compelling that it’s harder than ever. That we have taken out everything so seeker friendly, fun, and comfortable, that we have taken out everything that is compelling. Are we ready to come forward and die? What is worth it to them to give everything?”

Jennie affirmed that the enemy is ‘getting us’ through distraction, numbness, and comfort. That said, how does Moore choose to follow Jesus in a better way and not get distracted? (and not too comfortable was tacitly hanging in the air). Moore said that it’s Jesus Himself that is the reason she is ‘still in it.’ She is still extremely interested in Him and is still extremely compelled by him, and mesmerized by him, and that is the reason she is still ‘willing to take the risk.’ In this numb, drunken sloppy culture that’s lulling us into self fulfillment Moore said, she is still willing to lose herself to find herself, to do the opposite of what the culture and even the Christian culture is asking us to do.

Moore stated the obvious, that women in other cultures might not have what we have, noting that they were sitting on a couch and many other women don’t even have that. “We’re not suggesting we don’t have those things, but…” and continued.

I’d like to insert here, in the discussion about ministry v. comfort, that Moore owns 4 homes, one is a ranch in Menard TX, and another more than a three-quarters of a million dollar home on a rare double waterfront lot on Galveston Bay, complete with private dock and a boat. She flies private jet to venues, a perk for which Lifeway pays half and her own ministry pays the other half. Moore’s salary is a quarter of a million dollars. She is more than comfortable. Allen herself is a successful multi-book author and is at this moment on a book tour for her latest book. Also, please don’t forget that last year Moore was asked a very simple question, whether she believes homosexuality is a sin, and Moore refused to answer. This in my opinion contradicts her statement that Moore is willing to be counter-cultural and take a risk in ministry.

Jennie asked Moore about finishing well after “so many years” in the ministry. Moore said, and I’m quoting,

“I’ve told Him, I said if you give me presence of mind in my last moments, I want to see my, in this order, my grandkids, then I want to be with my daughters, then I’d like to be with my husband, then let me have 30 seconds where I’m aware before I go home, and let me be able to say to Him, ‘I’ve had the biggest blast with you. In the midst of so much crap, yeah, I’ve had this insane adventure with him.”

Jennie asked about retiring. Moore’s reply was that she wanted to do what Jesus asks her to do, whether public or private, and if it’s private she is ready for that. But she also said she does not want to succumb to a failure due to spiritual warfare.

Their conversation ranged from there to the dark night of the soul, in which Jennie shared that she is deathly afraid of the dark and shared that she had an 18-months season of doubt so severe she thought she would lose her faith completely. They spoke of persevering, fame, impact in ministry, promoted each of their new books, fruitfulness, and generally continued in this manner with Allen asking and Moore answering, for the rest of the hour.

Review/Impressions

The conversation was genteel and wide-ranging. Allen asked Moore questions of ministry and Christian life, and remained quiet, allowing Moore to answer expansively. For this reason, I noticed that Moore’s answers were more disorganized than usual. She answered in circular fashion, interrupting herself, inserting parenthetical comments, and occasionally even losing her train of thought. I also noticed that Moore’s answers were vague than ever. It seemed like she was being extraordinary careful with her answers. As casual as the conversation was, Moore was picking and choosing the most high-emotion but most drained of meaning words she could. Here is one example. It does not make sense,

“I believe with all my heart Jennie that we really get into the momentary that seasonal place God wants us to be.”

By contrast, Jennie Allen seemed sincere and eager. She was like a puppy looking up to her idol, and bounding from one topic to another with joy and a delight that was endearing. I was affected when she shared the depth to which she dislikes the dark and really felt empathy when she described her season of doubt.

Nevertheless, it saddens me to see the pairing of the two women, who talk of handing the reins to new generations, because both do not teach rightly. Yet both combined have a digital footprint and a resulting following of millions. I am talking millions. As an aside, Joyce Meyer is 76, Beth Moore is 61, Christine Caine, who claims Meyer as her ‘spiritual mother’ is 53, and Allen, who idolizes Moore, is 41. They have sparked generations of women all the way down the line, as influencers but went more and more unorthodox, as this insightful article unintentionally makes the point of, the rise of the female influencers. Who will be the next influencer coming up the ranks? Who is Allen influencing?

I am against Allen’s IF movement specifically because it draws women away from their home churches and creates a ‘community’ based on feelings about the Bible and not the theology of the Bible. I am against its main premise, “IF God is real”. I am against it because it seems not to have  any male oversight. (Though Allen’s husband Zac is on the corporate board now). I am also against it because IF’s self-stated emphasis on social justice and spiritual formation.

I am against their secretiveness. They aren’t secretive as in dastardly, but secretive as savvy protectors of their digital content. Being mainly digital, they’re fiercely protective of their content behind their paywalls. They also don’t post a list of scheduled speakers before the annual gathering. You must buy the ticket based on the concept, not the speakers. To me this is backward, you want to know whose content you will be absorbing, and not blindly ingest. This is likely the reason many pastors are unaware of the influence from this movement on their women.

The Big Announcement

Jennie Allen’s organization sent out a follow up to the webinar announcing that since the quarantine time has hit, they wanted to help. So they developed IF:TV. Allen said in her announcement video,

We have a new dream. It’s called IF:TV. Because, what we’re good at is coming to you with content, with experiences around God, bringing together your people, while you’re in your pajamas! It’s our expertise.

The first IF:TV program is called MADE FOR THIS- Live with Jennie Allen. Beginning Wednesday, April 1st at 7pm CT I’m going to share the stories we need right now and have some fun! We’ll have a free resource each week to work through with your people from afar!

The second IF:TV show will be THE BEST OF IF:GATHERING -Your Favorite Messages, Beginning Friday, April 3rd at 12pm CT, Features some of your favorite moments from IF:Gathering over the years. We’ll give you conversation cards to start convos with your people.

Allen’s sincerity is evident and her joy seems boundless and undiminished after several years of nurturing her movement and corporation along. I give her that. It is true that given their shrewdness in managing content through digital media they are more prepared than most to share what they have to offer on their various platforms via a screen during this coronavirus time. But that, as we know, is not the church. Yet IF:Gathering now has another digital platform on which to send out their poorly constructed Bible studies and false conclusions.

Because their main thrust is digital, they capitalize on a well-known phenomenon called Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). Wikipedia describes it as

a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. This social anxiety is characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.

Their promotions usually include tantalizing phrases such as ‘don’t miss out’ or ‘be the first to sign up’ or ‘get early access’, ‘be the first to know’, or ‘want to learn more? sign up below!’ In my opinion they trade, probably unwittingly, on the FOMO many younger people deal with these days.

I agree with Carol Coppens’ assessment of Jennie Allen here expressed in her review of Allen’s 2018 book Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul at Michelle Lesley’s website-

This is not a book that will help you to dive deep into the character of God and to know Him better but instead, Jennie’s book is a tedious, self absorbed, experience driven, hermeneutically unsound, over-stepper of scriptural boundaries, mish-mash of emotionalism and repetitive “wrecked-ness”.

Conclusion

In the research I’ve done in listening to Jennie Allen’s speeches and interviews, such as the above webinar, my opinion is the same as Ms Coppens’. Bad hermeneutics, drawing away from the local church, emotionalism, and not to mention Allen’s “voice from the sky” that directed her to found the corporation and audibly delivered the motto. The entire movement is founded on doubt, which they elevate to an exalted position, as many post-modernists do. As Phil Johnson said, emergents often “doubt seeking justification”. Please avoid IF:Gathering, IF:Equip, IF:TV and all the other IF’s, which have grown tremendously since 2014, as you see below from their website.

Annotation 2020-03-27 120504

———————————————————————–

Further Reading

Info on IF:Gathering

IF:Gathering…is it a movement of God?

Almost: Encouragement and Concerns with IF:Gathering

Do You Recommend these teachers/authors?

Info on FOMO:

How FOMO Impacts Teens and Young Adults

Social Media, FOMO and the Perfect Storm for the Quarter-Life Crisis