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IF:Gathering…is it a movement of God?

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NOTICE: This is an older article.  I left here because there were comments attached.  Please read the booklet on IF:Gathering.  The link is on the front page of this blog.  There is an excerpt at the end of this article.

There is a relatively new fad in woman’s conferences call IF:Gathering. IF:Gathering was founded by Jennie Allen, one of the neo-Emergent leaders and a contributor to the Emergent Nines Conference. The new Emergent leaders view themselves as spiritual directors ordained by God to create a new Christianity. Thus, when I read that Allen and her associates (including contemplative heretic, Ann Voskamp,) are involved in a new conference, I wanted to know what they are up to. I read an article in Christianity Today about IF:Gathering that hints about their purpose. Christianity Today declared that the IF:Gathering for the first time has what CT calls a “vague premise.” That premise is, “If God is real, then what?” ( Christianity Today, “If a Brand-New Christian Women’s Conference Goes Viral, Then What?” February, 2014)  More about that question later.

CT also describes some of the activities of the event. “In between sessions, the mostly-young crowd discussed with each other their own sense of calling as well as hindrances such as fear and comparison.” (CT, Ibid) That’s the kind of stuff you see in a convention of young professionals attempting to take the business world by storm. It is amazingly dissimilar to individuals with a biblical calling.

I confess that I didn’t watch any of the conferences, and do not intend to. There isn’t enough time to watch or read everything that is inundating Christianity. It is an overwhelming deluge. However, CT told me everything I need to know to advise every true Christian to avoid them.

“IF focused distinctly on spiritual formation, with both inspirational and practical takeaways. Based on the directive in Hebrews 12 to ‘throw off everything that hinders’ and ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for us,’ dozens of speakers encouraged women to chase their calling.” (CT, Ibid)

Spiritual Formation is the vehicle used by the Emergent Movement to subtly inseminate Christianity with New Age heresy, especially Contemplative spirituality. Spiritual Formation is active with beguiling, religious demon spirits. It is extremely dangerous. I have witnessed a number of Christian leaders apostatize after submitting their souls to Spiritual Formation. I am certain that God did not send a hoard of authors and bloggers armed with demonic heresy to change Christianity. They are sent to persuade Christian women to throw off everything that hinders the works of darkness, especially truth, and to enter a new path that heads straight into apostasy.

Subsequently, I also researched the articles and blogs of some of the leaders. They use flowering, poetic phrases to describe and promote the conferences, but without exception give no clear biblical objective. They speak of equipping, unleashing, stepping into your giftedness, chasing your calling, and other “New Agey” sounding banalities. It leaves me with the feeling that they are more interested in crafting clever and quotable clichés than in laying out a biblical agenda. Many of the leaders and speakers, such as Jen Hatmaker, are gifted writers. It was Hatmaker that finally gave me the answer I was searching for; the stated vision of the IF:Gathering.

“We exist to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose.” (Jen Hatmaker; It’s Time: A New Movement for Our Generation, June 19, 2013), (I wonder what Christian women did in the past with only the Holy Spirit and God’s word to equip and enable them?)

Okay, but I still have questions. I understand the “gather” part, but isn’t the “equip” part the work of the Holy Spirit and the five leadership offices? Further, one can only be unleashed if one is on a leash. Do the women involved believe that the next generation is on a leash (biblical Christianity?)? Last, if the focus of their efforts is about the next generation, what about the present generation(s) of women that must necessarily be on leashes? Hatmaker confirms that it is the next generation they intend to influence.

“We have an audacious vision to disciple the next generation.” (Len Hatmaker)

Hatmaker quotes her friend, Sarah Bessy, author of “Jesus Feminist” who asks;
“If this is really the Gospel, if this is really the stuff we believe is going to change a generation or bring revival or renewal or whatever, then why aren稚 the doors wide open for the rest of us?” (In which I have All The Feelings about conferences; September 25, 2013), (Memo to Sarah Bussy: It’s not the Gospel.)

Hatmaker closed that blog with a statement to God; “Because if you are real, then we have no other hope.” (Jen Hatmaker, IF : Gathering – A New Table, October 14th, 2013) (Memo to Jen Hatmaker: God is real!)

I see the pattern emerging. It is about questions that begin with “IF”. “IF God is real” and “IF this is the Gospel,” “IF this is revival, renewal, or whatever”, etcetera. They are questions that lead into a deviant arena of discovery, an IF:Gathering. The purpose of asking doubt-based questions is to propose doubt-laced responses that supplant biblical answers. Consider how Hatmaker poses and then answers a fictitious problem of faith.
Hatmaker presents the straw man, “Faith does not always demand that God explains Himself.”

The fact is, faith never demands that God explains Himself. That is either the stuff of arrogance, ignorance, or mistrust, all of which is a lack of faith. What does one teach from such a premise? Hatmaker explains that faith does not erase doubt, insecurity, or fear, it just helps to overcome them. However, faith and doubt are so antithetical to each other that where one exists, the other does not exist. Faith eliminates doubt as light eliminates darkness. If faith cannot remove doubt, it is completely incapable of victory over it. Teaching that the existence of faith and doubt as both/and is eastern thought. God’s word is clear that the existence of faith and doubt are either/or. (Matthew 14:31 and James 1:6)

This does not surprise me given the New Age paganism of the Emergent Church Movement. Consider the ramifications of such a concept of faith. It makes one susceptible to doubt, which decreases faith. It also limits desire for the quality of faith that elimination of doubt requires. Hatmaker’s teaching is a concept of doubt never eliminated and pure faith never realized.
Christians lured into this defeatist concept will eventually be required to find other means of dealing with doubt. Doubt, like evil, refuses to remain dormant. It will come back as a malignant cancer. The individual will need more conferences, “equipping” and “unleashing”, which will eventually lead to more New Age solutions for Christianity’s “failures.” That foul stream will never run dry.

I conclude that Allen’s IF:Gathering is no different than the Drucker Leadership Network’s spinoff conferences. It will run its course and they will concoct an identical one with a new name. In fact, I hear that something called the Orange Conference is gearing up that targets the entire family. The Orange website lists Perry Noble as one of their speakers. Really? Perry Noble?

The IF:Gatherings are as other Emergent women’s conferences that promise great solutions, but in practice they covertly chip away at biblical concepts of God, the Holy Spirit, and biblical Christianity. They are based on flawed concepts masked by alluring phrases gushing and tumbling in a river of Spiritual Formation. With other events involving Emergent “coaches”, they intend to solve the problem of failed Christianity. They believe that new, replacement Christianity is the solution.

The new leaders of Emergent Christianity appear as shepherds, exuding confidence and charisma, porous with enticing words and quotable phrases, promising great benefits, but their Conference spiel is laced with heresy. They are false shepherds; hirelings and heretics, that are leading millions of professing Christians into great deception and the final apostasy. The IF:Gatherings are about ecumenism, alternate spirituality, and overwhelming susceptible women with music, visuals, and emotional camaraderie. When their hearts are prepared and open, the heretics pose very critical questions and provide answers that conflict with God’s word.

It is not about true Christianity. As one participant said, “I hear enough people telling me how to be a good Christian Mom. I don’t need that.” (Christianity Today; IBID) Yep, that’s not “New Agey” enough for IFs and ORANGEs.

IF:Gatherings are positing heresy in the women of this generation for the purpose of corrupting it and the next generation. If Hatmaker’s teaching on faith is any indication of their intent, then the present and next generations are in grave danger from the insidious attack.

IF it is of God: Answering the Questions of IF:Gathering

Since my first article I purchased and watched the If:Gathering.  Afterward, I wrote this booklet.  (Booket at Lighthouse Trails Research)

IF:Gathering came in like a storm, one of those winter events that seem to appear out of nowhere. No one saw it coming. A team of highly popular women—authors, bloggers, and speakers coming together—what a great idea. But it wasn’t novel. Professing Christians have been making pilgrimages for decades to high-energy conferences with a star list of speakers and singers. As with so many of these other conferences, IF purported to do the work of God. However, IF was unique in that it was mostly a digital event. It was greatly effective.

The IF:Gathering held its second event in February of 2015 and involved 1200 women at the physical location, with a possible 100,000 or more watching by 40,000 live links in more than 120 countries. The ongoing influence of IF after the conference has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of women all while flying under the radar of pastors and church leaders who may be accepting IF:Gathering at face value, not knowing anything about this group of high energy talented women leaders.

After reading the list of IF speakers and researching information about them, I have become convinced that IF poses a significant risk to Christian women, who unwittingly are submitting themselves to IF’s speakers and teachers. The danger? It comes in the form of emergent ideology, spiritual formation, and contemplative spirituality (contemplative prayer is a mantra-like “prayer” practice that vitalizes the “progressive” “new” Christianity (i.e., the emerging church). Thus, I am compelled to report on my findings regarding IF.

How did IF:Gathering come about and is it ordained by God? These are questions every responsible Christian needs to ask concerning anything claiming to be a new move or revelation from God. Those questions are especially important during such a time as this, a time when the church is suffering from great deception and apostasy. Is IF influencing women to draw nearer to God or rather leading them onto a spiritually dangerous path to heresy?

IF’s Beginning—A Whisper from the Sky

The 2015 IF:Gathering did not end when the conference was over. It continues to function through the network established before the conference occurred. Its influence continues through local churches and individuals who hosted the event, through social media, available videos of the event, and the “IF:Table,”* all of which have the potential to reach countless more women and evolve into a major women’s movement. If that occurs, it will help set the agenda of how the future generation perceives and implements Christianity.

The first statement on their website under “Who We Are” is:  We exist to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose.1

The founder of IF:Gathering, Jennie Allen, is a bright and energetic, best-selling author, blogger, and popular speaker. She appears sincere and dedicated to ministering to people. She and her husband have been involved in ministry for a number of years. However, since she is the founder, we must consider her activity, her influences, and her statements about the birth of IF:Gathering.

Allen is a Bible teacher who had been teaching groups of girls and young women since high school. She studied at the University of Arkansas for three years, completed her B.S. in Communications at Carson Newman College in Tennessee, and graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Master’s in Biblical Studies in 2005. It would be two years after her graduation from DTS when she had an experience that birthed IF: Gathering.

Allen signed a multi-project contract in 2011 with Thomas Nelson, which included a series of seven DVD-based Bible studies and two trade books. Her first study released in 2011, followed by another one released in 2012. Her first trade book was also released in 2012. Allen’s book Restless: Because You Were Made for More and the Restless video-based Bible study were released simultaneously in January 2014, a month before the first IF:Gathering.

Allen was also one of the speakers in the neo-emergent Nines Conference in 2014, which hosted a speaker lineup that included some of the main influences in the New Christianity movement.

How did the IF:Gathering originate? There are different and conflicting explanations given by Allen. The first account was presented by Allen in the initial IF:Gathering in Austin, Texas, 2014:

About 7 years ago, a voice from the sky—that doesn’t often speak to me—but that day there was this whisper. It was the middle of the night, actually. And it was “Gather and equip your generation.” And this was ridiculous, because honestly, I was a stay at home Mom, I didn’t know anybody that could help me with that job. And it was a completely ridiculous statement. So ridiculous that I just, for two days my bones hurt, and I didn’t know what to do with it. My bones hurt, for two days.

I thought, Okay God, what do you want me to do? Wisely my friend said, “Jennie, if it’s God,” cause it may not be. All voices from the sky are not always God, FYI. But, “if it’s God, then He’s going to give you everything you need to accomplish His purposes. So just wait.” And so I waited, and that was seven years ago, guys.2

Allen eventually came to believe it was God who whispered. She would wait several years for Him to put IF: Gathering together. However, a year after the account of IF’s birth that she gave in the 2014 conference, she posted another account on her blog:

Truth is, IF:Gathering began as more of a hunch than a vision.3

A month later, and one year after her first account, Allen gave another account of how the IF came about during the IF: Gathering February, 2015:

I mean, 7 years ago, 8 years ago now, I heard a voice that . . . well, okay, I didn’t. This is like all different theologies right now. Okay, just give me grace. I don’t know, but I’m just telling you, in the night I woke up, and I was overcome with these words, “Disciple a generation.”

But I sat on it. I put it in my back pocket and said, “Okay God, if you want to do something crazy like that, you’re gonna have to make it happen.”4

I read Allen’s book, Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked my God and My Soul, written a couple of years after her experience with the sky whisperer. In her book, Allen describes deep intimacy with God and willingness to obey Him completely. However, she does not mention anything about Sky Whisperer or his commission to organize the IF: Gathering. I find that puzzling. What better place to introduce and expound on such a life-changing intimate experience and surrender than in a book describing full surrender?

I’m willing to concede that there could be a good reason for the inconsistencies of her accounts as to how IF came about. But an individual whom God supernaturally calls to accomplish a significant work should give a credible and unambiguous account of that call. One could say, “I saw a need and did my best to meet it.” However, when one says, “I heard a voice from God,” a different standard is involved. The reason is because something that has a supernatural event as an origin will have a much greater weight of influence. It presents the individual as a special agent of God, just as any of the figures in the Bible whom God used to accomplish unprecedented purposes. It almost immunizes the revelation and the individual from critical examination.

Therefore, I believe it is proper and reasonable to examine Jennie Allen’s statements concerning the origin of the IF: Gathering. The questions are: “Is Allen’s explanations of the origin of IF:Gathering convincing and does she provide viable and credible information that concludes IF: Gathering originated from God? One should prayerfully consider those questions and ultimately should ask: if it’s origin is in question and if it’s founder is involved in emergent conferences, can IF:Gathering produce good fruit? The next section concerning the speakers in IF:Gathering may help answer that last question.

For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. (Luke 6:43-44)

(Read more at Lighthouse Trails Research)

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50 Comments

  1. You hit the nail right on the head with this article, C.H. Well done. Thank you for this much needed warning!

  2. Dear Pastor Fisher: So glad you did some research on “If.” I just had a friend e-mail me last week with suspicions about Jennie Allen’s new books and studies. They were going to use them in her church. Immediately, I went to Amazon.com and clicked on “Look Inside” at her first book. It had an Ann Voskamp endorsement. Then I checked the index and noted Nouwen and Manning in the index of that book. Knowing what I did about Voskamp, and then seeing the If Organization with Voskamp a part of it I told her it needed to be avoided. I didn’t have time to do any further research. I sent your article on to this lady who already warned her pastor. Hopefully, she will share your thoughts too. Thanks. L.P.

    • C.H. Fisher

      February 10, 2015 at 5:27 am

      Thank you Lois for being a truthspeaker. I hope that the IF:Gathering attender I responded to in a post, Chrissy Romine, will read your comments. It is sad to watch so many people fall victim to deception. They refuse to accept truth because the lie feels so good. I fully believe that we are in the last days. We still pray for you and Bill daily.

  3. Dear C.H Fisher,
    I can attest that had you decided to actually WATCH this conference, you would realize that 100% of your allegations are false and totally off based. I attended this conference via a Livestream and can PROMISE that nothing that was said was anything ’emergent’ whatsoever. OVER AND OVER we were told to not allow ourselves to be fooled by false doctrines, false teachers, zen/buddhism and the like but to PLANT our faces directly in scripture. And, by the way, the conference was IF: GOD IS REAL, then why don’t we ACT like it!? It in no way lent itself to doubt. If anything, it was DEMANDING that we wake up….not a call to walk away from the current church….but to REMEMBER what God asks of us in THE BIBLE. These women were humble and would remind us that the conference was not about them. They would consistently say that we were not there to find some selfish calling but to put off the things of the past (or sins that we allow to keep us weighed down….our fears that keep us from following what God has asked of us in the Bible) and remember that God never promised us a safe/easy life but one that was only intended to further his Kingdom. It was about selflessness and faithfulness to the ONE true God. It was a beautiful, BIBLE BASED event. I am not one to comment on these articles but this one just had to be shot down. This was 100% inaccurate. Please watch the conference before jumping to such awfully, off based conclusions.

    • C.H. Fisher

      February 10, 2015 at 5:18 am

      I read your words and a sadness fills my heart. Please understand that I’ve been a Christian for nearly four decades. I watched the heretics and their deception enter Christianity, and then inundate it. The reason they were able to come in unhindered is because so many professing Christians are spiritually deficient. They have no discernment. Now heretics can deceive just about anyone at will. However, there are still a few of us that their guile will not sway.

      I fully understand how the IF:Gathering affects people. That is how it was designed. Deception does its best work when it is masked with clever phrases and emotionalism. However, I laid out my expose’ of Jen Hatmaker’s false teaching. Refute it if you can. I posted references to Christianity Today’s article. Refute that as well. But to base your position on the mushy gushy feel-goodness and flowering words of the conference is not a valid rejoinder to my article.

      I wonder why known heretics would warn you about heresy? Maybe the heresy they are warning you about is truth. They tell you to plant yourself in the Scriptures, but they do not correctly represent the Scriptures. Satan will give you a truckload of truth if you will swallow one teaspoon of lies. You have to peel of the layer of biblical-sounding mush before you can understand the snare that lies beneath.

      On the IF:Gathering website, they support heretics Tony Campolo and Bono, Jennie Allen was involved in the Emergent Nines conferences. Ann Voskamp is a supporter of Mysticism and Contemplative Spirituality, as evidenced by her best-selling heretical book. How could you attend a conference with such influences involved and not realize what you were submitting your spirit to?

      The final deception is very clever. Christ declared that it could deceive the very elect, if that were possible. If you wish to be more informed about Spiritual Formation and some of the Emergent heretics involved in the conference, Lighthouse Trails Research would be a good place to start. If you choose to bask in the pseudo-glory of a massive deception having imbibed its deadly elixir, sadly, no one can help you.

      • I, too, attended this year’s (2015) local If ggathering, with reservation in my heart. I am No fan of Ann Voskamp or of Christine Cain. I left the room, while the 2 spoke. In discussing all that took place with my Pastor, I said “some parts were OK”. He replied “no, because it is all tainted by the bad”
        Now that I see that If also is a fan of Tony Campolo, I will not attend again. Call it icing on the cake.

  4. Dear Pastor Fisher. I want to offer you more love and respect as a Christian than you chose to offer Chrissy Romine in your response to her comments regarding your article on the “IF” conference which she attended.
    Sir, it is my opinion that you were a bully unnecessarily. I see no need to infer she is somehow inferior in spiritual discernment simply because she pointed out some inaccuracy in misquotes in your article. If that is true then it is you who are the one who must verify the accuracy of your resources otherwise you display the same gullibility you accuse her of. For example, if I hear a quote from a preacher or teacher I know is guilty of false teaching but the statement by itself is true and helpful then that is just a fact. As an adult bible study teacher myself I have had occasion where I have used material from a trusted source but had to explain that I could not endorse a particular statement or suggested author. That is our responsibility as teachers of the Word. I didn’t throw out the entire resource, I simple pointed out what was not recommended and explain why. That is what concerned her, not the fact that you want to warn people. You see I know what I am talking about because she is my daughter and yes, I am the one who wrote to LT. Neither of us is offended by using sound scriptural doctrine to expose false teaching and trends. In fact, we commend you for it but when you assume someone is deceived simply for stating the facts of what was and what was not said you begin to lose credibility for yourself and for the good work you are attempting to do. If others, who were at that conference, read your article and took it at face value, they might conclude that you were ranting about something you had not taken the time to investigate. In so doing you might actually accomplish the opposite of what you were hoping to accomplish. Case in point, here is your statement “If you choose to bask in the pseudo-glory of a massive deception having imbibed its deadly elixir, sadly, no one can help you.” Seriously? By all means educate the church to check out who is behind an event or so called movement and your concerns about unsuspecting people being drawn into a world of syncretism is commendable and shared. Chrissy is an intelligent student of God’s Word. She is a wife and mother and even shares many of the same concerns you do about the snare of false doctrine and mystic practices and she is far from being deceived. She simply did not hear the things you say they stand for at this conference. Her statements of fact about the contents of this video conference are in no way an endorsement of any deception that may become more evident in other statements by the participants. I say this because I know that when friends of her’s read the tone and inferences of your response they are not likely to trust what you say about others very easily because to them, honesty and accuracy matter a great deal. You are welcome to post this or not and I will have no more to say about it other than I hope you will prayerfully consider my words and I will pray that you glorify God in your ministry. Let us be careful to speak the truth in love.

    • C.H. Fisher

      September 9, 2015 at 3:29 am

      I think the last sentence in your diatribe is classic. Please be aware that this is not a game. Deceptive Conferences such as IF:Gathering are luring people into deeper deceptions. We present the truth because we love people. Sadly, some have never heard truth or had their error confronted. In Satan’s upside down scheme, love is now considered hate, and hate considered love. They have been conditioned by deceivers to believe that the one with love is the individual who supports them in their deception. Consider that the love you claim you are revealing. Measured against the love I expressed to Ms. Romine, simply doesn’t pass muster. You wish to keep her in deception and attack me. I wish to give her the information to extract herself from deception and I attack no one. People cannot avoid error if they do not know truth. Yet at every turn, people like me who are presenting truth meet individuals like you that are insisting it is hate and falseness. You’re on the wrong side. Please wake up before it is too late.

  5. Thank you for your reply to Chrissy, C.H. You put into words exactly what I have been trying to express to a dear friend who could just as well be Chrissy. She considers herself a “mature believer” and yet saw no problem attending this conference. She said the Lord would help her to separate the flesh from the bones, though she only had glowing words to speak about this conference. She said it “spoke to her” and many other praises. When I called her attention to word-faith teaching of the speaker she praised most highly, she blasted me and seems just about ready to end a friendship that has lasted several years. She had no interest in learning about the speakers because she “was so blessed” and feels God used them, even if their teaching isn’t always right. My heart is heavy that she cannot see what a deception this is.

  6. Great article on the IF conference. I’d like to know more about the Orange conferences and Women Of Faith. These are big draws in my home town. I was unable to find much info on Orange but I suspect emergent is underfoot. Love Lighthouse Trails Research and Spiritual Research Network as well. Thanks for your information on these Emergents.

  7. Please research Orange before lumping it in with IF. Orange is not a conference for “the whole family,” but a training conference for children’s, youth, and family ministry leaders and volunteers. Our church uses Orange’s curriculum, and as a volunteer, I have been to several of their events – all of them are about teaching us how to partner with families to raise generation of kids that loves God and wants to know Him and have a relationship with Him.

    • C.H. Fisher

      March 19, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      If you go on their website, http://www.theorangeconference.com, it states; “The Orange Conference is a place for your entire age-group ministry to come together…” Evidently, this Conference will affect the entire family. Orange founder, Reggie Joiner, is one of the founders of the Catalyst Conferences (and a regular speaker), which is the largest enterprise for building Emergent leadership. The Orange, and reThink Group, appears to be Emergent as well. reThink is about “A team of innovative writers, thinkers, planners, creators, and do-ers who are devoted to influencing those who influence the next generation.” Consider that Perry Noble is one of the speakers. On that basis alone, I would not recommend Orange for anyone.

  8. Andrea Lucado is the daughter of Max Lucado.

  9. For the first time in my life something is glaring me in the face about these kinds of “conferences.” I have been suspect of Voskamp and Hatmaker and definitely Young for several years now. I can hardly read a word of what they say. But what is glaring me in the face is this verse “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” and how these conferences for “women only” also enhance the “experience.” Today I am simply heartbroken that those of us called by the name of Christ cannot simply see the deception boldface in front of us. To believe the Gospel, and to Obey it and to not need flowry, sappy words to be encouraged to do it. We need more bible and less chump! Thanks for your article. I hope it is not ignored.

    • I am a pastor and a pastor’s wife and I find this sort of back and forth so saddening. I was part of the IF Gathering this year by Livestream and I loved it. It was not about any one person, but it was about Jesus. It was honest, raw, repentive and biblical. The worship was led by no “superstars” but many different leaders. The speakers were varied and once again, no superstars. Why put something down when it’s leading women to Jesus and breaking down demoninational and racial barriers.

  10. Thank you for this!

  11. I was wondering if the IF Gathering was a cult. I attended one of the IF tables at a friends church. It was ok. We just sat around tables and shared, ate good food, and watched some little blurb about the Gathering. That was back in November, I think. My friend invited me to the gathering, but to be honest, I’m not a groupie. Never have been. Never will be. People try to get me to go to Hearts at Home and Women’s conferences and I can’t stand any of them. All this mooshy, feely crap. Who needs more melodramatic drama? So I didn’t go. Something didn’t sit well with me about it either. I don’t know enough about any of the women speakers, but the group I was with–it was all about “we don’t care what your background is, just come”…meaning, we don’t care what you really believe about Jesus, just come so you can know your call in life. I don’t need a gathering to know my call in life. I need Jesus, that’s it. I wonder why women need these kinds of things to be inspired. Isn’t God’s word enough? Here’s a grand idea: Open the bible, read it, pray over it, and then do as God says. Wow, what a concept! I will never understand this over-emotional garbage, this “hold my hand and make me feel special inside” stuff. We just need to stop looking all over the place for Jesus. He’s right here. Right now. Jesus meets us where we are at–ugliness and all. Maybe our calling is to be still. Maybe it’s to help orphans. Maybe its to love our neighbor. How can you do any of that when you are looking to some holier-than-thou women and their groupies to tell you how to live for Christ. God’s given us everything we need. Take hold of that, not a conference.

  12. I also forgot to mention, there website is so vague! I tried to look up what they stood for on their site and I didn’t get it at all (before I attended the table). I asked my friend, “what is IF?” She gave me some vague reply about “If we love God, then what?” Huh??? Then you obey him. Why do you need a conference for that!

    • https://ifgathering.com/thegathering2016/

      What IF we lived more like Jesus.

      Being a woman in today’s times is hard, even harder without God. IF: Gathering is just another way of supporting one another and pushing one another into the arms of the Lord. There are no negative intentions. If it’s not for you then that ok, but allow these women to lovingly put Gods word out there as they try and help others in any ways they can. Instead of talking badly about others especially to others, just pray for them and you too go do good whichever way you know how. What IF you tried living more like Jesus, I don’t think you would have much time or desire for bad mouthing someone’s desire to please God by spreading his love. Praying for all of us as not only women but followers of God to support one another, pray for one another and left eachother up. Leave the Judging to our ONLY real judge.

      • C.H. Fisher

        April 20, 2016 at 1:54 pm

        Let’s get the whole truth about judging, not the partial truth that allows heretics to work unhindered in Christianity.
        “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” – 1 Corinthians 5:12-13

        Would you drink from a toxic stream? Satan always adds a measure of truth with deception. The founder and many of the speakers at IF are influenced by and support the most dangerous heretics to ever infect Christianity. Those heretics are responsible for great deception and subsequently the final apostasy. In my opinion, IF is a snare to lure millions of women into the same deception. That is why it is toxic. To become enamored with the glitter of the snare and ignore that potential danger can be spiritually fatal.

    • Elle, I could not agree more. I signed up for IF being a relatively new member of my current church altho a mature believer, thinking it was a good way to press in. Okay I admit I was going there not at my best after an exhausting day volunteering, but I went there with an open mind believing the energy and spirit of the event and women would rejuvenate me. In fairness I’m not certain even my church fully knows what IF really is, holding it as a replacement for the usual annual retreat. From the outset I just was not feeling the worship, and was not feeling Jennie’s low-on-substance message; to me it just seemed like the same point repeated – get involved in personal discipleship. When we broke for snack and given a vague discussion assignment for after break, I just went home. I’m not sure if I felt uneasy or just plain exhausted and just didn’t feel like sitting some more. I went home and this next morning am still very exhausted and probably not going back today – just can’t face being talked at for hours sitting on my weary bottom. Plus it troubled me a bit to pay $30 registration and also tapped for donations and the trunk sale. I can’t help wondering how many people decided not to go back today. I guess I didn’t realize it would be mostly younger women than me and not many church friends I recognize. I don’t hear God saying Oh, you’ll be sorry if you don’t go back; nope, I agree with Elle that we all hear the call to personal discipleship with the actual book, The Bible, and our participation in our faith. I too looked at some online material and found it very vague – just some of the women involved and more studies they offer and encouraging continuing get-togethers for encouragement.

      • Joanna, I completely agree with your opinions. As a child believer at the age of 3, Jesus said bring the children unto me! Then saved by grace, and immediately wanted to tell my best friend about Jesus. I am now 40 watching and thinking, can you please bring more to the table? (meat not milk) I was with women that have lived life and could tell they wanted to be positive but this was not of God.

    • Elle, thank you for your comment. You said it all. All we need is Jesus and His word and His Spirit to help us to obey Him. Nothing else. I am so tired of the need to find our ‘calling’ talk. Our calling is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strenght and love our neighbours and to tell them about Jesus. It says in the Bible. If we only stop to read it. And the Bible is not about me but Him. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. And if we repent, daily because we all fall short of God’s glory on a daily bases, He will forgive us. This is the true gospel. Go heal the world is not in the bible. This world will never be healed, not until Jesus himself comes back. We cant change anything our calling is to tell others of the salvation that only Jesus can give. And its all in the Bible. I completely agree with you there is no need for conferences there is no need to the unleash anything talk … all we need to do is become readers of the Word of God again and do what it says.

  13. How do I register to receive regular postings from “Truthkeepers?”

  14. Christian woman for 40+ years.
    Bible-believing church member 40+ years.
    Graduated from very conservative Christian university (Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC)
    I’ve read the entire Bible, God’s holy word, more times than I can count.
    Seriously, CH Fisher, you have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about.
    To even hint that the IF events are touchy-feely means you have literally NO clue what you are talking about. Convicting of sin and complacency, yes they are indeed that, but not feel-good. Conviction doesn’t usually feel good.
    They are about equipping women of the Christian faith to go out and have Biblical answers to lead others to the saving knowledge of Christ, our Savior and then staying in touch to disciple them along their journey.
    That’s it. That’s their agenda.
    I cannot get my brain around how you think that is a problem.
    (New age??? You have NO idea what you are talking about)
    And I’m struggling to see where you are bringing people to Christ, Mr. Fisher. Your website is so negative and critical. So sad. If I were not a true follower of Christ, I would never want to become one after visiting this dark, oppressive site.

    • C.H. Fisher

      March 1, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Then why read the Bible? Why believe in God? Darkness is evil in the spiritual sense. Contemplative Spirituality is as dark as it gets. It is New Age paganism. However, you are willing to accept that while condemning an effort to shed light on that wickedness. I am convinced that it professing Christians discovered what true Christianity is, most of them would depart. In fact, they are departing by the tens of thousands to apostate churches and organizations such as IF. You cannot blackmail God by refusing to be part of His kingdom if He doesn’t design it your way. We are in a time of great deception and apostasy. You are in a dangerous position to take such a harsh view of the truth.

    • I, too, have been a Christian for almost 40 years. I agree with Rebecca. I have watched 2 out of 3 of the conferences. The comments in the article are taken out of context. You are attributing motives that don’t line up with what was actually said. The concept is If you love God, if you believe He is real then what are you going to do about it? How are you going to walk that out? What does that look like? It goes way beyond just sitting in a pew passing judgement on what people say. I would suggest you watch all of it and then judge. They are just women trying to figure out how to serve God in the world we live in with kids and jobs and life. Something that goes beyond the words people say. They want to bear fruit right where they are. They send women INTO their Bibles not away from them.

      • C.H. Fisher

        April 3, 2016 at 3:30 am

        Please read the booklet. The article is an older and written after cursory research of IF. I left it because there were comments. The booklet is throughly researched and written after watching the IF videos. Deception is clever nowadays and it is getting more clever.

    • Sarah Carter Brown

      February 4, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      I attended 2017 conference in Tupelo, MS last night. I am 65 years old, been a Christian since I was 13, and a Southern Baptist all my life. I am college educated and a retired teacher. I do not understand what is heretical teaching in what I heard last night, nor did I hear any teaching that was not Bible based. How in the world was anything I heard supposed to lead to apostasy? Sorry, not buying what you opposing folks are saying. I do agree that if women want to change the world, then they should begin on their knees with Jesus. Start small, then follow the Great Commission. I have heard these same teachings in Baptist youth conferences in the 60’s, young adult retreats in the 70’s, and from the pulpit of most churches I have attended.

      • Satan will give you a truckload of truth if you will swallow a spoonful of poison. Read the IF Booklet. Some of those speakers support New Age and contemplative heretics. Jen Hatmaker has come out in support of homosexuality. Exercising discernment is not about being distracted by outward appearances, but allowing the Holy Spirit to show you the fruit, and sometimes who’s hiding behind the sheep’s clothing.

        • I agree with Sarah above. Please research this years speakers. I am very careful to only attend conferences that are Biblically based, I asked a few trusted sources to check me on that. This is my 2nd year attending and I loved this year even more than last. Did I love every speaker? No. But two things: 1. Jennie Allen made a statement about Jen Hatmaker’s relationship with IF after she came out supporting Homosexuality. She was not involved in IF after that. Jennie and IF take a different Biblically based stance from Jen on that. 2. Jill Briscoe spoke this year. I grew up in Stuart and Jill’s home church and they are the real deal, Biblically based servants of Christ, whom I most respect. If Jill was ok with speaking at IF, then I was good with participating. Does IF replace Bible study in your life? No. But it encouraged my heart as a fellow woman and believer in Christ.

          • Of course, the problems with “IF” are much more than Jen Hatmaker. Please read the booklet. It’s free at Lighthouse Trails Research.

        • Jen Hatmaker is no longer a part of this conference and Jennie Allen had put out a statement in reference to this. I had/have concerns too about the conference and speakers too and found the info during my research. Just an FYI.

          http://churchleaders.com/news/289924-the-founder-of-ifgathering-responds-to-jen-hatmakers-position-on-same-sex-marriage-jennie-allen.html

          • Of course, it is not about Hatmaker’s support for homosexuality. I wrote the booklet long before that info came out. Please read the booklet. It is about deception masquerading as truth. Allen has said nothing about the heretics she has had as speakers. I have no clue what “IF” is doing now and haven’t the time to focus on it. I haven’t written further about “IF”. Enough has been said. The warning has been given. If people chose to ignore it, that is their prerogative. The fact is, if people are not equipped with knowledge they are going to be deceived. Afterwards, they are angry with me because they cannot grasp what I am telling them. That is actually a characteristic of deception.

  15. I was interested in hearing what this author had to say – until I read: “I confess that I didn’t watch any of the conferences…”

  16. How on earth can you write an article on an event you didn’t even attend or watch? I attended IF Gathering 2016 and found nothing but love for Jesus and the need for all believers to share with nonbelievers His love! There was no “new Christianity” presented or talked about. It was pure and real and passionate about our call to share the good news! It was 100% Bible based. I’m sorry you didn’t take the time to attend this year – you would have been blessed by the event and written a totally different article!

    • C.H. Fisher

      March 16, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Like many thousands, I watched the event via live feed. However, I did not swoon under the spell of the music and cajoling words. In my booklet, that you can read free on Lighthouse Trails, I list the women who spoke and their New Age pagan influences. I also present Allen’s issue with telling the truth about the origin of IF. Everything is researched and footnoted. This is a time of great and very clever deception. The ones who are falling victim to it are the ones who focus on the superficial and are easily influenced by clever words and do not guard their emotions. IF:Gathering is not of God. It’s fruit will be as its foundation, deception.

      • I’m still digesting and considering what you’ve written here. But in the article, you said you didn’t watch any of it (“and do not intend to”). But here, you say you watched it live. If you had watched it live before writing the article, you wouldn’t have said you didn’t watch it, and if you watched it later, you wouldn’t have later said you watched it live. So, which is it? Because from here, the first statement sounds like the truth, and the second statement sounds like a falsehood to defend your position. And isn’t your purpose to speak against falsehood (=truthkeepers)?

        “I confess that I didn’t watch any of the conferences, and do not intend to. There isn’t enough time to watch or read everything that is inundating Christianity.”
        and
        “Like many thousands, I watched the event via live feed. However, I did not swoon under the spell of the music and cajoling words.”

        (Either way, I’m guessing your reaction will be to crush me with eloquence, but I’m interested in your answer anyway.)

        • C.H. Fisher

          April 3, 2016 at 3:23 am

          It is simple. Sometime after writing the article I changed my mind and watched the videos. You are confusing the earlier article with my reference to the newer booklet. The link to the booklet is clearly presented on the front page of this site. I could have removed the earlier article, which would have prevented the confusion, but there were comments on it. Had I done so I suppose I would have been accused of hiding something.

  17. IDK an “IF” from a “BUT” or an “AND”, in this context. Never heard of them until this week (April 18, 2015). Saw a post by someone on another forum that mentioned them, and mentioned this website. Sort of click-bait, I guess but I bit. This criticism by Bro. Fisher doesn’t reveal much as to why these gatherings and this fad is bad. However, if you know the people involved, and you know they are “well meaning” false teachers at best or misleading beguilers at worst, you really don’t have to watch or read their conferences or materials to avoid them and call the thing out for what it is.

    If three convicted robbers are holding a conference on money management, I don’t need to review their materials and watch their trailers and see their conferences to know I ain’t buying what they’re selling. Similarly, if a small or large group of speakers and teachers are clearly writing, speaking and teaching amiss, requiring me to see their materials and conferences before speaking about avoiding them is just a distraction (“Look, a squirrel!!”) from the real issue. Having said that, I wish Bro. Fisher would specify a list of maybe 5-10 things altogether that the IF folks have stated that amount to false teaching or worse. Not just label them with sweeping categorical epithets like “emergent” or “contemplative spirituality heresy”, because those are only labels that don’t necessarily communicate truth standing alone. Please be specific. I’m interested and sympathetic with the drive behind the criticism of IF, but if you take on the responsibility of warning, you really have a duty to prove with specifics so we can take you at your word

    • C.H. Fisher

      April 20, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Again, please allow me to patiently inform that this is an older article. I do not intend to remove the older article because there were responses to it. I did add a notice up front to read the booklet for more details. Therefore, I again ask that you read the booklet that presents the case against IF more fully with footnotes It is free to read if you follow the link on the front page, or you can purchase copies from Lighthouse Trails Publishing.

  18. Wait, Cedric, are you not with Bob Jones? Isn’t Bob Jones recognized as a “damaging” cult? If I am not mistaken, you all are being investigated for sexual abuse, also. Hmmm~ so what is the real issue here?

  19. You couldn’t possibly be sharing the gospel and love of Christ because you’re too busy seeking the next person you can criticize and call names. Get off your high horse and go love people like Jesus did. You must be exhausted from staying so angry and attacking people. Go get some rest.

    • You mean, I should be more like you?

      • Mr. Fisher,

        Reading through your article, the comments and your replies has been sometimes amusing, and occasionally painful. The heart of the problem is that the Jesus you’ve come to believe is small, weak, and struggling to overcome a very mighty Satan. Of course that’s backwards thinking. Christ is far beyond strong, incalculably so in fact while the opposition is against the ropes and taking a pounding.

        Surely there are imperfections in the people whom Jesus is letting lead these conferences. They are confused, broken and imperfect just like me and you, but they are trying to make Jesus famous and in doing so, because of the human condition, some of that fame lands on them. Their next steps are what matter most if we are to read their intentions. Do they absorb the fame, or redirect it to Jesus. So far as we all can tell, they redirect it, reinvest it, and conform it to Christ.

        All things work together for the good of we who are called by Jesus, to Jesus, for Jesus. There will be no complete removal of the bad stuff from the good stuff until Jesus brings all things into submission. If, at the end of the service, event, activity, conference, small group or whatever else there may be, Jesus is made the focal point and solution, then He wins…period. If, they are not against Him (if only in their speech) then they are for Him.

        He is that strong. You should get to know Jesus, rather than know about him. He does not need your defense. He requires your humility. That pounding in your chest right this second, is the Holy Spirits whisper to you, that you are on dangerous ground. Your pride, which is bound to fear, is outweighing your faith, and as such is killing it.

        DeWayne

        • One thing I can count on is that most deceived individuals follow a distinct pattern when attempting to defend their deception. They always posit straw men and then knock them down. It gives the appearance that they have actually won a point. True to that pattern your straw man insists (among other errors) that I believe in an unbiblical Jesus. There is no hint of that error in anything I write. Maybe you’re confused because I do not believe in the new “Jesus” as presented by Contemplative mystics. Further, your post is completely irrelevant to the article you are commenting on. You appear to have written it for the sole purpose of unfounded accusations. While I do not find your diatribe painful, and it falls short of amusing, I find it extremely lacking in Christian decorum. In fact, God’s word is clear about where that type of unseeming behavior originates from and it is not from Him. If that is the example you wish me to follow, I must respectfully decline.

        • Well, DeWayne, I’m not going to authorize your latest post because it contains more unfounded accusations. TK does not as a matter of principle give people access to post unhelpful rancor. Normally, those types of posts are deleted and seldom respond to. However, I visited your church page. I believe that I should make an effort to reveal some aberrations in your post.

          First, let me point out that you are committing egregious sin by making unfounded accusations. Do you understand what the term unfounded means? I advise you to do the research, present your evidence with proper references, and prove your accusations. Otherwise, you appear as someone with a grudge submitting to the flesh.

          Please consider that you posted gibberish, such as, “They are trying to make Jesus famous and some of the fame lands on them.” Then there is this, “…they redirect it, reinvest it, and conform it to Christ.” How very strange!

          There is no historical figure more famous than Christ Jesus. It is not fame that He wants, but for people to genuinely confess Him as Lord and Savior. And as to His being powerful, He is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:10).

          You admit to being “confused, broken, and imperfect.” I will pray that you will receive wisdom, healing, and regeneration.

          Then you wrote, “There will be no complete removal of the bad stuff from the good stuff until Jesus brings all things into submission.”
          You are espousing a false doctrine that evil and holy is merged merged. That’s akin to Gnosticism or perhaps Mormonism. The New Testament is replete with admonitions to identify and separate from evil. That is why we exercise our senses for discernment.

          We are to have no fellowship with the works of darkness. We are to abstain from fleshly lusts. We are not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. We are supposed to be sanctified from the world system. And numerous other exhortations. You can look up the scriptures.

          Finally, you write contradictory gobbledygook. “That pounding in your chest right this second, is the Holy Spirits whisper to you, that you are on dangerous ground.”

          Okay, so my heart, which thankfully pounds in my chest, is actually the Holy Spirit whispering? Either my heart is pounding/sending a message, or the Holy Spirit is whispering a message. It can’t be both/and except in Eastern thought.

          Let’s assume that my heart is simply doing what hearts do and the Holy Spirit is whispering a message. In order to hear the Holy Spirit whispering one must be very sensitive to His voice. In that case, one would not need his or her heart to beat out a code.

          Additionally, if I were on dangerous ground, I would have had to reject the Holy Spirit’s voice to get onto that ground. Thus, He would not whisper, but speak very loudly and clearly.

          So DeWayne, I advise you to please pray about what you have written and search God’s word for some clear guidance. I further advise to reject whatever resentment you have against me for your own benefit. I promise to pray daily for you. I do not have the time to respond to further invectives.

  20. Mr. Fisher,

    I found your blog entry very enlightening today. Thank you for taking the time to write about a subject I wanted to research based on a recent inquiry. Like you I have not been to a conference, nor have I watched the broadcast. As I am a man, I expect the only way to see it is to watch the video. I have not studied about the leaders, nor am I acquainted with their teachings so, your article was quite helpful.

    Obviously, there are strong opinions on each side, which can be a sign that everything isn’t as it should be, but can also be the absence of communication with the person(s) in question. Only God can know their hearts (Psalm 44:21, Luke 16:15, Romans 8:27). If this teaching is false, you are doing a good thing to call attention to it and warn those who might be easily swayed. If the teaching is true, nothing will stop them, and antagonists will find themselves fighting against God (Acts 5:39). I leave IF in His capable hands to reach its ultimate conclusion.

    My main objective in replying is to remind all of us, myself included, to be loving and full of grace as we communicate with each other. We should all voice our concerns, of course; there is no doubt about that. As children of an almighty God, the very embodiment of love, and His Son, the incarnation of that love, we should be slow to anger and be quick to show kindness in our speech, not watering down what we hold to be truth, but in a manner that shows the world that there is something different about us as they surf the web.

    I just stumbled onto this forum, so I’m a great example of how it’s out there for the world to see. The opinions expressed were very helpful to me. It just saddened me to see His children showing such rancor toward each other (not all, but some). We should all be wary of our opinions and our speech, it’s easy to get heated when discussing those things we hold dear to us, especially the foundations of our faith. Let us all remember that we are being studied carefully by those who would seek to destroy our message.

    Colossians 4
    5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive[a] so that you will have the right response for everyone.

    …and that verse is about how we speak to unbelievers. Therefore the bar must be set VERY high concerning how we speak to believers, especially in front of non-believers. Please do not misinterpret my comment as a condemnation of any person who has replied; I would be condemning myself. I just want to spur us on to show deep love for one another, as Jesus did for us when we were still sinners, while we do our very best to stand for the truth, even when someone disagrees (as is always the case) 🙂

    Thank you for your blog. There is so much to read and learn. You obviously LOVE to write, and have a great gift. I pray you will be blessed in your ministry on the Internet and offline.

    Yours in Christ’s love

  21. Thank you for the information. I attended IF (virtually) for 2 years in a row. While it was not unpleasant, I could not fully embrace the experience though women all away round me were very enthusiastic. I reported to my best friend and also to my pastor that there was something I discerned that made me uneasy – like some pieces were missing so that if asked, I would be unable to explain what, precisely, was the message? Who, exactly, are these women, and why are their voices given credence? Are they to be trusted? Like an earlier post, I went on line and tried to find a doctrinal statement or language that clearly explained the organization to better understand the purpose and mission. There is nothing explicit, other than the Niciene creed as a statement of belief (at least the last time I looked). It seemed everything I read pointed to equipping women to carry out “a purpose” without clearly stating the only purpose Jesus gave us as believers, and that is The Great Commission. Otherwise it may as well be a business siminar. Too, where were the instructions for becoming a Christian in the first place for women who do not yet have and are seeking a personal encounter with Jesus? Based on this, then, I chose to step away from this movement.

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