Through the Narrow: What About the IF Gathering Part 2 – By Gina Cook

In my last article I warned about the 2021 IF:Gathering that was soon coming up.  I went off of what I already knew about the speakers.  Here is the link: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2021/03/02/through-the-narrow-what-about-the-ifgathering-part-i-by-gina-cook/ 

After the IF:Gathering concluded and while they had most of their videos free to watch I sat and listened to as much as I could. I’m going to share what I heard from most of the speakers and briefly explain why it’s good, bad or ugly. 

The speakers I’ll be covering to some degree or another are Jackie Hill Perry, Christine Caine, Joni Eareckson Tada, Francis Chan, Lysa Terkeurst, Rebekah Lyons, Mike Todd, Anne Voskamp, Bianca Olthoff, Dr. Anita Phillips, Dr. Curt Thompson, Isabella Garza, Latasha Morrison, David Platt, Jennie Allen, and Eugene Cho.   

Some of these speakers are not as well-known as the others but after watching them I can imagine the lesser-knowns could become more known and followed, sadly.  I want to warn about them just as equally as the others for this reason.  I want to also clarify that I’m not necessarily going to cover the speakers in the order they spoke.  Also, I was not able to watch the entire conference because the breakout sessions were not free to watch.  I also didn’t watch every minute that was available because I simply ran out of time before it was offline. I tried to focus on what seemed the most concerning and in need of explaning. 

I’ll warn you now, this will be longer than my other articles

That is because there is so much to address and I honestly will still only be scratching the surface.  If you are short on time, feel free to scroll down and find a specific teacher/speaker that you are particularly interested in knowing more on as far as their message at IF:Gathering.  I hope you find the time to read the whole thing only to help you better understand the larger and more dangerous picture of IF:Gathering.   

I believe what was the most disturbing for me was the fact that there were some very good things said, especially the first day (No coincidence I’m sure.  That’s all a part of the design).  This may sound strange to some.  Why is “good” disturbing to me?  It’s because I’d rather the poison be more unveiled.  I’d rather it not be masked with goodness and beauty.   I don’t want the less discerning lured into the spiritual woods to get beat half to death with hellish lies before they may or may not escape.  As we already know from Scripture, Satan loves to portray himself as an angel of light, just as his workers do.  Satan rarely starts off looking like a monster. 

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 

The two speakers who seemed to display the most biblical accuracy, the best masks, were Jackie Hill Perry and Christine Caine. 

Jackie Hill Perry 

When most didn’t open their Bible and only flailed it around while expressing squishy opinions of the SJW types, Jackie opened it and read it.  Not only did she read it she went deeper than others with the Scripture.  She had some accurate things to say especially on God’s holiness, explaining it meant He is transcendent and separate from anything or anyone else.  She also accurately talks about how we are to be holy.  However, she focused on a few confusing ideas about God and how we come to know Him or want to know Him.  She states that when we see His beauty it’s “then we want to know Him, love Him, trust Him” and out of that comes the fruit.  It seems she has a different idea of what it means to know the Lord than what we are taught in Scripture. I can see where she could mean “knowing” as trusting Him more with everything in our walk yet there wasn’t enough clarity given. 

Even though she happened to mention repentance and taking up one’s cross earlier in her presentation, she landed the message on knowing Him because we first see His beauty and want to behold Him.   

To know God is to know Christ and to know Christ is to be saved.  “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  John 17:3 

Only at salvation can we say we know the Lord and only with our new spiritual eyes and new birth can we behold Him and His beauty, His mercy, and loving-kindness towards us, knowing He has forgiven us through His atoning work on the cross and His resurrection.   

God doesn’t necessarily look beautiful to us at first or in our times of repentance. When a the repentant sinner is confronted with the Holy God there is not this mere observing of His beauty and all the more positive attributes but instead contriteness before the Great I AM. 

I was surprised she didn’t go more into the social justice talk being she is so vocal about it elsewhere.  From what I heard, she wasn’t entirely that bad.  Again, I wasn’t able to watch the entire conference.  There may have been other times she spoke that I couldn’t see.  If not, if she didn’t say anything way off in any other part of the conference then this is where it concerns me.  Again, that may sound strange but I say it’s a concern because people will listen to her message at IF and be convinced she’s safe enough to follow when in reality she is dancing with dangerous teachings/teachers often. 

Here is a video I found of her message at IF:Gathering 

Christine Caine 

Like Jackie, Christine gave some deep biblical truths.  She talked about the death and resurrection of Christ and repentance.  She talked on His return.  She gave a touching testimony of the time she was in another country where they were dying for their faith and she felt she had nothing to give to them as they already were living so devotedly for Christ, willing and expecting to die for His name’s sake.  She stressed how we also need to give our lives to Him.  I was sitting there thinking, wow this is going to sell to a lot of people, understandably so.  I can almost hear the masses of ladies saying, “Well there you go, she may have some differing views than us on some spiritual things but she loves Jesus so passionately, therefore she’s a Christian.”  The problem is, she mixed a whole lot of poison with that big healthy glass of Truth.  

For starters, she was sitting there with Jennie Allen talking about how she was the one who helped catapult the beginning of IF:Gathering.  When Jennie was having manifestations from “God” about “disciplining a nation”, apparently it was Christine that helped explain and encourage that message from “God” to Jennie and helped her understand that IF Gathering is “part of the preparation for an end-time harvest.”  Christine pointed to the audience and said, “You can thank me later.”  So very humble of her to say (insert sarcasm).   

Later there were comments about seeing signs, wonders, and miracles happening now.  The online conference, according to Caine, was a miracle.  She saw it as a miracle because it reached so many women for Jesus.  She said it’s a revival.  Sorry, but that is not the definition of a miracle or a picture of a revival.  Salvation in Christ is a miracle, yes, but the tool to supposedly bring the Gospel is not the miracle.  I’m not the miracle if I share the Gospel of Christ with someone and they become saved from that encounter with God’s Truth.   Also, these women have absolutely no idea of any revival that could come from this conference.  They are in the middle of it at the time this is said and do not know the majority of those watching and how they are responding.  It’s a classic trick from the old bag that holds no truth or fact yet makes many wondrous claims.   

Caine also says she believes healing/racial reconciliation will happen.  Being Jesus is coming back it makes her want to fight for racial reconciliation more than ever, as well as, human trafficking.  

There’s so much wrong to unpack there.  First off, there’s that expected dose of woke we thought would be there at IF:Gathering.  It’s the thing IF is best at- social justice rhetoric.  Instead of Christ’s return being fuel for reflecting on our own walk and for the furthering of the Gospel for all of the lost, somehow for Christine she mostly thinks of racial issues and human trafficking.  Those are not bad things to be concerned about yet it’s a very strange focus to have when talking about Christ’s return, especially when we consider the culture’s direction these days.  It’s interesting that she starts out sharing how those people in the other country were dying for Christ and wanting to know how to share the Gospel with their executioner, but then switches it to talking about racial issues.  She did later make a small reference to sharing the Gospel, but social issues were front and center. When the Gospel is heard and one repents and trusts in Christ, all sins are dealt with and forgiven.  We don’t pick out a few sins as the main focus in our preaching the Gospel or in our urgency before Christ’s return.  

More truth was sprinkled in, more focus on dying for Christ, His death, resurrection and ascension, and so forth, but the big ol’ plop of poison came at the end when she started talking about circles.  Yeah, that’s right, drawing a circle and getting in it to come before ‘Jesus”.  If you don’t already know, this is a pagan practice that has been practiced and taught by a few professing Christian teachers/authors.  Pricilla Shirer is one of them.  You can read more on the danger of this belief and practice here: Through the Narrow: People Honor Me with Their Lips – By Tami Dykes – Tulips & Honey (wordpress.com) 

There was such a lack of discernment and obvious contradictions with Caine and her message.  She was obviously trying to appease all ears but in the end revealed where her heart really is, which is more in herself than it is in the true Jesus. 

Joni Ereckson Tada 

Joni’s involvement with IF:Gathering was a surprise for many, including myself.  She has been an encouragement for many solid believers and preachers as she has shared her walk with Christ through severe disabilities.  She has expressed relatively solid doctrinal beliefs in prior years.  Yet, as with all the speakers at IF:Gathering, there was truth mixed with error, sadly. 

In a pre-recording Joni was talking with Katherine Wolf- another woman who is in a wheelchair and who has been disabled for a long time.   

They start off alright when speaking about the “wheelchairs” of life- the thorns in our sides.  They talk of stewarding our sufferings and not wasting them.  Joni talked about not kicking against the goads (Acts 26:14) which she explained as the sufferings and hardships (Not quite the context of that verse – it more so speaks on kicking against God and not wanting to submit to Him although I believe she was on the right track saying not to kick against what God wants to do in our lives).  She said to not grumble but rather give thanks (Philippians 2), and to “fake it till you make it.”  It wasn’t deep, exegetical teachings or too focused on Scripture, but it wasn’t necessarily false teaching or unhelpful.   

Then comes the part where Joni dropped the ball in my opinion.  Instead of focusing on the Lord’s written and more sure Word, we get instead a conversation Joni had with God while she was sick with COVID-19.  Joni said she kept hearing Jesus say, “Joni, would you trust me?  Whether it means calling you home or having you remain on earth to do my work would you believe that I am your ever-present help in this?  Would you believe I am not going to leave you or forsake you?  Would you please believe in even this – it is going to work for your good?  Would you trust me Joni?”   

She never clarified whether or not this was audible, a feeling, or just something she thought God was impressing on her heart as she pondered His Word.  It was made to sound like He was constantly telling her this.  We must be very careful assigning words to God.  When we put words in His mouth, even if it sounds biblical, we are in grave sin.  It’s best to say “God said” when we are reading God’s Word. 

She said her answer to God was “God I don’t think I can do this but You think I can.  Where else will I turn, you have the Words of Life so yes I’m going to believe you and I’m going to start mouthing that thankfulness and trust you’re going to give me courage and endurance and patience and perseverance,” 

She ended with, “And He did.”  She also quoted 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” 

Her answer to God troubled me.  “You think I can.”  Even though she later says she trusts God to give her courage, endurance, patience, and perseverance, which is good, she doesn’t correct her previous statement to clarify that it’s not actually God thinking we can do something as if He is cheering us on saying, “you can do it!”  He wants us to lean on Him in faith, to obey Him, and know He must increase while we decrease.  We are to exercise great humility.  Christ is everything, we are mere vessels. 

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 

People have asked where the proof is that Joni holds to a social justice mindset.  Being a speaker at IF:Gathering, something so bent on social justice, could be convincing enough but here is one of her quotes from another conversation she had: “God is truly on the side of those who work for social justice, especially when we accompany that work with the giving of the Gospel!” (Joni Eareckson Tada on Wilberforce Award, ‘Better Off Dead Than Disabled’ Mentality – The Christian Post

I believe she is focused on social justice regarding disabilities, such as the persecution, discrimination, and oppression of those disabled all over the world. The problem is we don’t define any justice as social justice and that’s because God doesn’t.  There is one justice in God’s eyes.  Although Joni will speak of it as simply “justice” she will at times call it “social justice.”  Her stand on social justice for the disabled, along with “hearing from God”, fits well in the narrative of IF:Gathering.  Although Joni has been used by God in giving attention to the horrors done to the weak and disabled and she has shared the truth of God, we must be careful not to possibly follow her into the deep bushes of social justice and personal revelation and therefore further away from the simplicity of the Gospel and biblical justice.  I pray for her discernment; to distance herself from those of IF:Gathering and the false justice they stand for. 

  

Francis Chan 

I didn’t need to see Francis speak at IF in order to know whether or not he was wading in the muck, but I was again reminded of his ill-directed focus as he talked with Jennie Allen at the conference.  He again discussed the so-called miracles he was a part of in Myanmar, in actual faith healer style.  He claims he had touched kids and they were healed.  You can check out his explanation of it here when it first came out: https://disrn.com/news/every-person-i-touched-was-healed-francis-chan-says-he-supernaturally-healed-numerous-people-in-myanmar 

In his discussion with Jennie, he again said that deaf kids were healed.  He also said that swollen eye pain was healed.  Interestingly enough, there was a sequence to this “healing” that we don’t see in Scripture.  He explained that the first time he prayed and touched those with swollen eyes the pain was healed but the eye was still swollen and red.  Then he decided to do it again.  After the second time, the swelling went down a little.  Third times the charm right?  Well, after the third time swelling went away further but still had red marks on the eye.  At that time he says, “I’m going to try and get rid of that too.”  Ahhh so HE is going to get rid of that?  The healing is from Francis?  He didn’t ever say the fourth time worked, instead, he became very vague, especially on all the other miracles that he supposedly did, saying “whatever they are.”  That is not what we read when reading about authentic miracles in Scripture.  They were complete and instant and definitely not clouded. There was no actual healing done with the sentiment, “ok, let me try again.” 

Chan said that he prayed to God He would authenticate His message (the Gospel that was supposedly shared during this time) with these miracles.   

God does not need these “miracles” to further authenticate the Word already authenticated, written, and canonized.  Being there is no longer anything to add to Scripture and there are no longer Apostles of Christ, authentication is not needed. It’s done.  Francis said the miracles caused these people to believe in the message.  That is not true.  First of all, if someone doesn’t believe the Word there is no other miracle that can convince him or her (Luke 16:28-31).  Secondly, Francis is not to be authenticated as a messenger of God when Francis believes that Catholicism is Christian and is simply a label for some believers (here are videos on Chan’s ecumenism and seeking false unity: Francis Chan: Keynote (pt1) // Catholic Ecumenical Track – Bing video Francis Chan: Foot washing (pt2) // Catholic Ecumenical Track – Bing video Is Francis Chan A Roman Catholic? – Bing video  ) and when he is partnering with and encouraging some of the most notorious false teachers there are (listen here: Too Wretched For Radio 08/19/2019 – Wretched ) 

I encourage you to read more on why modern faith healing and believing the need for modern miracles to authenticate Gospel preaching is wrong, here: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-60/does-god-still-heal  

Again, no open Bible in Chan and Allen’s discussion, just Bible flailing. 

Lysa Terkeurst 

The time I heard Lysa speak was when she was in a group discussion.  It was alongside Rebekah Lyons and Annie F. Downs.  She talked about forgiveness. But before you think it must have been a good thing, she made sure to turn forgiveness upside down and inside out.  She talked about how the heart is too beautiful of a place for bitterness, anger, rage, slander, brawling.  She talked about coping mechanisms for pain and knowing how to “care well” for the intense emotion we feel.  She said we shouldn’t deny our feelings.  Yes, she actually said that. 

Her point in all of it is was as victims our feelings are not to be denied.  A victim’s heart is beautiful so keep it that way by forgiving those who hurt us- don’t fill it with anger, rage etc.  Yes, forgiveness is good but biblical forgiveness was not ever the focus with Lysa.  No Bible was opened and nothing biblically solid was taught.  Obviously, it’s unbiblical to say our hearts are beautiful and that we shouldn’t deny our intense emotions/feelings.   

“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”  Jeremiah 17:9 

“And He summoned the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. “ Mark 8:34 

Does God care about our suffering?  Yes.  Does He want us to turn the other cheek and forgive seventy times seven?  Yes. 

Forgiveness in her eyes was all about healing hurts and ending our own suffering.  Even though those things can come from forgiveness, we also must understand we forgive because God forgave us of far greater debt.  We are undeserving of forgiveness yet we received it anyway.  To not forgive someone who has sinned against us angers God.  Our impossible debt was paid by Him but us not forgiving others of far less, that is sin. See Matthew 18:21-35  

Rebekah Lyons 

Ah, rhythmic living.  “Daily rhythms” is something I was introduced to a few years back when our old church was studying material from one of the leaders/pastors of the Soma family of churches. It was explained to mean routines.  It was unclear to us at the time why we just couldn’t say routine and move on.  Yet as my husband and I looked into it further we noticed it is meant to change meanings and teachings.  For example, Rebekah Lyons (in a conversation with Lysa and Annie) at this years IF:Gathering spoke much about rhythms (as well as others).  Different rhythms were mentioned, such as “confession rhythms”, “restore rhythms” and “connect rhythms”.  She said, “Rhythmic living is inviting God into those secret places.”   

First off, do we invite God?  He can’t come in when He wants and He isn’t already aware of our secret places?  She also said we should have sustainable daily rhythms that help us to “be more in tune with our own heart.  Then we can release something to God that He can speak to.”  So, we need to be more in tune with our heart…. a heart that is more deceitful than all else and desperately sick?  I don’t think so.  We release things to God so that He then can speak to it? Hasn’t He already spoken in His Word?   

Most phrases coming out of her mouth were new age, nonsensical fluff.   

“Rhythms” was said so.many.times.  Scripture was mentioned once and not in the proper context of course. 

How about we read our Bible, Rebekah, and let God speak to our heart and reveal our sin?  How about looking to His Word, not our heart for truth?  No?  Too biblical? Okey dokey. 

Mike Todd 

Mike is someone I hadn’t heard of before but after watching him at the conference it was apparent to me he is a charismatic, fun-loving, and intelligent.  He has great speaking skills and is very engaging.  He is an author and lead pastor of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma man who has gone through tough things in life.  I wish I could like what he said because it seemed he had a passion for living for God in a more meaningful way and tried to bring in a lot of Scripture.  Sadly, his presentation was riddled with personal revelations from God/prophetic claims and false teachings. 

He had talked of what God told him, claiming God said, “This is the year that we’re not drifting.  This is the year we are going deep.  I want you to write this point down because it’s not safer in the shallow.”   

This is New Age mysticism and is dangerous, false, and actually done in the occult/pagan circles.  God isn’t giving any more revelation that needs to be written down.  Sarah Young found great success and wealth doing this with her book, “Jesus Calling.”  It was NOT the true Jesus who was talking to her and it’s not God talking to Mike Todd.  See more on why here: 

Blog Post – That’s Not Jesus Calling (gty.org) 

10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling | Tim Challies 

Mike also stated that as he was talking he sensed “someone’s heart is crying out like David’s heart- as I am speaking someone’s heart is ready to leap.”  Such a vague and worthless statement but meant to give his message relevance and importance.  This is a common tactic in many false teacher’s messages.  They hear from God, they claim they are given a revelation about particular listeners yet it’s always vague, no specifics, and no real proof it’s God.  I saw Mike’s book sitting there at Hobby Lobby the other day.  Bypass his book and just go straight to the décor, please. 

Ann Voskamp 

She made sure to tell us she is done with simply believing in Jesus.  She said, “I’m done with that life.” 

She explained that life turned out to be “cuttingly hollow and empty and frankly, not enough.”  After the last year of trials (2020), she lands on this: “I live in Jesus.”  She points to the closed Bible and says, “All I’ve got is this.”  Her bible remained closed. 

She said we need to be followers, not believers.  She said Jesus isn’t a belief to her, He is breath to her.  He isn’t some theory, He is gravity.  He isn’t a lens for her life but is her life.  He is not some sphere of a multi-dimensional life- He’s atmosphere, terra (means land), lung, and the way to not suffocate in self.   

Ugh, where do I start!?   

First of all, I agree that we do not want to only believe in Jesus but rather we should want to live as if He is our all in all; our life.  However, we would never say that simply believing in Him is wrong or that He/the Word isn’t the belief we have.  Yes, he’s more than just Whom we believe in but He is still Whom we believe in.  

“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  Romans 10:9-10 

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in Me will live, even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 

Also, I agree that all we really have is His Word.  It’s the power of God for salvation.  It’s the lamp to our feet and light for our path.  Read Psalm 119 and it becomes clear real quick that The Word of God is all the Psalmist desires and holds to.  Instead of actually focusing on the Scripture, which Voskamp says is all she’s got, she goes into gobbledygook that does not sound like God’s Word at all.  

Christ said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, as well as, the bread of life and living water.  Voskamp says Jesus is atmosphere, gravity, land, lung/breath, and a way not to suffocate.   This type of mumbo jumbo is nothing new with Voskamp. She loves to use poetic and inappropriate language when talking about God, instead of using His own words about Himself.  Apparently, His Word is not “all” to her. 

She spoke of an apostate who lost his faith because he didn’t enjoy God.  She said a lack of joy or enthusiasm for God reveals a lack of belief in God.  At that point I’m like, wait, I thought we were trying to get away from the word “belief”?  Then instead of going on a good track with this train, she derailed and said, “There’s the hope only found in deeply inhaling the atmosphere of love Himself.  The overflowing reality of the Trinity.  And this is what it means to enjoy being alive.  Breathe Him in.”  No, that’s not it sister.  That’s closer to the language of mystics than the Word.  How in the world does a lady listen to this and know how to “deeply inhale the atmosphere of love” and then proceed to grow in Christ?  It’s not helpful and it’s not biblical. 

Our joy is found in the Lord of our salvation.  We were saved from His wrath and given new life and eternal hope.  I agree, if you have no joy in the Lord of your salvation you are probably not saved but joy isn’t going to come by breathing in some Atmospheric Gravity Terra God, whatever that means.  Repent and believe in Christ Jesus as Lord. 

David Platt 

How sad it is when someone seems to have a legit grasp and solid stand on the Gospel; to have a heart for Truth but then goes into the cultural clouds and loses their touch with reality.  That’s what David Platt did.   

Platt is another one of those who loves to talk about miracles and then drifts off into an awkward and vague place because there is really no proof or biblical alignment for the miraculous claims he loves to talk about. 

He starts off talking about village people praying over a dead man’s body shortly before the body coughed and sat up.  He says this “allowed” the whole Gospel- people came to faith then.  A little later on he admits the dead man may have not been really dead- no way to know for sure.  Ah, so an undocumented and uncertain miracle “allowed” the Gospel to be heard and only then could these people come to faith?  This is mysticism and worthless babble.  Give me the truth, give me the proven and written WORD of God, not this soppy wet mess. 

Don’t get me wrong, Platt mentions the Word but as others at IF had done, there was very little accurate explanation or application of Scripture.  Platt told his sisters in Christ that God put them where they are to bring light and save lives.  They are to share the great news because they are the light of the world.  Yet, he doesn’t explain the “great news.”  He says we are to rise up and be light and ask God’s light to come upon us, through His Word.  Any woman of any church background could listen to this type of message and say “amen.”  Sadly his message severely lacked what many really need to hear, solid and clear truth.   

Isabella Garza, Dr. Anita Phillips, and Dr. Curt Thompson 

All three were in a group discussion with Jennie Allen who was asking the questions.  They were at one point asked if they would sum up in one word the biggest problem we are facing now.  Curt said “shame”, Anita said “trauma” and Isabella said “identity.”   

Those are the biggest problems?  

To social justice warriors who are disconnected from Scripture or from the reality of what the world really needs, yeah I can see those being the biggest issues to them.  How about problems like the softening of sin, discernment, or lack of Gospel literacy?  Perhaps maybe the problem of preaching a different gospel such as the social gospel? 

Curt needs to remember verses like 2 Thessalonians 3:14 when talking against shame, “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person so as not to associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 

Or 1 Corinthians 15:44, “Sober up morally and stop sinning, for some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. 

Shame isn’t the enemy, sin is.  Shame isn’t always bad.  It’s a tool God uses to restore us to a right relationship with Him. 

Isabella further explained the problem of “identity” being we need to know identity in Christ.  That’s great because it’s true but there was no clarification from the Word on what our identity is exactly.  In fact, “community” was the emphasis of her statements on identity.  Again socially-focused instead of biblically focused. 

Anita picked “trauma” saying, “Anything that has changed your view of yourself or God for the worse is trauma.”  So if someone was to tell me I’m a sinner or wrong and therefore making me look more negatively towards myself than before, have I just been a victim of trauma?  Can I consider myself traumatized?  I remember reading the Old Testament as an unbeliever and seeing God being worse than I did before.  The one Christian in my life refused to try and remedy that for me, thankfully.  Aren’t we supposed to see ourselves and God as He says and change our viewpoint to be more like His, even if it stings or makes us feel worse or see ourselves in a worse light?  The problem with modern “Christianese” is we are too focused on feeling loved and reassured instead of being holy and loving others more than ourselves.  Jesus said this regarding His disciples who may expect special honor or rewards for doing what they should do: “So you too, when you do all the things which were commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done’” Luke 17:10.  We are unworthy. 

With her and the other speakers, things were kept so vague you could come up with literally anything you wanted out of what they said and rightfully not be challenged on it.   

In another segment, Anita really went deep in “Wokeville” when she talked of racial blindness and Christians persecuting other Christians (no examples given of this, just presented as being fact without facts).  She said white Christians can be blind to having the capacity to persecute.  She talked of “black woundedness.”  Sadly she doesn’t seem to understand that blacks are just as much a sinner as whites and just as capable of being a persecutor.   

Again, no facts were presented just an obscure and ever so popular narrative.    

Bianca Olthoff 

Oh this poor woman has so much energy and passion and so little discernment.  It was painful to watch. 

She starts off by saying, “I can only teach out of personal experiences.”  Yikes.  I don’t think that is the direction we want to go when we are at a “Christian” conference and supposedly trying to learn more about God and how to live for Him.  Yet in the charismatic/new age world of professing Christians, this makes perfect sense.  They must believe what someone said God said to them or what dream they had from God.  When speaking from a social justice perspective, they must believe personal injustices are happening without any facts to back it up.   It’s feelings before facts.  It’s a personal narrative before the Word of God. 

Bianca talked a lot on Scripture yet injected us into the biblical accounts.  Eisegesis was her distinctive talent.  For example, when talking about Daniel 3:18 she talked of “getting thrown into the fiery furnaces of life.”  She said we have all been in situations like this (fiery furnace).   

Really?  I’m pretty sure I haven’t experienced anything like that.  

She explained that when “fire” is mentioned in Scripture it means two things; lives are transformed radically and the presence of God is revealed.  Scripture verses were not mentioned in order to back these two ideas up.  If she knew Scripture and read about when “fire” is mentioned she would know that fire usually symbolizes judgment (Isaiah 66:15, Joel 2:30, Amos 1 & 2, Malachi 3, Luke 3:9, Luke 3:16, Luke 12:49)  It also symbolizes purging or purifying. Fire is purifying to believers and it’s consuming to unbelievers.  Those truths were never mentioned in her message on fire.  Instead, she focused on the furnace in Daniel and made it about “furnaces of life.” 

She asked, “Who are you listening to?”  Yeah, good question Bianca, who are you listening to?  She said that we shouldn’t let anyone rename us, especially the enemy.  She said, “I refuse to let the enemy call me, “Mrs. Doesn’t Have What It Takes” or “Mrs. Humiliation Awaits Her.”  She continued with, “I know who I am – I am a prophetic declarer over God’s people.”  No, Bianca.  You don’t have what it takes.  Christ is Who has what it takes. 

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10 

Bianca needs to be reminded that we all need to be humble, to have humility in our hearts.  It sounds like the thing she would like to await her is pride.  Humility is not the enemy and if Bianca thinks the enemy wants her to experience humility then perhaps God is her enemy?  

“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”  Matthew 23:12 

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time,” 1 Peter 5:6 

Bianca is no more a prophetic declarer over God’s people than Satan himself.  I don’t mean that to say she is Satan but what she is teaching and claiming is not of God and yet she most definitely claims it is.  She mixes truth with error, just as the real enemy does so well and desires her to do. 

Jennie Allen 

She is the founder of IF:Gathering.  Throughout this conference she was asking the questions in several discussions.  She would say the prayers many times and give the topics to discuss.  A few things I heard from her to add to our concerns about Jennie: 

She would mention repentance but then go into a direction about social justice.   She talked about how her inbox is flooded with hate mail asking “why are you doing this (regarding social injustice narratives)?”  She just didn’t understand why others would not think this to be a good thing. 

She was very vague, of course, and although at times seemed to be going in a more biblical direction with her speech, she would soon veer off into mystical and fluffy language or into the social justice narrative.  Most times she would just throw a morsel out there for others to go further with. 

Latasha Morrison 

She is known for radical woke directives, such as having a whole group of white students at Campus Crusade (CRU) stand up and lament their white privilege. (See here: CRU Speaker Has Stadium of White People Get Up and Lament Their Skin Color (reformationcharlotte.org)

For a while now she has called for reconciliation- not in Christ’s Name but in the name of the social justice “god”. 

During IF:Gathering she says, “Pray for them (racist whites)”.  Although she says blacks shouldn’t have hard-hearts and should have a posture of humility, she doesn’t address the sins of all colors and the forgiveness of all sins.  The Gospel is the answer for sinful hearts and lifestyles yet God’s truth is not allowed by her to take center stage.   

Matt Chandler  

During a group discussion with Jennie Allen, Dr. Anita Phillips and Latasha Morrison, Matt went on a delusional woke tantrum, talking about those who don’t want to listen (those against the social justice agenda), who create these categories such as “Marxist” and “Critical Race Theory” and are infested by worldly thinking. He called them fools and explained “if calling sin sin is Marxism to you then I will walk away from you because you aren’t trying to understand; you aren’t submitting to the word of God.  If you want to go “Ahhh he’s woke” as if that’s a bad thing then I don’t know how to have a conversation with you – you certainly don’t love me.”  He had more to say that was just awful and needless. 

This is some of the most twisted and emotional talk I had heard during this conference.  Leave it to Mr. Chandler.  

First off Chandler is endorsing a movement that needs no facts, that elevates bitterness, fails to talk about forgiveness, ignores personal responsibility and has nothing to show for it but more bitterness, labels and division.  And those against this “conversation” are the ones who don’t love him?  He’s making this about love and about him?  And he is the one that is understanding and not about categories?  Secondly, Marxism and Critical Race Theory are exactly what he is pushing; he knows it and those in his camp even admit it.  He can at least have the decency to reject the lukewarm cesspool he is wading in and just openly admit he is not for the Gospel truth- for the love and forgiveness of Christ but only for the saving of his own face as cultural pressures progressively force him to publically choose a side. 

I recently read on Twitter a quote by Thomas Sowell:  

“The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.’”  

Chandler is one of those slathering it on everything because the cool kids are too.  Mark and avoid them. 

  

Eugene Cho 

He starts of redefining what the whole Gospel is – it’s now evangelism AND justice.  He says we must pursue and embody both to be serious disciples of Christ.  It would seem evangelism to him is just focusing on the love of God and that evangelism hasn’t ever been about giving the whole truth of what God has done for sinners.   

He is a mighty Scripture twister.  He accuses the Church of extracting justice out of God’s character and called it an agenda (umm no, the true Church knows all about biblical justice and God’s hatred of all sin and destruction of sinners who don’t repent and trust in Christ alone.  Those speaking at IF:Gathering were the actual extractors who hold to an agenda).  He says he understands it to be “complex, messy and challenging” but Scripture is clear in Isaiah 61:8 and Micah 6:8.  Of course these passages are not saying what he and all the woke “church” want them to say. They aren’t about social justice, they are about what God loves and what are heart issues not social causes that divide.   

The twisting continued as he spoke on identity, racism, marginalizing, etc.  He had the audacity to say the Samaritan woman may have been a victim, regarding having too many relationships, due to the men’s sins.  

Seriously? Jesus didn’t think to blame the men in front of her, not even the woman said it was the men’s fault, so why is Cho blaming the men?  Jesus provided truth and salvation to HER.  He forgave HER sins.  She says in John 4:29, ““Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is He?”” 

Cho avoided real biblical accountability for the supposed marginalized.  It was a horrible message through and through. 

To Wrap It Up 

I don’t know how this version of “Christianity”, the kind IF:Gathering founder and speakers peddle, survives much longer with how the world is going.  They talked a lot in this conference about how to survive difficult things and trials and to follow Christ even if things get bad… yet I’m thinking they won’t survive their own emotional twisting of Scripture, the “conversations” they believe are heart and life transforming, the men pleasing, face saving or the focus they put on societal troubles and sad things rather than on real repentance and forgiveness of all sins and the salvation of souls.  They won’t find refuge in this form of “Christianity” when real persecution comes.  No “conversation” will save the day then. That imaginary fence will disappear.  They will have to confess Jesus as Lord, claim His Word and suffer for it or denounce Him entirely.  God will reveal their hearts. 

The world doesn’t need the social gospel, they need the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Whites don’t need to be labeled white racists who must repent of things they are not personally guilty of.   The world doesn’t need to focus on “racism”, Critical Race Theory, or the past evils this country was supposedly founded on.  The world needs the Gospel.  The world needs to know about repentance of all sins, forgiveness of all sins and the saving of any soul in the name of Christ.   


Above is an article written by Gina Cook, Gina and Tami write Through the Narrow here at Tulips & Honey Hub. They’ll be posting articles every other Tuesday. Both are published authors, you can find Tami’s book here, and Gina’s book here. We’re blessed to have them apart of our team, and pray their writing will be as edifying to you as it is to us. – Lauren Hereford

Author: lnhereford

I am a Christian, wife, mother, podcaster and homeschooler currently traveling the United States with my loving husband and darling daughter!

3 thoughts on “Through the Narrow: What About the IF Gathering Part 2 – By Gina Cook”

      1. Hi Clyde! Not sure what happened but I had replied to you a few days ago and it’s not there. My apologies!
        “IF” comes from the question that inspired the birth of this conference; “IF God is real, then what?” This shouldn’t be a question asked by the supposed Christian founder of this conference. I think “Since” would have been a better choice! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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