Discernment

Jennie Allen and IF:Gathering

IF:Gathering 2023 is coming up next month (March 3-4). IF you aren’t aware that there are serious biblical problems with it, or IF you need some information and evidence to share with friends who are planning to attend, or IF, unfortunately, your church is hosting a simulcast, you need to read this…

IF:Gathering 2023 is coming up next month. IF you aren’t aware of the biblical problems with it, or IF you need some information and evidence to share with friends, or IF your church is hosting a simulcast, read this.


If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.


Originally published July 10, 2020, this article is kept continuously updated as needed.

I get lots of questions about particular authors, pastors, and Bible teachers, and whether or not I recommend them. Some of the best known can be found above at my Popular False Teachers tab. The teacher below is someone I’ve been asked about recently, so I’ve done a quick check (this is brief research, not exhaustive) on her.

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Jennie Allen is “a Bible teacher, author, and the founder and visionary of IF:Gathering,” an annual conference for women. She also blogs, hosts the Made for This podcast, and speaks at IF:Gathering and other events.

The IF:Gathering conference organization (now including IF:Pray, IF:Lead, IF:Equip, IF:Table, IF:Local, IF:TV, and Discipleship Collective), around which most of Jennie’s ministry centers, was “inspired by the question, ‘If God is real…then what?‘.” If God is real– is a troubling premise for an ostensibly Christian ministry. The Christian existence does not center around the pablum possibility that God is real, but on the rock-solid, stake your life and your eternity on it certainty that He is not only real but the Creator of, and Sovereign over, the universe, and the only hope of salvation for sinners. If God is real…then what? as the foundation of a Christian ministry is somewhat akin to If 1+1=2, then what? as the foundational concept of a Mensa-esque organization for the top mathematical minds in the world.

As to the “…then what?” part of the equation, Jennie’s and IF’s solution is woefully unbiblical. Jennie has an established history of embracing and partnering in ministry with false teachers, female “pastors,” and women who preach to men. Just a few of the many available examples:

Some of the guests on Jennie’s podcast have included Priscilla Shirer and Chrystal Evans Hurst (ep. 08), Beth Moore (ep. 04), Christine Caine (ep. 02), and “diversity expert” and Black Lives Matter supporter, LaTasha Morrison (multiple episodes).

Since the launch of IF:Gathering in 2014, Jennie has habitually featured false and biblically problematic teachers and female preachers/pastors as speakers and as part of IF’s leadership team:

Top Row: Melissa Greene, Lauren Chandler, Tara Jenkins, Esther Havens, Bianca Olthoff, Jen Hatmaker, Ann Voskamp Bottom Row: Lindsey Nobles, Jennie Allen, Rebekah Lyons, Angie Smith

Speakers featured at IF:Gathering over the years (many of them appearing multiple times) have included: Jen Hatmaker (here, in 2015), female “pastor” and homosexuality advocate Melissa Greene,  Ann Voskamp, Bianca Olthoff, Rebekah Lyons, Lysa TerKeurst, Jill Briscoe, Shauna Niequist, Angie Smith, Kay Warren (Rick Warren’s wife), female “pastor” Jenni Catron, Christine Caine, female “preacher” and author of Jesus Feminist, Sarah Bessey

…(then) female “co-pastor” Keisha Polonio, female “pastor” Jeanne Stevens…

Lauren Chandler, female “pastor” Layla de la Garza, Beth Moore, and others. (2020)

IF 2022 included a similar tableau of false teachers, female preachers/pastors, and racialists (some are returning speakers, some are new):

And, once again, IF 2023 features many of the same speakers, plus a few new faces who mostly (though not all) fall into the same categories of female “pastor,” women who preach to men, false teachers, and racialists.

In addition to Beth Moore speaking at IF:Gathering 2020 and IF:Lead 2020, Jennie’s partnerships and displays of affinity with her are far too numerous to list (just Google Jennie Allen Beth Moore, and you’ll see what I mean) and have been going on for years. A couple of recent examples:

A webinar with Beth Moore:

An IF:Gathering video with Beth Moore:

Mutual admiration on Twitter: 

And here’s Jennie at a meeting “with twenty women leaders [including Bianca Olthoff] under the wisdom of Christine Caine and Joyce Meyer.” (Annie F. Downs)

Jennie has worked with and has been a featured speaker several times (including 2012, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2020) at the Catalyst conference, which is not only co-ed (so Jennie is teaching/preaching to men) but is also plagued by doctrinal problems and has featured a plethora of false teachers including founder Andy Stanley, Brian Houston, female “pastor” Charlotte Gambill, Brandon and Jen Hatmaker, and Rebekah Lyons among many others.

Just a few further examples of Jennie preaching to men herself:

Jennie preaching the chapel service at Dallas Theological Seminary (Stopping The Spiral – Mrs. Jennie Allen | February 15, 2022 – Men clearly visible in the audience at 1:47)

Jennie preaching at The Porch (United Together | Jennie Allen, September 15, 2021 – Men clearly visible in the audience at 4:52)

Jennie preaching the chapel service at Oklahoma Baptist University (Jennie Allen – March 10, 2021 – OBU Chapel Message, Streamed live on March 10, 2021 – All students are required to attend chapel.)

Jennie preaching at Liberty University’s convocation (chapel) (LU Convocation – Mar.6, 10:30 AM, Streamed Live on March 6, 2020 – Jennie begins preaching at 40:59) Starting at 38:40 the man introducing Jennie says, “…I believe Jennie has a message for every single one of us…I’m so excited to sit under her teaching because I don’t believe…the principles that she has for us are just for women…I want you to know, especially the men in this room, that I believe that what God has brought through this messenger at this very moment is not just for the ladies in the room. It would be very closed minded for us to think that…every time a man shows up here that’s just for the men in the room and every time a woman comes, that’s just for the other [women]…”

I can’t seem to locate a statement of faith for Jennie or what church she currently attends, so you’ll have to infer what she believes by reading her books and blog, but I have learned a few specifics about her theology. Jennie is a proponent of the unbiblical Enneagram. Jennie believes in extra-biblical revelation, and started IF:Gathering because “a voice from the sky” told her to:

Jennie often focuses on “dreaming” (in the sense of future goals or creative aspirations), a concept foreign to Scripture. I downloaded her “Dream Guide” for 2019 and found some of her statements troubling:

 It really is as simple as this. Do the best you can in this world and as you’re going, love God and give Him away to people.

“Do the best you can in this world”? Where does the Bible say that? “And as you’re going, love God”? Like it’s an afterthought or an accessory to your life of “doing the best you can”? No. It really is as simple as this: Repent and believe the gospel, and walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

When we create and thrive for the good of others, you’re participating in God’s redemptive work of making the world better. 

Again, the Bible doesn’t teach this anywhere. “God’s redemptive work” is not “making the world better.” The Bible clearly says that “the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants,” and, “the world is passing away along with its desires.” Furthermore, “God’s redemptive work” is to save people. That’s the entire point of the whole Bible. His redemptive work was completed in the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to save sinners. And if you want to “participate in God’s redemptive work,” you don’t “create and thrive” (whatever that means) “for the good of others,” you share the gospel with them and disciple them as we’re commanded to in the Great Commission.

..this is our goal, to create beauty out of chaos and thrive.

Also not in the Bible anywhere. Also not our goal. As Christians, our goal is to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, pursue holiness, and carry out the Great Commission. All of which are in the Bible.

Dreaming is an incredible privilege. It is a stewardship of the opportunities God has put in front of us.

Not to sound like a broken record, but, again, none of this is in the Bible, and the second sentence doesn’t even make logical sense. To “steward” something is to use it wisely and for a godly purpose. To do something with it to the glory of God. Sitting around “dreaming” isn’t doing anything. In fact, since “dreaming” isn’t something we’re instructed to do in Scripture, it’s actually squandering the “opportunities God has put in front of us” – opportunities like sharing the gospel, serving others, studying our Bibles, prayer, worship, etc. – which are things Scripture instructs us to do, in favor of sitting around relying on our dreams.

At the end of the “Dream Guide” are several “conversation card” questions about how you can improve yourself in the coming year. One of them is pretty good: “How could you better plug into and serve the local church?”. The rest are fairly narcissistic, and there’s nothing about studying Scripture, growing in holiness, prayer, or repenting of sin. Additionally Jennie quotes only one passage of Scripture in the entire booklet, and she quotes it from The Message, one of the worst versions (it’s a paraphrase, not a translation) of the Bible out there.

What Does It Mean to Be a Strong Woman in the Church? | Jonathan Pokluda and Jennie Allen, September 4, 2018

And regarding “being a strong woman in the church,” while Jennie mostly stays vague and neutral, she does touch on a few biblical concepts:

18:35- “What my husband heard from me was: My wife has strong gifts and a strong passion for God, and she wants to serve Him, and she’s not because of me.” As if she couldn’t passionately serve God with her gifts by being a godly wife and serving and submitting to her husband.

22:31- “I know that the obvious question that everybody wants to know the answer of is ‘What about roles and positions in the church?’…But I think we oftentimes get so distracted by that…that we are missing all the work that God has for us. And, you know, my view on that is every local church is going to have a different opinion about that…So wherever you go, Scripture just says, ‘Don’t be divisive,’…but the bigger issue to me is the way we view each other, the way we value each other…” Notice Jennie uses no Scripture to answer the “obvious question” everybody wants to know the answer to, she only gives her personal opinion that we are getting “distracted” by this legitimate, biblical question, and that the bigger issue – to her – is not what the Bible says about the role of women in the church, but “the way we value each other”. It’s a problem that “every local church is going to have a different opinion” about the role of women in the church because there is only one position on that issue that’s biblical. The local church doesn’t get to have an opinion on that issue, the issue is decided by Scripture and the church is to submit to and uphold Scripture’s teaching on it. Furthermore, Scripture does not just say, “Don’t be divisive.” Scripture is abundantly clear what the role of women in the church is to be, and both individual women and church leaders are to obey it.

The fact that Jennie consistently and unrepentantly platforms female “pastors” and women who preach to men at IF speaks much more clearly about her personal (and unbiblical) opinion on the role of women in the church than her finessing answer here.

27:21- The interviewer asks Jennie, “What does submission mean?” Her response is much too long to quote, so I’ll summarize. The first words out of Jennie’s mouth are, “That word? To me?” She then proceeds to give a not altogether unbiblical answer about how she loves submission, but it is mainly her opinion and personal experience with her own husband, not Scripture, and primarily centers around the fact that if she brings something to her husband for a decision and he decides unbiblically, he will have to answer to God for it, not her, and that she will have no accountability to God for any sin she might commit in the process. “It’s gonna be awesome!” she chortles, as the audience laughs along, as though there’s something funny about her husband standing before God and giving an account for his decision, and her blaming him for it. Jennie then pivots to describing how “that word [submit] has been used like a pistol to [many women’s] heads” and says “so the fact that that word has a bad rap makes sense to me…Here’s the problem, guys, we’re divided, but there’s reasons on it for both sides.” She seems to be saying that submitting or not submitting is not based on Scripture’s commands, but on personal experiences and situations, and that both submitting and refusing to submit are equally valid choices depending on our own experiences, feelings, and opinions. (And, no, I am not saying women should “submit” to being abused. That’s not the biblical definition of submission.)

Jennie seems like a lovely, genuinely caring person, and earnest when she speaks and writes, but none of those things qualify someone to teach Scripture. And in this case, Jennie is disqualified by her errant theology and unbiblical practices. I regret that I’m forced to recommend that you not receive teaching from Jennie Allen, her materials and conferences, or anyone connected to the IF organization.


Additional Resources:

IF:Gathering:

A “voice from the sky” (not sure if it was God or not) told me to start IF: Gathering– Jennie Allen

What’s Wrong with the IF:Gathering– at Tulips & Honey

Why You should just say “NO” to IF:Gathering at A Worthy Walk

Important questions for church leaders at Berean Research

Almost: Our Encouragement and Concern with the IF:Gathering and
Almost: an addendum since releasing this episode at Sheologians

She Reads Truth, IF:Gathering, and women bible teachers. Part 3, the IF:Gathering at The End Time

If:Gathering: more information, including video claiming direct revelation at The End Time

IF:Gathering – updated review four years later at The End Time

If:Gathering: more information at The End Time

Thinking of attending an If:Gathering? Please read this, it’s eye-opening at The End Time

Book Reviews:

A Review of Jennie Allen’s “Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul”

Other:

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

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Christians, the Bible, and Tattoos

Do you have any resources on tattoos? We’re having a very HOT discussion in our ladies group and it’s causing conflict.

Ya know, I thought for sure I had written something about that by now, but I guess not. So, here goes…

To me, tattoos are ugly as sin. I don’t care how beautiful the artwork is, or if it’s a Bible verse, or a tribute to someone you love. It reminds me of graffiti spray-painted on an overpass. I don’t understand why anyone would permanently mar her body that way, not to mention the fact that those things aren’t going to look so great when you’re in your 80’s and wrinkly. And, if you change your mind about your tattoo(s) later, it’s my understanding that they’re painful and expensive to remove. If anyone ever comes to me to ask my opinion about getting a tattoo, my answer will be an across the board, no matter what: don’t do it.

And you know what? None of that matters to this question, because it’s just my personal, subjective opinion and preference. So what? We want to know what the Bible says, because the Bible is our authority in life, not Michelle’s disdain of the aesthetics of tattoos. (Nor, for that matter, your opinion that tattoos are cool and groovy and pulchritudinous.)

What does the Bible say about getting a tattoo?

So what does the Bible say about getting a tattoo?

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

“But what about Leviticus 19:28? ‘You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.'”

I sure hope you don’t have pierced ears or that you’ve ever undergone surgery if you’re trying to make that verse say that the Bible prohibits tattoos as we know them today. Because if you have, according to your own hermeneutic, you’re just as guilty as the tatted teen down the pew from you.

Compare Leviticus 19:28 in several different trustworthy translations. Read the cross references. Read the whole chapter.

Look at the macro-context of this verse. It’s in the Old Testament. Right off the bat, our knee-jerk reaction should be, “This might not apply directly to New Testament Christians. I’d better look at it super carefully.”.

And indeed, we should. Because, not only is it in the Old Testament, it’s in the Old Testament law. And while we know that God’s moral law is transcendent (for all time), we also know that Jesus fulfilled the law, which is why the ceremonial (Old Testament worship) and civil (the government of the Old Testament nation of Israel) laws largely no longer apply directly to the everyday lives of Christians. I mean, look just one verse earlier, at Leviticus 19:27: “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.”. The menfolk in your family keeping that one? OK, then.

At the time God breathed out this law, the rituals in Leviticus 19:28 (and also in verse 27) were pagan practices – likely originating or proliferating in Egypt or Canaan – associated with mourning the dead. Gashing one’s body was practiced by most pagan nations and was intended both to show respect for the dead and to intercede with the gods on behalf of the dead. Tattoos were associated with the names of particular pagan gods and were an indication that the tattooed person had permanently dedicated himself to the worship of that god.

So, look also at the micro-context of the phrases within verse 28. “You shall not make any cuts on your body” and “tattoo yourselves” are both connected to the phrase “for the dead”. That’s a modifier. This verse doesn’t mean “don’t pierce your ears or have a C-section” or “don’t tattoo a Bible verse on your arm”. It means don’t cut your body in this particular context: for the dead, because that’s paganism. Likewise, don’t tattoo yourself because that’s paganism, just like cutting yourself for the dead is. You’re God’s people, not pagans. Act like it.

So, does this verse apply to Christians, and, if so, how?

If you’re cutting or marring your body in order to mourn the dead, to plead with false gods on behalf of the dead, or to worship or dedicate yourself to false gods, you’re in sin. (Also, you’re almost certainly not saved.)

But that’s not typically why even lost people get tattoos these days.

The Christians I know who have gotten tattoos have usually done so because they thought the tattoo was aesthetically pleasing and/or because it was meaningful to them in some way (their favorite Bible verse, the names of their children or spouse, etc.).

Does the Bible prohibit artistic tattoos for such reasons? No. As much as you or I might not like them personally, the Bible doesn’t teach “Thou shalt not get a tattoo.”. And if you teach that it does, you’re lying about God’s Word. It’s OK to express your personal opinion that you don’t like tattoos. It’s not OK to tell someone else she’s sinning if she gets a tattoo or that Scripture says she can’t.

As much as you or I might not like them personally, the Bible doesn’t teach “Thou shalt not get a tattoo.”. And if you teach that it does, you’re lying about God’s Word.

There are, however, some Scriptures that might be related to getting a tattoo that you’ll want to consider and obey if you’re thinking about getting one:

  • If you’re a minor child who’s still under the authority of your parents, and they forbid you from getting a tattoo, you have to obey them.
  • If your husband doesn’t want you to get a tattoo, you need to submit to him.
  • Examine your heart. Why do you want to get a tattoo? Are your reasons worldly, or God-glorifying?
  • Is paying for a tattoo honoring God with your finances?
  • Is there any way in which getting a tattoo could harm your witness for Christ or be a stumbling block to someone?

Tattoos aren’t my personal cup of tea. And you know what? That’s just as OK as if tattoos are your personal cup of tea. I still love you just as much, and I don’t look down on you or pass judgment on you. (In fact with my nearly non-existent powers of observation, I probably won’t even notice you have one.) The Bible doesn’t allow for that. Assuming you’re obeying all of the Scriptures above, tattoos are an issue of Christian liberty.

Additional Resources

Can a Christian Get a Tattoo? by Todd Friel


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Discernment, Sermons

Throwback Thursday ~ Why Our Church No Longer Plays Bethel or Hillsong Music (or Elevation or Jesus Culture), and Neither Should Yours

This video cannot be embedded on other sites.
Click the image above (or click here) to watch on YouTube.

Want to see what it looks like to have a pastor who loves God, God’s Word, and his sheep more than the applause of men? Give this sermon a listen. Pastor David Henneke, of First Baptist Church, Kingsland, Texas, walks his congregation through the Scriptures dealing with false teachers and false doctrine to explain why FBC will no longer use music associated with Bethel and Hillsong. He also warns them away from several other false teachers.

(This is also a good sermon to listen to if you’re confused about expository vs. topical preaching. This is a good example of a biblical topical sermon.)

Justin Peters and Todd Friel discuss the theological problems with Bethel, Jesus Culture, Hillsong, and Elevation music and why your church shouldn’t use their music in this video interview: Why Your Church Shouldn’t Play Bethel and Hillsong Music.

Is it wrong to sing songs from Bethel if they are theologically correct? In this episode of Redeeming Truth, Pastors Costi Hinn, Dale Thackrah, and Kyle Swanson provide insight into the dangers of supporting ministries like Bethel [and Hillsong, Jesus Culture and Elevation Music], that have a false understanding of who Christ is.

If you are looking for theologically accurate worship music to listen to or sing in your church, they have put together a Spotify worship playlist that you can listen to. Costi has also written an excellent companion article on his blog: Should Your Church Sing Jesus Culture & Bethel Music?


The following is excerpted from my article The Mailbag: Potpourri (“Potty Prayers,” Women as Children’s/Worship Pastors, Solid churches with heretical music, Eternal Security)

We have been searching for a doctrinally sound church in the area we moved to, and unfortunately it has not been easy! The few that we have found still use Hillsong, Bethel or Elevation music. I usually cross a church off the list quickly if they sing from those artists. But like I said, now I am finding even doctrinally sound churches are throwing some of those songs in. Do you have any insight to this dilemma?

for pastors and ministers of music: This is yet one more reason it is detrimental to your church to use music from Bethel, Jesus Culture, Hillsong, Elevation, any musician connected these groups, or any other musician who isn’t doctrinally sound (after you have thoroughly vetted him/her/them.) regardless of how biblical the lyrics of any particular song of theirs that you’re using might be. You could potentially be turning away solid, mature, discerning Believers who might otherwise be interested in joining your church. The woman who sent in this question is not the first to ask me something like this – not by a long shot. This issue is increasingly of concern to Christians looking for a solid church. (For that reason, I do not list churches – even Reformed or seemingly otherwise doctrinally sound churches – on my Reader Recommended Churches list who use music from heretical sources like these.)

When a visitor walks into your sanctuary for the first time, your worship service is the “face” of your church to her. What kind of a first impression are you making? When you use music by doctrinally unsound musicians, it does not say, “We’re really a doctrinally sound church – honest! We only use songs from these groups whose lyrics are biblical.”. It says, “This church has leaders who aren’t discerning,” or “If this church uses music by these heretical groups, what other doctrinal problems does it have?”. Why put that stumbling block out there when there is plenty of music available with biblical lyrics written/performed by doctrinally sound musicians?

And there’s another stumbling block that using this type of music puts in front of weaker brothers and sisters that you may not have realized. I have heard from a number of Christians whom God graciously saved and rescued out of the pit of “churches” similar to Bethel, Hillsong, and Elevation. They tell me that when they walk into what they think is a doctrinally sound church and hear music from these and other heretical sources, it triggers a form of spiritual PTSD. It’s traumatizing to them. They immediately become fearful that your church is mere steps from turning into one of these types of “churches.” Will they grow out of that reflexive reaction? Yes, someday, as God continues to sanctify them. In the meantime, do you want the music at your church to cause them unnecessary anxiety? I hope not.

There is simply no good reason for a doctrinally sound church to use music from heretical sources like these.

There is simply no good reason for a doctrinally sound church to use music from heretical sources like Bethel, Jesus Culture, Hillsong, and Elevation.


Additional Resources

Stop Singing Hillsong, Bethel, Jesus Culture, and Elevation by Scott Aniol

Why I Don’t Sing the Songs of Hillsong and Jesus Culture by Dan Cogan

Protecting the Sheep: Why churches should not sing Hillsong, Bethel, or Elevation music in worship services at Thinking and Living Biblically

Bethel Church (Redding, CA)/Bethel Music/Jesus Culture

Hillsong/Brian & Bobbie Houston

Elevation/Elevation Music

The Mailbag: What Is the New Apostolic Reformation?

The Mailbag: Should Christians Listen to Reckless Love?

God’s Not Like, “Whatever, Dude,” About How He’s Approached in Worship

The Mailbag: False Doctrine in Contemporary Christian Music

Hillsong’s Theology of Music and Worship

Speaking Engagements

Upcoming Events: Ladies, You’re Invited!

Looking for a super, doctrinally sound women’s event to attend? Let me tell you about a few I’ve got coming up soon, and some new events later in the year!

Nothing in your area? I go where I’m invited! Find out how your church or organization can set up an event at my Speaking Engagements page.

Nebraska

Nebraska, I’m headed your way February 3-4 for the Beautifully Rooted Among the Chaos women’s conference, hosted by Providence Bible Church of Gretna, Nebraska at the Tiburon Golf Club & Banquet Facility in Omaha, Nebraska.

Friday night, we’ll get things kicked off with Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Feelings. Saturday, we’ll start with Rock Your Role at Home and at Church, followed by Teach What Is Good: Discipling Younger Women in the 21st Century, and we’ll round out the day with a fun Q&A session.

(Registration for this event is CLOSED, but I’m OPEN to coming back! If you’re in the area and missed getting in on this event, maybe your church could set up its own event. Just read through all the info at my Speaking Engagements page and drop us an email when you’re ready!)

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend, ladies of Omaha!

Oregon

Are you in the Pacific Northwest? Come on out February 24-25 for the Building Godly Women conference at Grace Bible Fellowship in Tangent, Oregon.

We’ll get started Friday night with Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Feelings. Saturday starts with How to Study (and Teach!) the Bible, and we’ll close with Discernment 101.

This conference is open to women in the surrounding areas. Click here to register. Your registration fee includes snacks on Friday and brunch on Saturday. Registration will close when seating is at capacity.

Alabama

Hello Alabama! I can’t wait to see you March 17-18 for Salem Baptist Church’s Women’s Conference on biblical womanhood in Cullman, Alabama.

We’ll start with God’s Design for Biblical Womanhood on Friday night. Saturday, we’ll move on to Walking in Biblical Womanhood, and we’ll finish the day with a Q&A session to answer all your questions.

This conference is open to women in the surrounding areas, but you must contact the church directly to register.

Ohio

No foolin’, Ohio – I’ll be in your neck of the woods on April 1 for a the Women Thinking Wisely conference at The Ripley Church in Greenwich, Ohio. Come join us!

We’re going to cover as much ground as we can, starting with Discernment 101. Our next session will be Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Feelings, followed by Managing Media, and finishing up with a fun and informative Q&A session.

This conference is open to women in the surrounding areas, but seating is limited. Purchase tickets here.

Texas

It’s always nice to visit my next door neighbors in Texas. I’ll be there April 14-15 for a Women’s Conference at Grace Point at Eagle Heights Church in Orange, Texas.

We’ll get things rolling Friday night with Hooked on a Feeling: Living by God’s Word Instead of Our Feelings. Saturday morning we’ll tackle How to Study (and Teach!) the Bible, and we’ll finish out the day with a Q&A session to satisfy all your wonderings.

This conference is open to women in the surrounding areas, but you must contact the church directly to register.

NEW!
Louisiana

I’m pretty excited about speaking at a church that’s right in my own back yard! Come pass a good time on October 14 at First Baptist Church, Opelousas, Louisiana, for their Women’s “Day-treat” focusing on biblical womanhood. God’s Design for Biblical Womanhood will start us off, followed by Walking in Biblical Womanhood. There will be some stimulating discussion groups along the way, and we’ll finish things off with an informative Q&A session

This conference is open to women in the surrounding areas, but you must contact the church directly to register.

NEW!
Massachusetts

I didn’t get enough of island life last year, so I’m going back! October 25-28 is Jesus Camp Women’s Retreat on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Teaching topics TBA, but I can assure you we’ll have a fantastic time fellowshipping and digging into God’s Word together.

This event is by invitation only, but you may request an invitation. Space is limited. Contact Darcy Creech Marelli at darcy@darcycreech.com for details.


To keep an eye out for an event near you,
or to schedule me for your own event, check out my
calendar of events and booking information on my
Speaking Engagements page.

Hope to see you soon!

Mailbag

The Mailbag: “Who, exactly, are you?”

The following is the full text of an email I received, minus the signature. Below the full text, I’ve broken the email down (in bold) with my answers interspersed (in regular type).

Michelle Lesley,

Hello. I googled ‘false teachers’ to see what all I could find in preparation for a sermon series on 2Peter, and I came across your website. After reading quite a bit more than I expected to about many men and women I have found to be spurious teachers, I began to wonder just who you are. I began to wonder just who you endorse when you have scrutinized so many people and found them wanting. The strange thing is that I can find no independent information about you-only what is available on your website. I have given up on finding anything about you that hasn’t been approved by you and your staff. That leads me to wonder what other people have said about you that I cannot find it. While I am not in doubt on much of what I read on your site, I am concerned that by controlling all the information that comes to the average person trying to find out just who you are you are hiding something or you are doing your utmost to present the best image you can. That concerns me and influences how I interpret your information on the site. I don’t care who you are, to be fully honest, I am only skeptical about someone who controls all the information available about them. No Wikipedia entry? That’s rather odd for someone as outspoken about false teachers as you are. You seem rather solid on your position on those you have shared articles about or written criticisms on their behavior. You may be completely right in your assessments, but your lack of transparency through what I see as the throttling of information about you raises red flags as to your integrity. If I am wrong and there are independent articles providing unbiased biographical information, then I would appreciate a link.

Thank you (or your staff) in advance for your response,

Michelle Lesley,
Hello.

Hello. Thank you for getting my name right and for giving me this opportunity to say, for those who may not know, even though it’s right up there at the top of the blog, my name is, indeed, Michelle Lesley. Michelle has two L’s. Michelle is my first name, not Lesley or Leslie. Lesley is my real last name because Lesley is my husband’s surname. (I once had someone accuse me of having an anonymous Facebook page because she thought I was using my first and middle names rather than my first and last names.) “Lesley” is spelled with an “-ey” at the end, not an “-ie”.

I say all of this because it fascinates me that a not insignificant number of people can look at my name at the top of this blog, on Facebook, on Twitter (Instagrammers get a little more grace since my IG handle doesn’t include my full name), type MichelleLesley.com to get to my blog, or type MichelleLesley…@… .com to email me, and still begin their correspondence with “Dear Michele / Leslie / Lesley”. (And, no, with the number of people who do this, they can’t all be dyslexic.)

“Fascinates,” I said, not “angers”. I love y’all, and I’m sure I’ve gotten plenty of people’s names wrong myself. So I just thought I would throw that information out there for those who might not know. Howdy. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Michelle Lesley. :0)

I googled ‘false teachers’ to see what all I could find in preparation for a sermon series on 2Peter, and I came across your website. After reading quite a bit more than I expected to about many men and women I have found to be spurious teachers, I began to wonder just who you are.

I’m Michelle Lesley. See above. If you want to know more about me, you can click on the Welcome & FAQs tab, the Bio tab, and the Statement of Faith tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. That’s what they’re there for.

I hope you found my materials helpful, but if I may say, I find it very odd that a pastor (I’m assuming from your reference to a “sermon series”) would write an email like this.

I began to wonder just who you endorse when you have scrutinized so many people and found them wanting.

I’m assuming you found the people I’ve “scrutinized” at the Popular False Teachers & Unbiblical Trends tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. How did you not see the Recommended Bible Teachers tab just under that? If you “wonder just who I endorse,” that’s where you’ll find the information you’re looking for.

The strange thing is that I can find no independent information about you-only what is available on your website.

What do you suggest I do about that? Call the Associated Press and demand that they do a story on me or something? It’s somehow my fault that I’m not famous or interesting enough for Time, or People, or Newsweek to come bang on my door and beg for an interview? Why are you complaining to me about this? Why don’t you go to whatever media outlet you consider credible and ask them why they haven’t published anything about me?

I have given up on finding anything about you that hasn’t been approved by you and your staff.

“Staff”. I had a good laugh over that one for at least five minutes. I would love to have a staff, but I’m not Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer or somebody like that. This is a one woman operation, except for my husband, who manages my speaking engagements. I’m flattered, but you’re grossly overestimating me and the size of this ministry.

That leads me to wonder what other people have said about you that I cannot find it.

Really? I just Googled my name, and several of the hits included interviews I’ve done and things others have written about me.

But, again, how is it my fault nobody is interested in publishing whatever information it is you’re looking for about me? This is surreal, and definitely one of the strangest emails I’ve ever received.

While I am not in doubt on much of what I read on your site,

Then what’s your problem with “who I am”? My blog says who I am. Why do you doubt that part but not the rest of what’s on my site?

I am concerned that by controlling all the information that comes to the average person trying to find out just who you are

Originally, I thought maybe you were just new to the internet, but you clearly know how to Google, email, and navigate a blog. But anyone who’s technologically savvy enough to be able to do those things surely can’t think that I can “control all the information that comes to the average person trying to find out just who you are”. Do you really think I have control over Google results? And if I did, why wouldn’t I get rid of the ones that speak unfavorably of me?

…you are hiding something or you are doing your utmost to present the best image you can.

You caught me. I’m really a purple Martian here on earth to spy out all the best Cajun restaurants and steal their recipes because the food on Mars is terrible. That’s what I’m hiding. This women’s discipleship thing is just my cover so that reporters won’t find me and expose me for the thieving extra-terrestrial I am.

That concerns me and influences how I interpret your information on the site.

But you already said, “I am not in doubt on much of what I read on your site,” (above), so I can only take that to mean that the lack of outside sources reporting on who I am has influenced you to trust the information on my site.

I don’t care who you are, to be fully honest,

If you don’t care, why did you take precious time out of your day to write this email?

I am only skeptical about someone who controls all the information available about them.

I don’t. I can’t. Nobody can. The reason you can’t find whatever information it is that you’re looking for about me is because nobody has published it – it does not exist – not because I’m “controlling” it.

No Wikipedia entry? That’s rather odd for someone as outspoken about false teachers as you are.

Anybody out there want to write a Wikipedia entry on me so this gentleman’s curiosity will be satisfied?

You do understand, don’t you, that Wikipedia is one of the least reliable sources out there? That most high school teachers won’t even allow their students to use it as a source for papers? It’s editable by the public. Anybody can get on Wikipedia and say anything about anything or anybody.

Furthermore, although I’m flattered, you are again waaaaaaay overestimating my reach, and the general public’s and the visible church’s interest in false teachers. Guess who else doesn’t have a Wikipedia page? Chris Rosebrough. Justin Peters. Costi Hinn. Todd Friel. Gabriel Hughes. All of them have much larger platforms than I do, and most have been in discernment-type ministries for much longer than I have.

(And just for fun I checked a few other fairly “big” names in my theological circles. Guess what? Phil Johnson and Steve Lawson don’t have Wikipedia pages, either.)

You seem rather solid on your position on those you have shared articles about or written criticisms on their behavior.

You’d prefer I was wishy-washy about it? I don’t post gossip or things I’m not sure about. That would be wrong and unbiblical. Yes, I am absolutely solid on what the Bible says about the things and people I address.

You may be completely right in your assessments, but your lack of transparency through what I see as the throttling of information about you raises red flags as to your integrity.

Can somebody out there please explain to me how to “throttle” publicly available information about oneself? How can I get control of Google, Big Social, the internet, the media, Western Union, town criers, and carrier pigeons?

Because, come to think about it, there are a few slanderers out there whose articles and commentary about me I’d like to get rid of. So, somebody please tell me how to do it. I’ll just wait right here.

If I am wrong and there are independent articles providing unbiased biographical information, then I would appreciate a link.

Or, you know, you could go straight to the source and ask me. Isn’t that what authors of “independent articles providing biographical information” on living people do? They go straight to the source – the subject of the biography. Nobody knows my biographical information better than I do. If you think somebody like me has reporters and biographers following me around and observing me every day, you are completely out of touch with reality.

What on earth is it that you want to know about me, anyway, that isn’t on my blog, or that you couldn’t just ask me? My shoe size? Where I went to grammar school? My favorite ice cream flavor?

8. Loma Heights Elementary. Peanut Butter and Chocolate. You’re welcome.

Thank you (or your staff) in advance for your response

You’re welcome. I don’t have a staff.

And now I’d like to know: Who exactly are you? You signed your name to your email, but no title or credentials. I don’t even know for sure whether or not you’re a pastor. I Googled your name, but it’s common enough that my search yielded information for a bunch of different people who share your name. I don’t know which, if any of them is you. So I have no information about you. Not even a Wikipedia page.

You’ve got all kinds of information about me that I’ve voluntarily and publicly provided here on the blog, on social media, and in publicly available interviews, and if there was something else about me you wanted to know, all you had to do was ask. I’ve got nothing on you except your name. You wouldn’t even provide me any information about yourself privately in your email.

Who’s “hiding,” “controlling,” and “throttling,” information about himself, now? Whose “lack of transparency” should be “raising red flags as to [his] integrity”? Where’s my link to an independent article providing unbiased biographical information about you?


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.