Discernment

Anne Graham Lotz

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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.


Anne Graham Lotz
Not Recommended

Perhaps best known for being Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz “speaks around the globe…Her Just Give Me Jesus revivals have been held in more than 30 cities in 12 different countries, to hundreds of thousands of attendees.” She is the founder and president of AnGeL Ministries, her speaking, publishing, events, etc., organization.

While the core of Anne Graham Lotz’s teaching historically hasn’t been radically off base, biblically, (i.e. she’s not blatantly teaching Word of Faith, NAR, or other heretical doctrine), she handles Scripture poorly, and there are too many red flags about her teaching and behavior to regard her as a trustworthy teacher of God’s word.

“Called ‘the best preacher in the family’ by her father, Billy Graham…” This opening sentence of her website is how Anne Graham Lotz has chosen to introduce herself to the world: as a female “preacher.” We could take this as a cute, antiquated father-daughter endearment if Anne did not, in fact, preach to men. However, she has no qualms about doing so herself and encouraging other women to do so, habitually violating this prohibition of Scripture. Just a few brief examples of the myriad available:

I Saw the Lord (Men clearly present in the audience at 7:29)

Vision of His Glory (Men clearly present in the audience at 3:36)

Preaching the Sunday sermon at Maranatha Chapel, 2/9/20. At 1:04, Anne says, “I’m very grateful for Pastor Ray giving me this opportunity…and for a pastor to give up his pulpit…I want to say thank you to him for that, and also for the statement that he makes concerning women in ministry…the fact that he would allow me to stand in his pulpit on a Sunday morning and speak to his congregation…so if you’re a woman in ministry, be encouraged.”

Preaching the Sunday sermon at Bridgeway Community Church, 2/16/20. At 0:40, Anne says: “I want to thank Pastor Anderson for his affirmation, his support, his encouragement, of women in ministry…To be in a church, on a Sunday morning, and for a pastor to give up his pulpit to me is a rare privilege.”. Two Sundays in a row. A nearly verbatim spiel. Not that “rare,” apparently.

Anne also yokes with numerous false teachers.

Priscilla Shirer and New Apostolic Reformation “pastor” Samuel Rodriguez have both written endorsements for one of Anne’s books. Rick Warren and Beth Moore have each written forewords for Anne’s books.

Anne has written several devotions for Lysa TerKeurst’s Proverbs 31 website.

Anne calls false prophet and rabbi Jonathan Cahn her “friend” and publicly allies with him, spiritually.

Anne also participated in The Return, a September 2020 prayer and revival event organized by Cahn. Additionally, Anne sits on the board of advisors of The Return with Cahn and false teachers Pat Robertson, “Bishop” Harry Jackson, Robert Morris, Marcus Lamb, and John Kilpatrick, as well as Steve Strang– publisher/founder of Charisma Magazine, and Gordon Robertson- CEO of CBN.

Also participating in The Return1 were Che Ahn and Cindy Jacobs – “apostles” and major players in the New Apostolic Reformation, and Michael Brown, who often functions as an apologist for NAR (and other) false teachers on his radio program.

Again, Anne sits on the board of advisors for this event / organization. She cannot be ignorant as to who these people are and what they teach.

On the same day as The Return, Anne also delivered one of the featured prayers at her brother, Franklin Graham’s, Prayer March 2020. (It is unclear to me if, or how, these two events were connected.) Also featured at this event were numerous heretics and false teachers, including TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), Matt and Laurie Crouch (heads of TBN), Jonathan CahnJentzen FranklinRobert Morris, and Paula White.

Anne has appeared on disgraced televangelist and false prophet Jim Bakker’s show:

Anne participated in, promoted, and was a featured speaker at the 2020 Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast, an ecumenical event touted as a time for Jews and Christians to pray together in unity. (Christians are not to yoke with any unbeliever who denies Christ as the Messiah, including Jews.)

Anne has poor hermeneutics and often mishandles Scripture. In her excellent analysis, Anne Graham Lotz and Her Narcissistic Interpretation of the Transfiguration, Erin Benziger carefully and biblically walks us through Anne’s eisegesis and allegorization of the story of the Transfiguration.

In a video tease for her book, The Daniel Prayer, Anne completely ignores the context of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and claims it as God’s promise to America. 

The following year, as chair of the 2017 National Day of Prayer Task Force, Anne mishandled the same passage the same way, combined it with a mishandling of Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9, and claimed that these passages are God’s promise to “heal” America’s moral ills if we will just pray hard enough. Neither of these passages are about, nor apply to the secular nation of America. They both pertain to God’s covenant people, Old Testament Israel, at a very specific point in history.

This is indicative of Anne’s general hermeneutic when it comes to anything having to do with politics, America, social issues, foreign relations, etc. Her standard practice is to eisegete all of those things into Old Testament Scripture, taking God’s warnings to Israel as though they were literal warnings to America, and claiming God’s promises to Israel as literal promises to America. This is not rightly handling God’s Word.

Anne’s teaching on extra-biblical revelation (i.e. “hearing God’s voice”) is muddled at best. At times, such as in this excerpt from her teaching video Journey to Jesus Part 1: How to Study the Bible

…she correctly emphasizes that God speaks through His Word, yet in this same video (and other venues such as this article at Decision Magazine, How to Know God’s Voice) she also seems to teach extra-biblical revelation by saying we can mistake other people’s voices for the voice of God, that some people aren’t hearing God speak, and continually using phrases like “listening for God’s voice.”

In her article, Preprayer 2016 Anne explains and endorses unbiblical “circle-making” prayer. Similar to Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker, Anne re-tells the story of Honi the circle-maker, then says:

As I look ahead into 2016, I feel compelled to draw a circle around this city, this state, this nation… and pray!  Until God answers. Do the same. Please.  On this first day of the New Year, draw your own circle.  Then pray for everything that’s inside of it.

As we might expect, with her numerous ties to false prophets and New Apostolic Reformation heretics, Ann has begun to dabble in NAR-esque prophesying.

In his July 7, 2014 episode of Fighting for the Faith, Chris Rosebrough deftly analyzes a message Anne says God gave her for the United States.

In the Charisma News article Anne Graham Lotz Gives Prophetic Warning About 2016, Anne predicts “As I look ahead into 2016, I believe our national and global situation will get worse,” and “I have been repeatedly warned in my spirit that the enemy is advancing. It’s something that I know.”

Anne seems to be a lovely and caring person, not to mention very patriotic. I know she’s a sentimental favorite to many because of her father. Those are all endearing qualities. But we must put feelings and nostalgia aside when we evaluate whether or not someone is qualified to teach. James 3:1 is clear that teachers will be judged more strictly, not given a pass because they’re nice people or related to a beloved spiritual figure. Anne consistently mishandles Scripture, yokes in ministry with heretics and false teachers, and preaches to men, encouraging other women to do the same. She is not a trustworthy teacher, and I recommend that you not follow or receive teaching from her.


Additional Resources:

Anne Graham Lotz at Berean Research


1If you closely follow conservative politics, you may wish to examine the list of names of the participants in The Return.

Discernment, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Celebrity Christian Hot Takes (Driscoll, Graham, Groeschel, Lewis, Lucado, Piper, Vallotton)

I get lots questions about whether or not certain pastors, teachers, and authors are doctrinally sound, and whether or not I would recommend them. I mean, lots. And, can I just say- that’s really encouraging to me. When someone asks that question, it demonstrates a) that she knows there are teachers out there who wear the label of “Christian” yet teach unbiblical things, and b) that she doesn’t want to follow one of those teachers. Having interacted with scores of professing Christian women who don’t even rise to that basic level of discernment (i.e. they blindly believe everything that calls itself “Christian” actually is), that’s huge, and I love it.

If you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed the Popular False Teachers & Unbiblical Trends tab (in the blue menu bar at the top of this page). All of the articles and entries on that page exist because someone (usually more than one person) asked whether or not that teacher is doctrinally sound. I wish I were able to write articles on every teacher I’m asked about so I could provide you with more thorough resources, but it usually takes me several days worth of research and writing to properly assemble even the shortest of those articles, and with a family to care for, and other responsibilities, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

All of that means that I have to pick and choose which teachers to write about (which is generally whoever is most popular and most people are asking about) and resign myself to the fact that there are teachers I’m probably never going to get around to writing about (few have heard of them, they’re not popular in my audience demographic, they’re dead, it’s uber-obvious they’re heretics {Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, etc.}).

Recently, I’ve been asked about a slew of teachers I’m probably not going to write articles about, not because they’re not important, but because they don’t influence as many people in my audience as other teachers do. So I thought what I’d do from time to time is gather up a few and just give a quick “hot take” – a thumbs up or thumbs down as to whether or not you should follow them – based on what I already know without researching them and/or no more than a five minute Google search.

I’ll be using the criteria outlined in my article Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on Your Own. If you ever need to know whether or not you should avoid a certain teacher, I would encourage you to use this article as a guide, and research him or her for yourself. Vetting teachers is not difficult, it’s a skill every Christian needs to develop, you shouldn’t just take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that someone is or isn’t a false teacher, and I won’t always be around. So if you’re interested in any of these teachers, consider these hot takes a jumping off point for doing more research on your own.

👎Mark Driscoll A definite thumbs down. Mark Driscoll is demonstrably apostate. He was charged with spiritual abuse (mostly anger, treating people poorly, abuse of power – things like that) at his former church, Mars Hill. He refused to go through the biblical process of church discipline his elders tried to enact, and instead quit and fled to another state. He now associates and yokes in “ministry” with New Apostolic Reformation heretics.

Billy Graham– Not someone I’m going to go around proactively recommending, but not someone I’d call a false teacher, either. I would categorize him as “generally OK-ish, but there are much better, stronger teachers you could be listening to instead”. I’ve read his autobiography and listened to several of his sermons over the years. Although I think some of his methods were biblically unwise, the basic content of his sermons and the gospel he preached was biblical overall. But you need to remember that Billy Graham was an evangelist, not a pastor, which means you’ll get the basics of the gospel by listening to him, but not much else. And if you’re already saved, while you never outgrow your need to hear the gospel, that’s not all you need. You need to grow and mature in the Word, and be taught the full counsel of God.

A couple of reasons many people wonder about Billy Graham’s theology have to do with his ecumenism (he basically embraced just about everyone who wore the label “Christian” – including the Pope) and his universalist statements (most widely known via his 1997 interview with Robert Schuller). Additionally, his daughter, Ann Graham Lotz, credits her father with heavily influencing her theology, and she is not someone I’d recommend.

👎Craig Groeschel– Nope. When Chris Rosebrough has done this many Fighting for the Faith segments and sermon reviews on somebody, take it to the bank- that’s not somebody you should be following. And then you’ve got things like: Craig preaching at this Hillsong conference (which also featured Bethel Music leaders), preaching with Joel Osteen at a conference hosted by Lakewood, he’s spoken at Joyce Meyer’s women’s conference, he lets women and false teachers preach at his church, including Christine Caine (whom he calls “one of the greatest preachers of all time”) and Steven Furtick (who says in this clip that Groeschel’s church has influenced Furtick’s church {Elevation} “probably more than any other church”.)

Also, if you use the YouVersion Bible App, you might want to know that it was developed by Craig Groeschel and his church, and is still owned by his church (Life.Church), which is one of the reasons it’s not one I recommend when people ask me about Bible apps. Craig and his church earn income from this app, and so do the false teachers whose materials are featured on the app, so when you use YouVersion, you’re financially supporting false teachers and false doctrine, whether directly or indirectly.

C.S. Lewis For fiction, you’re probably OK. I read my children the entire Narnia series with no real problems. I know sound brothers and sisters who have found Mere Christianity and other CSL books to be helpful, but, honestly, if you really want to study theology, I’d encourage you to steer clear and find better sources. There are questions as to whether or not he believed in evolution, universalism, the inspiration of Scripture, and penal substitutionary atonement.

👎Max Lucado– No. He recently embraced Jen Hatmaker as a guest on her podcast. He has preached at Lakewood (Joel Osteen), affirmed Bill Johnson (Bethel), endorses Beth Moore, wrote the foreword for Christine Caine’s book, Undaunted, etc. And the church Max pastors, Oak Hills Church, is egalitarian.

And then there’s this quote from Max during an interview with Preaching.com: I really enjoy listening to Joel Osteen. I think Joel has a unique assignment in his ministry, and that’s to cast a wide net. He’s got a different assignment and a different gift mix than, for example, a John MacArthur; and I enjoy listening to John MacArthur equally; but you can see that they’re two different types of preaching. I enjoy Joel because I think his assignment in ministry is to encourage people, and we live in a day that is so discouraged, discouraging. I enjoy John MacArthur because I think—it seems to me—his assignment is to equip the church with very detailed biblical understanding. He’d be more like a Beth Moore or a David Jeremiah; I think we need that, as well.

I’m sorry, but do you really want to be taught the Bible by someone who someone who is so undiscerning he can’t tell the difference between Joel Osteen, Beth Moore, and John MacArthur? That he thinks Joel Osteen and John MacArthur just have different gifts and different preaching styles? And that Beth Moore, like John MacArthur, has an “assignment to equip the church with very detailed biblical understanding“?

John PiperJohn Piper’s books, sermons, and blog are mostly fine, and while I disagree with him on several points of theology, I certainly do not consider him to be a false teacher. But he’s not somebody I’m going to proactively recommend, either. Here’s how I’ve answered readers in the past who have asked me about John Piper:

While I consider Dr. Piper to be a generally doctrinally sound Christian brother and agree with him in many aspects of theology, he is not someone I proactively recommend for a few reasons:

1. Dr. Piper is a continuationist. I usually limit my endorsements to cessationists  because I believe this is the biblical view of the gifts. (I do not consider otherwise doctrinally sound continuationists to be false teachers, however.)

2. I’m concerned about Dr. Piper’s associations and partnerships with false teachers (which violates 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Romans 16:17-18, and 2 John 9-11). First he appeared to embrace Rick Warren when he interviewed him and invited him to speak at the Desiring God conference in 2010. More recently, he has been a featured speaker at events like the Passion conferences where he has shared the stage with Christine Caine, Priscilla ShirerBeth Moore, and Judah Smith.

3. Dr. Piper’s complementarianism seems muddled at best. On the one hand he will go so far as to say that Christian women should not be drill sergeants and police officers (the Bible mentions nothing of the sort), yet on the other hand he joins in ministry with the aforementioned Caine, Shirer, and Moore who – in addition the the false doctrine they preach – all actively and unrepentantly violate clear Scripture by preaching to men. It’s quite confusing.

I’m not going to warn people away from John Piper as a false teacher, but I can’t, in good conscience, recommend him either.

👎Kris VallottonAbsolutely not, no way, no how. Kris Vallotton is the “Senior Associate Leader of Bethel Church and co-founder of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM)” which means he is a New Apostolic Reformation heretic, not a Christian, and certainly not someone any other Christian (or lost person, for that matter) should be following. Read more about the blasphemies and heresies of Bethel.


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.