Discernment, Holidays (Other)

Jennie Allen and IF:Gathering

IF:Gathering 2022 is coming up next week (March 4-5). 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 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.


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. 09), 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 includes a similar tableau of false teachers, female preachers/pastors, and racialists (some are returning speakers, some are new):

My guess is that all of the women who have spoken at IF have no qualms about preaching to men, and there may also be more female “pastors” in the bunch, but I was unable to research each of them, so I will just say, a large number of the women who have spoken at IF disobey God’s Word by preaching to men and/or “pastoring”.

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.”

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 include:

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.

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:

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

Doctrinally Sound Teachers

Doctrinally Sound Christian Men to Follow – 3

Sometimes we ladies fall for the mindset that if we’re going to pick up a Bible study book, read a blog, or listen to Bible teaching, it has to be from a female author or teacher. Not so! There are a lot of fantastic, doctrinally sound, male Bible teachers, pastors, and writers out there – far more males than females, actually – and you’ll really be missing out if you limit yourself to women teachers and writers.

I’ve recommended lots of my favorite doctrinally sound teachers at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. Here are some more; and these lists are by no means exhaustive!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.

 A.W. Pink – “Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, ‘the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.’ His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers’ hearts on biblical living.” Pink pastored churches in Britain, Australia, and across the United States. During that time (1922-1953), Pink published a monthly magazine, Studies in the Scriptures. Each edition contained several articles expositing Scripture. He also authored scads of pamphlets and books on a number of theological topics. Perhaps two of his best known books are The Attributes of God and The Sovereignty of God. These, and many other works by Pink are available for purchase or can be read free online.  Facebook 

Tom Ascol – Tom has served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida for over thirty years and has taught theology courses at several seminaries. He is one of the founders, and current executive director of Founders Ministries, the president of the Institute of Public Theology, and a popular author, conference speaker, podcaster, journal contributor, and blogger. I am especially grateful for Tom’s strident efforts in the grassroots movement to bring back biblical and doctrinal fidelity in the Southern Baptist Convention. Check out Tom’s booksread one of his excellent articles, listen to his sermons, or subscribe to The Sword and the Trowel podcast.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Allen Nelson – Better known as “Cuatro” to his friends (because he’s Allen Nelson IV), Allen has a deep and abiding passion for the local church, and pastors Perryville Second Baptist Church in Perryville, Arkansas. You might recall reading reviews here on the blog of Allen’s books From Death to Life: How Salvation Works and Before the Throne. Both are well written and helpful, and you’ll want to get a copy of each if you haven’t already. Allen is also contributing writer and roundtable member of the Things Above Us blog and podcast, and is a regular contributor to Servants and Heralds. And don’t forget to check out his sermons, too!  Facebook  Twitter

James White – An expert in apologetics, textual criticism, and theology, “James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries….He is Professor of Church History and Apologetics at Grace Bible Theological Seminary….He has authored or contributed to more than twenty four books…He is Pastor/Elder of Apologia Church in Arizona.” Following Dr. White is almost the equivalent of getting a graduate degree from an elite, doctrinally sound seminary. Check out Dr. White’s many books and debates, his blog, and The Dividing Line webcast (also on iTunes).  Facebook  Twitter  

(Note: Dr. White maintains a personal friendship and, in the past, occasional ministerial connections with Dr. Michael Brown, who, although doctrinally sound in many areas of his theology, has become a safe haven for the worst of the worst New Apostolic Reformation heretics. To my knowledge, Dr. White does not endorse this behavior of Dr. Brown, and certainly does not endorse NAR heresy. It is my understanding that he has attempted to correct Dr. Brown’s errors multiple times. I strongly discourage you from following Dr. Brown.)

Darrell Harrison – “Darrell B. Harrison serves as Dean of Social Media at Grace to You, the bible-teaching ministry of John MacArthur…Darrell has a blog called Just Thinking . . . for Myself…and is the lead host of the Just Thinking podcast, one of the top-ranked Christian podcasts in America…Darrell is currently in the final phase of becoming certified as a biblical counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).” You can read more from Darrell at his G3 Ministries blog. Darrell is also a beloved author, conference speaker, and all around nice guy. Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Tom Buck – Tom’s no nonsense quips and keen insight into the current affairs of Southern Baptist life have made him something of a legend on Twitter, but Tom is first and foremost a pastor, and has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas, for over 15 years. Tom is also the Director of G3 Expository Preaching Workshops, training pastors to become better preachers. Listen to Tom’s sermons online or on iTunes. Follow Tom’s blog, Vessels of Honor, at the G3 Ministries website.  Facebook Twitter

Costi Hinn – Costi is the Pastor of Preaching & Teaching at Shepherd’s House Bible Church in Chandler, Arizona. He is the author of several phenomenal books (one of which I had the pleasure of writing an endorsement for). Though not one to capitalize on the family name, much of Costi’s background and expertise that uniquely qualify him to address the blight of the prosperity gospel and New Apostolic Reformation, stem from his personal experiences as nephew and ministry assistant of NAR faith healer Benny Hinn, and his zeal for sound biblical doctrine is contagious. Check out all of Costi’s blog articles, videos, and his podcast at For the Gospel.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Jerry Bridges – Jerry Bridges spent most of his professional career in parachurch ministry, serving in a variety of positions and capacities with The Navigators. He is remembered for his clear and easy to grasp writing style which has endeared to the hearts of millions his books The Pursuit of HolinessThe Practice of GodlinessTrusting God, and over twenty others dealing with topics in theology and discipleship. Get a list (with links) of all of Jerry’s books, listen to his sermons, talks, and interviews here and here, and watch his videos on YouTube.  Twitter

Mike Riccardi – “Mike Riccardi serves as the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church, which includes overseeing Fundamentals of the Faith classes, eight foreign language outreach Bible studies, and evangelism in nearby jails, rehab centers, and in the local neighborhood…He also serves as Assistant Professor of Theology [at The Master’s Seminary]. He has the privilege of serving alongside Phil Johnson as co-pastor of the GraceLife fellowship group at Grace Church.” Check out Mike’s sermons, his books, his articles at the TMS blog and his videos on YouTube. Facebook Twitter

Martyn Lloyd-Jones – “David Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London… Lloyd-Jones was well known for his style of expository preaching, and the Sunday morning and evening meetings at which he officiated drew crowds of several thousand, as did the Friday evening Bible studies.” Listen to Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ many fine sermons (or download the app), or purchase his books. You might also wish to watch the excellent documentary Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Facebook


You can always find these – and more great Christian men and women to follow – at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Doctrinally Sound Teachers

Doctrinally Sound Christian Men to Follow – 2

Sometimes we ladies fall for the mindset that if we’re going to pick up a Bible study book, read a blog, or listen to Bible teaching, it has to be from a female author or teacher. Not so! There are a lot of fantastic, doctrinally sound, male Bible teachers, pastors, and writers out there – far more males than females, actually – and you’ll really be missing out if you limit yourself to women teachers and writers.

I’ve recommended lots of my favorite doctrinally sound teachers at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. Here are some more; and these lists are by no means exhaustive!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.

Josh Buice– Josh is the pastor of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia, and the founder and president of G3 Ministries. G3 holds annual national and regional conferences and periodic training workshops for pastors, and has established a growing network of doctrinally sound, like-minded churches, among many other ministry endeavors that support and provide helpful resources to the church. Josh is a bold and biblical voice for this era of Christianity. Check out his excellent blog, Delivered by Grace, his sermons, and all the fantastic resources G3 has to offer.   Facebook  Twitter Instagram

J.C. Ryle – One of my beloved, “old dead guys,” John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) was the first bishop of Liverpool and a 19th century English pastor, known for his solid preaching and defense of the faith. He was a prolific author of tracts and books, often based on his sermons, and he frequently taught on contemporary issues from a biblical worldview. Two of his better known books are Holiness and Practical Religion. My favorite book of Ryle’s, however, is The Duties of Parents. Many of Ryle’s works are available online for free. Download nearly 200 of Ryle’s tracts (booklets), read one of his books or sermons online, or add a volume or two to your library.  Facebook  Twitter

Conrad Mbewe – A man who wears many hats, Conrad is, first and foremost, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia. Conrad is also editor of Reformation Zambia magazine, Director of International Advancement and lecturer at African Christian University in Zambia (where Voddie Baucham serves as Dean of Theology), writes and preaches extensively, and is a sought after conference speaker. I first became familiar with Conrad when I heard his phenomenal teaching sessions at John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference. Read Conrad’s blog, A Letter from Kabwata, listen to one of his sermons, or purchase one of his booksFacebook  Twitter

Justin Peters  – “Justin Peters Ministries is committed to communicating biblical truth through expository preaching and teaching resources designed to deepen the believer’s knowledge of God and, in turn, his love for God.” Justin is a beloved and popular conference speaker, most often on the topic of discernment. He is best known for Clouds Without Water, a seminar designed to educate the church on the history, growth, and danger of the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation heresies. Watch a presentation of Clouds Without Water, order some of Justin’s materials, listen to his sermons, or subscribe to Justin’s podcast on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform.  Facebook  

Gabriel Hughes– Gabe serves as Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lindale, Texas. An excellent writer, Gabe blogs on discernment and contemporary issues, but he is probably best known for his 90 second WWUTT (When We Understand the Text) videos which address a variety of biblical topics. Gabe also hosts the WWUTT podcast, a helpful daily study in the Word of God. You can watch WWUTT videos, download WWUTT podcasts, purchase Gabe’s books, and more, at the WWUTT website.  Facebook  Twitter

George Whitefield– George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a minister in the Church of England and, along with the Wesley brothers, was one of the founders and leaders of Methodism. Whitefield’s zeal for evangelism led him outside the four walls of the church, and it was not unusual to find him preaching to thousands and even tens of thousands in fields along the English countryside. Whitefield was also a well-known itinerant preacher and evangelist in the United States, and was an integral part of the Great Awakening. Many of Whitefield’s works are available on line including his sermons and tracts. I thoroughly enjoyed this brief biography of Whitefield by the aforementioned J.C. Ryle, and you’ll definitely want to get a hold of Steve Lawson’s book on Whitefield.  Facebook  Twitter

Nate Pickowicz – A heart for New England and a mind for the Puritans, Nate is the pastor of Harvest Bible Church in Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire. He has authored and edited several books, including R.C. Sproul: Defender of the Reformed Faith, Reviving New England, Why We’re Protestant, and How to Eat Your Bible, an introduction to studying God’s Word, complete with a Bible reading plan Nate designed. Check out Nate’s books and articles, and give his sermons a listen. Facebook Twitter Instagram

Andrew Rappaport – Andrew is an absolute ministry machine. He is the pastor of Grace & Truth Bible Church in Bucks County, PA, founder and Executive Director of both Striving for Eternity Ministries, a speaking and training ministry, and the Christian Podcast Community, a colloquy of Christian podcasters. Andrew is also the host of several podcasts, himself: Andrew Rappaport’s Rapp ReportAndrew Rappaport’s Daily Rapp ReportApologetics Live, and So, You Want to be a Podcaster, has authored a number of books and study materials, and is a dynamic conference speaker. Listen in to one (or all!) of his podcasts, and check out his books, materials, and training sessions at one of the links above. Facebook

Owen Strachan – Owen is Provost and Research Professor of Theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary in Conway, Arkansas, and former president of the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (CBMW). Owen has authored and contributed to a truckload of books and journals on subjects as varied as biblical sexuality, Jonathan Edwards, and social justice. He also writes about theological issues and events at To Reenchant the World. Not just a sharp writer, Owen is also an articulate speaker, hosting his own podcast, The Antithesis, and speaking often at conferences. Listen in to the podcast, and check out Owen’s books. Facebook Twitter Instagram

Scott Aniol– Scott is “Executive Vice President and Editor-in-chief of G3 Ministries and Professor of Pastoral Theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He is a teacher of culture, worship, aesthetics, and church ministry philosophy, he lectures around the country in churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries, and he has authored several books and dozens of articles.” Scott’s heart for biblical worship -in the church and in the family – is clear in all of his ministry endeavors. Check out his podcast, By the Waters of Babylon, his books and other media, Religious Affections Ministries, and his G3 blog, By the Waters of Babylon. Facebook Twitter Instagram


You can always find these – and more great Christian men and women to follow – at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Doctrinally Sound Teachers

Doctrinally Sound Christian Men to Follow – 1

Ladies, the Christian retailing machine isn’t doing us any favors when it comes to Bible study and theology.

First, they’ve created the impression that in order to study God’s word, we have to buy a book, workbook, or DVD by a Christian author. Next, they show us the materials we have to choose from by cordoning off part of the store or web site under the heading “Women’s Bible Study.” Finally, they fill the shelves in that department with materials penned almost exclusively by women, the majority of whom (even at supposedly trustworthy Christian retailers) are false teachers.

Let’s think outside that box, shall we?

First, you do not have to use someone’s book to study the Bible. In fact, I recommend that you don’t. Just pick up your Bible and study it in a systematic way. Next, if you do decide to use a Bible study book or other resource, it does not have to be written by a woman (though there are some great female teachers at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page). If you limit yourself to women authors, you’re going to miss out on some wonderful teaching by the many doctrinally sound male teachers out there. Let me introduce you to a few of my favorite pastors and male authors of Bible studies and other great Christian books and resources.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.

Charles Spurgeon– “The Prince of Preachers,” Spurgeon was “England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century…Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000.” Most of his works are still in print in both hardcover and e-book format, and many are available online for free. You may wish to use his commentaries to aid in your study of the Word. The brief devotions in Spurgeons’ Morning and Evening  are a favorite of many, and you’re sure to be edified by his many other books as well.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

John MacArthur– “John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry.” Dr. MacArthur has written approximately 400 books, including study guides, commenataries, Bible studies, and more. You might enjoy one of his free on line daily devotions, one of his study books, a sermon on the passage of Scripture you’re studying, or one of his books on a variety of biblical topics.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Steve Lawson – A pastor for 34 years, Dr. Lawson is now founder and president of OnePassion Ministries, “a ministry designed to equip biblical expositors to bring about a new reformation in the church.” He serves on the board of Ligonier Ministries and The Master’s Seminary, where he is also Professor of Preaching. Dr. Lawson has written a plethora of books, from commentaries to preaching texts, to an interesting series of profiles of godly men of the past such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, William Tyndale, and others. Follow along with Dr. Lawson’s Bible study lessons on video, And, of course, you’ll want to listen in to his sermons.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Todd Friel– Todd is the host of the Wretched podcast and television show, an outstanding resource dealing with discernment, evangelism, the church, theological aspects of current events, and various other topics. “Witness Wednesday” (the weekly episode airing on Wednesdays) is a great way to get “boots on the ground” training in how to share the gospel. Todd has produced a myriad of materials for both churches and individuals on biblical topics such as marriage, church history, parenting, anxiety, pornography, and more.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Paul Washer– An echo of Paul the Apostle, Paul Washer served as a missionary in Peru for ten years where he also founded the HeartCry Missionary Society. HeartCry now supports church planters in Peru and indigenous missionaries world wide. Paul is a challenging author and a sought after speaker who boldly exhorts the church. Be sure to explore his books, sermons, Bible study lessons, and videos.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Voddie Baucham– “Voddie Baucham wears many hats. He is a husband, father, former pastor, author, professor, conference speaker, and church planter. He currently serves as Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia.” Voddie specializes in cultural apologetics, and has been instrumental in shedding light on and pushing back against Critical Race Theory, among other issues, when speaking at conferences and other events. Listen to one of Voddie’s many fine sermons and check out his books and other materials on a variety of biblical topics.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Chris Rosebrough– If you’re looking for Chris’ previously daily podcast, Fighting for the Faith, that pirate ship has sailed. Chris is still the head of Pirate Christian Radio where you can find oodles of useful articles and audio, but the Aletheia is now docked at the Port of YouTube where Chris creates informative discernment videos on a variety of false teachers, false doctrines, and current events in evangelicalism. He is also the pastor of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church in Oslo, Minnesota, and quite an accomplished photographer.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

R. C. Sproul– “Dr. Sproul was founder of Ligonier Ministries, founding pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., first president of Reformation Bible College, and executive editor of Tabletalk magazine. His radio program, Renewing Your Mind, is still broadcast daily on hundreds of radio stations around the world and can also be heard online. He was author of more than one hundred books,” which you can find at Ligonier along with teaching materials on nearly any passage you’re studying, as well as other biblical books, music, and other resources.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Phil Johnson–  “Phil is the Executive Director of Grace to You. He has been closely associated with John MacArthur since 1981 and edits most of John’s major books…Phil was an editor at Moody Press before coming to Grace Community Church. He is an elder at Grace Community Church and pastors the GraceLife fellowship group.” Phil is an amazing lecturer and preacher with an incredible depth of knowledge of church and biblical history. You’ll enjoy the theological richness of Phil’s sermons (check out his “Bible Q & A” teachings) and be challenged by his blog articles at Pyromaniacs.  Facebook  Twitter


You can always find these – and more great Christian men and women to follow – at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Church, Complementarianism, Worship

Throwback Thursday ~ Six Questions for a Potential Church

Originally published March 27, 2015

church questions1

Have you ever had to look for a new church? Even with recommendations from godly friends, it can be hard to know which churches and pastors are doctrinally sound, and, of those doctrinally sound churches (because you certainly don’t want to go to one that isn’t doctrinally sound), which ones would be a good fit for your family.

There are lots of great articles out there with good, probing questions you should ask about the theology and doctrine of a church you’re considering. (I would recommend this one, this one, and this one. Also, make sure you understand these doctrinal issues and that the church you’re considering lines up with Scripture on these issues.) However, there are times when the answers to these types of questions don’t give you the whole picture of what is actually going on in a church on a day to day basis. In other words, sorry to say, a church can give you all the right answers on paper (or on their web site), but their practices don’t mirror those answers. Additionally, there are some non-doctrinal issues that are important to know about that questions about soteriology, baptism, biblical inerrancy, etc., won’t give you the answers to.

My husband and I are currently looking for a new church for our family. Since we are Southern Baptist and somewhat familiar with the handful of Southern Baptist churches we’re looking at, we already know the answers to the most important questions (the inspiration of Scripture, the divinity of Christ, the way of salvation, etc.) But I want to zoom in a little more on the finer points of belief and practices of these churches, so here are some questions I might ask the pastor of the church we would potentially join.

1.
Which Christian authors have had the biggest impact on your life, beliefs, and ministry?

When I ask this question (and look over the pastor’s shoulder at the titles on his bookshelf), I’m listening for the names of authors and pastors, living or dead, that I know are committed to sound biblical doctrine. If I hear a name like Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, Rick Warren, Beth Moore, or any Word of Faith or New Apostolic Reformation personality, I’m going back to ask more probing doctrinal questions. If I hear multiple names like those, I’m outta there.

2.
Are you/this church complementarian or egalitarian?

Now you may not be familiar with those terms but any Christian pastor should be. It is a current issue in evangelicalism, and it’s part of his job to stay abreast of such things. I’m not looking for a pastor to be an expert on this topic, but he should be familiar with the terms and have a working understanding of the issues at play as well as the applicable Scriptures, and he should embrace and practice complementarianism as the biblical position.

Because I have been given the right “on paper” answer to this question in the past only to find out later that the church’s practices didn’t match up with its profession, I will probably ask the follow up question: “In what positions of leadership are women currently serving? Do any of them hold authority over men or instruct men in the Scriptures?” If I hear that women are (or would be allowed to in the future) teaching co-ed adult Sunday School classes, giving instruction during the worship service, serving on committees in which they hold biblically inappropriate authority over men, etc., that’s problematic.

3.
Can you give me some examples, from any time during your career as a pastor, of church
discipline issues that have arisen and
how you have handled them?

I’m looking for three things here. First, what does this pastor think constitutes a church discipline issue? If he thinks it’s necessary to discipline a female church member for wearing pants instead of a skirt, that’s an issue, because he’s disciplining someone who’s not sinning. If he doesn’t think it’s necessary to discipline church members who are unmarried yet cohabiting, that’s an issue because he’s not disciplining people who are sinning. Church discipline should only be exercised over unrepentant sinful behavior.

Second, is he afraid to exercise church discipline? Generally speaking, someone who has been a pastor for many years and has never handled a church discipline issue is either woefully ignorant of the biblical requirement of a pastor to rebuke those in sin, or he is afraid to rock the boat because he might get fired. Both of these are huge red flags.

Third, how does he exercise church discipline? Does he follow the steps outlined in Matthew 18 and other Scriptures with a heart to see the church member repent and be reconciled to Christ and the church body? Is he harsh and condemning? Is he firm enough in his resolve to carry all the way through to disfellowshipping a church member if necessary?

4.
How much oversight do you (or an
associate pastor or elder) have over the
women’s ministry at this church?

With this question, I’m trying to find out how much the pastor knows about what’s actually going on inside the women’s ministry (if they have one) and how much responsibility he takes to make sure all teaching and activities are in line with Scripture. Does he research and approve all teaching materials before a women’s Bible study commences? Does a women’s ministry director have complete autonomy over all materials and activities? Are all of the women in leadership positions in the women’s ministry godly and spiritually mature? Would any of the women’s ministry leadership raise a stink if someone showed them from Scripture that a Bible teacher whose materials they use or a women’s ministry activity they enjoy is unbiblical?

5.
Does the music ministry at this church follow a
minister of music model or a concert model?

There’s nothing wrong with Christian concerts per se, but my husband and I feel strongly (notice, I did not say “the Bible says”) that the worship service is not the place for one. We believe that a minister of music, preferably one who is ordained to the ministry, should lead and take responsibility for the church’s worship in a pastoral role. He should be trained in the Scriptures, preferably at seminary, in order to rightly handle and apply them to the music portion of the worship service and other music programs. He should also be trained in music theory and conducting so that he is able to lead in the practical aspects of music.

By contrast, we do not believe that making the music portion of the service like a concert, in which a band gets up and plays in a dark room with a laser light show and a smoke machine and the congregation can sing along if they want to, if they happen to know the songs, and if they are able to follow the ad libbing of the lead singer, is conducive to worship. We believe this tends to make the worship band into entertainers and the congregation into spectators, whereas the minister of music model fosters an atmosphere of “we’re all pulling together to do the work of worship as a unified body.”

This is not about contemporary music versus hymns, it is about one worship model versus another. It is our conviction (again, not a biblical mandate, but our strongly held conviction) after more than two decades in music ministry ourselves, that the minister of music model – regardless of the genre of worship music used – is the one most conducive to strong, biblical congregational worship. So this is something we’re going to want to know about, even though it is not necessarily a doctrinal issue.

6.
Do you preach topically or expositorily or both?

Topical preaching is when the pastor selects a topic to preach on (parenting, money, etc.) and uses biblical passages that apply to that topic to form his sermon. Pastors who preach expositorily usually preach through a book of the Bible from beginning to end before moving on to the next book.

Both are valid forms of preaching as long as God’s word is rightly handled and applied. However, it has been my experience that pastors who preach exclusively topically have more of a tendency to lift Bible verses out of their context in order to make them fit the topic they’re preaching. This is usually not as much of an issue for pastors who preach expositorily because they are simply preaching the Word, verse by verse, in its context.

Additionally, expository preaching gives church members a better understanding of Scripture and how it fits together, and exposes them more thoroughly to a wider range of biblical truth than exclusively topical preaching does. Therefore, I am looking for a pastor whose preaching style leans mostly towards expository, but who isn’t afraid to preach topically if he believes the church needs instruction on a certain topic.

So, those are some of the questions I’m thinking about asking. What questions would you ask when considering a new church?


For more resources on finding a new church, or what to look for in a church, click the Searching for a new church? tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.