Book Reviews, Guest Posts

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

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

by Carol Coppens

Many years ago, when I was in the 6th grade, I was taught that when doing a book report, even if I didn’t like the book, I should try to say something good about it. That was fine teaching at the time and I think it has made me a better writer, this trying to see both sides. I’m not in school any longer though and these days, I’m bound less by trying to see the good and more to pointing out the multiple errors of books like Anything. If you’re a Jennie Allen fan, you won’t like what I have to say but I can’t stay silent.

Anything is a poorly written book. It’s an irreverent book. It’s a book that will never help any woman discover the totality of God’s plan of redemption, His sovereignty, His wrath which rests on the unregenerate, nor His holy fury at those who presume to speak for Him. This is not a book that will help you to dive deep into the character of God and to know Him better but instead, Jennie’s book is a tedious, self absorbed, experience driven, hermeneutically unsound, over-stepper of scriptural boundaries, mish-mash of emotionalism and repetitive “wrecked-ness”. Here are some of the specific faults that I see.

Even in these days of relativity, where the only rule that seems to apply is that there are to be no rules at all, there are still a few that are necessary. One of the rules of basic English grammar is, if you’re going to use an adjective (remember that word from English class?) you’d better do your homework and find out exactly what that word means, in the context in which you plan to use it.

The word reckless is used multiple times in this book. Jennie describes childlike faith as living “simply, recklessly.” On pg. 97, she writes that she and her husband, “now lay in the hands of a reckless, invisible God.” Page 143 tells of her realization that people are going to think they are foolish for adopting, saying, “that goes with almost any act of recklessness, even reckless love.” Maybe she thought the word sounded powerful and kind of daring when she penned it but the definition of reckless is “without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.”

Describe human beings as reckless as much as you like, because we all certainly can be, but when a writer uses the word reckless to describe almighty God, that person has crossed over into blasphemy and I would shudder to think that I had written such a thing about the God I will eventually have to give an account to. Some of the other words she uses to describe God are, “unsafe”, “wildly unpredictable”, “radical”, “ridiculously radical” and she also writes that “God is still not very practical.” Exactly where are the chapters and verses for these descriptions of God, Jennie?

In many places, Jennie adds words to Scripture that are not there. Space hinders me from listing them all, so one example will have to do. On page 184, she speaks for Jesus and writes, “as if he were letting us in on the secret, Jesus whispered back to his father, this will all be worth it. Wait till they are with us and see our glory. Just wait till all of this work and suffering and pouring out is over and we are in heaven together forever. Just wait.”

This conversation is, of course, recorded nowhere in Scripture but the words “do not exceed what is written”, definitely are. Jennie would do well to read and meditate deeply on that verse in 1 Corinthians 4. When we imagine that God is speaking to us apart from Scripture, we can easily be led to enter very dangerous territory.

An example of her flawed interpretations of Scripture is on page 37. Jennie quotes Hosea 2:14-17 but then she blatantly misinterprets God’s promise to restore Israel to Himself, as a “dramatic metaphor” about those of us who chase other loves. I say, leave Biblical interpreting to those who know about these things, Jennie. If you think that you’ve been given a new interpretation of these verses that no other person has ever had before, you’re just plain wrong. God was promising restoration to Israel in these verses and nothing else.

She also does emotional and hermeneutical callisthenics with God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (pgs. 69-70). Jennie’s theory is that God was punishing Abraham for his overwhelming love for his son that, according to her, had usurped God as Abraham’s first love. If she had thoughtfully studied these Bible passages or, if she truly understood God’s plan to ultimately save His elect, she would know that the sacrifice of Isaac and the ram God substituted for the boy, was a shadow of God’s own sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ on the cross. There is no excuse for such lazy interpretation of the sacred Scriptures. In these current times, the proliferation of false and misleading doctrine abounds. Having the correct interpretation of Scripture is of paramount importance because our eternal futures depend on understanding correctly, what God is saying to us.

On page 102, Jennie asks “so how do we actually let God change us?” Finally, I thought, a good solid question after having read page after page of drivel. Can an explanation of justification and sanctification be far behind? Sadly, they weren’t even hinted at and she goes on to tell a rather horrific (as a mother I cringed) story of telling her two oldest children to climb up a cliff and jump off! For Jennie, jumping is the key. Either “jump or crawl down” and “the more we jump and see our God come alive around us, the more we jump without fear – and the bigger the cliffs get”, she says. As the Peanuts character Charlie Brown was known to exclaim, good grief!

In the final analysis, the biggest problem I had with this book (and I slogged through it twice) was my knowing that, from the time of her “vision” in the night that Jennie feels was definitely from God, the wheels of the IF: Gatherings began to turn. For those readers who still might be unfamiliar with IF, they are para-church organization, begun by Jennie, that has no scriptural basis or authority. The gatherings happen outside of the local churches and their oversight, supposedly to accomplish something, ie. discipling women, that only churches are charged to do, in Scripture. In this case, the ends do not justify the means.

Because all the women involved in IF cannot possibly be born again, spirit filled, doctrinally sound, mature women with the spiritual gift of teaching, the possibilities for unscriptural philosophies and practices entering in to local churches, families and society at large, are enormous. I see this movement as no less than a calculated move of Satan against women, a frontal attack on the sufficiency of Scripture and a throwing off of the direct commands of God, in His Word, for both married and single women. Jennie Allen might believe that her “call” to begin IF was of God, but I do not.

So, at the end of the day, would I recommend this book to anyone? Absolutely not! What I do recommend instead is simply this – read your Bible, always praying that God will illuminate your mind with His truth. Get involved with a biblically solid church and pray for God to open doors for you to serve there. There is no substitute for a godly, biblically saturated, discerning Christian woman and one only gets that way by hard work and study. The Scriptures do not open themselves to the slothful. When a woman is mature in Christ and can properly discern truth from error then and only then it will come to pass that the writings of the Jennie Allens of this world will be seen for what they truly are, rubbish.

With a grateful nod to my 6th grade English teacher, I suppose I could say one good thing about this book and that is, that it wasn’t any longer.

Carol and her husband Mike live in a small town, on the shores of Lake Erie, in Ontario, Canada. She was 49 years old when Christ called her to be His disciple. A love for the pure truth of God’s Word fuels her passion to expose false teaching and especially that kind which has women as its primary target.

Favorite Finds

Favorite Finds ~ February 27, 2018

Here are a few of my favorite recent online finds…

Sheologians posted a great episode: Almost: Our Encouragement & Concern with the IF:Gathering. They explained some of the things that attract women to this conference as well as the theological problems with it. They have also published a follow up blog post, Almost: an addendum since releasing this episode. I’ve added both to my resources on IF at the Popular False Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Tim Challies simply and handily explains 2 Timothy 3:6-7 in this 2016 article, Capturing Weak Women.



Women’s Hope Project recently started a new Bible study on Galatians on their podcast. A free study guide is available.




All main sessions, breakout sessions, and Spanish sessions of the 2018 G3 Conference: Knowing God- A Biblical Understanding of Discipleship have been uploaded to the G3 app, so download the app to access some awesome teaching. All of the sessions were phenomenal, but if you only have time for a few, I’d recommend starting with the (three) Martha Peace and (two) Justin Peters breakout sessions. You can also register for next year’s conference on missions and get the early registration rate.


Do you enjoy writing? Even if you don’t, I think you’ll like these 7 Writing Tips from Charles Spurgeon.


Discernment, False Teachers, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Do you recommend these teachers/authors? Volume 2

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against false 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.


Volume 1  Volume 3

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. Below are some others I’ve been asked about recently, so I’ve done a quick check (this is brief research, not exhaustive) on each of them.

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 the women listed below and have not had much of an opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I did involved 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).

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).

val7att5_400x400Jennie Allen– Not recommended. Jennie is the founder of IF: Gathering (for more information on IF, click on the “Popular False Teachers” tab at the top of this page). Here, she’s giving away books by her “friends” including Jen Hatmaker’s husband, Brandon, Margaret Feinberg, and Bianca Olthoff (all doctrinally problematic) and false teacher Beth Moore (“I love everything Beth writes!”). She’s a fan of false teachers Lysa TerKeurst, Christine Caine, and Ann Voskamp (also here) As of the time of this writing, she is a featured speaker at Catalyst 2016, which is plagued by doctrinal problems and features a plethora of false teachers including Andy Stanley, Brian Houston, female “pastor” Charlotte Gambill, Jen and Brandon Hatmaker, and Rebekah Lyons (here she partners more closely with Rebekah), among others.

The fact that Jennie is deemed acceptable by all of these false teachers does speak to her doctrine in an indirect way under the “birds of a feather flock together” premise. If she were teaching sound doctrine, it is very unlikely she would be accepted by so many false teachers and invited to speak at the venues, conferences, etc., she speaks at. And, conversely, prolific association with false teachers is bound to influence and shape her own doctrine. This review of Jennie’s book, Restless, and this review of her book, Anything, demonstrate further specific examples of the false doctrine she teaches. 

fs9wpg8e_400x400Lisa Bevere– Not recommended. Lisa and her husband John (author of many men’s ministry books, former associate pastor to Benny Hinn at World Outreach Center, and current board member of Joyce Meyer Ministries– I don’t recommend him either) head up their own speaking, writing, and preaching ministry called Messenger International. Lisa associates and partners with many false teachers including Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Christine Caine, Kris Valloton (Senior Associate Leader of Bethel Church/co-founder of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry), Bethel Music, Bethel “Church”, Joel and Victoria Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Paula White, and Hillsong. Her extensive ties to Bethel are particularly troubling, and undoubtedly influencing her toward New Apostolic Reformation heresy.

As you can see from her calendar of events, Lisa frequently preaches the Sunday worship service at various churches, many of which are co-”pastored” by women, and is an advocate for women preaching. Lisa teaches extra-biblical revelation and twists and mishandles God’s word in many other ways as well. You can read more about her problematic theology in this review of her book, Without Rival.

headshot-resized_400x400Rachel Held Evans– Not recommended. There are so many ways Rachel deviates from orthodox, biblical Christianity, It would be impossible to describe all of them, even briefly. Rachel denies the Bible’s inerrancy as well as its authority. She rejects the Bible’s teaching that a conscious knowledge of and faith in Christ is necessary for salvation (inclusivism). She supports homosexual “marriage” as well as the idea of calling practicing, unrepentant homosexuals Christians and including them in church membership. She mercilessly twists and misuses Scripture to the extent that it would be comical for its ridiculousness were it not so blasphemous. (Denny Burk has an excellent article that covers all of these issues in more detail.) Rachel believes in evolution. Rachel has, at best, mixed feelings about abortion, supporting the funding of Planned Parenthood and decrying “abstinence only” teaching in sex ed classes. Rachel is a staunch feminist, egalitarian, and promoter of “gender equality” in the church. Pick a biblical issue or doctrine. Rachel is almost certain to be on the unbiblical side of it.

Rachel Held Evans died May 4, 2019. I commend to you Gabriel Hughes’ and Elizabeth Prata’s articles responding to her death.

xecm_hpro_256Heather Lindsey– Not recommended. The header of Heather’s website lists her as: Christian, Wife, Mother, etc., and “pastor.” Heather and her husband co-pastor a “church”, which is rebellion against Scripture.

Heather demonstrates extremely poor hermeneutics and lacks a basic understanding of Christ’s atonement in salvation. In this video , she not only teaches that you can lose your salvation by failing to forgive others, she also refers to examining Scripture in context as a way of “squirming out of” obedience to the Bible. In this article on how to study the Bible, Heather suggests praying in tongues, using music by some of her favorite artists, including Jesus Culture, Kari Jobe, and Hillsong, and using study materials such as the Joyce Meyer Everyday Living Bible, the Dakes Study Bible (embraced by Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn), The Power of Speaking God’s Word by Joyce Meyer, and Beth Moore materials. In the same article, she makes this odd statement in reference to Jesus being her “husband” (she misunderstands and takes several verses out of context to explain this relationship):

“When I was single, I would dress up, make reservations and take my bible & have a date night! I would go to the movies with Jesus! I would cook him dinner, brownies AND we’d watch a movie at home alone. We’d go grocery shopping together. At nighttime, I would talk to Him about what I should wear the next day (sometimes, we would disagree lol) I would ask Him how He wants me to wear my hair.”

She also talks about having “a relationship with God the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ,” demonstrating her lack of understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit.

Continuing in the same article, Heather indicates that she believes in and receives extra-biblical revelation and that she relies on her feelings rather than God’s word:

“I started to obey Christ..whenever He told me to do something. You hear God’s voice through your inner ear and some would call it your ‘gut’, conscience or ‘just something told you that you should have done that.’ I always CHECK my peace. If something comes up–I immediately tune into the Holy Spirit and I can tell if He is tugging my heart one way or another. I LISTEN to that peace. A great checker is if you’re in an unhealthy relationship & God is telling you to leave it–you won’t have any peace about the person.”

Heather’s blog is rife with recommendations for and references to Joyce Meyer and T.D. Jakes, she is an admirer of Sarah Jakes Roberts, and Heather and her husband Cornelius have preached at T.D. Jakes’ organization The Potter’s House. You can listen to a critique of one of her “sermons” here.

Screenshot_2016-08-07-18-18-00_kindlephoto-16261176Anne Graham Lotz– Not recommended. While the core of Anne Graham Lotz’s teaching isn’t radically off base, biblically, (i.e. she’s not blatantly teaching Word of Faith, NAR, or other heretical doctrine) there are too many red flags about her teaching and behavior to regard her as a trustworthy teacher of God’s word. She has no qualms about preaching to men. False teachers Rick Warren and Beth Moore have each written forewords for Anne’s books. Anne has poor hermeneutics. Here, she completely ignores the context of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and claims it as a promise for America. Here, while correctly stating several times that God speaks through His word, she also seems to teach extra-biblical revelation by saying we can mistake other people’s voices for the voice of God and continually using the phrase “listening for God’s voice.” Anne endorses unbiblical “circle-making” prayer, and she is beginning to dabble in NAR-esque prophesying. Click here for more information on Anne Graham Lotz.

kellyminter-1321-e1402589694418Kelly Minter– Not recommended. On the “about” page of Kelly’s web site, she describes false teacher, Beth Moore, as “one of my favorite bible study teachers” (as a somewhat inconsequential aside, I have little respect for Bible study authors who don’t even know that the word “Bible” is supposed to be capitalized – and, no, this was not a one time typo). Kelly also says, “Beth’s teachings were much of what God used in my earlier life to teach and transform me…”. Beth Moore is notorious for mishandling and twisting Scripture, so this should tell you all you need to know about following Kelly. Beth Moore also preaches to men, so it is not surprising that we would find Kelly preaching to men as well.

Kelly seems to have unbiblical ideas about how people should study the Bible. In this video she recommends that people who want to understand the Bible need to get a study (in addition to her own, she recommends Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer) and “if you feel comfortable” get involved in a church to study “in community”. The biblical model for being taught Scripture is to join a church – this is not optional – and be taught the Word by the pastor, elders, and teachers. Doctrinally sound studies can sometimes be helpful, but they are supplementary to church instruction, not the primary source of instruction. Here, Kelly recommends not only Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, but also Jen Hatmaker, Jennie Allen, Lisa Harper, Jennifer Rothschild, and Margaret Feinberg. Kelly has guest blogged for Priscilla Shirer, is an admirer of Christine Caine, and has appeared on Christine Caine’s podcast.

Angie Smith– Not recommended. Wife of Todd Smith of the Christian music group, SelahAngie started out as a blogger, then blossomed into a Christian author and speaker. Her best known book to date is a women’s study: Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story. 

While all of Angie’s currently scheduled speaking engagements appear to be for women’s events, she has preached at least one Sunday morning sermon (to a congregation of men and women)- at Cross Point Church.

Angie is on the leadership team of Jennie Allen’s (see above) IF:Gathering conference (along with false teachers Jen Hatmaker, Ann VoskampRebekah LyonsBianca Olthoff, and Christine Caine), has been a featured speaker at IF several times, and is scheduled to speak again at IF:Gathering 2019. Angie’s first speaking engagement of 2019 is at a Methodist “church” at which nearly all the ministerial staff are women, including the senior and associate “pastors”. She’s speaking at three Women of Joy conferences alongside false teachers Sheila Walsh and Lisa Harper. Angie partnered with Lysa TerKeurst to offer an online version of her study, Seamless, through the Proverbs 31 website. Angie partnered with Christine Caine for the Women of Faith Conference, and has appeared on Priscilla Shirer’s The Chat.

It’s humorously played up, but Angie’s devotion to Beth Moore is a bit over the top. She calls herself “a little bit of a crazy stalker fan supporter of Beth Moore” and says her “favorite Bible teachers are Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer,” adding, “I’m pretty sure they will both have special chairs very near to Jesus in heaven,” and “I have a little area of my house devoted to Beth Moore. Okay, that’s a lie too, but if it wasn’t idol worship, I probably would. At least a little candle or something? framed pictures? A life-sized cardboard cutout? Such a delicate balance between admiration and a restraining order…”

Space doesn’t permit me to list all the times Angie has partnered with false teachers nor all the false teachers she has partnered with. As I’ve previously mentioned, not only does surrounding yourself with false teachers influence your doctrine, it is impossible to be endorsed by so many false teachers unless your doctrine is acceptable to them, and they do not put up with sound doctrine.

nancy-demossNancy (Leigh) DeMoss Wolgemuth– Not recommended. There are many good things about Nancy and her ministry, Revive Our Hearts. Nancy’s teaching is generally doctrinally sound, and I would not label her a false teacher. I’ve personally done one of Nancy’s studies and didn’t find any theological problems with it.

I commend Nancy for stating on her Revive Our Hearts web site that ROH supports the Danvers Statement on biblical manhood and womanhood. Unfortunately, Nancy also believes it is appropriate for women to speak to mixed groups as long as they’re doing so “under the headship of male spiritual authority” and the woman is not in “a position of ongoing responsibility for the spiritual direction of men” (Scripture doesn’t make either of these exceptions).

ROH recommends multiple studies by both Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer on their resource page and ROH has printed articles by Nancy and others positively referencing both Moore and Shirer (who was a featured speaker at ROH’s True Woman conference in 2012), as well as Lysa TerKeurst/Proverbs 31. There was also concern in 2012 over Nancy’s/ROH’s/True Woman’s use and endorsement of “circle maker” praying. Finally, ROH is an outreach of Life Action Ministries which subscribes to Keswick theology (source, source, source).


I truly regret that I’m unable to give a wholehearted endorsement to any of these women. I’m sure they’re all perfectly nice people who, in their own hearts, have only the best of intentions, but Christian leaders and teachers have a grave responsibility to Christ and to their listeners to teach sound doctrine and walk in obedience to Scripture. Please understand that this is not a personal attack on any of these women, only answers to readers’ questions about whether or not I recommend them and their materials.

If you have a question about: a well-known Christian author/leader, 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.