The IF: Gathering is one of the most popular women’s conferences today, and we get asked for our thoughts on it all the time. So after some prayer, and several hours of listening to past livestreams, here you go. We hope that you are not such encouraged and edified, but equipped to be able to answer these kinds of questions for yourself!

Stick around after our IF discussion for a historical and hilarious Feminist of the Week that is unlike any that have come before.

Episode Navigation

4:23 Joy wants to know what kinds of things make you weepy.

8:09 Why corporate worship is better than worshipping by yourself in the middle of the desert.
11:20 Why discernment is difficult and why doing this podcast wasn’t at the top of our list.
18:28 A few examples of things Jennie Allen has done well with the IF: Gathering, and a few ways that those things are undermined by other aspects of the conference.
24:51 Do women need more emotionalism in their spiritual lives? What is the value of sharing stories of Christians that have endured suffering?
31:00 “God told me”, special revelation, and paraphrases of Scripture that aren’t really paraphrases at all.
35:20 Jennie Allen gets the Trinity wrong (but it may not have been purposeful. Irresponsible, yes. Purposeful? We can’t say!).
37:20 Should husbands “unleash” their wives? What is up with the concept of “unleashing”?
41:00 So, some of what Jennie Allen says is solid. Some of the speakers have been solid. What’s our concern with it, then?
48:27 Joy introduces a really fun Feminist of the Week that hasn’t been like any of the ones before.
Go here for the book review of Jennie Allen’s “Restless” that we recommend.

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16 Comments

  1. Amy Croft

    Hatmaker has not been a part of IF gathering since she made her remarks about gay marriage. Jennie Allen has been very clear about that.

    Sarah Bessey spoke at the very first one and not since.

    Reply
    • Summer White

      Right! I couldn’t speculate as to the why, because that would be just speculation since I have not heard Jennie Allen’s comments on the matter. But that’s why I very specifically mentioned that Hatmaker has not been invited since she came out in support of gay marriage.

      Reply
    • Jemelene

      That’s correct. Sarah spoke for less than 15 minutes at the first IF: Gathering.

      According to Jennie Allen, Jen H. was already not part of the IF: Gathering months before her statement came out.

      Reply
    • Kelli

      She did issue a statement, but I thought it was a little condescending to the people who were rightfully asking where she stood. She basically was like “this is my dear friend and we disagree. we have bigger fish to fry .” I didn’t care for her tone.
      http://www.jennieallen.com/i-believe-in-us-church/

      Reply
  2. Kathy Schwanke

    I appreciate your hearts to contend for the truth. That is my heart as well. And I pray continually for people with big platforms. It’s a big responsibility before God. I want to come alongside of them if I discern their hearts are to advance the mission of Kingdom building. I want to leave them if they deviate from the truth. .

    As someone in the midst of IF (in the IF:Lead Facebook group and IF:equip app) I assure you that Jennie grieved over Jen Hatmaker and her shift away from Truth along with the strain on their friendship. Jen had already pulled herself off the IF stage. (Thankfully) A search of Jennie’s blog would bring you to her post about it.

    The first year of IF, when I found out about it, I actually wrote to a Jennie about Sarah Bessey (This might cause me to lose credibility with you, but God told me to! I brushed it off until I was in the scriptures and through a story of a king who made an unholy alliance, He impressed me to follow through on what He told me to do.) — Sarah was only on the stage once — talking about “love” of course — I met Jennie in person two years ago (I prayed for 15 minutes so I could talk to her about it and God have me 15 minutes) and I brought it up to her. She thanked me for writing to her and we prayed together. Her heart is TRUE.

    I’ve watched IF every year (There have been a few speakers that I haven’t appreciated) but I have seen God continue to grow depth and character in the team) I have used (led) Jennie’s studies, STUCK and CHASE — and they are biblical and have brought fruit.

    Jennie has actually been strong on the gospel — calling for repentance and belief. She talks about Jesus and salvation all the time. She doesn’t dance around the fact that we have an enemy. She’s clear that there is a hell. I believe she is anointed and set apart for our day.

    I appreciate your concerns. But since I’m privy to knowing MANY who are digging in to scripture and gathering women as a result of IF, I sense God’s favor, blessing and protection on her.

    One last thing: the Bible study and prayer on the IF:Equip app have also been wonderful. I especially learned a lot from the study on church history.

    Reply
  3. Amy Croft

    Allen issued a statement about it shortly after Hatmaker’s interview.

    Reply
    • Summer White

      Honestly, now that I have read it several times, I’d say it was the most non-statement on the actual issue possible. Which is an unfortunate statement in and of itself.

      Reply
  4. Summer White

    Guys, ultimately, commenting on this conference was not an attempt on our part to convince you that these women are devils. That is NOT the point, and we repeatedly said our point was never that we want to kick anyone out of the kingdom.

    What we are saying, and what we do believe, is that there are *some serious problems* with what is taught at these conferences. And its not JUST about Jen Hatmaker. I point you to some of this year’s speakers below to undergird that point.

    Our sincere desire is that you would be able to assess these teachings yourselves, exercise discernment yourselves, and spur each other on to good works in that way. I want to commend the leaders of the conferences for the things they do well. I want the leaders and attenders of this conference to do what I asked them to do in this podcast…..reassess. Repent where its needed. Line themselves up with Scripture. Stop inviting female pastors and false teachers to speak, stop using unbiblical language, stop claiming special revelation.

    We spoke slowly and carefully because we know that sisters in Christ attend this conference. We spoke slowly and carefully because we hope that those who know Christ who lead the conference would heed the necessary warnings of who they are inviting in and about the emotionalism they preach and the [perhaps accidental] undermining of the sufficiency of scripture that they are occasionally guilty of.

    Just as we paused to consider where we might be jumping the gun or understanding things wrongly, if you are a fan of the IF Gathering, I plead that you do the same. We love you guys. Thanks for listening and being patient with us and each other. Let’s keep the comments more than just civil, but that we would consider our speech to be glorifying to God.

    Christine Caine: https://michellelesley.com/2016/03/04/chhave-no-regard-for-the-offerings-of-caine/

    From Michele Lesley’s blog regarding Bianca Olthoff: Not recommended. Bianca works as “Chief Storyteller” for the A21 Campaign, false teacher Christine Caine’s human trafficking organization, and a perusal of her calendar page shows her “preaching” at Saddleback (Rick Warren), IF Gathering, Thrive (Lysa TerKeurst & Ann Voskamp), Bethel- Redding, Elevation (Steven Furtick), and numerous other conferences with false teachers and female “pastors,” at least one of which is being held at a “church” pastored by a woman. Bianca believes she receives extra-biblical revelation from God about people at her conferences needing healing. She also has several Sunday speaking engagements at churches, some of which, undoubtedly, will have her preaching to men.

    Rebekah Lyons, who is a fan of Jesus Culture (from the apostate church Bethel).

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth Prata

    Thank you for your review. I reviewed tham 4 years ago, and I’ve recently been asked to review then again and update my thoughts on the IF:Gathering and its women at this time. I’m glad you did first.

    As far as direct revelation goes, I appreciated your segment on their penchant to say ‘God told me’ and your caution not to extrapolate a generality that may or may not be accurate, given that your experience with the IF:women has not been constant. I would like to say that their continual stance IS direct revelation. Jennie Allen, at the first IF conference, explained where the impetus came from to start the movement and conferences. Here are her words, transcribed from a Youtube clip that is still up, link below:

    “For one second I want to give you a behind the scenes of where this all came from. About 7 years ago, a voice from the sky…[nervous laughter] which doesn’t often speak to me, but that day, there was this whisper. It was the middle of the night actually. It was ‘gather and equip your generation. … and for two days my bones hurt.”

    Doesn’t OFTEN speak to her?

    Jennie went on to advise that not “all voices from the sky are God, FYI, but if it IS God he will give you what you need to accomplish what he spoke.”

    clip here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3FA_3gJ1oI&t=

    To me, this destroys any credibility they have in urging women to dive into scripture. Obviously for the IF women, it’s important to dive into scripture, as long as there isn’t a voice from the sky giving other orders. Then the Bible goes by the wayside.

    Reply
  6. Jo Hughes

    I don’t know it all and in fact I have a lot to become wise about in this world. each day is a day to ask God for more wisdom. I am just talking through my thoughts here, which can be all over the place sometimes so bare with me. I just want to open up another thought as someone who does not normally engage too much on social media and podcasts, but I just want to bring a different perspective here. Having a podcast is just as big of a platform as a lot of theses women have, except it is hidden behind a screen. Our culture and era has blurred the lines of what you are discussing in relation to preaching at or to men. Men probably read your blogs and listen to your podcasts…so in my mind that is a form of preaching to men, except y’all are hidden behind a microphone and screen. When women post their strong beliefs on Facebook, I am sure they have male Facebook friends that will reach what they say and could translate it into being preached at. We live in a very intolerant and offensive world and so people will feel violated or talked down to by a mere comment or post on facebook. The general public has been given a huge platform with the uprising of social media and podcasts. I encourage you to reflect on your own platform and that the entire world is listening to you…not just women, but also men. I bring up another point and no I am not good at addressing the scriptures that are coming to mind bc I truly and humbly admit I need to spend more time having scripture memorized. but when looking at 1 timothy I had a sense that these things were taken to the literal sense so if we scroll to the bottom where it talks about women being saved through childbearing…what does that mean for those women are infertile? I am only saying that because if we are to take each sentence apart from the ENTIRETY of the bible it won’t make complete sense. The way God’s word is interwoven from Old Testament to New Testament is unbelievable. This brings me to another point in women preaching to men…! timothy also may be translating women to “wife” or man to “husband” so if we look at that translation of the word from the original text…women are not to preach at all to men (wife to husband), but what about if the man is asking the woman to sin…are we supposed to stay quiet and sin or are we to speak truth into the lie? Is speaking God’s truth to someone considered ‘preaching?’ This then takes us down another rabbit hole…what is the original definition of the word “preach” in the greek, hebrew, or aramaic used here in 1 Timothy? What does this mean? I am just typing my thoughts and my questions and challenging even my own self to think about all these things… I may have to insert foot in mouth later if you do know the original text from the original language. Anyways I digress. IT then also makes me think…well then what do you think of ALL the Christian Music artists today? Toby Mac, Natalie Grant, Britt Nicole, LaCrae, Jamie Grace, Mandisa? the list could go on. Their songs could be seen as a form of preaching and I am sure there are men who listen to these female artists and go to their concerts. I do love yalls heart in sharing your beliefs and thoughts and I commend them and I can understand where you are coming from. I know yalls hearts are in the right place and I can hear it, I can…but just as you urge us to look more deeply into things, I pray you would look even deeper then what you have! Life is hard…seeking truth and finding truth is hard because we are all blurred by our own feelings, opinions and the world view influence around us. I have yet to find a perfectly sound person get up and speak about Jesus other than Jesus himself. I thank you for your bravery in talking about this…its hard to talk anything controversial this day and age because people are ultimately defensive, offensive, and intolerant. Love you sisters in Christ and I pray God will use you to reach and speak truth to people, but just remember you have just a big of platform as the next woman on a physical stage. And just because you aren’t intentionally seeking fame from your podcast, it could happen to you over night because we flawed humans like to idolize others. I pray even in your flaws Jesus uses you to speak to women to find Jesus and love Jesus.

    Reply
  7. Bre M.

    Hello!
    I recently discovered you wonderful ladies and I absolutely adore you!
    I just wanted to touch on a few things you mentioned in this Podcast.
    I do think it’s so important to make sure we never say “God told me”, which is why I like to say “I think The Holy Spirit said this” because nowhere in The Bible does it say that The Spirit doesn’t talk to us! I know for a fact that he has talked to me, because I have spoken a word to someone without knowing why and the person was touched and needed that word. I can think of many instances that has happened in my life and it’s caused me to really research that topic. (That and speaking in tongues. I have been so hesitant with that…until I opened my mouth and another language came out that was not my own. Lol. Freaked me out. If it’s demonic, Satan is biting himself! I go to a “charismatic” church that my husband pastors at and it’s very Biblical….) Nowhere in The Bible could I find anything against it…..only verses supporting it. The same goes for women in ministry and yes, Paul did say something about women in church, but it had to do with the issues they were having with women being problematic in The church. I would just encourage you to look more into those topics! I’d love to have a conversation about this. It’s soooooo fun for me. Lol!
    I agree with everything else you said and I see those problems!
    Thank you so much for being so brave and standing up for truth. You ladies are wonderful.
    Bre

    Reply
  8. john

    you guys are awesome!

    I was shocked with the “unleashed”

    I have a feeling it is a push to support Gender role reversal
    The primary calling of a married woman is to find ways to use her talents and gifts to benefit her husband. NOT start her own mission and get her husband to support her.

    -key is primary calling- not to say women cannot have their own ministries/work but they have a unique focus that men are NOT called to do.

    1 Corinthians 11:9 Man was not created for woman but woman for man

    there is a difference

    I hope they realize this, their teaching is potentially extremely dangerous.

    Reply
    • Amy

      John – WHAT???? “The primary calling of a married woman is to find ways to use her talents and gifts to benefit her husband.”

      You have missed the point of IF: gathering entirely. I’m sad you did not tune in to actually listen to the Livestream but instead picked up on 2 previous speakers that you have issues with and trashed the entire organization that is reaching millions for Christ across the globe… disciplining a generation. Pointing women to Jesus. The gathering is not even why the organization exist. They exist to bring discipleship tools to those who don’t feel equipped on their own to pour into the next generation.

      Reply
  9. Sandra Aquino

    Summer, stand firm!
    Jennie Allen just finished up her conference here in my city, where hundreds of women attended.
    My 15 and 17 year old granddaughters were there and knew something was off when Jennie Allen thumbed through the Bible and made comments that it was “irrelevant” , to “ignore this part “, and then tossed it onto the floor. Which of would overlook our Pastor who would do this? We would be up in arms. Yet we embrace feminism and emotionalism over the supreme authority of Scripture and “toss our Bibles on the floor.”
    On a positive note, there were women with discernment who got up and walked out.
    May the Lord find some still faithful at His return

    Reply
  10. Jill

    Am I the only one who noticed the Lord’s name being used in vain? I went to an IF gathering yesterday at a church (watched previously recorded videos) and heard “Oh my G–, Paul’s my Bible boyfriend too” said by one speaker. Another one said, jokingly pretending to be God himself, “O-M-Me”. I cringed and struggled not to cry over the blasphemy. The passage for this year’s gathering 2Timothy 1:6 was a stretch of interpretation as well.

    Reply

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