Friday, February 20, 2015

Strong Warning About the IF: Gathering Conferences

Posted by Christine Pack

The very popular IF: Gathering franchise is a Christian women's conference that teaches to solid out crowds across the nation. The speakers are often very gifted in speaking, and very artfully share about their "messy" lives and their Christian walks ("transparent" and "messy" and "broken" are terms that are used over and over). The Feb 2015 conference was held in Austin, TX, and featured Jen Hatmaker, Ann Voskamp, Christine Caine, Lauren Chandler, and others. The IF: Gatherings feature several women that we have actively warned about in the past:
Christine Caine
Ann Voskamp
But there's a new kid in town. Her name is Jen Hatmaker, and she is taking the evangelical world by storm, at least among Christian women. consider the following:
Ann Voskamp's Facebook wall has 292,000 followers 
Christine Caine's Facebook has almost 375,000 followers
➤But Jen Hatmaker's Facebook account clocks in at a very respectable 340,000 followers

 Jenn Hatmaker's Article on Same Sex Marriage 

Who is Jen Hatmaker? I've just started looking at her myself, but already, I'm seeing typical emergent double-speak for "I reject the authority of God's word and bend with the culture." But don't take my word for it. Read Hatmaker's recent article on the homosexuality/same-sex marriage issue for yourself - "World Vision, Gay Marriage, and a Different Way Through"

Here we are again, stumbling through another ancillary brawl regarding gay marriage. If you missed it yesterday, Rich Stearns, CEO of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization "dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice," announced a policy change to allow employees in same-sex marriages to be eligible for employment. 
(T)he Christian community is not going to reach consensus on gay marriage. Every article, regardless of its position for or against, is the same. The support arguments; same. The rebuttals; same. The circular thinking; same. The responses are fully predictable, the language identical, the interpretations immovable, and after all the energy expended, we discover we are at the same impasse. 
This is a fact: Thousands of churches and millions of Christ-followers faithfully read the Scriptures and with thoughtful and academic work come to different conclusions on homosexuality (and countless others). Godly, respectable leaders have exegeted the Bible and there is absolutely not unanimity on its interpretation. There never has been. Historically, Christian theology has always been contextually bound and often inconsistent with itself; an inconvenient truth we prefer to selectively explain. 
But regardless of theological bullying, there has never been "one way" to interpret scripture. There has never been "one way" to be a biblical church. Even the early church leaders had severe and lasting disagreements about the nature of God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Salvation, Faith, Works, etc. 
Consensus is impossible here. So we go to the next level: how do we deal with explosive issues like gay marriage without destroying people, specifically involving this World Vision announcement?
 Our Response to the Above Comments Made by Hatmaker 

Hatmaker is trying to have it both ways.
- She claims (wrongly) that the Bible hasn't spoken clearly and authoritatively on the issue of homosexuality (Mar 2014 blog post); but then 
- She says she personally affirms the traditional (biblical) view of marriage (Apr 2014 blog post).
Jen Hatmaker:
"(T)he Christian community is not going to reach consensus on gay marriage." (Mar 2014 blogpost)
I beg to differ. There are not different positions on homosexuality, as far as Christians are considered: there is one position. The Christian community, the true, Bible-believing Christian community, HAS reached consensus on gay marriage, and that is that it is an abomination in God's eyes.

God is the One who created marriage, so He is the One who gets to define what marriage is. It is not cultures and the shifting whims of new generations who come along who get to determine what marriage is. It's already been defined for us by God.

 Other Issues of Concern 

Consider also Jenn Hatmaker's unabashed admiration for the Roman Catholic Pope.

Here are our Facebook posts discussing Jenn Hatmaker:

Discussion re: IF: Gathering and Hatmaker 2/15/15

Discussion re: Hatmaker and Homosexuality 2/16/15

More discussion re: Hatmaker and Homosexuality 2/21/15

 Additional Resources 

Responding Biblically to the Homosexual Agenda (Pastor Don Green, Truth Community Church)

Rosaria Butterfield: Homosexuality and the Christian Faith (Butterfield is a former lesbian)

Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts: A Christianized Version of "Sexytime" with Ghosts?

Romantic Panentheism: A review of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts (Bob DeWaay)

A Commentary on Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts (Marcia Montenegro)

Ann Voskamp: Mystical Estrogen (Fighting For The Faith)