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SPECIAL EDITION: 2023 Christian Conference Ratings and Buyer’s Guide
They are not always what they seem to be…
Editor’s Note: We’ve just added the Unconditional Conference (September 28-29) and Joyce Meyer’s Love Life Women’s Conference (October 19-21) to the guide as Not Recommended. Details below…
The 2023 Christian Conference season is now well underway. What may appear to be an ideal opportunity to fellowship with other believers for gospel-centered teaching and worship is not always what it seems…
At most of these massively attended conferences, attendees will hear speakers who reject sound Biblical doctrine in favor of wokeness and the Social Gospel.
Many of them will dilute and twist Scripture to ensure it’s “woke” enough to fill the seats. Even more will promote critical race theory, extreme environmentalism, social justice, acceptance of homosexuality, the Enneagram, mysticism, open borders, gender identity, and false religious unity. In many cases, they teach the world’s values rather than the absolute truth of Scripture. Sadly, this year, there is no shortage of conferences leading people away from the true Gospel.
Why is this important? In the New Testament, John warned the early church about anyone associating with or promoting false teachers…
Anyone who goes too far and does not remain in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who remains in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 9-1)
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Before attending or promoting a specific conference to your church membership, there are some questions that must be asked. (Since there are also smaller regional conferences that have not published their speaker lists yet... use this guide to discern whether or not you should attend.)
Who are the promoters?
What are the backgrounds of the featured speakers? A great resource for this is https://www.so4j.com/false-teachers/, an outgrowth of John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA.
Who are the featured worship leaders? Avoid anything from Hillsong, Bethel, Gateway, or Elevation.
Are any of the conference speakers associated with the Social Gospel, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the Word of Faith Movement, the Gospel Coalition, White Guilt, The Southern Baptist Convention, Braver Angels, Bethel, Hillsong, Kenneth Copeland, or Elevation Churches?
Does the conference feature ANY speaker who preaches repentance from one’s sins? If not, it is a cause for serious concern.
Keeping these things in mind, here is a rating guide to some conferences scheduled for the first half of 2023, with the largest ones first...
IF Gathering: Rating: Not Recommended
Scheduled for March 3-4, 2023 - Dallas, Texas, and other venues by video access. Some sessions are typically available later via video for those who can’t attend. Launched in 2014, the IF Gathering is a two-day women’s conference hosted by its founder Jennie Allen. Last year’s gathering reached 144 countries in 6500 different locations. The conference regularly features several female preachers/pastors as speakers who promote the wokeness movement and the Prosperity Gospel. The “woke church” movement aims to destroy biblical Christianity and fidelity to any doctrinal standards. The “woke church” movement has no doctrinal standards and will stand with anyone so long as they affirm that white people are wicked and promote social justice.
Jennie Allen promotes the Enneagram, a non-scriptural way to identify one’s “true self” to reach spiritual freedom. This conflicts with the Biblical concept of submitting to God’s word. Allen believes that she and other women should preach not just to other women but also to men. (1 Timothy 2:12 explicitly prohibits this.)
The 2023 IF Gathering event schedule includes other speakers who seem to preach about anything other than the actual Gospel. Here are just three who are confirmed for this year…
Christine Caine from Hillsong promotes several New Age practices condemned in the Bible, including the pagan practice of witchcraft. She actively endorses the Word of Faith movement, believing that man’s spoken words can manipulate God to gain what we want.
David Platt has taken a sharp turn away from biblical fidelity and embraced the social justice movement. David Platt is a questionable teacher who refers to “accepting Jesus into your heart” as superstitious and unbiblical.
Lauren Chandler regularly partners with and has been endorsed by known false teachers.
The Passion Conference: Rating: Not Recommended
2023 has already been held this year in Atlanta and Dallas, but video access is still available. Louie and Shelley Giglio promote the Passion Conference. Giglio promotes his version of “little-god” theology… the belief that we as humans have the potential to become divine like God. He preaches that “divinity” exists in our DNA and “heaven is inside of” us. This teaching is blatantly false and is similar to Mormonism. It sounds eerily like what the serpent said to Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1) … resulting in the fall of man.
This year’s Passion Conference featured a highly questionable speaker lineup, including Christine Caine (see IF Gathering above), Jackie Hill Perry, Tim Tebow, and Crowder...
Crowder (John Crowder) emerged from the unbiblical New Apostolic Reformation movement. The NAR is an unbiblical movement that emphasizes experience over Scripture, mysticism over doctrine, and modern-day “apostles” over the inerrant text of the Bible. His teachings include how to operate in trances, mysticism, signs and wonders, and more.
Jackie Hill Perry promotes the cult of the Evangelical Sexual Revolution and the blasphemy of Bethel Church. She is an open lesbian who married a man despite her continued attraction to women. Jackie Hill Perry is a false teacher spreading a false gospel while hiding behind the facade of Christian jargon.
Tim Tebow seemingly appears at conferences only to sell tickets and endorse blatantly false teachers like Andy Stanley and Christine Caine.
The Glory Conference Rating: Not Recommended
To be held at various locations during the spring of 2023. The Lifeway arm of the Southern Baptist Convention sponsors it. Sorry to say, this conference primarily features Jackie Hill Perry, mentioned above.
The Going Beyond Conference: Not Recommended
To be held at four different U.S. cities this year between February 25th and October 21st, along with simulcasts. Unfortunately, organizer Priscilla Shirer openly promotes and associates with known false teachers Joel Osteen, Beth Moore, and T.D. Jakes. As mentioned above, this recommendation is based on 2 John 9-11…
9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
The Unconditional Conference Rating: Not Recommended
The Unconditional Conference is scheduled for September 28th and 29th, 2023, at Northpoint Church in Alpharetta, GA. The conference features Embracing the Journey from Saddleback Church in southern California. Embracing the Journey is for parents of LGBTQ children to become affirming of their child’s sexual sin. One of the featured speakers will be Brian Nietzel, who, according to his Facebook page, is still openly and actively involved in a homosexual relationship. Nietzel is the founder of Renovus, an organization dedicated to advancing queer theology and homosexual affirmation within the Church. Andy Stanley is also scheduled to speak at the conference. Stanley routinely and falsely promotes his unbiblical personal beliefs as gospel.
Joyce Meyer’s Love Life Women’s Conference: Not Recommended
Scheduled for October 19-21 in San Antonio, Texas. Besides Joyce Meyer, who teaches a Prosperity Gospel, this conference features Bishop T.D. Jakes, a denier of the Trinity; Sadie Robertson Huff (of Duck Dynasty fame), another prosperity teacher who appears to believe and preach that Jesus died to help you reach your goals in life; and Lisa Bevere, a well-known false teacher who dismisses the authority of Scripture in favor of extra-biblical revelation. Despite the command of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, Bevere is a staunch advocate of female preachers/pastors in the church.
Truth Matters Conference Rating: Recommended with Reservations
(Speaker list has not been released as of this writing)
2023 dates have not been announced as of this writing. Historically, this conference held in the Fall features a full lineup of Biblically solid teachers. In the past, this conference has featured John MacArthur, Justin Peters, Ken Ham, Don Green, Phil Johnson, Jeff Williams, and Owen Strachan... all excellent Bible teachers.
Regarding the videos of these conferences or their remote feeds... picking and choosing certain segments to suggest to one’s church membership doesn’t work for two reasons. First, a true and accurate teacher of the Gospel would not associate with these conference promoters, nor would they ever appear on stage with them. Secondly, many new believers and pre-Christians lack the spiritual discernment necessary to avoid being exposed to other conference speakers who may be teaching a false gospel.
Notice that all of the Not Recommended conferences are mainly promoted to and feature primarily women speakers. The health of one’s church can often be determined by which conferences a church’s leadership promotes to its members. Sadly, many of them do not teach the Gospel according to Jesus Christ, but a counterfeit version that has nothing in common with the real thing...
“1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NASB)
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