The Pen

Is Overflow and Enlightenment Truly Coming to Cartersville’s Women

“Let’s cross denominational lines and simply be the bride of Christ together.” Andrea Helton, Enlightened Hearts

One of the newest evangelical women’s ministries on the block is Enlightened Hearts out of Cartersville, GA.  The organization is closely associated with the First Baptist Church of Cartersville and counts church members among its leadership.  Its most prominently featured teacher is native North Georgian, Tess Womack.  According to Tess’s testimony, she “experienced life-altering healing and revival” while under the teaching of a Beth Moore Bible study.  Perhaps taking a cue for Moore, the Enlightened Hearts ministry has recently claimed direct divine revelation from God concerning one of their upcoming events.  The name of this event is “Overflow.”

Enlightened Hearts team member, Andrea Helton, who is featured prominently at FBC Cartersville as a singer on its worship team, disclosed on the ministry’s blog that God whispered the theme of upcoming “Overflow” event to her.  Helton wrote,

“Three weeks ago this coming Thursday I heard a whisper.  As I enjoyed sipping on coffee with my mama this word began to surface over and over in my mind.  More than even hearing it, I knew the vision for it.  The Lord had been preparing me that He had something specific in mind for this summer.  I just had no idea what it was.  So I was waiting. The word He gave me was this: Overflow. The vision: Women meeting together this summer to boast in the overflow of all that God is currently doing in their lives.”

According to Helton, she received “affirmation” of her word from the Lord from the rest of the Enlightened Hearts team.  She wrote, “For 5 women to instantly agree and sense (God’s) direction is no small feat.”  (Does it, in fact, take some kind of unusual miracle for five friends from the same local church, two of whom are cousins, to agree on the plans for a church event?)  Helton has quite boldly proclaimed that the plans of the event are nothing short of the “mastermind” work of God Almighty.  Helton is clear that the idea for “overflow” was not her own but that of the Sovereign Creator of the Universe. ”

What does this imply about the event itself and the teaching to take place there?  Are these women prophets?  If they heard from God and God himself ordained the specifics of this event, can anything taught there be doubted?  Can the church that hosts it be anywhere but the place to be in God’s world during June 2016 regardless of one’s denomination? (Denomination, not sex, it’s just for women….not men, nothing has heretofore been whispered into the hearts of local prophets for Catersville’s Christian menfolk).

I imagine that many of the ladies planning to attend this event have never heard a whisper from God about planning a special event, despite having spent their lives in prayer, church attendance, and Bible study.  As a grizzled veteran of the discernment blogging game, what I see from Enlightened Hearts seems more like the marketing machinations of Pentecostal-leaning book-sellers and conference speakers than the direct, divine revelation with which God has blessed His church.  Buzzwords like “vision” make me suspicious.  How come more of God’s people aren’t getting these visions and revelations?  For those who don’t get them, is it fair to doubt these visions?

Remember, when denominational lines are crossed, doctrine is studied lightly.  Subject matter must be watered down as to attract every type of women: from Holy Ghost Holy Rollers to frozen and chosen Presbyterians.  I’m not sure what the leadership behind Enlightened Hearts is cooking up for this new ministry but I am almost certain that God is not revealing its marketing plans directly to them over coffee.  I write this not to doubt the power of God but because I have compassion for the hearts and minds of local women.  I’ve heard the tale of one too many beleaguered Beth Moore disciple who felt inadequate because she didn’t special revelation from God…the revelation that the book sellers and conference speakers seem to get almost weekly.  To these women I say, “Don’t feel inadequate, these self-proclaimed teachers aren’t getting anything you aren’t getting.”  I want to encourage you.  Don’t forget what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

Were I to receive such direct divine revelation as Mrs. Helton claims to have received, I can assure you that I would not need “affirmation” or confirmation from any human being.  After all, I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit and privy to 66 books of Holy writ.  Like any Christian, I should be able to tell when God speaks to me.  Believe me; playing ladies’ ministry spoiler gives me no jollies.  I lament over the state of the church in America, the dearth of male involvement in its actives, and the Charismatic Wild Wild West that it Ladies Bible Study.

Ladies, may I suggest an alternative?  Sit down with your husband and study God’s word with him that night.  Involve your children.  Pray together as a family.  Do the same with the members of your own local church.

Men, may I suggests that you don’t pawn the spiritual shepherding of your wives off to teachers who have coffee with God much the same way many of you have pawned the spiritual shepherding of your children off to hip young “youth ministers” for Bible study that resembles some form of moralist edutainment?  I guarantee you that your wife would rather read the Bible with you if you’ll only take the initiative to lead.  Ask yourself if the devil wants your family studying God’s word together or apart.

Reader, I doubt Andrea Helton and her ecumenical team has a direct divine word for you but I can guarantee you that God does in His Holy Scripture.  Be discerning ladies…even if it means being discerning all alone.  Men, don’t let your ladies seek after God by themselves.

*I realize many of the readers from this blog to do not reside with me in Cartersville.  However, I’m suspect your city has its own version of Enlightened Hearts.  It is not just in Cartersville that men need to take charge of shepherding their women.

**To be clear, I conceived the idea for this blog posts almost a week ago.  Before I wrote it, I asked God to tell me if he had truly whispered “overflow” to Andrea Helton.  He did not tell me that he had done so.  Some time later my wife mentioned possibly going to a ladies event she saw on Facebook.  I asked her if it was Enlightened Hearts.  Knowing about Mrs. Helton’s claims of direct divine revelation, I told her that I didn’t think it was a good event to attend.

***Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant