I have hesitated to document this incident, simply because I don’t have a list of links to prove what took place. Rather, I’ll be pointing to something which isn’t there, and that’s much more ambiguous than I like.
Having said that, some of the first allegations of plagiarism by Ann Voskamp surfaced during the IF: Gathering Conference in early February of 2017. The conference, held in Austin, TX featured speakers Jennie Allen, founder of IF, Lysa Terkeurst, Jennie Yang, Jeanne Stevens and Mrs. Voskamp. The conference was also live-streamed, via video, to a multitude of churches in the US and Canada. The conference videos remained available online, but were removed shortly after the allegations surfaced.
Following is a transcript of a portion of Mrs. Voskamp’s talk at the IF: Gathering Conference with time stamp references. Note she opens with the question, “What do you want?”
0:00 – 2:23 What do you want? Do you want safety, security, guarantees? Do you want to stand with the comfort of the majority? Climb ladders of prosperity? Make affirmation or validation your priority? Or be about self-improvement primarily—about stability and popularity and familiarity? What do you want? Because here’s the thing. You have to know what you want because this is kind of everything—you are what you want. You are what your heart beats for, seeks, for reaches for. You are what your heart loves, desire, admires, acquires. You are what your heart wants. Because what you want is your god. What you want is your gravity your identity your security. Is God your gravity? Is the word your weighted mooring in a world that is storming? Because if you’re not weighted down by the word, your heart is waiting to be a cyclone ripped apart. What do you have an appetite most for when you are hurting the most? Because that is what you want the most. What do you want and do you want what he wants? Jesus isn’t about just forming your mind, he’s about forming your heart into what he wants, to love what he loves, to form your broken heart in to a self-giving self-sacrificing love like his love. What we love most is our most basic orientation, our baseline inclination, our default orientation that generates how we move forward. And the only way to live is to move forward. And we’re all moving forward toward something. And what is that something—that someone—that you really want? You are what you want and you are what you love.
4:58 – Now is the time to get in formation, get in formation, get in formation and disciple a generation to live cruciformation.
16:51 – Esther generation, live upside down kingdom get into formation get into formation get into formation to transform the nations by our self-giving cruciformation.
Now note the opening sentence of You Are What You Love, by Dr. James K. A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, holding the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview.
Lastly, note the Twitter exchange between Alex Nolette and Dr. James K. A. Smith himself in which Dr. Smith tweets: “I’m sure there’s a footnote in her heart.”
Others on Twitter noted a recognizable similarity to the chorus of a rap song by Beyoncé titled, Formation.
Beyoncé: Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation, I slay
Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation
Ann Voskamp: 4:58 – Now is the time to get in formation, get in formation, get in formation and disciple a generation
It’s not possible to state that this is a clearcut example of plagiarism, but the social media conversation began here.