What Are Your Thoughts About the Writings of Anna Rountree?
Question from a reader:
I have a family member who is into the writings of Anna Rountree. Have you ever heard of her, and what are your thoughts about her writings?
Answer from Chelsea Dudley, Randy’s executive assistant:
Though Randy has never heard of Anna Rountree, he was skeptical and suspicious because she claims to have spent a year in Heaven. He asked me to do some online research, and here is what I found out about her.
Anna is not well known enough to have her work critiqued by well-known evangelicals. She is clearly part of the charismatic movement (here are two blogs Randy wrote about the Charismatic movement: blog one, blog two), but seems to be part of a radical offshoot she calls the “renewal movement.” I couldn’t find much about them, but she mentions Prophet Bob Jones many times in her writings. He also claimed to have gone to Heaven and back. I read quite a bit of her blog and listened to this interview of her.
The thing that raises the biggest red flag for me is how little she uses Scripture. All of her writings are based off her experiences, her “visits to Heaven”, and rarely refer to Scripture.
Here is what she says you should do if you receive a word from the Lord:
1. Search the response your own spirit has toward the “word” before receiving it.
2. If you have a witness in your own spirit that there is truth in the word, then do you just sit and wait for it to happen? No.
3. You begin to pray that the Lord brings you clarity concerning the word.
4. You also ask the Lord to bring it to pass.
5. AND, if possible, give some physical sign that you believe the word will be fulfilled. This physical sign is a step in the direction of the word’s fulfillment. The Word (Bible) says: “first the natural and then the spiritual.” A natural act in response to a prophetic word says that you believe that He is in the prophetic word and that you are ready to respond to His next step.
This is a big concern. She mentions nothing about seeing if “a word” matches up with what Scripture says. Scripture is clear that we are to test all things and see if it aligns with God’s revealed Word (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, 1 John 4:1, 1 Peter 1:16-21, Acts 17:11).
I read a great article from the Gospel Coalition about Don Piper, who also claims to have gone to Heaven and back. Here are two of their critiques of his book, 90 Minutes in Heaven, that I think could be critiques of Anna Rountree as well:
The Elevation of Experience as Authority: This book pivots on the authority of the personal experience. However we interpret our various circumstances becomes God communicating to us. Suddenly heaven is all about seeing grandpa, our neighbors, and hearing a hymn or two.
The Demotion of Scripture from Authority: Aside from the verse at the beginning of each chapter this book is devoid of the Bible. In fact, I would argue that this book is what you would write if you did not have the Bible. Piper’s view of heaven is more akin to what you would see on Oprah rather than what you would read in Revelation. The Bible portrays heaven as being the glorious stage of Christ, he is what makes heaven heavenly (Rev. 5.11-14). Except for an occasional name drop this book is devoid of Jesus. Say what you want, but to elevate personal experience to the chief authority here is to demote the Bible.
Here are three blogs that Randy has written about other books where the author has claimed to have gone to Heaven. Hopefully these will be helpful in understanding his opinion about such things:
- To Heaven and Back: Another Visit-to-Heaven Book (Mary Neal)
- Dialogue with Publisher About Mary Neal’s To Heaven and Back (Mary Neal)
- “Heaven is for Real,” “90 Minutes in Heaven,” and other books about visits to Heaven or Hell (Todd Burpo, Don Piper, Mary Baxter)
I would suggest sending your family member Randy’s book Heaven. I think it could offer a viewpoint based on Scripture that could balance out much of what they have been reading from Anna Rountree.
Chelsea Dudley works at Eternal Perspective Ministries as Randy Alcorn's Executive Assistant.