Tuesday, January 21, 2014

IHOP - Fruits of the Bridal Paradigm?

One July day in 1988, Mike Bickle was sitting in his office, reading a wedding card inscribed with a verse from the Song of Solomon. "Jesus, seal my heart with your seal of love," Bickle spontaneously prayed. Unaccountably, he began to weep. The phone rang. A prophet had heard the "audible voice of the Lord" for Bickle: The Song of Solomon, a dialogue between King Solomon and his beloved, should become a focus of Bickle's ministry. It eventually came to Bickle that true believers must see Jesus "through the eyes of a bride with loyal, devoted love" – they must "feel loved and in love" with Christ. Without this intimacy in worship, Christ would not return to Earth.

That's an excerpt from a massive article done by Jeff Tietz for RollingStone magazine about the death of Bethany Deaton at IHOP-KC in 2012.

Tietz goes on to say:

But the Song of Solomon is a paean to sexual desire. "Let the king bring me into his chambers" and "kiss me with the kisses­ of his mouth," the beloved says. "His fruit" is "sweet to my taste." IHOP's website states that one of its prayer guides, Bridal Intercession, "presents prayer as the joyful and romantic communion between the lover and his beloved. . . . Readers will find themselves . . . eager to encounter this lovely Lord who is their bridegroom."

Many critics, observing that IHOP recruits post-pubescent youth, have wondered where, if they are to approach their Lord as Solomon's beloved approaches Solomon, their imaginations are supposed to go. "[Jesus] is not coming until the people of God are crying out globally in intercession with a bridal identity," Bickle has preached. If the Second Coming depends upon "romantic communion" with Christ, and the alternative is satanic hegemony, then any error in worship should be made on the side of erotic intimacy – to lust and repent is surely better than abandoning Jesus in his hour of need.

Bickle makes a point of warning his followers that bridal theology is not sexual. To IHOP's detractors, though, the introduction of any suggestion of sensuality into worship invites transgression. Aggravating the libidinal diciness, they argue, is the nature of that worship. IHOPers spend 20, 30 or more hours every week in the prayer room, often for three or four hours at a time.

Across the IHOP complex, in cafeterias, hallways and the prayer room, music composed to enhance the ecstatic experience is "omnipresent," according to an ex-member. Among the lyrics to two popular songs: "God is a lover looking for a lover/So he fashioned me" and "Do you understand what you do to me? . . . How you ravish my heart with just one glance?" Some former IHOPers have talked of being addicted to it – they become nervous and irritable when they turn it off. Another IHOPer has written about addiction to the sedative atmosphere of the prayer room itself: "A common refrain around anxious, discouraged IHOPers is, 'I just gotta get to the prayer room.'"

Read the whole article here. It will be worth your time.

A note from Bill: This is a story that I have been following closely since the fall of 2012. It is tragic- not only what happened to Bethany Deaton, but to all the members of Tyler Deaton's cult. Does this reflect badly on IHOP? Well yes, and no. It plainly was a cult within the setting of IHOP, which as can be demonstrated has 1)very sensual overtones and 2) a lack of oversight to the thousands of impressionable youth sent there with the financial support of many Godly folk back home.

The point could be made that IHOP did not know about a lot of what was going on. On the other hand, we also have evidence that Tyler Deaton was listed in a leadership position on an IHOP website right to the time the murder happened, and was indeed in that leadership position after the shunning of Herrington was revealed. Deaton was actually in charge of coordinating (leading) other home group leaders.

If this story does not make you sick to your stomach, there is something wrong with you.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

IHOP prophetic history - David Pytches

Note: this article originally published in September 2011.


In 1990, David Pytches wrote a book about Mike Bickle and the Kansas City Prophets. Pytches, an Anglican Bishop, was very influential in the spread of Charismaticism into the United Kingdom, and was the founder of the New Wine conferences at that time (1989). Pytches book, “Some Said It Thundered” is perhaps the most comprehensive book on the KCP movement (now IHOP) but the biggest criticism of the work is that is was written from a very sympathetic viewpoint. Writes James A. Beverly:

David Pytches, the well-known Anglican renewal leader, gave the “rosy” and overly optimistic interpretation of KCF in his international best-seller, Some Said It Thundered. Unfortunately, his account is not the best place to turn for judicious and balanced investigation. In an article I wrote in The Canadian Baptist (March-April, 1992) I stated that the second edition of Pytches' work is marred by an “intemperate” forward by John White. Dr. White, in a spirit of graciousness, wrote me later and agreed that my verdict was correct. My view was based on the harsh statements about Ernie Gruen and his uncritical acceptance of the Vineyard's written reply about Gruen.

What I find most interesting about Pytches' book, and in line with my previous article about historical revisionism and the White Horse Prophecy, are the differences between the first edition of the book (published in the UK) and the second edition of the book which gained wide distribution in the States.

The Introduction to the second edition admits that (because of the Gruen Report) “the current attention being paid to the work developing at the Kansas City Fellowship has caused the leadership there to be particularly concerned about how they are presented. They wish to eliminate any impression of elitism for themselves.”

This makes it clear that Pytches work was written with a bias towards the Kansas City Prophets.
And true to form, many of the fantastic stories were either eliminated or greatly toned down. The story of Mike Bickle's visitation to heaven was eliminated, as were the references to Pat Bickle and the promise (city-wide revival) that would come with his healing.

And so, even back in 1991 there was a scrambling to put on a better public face, even though in meetings the fantastic stories were still told, and the promises believed. Around this time, certain tapes were removed from the tape ministry catalog of Grace Ministries (Bickle's umbrella organization), including the previously discussed and recently recovered Visions and Revelations.

Discovering these contemporaneous accounts has been very valuable in deciphering what really took place in these seminal years of the International House of Prayer movement. We have already written about the failed White Horse Prophecy and subsequent historical revisionism. Central to the prophecy (originally) was the idea that Bickle's paraplegic brother would be healed and his healing would bring about revival and a “city church” to Kansas City.

Let me be clear- the lack of healing (Pat Bickle later passed away) does not invalidate the IHOP ministry. God can (and will) sovereignly heal whom He may. What, in my mind, invalidates the IHOP ministry is a claim to a so-called “Prophetic History” that is frequently revised to eliminate failed prophecies and to portray the founding of the movement in a better light.

If you have not yet read about the White Horse Prophecy, now would be a good time. I'll wait.

* * *

In essence, the White Horse Prophecy changed over time to suit the circumstances. What was once a white horse with two men, one on a board on the horse (Pat Bickle) became a white horse with the "young leaders" of the movement. Too much trouble to explain the failed prophecies, I suppose.

As you may have seen from that article, we have been able to piece together a story from multiple sources which brings out the emphasis of that prophecy from the late 80's and early 90's- the formation period of the IHOP movement. And suffice it to say, perhaps not a single IHOP student or intern who is undergoing the mandatory training in the “prophetic history” today is aware of any of this.

And so this morning, I received in the mail a copy of David Pytches “Some Said it Thundered” first edition 1990. And the real story of the White Horse prophecy. Here are some excerpts:

Bob then spent the next two hours with eyes fixed on Mike telling him of some of the visions he believed he had received from the Lord. Central to them, it seemed, was a strange white horse with a board of its back bearing a young man. The horse was plodding along the mountain side in a stream of fresh water about four inches deep. Bob Jones was behind it holding long reins, not so much guiding the horse but steering it back into midstream, to protect it from mad rabid dogs; these apparently were sincere men with false doctrine but being rabid they had a phobia of water and dared not get into it.

Bob Jones said he imagined the man on the back of the horse must be Mike Himself. The Lord told him he was going to deliver that young man.   (Pytches, 1st edition, pp. 65)

So it appears that initially they did not realize that Pat Bickle was in the dream. This is consistent with other recollections that we have heard from Bob Jones, who is not very coherent to begin with. But further revelation was given:

As they were seated with Art Katz around Bob Jones' table that Sunday evening talking, praying and weeping before the Lord, midnight came.

Bob Jones spoke: 'By the way, an angel of the Lord visited me last night and told me I was mistaken! I asked Him, “What did I get wrong?” The angel said: “In that vision of the white horse in the stream that young man was not Mike but his brother Pat.”

'The other day Pat asked me if I had ever seen him before and I said “No!” Last night the angel re-ran that vision of the white horse which I have already told you about. I had always thought that the young man I saw carried on that board on the back of the white horse must be you, Mike! But when the angel spoke to me he showed me that actually it was Pat who was being borne on the white horse. So I had in fact seen Pat before but mistakenly I told him that I had not.

“Last night in the same vision I saw you, Mike, and I made a comment to you about the heavy responsibility you bore concerning Pat and you replied: “He's not heavy; he's my brother and I love him so much.”'

Mike was visibly startled at those words and began to sob. 'You have no idea what you have just said to me! Those were the very words that I had used in my secret covenant with the Lord over my brother!' he sobbed.   (Pytches, 1st edition, pp. 83)

Now it appears that another vision was factored into the story- this one given to Pat Bickle and then interpreted by another Kansas City Prophet, Augustine Alcala:

Later in August 1984 Bob Jones came up to Mike. 'Oh, by the way, I have a prediction for you. A young man is going to have a vision very soon. It will lift you high off the ground. You will hold on to him and not let go.'

What young man could be going to have a vision that could cause Mike to leap up like that, he wondered. He went home rejoicing. Once in the house, the phone rang. It was Augustine. 'Mike! God is going to visit your brother Pat tonight! He will show him that he will heal him!

The Lord did indeed visit Pat during the night. It was at 4:03 a.m. On the Friday. Pat was wide awake when in what seemed like a trance (cf. Acts 10:10) the Lord appeared and he was terrified. 'I have come. For eleven years I have not dealt with you.” said the Lord. It seemed slightly enigmatic. Pat came out of his trance and lay on his bed still in great fear. He had clearly not been healed. That morning he called Mike and asked him what it meant.

While Pat was still on the Line, Augustine (who only knew directly from the Lord what had happened to Pat that morning) called Mike on another line. Unable to reach him, Augustine left a message: Regarding Pat's visitation last night, look at Acts 3 where you will see that key miracle that opened up the city of Jerusalem was the healing of a cripple, and then at Acts 14 where another cripple was healed and this second miracle opened the door for the gospel to enter at Lystra. The Lord has called Pat and told him that he is going to heal him and this will be the key for the gospel to the whole of Kansas City.'

Mike was thinking fast. God had made Pat to be a sign to this city. Most people would have forgotten the story of his accident and subsequent testimony by then, but it seemed they would soon have cause to remember it.   (Pytches, 1st edition, pp. 102-3)

Well, finally we have cause to remember it.

* * *

See also:
Mike Bickle - The White Horse Prophecy

Mike Bickle-Inoculation of the Sheep

Revisionism and The Blueprint Prophecy

Spiritual Dishonesty

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Prophetic History of IHOP

With Mike Bickle and IHOP-KC, "prophetic history" is everything.  They love to tell these stories over and over, and what a rich history they have. Did you know that the present day IHOP 24/7 prayer movement traces itself back to the 1980s? Did you know that studies at Mike Bickle's bible college (IHOPU) include a section on the "prophetic history" of IHOP?

In the coming sessions we would like to discuss some of the prophetic history of IHOP, including some of the things that are seldom, if ever, mentioned today. And what a colorful history it is!

You are to tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’      -Exodus 13:9

Like the Passover Seder, the folks at IHOP like to periodically review their history. Occasionally they will host a marathon telling of their history - most recently in 2009.

Over the last 25 plus years, the Lord has graciously given us about 25 powerful prophetic experiences that provide insight into what will happen in the days ahead in Kansas City, the USA, and other nations. These supernatural experiences were given to several prophetic people in the 1970s and 1980s. They include times when various believers saw the Lord, heard God's audible voice, saw an angel, or had prophetic dreams that were dramatically confirmed.   (mikebickle.org website)
You can review the current telling of the prophetic history here:


In our current series we intend to look at some of these "25 powerful prophetic experiences" and perhaps a few that did not make the cut.  I think it will be worthwhile for IHOP proponents and opponents alike.

The storytelling tradition actually began back in the late 80's. Mike Bickle would appear on stage with foundational prophet Bob Jones and would interview Bob, prodding him on to tell his fascinating tales. Bob (the "hillbilly prophet") can really spin a yarn, and the 1988 sessions are among the best.  If you would like to listen to the 1988 sessions, you may download them here:


Other resources that you may wish to have on hand during these studies are the following books:

Passion for Jesus by Mike Bickle. 

Some Said It Thundered by David Pytches (the 1990 Hodder and Stoughton UK version before the domestic edits in 1991 is the best version).

Behind the story of IHOP are figures like Bob Jones, Augustine Alcala, Paul Cain, Pat Bickle, Howard Pittman, and many others. Some of these may be unknown to the current generation now enrolled at IHOPU. I believe with these stories there are lessons to be learned.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Bethel Sozo Resources

We get a lot of questions about Bethel Sozo ministry. For those who have been around a while, this is pretty much Elijah House counseling for the 21st century.

There are six tools incorporated into the SOZO model:
•Father Ladder
•Four Doors
•Presenting Jesus
•The Wall
•Trigger Mechanisms (Advanced Tool)
•Divine Editing (Advanced Tool)

Of these, Divine Editing probably causes the most concern, but the entire system is flawed- and mostly because it IS a system. But I'm going to let you study the material and make up your own mind. So here are our Sozo resources:

Bethel Sozo website
Bethel does not post a lot of information on the web, because many of their Sozo facilitators support themselves by putting in seminars and selling material. They train others to train, and so it goes (Amway model). Even the logo is trademarked.

Overview of Sozo

The Father Ladder Handout

Sozo Training Flashcards

The Freedom Resource has published a lot of material based on the Bethel sozo training.

Sozo is very closely related to Elijah House type theophostic counseling. These two documents will help you to understand what this all about.

John Sandford and Elijah House 2001 report by Bill Fawcett updated July 2004.

A Biblical Evaluation of Theophostic Ministry by the Staff of Community Evangelical Free Church.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Original Sin or Original Gospel? Bethel Church

Weekly, if not daily, we get inquiries about the popular "Jesus Culture" movement. Jesus Culture is more than just music, the concerts also include teaching. And it is the teaching (doctrine) more than anything that is cause for concern.

Pastor Eric Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA (the home of "Jesus Culture") has recently made a clear affirmation of the Pelagian heresy.  In a message on July 28, 2013 entitled "the Joy of Consecration," Johnson denied the biblical concept of "original sin."

This biblical concept is best stated in Psalms 51:5

Look, I was guilty of sin from birth,
a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.

The heresy being taught at Bethel is know as "Pelagianism," and no, it really isn't original to Bethel. According to Theopedia:

Pelagianism views humanity as basically good and morally unaffected by the Fall. It denies the imputation of Adam's sin, original sin, total depravity, and substitutionary atonement. It simultaneously views man as fundamentally good and in possession of libertarian free will.

Pelagianism is overwhelmingly incompatible with the Bible and was historically opposed by Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo, leading to its condemnation as a heresy at Council of Carthage in 418 A.D. These condemnations were summarily ratified at the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431).

So what exactly did Johnson say?

"You're not born evil. It's amazing how many teachings and theologies start with that thought. Anytime you start with that you will create a controlling, manipulative environment."

"Every system fundamentally and theologically must start with the concept and the idea that people are fundamentally good and they mean to do good. Even if they are not saved. We have to start from that premise."

I have listened to the full sermon to make sure this is not ripped out of context, although I can't imagine ANY context in which this statement would be deemed compatible with Christianity.  And just to make it clear, later in the sermon, Johnson has this to say:

"We have to adjust our perspective of people. We have to realize that people are good and they mean to do good."

Let's compare that to the scriptures which state in Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

To make it clear, what Johnson is teaching is not the typical Arminian perspective, and certainly not the perspective of the Assemblies of God, of which Bethel church was once a part of. Arminius stated the "Free Will of man towards the True God" was "imprisoned, destroyed, and lost...it has no powers whatever except such are excited by Divine Grace."

Original sin is not a secondary doctrinal issue. It is a deal-breaker for those who consider the Bible to mean what it says. Quoting the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:12

So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned.

Sin is inherent in man, it came from the fall of Adam, and it remains with us today.

Again Johnson states:

"Every system fundamentally and theologically must start with the concept and the idea that people are fundamentally good and they mean to do good. Even if they are not saved. We have to start from that premise."

Compare that to Ephesians 2:1-3

And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest…

When Johnson made these statements even his congregation was stunned. Silence and then a few nervous giggles. May God open their eyes and may this be a turning point for them.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Does Bill Johnson claim that he teaches a "different gospel?"

I am posting this article for my friend and fellow apologist W. B. McCarty. I think you will find it worth your consideration. A while back Bill Johnson preached a sermon in which he stated that signs and wonders were a requirement of the gospel. Essentially Johnson's premise is that gospel preaching should be disregarded if not backed up with signs and wonders ("mainfestation or demonstration of power"). This has far-reaching implications.

An Open Letter to Bill Johnson and Those Who Follow Him.

Many of my friends follow Bill Johnson. Perhaps you are reading this because you are one of them. Whether or not I know you is unimportant to the message of this letter. It's intended for all who follow Bill Johnson or, perhaps more accurately, Bill Johnson's teachings. But it has special, personal relevance to those of my friends who follow Bill Johnson.

Lately Bill Johnson and his followers have made some most extraordinary claims. Chief among these, I think, is that what they call a "glory cloud" --a physical manifestation of the presence of God, taking the form of a sparkly, luminescent cloud--had been regularly appearing at Bill Johson's Bethel Church. The appearance of that phenomenon has been the occasion of discussion, some of it quite heated, between followers of Bill Johnson and others, including me. A primary issue in those discussions has been the authenticity of the glory cloud, which might be, as Bill Johnson's followers understand it to be, an authentic theophany. Alternatively, it might be a man-made or natural phenomenon. Finally, it might even be a false miracle (2 Thess. 2:9).

I myself am skeptical concerning the nature of the so-called glory cloud. Whatever it may be, I strongly doubt that it is a divine manifestation. My expressed skepticism has led some of my friends to accuse me of being hyper-critical, of working in active opposition to God by failing to attend to the unity of the visible church, and any of a number of shortcomings and sins.

Not too long ago, one of my friends initiated a series of discussions of the glory cloud and related issues with me and others on a Facebook page created to publish warnings and critiques concerning Bill Johnson's Bethel Church. Later, my friend was joined by another apologist for Bethel. Our discussions touched on a number of topics but at the end of the day we had made little progress toward better understanding one another's views and, if anything, were probably less favorably disposed than before to accept one another's views.

I spent time today reflecting on these discussions and have concluded that almost all of them were a waste of time. That's the case not simply because no progress was made. It's the case because one of the topics we discussed is vastly more important than the other. And, interestingly, in my own view, that's the topic that I believe was never squarely addressed by followers of Bethel. I returned time and again to that topic, even at one point reducing my argument to a yes/no question. But I never received a forthright response.

That topic and my associated question are my reason for writing this letter. My question was this, "Does Bill Johnson claim that he teaches a 'different gospel?'" Now, let me cut to the chase and state that, from my standpoint, the answer to this question is an unambiguous "yes." This is so not because I have analysed Bill Johnson's gospel and found it to be at odds with the biblical gospel. I have done so, but that is beside the point. It is unambiguously so because Bill Johnson himself says it's so. And I believe he should be taken at his word.

In a sermon titled "The Requirement of Miracles" (Dec. 11, 2011, evening service. Available via ibetheltv.com) Bill Johnson explains that the gospel preached by most of the visible church, today and in recent history, is not the authentic biblical gospel but a "different gospel." To be authentic, he argues, the gospel must be presented in the context of signs and wonders. To be clear, he does not claim that the gospel could be presented in the context of signs and wonders. He does not claim that the gospel should be presented in the context of signs and wonders. He claims, as I wrote, that the gospel must be presented in the context of signs and wonders. As he puts it, a gospel message not confirmed by signs and wonders is a "different gospel."

Those who are familiar with Christian theology recognize Bill Johnson's claim as a most extraordinary one. Two important questions follow immediately: (1) Is he right? Must the gospel be presented in the context of signs and wonders? and (2) What are the implications of his claim? In this letter, I propose to deal only with the second of these questions; that is, the implications of his claim. It's not the case, of course, that the first question is unimportant or undeserving of analysis. But I think that the second question is actually more immediately relevant because I believe that Bill Johnson and his followers haven't adequately considered it.

The gospel is the central fact and doctrine of the Christian faith. Moreover, it is the boundary that distinguishes that which is Christian from that which is non-Christian. Those who trust in the gospel are Christians and part of the body of Christ. Those who don't trust in the gospel are neither Christians nor part of the body of Christ. Bill Johnson's claim, therefore, that most of the church preaches a "different gospel" is a most far-reaching claim because it entails that most of the visible church is not actually part of Christ's body. To be sure, Bill Johnson does not deal with this implication of his claim. He might even deny this implication even as he affirms his claim. But no such have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too option is available to him. The Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Galatians explicates with great clarity and force the uniqueness and eternal immutability of the gospel; there is only one gospel message and it can never be changed. Paul expresses himself in the strongest possible terms:

"But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach  a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell!  As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell!" (Gal. 1:8-9).

Another implication follows from Bill Johnson's claim that most of the church preaches a "different gospel" than that preached by Paul: Those who preach a different gospel, by implication including me and those in my own church, are under Paul's anathema. We are cursed and bound for eternal doom, Of course, Bill Johnson may be wrong. It is possible, and indeed I would insist it's the case, that it's Bill Johnson who preaches a gospel different from that preached by Paul. In that case it's Bill Johnson who is under Paul's anathema. Now, as I wrote, I have stated my opinion but don't propose to argue in this letter who is right and who is wrong. Instead, I want only to clarify the implications of Bill Johnson's claim.

The key implication I want to call out is this: Simply put, Bill Johnson's claim divides the body of Christ. One group or another--those who follow Bill Johnson's understanding of the gospel or those who do not--is not actually part of Christ's body. This implication of Bill Johnson's claim is ironic in view of the high value his followers claim to place on Christian unity. One good friend of mine, a pastor, has actually claimed that God values unity over truth; that God is more concerned that Christians not judge or criticize one another than He is concerned that they be united in truth. I disagree with my friend's claim in the strongest possible terms. Unity at the expense of the gospel is no unity at all. But, again, I don't propose to argue in this letter for my view over against the view of Bill Johnson. My concern is only with the implications of his claim that I and those in my church, because we do not regard signs and wonders as integral to the gospel, believe and preach a non-biblical gospel.

The frank implication is this. Bill Johnson and those who accept his claim are not my brothers or sisters in Christ. We can argue about which is which but either I or they are not part of Christ's church. Either I or they are presently on the broad road leading to destruction and so, absent repentance and acceptance of the true biblical gospel, either I or they will spend eternity in Hell.

Now, if you are among Bill Johnson's followers, I am pretty sure you're saying to yourself right now that Bill Johnson said no such thing. He didn't say that I and those like me are damned. Bill Johnson, you might protest, loves the whole church. If that's what you're thinking I need to remind you that Bill Johnson doesn't have the option to indulge this view at the same time he claims that I and others like me believe and preach a different gospel. There cannot be two gospels. If they are different, at least one is wrong. And one who holds a wrong gospel is outside the Church.

So here's where we're left. Either I'm outside the church because I've never believed the true gospel or Bill Johnson is outside the church because he has apostatized from the true gospel and now teaches a different gospel. It really doesn't matter, in some ways, which is right. For instance, if you follow Bill Johnson's view, Christ's Great Commission requires that you work to convince me that Bill Johnson preaches the true gospel. I on the other hand, since I do not follow Bill Johnson's view, am required to call him and those who follow him, who are apostates in my eyes, to return to the true gospel. In my view, we need to face these facts and deal forthrightly with them. And that, friends, is the purpose and bottom line of my letter. No other issue that we've recently discussed matters as much as this. Whether or not God sends disease, whether or not the glory cloud is authentic, whether or not Jesus healed all who came to Him--these issues pale in comparison to the issue I put before you now.

Far and away the most important issue is this: Does the gospel include, as a matter of necessity, signs and wonders? I submit that it does not. I submit that if you think it does you are holding a different gospel and have placed yourself under Paul's Gal 1:6 anathema. I call on you now, at peril of your immortal soul, to repent and return to the true gospel of Christ. To be sure, you're welcome to all the signs and wonders the Spirit is willing to extend so long as you do not claim them as a necessary part of the gospel. But if you add anything at all to the Gospel--signs and wonders, promises of bodily health, promises of financial prosperity, anything at all--you have departed from the faith once for all delivered. Friends, I reiterate: your immortal soul is in peril. Repent from Bill Johnson's false gospel of signs and wonders. Flee to the simplicity of Christ. Your so-called gospel of signs and wonders is in reality a subtle form of legalism that binds you, keeping you from the grace that God freely offers.

Moreover, this is no mere difference of opinion. Unless you repent, I cannot biblically continue to regard you as brother or sister in Christ but must regard you as an enemy of the gospel. And even if you don't change your own view, if you are consistent in biblically working out its implications, you must regard me similarly--not could, not should, but must.

May God have mercy on us all.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

IHOP: Forerunner elitism and onething

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".
- George Orwell (Animal Farm)

One of the basic premises of Christianity is that all believers are equal.

Romans 2 :11 For there is no partiality with God.

Acts 10:34 Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality."

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

The Protestant Reformation was fought over the idea of the “Priesthood of all Believers.” The Bible truth is that we do not need a special class of priests to intercede on our behalf. This is expressed best in Hebrews 10, where it states of our High Priest Jesus:

“..since we have a great priest over the house of God let us draw near (to God).." 

ALL believers have direct access to the “throne of grace “ (Hebrews 4:16), there is no special class of Christians with more or better access, or the ability to speak (“decree”) things into being.

There are not two classes of Christians: those who “get it” and those who don’t. And anyone who teaches this is simply appealing to man’s carnal desire to be better than others – the Bible calls this pride. Did you know that pride will rob you of God’s blessings faster than anything else?

Pride has been a problem since time eternal. Lucifer declared in Isaiah 14.

“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit
on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north.”

The ministry of IHOP, and its predecessors in Kansas City, has long struggled with charges of elitism.

Mike Bickle sees Prophet Bob Jones as “integral” in the history of IHOP- you can learn about Bob Jones in recordings of IHOP’s “prophetic history available on Mike Bickle’s website. Quoting Bickle: “There’s nobody in the natural that had a more ‘integral’ role in establishing the foundations in that kind of prophetic way than Bob.”

Many of Jones’ prophecies about the youth movement that God was raising up through Bickle talk about something they call the “elected seed.” Jones says of Mike’s generation that it will “birth the church” of the last days. Their children (the next generation) will be the actual “children of promise” to bring about the second coming of Christ. Whether or not God is dependent on man for his timetable is another discussion (He isn’t), but Jones’ prophecies set up a special class of believer.

Jones tells us that God has taken the “best of every bloodline that has ever existed” – including the bloodline of Peter, James, John, and Paul. And selected “elected seed” to be born . In one vision, Jones saw these “elected seeds” warehouse in heaven before their birth as golden orbs (similar to the Mormon doctrine of the preexistence of souls). The “best bloodlines” is a sort of spiritual eugenics.

In the early days of the Kansas City Fellowship, Bickle did nothing but encourage this concept of elitism. Bickle himself claims that he went to heaven and Jesus commissioned him there as an end-times Apostle. A local pastor named Ernie Gruen caused a major ruckus when he documented these teachings and lobbed the charge of elitism towards Mike Bickle and his movement. Many of the charges that Gruen made were disputed by Bickle, but 15 points of error by Bickle were acknowledged. Concerning elitism Bickle responded:

“We had an elite spirit. That’s become more and more real to me- it’s so repulsive”  We agree.

One of the biggest problems with IHOP today is that the elitism remains. It is one thing to acknowledge sin, it is another to turn from it (repent). The elitism at IHOP is as dangerous as the “I will” statements of Lucifer in Isaiah 14.

In recent days, in response to the death of Bethany Deaton, IHOP-KC has tried to paint itself as part of mainstream evangelicalism. A recent teaching by Mike Bickle states:

“Cults separate from the wider Church and operate with an elite spirit, believing that they alone have a special status with God. They have a polarized mentality of “us versus them.” They criticize the larger Body of Christ and often claim to be the only ones truly saved. They view all other ministry and denominations as being in error.”

Yet, in promotional material for onething 2008, Bickle stated (speaking of mainstream evangelicals who teach a pre-tribulation rapture): "I feel like many of God's shepherds are lying, they're just telling lies about the Bible."

Now it is one thing to disagree about matters of the timing and sequence of the end times. Mike Bickle apparently thinks he possesses the truth (direct from God) and because of this calls other pastors “liars.” How does that line up with his statement above?

Beyond Bickle feeling as if he has the direct line to biblical truth, the original problem with the elitist attitude - the “elected seed” doctrine remains.

At onething 2010, after 15 minutes of repetitive (hypnotic) music by Misty Edwards (“Listen to the Rhythm of Heaven), Mike Bickle takes the microphone and prophesies (Speaks on behalf of God):

“For I am raising up singers and musicians, all over the nations, even as I raised up my servant David in days of old. And my spirit will come upon them, even in their youth. I will give them the songs of my heart. I will allow them to hear the melodies of heaven. For I will release the new song of my heart through them. And I will shift things in the spirit as they sing. And I declare unto you singers and musicians, Listen, for I will give you my songs, I will give you my songs, and you must sing, Zion sing. You must not draw back. You must sing, Zion sing. For you are those I will release my power through.

Note that Bickle speaks on behalf of God in a manner which confirms his special interpretation of the end- times. Let’s not argue about how this is to come about, but let’s agree that God should be able to pull this off without creating a special elite priesthood of “forerunners” which is contrary to His impartiality.

Elitism is a dangerous thing and nothing good ever results from it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

IHOP: Signs of a Cult

In response to the revelation of cultish activity in the midst of IHOP, Mike Bickle has gone into full-blown damage control. And despite their earlier protests, Bickle has admitted that "we’re living in the midst of a cult being in our midst recently."  "In our midst"  (was "entirely independently" on November 12). As a result, he is now teaching on how to recognize a cult.  To our friends who predictably tell us not to judge - hold on - Bickle now approves of this process, stating:

"We want all to be equipped to see and expose deception, to help others avoid it. We must warn and rescue those who are involved in false teaching and practice by teaching them the truth."

To that we say, "Amen!" Let's examine Bickle's teachings on the characteristics of a cult, and see how IHOP fits in with this. At Bickle's invitation.

In our response we will be relying heavily on  IHOP's Blueprint Prophecy, in it's sundry versions. The Blueprint Prophecy is the foundational document of IHOP, and is given near-cannonical credence. The author has never been revealed, and Bickle has refused to let the body of Christ judge this prophetic word in its entirety, preferring to hold back certain elements of the prophecy. And this foundational "word from the Lord" has been revised several times. Go figure.

The prophecy starts out stating that one should wait until God confirmed this prophecy in your spirit. That should raise some red flags immediately. We test prophecy primarily against the Word, not some "burning in the bosom" as do the Mormons.

Let's look now at some the elements of a cult and see where IHOP
 has been "weighed and found wanting."

"A cult is a group that deviates from the doctrines and practices of historic Christianity and has an inordinate loyalty to one leader, whose beliefs are not found in Scripture (as affirmed by historic Christianity)."  (3 parts)

1. Historic Christianity

IHOP has certainly deviated from the ordinary practices of Christianity, with their Latter Rain emphasis on restoring the Tabernacle of David, and the entire concept of IHOP, 24/7 prayer, and "prayer missionaries." In 1982, Mike Bickle received a prophetic word that said "I (the Lord) will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation." This has been the goal and the mission of Bickle's ministry since that point. You cannot claim orthodoxy and change at the same time.

The Latter-Rain movement has never been recognized as orthodox Christianity, yet the Blueprint prophecy states of his movement:

"The Out-Pouring of the Latter Rain shall be released in this area and upon this city. It shall be noised abroad even world-wide. They will stand in awe and will return unto the Holy reverence of My Name and of My people."  (Blueprint quotes are in Blue)

This is not a matter of shared terminology. The practices of IHOP are the practices of the New Order of the Latter Rain. Note also this from the Blueprint Prophecy:

"I will take people in the Spirit and catch them away in the Spirit…it shall be by Me and I shall teach them in new ways."

People in this movement talk about visiting heaven and even teleporting. One of the foundational prophets of the movement, Bob Jones, claims to visit heaven often, sometimes several times a day. This is not "Historic Christianity."

2. Loyalty to One Leader

When you say IHOP you say Mike Bickle. I heard one IHOPper recently dismiss a controversial statement by IHOP leader Lou Engle by stating that that was Lou's statement and does not represent IHOP doctrine (it did). Apparently, the only leader qualified to represent IHOP is Mike Bickle. In the past, Bickle's teachings were on the fotb website. In recent years, they have developed a special website archiving the history and teachings of IHOP. It is called MikeBickle.org.

Needless to say, this end-time Apostle, commissioned by Jesus himself - in heaven - is held in high esteem at IHOP. Heaven you say? Yes, in a courtroom that was built of clouds. While Bickle is in this courtroom a "whole line of" golden chariots appear. He saw men with those chariots and he believed those to be the 35 or so "super-apostles" that the Lord had previously told Bob Jones would be birthed out of his movement. A chariot appeared and "the Lord said 'get in it' and I knew intuitively, instantly it was an Apostolic ministry."

3. Beliefs not found in Scripture (as affirmed by historic Christianity)

For starters, the Blueprint Prophecy, the foundational document of IHOP, is not found in scripture nor is it affirmed by historic Christianity. Many of the beliefs of IHOP are also not found in scripture or affirmed by historic Christianity.

  • That prior to the return of Jesus, and as a necessary condition of Christ’s return - apostles and prophets of unparalleled spiritual power, and prophetic accuracy will arise to guide the church into its final days.

  • That a ‘perfected church’ walking in unparalleled supernatural power (raising the dead will become ordinary, and no illness will be able to stand before this perfected church), will arise as a pre-condition of Christ’s return.

  • Prior to the return of Christ, a special class of Christians called ‘forerunners’ will be raised up to prepare the church for the return of Christ.

  • IHOP teaches as a pre-condition of the return of Christ, the church must be crying out 24/7 ‘Come, Lord, Jesus Come with a full understanding of the so-called ‘ bridal identity’.

  • "False teachers pervert the teaching about the grace of God by legalism or lewdness. False teachers do not hold to the main and plain doctrines of Scripture."

    The over-emphasis on the so-called Bridal Paradigm has led to a sensual vocabulary at IHOP. They speak of being "lovesick" and "ravished." Matt Gilman, at an IHOP conference sang "so heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss." At another conference thousands were "married" to Christ. Back in 2009 we were hearing reports of men speaking of being "ravished in their hinder parts" by Jesus. The over-emphasis of this teaching, based on an over-allergorization of the Song of Songs, coupled with thousands of young people living in over-crowded settings has led to where IHOP is today. Yes, I'd call it lewdness.

    Bickle's convoluted teachings on the Song of Songs lie in contrast to the simple (plain) understanding of the book by the Historic church. Bickle's "Bridal Paradigm" is his signature doctrine, and this is in part because it is unique to him.

    "Their members must accept what the cult leader believes without ever challenging their doctrines. They do not want their members to think critically for themselves."

    In almost 10 years of studying and dialoging with IHOPpers, almost universally they do not to put the teachings and practices of IHOP up for discussion. I have been told by some that they did not want to even hear it. Other's routinely throw scriptures about judging in your face (see recent comments on this blog for examples).

    IHOP places a lot of stock in it's prophetic history, but there is a lot about IHOP's history that is conveniently left out of those lessons. When these things are brought up, again the typical response is "you're judging." When told that we are to test things by the scriptures (as a Berean) one is most often called a "pharisee." One pejorative unique to IHOP seems to the the term "scoffer" which they apply to anyone who does not "get it."

    IHOP also uses the term "rabid dogs" to describe Christians who don't understand the special end-times assignment of the IHOP elite. Mike Bickle again, recounting a prophetic vision:

    “I was in the riverbed with my brother Pat. And there were dogs with rabies on both sides of the riverbed. They were barking. There was only 4 inches of water but a rabid dog cannot get in water. And the Lord told Bob ‘These (dogs) are like righteous men; even in the body of Christ. They will bark and they will accuse and they will put down this purpose of this young adult prayer movement…because they won’t understand it…because we have such a focused assignment from the Lord.”

    "The members are often required to cut ties with their family."

    Anecdotally, more than a few stories have come out of IHOP stating that this was done. Oddly, we are not hearing this about similar places like Bethel or Toronto. And we hear stories of parents who contact IHOP with concerns that are brushed off. Not all of these stories are totally accurate, of course, but there seems to be a pattern.

    "They isolate their people from their families, the church and society."

    A case could easily be made that the demands of the prayer room roster (the "sacred trust"), and the mentality of being "forerunners" has done just that. IHOP prayer missionaries are expected to raise their own support - the typical model being asking for donations - in order to serve full-time as intercessors and worshippers. This removes them from society, and from their family and church back home when they move to Kansas City, the new Jerusalem. This isolation is made worse by the night watch shifts and lack of sleep.Anyone who thinks that the IHOPpers are not a close-knit, isolated group, need only look back to the Blueprint Prophecy and see that this is by design:

    "Their responsibility lies within Me and their safety lies within drawing close together. Yes, I would have them draw real close together. I say unto you again, that their safety lies in drawing real close together."

    "Cults cross biblical boundaries of behavior especially in immorality and finances."

    Immorality has been part of IHOP's history from the start. First there was the homosexual prophet Augustine Alcala (who later died of aids). Then there was prophet Bob Jones asking women to disrobe while he prophesied to them. And the alcoholic prophet Paul Cain sodomizing boys at IHOP's Shiloh retreat center. These three "prophets" were instrumental in building the foundation of corruption at IHOP. And these stories, if even mentioned in the "Prophetic History" lessons, are glossed over as quickly as possible.

    The recent sex-and-murder scandal is just another in a long string of sorid stories coming out of IHOP. Note that Tyler Deaton, one of IHOP's "division coordinators" on their Friendship Groups administrative team, had been at IHOPKC for four years. I suspect that we will find that pornography played a role in that man's fall, and I'm hearing reports of other students with similar issues.

    Statements in the Blueprint Prophecy about finances should raise much concern. 

    "I shall be your purse bearer. I shall raise up ministers of finance in this area.
    I will hand the checks and the money as the time is prepared for this."

    Ok, so the funding is supernatural. But some of the practices, such as post-it notes on donation checks is not. And questions have arisen regarding Diane Bickle's "Gladheart Realty" and it's close association with this not-for-profit organization." And here's a quote from Bickle's associate Bob Fraizer, speaking of those "ministers of finance."

    "The Treasure Bringers are those with an anointing from God to facilitate this massive wealth-transfer. They are spiritual 'Robin Hoods.' Their greatest joy is plundering the wealth of the world for their Lord."

    "Cults separate from the wider Church and operate with an elite spirit, believing
    that they alone have a special status with God."

    Charges of elitism at IHOP (and its predecessors) go back a long way. Ernie Gruen leveled such a charge, and Bickle admitted it was true.  Elitism is built into IHOP's foundation. After all, when you are going to change the understanding and expression of Christianity, it should be obvious that you "get it" and the rest of the church does not. IHOP has taught the Jones and Cain doctrines of the Manifested Sons of God. They also call themselves "forerunners." In 1983 Mike Bickle stated :

    "I believe that this is the generation that God has ordained before the beginning of the world to usher in the presence of His Son."

    The generation that Bickle speaks of are the same as Bob Jones' chosen seed. These are the ones who come to IHOP. Bickle separates himself from the church - at one time (speaking of pre-trib theology) he stated to the youth of America "your pastors are lying."   Bickle, like Rick Joyner, believes there will be a great confrontation in the church, as the true believers triumph over the nominal believers. Bickle again:

    "Many will fall because of this thing, because their hearts are not truly God’s, they’re in the church only in terms of sitting on a pew on Sunday morning. Many of them sit on church on Sunday morning and they will rise, because they will receive. He said it will be a sign that will be opposed throughout the whole earth. The move of God that’s coming will have great opposition because in verse 35, it says the-the end of this is that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed when the move of God comes. Because you see when God’s move comes, there is a confrontation."

    Elitism is by design at IHOP- it is established in the Blueprint Prophecy:

    "Even out of the loins of the blood line of the flesh of Abraham--even as I said
    there would be many seeds and many nations, kindred, and tongues… I shall
    raise up and there shall flow forth many sons and daughters. They shall be
    known and renowned. Even as the children of the renowned – shall they be."

    The "known and renowned" part echos the teachings about "dread champions" by Paul Cain, who is a foundational prophet of IHOP.

    This is just an overview. I urge you to study Mike Bickle's teaching on cults, study his Blueprint Prophecy and the foundations of IHOP and see just how he has defined his own movement.

    Learn more about IHOP.
    Read about the Blueprint Prophecy.
    2012 Version of 7 signs following Deaton's death
    2009 Version of 7 signs following Candler's death
    Read Ariel's testimony "Why I believe IHOP is a Cult."

    "We want all to be equipped to see and expose deception, to help others avoid it.
    We must warn and rescue those who are involved in false teaching
    and practice by teaching them the truth." - Mike Bickle

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    IHOP - Sensual Teaching and Pratices Led to This

    "I am not claiming that IHOP intends to promote a sexual Jesus, their motives may be pure. It is inescapable, however, that Mike Bickle paints such a sensual picture of Jesus through his allegorizing of the Song of Solomon that he feels obligated to warn us saying, “We are not to think of kissing Jesus on the mouth.” This warning is like the legal statements following television drug commercials – this may cause death or injury and the cure may be worse than the disease. The warning itself paints the picture. The Bible doesn’t need to warn Christians “not to think about kissing Jesus on the mouth” because the true teaching of Jesus doesn’t provoke these lusts."
    -K. Jentoft                        

    In light of the reports of religious sexual orgies in the home of  IHOPKC leader Tyler Deaton, the murder Bethany Deaton - that leader's wife (an IHOPU student), the attempt at a cover up - staging the murder as a suicide, and the confession of Micah Moore - another IHOPU student  (see here), we must ask:

    Is there anything in the doctrine and practices of IHOP that led up to this?

    IHOP, in its essence, is sensual. The language, the songs, the teachings all revolve around words like "intimacy," "ravished heart," "lovesick" and "Bridal paradigm." The "interns" at IHOP are subjected to a constant barrage of non-stop sensual music, with lyrics such as this:
    I am lovesick, for my Beloved
    My Beloved and my Friend
    Only YOU can satisfy
    And everyone's all-time favorite, Matt Gilman's "How He Loves Us."

    So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
    And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
    The IHOP interns must attend hours and hours of lengthy sessions in the 24/7 prayer room that features droning repetitive music such as this IHOP favorite by IHOP worship leader and board member Misty Edwards:

    The prize for hypnotic (endless repetition) goes to Misy Edwards and her song "Heartbeat." This set went 24 minutes, and this is not atypical for the IHOP prayer room.

    Since the prayer room goes on 24/7, the interns are often expected to be in that prayer rooms in the wee hours of the night. The community at IHOP also practices an extreme form of fasting.

    Repetitive sensual music, excessive fasting, sleep deprivation - a recipe for disaster.  Throw in some aberrant teachings which emphasize a romantic relationship with God and you have IHOP in a nutshell.

    Even back in 2009 we were hearing reports of men speaking of being "ravished in their hinder parts" by Jesus. While this may not be the viewpoint of leadership there, it reflects the sordid depravity behind the doctrine, and the logical end of such thinking.  Also in 2009 we had Lee Grady, editor of Charisma Magazine stating this:

    "It won't be long before we see some Christians having sexual experiences at the altar."

    But it is not like we did not see this coming.

    In 2007, an associate of mine, Rev. Keith Gibson, of the Apologetics Resource Center, wrote an excellent article on the Bridal Paradigm as it is emerging in the Charismatic church today. His thesis is that "Truth, taken to an extreme, becomes heresy." I'm going to quote his article in depth, because I really can't improve on it.

    The bridal paradigm is a teaching that the image of the Bride is the primary identity for the church, especially the church of this unique end-time generation. This teaching has strong dominion theology undertones as there is a strong emphasis on the Bride co-reigning with Christ. Esther is seen as a type of the end-time Church. The bridal paradigm becomes the grid through which all Scripture is interpreted and through which all spiritual activity is engaged.

    Thus we have teachings like Bridal intercession, the Global Bridegroom fast, the cross in the bridal paradigm etc. All of the scripture is seen as the relentless pursuit of the heavenly lovesick groom for the bride of His hearts desire. This message truly stands the gospel on its ear. No longer is the emphasis on a God who is working for His own glory and displaying His majesty in redeeming a lost and unworthy humanity. Now the story of redemption is on God seeking a suitable mate for His Son with the cross being the dowry.

    God is described as ”in-love”, lovesick, the passionate Bridegroom, or having a ravished heart. He is the Lover with fire in His eyes for His bride. The church is to respond in similar manner as we pray for our love to be awakened, to be ravished by the love of the Bridegroom etc. etc. Images and language from Song of Solomon abound.

    This teaching, while drawing upon a legitimate metaphor and the language of Scripture, pushes the metaphor beyond the boundaries of its proper understanding leading to an improper and unbiblical picture of God and His relationship to the Church.

    The first problem is the emphasis on the metaphor of the Bride to the exclusion of all other images used to describe the Church. Yes, the church is the Bride of Christ, but that is not all that is said of the Church. The Church is also called the Body (1 Cor. 12), the children of God (Eph 3:14, 1 Jn 3 and others), an olive tree (Rom. 11), a field (1 Cor. 3:6-9), a temple (1 Pet. 2:5), a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9), a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9), God’s house (Heb. 3:6), the flock of God (1 Pet. 5:2), and an inheritance (Eph. 1:18). And this is just for starters!! Consulting any good systematic theology book will yield a veritable host of metaphors, titles and images of the church. Therefore right from the beginning we should understand that any teaching that focuses almost exclusively upon one metaphor is necessarily out of balance. Each of these titles is meant to teach us some important truth concerning the people of God. We simply do not have the right to fixate upon one to the neglect of the others. We do not have the right to elevate one to the place of primary position and evaluate all of Scripture through this lense. In like manner, Jesus is the Bridegroom but that is not all that is said about Jesus. This teaching is out of balance.

    The second issue is that, while it is true that the metaphor of the Bride is used for the church as a whole, this same metaphor is never used for the individual believer. This may seem minor at first but it is actually very significant. It is the entire church that is the Bride of Christ. Each believer is a part but is not the Bride. It would appear that many of the prophetic teachers either misunderstand this or choose to ignore it. Due to this confusion, many of the statements of the prophetic teachers cause Jesus to sound like our personal boyfriend instead of our Lord. I have shared before of the man who claimed that he held Jesus for the first 30 minutes of his quiet time and then had Jesus hold him for the last 30 minutes. Jesus is not your boyfriend or lover. It is inappropriate to consider Him in this way.

    A third issue is that the statement is a metaphor. It is not a literal statement. The metaphor is meant to teach us the truth about God’s love and commitment to us and our need for holiness and submission and yes, love for Him and a number of other things. But it is not meant to be literalized and physicalized (If that’s not a word, it should be.) This third issue brings a host of problems into play. It should be noted that, as with teachings on Contemplative Prayer, the source of much of this teaching is Roman Catholic mysticism. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and Madam Guyon, along with many others, have provided the foundation for this thought. This, in and of itself, should be a problem. Why would we go to those whose overall understanding of God is so poor expecting to find truth? Why would we draw from the polluted well of Roman Catholic mysticism hoping to find pure water? I have been told that it is because of their passion and certainly these authors can write passionately about God, but they can and did write just as passionately about the virgin Mary! This indicates to me, that the emphasis of the leaders of this movement is not at all grounded in a desire for truth but merely a desire to feel. And many of the “passionate” statements written by these mystics are squarely unbiblical. Consider the words of Catherine of Sienna who used to pray:

    ”O divine madman, you are crazed with love and drunk with love for me.”

    Surely a less Biblical picture of God could not be painted than that of a crazed madman drunk with love.

    This literalizing of the metaphor can be seen in the abundance of overly romantic phrases used to describe God’s love for us and ours for God. We read that God is “lovesick” or ravished for us. These phrases portray a God who simply cannot find true joy apart from us, who will never be satisfied without us. These statements are more appropriate for an adolescent than Almighty God. These phrases portray God looking longingly at the individual Christian and saying, “You…..complete me.” Jesus is finally sent to earth “When He couldn’t take it any longer.” This is a far cry from the God of the Bible who is completely sufficient within Himself and needs nothing. (Ps. 50, Isa 40) The triune God is complete within Himself, lacking nothing including relationship.

    Certainly Christ does love us. He loves us with a love that is beyond comprehension in its height, depth, width and breadth (Eph 3:18-19). But He is not romantic about us. He is not attracted to us. He does not get sweaty palms, or stomach flutters. He is not “in-love” with us as we commonly mean that term today. There is a difference.

    -end extended quote-

    So here we are in 2012. If you are going to understand IHOP, you must understand their signature doctrine - the Bridal Paradigm. I would invite you to spend some time looking at a more comprehensive article, some of which I've incorporated into this post, which will give you a much better understanding of the practices and doctrines of IHOP.

    Article: BeyondGrace- A Profane Bride.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    IHOP Murder / Sex Scandal - Developing

    As you may already know, Bethany Deaton, an IHOP intern, was murdered on October 30 by another IHOPper, Micah Moore, apparently at the request of Deaton's husband, Tyler Deaton, a leader at IHOPKC. The murder was staged to appear as a suicide.

    The story involves orgies at Deaton's home: assualts on Bethany, and sodomy among other participants.

    The bigger problem is this: IHOP claims this was a rogue group, even though the key figure, Tyler Deaton, was part of their home group administrative team. Not just a home group leader- a "Division Coordinator."

    Allen Hood, President of IHOP's bible school "IHOPU" said:

    "This group has always operated independently of the university, and it is important to all of us that this group’s secrecy and disturbing religious practices are fully exposed.

    Mr. Deaton led his religious group entirely independently from IHOPU, though he and some of his members were enrolled in our university."

    I believe that "entirely independently" is somewhat of an overstatement.
    Tyler Deaton was on staff at IHOP and part of the leadership team. His job was to provide oversight to small house meetings and their leaders. In other words, IHOP had a Division Coordinator in place at all of these gatherings.

    Below is an excerpt from a handout at  IHOPKC - these handouts were available on Sunday, November 4. A pdf was listed on their twitter feed, the document is no longer available, the Google Cache is.


    Friendship Groups Administrative Team
    November 4, 2012

    Jon Boegl Department Director (928) 255-3576 jonboegl@ihopkc.org
    Michelle Chamberlain Admin. Coordinator (260) 610-4937
    Caleb Chamberlain Creative Media/Social Networking (260) 610-2533

    Division Coordinators:
    Ivy Anderson (816) 668-2728 ivyanderson2@yahoo.com
    Chris Castanza (504) 982-7782
    Tyler Deaton (361) 877-2727
    Jeremy Jacobs (803) 372-1532
    Bill Spearman (630) 272-4642
    Juliet Canha (816) 509-4803

    You will note that Tyler Deaton was a Division Coordinator, part of the Friendship Groups Administrative Team.

    A Friendship Group is a small group that meets during the week, typically at the leaders house. Many churches call these "home groups" or "house groups." Until early October, IHOP called these "life groups."

    Deaton not only had a group meeting (and living) in his house, he was part of IHOP staff overseeing other group leaders. There are 80 to 90 friendship groups; Deaton shared oversight of these 80 groups with 4 other leaders. So this so-called "independent" group had a recognized IHOP Group Leader admisitrator calling the shots at every meeting. 

    Also obtained from Google cache is a job description from an org chart.


    GROUP DIVISION COORDINATORS • Full-Time IHOPKC Staff w/24 Hour Prayer Sacred Trust Commitment (must spend 24 hours a week in the hypnotic trance inducing prayer room -ed.) • Serve & Minister at Saturday & Sunday FCF Services • Administrate Family & Group Leaders w/in specific Population Category • Promote New Groups & Multiplication of Groups and Help Identify, Recruit, Train and Deploy Leaders within Group Type

    Tyler Deaton was a Division Coordinator. At least until the 11/11 handout was published - he has been removed from his position.

    Hood may be correct in one sense.  He stated "This group has always operated independently of the university." Well, yes, so does the Sunday school program at IHOP's church.  And so does the prayer room at IHOP. In fact, IHOP has numerous splinter organizations - probably more than 50, which operate under different names. But it is the same people, the same boards, and in most cases, operating under the corporate umbrella of International House of Prayer, Friends of the Bridegroom, Shiloh Ministries, Inc. and Grace Ministries.

    The University is the "educational" wing of the organization. I use quotes, because it offers no graduate program, and is not accredited. It is, at best, a Bible College, and a poor one at that.

    The Friendship Groups are part of the larger IHOPKC organization. Mike Bickle, not Allen Hood should be releasing a statement.


    UPDATE 11/15/2012 AM

    On Monday, Allen Hood, the president of the International House of Prayer, said in a statement that Deaton led his group independently and operated under a “veil of secrecy,” though members attended a school operated by IHOP. The statement also made reference to the group’s “disturbing religious practices.”

    But a handout and website posting shows that as of Nov. 4 — five days after Bethany Deaton’s death — Tyler Deaton was a “division coordinator” on the administrative team of International House of Prayer friendship groups. The position is unpaid, according to another person who holds the same position and attended three recent meetings with Deaton. According to IHOP’s website, friendship groups are small groups that meet weekly. There are more than 80 friendship groups. Deaton was listed as one of six division coordinators. When asked Thursday morning to clarify Deaton’s relationship with the organization, spokesman Nick Syrett told The Star that another statement would be released later in the day. In the afternoon, he said the organization would not have the statement ready until Friday.



    UPDATE 11/16/2012 PM

    The International House of Prayer took greater steps Friday to distance itself from Tyler Deaton, whose wife was murdered allegedly by a member of a small religious sect headed by Deaton.

    The statement insisted that Deaton was never part of the organization’s group structure. But another person whose name appeared on the list of division coordinators told The Star on Thursday that she attended three recent meetings at which Deaton participated.


    In upcoming articles we will revisit how the Bridal Paridigm (IHOP's signature teaching), the obsession with the Song of Solomon, the focus on and the use of terms like "passion," "ravished," and "intimacy,"  the sensual and hypnotic nature of the repetitive music in the 24/7 Prayer room, sleep depravation, and excessive fasting all combined to set the stage for Micah Moore's manipulation by an IHOP leader. Many of us have seen this coming for a long time.

    To wrap this up I'd like to quote an associate, Keith Gibson, the author of Wandering Stars- he hits the nail squarely on the head:

    "I could hardly keep from weeping for this poor girl while trying to work. I don't mean to be spiteful but these are the people who have claimed in the past to be able to smell sin on people and see it written on their foreheads. If they were as connected as they claim wouldn't they have been warned about this?

    The other issue is that their approach to scripture, doctrine and spiritual authority sets people up to accept teachers like Tyler. They have no grid for judging truth."

    Here's my question: How come the same people who most often cry "judge us by our fruits" disavow those fruits when judged?  I think that is a question Mike Bickle will have to answer for - if not soon, some day.

    And did I mention that IHOP is fighting sex trafficking as part of their emphasis on justice? Charity begins at home.


     Right now, as the story develops, for current information I would suggest that you look over at Truthspeakers Weblog. And seriously, new information is trickling out almost every hour.

    A comprehensive index of background information on IHOP is available here.