Imagine, if you will, a movement built on numerous bizarre prophecies, including a visit to heaven by its leader. Such a movement must have built-in safeguards to keep its followers from questioning those prophecies. No, we are are not talking about the followers of Joseph Smith, but rather the followers of Mike Bickle, the leader of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.
Many years ago, Bickle's prophets created a paradigm of elitism, suggesting that its followers would be a super-race of Christians.
"No prophet or apostle ever lived equal the power of these individuals in this great army of the Lord in these last days. No one ever had it, not even Elijah, or Peter, or Paul or anyone else enjoyed the power that's going to rest upon, uh, this, uh, great Army."
"From out of the sands of time I have called the best of every bloodline in the earth, unto this generation...Even the bloodline of Paul...of David...of Peter, James and John, the best of their seed is unto this generation. They will even be superior to them in heart, stature and love for me..."
"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...
You (Bickle) shall go forth and lead a people even as Moses led a people and there shall be those that shall lift up your hands. You (Bickle) shall consecrate this people..."
-Blueprint Prophecy (2006 version), given by unidentified mystery prophet
This article is not about those "new breed" or "chosen seed" prophecies, which should be questioned, but rather about why the followers of Bickle cannot question anything.
For at least one Bickle intern, the question was settled by a prophetic word given to Mike Bickle by yet another "Prophet."
"Persecution will be birthed against you and the work that God has entrusted to your leadership, and the Lord says you are not to touch it, you are not to answer it; you are to leave it in the Lord's hands, and He will settle it for you."
I mentioned earlier that the movement is built on numerous bizarre prophecies. Interestingly, the contents of these prophecies have a disturbing tendency to change over the years, to suit the moment. What is critical to understand is that listening to a collection of these fantastic stories is part of the mandatory
If you haven't caught on, Alcala's prophecy just defined any questions that might arise concerning the ministry as "persecution." And the followers are taught to not answer back concerning any questions- which pretty much precludes any legitmate discussion.
Although they will state that Mike tells them to check out what he says against the scriptures, obviously if one questions Mike's take on the Scriptures, and many have, one becomes a persecutor and is blown off.
In Bickle's recitations of his "prophetic history" he boasts of encounters with Godly men, even pastors, who have tried to counsel him. During or after these encounters, the Holy Ghost (or Bob Jones) warns him to disregard everything they say.
This "bunker mentality" is often see in many cults. It is one of the reasons why many would classify IHOP as cultic. Another factor leading to such accusations would be the numerous "self-fulfilling prophecies."
If you prophecy bizarre, even unbiblical things, and also prophesy that people will question question the things you teach, then when people DO question the things you teach, you can say - "see, the Lord told us this would happen." But "wait," you say, "doesn't the bible tell us that we will be persecuted?" I think the point could be made that, compared to imprisonment or even death, a theological discussion hardly qualifies as "persecution."
One of the most egregious examples of this self-fulfilling prophecy is found in the Bob Jones "White Horse - Rabid Dog" prophecy. The "rabid dog" aspect of the White Horse prophecy is most interesting, because it presupposed that Godly, righteous men will not enter into Bickle's movement. And it pejoratively describes those men as "rabid dogs." Here are some highlights from Bickle's sermon notes:
On August 8, 1982, Bob saw a white horse in the middle of a river bed that had 4 inches of water in it, with rabid dogs on the sides.
Bob’s assignment from the Lord was to help the white horse (leaders of the youth movement) stay in the “middle of the stream” as they were preparing for the coming flood of the Spirit.
The dogs in this parable spoke of church leaders who could not see the value of these four heart standards or the need for a focused prayer ministry. They upheld the traditional lifestyle of the western Church that sees the four heart standards as being extreme and unnecessary.
A rabid dog is one that is mad. Its throat is swollen up so it cannot get into the water because it cannot drink. They stand on the side of the water and accuse those who are in it. They cannot bite him if he stays in the stream, because they can't go into the water. If a mad dog bites you, it imparts madness to you. Religion is madness. They are to stay in the middle of the stream.
I (Bob Jones) saw many leaders coming like barking dogs trying to scare the white horse out of the middle of the dry stream. They would say, “You are doing it wrong, come and join me.”
The river, of course, is a common metaphor in the Charismatic church for the "new thing" that God is doing. And so these rabid dogs will not enter into the river. Therefore, anyone who questions Bickle is a "mad dog."
In 2008, Bickle continued his charge against the "church leaders." In a video promotion for an upcoming "OneThing" event, Bickle states "I feel like many of God's shepherds are lying, they're just telling lies about the Bible."
Why does any of this matter? It matters because through these self-fulfilling prophecies Bickle has inoculated his followers from questioning anything. Yes, he may tell them to be Bereans (examine the scriptures to see if these things are true), but in actual practice no opposing questions are entertained. And because of this they are in danger. Either they are absolutely right, or they are absolutely decieved. And because of the grueling schedule required to staff a 24/7 prayer-room, and what many might consider excessive fasting, the critical-thinking abilities of the interns at IHOP are already impaired.
"There was no alone time ever to really think, reason, test, question or process anything. We were run ragged from sun up to late into the night which always left me exhausted, depleted and burnt out."
-Ariel, former IHOP intern. Link.
In an upcoming article we will examine another aspect of the "White Horse" prophecy that reveals how Mike Bickle will change the telling of these stories, as circumstances change, so that the prophecies do not appear false. If, as we have demonstrated, that self-fulfilling prophecies are used as a mind-control technique (wittingly or unwittingly), and if, as we intend to demonstrate, that prophecies - given by God - can be revised at will by man, then we have a very dangerous situation indeed. Not all is well in Kansas City.