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.


  1. Hi Bill, may I post this article on my website with a link to your blog and original post of it?

  2. There is plenty of sin in every church to be repulsed by. There are a lot of kids there all there for different reasons. But there is genuine worship. I live in China and the house church I go to gets a boost listening to the music. There is deep satanic oppression in China than does not allow this kind of public worship. When I was in kc I didn't really fit in at Ihop but I did benefit from it because I didn't pay attention to immature young believers. There are genuine people seeking God there.

    Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  3. "Chew the meat and spit out the bone"... some have swallowed the bones!

    If the bath water is dirty so is everything in it...



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