If you’re an IHOP intern, upset with anyone who would speak out against Mike Bickle, against IHOP, then you need to really listen to the words you’re about to read. The first portion of this appears to be lifting Mike Bickle up on a pedestal and singing his praises! But the author of these scripts goes further on into his deeper thoughts about the teachings IHOP is promoting.
I lived with Mike Bickle and his family for several years in the late seventies and early eighties at which time I took care of Pat Bickle his younger brother that was a quadriplegic. We lived in a house in the western side of St. Louis which had as many as twenty five people mostly young men living on that property at one time. Now I tell you this because most of your history lesson on Mike begins with KC but the truth began a lot earlier. I got to know Mike and Pat about six months after they returned from Mike’s first attempt at building a church in Rosebud Mo. He was at this time connected to New Covenant Fellowship as a youth pastor and used them to jump start his second attempt which was South St Louis Fellowship, which after a year and a half he moved us all to a building that housed a dying congregation led by Gene Putnam. And in that blend we were introduced to a more radical form of Christianity that included dancing, and worshipping that were much more exaggerated than what we had already experienced.
This is the place where Augustine Acola first came into contact with Mike. It was claimed by Mike that Augustine walked in off the street and prophesied that he was to return to KC and begin a move of God that would sweep the nation. I was there and it was not that grandiose in fact it was very confusing at best but it came on the heels of Mike wanting to make a change from where he was because the leadership that he had formed had soured and rather than reform a new leadership he came up with a better idea which was to jump ship and return to KC with a fresh new perspective on how to start his own church un-tethered to any other denomination.
Now I want to pause here for a moment and say that I knew Mike and Diane personally for about ten years and I have never known there to be any other desire in either of them to do anything more than to dedicate their l
ives to God through Jesus Christ. But it has always been evident from as far back as I have known them that Mike has wanted to build a Movement that would make him great in the eyes of God. He wants to be numbered with the likes of Charles Finney and John Lake. It is His sole passion and desire is to be great in the Kingdom of God and to accuse him of anything less is foolishness and an argument that can’t be won. Mike is obsessed with that idea and he has gone to great lengths to accomplish it and believe me he has not asked anyone to do anything that he hasn’t done ten times over. In fact in the earlier days when Bill Kenney, Paul Coffman and several other Chiefs players were in attendance we would all say that he was the most intense man of God we had ever met.
Mike has always been a man of deep passion for God and the things of Christ and because of that he has a Christian charisma that has drawn believers from every nation together for the one purpose which is to glorify God on earth. However he is human and has developed a Christianity that is very fluid and capable of accepting a broad base of believers and in doing so he has become a target for everyone to shoot at but I can assure you it is not his intention to build a cult or control anybody. In fact I don’t think he even wants to be around people all that much anyway he would rather remain alone but in order to accomplish his goal which is to glorify the name of Christ he has to do so.
He doesn’t have a “cool aid” agenda nor does he have or ever had any malice in his heart for anybody or anything. He is a very kind person that has accomplished an incredible amount to further the Kingdom of God on earth and he has done so by becoming the topic of numerous blogs and essays and books that are all written with the assumption that they understand his motives. But in the pursuit to reveal his error in all that is written and said God has revealed the truth of his word. which has led to wonderment of God’s wisdom. I have never read so much deep and meaningful diverse literature in my 45+ years as a born again Christian as I have in the discussion of IHOP. It takes hours, days, weeks and months to assemble all the things that everyone has written and they would all make a great book that could easily change the lives of many down and out believers. I enjoy reading everything thing that you all have written and don’t disagree with much accept your interpretation of Mike’s motives and I say that because if I had my whole life laid out before the public as he has I would have fallen far shorter than anything he has ever done.
All of Mike’s short comings and interpretations of the Word are designed to accomplish his one desire and to know him would prove this out. God directed me to be a part of Mike’s church just as he had me attend Chuck Smith’s church in Costa Mesa Calif. called Calvary Chapel. Chuck had his critiques just as Mike has his but the bottom line is that God had me attend those two churches so that I could learn from their teachings as well as from the experiences that I would have with believers from their congregations. God is the author and finisher of my faith not Mike or Chuck or any other teacher whether false of true and all my experiences on earth test my heart, purify my faith and form me into the likeness of Christ.
To seek out the things that make a teacher false teaches me of the things that are true. We have all been taught very valuable lessons through our experiences with Mike but it was God who directed us to be a part of what he was doing and if there is anyone to blame it should be Him. In the book of Deuteronomy God said that He left the false teachers in the land to test (or purify) the hearts of his people. Mike’s flaws in his teachings because of his zeal has made him a great platform for discussion but again I assure you from the bottom of heart he is sincere in his faith and dedicated to one purpose which is to glorify the name of Christ on earth. Mike’s only goal is to be great in the Kingdom of God and if that means living in poverty, dedicated to prayer and fasting then he will do that more than any that have ever come before him.
Mike’s rendition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ found in IHOP will come and go, he will never call Jesus down out of heaven nor will he see the signs and wonders that he so desperately seeks for validation because it is a pipe dream that has been manufactured through his life time of trial and error much of which has left hundreds of casualties in its wake.
There are worse things that a person could do with their life than waste it in a prayer room. The fact that it will never amount to much will become evident but to sit in the presence of God is a good thing and should be encouraged.
Jesus however admonished us from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 that “…when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[b] 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” All of which are now common practice used to pray at IHOP but if Jesus said it won’t work who am I to argue?
I am no longer affected in the least by what takes place at IHOP I wish them the best and pray that God will richly bless them in their endeavors. The Word of God is eternal and true and the truth shall be known.
I don’t, however, believe that IHOP is in any way an authentic move of God nor do I believe that it is conducive to any type of good spiritual health in fact in my experience I watched Mike form the foundations of his IHOPian passion for Christ theology and found it to be very destructive. He uses two things that are very alluring to the young and naïve. One of which is the promise of a perfect love affair that is obtained through continual adoration of Christ through prayer. The other is the promise of a ministry or a position of authority in the church through the sacrifices made in the prayer room.
He promises his followers a perfect love affair with God which appeals to young people because they are coming of age for romance but the reality is that an inordinate amount of people that have been an intricate part of IHOP from its inception are now divorced or in spiritual ruin a fact that is commonly ignored. You would be astounded at the amount of relationships and families that I have seen decimated by trying to obtain Mike’s doctrine of a perfect love affair. The divorce rate is shocking as well as the future destruction that is continually wreaked upon the children that were abandoned in the care of strangers while the well meaning parents sacrificed thier lives in the prayer room asking for things that never came to pass. For every one success story that comes out of IHOP there are hundreds of lives that lie in ruin abandoned and strewn in the gutters of want-a-bes and tagged and bagged as bitter and angry because God wouldn’t promote them.
There is nothing healthy wasting your life in a prayer room repetitively chanting prayers and songs that make no sense to God or man. the relationships that are borne out of that behavior are so conditional and volatile that they often times if not for the grace of God end in ruin.
I took part in many the initial activities that eventually led to the IHOPian theology and I can tell you by experience that there are no enduring positive effects but many ill effects that last for decades. My children speak with contempt about their brief experiences in those early days and had I not been grounded in God through my salvation going into those years I would have certainly been numbered among the many shipwrecked casualties of those days.
Sorry for seeming as though I was defending Mike or anything that he teaches I was merely making the point that God may be leading many of the young into that situation to test their hearts through that experience. But I want to warn them that the path of devastation that Mike and his false prophets have wrought in the lives of so many sincere and naive believers is a travesty.
The people that now buy into mike’s form of elitism think that they are exempt somehow from the destruction that he has wrought throughout his ministry this is because they do not understand how it took place. They think that through all the years of trial and error that they have now somehow perfected the form of prayer needed to call Christ down out of heaven which is the foundation of what they are attempting to do. Mike believes that through 24/7 prayer he and his elitists are capable of ushering in the end times and that God will validate it through the signs and wonders that they continually ask for but Christ said that “… it is an evil vial generation that seeks for signs and wonders.”
IHOP is truly built upon the shifting sand of and the ever changing wind of doctrine that mike has designed to allow him to like Teflon in the midst of all his lies. His claims to have had angelic visitations and being taken up into the third heavens all of which have since allowed him bump elbows with the likes of Benny Hinn and his band of wolves. I experienced firsthand and am continuing to experience the destruction that Mike’s IHOPian theology has wreaked upon many of my friends and I can also attest to much of the negative things that are written about him. believe me I don’t defend him sorry for giving that impression.
One of the things I would most like to address about Mike Bickle is where the main source of his draw comes from for which he is able to continually re-man his staff and fill his prayer rooms with fresh blood in order to sustain his IHOPian movement. Mike has learned that his form of works based religion creates and incredibly high amount of turnover and In order to keep fresh knees at the altar he has had to learn how to replenish his stock. So he has developed a marketing plan that allows him to seasonally travel out to recruit new prospects through the seminar or convention circuit where he can appeal to the young and naïve as well as the transient evangelical. I have personally heard him say numerous times wants to attract the young and naïve because they are not yet soured by the deceptions of the church.
At the window of my house
I looked down through the lattice.
7 I saw among the simple (young and naïve),
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.
8 He was going down the street near her corner,
walking along in the direction of her house
9 at twilight, as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in.
10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
dressed like a prostitute ( a false Teacher) and with crafty intent.
11 (She is unruly and defiant,
her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
at every corner she lurks.)
13 She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:
14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.
15 So I came out to meet you;
I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed
with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
let’s enjoy ourselves with love!
19 My husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money
and will not be home till full moon.”
Mike searches for the young and naïve and has prepared a place them that they may “…drink deeply of love till the morning…” and says to them “…lets enjoy ourselves with love…” The passion for Christ is that alluring cry and he says that they are waiting upon the bride grooms return. But along with the young and naïve he has also learned how to draw upon the umpteen-million transient non-denominational evangelicals that church hop across America looking for the supposedly next big move of God. These people often times follow every wind of doctrine that comes along and even though they are quite well learned in the language of Bible still lack any Spiritual discernment to know right from wrong because they have squelched the voice of Truth by embracing the sea of lies. However they know their Bibles and can systematically decimate any logical argument that mature believers may have against their fluid doctrines.
It is from these two groups that he makes his greatest draw because neither of them has the maturity needed to discern the truth through the Spirit and therefore are very vulnerable to the love God that he presents through his passion for Christ message at IHOP. This is a very alluring message because it has so many earmarks for what might seem pleasing to God such as sacrifice, prayer, fasting and dedication to the Word. But if doing these things made one capable of pleasing God then we would have no need for Christ and his sacrifice.
Also there are so many places in the Word that disagree with many of the things that Mike now teaches such as his interpretation for what prayer is and how it is to be performed. In Matthew 6 Christ is laying down the basic to Christianity and he specifically addressed the way we are to pray when he said that “…when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[b] 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
IHOPians are taught to stand up in their meetings that they may be seen by men and pray in vain repetitions that in their many words they might be heard. What part of ‘don’t’ does Mike not understand?
But one the most compelling things is that mature Christians that are guided by the Spirit of God don’t bear witness to what he is saying or doing . If a believer is truly born of the Spirit they will not be able to bear witness to what he is teaching because it is borne out of lies and deception. When a believer has the Spirit of God dwelling in them and they hear the truth, the Spirit bears witness to it and the heart follows. However if that Spirit does not dwell in a person but rather alongside them they are unable to fully discern much of what is taught and therefore can be deceived.
A person is not born again because they believe in Jesus Christ otherwise Satan himself would have hope but rather it is a work of the Spirit that through a gestation period where the heart and soul tested, tried, prepared and then brought forth into eternal life where we are then born of God and this is an event that must take place in order to be able to fully discern the truth. Mike does not teach about being born again because he may have never experienced it and therefore does not understand it. What he does teach through implication is that salvation can somehow be achieved in the prayer rooms of IHOP. In fact he believes that he can reach his goal of “being great in the kingdom” based upon his performance in the prayer room thus nullifying the cross of Christ.
IHOP is a works based movement that appeals to flesh through the religion of prayer and fasting which is a minor activity in the Word of God but Mike has made it into a major. He is deceived and deceives others because he can no longer discern the truth. His cronies and soothsayers clamor to be at his side because it is him that they have set their hope in for salvation and even though they may have some knowledge of the Word they do not know Jesus Christ whom is the Word.
The Spirit is consistent in all things which mean that He will not bear witness to one that something is not true and to another that it is and the young and naïve and the deceived are both very susceptible to deception of the love gospel that Mike presents because neither is yet born again. They may believe in a form of the truth but are not yet at a place where they can fully discern it and in the mean time are lying with mike …till the morning comes.
Mike because I honestly do love him and hope for his best, but he is very deceived by his own thoughts of grandeur. Pat (Mike’s brother) and I both confronted him often times about his complete disregard for people in his pursuit of making a movement but he shunned us both for years. Pat died having never been healed but he was more in tune with God than Mike ever was and many of the things that he challenged Mike with often caused a great rift in the family of eight brothers and sisters. Pat never believed the soothsayers or anyone else that proclaimed Mike’s greatness because he had the discernment of the Spirit and knew in his heart that Mike and his cronies were deceived.
I often heard Mike’s story of salvation and strongly felt that it was merely an introduction into the faith something we have all experienced but there was never a mention of a time where he talks about being born again. Whereas on the other hand Pat, who suffered a life changing injury, had that experience and quite often shared it with anyone that would listen. Mike however was not into the born again thing but rather was from a very young age always bent on building; first a church that he could call his own then a movement that he could be the founding father of and he learned how to do it at the expense of thousands of innocent believers that trusted in his form of Christianity.
He knows and understands the Word but does not exude any of the characteristics that depict a true born again believer because he so readily accepts all the false teachers and soothsayers now surround him. He also lacks any real sense of spiritual discernment and will lie about things that are blasphemous before God. For Him to make the statement that he was taken up into the third heavens and that Jesus himself told him and IHOP ‘to be patient’ will yield an eternal Judgment that I don’t want to see and now fear for the condition of his eternal soul. Also to say those things without any type of gut check from Holy Spirit is a definite sign that the condition of his salvation is suspect at best.
If Mike should ever read any of these things he will know exactly who I am because long before I ever shared them with you or anyone else I confronted him first, face to face and he wouldn’t listen to them then and probably won’t listen now.
This entire writing are from Truthspeaker’s blog and obtained with the authot’s permission as well as the Truthspeaker’s permission. All comments to these posts are welcome.