I was at IHOP and FSM for about 3+ years…

This letter was sent to me by a dear sister in Christ yesterday and she gave me permission to share it.  I know others who have been torn apart by IHOP and this sister sums it up so well. 

I attended IHOP and FSM and was heavily involved for about 3+ years.

I started feeling really weird about some things that were being done and said there, so I took it to the Lord, as any “Berean” should. I started asking very genuine questions about where certain things were in scripture like deliverance ministry, false prophesies, manifestations, etc.  I wanted it to be explained to me because I didn’t quite understand. Most days I felt like an outsider because everyone but me was “getting it.”

I noticed that, when I started asking questions, that I had been “red flagged”.   What I mean is that I had particular people in leadership following me around.  I was moved out of my core group and into one with Sabrina Walsh  who was a former practicing witch and was also a leader at FSM.  I was to be “monitored”.  I began having strange dreams and getting attacked on almost a daily basis.

As I read more scripture, I also began to realize that much of what they were teaching and practicing was extremely unbiblical and even dangerous. We were constantly fasting and in the prayer room.  …After starting to eat more and going to the prayer room a little less, I felt my head start to clear up and I didn’t like what I was seeing.  Half-way through my third year of school I was brought into a room with several staff members (including Walsh) who accused me of many things that I hadn’t even come close to doing and they said something to the effect of:

“We know that you have father issues that need to be resolved (I didn’t) and we can tell that you are heavily oppressed by many demons.  However, we are incapable of this level of deliverance on someone. We just don’t have the time or the resources. So we are going to send you to this wonderful place in Toronto, Canada.  This rehabilitation facility is capable of handling your type of situation. We’ve sent many students there who have come back completely delivered.  We are going to send you there.  You cannot come back to IHOP or FSM until we have a written letter from them stating that you have been delivered.  In the current state you are in, you’re a danger to the other student’s growth and spiritual being.”

…To which I told them I would certainly go, but had no intention of actually going. I said I would go because I was very much afraid for my life and was afraid until I moved back home. After the meeting with them, I immediately called my Dad, who I’d been told not to talk to anymore because he said IHOP was a cult.  He booked the first flight to Kansas City.  At that time, my mom and I owned a home there and we had been helping students that went to FSM by providing rooms with low rent. I had an excellent relationship with each person in the house. Within two weeks of being pulled into the office ALL of my roommates – my friends –  moved out. When asked directly, they either had no response or told me that the school had told them it was an “unsafe environment”  because I and my mother “had a demon”.

I was absolutely crushed.  All I ever wanted was to know God and at the time I felt completely rejected by Him. I was severely messed up for about 2 1/2 years. 

I thank God for my Calvary Chapel pastor back home who spent every minute of those 2 years being there for me, speaking life over me, and bringing me back to the truth of the Word of God. I almost lost faith and hope many times. But God is so amazing…He spared my life and got me out of there.

I grieve for the people I love who are still stuck within the lies of IHOP and for the many who are recruited to IHOP daily. I pray for their souls and I pray for the truth to be made known to them. If ever there was an “antichrist spirit,” this is it.

I’ve kept all of my journals, notes, books, and materials from when I was there. When looking back on the things I wrote and the things I would say…it’s like I was a mindless drone who repeated everything I heard. It scares me to think that so many people are being decieved, so many families ripped apart…so many lives destroyed….and all in the name of “Jesus”.  God help us and God forgive those who tarnish and blaspheme Your name!

31 thoughts on “I was at IHOP and FSM for about 3+ years…”

  1. Thanks so much for the bravery with which you have shared. Funny thing is I live in the Toronto Area. I once pastored in the Vineyard movement and the Lord in his mercy has set me free. It warms my heart to hear of people escaping the modern charismatic movement. May the lord who saw fit to deliver you continue to lead and guide you, sincerely Paul.

  2. Thank u so much Paul! May I ask what it was that God showed you? I imagine it was much different since you were a pastor. I’d love to hear back from you (delilahdias@yahoo.com).

  3. well it would take a lot longer than I have time to write here and now but if you click on my name you can follow the link to the section where i share some of my experiences on a local radio show here in the Toronto area. It was done about 2 years ago but is still relevent to whats going on. thanks for all you have done in taking a stand. The Lord will use you to snatch others from the fire if you hold the line. Blessings in Christ, Paul.

  4. I remember being a part of a Word Faith movement years ago and it was amazingly easy to swallow the deception – sad to say. I mean, when you’ve got all kinds of people around you saying, “Amen!” and “Preach on, brother!”, you find yourself nodding your own head after a while…

    IHOP has torn SO many friends and families apart. You would THINK that the kids going there would take a minute to think, “Hmmm… I wonder WHY so many people are calling this place a bad place?” ..instead of just rushing to IHOP’s and Mike Bickle’s defense time and time again. Sad.

  5. I thought the same thing, Annunk.

    But IHOP exploits the kids who need to be loved and accepted. The ones who are naive and looking for more. I was one of those kids and almost everyone there has the same story…they’re all running from something.

  6. Here’s a note from the sister in Christ of whom this blog is about: One of her friends took issue with her testimony so here is some clarification from her.

    “I want to make sure I am above reproach and that there is really no room for question on anything regarding my testimony. Therefore, I would like to share more of my testimony to help clarify any possible grey areas that had not been addressed originally.

    I grew up as the only Christian in my household. My parents came to know Jesus when I was about 10. My Father began to backslide after his grandmother died which took a pretty big toll on his relationship with my brothers, my mother, and I. Off and on since I was in about 7th grade, I had severe night terrors and nightmares. I attended a Bible High School as well as a Bible College after I graduated. I often tried to find a reason and a way to stop my night terrors, with little to no answers. Meanwhile, my family was extremely rocky to say the least. My dad was an absentee, my youngest brother was abusive, and my mom was enabling them both. I always wanted to help them, but neglected myself in the process. Wanting to get closer to the Lord, I decided to go to an extension campus in Hawaii (without praying about it and for pretty selfish reasons). I knew I probably wasn’t supposed to go but went anyway to escape from everything else. The Pastor who ran the campus quit 3 days before our arrival and a local apprentice to the pastor was put in charge and reluctantly to the position. It was a pretty messed up situation, to which I and everyone else on campus (about 20 people) ended up leaving as a result. At this point, my walk was very dry and I just needed a place I felt I could fit in and at the same time, draw closer to the Lord and get some answers for weird things that would happen from time to time (like the night terrors).
    Then a friend of mine, at the time, told me about the International House of Prayer. I heard that my favorite band was going to play at their OneThing Conference in December, and decided to go for three reasons: 1. To meet the friend who told me about IHOP 2. To see my favorite band 3. Hopefully get closer to the Lord.

    At this time I had absolutely no experience in anything the Charismatic church teaches and was clueless about manifestations, deliverance ministry, etc. But, I was very desperate to be loved and excepted by God and by people.

    SO I went to the conference and had some very different experiences that felt good to me and I decided to go to FSM because of it.

    My first semester there, I had nothing but good things to say about IHOP because I was still learning all these new things that I found to be fascinating, and I felt I was accepted by everyone else who was just like me. I also thought I found answers to my night terrors, when they explained it was because I had demons, as I explained before, that needed to be delivered. After going through several of their deliverance ministries, however, the terrors only got worse with every night.

    It wasn’t until my second semester (after going home for Christmas break) that I realized I had completely disconnected from my family, friends, and reality. All of my closest friends and family members sat me down (individually) for an intervention of sorts. They would tell me that I’ve changed and I seemed happy and “on-fire” for God, but that something was off and something was wrong. And when I would tell them some of the things I was learning or experiencing, they only became more worried, and I was confronted by scripture. So going back into my second semester, I was a lot more confused and had a lot more questions. Which is where everything started in the part of the story I sent to you.

    Slowly but surely, the Lord chipped away at my heart and showed me scriptures to cause me to question the things that would go on there.

    When I finally left IHOP, I was not all the way better. I was actually worse then when I started because I was more confused, felt rejected, and still needed help. My head felt like it was covered in a fog. I would constantly go back and forth between “I know what happened was wrong and God was the one taking me out of there to save me” all the way to “IHOP was right and there is something wrong with me.” Like I said, I was a complete mess and it took a whole lot of love and prayer to get me out of that state of mind. I even flew to Illinois to go to my friend’s church (the same one who told me about IHOP) to try to get “Delivered” of this demon IHOP told me about because I was so messed up. After that trip, I walked away from the Lord completely for about 6 months and was absolutely miserable.

    It wasn’t until I came back to my Calvary Chapel church that life started to become normal again, and even then, it took a really long time. I was able to let go of needing to feel something that wasn’t there and just focus on the truth of the Word of God and loving and understanding who God is. He is never-changing, always loving, arms-wide open, ever wise, ever beautiful, ever strong, amazing, orderly, and truthful God. He is my best friend, my Father, my peace, and my joy. And it didn’t take barking like a dog, falling over, being “drunk,” or being “delivered” from a “demon,” to do it. It was straight-up surrendering to His will and letting go of mine. It was repentance and it was loving God even if it seems “Boring.” It was just worshipping at his feet, reading His word, fellowship with believers, accountability, etc… going back to the basics. 🙂

    So that is the whole story.”

  7. Woke up with this thought: In all this behavior in these blogs and others, amazing they call themselves CHRISTIAN and they’re justified in this? Dealt with abusive behavior at PIHOPrayer, what do they all think who do these bizarre behavior and abuses CONSTITUTES TO BE A CHRISTIAN? W

  8. Before Mike Bickle started IHOP in KC, he was a Pastor in his early 20’s in St. Louis, MO. And that is where my story begins.

    Being raised by a single Mom, who was searching for her own faith, we were introduced to the Charasmatic movement, and as a young girl at the age of 9, I excepted Jesus into my life as my personal savior, and started attending New Covenant Church, where Mike Bickle was a youth pastor. From there he spun off to a small (The little) church he pastored, and we followed.

    I was mesmerized by his charisma at a young age of 13, and he provided the father figure I never had. And to be quite honest had quite a crush. But he also was a good manipulator and used his power to enthrall many of us teenagers at the time. Appealing to us that didn’t have alot of self-esteem. By the time he got done with his quest for power, he had ruined many friendships and torn apart families. And to this day, 30 years later I am still comforting those girls that he hurt so deeply. I was front and center to his antics, and I see that his deception continues, in the ruse of prophecies and visions, and doctrines that who knows are even biblical.

    I believe he is at IHOP for his own gain, and power, and it is a CULT. He has the ability to use others weaknesses for his own gain. He destroyed lives in St. Louis and I find it interesting that he continues to do destruction in KC. Praise God for those who have seen the light. There is nothing wrong with Loving Jesus, and living your life for him. But I don’t believe God wants families to be destroyed and young adults to be so blinded that they lose sight of Gods word and path………

    Many blessings to those who have survived Mike Bickle, I’m so greatful that I still have my faith in God and haven’t lost sight of that. Focus on God not man…….Written by a someone who knows first-hand inner circle of Mike Bickle.

  9. @C Manley,
    Thank you for your post. I was wondering if you could be more specific as to how mike was manipulative (ie: what exactly did he do) and how exactly did he destroy families and lives.

  10. I don’t see anything of the things outlined at IHOP. I have 4 kids and my family is not ripped apart. I actually see more of them now that I have moved here. IHOP is a community of people going hard after prayer, fasting, reading the bible and loving the widows and orphans!! Mike openly says if you cant find what we are saying in scripture then dont just do it – no cult leader says this. They control – There is no control at IHOP just strong leadership around a vision and calling. Thank God for IHOP being raised up when millions of Christians are turning to the luke warm gospel which is not the gospel of Christ

  11. …”now that I have moved here….” Wow, Steve. Sure have heard that one before.

    Steve, IHOP promotes MANY of the attributes in scripture. I’ll be the first one to agree with you on that. Are we to pray? Yes! Are we to fast? Yes! But IHOP also promotes a VERY New Age practice: Contemplative Prayer. CP is nothing but TM (Transcendental Meditation) with a Jesus mantra. It’s not scriptural at all. But Mike Bickle promotes it anyway. I thought he said if it’s not in there, don’t do it?!

    You said, “millions of Christians are turning to the lukewarm gospel”. Steve, if it’s ‘lukewarm’, it isn’t “Gospel” they’re hearing. (That’s like saying, “chew the meat and spit out the bones” – my God has no bones in His word.)

    I’ve always wondered when I hear people talking about “lukewarm Christians” if it’s something they’ve only ‘heard’ someone talking about or something they’ve actually observed themselves. Which one are you, Steve?


  12. Hi Tish PS,

    Thanks for the reply.

    What I mean by Lukewarm christians are those who go to church on Sunday and sing songs but God does not impact their 9-5 everyday outside Sunday.

    I have been a believer in the Message of Jesus Christ for the past 22 years and I personally hold to the The Apostles’ Creed. I would be happy going to any Sunday fellowship that held to this creed. I have been a member of a Conservative evangelical church as well as Charasmatic fellowships and am equally at home in either.

    I will do some more research on your contemplative prayer but what I have read within classic christian literature that has been trusted for years – there is no problem.

    Would you consider contemplating on the phrase within the Lords prayer ‘Our Father’?

    Happy to consider how you feel about it and as I said will do more research.

    Since I have been here at IHOP most of what is prayed in the prayer room is scripture. I love this and prefer it to getting my own shopping list out before God (not suggesting at all that you do that)

    Having worked for Your for Christ in the Middle East and been a Youth and Missions Pastor for a church and ran my own business for 10 years, I have seen nothing and heard nothing that conflicts out my Evangelical Christian beliefs here at IHOP. I love the heart and passion of the leadership team and know a number of them personally. I see great integrity and a tremendous generous hearts and the fruits of the Spirit. These fruits are impossible to grow with out the Spirit of God!

    Me and my family are enjoying being around people who take the words of Jesus seriously. A group of people that want to run hard after God and understanding His precious Word.

    My parents are arriving tomorrow and I have been on Skype with them nearly every day. I have not been asked at all to break communication with my family – I find this thought bizarre.

    It would be fruitless to try and debate what I see as the wonderful family and life at IHOP.

    I understand and will consider deeply your thoughts and pray that in all things we can find peace beyond understanding and hope we can find Unity in some things.

    Whilst working with YFC I had to navigate Orthodoxy, Evangelicalism, Charismatics, Conservatives, AOG, Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist and may more. All these groups have certain elements in scripture they lift up and others they lay down. I believe though all the same body.

    In Christ

    Steve MJ

  13. ok .what do u guys have to say after steve words because they look very honest to me. A friend just post me all this bad things about ihop,when he knew i was saving money to go . I honestly feel so confuse because nobody explains deeply the controlling issues or the problems with visions and dreams. They just critized charismatics.

    I believe in the holy spirit ,in prophecy ,dreams ,visions ,and beeing set free from demons. THEY ARE ALL OVER THE BIBLE.

    And yes,not everybody is mature enough to deal with this gifts ,that is your responsability to receive and discern . So, i need something deeper to be convinced that it is a cult.

    I SEE HONEST WORSHIP ,HUNGER FOR THE SPIRIT,FASTING (if u do not want to fast ,dont fast)AND PRAYER.

  14. @Steve MJ, are you in an internship? If not your mileage would indeed vary. I wonder, with the impressive resume you possess, that you would have to research CP, as a pastor, devoted to studying the scriptures, you should see on it’s face that it is indeed, unscriptural and new age. You did say you had studied ‘classic christian literature’. Hopefully you mis-spoke and meant ‘classic gnostic literature’. Since all of these former practitioners from Madame Guyon to Zinzendorf down to Montanus were refered to as ‘mystics’, most were catholics and most were also branded as heretics, every one but 2 or 3. This is not something new, it has been popping up since the second century. I understand this posting is about CP, but what of the other teachings and doctrines at IHOP? I was once like you, I too said, “I haven’t seen any of this” “I have never heard this taught at IHOP” when confronted by concerned friends and family. But I kept my eyes and ears open and I was literally plucked from the fire. My advice, given in love to you is this; if those ‘red flags’ pop up, pay attention. Test ALL the spirits.
    -Chad Golani

  15. “When I finally left IHOP, I was not all the way better. I was actually worse then when I started because I was more confused, felt rejected, and still needed help. My head felt like it was covered in a fog. I would constantly go back and forth between “I know what happened was wrong and God was the one taking me out of there to save me” all the way to “IHOP was right and there is something wrong with me.”

    I can absolutely relate to that statement. I was on staff for approx. 8 years and left approx. 4 years ago. I began to see things were not right there years before I left, but it took me a while to get up the courage to leave. I was in that fog for a year or so after leaving. 4 years later, I now feel I can see much more clearly the false things going on at IHOP. I am so thankful I am no longer there.

  16. I am so thankful that God got you out of there. I hope you can share with others who are still there – still being deceived. If God could open your eyes, He can open theirs.

  17. Hey!

    I was a OneThing intern at IHOP-KC for 6 months (and was heavily involved with their summer-programs in High School). I’ve been away from IHOP for around 2-3 years.

    I will say this: be very cautious of this “letter.” IHOP-KC definitely isn’t a perfect Church, but it isn’t like what the author is describing.


  18. Izzy, how did Jesus put it? A little leaven leavens the whole lump?

    Mike Bickle, Allen Hood and all the other teachers there can preaching God’s word just fine but then they add in the garbage teachings, such as Jeol’s Army, Bridal Paradigm, Esther Anointing, contemplative prayer, soaking prayer, breath prayers (all the same thing as TM) and you end up with young people accepting everything that spews out of their mouths.

    Dangerous teachings — and even though Mr Bickle tells everyone to “check it out for yourselves! Check what I’m telling you in your Bibles!” They’re not doing that. They’re just going with the flow and sadly, it’s a deceptive flow they’re accepting.

  19. Still here at IHOP with my family. My wife is now doing FSM at IHOPU. I finished my year of Media school and loved it 🙂 Am now managing the home with my wife at school – its fantastic – challenging but fantastic 🙂 I see so much of my children and am loving the freedom to do lots of new things.

    Annunk – your position is a perspective held in the body a few groups of people. You are my brother and we express our faith differently but we both hold to the Apostles creed.

    Having studied hard and lived a long time in the faith, the doctrines you dont like that may or may not be expressed at IHOP are not show stoppers!! What I meant by that is that the ma the Holin thing is the main thing. Receiving forgiveness of sin and accepting Christ as your Lord and Saviour. I will say again that I have had to navigate whilst working for Youth for Christ a number of denominational differences that the body expresses. Non of them made me want to go out on a limb and call them ‘a deceptive flow’ like you do with IHOP. I think this is very interesting as I see no broken heart, longing for change or compassion.

    I have had many very long and deep discussions with students who are digging in the bible themselves and challenging what is preached by Mike, Allan and others. So it is not correct to say ‘they are not doing that’

    What I see from Mike, Allan and other leaders is a real expression of humility and living the life out for real. I don’t see that in many other places. Jesus said in Matt 11:29 ‘learn of me because I am gentle and humble’ – I dont see this tone in your communication on this blog at all.

    I am trying to have that tone – not always doing it well but trying.

    If you still have no peace and must speak negatively about your fellow brothers and sisters like this. Please FAST, PRAY and SEEK GOD that deception would go and that HE would lead the IHOP community into all the truth.

    I trust the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth.

  20. Annunck,

    The younger people at IHOP (especially the interns) have a tendency of not wrestling with the Word and simply accepting most of the teaching at IHOP. This was something that really bothered me during my internship. When I attended, I was constantly wrestling with the Word and trying to make sense of what was being taught. I remember I even had a discussion one night with one of my friends where I was questioning some of the End Times theology Mike had taught that night. One of my friends said, “Izzy, why are you questioning it? Why don’t you have faith?”

    So yes, you’re right: many of the younger people at IHOP (especially the interns) do not wrestle with the Word. But, this isn’t uncommon: most Churches I’ve attended have similar problems with the youth. If you grew up in a Baptist Church, your beliefs will, for the most part, reflect the Baptist Convention. If you grew up in a Methodist Church, the same thing. I think it’s a little bit more of a problem at IHOP simply because of how “radical” the environment is there (things like this tend to be amplified a bit), but this isn’t uncommon to many Churches I’ve attended.

    Question: what is wrong with the sermons you are referencing? The Bridal Paradigm is simply teachings based on the metaphor of how the Church is the Bride of Christ (a metaphor that has been referenced by early Church Fathers for centuries). I’ve never heard of breath-prayers before (was never taught this during my internship). I don’t remember Joel’s Army being preached much at IHOP-KC, but if I remember correctly, it is simply a reference to End-Times believers who fast and pray while the events of the End Times unfold (not connected to violence or militaristic-actions in any way).

    There are many things that are taught at IHOP that get very skewed by various websites and blogs on the internet. Living there and being taught under their ministry program, I can tell you that many of these various sermons you’re referencing are Biblically-based. The ONLY things at IHOP-KC that caused my warning-bells to ring were weird theologies held by certain interns in my internship (not IHOP leadership, but the young people who come to be trained there). Some of these skewed teachings online might be coming from second-hand ex-IHOP’ers. The leadership of IHOP, though, are very safe teachers and, for the most part, stick to Scripture. The ONLY times I really disagreed with Mike’s teachings were when he took Scripture (especially Old-Testament prophecy) out of context. This rarely happened, and to be honest, most every pastor I’ve ever heard a sermon from at one point or another takes Scripture out of context to prove a point. For the most part, the teachings there are very Biblically-sound, and I still feel encouraged tuning into the web stream and hearing Mike and Allan preach.

    -Izzy 🙂

  21. Izzy, I am not a blogger who has only learned about IHOP via the Internet. IHOP very nearly destroyed my family.

    I highly recommend you Google “The Abberent Teachings of IHOP Doctrine” by Ernie Gruen. He exposed IHOP’s many heresies. Let me know if and when you’ve looked it up. OK?

  22. Just for clarities sake…. the Gruen Report was written about the Kansas City fellowship… NOT. ihop… it came out at least 10 years before IHOP began. Still it is an important document.

  23. MJ, contemplative prayer is TM. Breath prayers, centering prayer, “the silence” are all the same thing – transcendental meditation. Mike Bickle endorses that big time. Check out the IHOP bookstore.

    You swallow a little bad with the good and pretty soon you can’t distinguish the difference between the two. You’re right in that we both believe the same basic doctrines/teachings noted in the Apostles Creed – but to mix New Age in with it and still call it good is playing with fire. Literally.

    Do you and your wife both practice contemplative?

  24. I wish all of you add some bible Scriptures to support your point of view. in all of these comment and post, i did not see any!!!!! wonder why ????? so please post what you think contradict with IHOP teachings, so we know you correct on your point of view about IHOP.

  25. You can go through the site. They may not be on ‘the’ post you’re reading, but they’re in there.
    PS That scripture in Psalms that’s used for contemplative prayer, psalms 46:10 does not mean practice transcendental meditation. It does not mean to slow your breathing. It does not mean to think about absolutely nothing. THAT however is how one DOES meditate transcendentally as well as pray contemplatively….
    (OK, so I have used scripture now. Are you able to better understand what I’m talking about?)

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