Monthly Archives: January 2013

Deception Recognition in Prophecy

The flesh just loves a “good word” from someone indicating it’s coming straight from the Throne… So the question arises, what IS true prophecy?

And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS is the spirit of prophecy. KJV

So what’s lacking in “prophecies” spoken in today’s world? As spiritual adultery increases in the church, false prophets are HIGHLY sought after speakers, and as Christians accept more and more of these false teachings, MANY are falling away, believing in a phony “faith”. Since we have been warned, we need to really know how to discern false prophecy.

“A prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously…”
Deut. 18: 20-22

So what’s an easy way to distinguish the good from the bad? Especially in the signs and wonders camp…

And what if it DOES come true? Aren’t we specifically warned that near the End of the Age many will show GREAT signs and wonders? What then? Are signs and wonders “fruit”? Effective witchcraft is not the “fruit” we are to look for Gal. 5: 22-23. (Take a moment to look that one up.) Signs and wonders are not to be what we’re looking for. Matt 16:4. Does the prophet CALL FOR REPENTANCE, for holiness and loyalty to Christ no matter what? Or is he/she giving us something that feels oh so good! but is instead leading us away from God?

Interns at IHOP, please, consider the parable of the foolish virgins whose lamps lacked oil.. Please, fill your lamps with Him and leave the rest behind. There is so much deception in the church today — and NO, your elders aren’t just from the “old school” because they’re not joining in with you. (I’m referring here to those labeled as “church goers”). What they are doing is reading their Bibles, praying their thoughts, concerns, joys and praises to God, and weeping over the lost needing to know Him. Please ask The Lord if that’s what He’d have you do as well.

Remember this: “They are counterfeits of the real thing, dishonest practitioners masquerading as the messengers of Christ. Nor do their tactics surprise me when I consider how Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is only to be expected that his agents shall have the appearance of ministers of righteousness–but they will get what they deserve in the end.
2 Cor 11:13-15

Please, fill your lamps. Evangelize the lost and humble yourselves in the site of the Lord. THEN He will lift you up. James 4:10

Are there good teachings/teachers at IHOP?

At first glance, IHOP is a good institution.

From their statement of beliefs: We believe that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. No ordinance, ritual, work or any other activity on the part of man is required or accepted in order to be saved. This saving grace of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, also sanctifies us by enabling us to do what is pleasing in God’s sight in order that we might be progressively conformed to the image of Christ. (Jn. 1:12–13; 6:37–44; 10:25–30; Acts 16:30–31; Rom. 3:1–4:2; 8:1–17, 31–39; 10:8–10; Eph. 2:8–10; Phil. 2:12–13; Titus 3:3–7; 1 Jn. 1:7, 9)

Also included in their statement is this: We believe that the Church is God’s primary instrument, through which He is fulfilling His redemptive purposes in the earth. To equip the saints for the work of ministry, God has given the Church apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. We also affirm the priesthood of all believers and the importance of every Christian being joined with and actively involved in a local community of the saints. We believe that women, no less than men, are called and gifted to proclaim the gospel and do all the works of the kingdom. (Mt. 16:17–19; Acts 2:17–18, 42; Eph. 3:14–21; 4:11–16; 1 Tim. 2:11–15; Heb. 10:23–25; 1 Pet. 2:4–5, 9–10)

So far, so good — right?

Where non-biblical issues arise are where scripture is taken out of context whereby it ends up being twisted.

For example: Where is it listed in scripture that prophecy need not be 100% correct 100% of the time? Yet at IHOP, Mike Bickle has endorsed Bob Jones’ prophetic words numerous times while stating they were only 40-50-60% correct. And sometimes much less: Per Mike Bickle: “Some “prophetic words” may be 10 percent God’s words and 90 percent man’s words, while others have a greater revelatory content. On occasion God speaks to His servants in an audible voice. These are His “very words” that may be reported with a high degree of accuracy.”

(He is right about that “high degree of accuracy”. His message always demands 100% accuracy.)

“What I am trying to illustrate is that all prophecy today has a degree of mixture in it. Sometimes this yields a “mature” word that reflects more ideally what God would like to communicate, and sometimes it is communicated in a much-less-than-ideal fashion, yielding a “weak” word of lesser value, but still one that should not be despised.” – (Mike Bickle, The Difference Between Old and New Testament Prophecy)

Someone remind me — why isn’t Bob at IHOP anymore? And that is but one example. There are many. I am perplexed, however, by undocumented claims of wondrous works (yet no one can produce one shred of proof). I’ve recently read and heard IHOPpers claiming someone has been “raised from the dead” yet where is this person? No one knows. That reminds me of Todd Bentley…but I digress.

Then there’s the claim that Mike Bickle lives on a pauper’s salary and in a pauper’s house. Yet his wife, Diane, founded Glad Heart Realty and let me add here, that Glad Heart Realty’s list of Realtors reads like a list off of IHOP’s Who’s Who. So Diane is making a great salary off the company she founded — right? This would include the purchase of IHOP and its facilities as well — correct? So let’s pretend IHOP goes under. Let’s pretend it gets closed down for whatever reason — the government storms in (!), it quits paying its bills, or how about Mike tells everyone he is following some new direction from God! (YES, I’m being very sarcastic here..) and the place closes its doors. WHO gets the money when everything’s liquidated? IHOP is in whose name? Even more thought provoking than that is the question: WHERE are all those commission royalties right now? If they’re in the bank, the IRS is taxing them — but IHOP is a non-profit so whose bank are they in? It sure isn’t in the U.S. of A.

So back to the initial question in this post: Are there good teachers/teachings at IHOP? Answer? You betcha. Trouble is being able to distinguish between the good and the not so good isn’t always that easy. So what’s the scripturally best way to look at IHOP? I like Clark’s Commentary: James 3:11

Does a fountain send forth – sweet water and bitter? – In many things nature is a sure guide to man; but no such inconsistency is found in the natural world as this blessing and cursing in man. No fountain, at the same opening, sends forth sweet water and bitter; no fig tree can bear olive berries; no vine can bear figs; nor can the sea produce salt water and fresh from the same place. These are all contradictions, and indeed impossibilities, in nature. And it is depraved man alone that can act the monstrous part already referred to.

or from the God’s Word Translation:

Do clean and polluted water flow out of the same spring? The answer is NO.

So better to be safe than sorry — use His wisdom — BE the Berean from Acts 17:11 and stay far, far away from IHOP. Instead, ask The Lord to lead you to a place of His choosing. He is always faithful.

Question: What is the International House of Prayer (IHOP)?

Answer: The International House of Prayer- (IHOP) is a para-church ministry located in south Kansas City, Missouri. IHOP was founded by Mike Bickle in 1999. Its primary purpose seems to be international prayer of intercession. Since 1999, the International House of Prayer has experienced explosive growth, with the group acquiring significant amounts of property in Grandview, Missouri, and opening up satellite branches in other cities. The rapid expansion, the unusual practices, the fierce loyalty of many IHOP members, and the relative newness of the ministry have led many to question whether the International House of Prayer is a biblically-solid ministry or a cult.

At the International House of Prayer, there is active prayer taking place, literally 24/7, without interruption, and this has been the case for many years. 24/7 prayer is a good thing. There is no such thing as “praying too much,” so, in this area, IHOP is to be commended. The problem arises, however, in the type of prayer that is taking place. The International House of Prayer has adopted many of the practices of the contemplative prayer movement, with much more focus on mystcism and contemplative spirituality than on worshipping the Lord in prayer and interceding for others through prayer. Some elements of the IHOP employ prayer in a Word-Faith manner, claiming things from God rather than submitting to God’s will in humility.  So, while 24/7 prayer is commendable, if the prayers being uttered are not biblical, there is no true value in them.

Another concern with the International House of Prayer is its connection with the prophetic movement in general, and the Kansas City Prophets specifically. Instead of a biblical understanding of prophecy, that is, declaring the truth that God has revealed, IHOP essentially views prophets as Christian psychics, with prophetic hotlines, prophetic readings, and an emphasis on personal prophecy. Many have been led astray by those claiming to be apostles and prophets with a “word from the Lord.” There have been many reports of spiritual abuse and prophetic manipulation within the International House of Prayer movement.

This misunderstanding of the gift of prophecy leads to another area of concern. The International House of Prayer has an extreme over-emphasis on the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. Much has already been written on the cessation of the miraculous gifts, but IHOP’s use of these gifts goes far beyond what most Charismatics and Pentecostals will accept. At IHOP, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit are expected to be commonplace. Miraculous healings, visions, dreams, prophecies, tongues, words of knowledge, signs, wonders, etc., are claimed to be constant within the ministries of IHOP. Whether full cessationism is accepted or not, IHOP’s claims regarding the gifts of the Spirit do not at all agree with what the Bible presents. In the New Testament, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit authenticated the teachings of the apostles (2 Corinthians 12:12). If miracles are normal, they cannot have an authenticating quality to them. IHOP’s claims regarding miracles do not agree with what the Bible teaches about miracles, signs, and wonders. We would all be wise to remember Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:24, “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.”

With all of that said, clearly IHOP should not be considered a biblically-sound ministry/organization. The above concerns are only the “tip of the iceberg” in comparison to some of the things that have been lreported by former IHOP members.

Should the International House of Prayer movement be considered a cult? That is more difficult to answer. Generally speaking, a cult is a group that has false teaching on one or more of the core truths of the Christian faith, such as the deity of Christ or salvation by faith alone. On these core truths, IHOP appears to be solid and biblical. However, other common identifying factors of a cult are present at IHOP, such as it being controlled primarily be one individual, fierce loyalty to the organization, communal living, and a feeling of superiority over the uninitiated. That last point is undeniable as so many IHOP inductees have written into this (and other) blogs with a blatently elitest attitude — many times referring to other believers in Christ as “dead”, “without faith”, “religious” simply because they “only attend some dead, protestant church”. So, while the International House of Prayer should probably not be considered a cult by definition, there are enough serious concerns about its beliefs and practices that should prevent Christians from getting involved in its ministries as, more likely than not, IHOP is most certainly a cult.

Many thanks to “Got Questions?” Ministry for this article.