Category Archives: occult
One day this week: It’s 11 a.m. today (I’m at work) with Lincoln Brewster on the small Bose-type stereo they allow me to play in my office. He is belting out, “All the Earth Will Sing Your Praises”.
So I was doing a type of testing with an employee who’d just arrived. I noticed she was in sandals and street clothes and had some type of charm around her neck. I asked her if she was on her day off. She was very sweet, from India, and replied that, “yes” she was on an off day. I couldn’t believe someone would come into the heart of the city on their day off for testing like that. She went on to say that she had listened to relaxing music when she was driving into the city so that made coming in through the traffic easy….and that she had also “done very deep meditation” before leaving the house…
Per company policy: I am not to discuss “anything spiritual” at work. If someone disregards that rule, they lose their job. Well The Holy Spirit really, really, really stirred within me and I heard myself saying, “Well you know what. ‘Chee’? I listen to my Bible when I drive into work. (This was followed by an official ‘pregnant pause’… I heard myself saying next, “Then, if there’s time, I turn on Pandora and listen to Christian music — much like the song that you hear playing right now.” (By this time “Third Day” was singing ‘God of Wonders’). Now I hear myself saying, “After spending that time, I walk through my day with a peace that passes understanding.” (I purposefully left out praying…. because… The Holy Spirit just zip-locked my mouth right at that moment. Why? I don’t know.
She then gave me a smile acknowledging what I’d said..and said, ‘goodbye and thank you’ as she left.
Friends, she is not a Christian and as she was leaving, walking down the hall, I immediately asked God to “Please send other believers in Christ to witness to ‘Chee'” That isn’t her real name, but I would ask all those who are lead by the Holy Spirit to please pray the same prayer for “Chee”.
A lot of churches get caught up in NUMBERS. E.g.. This many came to know the Lord this month.. or X number of people were baptized this quarter/year and etc.
God calls us to be SEED SOWERS. HE is the one who is over The Harvest. So today, seed was sown with Chee. TODAY, I am really asking for prayer for this person. “Chee” could be a VERY STRONG WITNESS for Christ among her friends and family. Please keep her in prayer.
In lieu of the fact that she is in touch with demonic entities via her “meditative” practices, I ask that you’d be in agreement with me that God would crush that stronghold and allow her eyes to be opened to His Truth. She was listening to very powerful Christian music for 10 straight minutes. She was able to witness the “peace” that was within me.
It doesn’t matter if she’s practicing meditation from the Buddhist faith or Contemplative prayer. They are literally the absolute same thing. A Christian who practices Contemplative may say, “no, no, no! I meditate upon Jesus.” Author after author has said, “for successful Contemplative prayer to work, your mind really has to enter an area of ‘nothingness'”. “Your mind cannot be focused on any one thing for it to work.” I’ve had multiple contemplatives tell me that right to my face. You don’t end up meditating on Him – you just end up emptying your mind of every outside influence — and allowing whatever entity is awaiting that open door, to enter in.
Pray for Chee. One day, we will see The Harvest. I hope to see Chee amongst those harvested.
Hitting the news: THE TRUTH about IHOP (despite the Rolling Stone writing it about Tyler Deaton’s IHOP antics).
Oh yeah, it’s long but well worth the read.
Interesting facts noted about IHOPers cutting off ties with family members who try and pull them away from Bickle’s teachings..
And why, after reading this, would anyone with any ability to reason think, even for a moment, that IHOP was not a cult?
In going thru my older items this morning, I came across this article. It is (sadly) still true. The deception within the Christian community is almost as bad as the unbelief within this world. Unfortunately, not much has changed over the past 10 years — except for things becoming much, much worse – which causes me to say, “Come Lord Jesus, come!”
The Dangers of the International House of Prayer (IHOP)
by John Park
The International House of Prayer (IHOP) was started on May 7, 1999 by Mike Bickle in Kansas City.  It is well known for its 24/7 worship and prayer ministry. Now it has grown substantially to include international ties, its very own seminary, and undergraduate program. People from around the globe are flocking to IHOP, but do they actually know what they are getting into?
[NOTE: IHOP’S SEMINARY AND UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM ARE NOT ACCREDITED PROGRAMS.]
Cultic Origins and Goals
It is clear that almost all of the participants in IHOP do not have an understanding of what they are getting into. Many of the participants, including many genuine Christians who are being deceived, believe it is a place to go pray and worship, while not knowing what the theological distinctives are that make IHOP unique. The true origin started in 1982 after a man named Augustine approached Mike Bickle and said an audible voice told him to prophesy to his congregation. Later that year, Mike Bickle claimed to hear an audible voice speaking to him while on a trip in Cairo, Egypt. The voice told him, “I am inviting you to raise up a work that will touch the ends of the earth. I have invited many people to do this thing and many people have said yes, but very few have done my will.” 
This is parallel to how many other cults of Christianity are born. They follow the basic formula:
(Blank 1) said God told him/her a message, and he/she and starts the (Blank 2) church.
Joseph Smith said God told him a message, and he started the Mormon church.
Ellen G. White said God told her a message, and she started the Seventh Day Adventist church.
Mary Eddy Baker said God told her a message, and she started the Christian Scientist church.
Sun Myung Moon said God told him a message, and he started the Unification church.
Witness Lee/Watchman Nee said God told him a message, and he started the Local Church.
Mike Bickle said God told him a message, and he started the International House of Prayer.
Not only is IHOP origin akin to many other aberrant groups, but their ultimate goals follow suit. Mike Bickle has been quoted to say the church brings on the great tribulation:
We’re not absent for the great tribulation, now listen carefully, the church causes the great tribulation. What I mean by that – it’s the church, it’s the praying church under Jesus’ leadership that’s loosing the judgment in the great tribulation in the way that Moses stretched forth his rod and prayed and loosed the judgments upon Pharaoh. The church in the tribulation is in the position that Moses was before Pharaoh but it won’t be a Pharaoh and Egypt, it’ll be the great end time Pharaoh called the antichrist and the book of Revelation is a book about the judgments of God on the antichrist loosed by the praying church. 
Even worse, Bickle proposes that an elite end-time church defeats God’s enemies, and Jesus is “held in the heavens” until it happens.
Right now the prayer movement is growing fast….really fast! But when I say it’s growing fast instead of one percent of the Body of Christ taking hold of it, maybe 10 percent. It’s….you know it’s like 10 times bigger than it was a generation ago, but beloved as fast as the prayer movement is growing, where people are getting hold of it, still for 90 percent of the Body of Christ it’s not even on their mind. Jesus is not coming until the Body of Christ globally is crying out “Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus” and they don’t just say “come and forgive me” they are crying out in the understanding of who they are as the one that is cherished by Jesus in the bridal identity. 
The Power of Emotionalism, Mysticism, and Gnosticism
The major draw of IHOP is experience. People often come to me citing their experience and go back again and again to experience “God” and the “Spirit” – no different than an emotional high. This is analogous to mysticism, which is defined as “the pursuit of deeper or higher subjective religious experience,” and “that spiritual reality is perceived apart from the human intellect and natural senses.”  They practice what is known as centering or contemplative prayer. This is defined as “the practice of relaxing, emptying the mind, and letting one’s self find the presence of God within.”  In fact, they had an article titled “Contemplative Prayer” on their website, but after much negative press they have taken it down.  However, the contents of the article have been preserved by a former IHOP staff member’s website and is available for all to see here: (http://gospelmasquerade.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/contemplative-prayer-continued/)
One of the highest criticisms would be IHOP’s insidious Gnosticism. Gnosticism is derived from the greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge.” The hallmark of Gnosticism is the idea of having “hidden knowledge” of the spiritual realm that is unavailable to others. This knowledge comes via prophecies, visions, and dreams that God specifically gives to a certain privileged group of people – in this case IHOP. In fact, IHOP has their own “prophecy rooms” where one can receive “prophecies,” and they used to have a practice of mailing out recorded tapes, of which I was asked by my friend’s mother to translate!
This is something the Apostle Paul discusses in Colossians 2:18. “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind” (NASB) .
Great experiences with our Lord are a gift from God, but one needs to exercise caution concerning the authority he/she gives personal experiences. More often than not, the people who go to IHOP do not have a strong theological foundation and so they rely on their experiences to dictate what the Bible says and not the other way around. Here are some words (from Dr. John MacArthur’s sermon “Are Experiences a Valid Source of Truth?) of wisdom regarding experiences:
There is the ploy they use, “Well, we would expect you to be against it since you haven’t had the experience.” That is Gnosticism. That is believing that you have been elevated to a higher level of comprehension which the uninitiated have no understanding. Rodman Williams, who has written a number of books and who was once the president of a local Charismatic school, and I quote said, “Any vital information concerning the Gifts of the Spirit, the Pneumatic Charismata, predisposes a participation in them. Without such a participation, whatever is said about the Gifts may only result in confusion and error.” If you haven’t had it, you have no right to talk about it. One pastor said to me, “You talk exactly like one who never had the experience. You are speaking out of ignorance.” I wonder if they feel that way talking about Heaven, Hell, murder, adultery, homosexuality, and numerous other subjects. Do we have to have that experience too? 
The IHOP Dilemma
When someone comes to you and say that God gave him a clear audible and/or visual revelation (dream, vision, prophecy, etc.), you are now in what I will call the IHOP Dilemma.
Due to the seriousness of disobeying genuine prophecy and the heinousness of proclaiming a false one, you are in an IHOP Dilemma when you are now forced to choose:
1) If this person is actually speaking truth from God. If so, we are bound to listen or face incurring the steep penalty of disobeying God’s very own commands via His prophet.
2) Whether or not a person is proclaiming falsehood in God’s name and thus incurring the steep penalty of false prophesying and being a false prophet.
Unfortunately, this puts the rest of Christianity in a hard situation, because we now have to make the determination whether IHOP is full of false prophets or true prophets and to treat them as such. We cannot merely remain neutral. How can we be neutral on God’s revelation or on such an egregious sin as false prophecy within the church? It is like someone saying the pastor cheated on his wife or that he murdered someone and saying, “Hmm… let me think about that and get back to you later.” No, you’re now in a tough situation and you now have to make a hard decision!
Unfortunately, many of those in IHOP have no idea what they are doing when they are supposedly “prophesying.” As I said before, they do not have a strong Biblical foundation and do not pause to think of the gravity of what they are actually proclaiming. 
A Sampling of the Prophecies
Lest you think the prophecies at IHOP are like ones in other mainstream charismatic churches or similar to prophecies noted men like John Piper, Vern Poythress, or Wayne Grudem believe, please read the following quotes other authors have noted:
1. On disc 7 of The Prophetic History, Bickle describes a visitation to the throne-room of God as he is told that God will be restoring the apostles to the church. Let me preface this by saying that before getting to this point in his message, Bickle described the experience as being on par with the Apostle Paul’s experience in the Third Heaven in 2 Cor. 12 as well as John’s visions.
They’ve been told by church leadership that it is up to them to “usher in” the Second Coming of Jesus. They’ve been encouraged to do away with discernment concerning mystical experiences. They’ve been told that they are “forerunners” of Christ in the same way that John the Baptist was. They’ve been told that the orthodox views of Christianity are weak and it’s up to them to restore the “true” message of the Gospel, using their new “powers from God” to start a revival that will win souls for the Kingdom.” 
2. They could hear from God, and speak forth God’s words, prophesying of great events soon to transpire on planet earth. And they could have flipped a coin as to whether what God allegedly told them would actually come true. Often they didn’t come true. Some of the main prophets and/or leaders in the movement included Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, Rick Joyner, John Paul Jackson, Francis Frangipane, and others…However, he was quoted as saying that the general level of prophetic revelation in the movement’s “prophets” had an accuracy level of about 65 percent. Some prophets were as low as 10 percent accurate, he said, with some of the “most mature” prophets having a rating “approaching 85 percent to 95 percent. ” (Steven F Cannon, “Old Wine in Old Wineskins: A Look at Kansas City Fellowship,” The Quarterly Journal 10, no. 4 (October-December 1990): 8. 
3. Bickle claims that a “voice” spoke to him in September 1982, directing him to a ministry to touch the ends of the earth. ( Albert James Dager, Vengeance is Ours. Redmond, Wash.: Sword Publishers, 1990, pg. 127.) Bickle’s account is as follows: “The Lord simply said, ‘I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in the earth in one generation.'” (Mike Bickle, Growing in the Prophetic. Lake Mary, Fla.: Creation House, 1996, pg. 30) 
4. Bickle speaking, “…but the fact is God showed me that it was truly a healing anointing. It was a tremendously, ah, dynamic dream for my own personal history and what I can understand for the life of this church. There’s a healing anointing He said would be second to no other movement. That’s what He told me directly, it would be second to no other movement in this whole generation, the healing anointing that will come upon this people. . .He (BJ) [Bob Jones] says ‘They took a banner and He (God) put a banner upon you last night and it spoke of the entire movement.’ Then he told me the dream I had and he said the Lord says there will be no movement that will be superior to the healing power that comes forth from this movement . He goes, ‘There will be nothing in the earth that this thing will be second to in the generation.’ I said, ‘God, this is incredible.’” (P.His 2, p. 15 – 17) 
5. “I (Mike Bickle) stood there and I was at the Lord’s left hand, and it was not a dream–this was as real as life here and like I said, I don’t know that realm… He (God) was speaking so sternly to me, He said, ‘If you are impatient…you will cause great turmoil and much trouble for many people.’ I was ashamed and I was broken with sorrow that He said that so harshly to me. And then what happened is that I start falling so rapidly–I mean like–S-H-O-O-O-M, it takes about five or six seconds, and fall down to my bed, right through the ceiling–I mean it was right through the walls and things–S-H-O-O-O-M, I hit my bed and it wasn’t like an instant I was there–I had knowledge of travel for five or six seconds. Have you had that?”
MB: “And I was falling so rapidly and I was going like ‘A-H-H-H-H.’ I was coming right down through the black sky…And I come right through the ceiling and I hit my bed and I looked for like a half a second, I goes S-H-O-O-O-M right back up again, I go. . . right through the ceiling again! And I understood immediately the impatience was of setting in leadership premature without permission. He said…‘You cannot put leadership in that I do not say, because the leadership will divide and cause much division and many people will suffer great harm and I will hold you accountable for it. ‘…So what happens is this golden chariot, it appears–S-W-O-O-O-P-and it comes right there. . . and I under–I knew intuitively, instantly–it was an apostolic ministry, though it’s only the invitation. It was not a commission. The Lord was not calling me an apostle. He said He was thinking, ‘The days to come, if you’re faithful, you have an opportunity in the grace of God to fill an apostolic calling if you’re faithful to the full measure.’ And I set in the chariot and I went shooting right into a blue sky and I knew as I was going up that it was revelation. He said, ‘I’m going to bring you to divine revelation in the days to come.’…There would be an end-time measure of apostolic ministry that would come out of the fruit of the intercession…so like it’s a number of years down the road. But the Lord said that I’m going to bring forth apostles—champions–if the people will live in intercession and ask for them to come…And so that was no small visitation in terms of the promise of what God said to this movement…And the Lord says, ‘Now you have the word in yourself now and you will not go running after other movements and other places because I have spoken to you face-to-face. ‘…But I know that at that time I owned,..from the voice of God–face-to-face (but I never saw His face), but I mean standing next to Him, I owned the word myself and it was not just a matter of me believing Him. It was amazing how the revelation turned after that time.” (F88, p. 81 – 84) 
The Denigration of the Bible and Sola Scriptura
One of the biggest issues of this movement is their denial of one of the bedrock doctrines of the Reformation and evangelical Christianity: Sola Scriptura, or Scripture Alone. Sola Scriptura is the notion that the Bible is the revealed will of God and all that is necessary for faith (all teachings are contained within the Bible) and practice (the things we need to govern our church and everyday life).
For an excellent explanation of this by Dr. Greg Bahnsen go here: (http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/bahnsen.html). Basically, God does not need to give us anymore revelation, and this was first used in the Reformation against the Roman Catholic church that said we needed their traditions and clergy, but now it is under attack by IHOP. They might say they believe in it, but their actions outright deny it.
When people from IHOP make decisions, they do not use the Bible as the only revealed revelation from God because they supposedly still get direct revelations from Him. They deny this very doctrine that defines the protestant and evangelical faith. Sadly, this is rampant at IHOP.
Indexed as a Cult by Multiple Ministries
There are certainly many different theological distinctives in the Christian church, and many of us do differ. However, we do not go so far as to label each other cults or heretics. On the other hand, IHOP has been labeled dangerous, cultic, false, and heretical by many ministries, former members, apologetic groups, and Godly men. In fact, other charismatic Christians have stood up to oppose them as well. A small listing of these groups include:
The Apologetics Index
Apologetics Resource Center
Critical Issues Commentary
Pastor Ernie Gruen (a Charismatic preacher) who was written a manuscript entitled “Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries).” Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries) is Mike Bickles former ministry prior to founding IHOP.
Pastor Bill Randles (a Pentecostal preacher) has written a book titled “Weighed and Found Wanting.”
The Gospel Masquerade is a website created by a former staff member of IHOP.
All these resources are available in the references section. I especially recommend The Gospel Masquerade website, Pastor Gruen’s manuscript, and Pastor Randles’ book.
A quick review of the main offenses include:
Cultic origin, worship style, and goals
The IHOP dilemma
Effective Denial of Sola Scriptura
Opposition by multiple Godly Christian Groups
Though it may seem like a place that is on fire and passionate for God, this is simply not the case. Many of the people that do go there are sincere Christians, but they have been overcome by the lies and experiences they have there. In short, the people I have communicated with ignore the things above and simply hold on to what they have experienced and point the finger at me saying, “you don’t know about us.” Unfortunately I do know, and I hope this article persuades or helps you convince someone else who is going down a destructive path. It breaks my heart to see so many young people fall victim to this place, and all the people who waste their lives and God given talents to expand IHOP’s kingdom and not God’s Kingdom.
 Randle, Bill. “Weighed and Found Wanting: The Toronto Experience Examined in the Light of the Bible. Cambridge, UK. 1996. http://www.apologeticsindex.org/docs/WeighedAndFoundWanting.pdf
 Gruen, Ernie. Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries). Shawnee, KS. No date. http://www.deceptionbytes.com/AberrentDoctrinesKCF
 The Lockman Foundation. New American Standard Bible. La Habra, CA. 1995.
 MacArthur, John. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Colossians and Philemon. Chicago, IL. 1992.
The black and white, right and wrong and easily discernible issues in the Christian walk have now become very, very gray and sadly, very difficult to identify. This has been a steadily growing problem over the past 30+ years.
Casein point is Charisma Magazine’s article in which it blatantly states that IHOP is no cult. This author begs to differ. Not noted in the Charisma article is the use of contemplative prayer at IHOP, or the many complaints from family members whose IHOP children have cut off all communication with them. Charisma also fails to note the numerous “prophecies” which have failed to come to pass (such as the drought Bob Jones predicted) for one, and leaves off any mention of the sexual perversion by additional teachers.
Never forget, friends, that God is long suffering but He will not be mocked. Approach IHOP (and any other bigger and better new way to worship) with great caution. Ever heard the expression, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”? That concept totally applies to IHOP’s leader, Mike Bickle.
Rather than being tedious, read the article for yourself. You be the judge.
Would You Recognize a Christian Cult if You Were In One?
9:58AM EST 11/29/2012 JENNIFER LECLAIRE
Jim Jones was the cult leader behind Peoples Temple, best known for the mass suicide in 1978 of 914 of its members in Jonestown, Guyana, and the murder of five individuals at a nearby airstrip. Over 200 children were murdered at Jonestown, almost all of them by cyanide poisoning.
Cults are making major news headlines this month. Some accused of cult-status are truly cultish and others are not. But the flood of cult activity should urge you to sharpen your cult identifications skills. Most Christian cult followers had no idea what they were getting into until they were already brainwashed adherents to the warped religions.
ABC’s 20/20 just exposed the shocking truth about life inside Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints Church. The cult leader was convicted and jailed for sexual abuse of young girls, yet his 8,000 followers continue to believe he’s a persecuted prophet. He’s known for ordering married couples to stop having sex and handpicked 15 men to father all of the cult’s children. That’s clearly a cult.
Meanwhile, Fox News reported earlier this month that members of a Bolivian cult that reveres human skulls have held a rite to close out a Roman Catholic religious festival in honor of the dead. The cult’s followers believe the skulls have miraculous powers that help them find a job or even help their favorite soccer team win. That’s clearly a cult.
Also earlier this month, ABC 7 reported on Scientology controversy in Washington, D.C. L. Ron Hubbard’s creation theory highlights a despot named Xenu sending surplus beings to volcanoes on earth. Scientology officials deny cult status, but this is clearly a cult. And just earlier this week, Ontario officials began investigating allegations of abuse and polygamy under the leadership of a “prophet” named Fred King from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Meanwhile, Fox sent an undercover reported to investigate the Church of the Endtimes and its cultish qualities. Then there was Angus T. Jones, a star of the comedy series Two and a Half Men. His family expressed concerns that his newfound religion is a cult.
Those are just a few of the “cult” headlines from November. You can find others by searching “cult church” on Google News. But the question is, would you recognize a Christian cult if you were in its midst? Would you know you’d entered into a cult before you were effectively brainwashed? How can you discern a Christian cult?
IHOP is Not a Cult (emboldened mine)
For all the legitimate cult accusations in news headlines this month, there was also one major false accusation among them. False accusations about cults make it more difficult for people to understand what a cult is. So I want to dispell this allegation right now. The Huffington Post published an unfortunate article penned by a radical gay activist characterizing the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo., as a cult. It’s clear from the words on my digital screen that Wayne Besen doesn’t understand the Holy Spirit or how He moves. How could he? He’s not saved and he’s been on a witch-hunt for years.
So when an IHOPU student—who was also participating in an outside sex cult—confessed to the murder of a former IHOP U intern, Besen took his opportunity declare his discernment in warning Kansas City about this 13-year-old prayer movement. IHOP is not a cult. In fact, in response to the tragedy IHOP Director Mike Bickle taught on the seven characteristics of a cult. I’ve heard Mike teach on this in the past, but he dusted off his notes to address the IHOP community earlier this month—a responsible response to the heartbreaking story.
I’d highly recommend heading over to Mike Bickle’s teaching library and listening to the message for yourself. I’ve summarized the points of “How to Recognize Cults: 7 Characteristics” below in order to get the message out to more people. When I first heard Mike’s teaching on Christian cults, it really opened my eyes. I pray this will open your eyes, too.
Seven Characteristics of a Cult
Bickle defines a cult as, “a group that deviates from the doctrines and practices of historic Christianity and has an inordinate loyalty to one leader, whose beliefs are not found in Scripture (as affirmed by historic Christianity). Cult leaders, or false teachers, often believe that they alone possess the truth. If a group displays even one of these seven characteristics, they are a cult or have cultish tendencies.” Here are the seven characteristics of a cult as Bickle outlined them:
1. Oppose critical thinking versus demanding that people think for themselves: Cult members must accept what the cult leader believes without ever challenging their doctrines. They do not want their members to think critically for themselves.
2. Dishonoring the family unit versus insisting on the biblical priority of the family unit: Children are taught to be more loyal to the leaders than to their parents. Women are taught to be more loyal to the leaders than to their husbands, and husbands are taught to accept this as normal behavior.
3. Isolating members and penalizing them for leaving versus helping them to do God’s will: Cults isolate their people from their families, the church and society. They reject any who leave and warn them, saying that they will be judged by God or will lose God’s best if they leave. People are taught to make lifelong commitments to the group. Some groups teach that their members must get permission before joining another ministry.
4. Seeking inappropriate loyalty to their leaders versus loyalty and connecting people to Jesus: Cults seek to connect their members to the cult leader and require loyalty to him instead of to Jesus. Loyalty is defined as not questioning the leader. It is very dangerous, when the leader cannot be questioned.
5. Crossing biblical boundaries of behavior versus walking in purity and financial integrity: Cults cross biblical boundaries of behavior especially in immorality and finances. False teachers can be detected by their covetousness and immorality (2 Peter 2:3-18).
6. Separation from the church versus a culture of honor towards the church: 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.
7. Emphasizing special revelations that contradict Scripture versus loyalty to Scripture: Cults emphasize the special revelations of their leader that contradict the Scripture.
Saints, hear me. I’ve been very close to two cults and escaped both before falling into the deception headlong. It’s not always easy to recognize the fruit of cults at the surface. You have to dig down to the roots. Sometimes the cultish behaviors don’t manifest until you are integrated into the community. At that point, it’s harder to escape—but Jesus can set you free if you set your heart to go through the door into true Christianity. Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including Did the Spirit of God Say That? You can email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
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I believe story writer, Jennifer LeClaire needs her eyes opened. Maybe then she’ll print a retraction. In the meantime, I hope and pray that she’s not sending her children there..
My pastor is in the process of being out for six weeks on a sabbatical. (Wish I could do that.) In his absence, the Elders at my church have been filling the empty pulpit with a guest preacher/speaker. Every message spoken by this man has, so far, lifted up one contemplative author after another – and scripture, (for lack of a better way to describe it), is lacking.
After his last message, my dear husband (who’d had enough), got with this guy and asked him if he knew that the authors he kept promoting were ‘”Christian” mystics’. His response? Not only was he ‘aware’ of it, he was also quite pleased. In further discussion, my husband discovered that this gentleman was in love with the “wonderful lessons out of the Catholic faith”.
Rule #1: When in doubt (or just making sure what I’m hearing lines up), I study. After all, the Warrior’s motto is to BE the Berean.
Since mere scripture isn’t enough to satisfy this gentleman ( ! ) , I will print out what I found on Wikipedia and pray God opens his eyes.
Historically, Christian mysticism has taught that for Christians the major emphasis of mysticism concerns a spiritual transformation of the ego-self, the following of a path designed to produce more fully realized human persons, “created in the Image and Likeness of God” and as such, living in harmonious communion with God, the Church, the rest of world, and all creation, including oneself.
For Christians, this human potential is realized most perfectly in Jesus, precisely because he is both God and human, and is manifested in others through their association with him, whether conscious or unconscious such as case of Christian mystics, with regard to spiritual persons who follow other traditions, such as Gandhi. The Eastern Christian tradition speaks of this transformation in terms of theosis or divinization, perhaps best summed up by an ancient aphorism usually attributed to Athanasius of Alexandria: “God became human so that man might become god.”
I’m deeply saddened to see New Age seeping/slithering into the church — because the church has not only closed its eyes but squeezed them tightly shut.
This is the same spiritual message that has been trying to push through since the Garden of Eden. In the background is Satan’s voice whispering, “You…shall be …’like’ God…” Genesis 3:4
But when Man tried to be “like” his Creator, what was God’s response? And yet Contemplatives do not make this connection. IHOP’s leader, Mike Bickle, promotes contemplative practices. He’s a huge advocate of it. (Just check out their bookstore.) Sadly however, the majority of the IHOP interns are NEW believers in Christ – swallowing these teachings hook, line and sinker.
On occasion an intern or two has had their eyes opened to this error and either leaves IHOP by their own choice or gets booted out by IHOP leadership – once they’ve openly voiced their concerns about the IHOP doctrine (even possibly) being incorrect. They ALL have the same story: “If you leave IHOP, you lose all your friends that you’ve made there. It’s pretty much the unspoken rule to distance yourself from whoever who wants to leave.” Isn’t that what happens in cults? But that, as well as why Catholicism is a pagan religion, is another thread.
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.