Three years ago I spoke with a guy who was an IHOP intern – great guy. He loved the Lord and thought he was making a great decision by pulling up stakes, packing his bags and moving to Kansas City in hopes of becoming that much closer to Jesus. We’ll call him ‘Jesse’. One evening, Jesse’s […]
Category Archives: Transcendental Meditation
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.
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..
Looks like my Spam-block wasn’t working today… But then again, I do appreciate getting a little “outside help” in proving where Contemplative prayer really comes from.
…and yet to date, Mike Bickle really advocates this practice heartily at IHOP. Mike’s not the only one however.
Contemplative is springing up everywhere within the body of Christ. Christians are learning this demonic practice and are calling it ‘good’. I used to be so amazed at this thinking, “How can they (anyone who calls the self a Christian) be so deceived?” Think about it though. It feeds the flesh. Who can recognize that?!Only the Bereans of today can truly recognize this evil around them. Jesus warned us it would get really bad before His return.
Christian, if you’re practicing Contemplative prayer, you are literally playing with fire.
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More Information on the iAwake Biofield Technology:
It’s time for Christians to open their eyes.
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.
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.
There is a major difference between biblical contemplation and the Roman Catholic contemplative prayer that is sweeping through churches. It is the difference between “silence” and “THE silence.”
The silence of biblical contemplation refers simply to a quiet place in which the soul can effectively seek the Lord. In Scripture it is called seeking the Lord (Psalm 105:3; Isaiah 55:6), waiting on the Lord (Psalm 69:6), meditating on the Lord (Psalm 104:34), meditating on God’s Word (Psalm 1:2). In these times, in this day of computers and smart phones and every bit of our waking hours being filled with distraction after distraction, it is important to have daily periods of silence for spiritual devotion.
On the other hand, “THE silence” of contemplative ‘prayer’ refers to pursuing God beyond the Bible, beyond active thinking. It refers to putting aside thoughts through mantras.
It’s been made popular by contemplative gurus such as Richard Foster and Dallas Willard and is promoted by many evangelical leaders today, including Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah, Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Max Lucado, Philip Yancy, Ed Young, Gary Thomas, Lee Strobel, Tony Campolo and Charles Stanley to name a few.
(I shake my head as I suddenly realize how many Baptists are listed by above… Folks, it ain’t a ‘charismatic thing’ anymore.)
One of the popular contemplative prayer manuals is The Cloud of Unknowing. This book, which came out of the darkness of Roman Catholic monasticism, encourages the use of a mantra to drive away conscious thoughts with the objective of entering into an experiential communion with God in “the nothingness.”
“Focus your attention on a simple word such as sin or God … and WITHOUT THE INTERVENTION OF ANALYTICAL THOUGHT allow yourself to experience directly the reality it signifies” (chapter 36, p. 94). This is not biblical meditation; it is, however, a dangerous recipe for demonic delusion.
We must seek God through faith, and faith comes only by God’s Word (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 10:17). If we try to know and “experience” God beyond the pages of Scripture, beyond the teaching of the Bible, we are walking in disobedience and unbelief and are setting ourselves up for spiritual deception from the hands of the one who appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Contemplative practices such as the Jesus Prayer, visualizing prayer, breath prayer, and centering prayer are very dangerous. Many who practice these things end up believing in a pagan concept of God such as pantheism (God is everything and is in everything). People typically become increasingly ecumenical and interfaith in thinking thru these practices.
The study of the Bible is not an end in itself and should never be a mere dry intellectual exercise; it is the means whereby we know God! It is God’s ‘love letter’ to believers. It is how we get to truly know Him – thru His word!
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night”
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4).
Any teacher of contemplative-type prayer will tell you that in order for the prayer time to “work”, your mind needs to be completely empty of all active thinking – a mental “void” needs to be reached in order for the session to be successful. To go into this “void”, breathing needs to be “slowed down” and purposefully so. (You’d think that believers in Christ would automatically know that biblical prayer does not require any change in breathing. Sadly, however, this is not the case.)
OK, so you take a word or phrase (from the Bible of course!) and repeat it for up to 20 minutes, making sure the breathing remains slowed the entire time. During this time, focus your thoughts into that area of “void” or “nothingness”…and the recipe goes on. Despite walking away from these special sessions in silence, the person, unbeknownst to them, is playing with demons and is also playing with fire.
No one has to choose between knowing about God and knowing God personally. GOD IS KNOWN IN CHRIST THROUGH HIS WORD. The practice of contemplative prayer convinces the person practicing it that experiential worship far supersedes the written Word of God. When you find yourself judging a worship service, speaker/teacher, lesson or whatever, by the things you experience, you need to be very, very careful that you’re not stepping into something outside of biblical truth.
Finally, I’ve heard many speakers and teachers take a scripture here, a scripture there and then use them to try to explain that what those scriptures “really” show us how to enter into a contemplative trance. [Someone pinch me] Because if that were the case, explain to me why the Lord Jesus plainly and simply explained to His disciples how they should pray.
Now, all the New Age/Baptist church members, LifeWay Bookstore advocates and contemplative practitioners can take Beth Moore & Max Lucado for starters and feel spiritually superior together. Personally, I don’t want to get burned – so I’m not playing with fire.
Rev. 2:6 Yet you do have this: you hate the practices of the Nicolatians.
The problems with false teachings, false doctrines, and the spirit of Nicolaitan ministers and teachers, was foretold to become very serious and extreme in the “end of days.” The apostle Paul warned, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in the LATTER TIMES some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Tim.4:1-2).
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul issued the same warning, only more explicit He wrote, “But know this, that in the LAST DAYS perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a FORM of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the TRUTH. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth.” (II Tim.3:1-8).
The Nicolaitan condition is like a spiritual cancer, that spreads and poisons cells and creates tumors and metastasizes (i.e. spreads into every possible place) until it spreads its lethal cargo throughout the whole body. If it is not purged, it leads ultimately to death. Therefore, God tells His true ministers, and servants, to be on their guard.
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with al longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (II Tim.4:2-4). I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking we’ve kinda reached this point in time…agree?
Each one of us is responsible for our own salvation. We dare not trust any man to do our work, study, prayer, or research for us – we must work out our own salvation, “with fear and trembling” (Phil.2:12-13). Paul also declared, “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Eph.4:14).
Salvation is serious business! It is the most important thing that you will do in your entire life. The spirit of Nicolaus/Nimrod and religious deception is alive and well, and thriving in this end-time generation. You can easily find these ‘religious leaders’ stocking the shelves of Christian book stores (and that’s a whole ‘nother topic right there). …or turn on TBN or pick up ‘Christianity Today’. They’re a-dime-a-dozen and they’re all over the place. Just look around – they’re all over the place.
There’s a lot of New Age, deceptive teachings floating around under the guise of Christianity. The body of Christ has fallen asleep at the wheel and is therefore letting these teachings move right in to its churches and bible studies. The whole time Jesus is pleading, “My beloved, come out from her! Quit listening to these phony teachers who call themselves Mine. STUDY to show YOURself approved!”
I truly believe we are seeing the beginning of the end – that we are in the End Time. Our nation’s president has just withdrawn America’s support of Israel despite her people’s protest. Israel will, according to scripture, end up standing completely alone. But these are all precursors of His return. I am each day praying, “Lord, prepare the heart of the person I will talk with today about you. Let them come to know you.“
Last week, American Family Association offered me a marvelous offer! Problem with this offer is that Max Lucado is very much into Contemplative (New Age) prayer. Read on, please.
|Resurrection – A story by Max Lucado. Only $8.99*Max Lucado’s renowned short
story is brought to life on DVD in this dramatic production that follows Claudius,
a Roman guard who finds himself in the middle of a cover-up of the tumultuous
events following Christ’s execution. As he digs for the truth, Claudius discovers
that the religious leaders, the Roman government, and even his closest friends are
attempting to hide something from him and the world.In the end, his relentless
pursuit of the answers to his growing questions threatens his reputation and even
his life, but it also leads to his renewal.Recommended for ages 12 and over.
View the trailer, or
*plus shipping and handling.
So I felt the immediate need to write to AFA:
Dear AFA, I am SHOCKED that you are offering any Max Lucado paraphernalia. Max Lucado is HUGE into Contemplative prayer which, as you know, is NEW AGE Christianized TM. Max Lucado was on the BE STILL DVD which also featured Beth Moore, Dallas Willard, Priscilla Shirer et al.
I really wish AFA would do a little deeper research into the authors it promotes. Unbelievable.
I hope and pray that other believers will write into you as well.
It appears others have also written.
One week later, “Randy” from AFA wrote me asking for me to “provide sources of information for us to look at”.
So my reply was as follows:
Randy, check out the Be Still DVD that I told you about (below). The DVD looks great at the very beginning, talking about the need to get one-on-one with God, to have quality quiet time with Him etc. but during the last portion of the DVD it talks about HOW to practice Contemplative Prayer.
First, the person practicing it is told to get into a comfortable position – “not a counting sheep position”.
Then you’re to take a scripture or phrase from the Bible and with your eyes closed, repeat it over and over.
During this, you’re to slow your breathing. To practice this properly, you’re to control your breathing by slowing it.
This directed “prayer time” should take about 20 or so minutes…
The instructions then include a time for “coming out” of the quiet, contemplative prayer.
What it is actually giving directions for is nothing but TM. You can ask any TM practitioner about the methodology for self-induced hypnosis via TM – they’re absolutely identical minus of course the need for repeating scripture.
In addition to the speakers I’ve noted, they all give example after example of different Catholic mystics who have “accomplished great wonders via their contemplative prayer over the centuries”.
Randy, I still have the DVD at home. If you’ll give me your address as well as your promise to return it, I’ll be more than happy to send it to you. The reason I got it in the first place was so that I could share it with my friends and pastor. Acting as a Berean is never a fun thing to do, but we’re called to warn our brothers and sisters in Christ – wouldn’t you agree?
Sincerely…. and..I am still waiting for AFA’s response so updates will follow…