Does IHOP Promote Works-Righteousness?
I wanted to write on something fun and light tonight, but alas, that was not God’s perfect sovereign will…or my decision at the last moment.
If you have a brief minute, please read this post on Internet Monk: Works-Righteousness By Any Other Name Still Stinks.
Chaplain Mike nails it:
It is not, however, biblical to manipulate people by destroying their assurance through religious double-talk and by teaching them to trust in their own dedication rather than the Gospel of grace in Jesus Christ.
Now, let me be perfectly, utterly clear. I have friends who are fans of IHOP and Mike Bickle, and even some friends who work there. Friends I love and respect and cherish…and deeply miss. Friends who I am certain are Christians and are trying to follow God, and whose lives have legitimately been touched by God through the ministry of IHOP. Friends who I’m also certain are being led astray and will eventually be betrayed by those they follow and the ideas they hear.
Also a disclaimer – I have never been to IHOP. For a long time I earnestly desired to go, but now I view it as the providence of God that I was never able to go. I have however read many articles published by IHOP, studied the history of Bickle and IHOP, listened to the Prayer Room for countless hours, and studied along to any Mike Bickle sermon or message my friends encouraged me to listen to. I am familiar with his preaching and theology but from afar, so the legitimate counter of “you can’t have an opinion until you have attended and sat under him for years” is semi-valid.
Put simply, I regard Mike Bickle as nothing more than a false prophet who doesn’t believe the historic orthodox truths of the faith and has repeatedly lied to and deceived many believers through heretical doctrine and false demonic promises and visions. But for the sake of my friends whom I love, I don’t launch into some “heresy hunting” campaign, and instead simply offer my observations and then move on, blessing them and wishing them the best.
1 – I have never Bickle or any one at IHOP preach the gospel.
2 – The excerpts from the sermon above clearly indicate that Bickle does not believe in the Solas, which for centuries have been received as Biblical.
3 – According to the Biblical qualifications of a prophet, Bickle falls short, as his prophecies have been wrong more than once.
4 – Many who attend IHOP ‘change’, becoming disillusioned with their local church and Christian family, and instead run to IHOP to devote their life, time, and money to the cause.
5 – False prophecies are given by false prophets who have been taught classical eastern mysticism techniques for gaining knowledge, such as trances and repetitions during meditations.
6 – I’ve seen people who appeared to be growing in the Lord begin to backslide and become fearful, legalistic, and utterly depend on a “fix”.
7 – In the last days, it’s those who are “prophesying and casting out demons” that Jesus will say to to “depart from me, I never knew you.”
8 – They are eschatology driven (similar to other groups like the Mormons), but have reasoned out a different eschatology than the Church Fathers.
9 – They distinguish between those in the body of Christ, when in Christ we are all part of one body.
10 – They make boring music. (a joke! a joke!)
Now, to their credit, I know of godly pastors who want nothing to do with IHOP. They will tell their congregation the truth as they see it, what they believe, and declare they will have nothing to do with IHOP, but won’t forbid anyone to go there, which is the right course of action as we all have freedom. Often, however, the very theology of these pastors lends to people being drawn toward ministries like IHOP, as the young do not have the seat belt of the old. I’d rather not think this is just one of those times when you have to touch the stove to learn it is hot.
I say these things knowing full well and in sorrow that many will just attack me, defriend me, hate me, or accuse me. Honestly, some of the losses will be more than I can bare, as if a child just died or a limb was cut off. People whom I love and have shed tears over. If you do believe in prophecy, then one of the prophecies that has been given to me dozens of times in my life is that I’m to be a “watchtower” to my friends, showing them the truth no matter what.
I’m not certain where I stand on prophecy, as I’m fairly certain Old Testament prophecy (“thus saith the Lord”) has ended but New Testament prophecy (“encouragement”) continues, but the fact is that God has granted me an analytical mind that also takes the Bible and the faith seriously. I wouldn’t be able to say what I say if He hadn’t shown me or revealed it to me. Or wanted me to know it.
And I wouldn’t be able to share it if He also didn’t want me to.
Hopefully this will be the only post I ever make about Mike Bickle and IHOP. I’m quite tired of talking about them. Few my age are willing to listen. Perhaps one day…
Comments will be read but not guaranteed to be replied to, as I know the IHOP community can be very vocal online. Please refrain from pathos and ethos appeals and throw in some logos and Logos as well.