The IHOP Cult

IHOP Cult Leader Mike Bickle

Some of my IHOP “Red Flags”

Posted: January 1, 2010 by Ariel in Cult, Deception, False doctrines, IHOP, Leaving a cult, Mike Bickle, Spiritual Abuse

There were many, many experiences that made me do a double take and say “what?” while I was at IHOP but that internal questioning was quickly explained away or rebuked by internship leaders. Once I began to deviate from IHOP’s teachings and study scripture on my own for answers to the internal conflicts I wrestled with, I began questioning the pseudo reality I had been conditioned to embrace. Suddenly I saw the isolated red flag incidences as a seamless pattern of error and the veil of deception fell. I stopped rationalizing and justifying. Enough was enough and I was done and wanted out.

There are much more personal experiences than I can put into one single blog post, but here are a few I still recall pretty strongly.

1. Mandatory fasts which made me very physically ill. They would never admit to having “mandatory” fasts but when you don’t have any food available, close down the kitchen, give your cook the day off and don’t allow interns to hold jobs (so that they have money to go buy food if they aren’t participating in the fast) then that is called mandatory.

2. Being practically held hostage in the prayer room and told that it was required that I be there and I was not allowed to leave even though I did not feel well and wanted to go back to my apartment. I was told I needed to stay in the prayer room to be part of the “corporate anointing” and that I shouldn’t leave. It was one of my “required” prayer room sets as an intern so I spent the remainder of that 2-hour set in one of the side prayer rooms in the back sobbing on the floor because I wanted to leave so badly and our internship leaders were standing by the door. You might ask “why didn’t you just force your way out and leave anyway?” When you are part of cult where free, independent thinking is not condoned when you don’t comply with what is expected of you, very often guilt, manipulation and penalties are instated for those who resist. Interns who didn’t follow “the rules” of the internship were penalized through loss of privileges (such as loss of your day off, having to do extra work/manual labor, etc.)

3. The grip of control and micro-management increasing: greater demands and restrictions on interns (such as increased pressure to fast more to attain a higher pinnacle of spirituality) being told where we had to sit when in the prayer room, taught a model for how to pray, how to dance, sing, etc. Any form of worship outside of this model was not considered to be acceptable. It had to fit IHOP’s style and method to be admissible.

4. Mandatory journaling assignments which we had to do weekly and then we had to turn in our journals to be read by internship leaders

5. Seeing how controlled the prayer room was. Rather than having freedom to express my heart to the Lord, I was put in a box and told how I had to do everything IHOP’s way. I had reading and writing assignments whenever I was in the prayer room.

6. There was no alone time ever to really think, reason, test, question or process anything. We were run ragged from sun up to late into the night which always left me exhausted, depleted and burnt out.

7. Once when I got sick, my mother came to pick me up and internship leaders resisted letting me leave with her (even though she lived in town). My internship ‘com leader’ (short for community leader) objected and still impressed upon me the importance of going to the prayer room even though I was too sick to get off the couch. My mother said “she is my daughter and I’m taking her home and taking care of her. Period.”

8. The more leadership responsibility I was given as an intern, the more I got peeks into the “inside”. I saw the outer fringes of the internal operations of how IHOP functioned. I was on an IHOP dance team and sang as a chorus leader on a few worship teams. To dance, I had to follow a specific model that IHOP required. To sing, I had to attend the briefing/de-briefing meetings before and after each worship set where I saw first-hand how carefully controlled that the seemingly “spontaneous” aspects of worship were carefully calculated and often planned ahead of time.

9. Another intern got deathly ill and it wasn’t until she ended up being hospitalized that internship leaders took seriously the fact she was sick. They accused her of faking an illness to get out of attending IHOP classes and time in the prayer room. This was told to me directly by that intern.

10. If I wanted to go anywhere off IHOP property (even to go see my family who lived in town) I had to notify internship leaders of my whereabouts at all times. I had no autonomy or freedom as an individual. Some leaders who were 19 (but were former interns which gave them elite status) were telling me where to be, what to do and when I was expected to be home. I had to answer to them for everything. I was in my early 20′s and had lived on my own before so the feeling of suffocation and having no personal rights to space, privacy, independent thought, etc. was overwhelming.

There is much more but I think that’s a sufficient start to at least give you an idea of some of what was happening when I was at IHOP. It wasn’t until after I left that I began to see far more than I had been able to see when I was still involved. The casual observer on the periphery won’t necessarily see the reality of all that is happening there because they are seeing the veil that IHOP has built to carefully cloak the truth of a lot of what really happens.

After I left, I realized how worn out and exhausted I was in every way imaginable. I spent days and weeks sleeping and physically healing from the trauma of the experiences I had just come out of and to let my body heal from the fasting and sleep deprivation. It took a long time for me to really start healing emotionally and spiritually and to begin putting pieces together. Recovering from mental and spiritual abuse like that is a hard road and a difficult place to come out from. I did months of research after I left IHOP and the immediate dust had settled. I wanted to see the roots of the giant beanstalk that had sprouted up and choked the life out of everything in me. I started going back as far into the history of IHOP as I could. As interns we were required to listen to 18 hours of audio CDs recapping all of the history of IHOP and the “prophesies” that led to it’s starting. I started researching on the internet about the names of the so called prophets of this movement and what they had come out of. That led me to picking apart a very carefully woven web of key players that all were connected to this massive organization.

I shared with one parent who e-mailed me about her own child at IHOP the importance of praying that the L-rd will open their eyes not only to see, but to recognize and identify the red flags of IHOP. The thing is, they are probably already seeing them, but rationalizing and excusing them away as isolated events rather than viewing them as a destructive pattern. I pray that the Father will show those there who are truly seeking him the pattern of red flags…making them so obvious they can no longer ignore them.

My hope is that the young people there who are much like I was will begin to question what they see and compare it with what the scripture actually says…not how Mike Bickle twists and teaches it…and that they have the courage to identify it and reject it. Those who oppose IHOP and speak out typically experience some kind of consequences or backlash. People are a commodity there. They are traded. When wounded ones leave, IHOP leadership doesn’t sweat over it…new and unsuspecting people who are ignorant of their dangerous devices but are hungry for emotionally-driven experiences and spiritual highs will come back in the same door the others left. It’s a revolving door of deception.

The deceptions of IHOP are treacherous and very real. Did G-d use that place in my life and work together for my good the devastation I experienced? Absolutely. But that is a testimony to the goodness of our G-d…not a stamp of approval on a place. Remember he spoke through a donkey and a burning bush. That doesn’t mean we should glorify donkeys and start worshiping bushes.

I’ve been asked many times how my eyes were opened to see what was happening at IHOP and how I got out, etc. I’ve thought about that many times and the simplest answer I can give is that I knew who my source was. G-d was my source of instruction, teaching, counsel, truth, etc. It was His voice I was seeking to hear and His approval I desired. IHOP wasn’t my source. So when the things I heard from the L-rd through prayer and studying His word were in conflict with the things I was being taught in IHOP it made the decision to leave an easier one. It was traumatic and painful and I’m not going to minimize that. But it was the price of protecting truth and I knew that staying would have compromised what I knew was right and since my desire is to delight the heart of my Father, once He removed the scales, I was out.

My desire is to see people set free to live lives of healing and wholeness…walking in genuine love and pursuing truth. My prayer is that the things you read on this blog inspire you to that end.

Grace and peace to you.

From: http://gospelmasquerade.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/some-of-my-ihop-red-flags/

Read a similar on the same blog here. It’s WORTH THE READ:  http://gospelmasquerade.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/why-i-believe-ihop-is-a-cult/

Connected to this movement are the Kansas City Prophets.

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38 thoughts on “The IHOP Cult

  1. Like MikeHere’s the article of the second link if you want to read it:

    Why I Believe IHOP is a Cult
    Posted: February 18, 2009 by Ariel in Cult, IHOP, Leaving a cult, Uncategorized
    7

    A cult? Strong word you might say…and you are correct. It is not a word I use lightly or carelessly to label anything. But much prayer, time and years of research and personal experience have brought me to the conclusion that I can say confidently that the root system–or foundation–that IHOP is built on follows the basic premises and signs of a cult religious group. When I first left IHOP, I went through a severe culture shock that is hard to put into words. When I began studying the signs of cult fallout and the things that cult members go through after leaving a cult, my eyes began to open to what I had been a part of and recently come out of.

    Below I have listed some common signs of cult operation. Below them I cit in RED text short examples of my personal experiences as IHOP which illustrates these particular signs in IHOP’s day to day practice. After 6 years of being out of IHOP I still hold to my position that it is a dangerous place for people’s hearts and I have seen much destruction of families, relationships and marriages of those who have been involved with this movement.

    I appreciate your taking the time to read and prayerfully consider the research and personal testimony I have included below.

    1. A destructive cult tends to be totalitarian in its control of its members’ behavior. Cults are likely to dictate in great detail not only what members believe, but also what members wear and eat, when and where members work, sleep, and bathe, and how members think, speak, and conduct familial, marital, or sexual relationships.

    As an intern at IHOP, our day to day lives were closely monitored and dictated. I was not allowed to go anywhere or leave IHOP premises without express verbal permission from a community leader except on our one day off. Our schedules started early in the morning with hours in the prayer room, then classes, then back to the prayer room. Our nights often ran late with required attendance at EGS (Encounter God Services) or any other special event Mike spoke at that we were required to attend. Sometimes we had to attend worship sets that ended at 10 pm or midnight. Sleep was minimal and was often un-restful when I did get it. Sleep deprivation is a commonly used tactic in many cult groups to weaken the mind and make a person more susceptible to the embracing of the doctrines taught by that cult. There are many biological and psychological effects of sleep deprivation on the mind.

    2. A destructive cult tends to have an ethical double standard. Members are urged to be obedient to the cult, to carefully follow cult rules. They are also encouraged to be revealing and open in the group, confessing all to the leaders. On the other hand, outside the group they are encouraged to act unethically, manipulating outsiders or nonmembers, and either deceiving them or simply revealing very little about themselves or the group. In contrast to destructive cults, honorable groups teach members to abide by one set of ethics and act ethically and truthfully to all people in all situations.

    Anyone who rebelled against IHOP’s rules went through a strict disciplinarian process. At its most minimal level of discipline, for an intern, this meant the loss of having a day off and having to do manual labor. Everyone was kept on a short leash. We also had weekly groups as interns that we were required to participate in where everyone was “interrogated” and pressured to open up and share their personal struggles, etc and answer personal questions about their lives, struggles, thoughts, fears, and walks with G-d. It often felt like going to some kind of confession (as in Catholocism) and some interns out and out refused to be so vulnerable and disclosing in front of people they did not know. We were all given journals and told that we had mandatory writing assignments to complete. We were to record details of our IHOP prayer room times, things God spoke to us, dreams, visions, or whatever else that happened in us spiritually and then had to turn in our journals weekly to have an internship leader review/read them. In the last month or so I was at IHOP I paid particularly close attention to the fact that internship leaders ironically prayed things over me in prayer times or at the altar in the prayer room that related directly to things I had put in my journals. So what often might have seemed prophetic was the result of the information about me they already had access to.

    3. A destructive cult has only two basic purposes: recruiting new members and fund-raising. Altruistic movements, established religions, and other honorable groups also recruit and raise funds. However, these actions are incidental to an honorable group’s main purpose of improving the lives of its members and of humankind in general. Destructive cults may claim to make social contributions, but in actuality such claims are superficial and only serve as gestures or fronts for recruiting and fund-raising. A cult’s real goal is to increase the prestige and often the wealth of the leader.

    They were always an underlying pressure to bring people into IHOP. We were encouraged to invite others and get them to join what we were doing. IHOP campaigns big time to recruit new interns. At every conference, advertising and marketing videos are used to this day to promote the internships. They are played on large TV screens like presidential campaigns and are just part of the propaganda used to “sell” young people on this new version of what walking with God is supposed to look like.

    Each intern paid $4,500 to attend a 6 month internship. This covered some books/teaching material we were given as well as food, lodging etc. Check this out though: Every intern lived in the Hernhutt apartments (located next door) which IHOP owned anyway so the only expense was utilities and general upkeep. There was no rent. Plus when there was a mandatory fasting day, weekend, week, etc. no meals were served. So those who didn’t choose to fast had to go out and buy food and no interns were not allowed to have jobs so this got to be a big expense since there wasn’t extra money to live on.

    I lived in a 2-bedroom apartment. It housed 6 girls from the ages of 20-23. 4 of us shared one room and 2 shared another. The prayer room costs nothing to attend and is free and open to the public. So hmmm….$4,500 for meals, my electric bill and some IHOP books. I currently live in my own apartment, pay all of my own bills including rent, food, gasoline, renter’s insurance, credit card bills, student loans, electric, cell phone, etc etc and ALL of that costs me approximately $1,500 a month. So basic math says that someone was getting a big paycheck because my expenses would have never cost that in an internship program where we were given so little.

    4. A destructive cult appears to be innovative and exclusive. The leader claims to be breaking with tradition, offering something novel, and instituting the ONLY viable system for change that will solve life’s problems or the world’s ills. But these claims are empty and only used to recruit members who are then surreptitiously subjected to mind control to inhibit their ability to examine the actual validity of the claims of the leader and the cult.

    In the time I was there Mike often used “them and us” types of statements when referring to “the church” or those outside of IHOP. We were given a sense of being on the “cutting edge” because we were ahead of the church and were doing something new & innovative that was going to sweep the world. It all sounded good so everyone wanted to be in on it as a “forerunner” and liked the label of being on the front lines. So no one dared questioned it.

    5. A destructive cult is authoritarian in its power structure. The leader is regarded as the supreme authority. He or she may delegate certain power to a few subordinates for the purpose of seeing that members adhere to the leader’s wishes. There is no appeal outside his or her system to a greater system of justice. For example, if a schoolteacher feels unjustly treated by a principal, an appeal can be made to the superintendent. In a destructive cult, the leader claims to have the only and final ruling on all matters.

    Our family became friends with a Jewish couple who were in KC for a conference. They were part of the Ethiopian Jewish congregation in Israel and were missionaries in the US. They had some grave concerns and red flags (regarding IHOP’s theology, the model that is used with everything IHOP related, etc) that they attempted to meet with Mike and discuss. After being brushed off by Mike multiple times in his refusal to meet with him…even though they were Jewish leaders from Israel and Mike knew of them, he finally told these friends of ours that “This is how we do things here. This is just how IHOP is. It’s not for everyone.” If there was something you didn’t like or didn’t agree with, you were basically told “IHOP wasn’t for everyone so if you couldn’t handle it, maybe you shouldn’t be here.” There was no actual accountability for anything deemed wrong/un-Biblical. We were told that IHOP has its own “culture” and you must assimilate into that culture and language to really understand it. If you had a problem with something, you were told that you just had not been around long enough to understand how they did things OR that you just weren’t a good fit. These were the answers I was given when I met with internship leaders right before leaving. There was never actual admittance of wrong doing or hurting anyone who was caught in the crossfire.

    6. A destructive cult’s leader is a self-appointed messianic person claiming to have a special mission in life. For example, leaders of flying saucer cults claim that beings from outer space have commissioned them to lead people away from Earth, so that only the leaders can save them from impending doom.

    Every intern was required to listen to the 12 hours of IHOP’s recorded history on CD footage. Much of this content was heavily edited before its publication. These tapes told of “prophetic words” and signs that were given to some of Mike’s mentors (Bob Jones, Paul Cain, etc)—who were all naming him as the leader of the next “big thing” God was doing. Over and over and over again I’ve heard it said (both directly by Mike as well as from others) that he (Mike) would be the leader of a movement that “changed the nature and expression of Christianity in the earth”. Every time, all recognition points to Mike. His “mission” to transform the church and capture the hearts of America’s youth has been his declared goal since the early 1980’s. One of the major dangers is that these grandious sounding claims and “prophetic” words are laden with flattery, narcissism, elitism and are a perfect guise under which anything Mike introduces through IHOP can fall under the heading of being a “new thing” God is doing.

    This elitist teaching puts Mike on a pedestal and he has a Messianic-like devoted following of people who would do anything if he told them to without a moment of questioning or hesitation. From my observations and experiences on staff, IHOP members do not think for themselves or question Mike’s interpretation of scripture or the slant in the way he teaches it. At any conference, one will easily observe that if Mike recommends a book or promotes a teaching, a t-shirt or a speaker, at the next break, ALL of that item will be sold out in their bookstore. When I was on staff, I heard people continually sing Mike’s praises around the clock and quote more of what Mike says or thinks or teaches than actual scripture.

    Mike has an alluring charisma and many seem to be instantly drawn to his convincing appearance of direction and purpose. He teaches with passion and emotion rather than truth and it’s that charisma that draws and hooks people causing many to blindly follow (and defend) his message.

    I believe that the IHOP lifestyle by and large sets people up for disillusionment through the false hope that its deception provides. It is a pseudo, manufactured reality where people are told “you can live in Nirvana and enjoy the ‘high’ of being in God’s presence 24/7 and that can be ALL that you live for” so people sell all that they have, buy into a dream and move across the country to be a part of a ministry that makes captivating claims…and then their world often crumble to ashes when things aren’t as they seem once they arrive.

    Mike’s primary target and focus is on the young people. His appeals from the pulpit and his well-polished speeches aim at capturing the hearts of America’s youth. Children and youth are not told or encouraged to respect or honor the parents G-d gave them. Instead, wedges are driven between families and a seed of pride, rebellion and elitism gets planted into the hearts of youth when they are told things like the following…

    This is a very close paraphrase of what I’ve heard many, many times at One Thing, IHOP conferences and in teachings by leaders:

    “YOU are called to be on the cutting edge. Come here and join a community of other people who are like you, called to what you’re called to. We understand you. You’ve been mis-understood in the church. You’ve had your wings clipped, your gifts misunderstood. Here you can fulfill your forerunner calling that your family just hasn’t understood about you. You might feel like you don’t fit back home, you’re on the outside, no one understands the fire in you. Well we get it. You are the leaders that G-d is raising up in these end times and you will be kings and queens on the earth—reigning with Him. You were made for this place. IHOP is an incubator for people like you.”

    Narcissistic speeches like this instill a sense of pride, arrogance and elitism in the hearts of youth who hear it and it feeds their need for validation and identity. They run to IHOP, leave their families, join internships…hoping that what they’ve heard is true. They go to IHOP looking for identity…instead of finding it in Jesus.

    Once outside of the IHOP environment, they are terrified and overwhelmed by the “real” world and don’t know how to function in it when they’ve been in an intensive internship environment. There is a degree of re-acclimating to normal life that feels like an IHOP detox afterward. It’s a severe emotional drop because the hyped up services and conferences that were your manna are now gone and when there is no prayer room, your life in God feels empty and lifeless. Many simply don’t know how to engage with God in a real day-to-day basis once they’ve left. I experienced this and heard the exact same thing from a handful of my friends after they left IHOP and the internship. At that point when disillusionment sets in, I know many interns that walked away from God completely upon leaving the internship and went back into lifestyles worse than the ones they left when they came to IHOP originally.

    7. A destructive cult’s leader centers the veneration of members upon himself or herself. Priests, rabbis, ministers, democratic leaders, and other leaders of genuinely altruistic movements focus the veneration of adherents on God or a set of ethical principles. Cult leaders, in contrast, keep the focus of love, devotion, and allegiance on themselves.

    I believe my statements above illustrate this so I won’t be redundant.

    8. A destructive cult’s leader tends to be determined, domineering, and charismatic. Such a leader effectively persuades followers to abandon or alter their families, friends, and careers to follow the cult. The leader then takes control over followers’ possessions, money, time, and lives.

    Youth are pumped up at conferences and then go home to tell their parents they are moving to Kansas City to join IHOP, be part of an internship, etc. At the time, sadly, they don’t realize how much more they are giving up and leaving behind than just their families. I was hurled into a system that took control of my time, when I ate, slept, had time alone, etc. Picking up the pieces of my heart and rebuilding a Biblical view of God after getting outside of IHOP was quite a long process. I hope that by sharing all of this, I am able to spare others the heartache of what I went through.

    Please don’t just take my word for it. Start doing your own research. Ask the Father to lead you as you pursue what is TRUTH. Don’t just stop at the facts–look deeper. Do Google searches on cults and ask the Lord to unveil deceptions.

    Blessings to you on your journey of walking with Him.

  2. I being pretty up front with this title for this article, as I have friends that are both caught in this cult and friends that are now free from it’s snares. Another similar cult I had friends caught up in was a cult called “The Ramp”, run by Damon Thompson and Karen Wheaton.

    Mike Bickle of IHOP is known for his Harp and Bowl Doctrine, Tabernacle of David Doctrine and his very famous Bridal Paradigm. A very influential American musician is connected to this movement known as Misty Edwards. This effectively marketed ‘church’ targets youth with it’s soul-craving worship and contemporary graphics.

    There are many testimony’s world wide of how this movement destroys families and the relationships parents have with their kids.

    This is the movement that Sean Freucht came from to spread their movements and doctrines through his Burn 24/7’s in Australia. This movement must be rebuked and the Campaign Burn 24/7’s must be turned down by local ministers.

    This scripture comes to mind that speaks against this movement:

    Mark 7:6-13
    He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
    ” ‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
    They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to OBSERVE YOUR OWN TRADITIONS! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’

    But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you NULLIFY THE WORD OF GOD BY YOUR TRADITION THAT YOU HAVE HANDED DOWN. And you do many things like that.”

  3. Specks, thanks for this article. I know some people too who are in this. It’s hard when friends are into something and believe it’s the “next great thing” that will change their life, your life and the world, but you just personally don’t think it’s right, or that it might be okay in small doses but not something you get excited about. (I could say the same for multi-level marketing).

    (Before I forget and I don’t want to offend anyone in one of these businesses – but maybe one of you could do an article on the prevalence of MLMs and Prosperity doctrine. Often they go together in a church.

    Interestingly, I know someone who is really into Prosperity, AND the latest “Christian” MLM, AND IHOP and Harp and Bowl or whatever it is. Makes my mind spin just keeping up with all the lingo. And it’s difficult trying to diplomatically not respond to invitations.

    Great article and I like the analysis. The features of a cult – strong authoritarian leader, control of time and relationships, and of course being cut off from society either physically or just mentally on the basis that you are on the cutting edge/the elite called ones with a purpose etc.

    And what is saddest is it’s often the very very sincere, zealous young people who want to make their life count who get attracted and then hurt.

  4. A general comment I wanted to make. This site is criticized for being negative, and for being critical without doing anything positive.

    I think you are doing a good job, and it’s necessary for Christians to blog and point out extremes.

    Often, ministers themselves have misgivings but won’t publicly say so because of the fallout and cost involved.

    But re overboard prosperity teaching and wacko ministers – there should have been more said against all this 10, 20 years ago. It just seems to be getting worse. There was a time when people used to talk about some out of the way ministries that were overboard – but now it’s getting so mainstream.

    So, there is a temptation to always just say nice positive things about everything – but, saying and doing nothing just lets everything get worse.

    Btw, I know of many people who were able to get out of cults (and I mean cults that EVERYONE considers a cult), and the biggest factor was the internet. They couldn’t get information or hear other people’s doubts because they were too scared to share their feelings). Most of them started to read the internet and accounts of people who had left, and just see more alternate opinions and could slowly realize that it wasn’t them that was wrong, but the group they were in.

    So, don’t underestimate the effectiveness of what you do.

    Truth sets free.

  5. Teddy, thanks. Great article.
    That’s it – the fad-driven church. Every year there seems to be a whole new Christian vocabulary that is so hard to keep up with.
    Doesn’t anyone get tired of it all?

  6. Thanks for your comment Churchman.

    America had everyone’s support right after 9/11. But they lost the global community’s support when they started invading Afghanistan and Iraq. The demonstrations and protests were a worldwide phenomena.

    The internet bought a form of global reformation to the way people think and behave. The information already available to the average person about these wars,gave many people the facts that WERE true. This gave people and opportunity to judge appropriately if they were to speak out on such issues or not. It was through the internet that global demonstrations were made possible. Demonstrations were made AROUND THE WORLD in one day about their disapproval about the wars.

    The church failed then to see the significance of the internet in this way- as both a voice, resource and community. This is what made me start looking at the internet to see how this could play a part pf some sort of church reformation (I was rather ideal at the time) to bring positive change to the way church is done and I stumbled upon various Christian forums and eventually Signposts.

    So while the NAR is claiming they are bringing reformation through their ‘new apostles’, movements saying ‘tehy are it’ like C3, Hillsong, IHOP, Sloshfest, etc. I am more curious as to know how the church is being reformed with the use of the internet and those who are running similar sites like ourselves.

    Five years ago, the internet was less polluted and more innocent unlike these days.

    The internet has added another dimension to how we do church. I’ve had many supernatural events take place online and surreal coincidences. I still wonder if the internet, just like the printing press, is the way many ‘Luther’-rejects are banging away at the Protestant Castles to bring a form of reformation as a whole to a emerging church movement.

    I strongly believe that it has been the internet that is acting like a melting pot to unite the different church denominations and movements together (of course in line with His Spirit).

    This can be a dangerous merging globally. But because of sites like Signposts02, the merging of the global church can help embrace those that are sincere about their faith in God against those who have their faith in their own financial empires, kingdoms, Christian brands and movements.

    The internet is helping create almost a filter to help the church to distinguish the false from the valid. That’s why I like it here on Signposts02.

    Our united opinions on certain ‘leaders’, ‘prophets’, ministries (and so on) give people enough information to see for themselves what is good or not in the Body of Christ.

    I think the church is just realising this. For both good and bad reasons, Christianity is now forced to rub shoulders on line and actually examine what they have been taught over the years.

    This is why I think the emergent church is so popular. It’s a voice and an enigmatic movement that has no real form, just like the Christians who fellowship online amongst an invisible landscape that has no real form.

  7. Teddy, another great link. Thanks. Did you ever read the Internet Monk. Now there was a guy with an open soul.

  8. Yes, Michael Spencer – he died recently, a well-loved man by the whole Christian community.

    Briandblog has been doing a book discussion on Michael’s “Mere Christianity”.

    Another really good blog is Phoenix Preacher..

    http://phoenixpreacher.net/

  9. I’ve also posted those two blogs up in the side bar that Teddy mentioned.

    I guess they’re Australian?

  10. No. “Phoenix Preacher” is ex Calvary Chapel. Most of his bloggers are pastors and/or ex Calvary Chapel. He had Ted haggard live blogging at one time about his “restoration”.

    “Briandblog” is an offshoot of Phoenix Preacher, both from the States.

  11. @ Specks – I posted the Hillsong/Today Tonight video on Chris’ Facebook. He has often referred to Hillsong as heretical. C3’s profile is not as “famous” as Hillsong worldwide. I have mentioned to Chris in the past that C3 had a “2000 churches by 2020″ vision, so is an group to watch.

  12. A cult that likes to associate itself with IHOP is a young adults church called ‘The Ramp’. It has it’s programs on God TV.

    It’s really interesting meeting the people that come out of these places.

  13. Being part of IHOP-KC for over 8 years and being part of the leadership for over 6 of those years, I have to disagree with you. IHOP-KC is like any other cult – or maybe that is too fierce of a word. Jehovah’s Witness, or Mormon type of religion might be a better category to place these IHOPers in.

    Are they saved? Oh yes, of course they will be with Jesus in the next life. But the foundational – so called prophetic words that much of what make up this 24/7 prayer room are not based on foundational truths, and many of them have been changed throughout the beginning of IHOP-KC when we, (yes we), started in a trailer because, well.. the prophecies did not happen and many men involved were not walking in truth at that time.

    Examples: Honey, I have more than I can write in a blog. I lived it. Where what they are doing is in scripture, at least a lot of it, it is based out of the old covenant and not the finished work of the cross. Galatians would be a good book to compare them to. When Paul returned to find their doctrines tainted. As far as many of the leaders (now) and teachers of IHOPU, “money” would be a great word… What would all of these people do if IHOP-KC ended tomorrow? Would these teachers and leaders be able to get jobs to support their families? What about the kids in this ministry and the rock star wannabes? Over 80 percent of them do not know how to function outside of the bubble and lack social skills and job training.

    Prayer is a good thing, and I probably wouldn’t mind IHOP-KC so much if all they did was to provide a place of worship to the Lord. But they don’t. There are so many deeper workings that happen there which are being sent all over the world and country. Yes, IHOP is a missions base where people come to get equipped and then get sent out.

    Regarding fasting… Oh how I fasted. So much that my insides, even today, still have medical issues…and they will tell you that they make no one fast, that it is a choice – but remember these people are seeking acceptance and want to feel like they belong somewhere when they use those tactics, (to make you think you are fasting so that your heart is more tender for God), but you are actually fasting for all the wrong reasons (one of which is being accepted by the leaders and teachers and peers).

    People come and are then sent out “by God” so multiplication of a thwarted, Christian message goes out across the world…sound familiar? What troubles me is that many Christians, like CBN, 700 Club and others, do not know the entire story and what exactly happens in this place – so they only report what appears to be truth….A real reporter would come into the community, try to be part of the community, and then would see IHOP is a cult. But for every person that does escape this stronghold, and tests the teachings, and really seeks truth, they do eventually find it and learn to walk in the freedom Jesus came to give us.

    Mike Bickle, and I can mention many others, have their own agendas now. And while they will coat things to make people believe what they teach is scriptural, I thank God that I searched and was one like many, many others that have left IHOP because we asked Father God to show us truth and the veils were removed. The lies were uncovered, the money scams undone.

    So when many say this is a place that one can go deeper. Yes, it is, but only if you seek the truth in the scriptures by His Spirit and not the interpretations that someone twists them for all to believe. If you seek, this place is a place where you can actually say that God uses ALL things, even bad things, for your good for those that are in Him. I have a friend that was a Jehovah’s Witness. In his seeking scriptures vs. what was being taught to him, he is now on fire for God because he walks in the freedom that Jesus died and rose again to give us. IHOP-KC does more damage than good for the kids seeking the Lord. It thwarts their thinking and even relationship with Jesus and the Father.

    Where a ministry is there to help the community and offer fellowship and truth, IHOP -KC does none of the above. Right now they have many people fooled but God is God and in the end He will have the last word and all these people that are still in bondage will know the truth of what living a wasted life truly is. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on Mike Bickle, David Sliker, Corey Russell and all the ones associated with this ministry. Have mercy and have your people seek the truth that they may walk in the freedom you paid for them by the cross.

    Now would you like to know the salaries these so called fasted lifestyle missionaries make and trust me I am not knocking it but don’t preach that you don’t take in a salary when the IRS has listed that you do and on top of tat hefty salary and some in the 6 digits you also get support…while many and I mean many are starving to death or fasting because they have to not because they choose to. Scam! and what I know now that I free from this place is if God could set me Free how many others can He do the same for?

  14. IHOP has been gaining momentum here in the U.S.

    Lou Engle has conributed to its increased popularity. Many churches are now linking to IHOP and adopting a similar ‘prayer room’ as well as introducing Bickle’s warped teachings.

    IHOP preys upon the youth. The Harp and Bowl format can be very seductive and the ‘experience’ can lead you to believe whatever the guru (Bickle) says. There is a lot of elitism in these groups.

    IHOP has teamed up with YWAM and Campus Crusade for Christ. YWAM’s ‘School of Hindu Studies’ and ‘Messianic Muslims’ are disgraceful and signs of the leadership’s many compromises.

    Here is a video of Loren Cunningham being carried like a king and spreading moral government theology:

    http://theirothergospel.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/king-cunningham-who-are-ywamers-really-following/

  15. B. Runner, it is wonderful that you are now out of there. Thanks for sharing some of your story.

    “…and they will tell you that they make no one fast, that it is a choice – but remember these people are seeking acceptance and want to feel like they belong somewhere when they use those tactics, (to make you think you are fasting so that your heart is more tender for God), but you are actually fasting for all the wrong reasons (one of which is being accepted by the leaders and teachers and peers).”

    That is pretty awful. I wonder how many people participate in things like this for acceptance or to impress others (attending and loudly participating in prayer meetings to climb leadership ladders for example, or giving very publically – or making sure the right people know) – rather than because they’ve been quietly drawn to do so by the Lord? Many of these things are to be more private than public. There are some pretty good reasons why – you’ve highlighted one.

  16. B.Runner, I too am glad you found your way out. Alot of similarities from the movement I came out of. It is still hard to move on 3 years later. Stories on the Internet like yours that are told, will no doubt help those who are in the process of questioning.

  17. It is a style or model for a worship service. Some call it a restoration of what King David established with praise and worship mixed with music and prayer in the Tabernacle of David. They believe they are restoring this practice with thier 24/7 prayer and intercession. The harp and bowl may come from Revelation 5:8, which describes heavenly worship with harps and bowls of incense. The music can be repetitive, and can last for extended periods of time leaving you in a somewhat hypnotic state that can soften you up to accept false doctrines. Kingdom Now / Doninionist theology can dominate the lyrics.

    It is sensual worship, with dancing, people waving flags, and often includes speaking in tongues. It is appealing to youth because it offers them an ‘experience’ that many are not used to in a more traditional worship service.

  18. ravingpente-
    You hit the nail on the head. These things should be way more private. Jesus commanded us to be careful not to do your ‘acts of rightousness’ before men, to be seen by them (Matt 6:1). This includes giving, fasting, and prayer. You hardly hear them teach what Jesus taught about fasting:

    Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV)
    When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    I have seen the that some of the churches that adopt the ‘prayer room’ also have an unhealty emphasis on a corporate fast at the beginning of each year where the Bible is often distorted and there is peer pressure like you are hearing described.

  19. One example of ‘harp and bowl’ here:

    One person is taking the lead in praying. You can notice more towards the end people repeating ‘you are worthy’ over and over.

    And a much bigger service (at IHOP with Mick Bickle leading prayer and Misty Edwards leading worship):

    Notice the repetition?

  20. An amazing story B. Runner. So sorry to hear of your experience. But I pray your powerful testimony can help lead people out.

  21. I have good friends in the IHOP cult. In fact, it was the IHOP cult that originally got me looking at American Christianity which got me into blogging here.

    And a month later it was the Bentley case – and then everything’s started falling into place for me and how it was all connected. I read so much that season in December-March.

    I am very familiar with Misty Edwards and her music and the teachings of Bickle and IHOP. I used to watch many of his services and were apalled. But it was originally my friends involvement in IHOP that got me blogging here. Not C3.

  22. I might do an update on the IHOP’s cult disguised Burn24/7 movement in Australia. They’re not as bold in Sydney which makes me wonder if it is because Signposts02 and pastors have made them feel genuinely unwelcome over here.

    I’d like to see Lance look into this. I’m about to do an article of one that is in Perth.

  23. I just want to tell you that everything negative that everyone recently has mentioned and even past is true. I have been part of the internships at IHOP for over 3 years and I do thank God that my family got me out of there. I was not part of the leadership but saw enough to know that there is something wrong with them. I also know that many of the pastors in the area have just had it with Bickle. I went to several churches in the area since I was not getting the Cross message at IHOP it was all about Bob Jones, prophecy and dreams and what they felt the dreams meant and their interpertation of the bible. It was all foolishness I paid alot of money a total of over 18 thousand dollars to that place along with all my tithing….everytime I made some money I would be told to give it away or I would run into classmates that need the money since they had no food. I lived in one of their apartment with 2 bedrooms with 6 adults it was just wrong but I had to I was really not encouraged to be part of the program and live on my own. If you do particular programs you have to live on site. All of it was very controling. Lou Engle is just out there and wacked. I tink there is something seriously wrong with him and everyone that adores him and follows him they don’t even think for themselves they just do what he does. I knew that from the start so I tried to stay away from him, but it is hard since he often preaches. When the awakening happened it was odd too, I think most people knew people were faking it, I even did sometimes since they put the pressure on some of us that we had to feel something. Alot of mind control, not that you had to do something or they would kill you but they would alient you and make you feel like you were shit. Very clicky, Not sure if that is how you spell it but so not Jesus at all. I see all that now being in a healthy church and real community. That is another thing no real community in that place. It is like they are all glassy eyed. I was too, just like zombies following eachother round and round and not growing in Christ at all from glory to glory. Lots of money goes into that place thousands and I think probably millions but the kids (us) never saw it and we had to always beg for support. I have been on a mission trip to Africa since returning home and that was like night and day. The mission trips I was on through IHOP was nothing like I was on recently. We were building huts and really slept in the wilderness and were real missionaries at IHOP many even stayed at peoples homes or motels, I did as well everything we needed was provided – nothing like real missions work. Just stupid. I never could see asking for money to pray. I pray more now than I did then and I can’t imagine asking anyone to give me money or support so I can pray, Anna never did that. Why should we. Now I see clearly but I thank my parents for having their heads on straight and pulling me out before it really screwed me up.

  24. Thank you for your Testimony, Laura. We thrive on eye-witness testimony so we are blessed by you sharing with us.

    How did you get involved with IHOP and what were the first signs that there was something wrong?

    Shalom

  25. @laura mac-

    Thank you for sharing your experience with IHOP. While I was influenced by IHOP and the teachings of Mike Bickle, I was never involved to the extent that you were. I am sorry that you had to go through all that you did. Praise Jesus that you are able to know the truth about IHOP, Bickle, and Engle. I have friends from college who are disciples of Bickle and are blind to any warnings that I try to give them. Stay close to the word of God, and be thankful that you have been delivered from the madness of chasing dreams and visions.

  26. My Name is Kara and I too was hoodwinked by IHOP for over 6 years. I lived and breathed that place, I believed in the foundation of it and was lied to over and over again by the leadership. I saw many people come and go through that time but many that stayed year after year like myself and I would say to myself this must be okay it must be a good thing since so many talented people are here. But I was wrong. So wrong and because I did not seek and search and diligently do my research a veil was over my eyes for years and no one could tell me otherwise. Some of my friends left this place and found the truth of the scriptures but many others stayed but yet I did not get it maybe because deep inside I did not want to know the truth. I wanted to believe I could not be fooled or deceived I knew too much word, I had too much of a great realtionship with Jesus to be hoodwinked. But I was and I finally see this now. What took me seeing it, I really can’t say one thing, maybe it was when they fired someone in my department at IHOP when she was questioning money funds, maybe it was all the people that got sick through fasting so much and then having to be hospitalized and then having David Sliker state “Oh but we don’t force people to fast”. Or maybe it was when I started to work for the city of Jackson and noticed how many homes were owned by Diane and Mike Bickle that had no loans on them and had nothing to do with Glad Heart Realty or maybe how Mike Bickle has many different addresses and he isn’t living as much as a fasted lifestyle as he preaches. or maybe it was when I went to one session near the Prayer Room that did soaking sessions and the woman was sharing how she use to be part of IHOP and then found the truth behind herself being lied to and hoodwinked and finding the deeper love of the Father through the time she actually was as IHOP and how God uses all things for the good even the IHOP cult and it’s people that so lie to so many of His sheep. Or maybe it was when I noticed one day how my so called IHOP friends were really only aquantances and not REAL friends because IHOP really doesn’t have a real community and does not know how to love one another as the bible teaches. I can’t tell you it was one thing or another I can only tell you it was a combination of things and through that combination of things, I have found the road of truth and the path to my glorious Father and have left this cult to seek and live the life Jesus died to give me. I tell anyone in this cult or thinking of it…do your research, the facts are clear and they are all within your reach Father God has allowed it be clear, but you must be willing to seek it in order to find it. Seek and you shall find, don’t be ignorant..and don’t just continue in the lies just because you think it is from the Lord, it is not! Let Him (TRUTH) show you. Just seek!

  27. Kara wrote:

    “Or maybe it was when I noticed one day how my so called IHOP friends were really only aquantances and not REAL friends because IHOP really doesn’t have a real community and does not know how to love one another as the bible teaches. ”
    .
    .
    .
    Kara,

    Since leaving IHOP have you found real friends, real community and people who know how to love one another as the Bible teaches?

    http://ianvincent.wordpress.com/

  28. visit my facebook page if you would like to learn more about the New Apostolic Reformation and Joel’s Army. I was involved with this movement for many years and taught by a follower of Bob Jones.

    “Joe”

    http:// deleted

  29. Pingback: ps vita

  30. its what happens when it’s bible only, each with their own interpretation, doing their own thing gradually erodes the message.

  31. Beware of all fads – but the most nefarious of all is Christian Zionism – they are either totally fooled or quite diabolical – I tend to think the former, but I do think that certain Evangelicals and Pentecostals who espouse support for Israel will drop her like a hot potato when she is “outed” as the scapegoat for the world.

    The last level of the Tower to the Heavens is being built, it is the Hebrew Roots movement and Emerging Church. But note that the Tower of Babel is represented as an unfinished work at contradiction to the finished work of grace in Christ Jesus.

    Babylon will fall, and all these churches are merely Babylon in our culture. Rome consumed the other cultures and Empires and then it consumed Christendom. Babylon is Rome is now.

    Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. By the way, Handmaiden, psychological and or physical abuse kind of sets us up for the abusers of men found in churches. The worst form of abuse is to undermine simple child like faith and stealthily inculcate conditions and confinements. But I was a rebel! LOL.

    The Tabernacle of David which was spoken of by Amos and reiterated in Acts, is found outside the gates, outside the “ICHABOD” Old Jerusalem, which is also known as Sodom and as Egypt.

    Jesus is going to send His people to the highways and byways. They shall compel such as would enter to do so.

    His people are increasingly outside the gates and glad to be so.

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