In this episode, we examine Joyce Meyer's theology, demonstrating she still adheres to the teachings of the Word of Faith heresy.
In this episode, we examine Joyce Meyer's theology, demonstrating she still adheres to the teachings of the Word of Faith heresy.
Love and Death In the House of Prayer - The Rolling Stone article on Tyler Deaton's cult and the murder of Bethany Deaton.
What Rolling Stone Didn't Tell You About Tyler Deaton - This article presents some insider information regarding IHOP-KC's dealing with the Tyler Deaton affair. Most importantly, it discusses how the environment at IHOP-KC bred such a group as Deaton's cult.
Herrington tells a story of being rebuked for questioning Deaton. “Tyler is the apostle of Southwestern,” he was told, “you need to do whatever he tells you!” Yet I could tell countless stories of how students who voiced disagreements with teachers at IHOP’s Bible school, my alma mater IHOPU, were treated in similar fashion. Many were reduced to tears; I was compared to heretics; a friend was told, “I’m fighting on the Lord’s side, whose side are you fighting on?” and most pointedly one teacher said, “The angel came to Mike, not you; who do you think we are going to listen to?”See also this blog post I made with some transcripts from IHOP-KC (by a member of the "underground church" there) that showcases more of what was discussed in that last paragraph.
“Mike would never say this,” Greaves said to a room full of students, “but I’m telling you, Mike Bickle is an Apostle.” At an August 2013 staff meeting, Bickle warned staff and students that God would judge them for how they responded to the prophetic encounters he and others leaders had about IHOP and the prayer movement [...]
The following is from Alexander MacLaren's commentary on the book of Joshua.
For the Christian soldier, then, God’s law is his marching orders. The written word, and especially the Incarnate Word, are our law of conduct. The whole science of our warfare and plan of campaign are there. We have not to take our orders from men’s lips, but we must often disregard them, that we may listen to the ‘Captain of our salvation.’ The soldier stands where his officer has posted him, and does what he was bid, no matter what may happen. Only one voice can relieve him. Though a thousand should bid him flee, and his heart should echo their advices, he is recreant if he deserts his post at the command of any but him who set him there. Obedience to others is mutiny. Nor does the Christian need another law to supplement that which Christ has given him in His pattern and teaching. Men have appended huge comments to it, and have softened some of its plain precepts which bear hard on popular sins. But the Lawgiver’s law is one thing, and the lawyers’ explanations which explain it away or darken what was clear enough, however unwelcome, are quite another. Christ has given us Himself, and therein has given a sufficient directory for conduct and conflict which fits close to all our needs, and will prove definite and practical enough if we honestly try to apply it.
The application of Christ’s law to daily life takes some courage, and is the proper field for the exercise of Christian strength. ‘Be very courageous that thou mayest observe.’ If you are not a bold Christian you will very soon get frightened out of obedience to your Master’s commandments. Courage, springing from the realisation of God’s helping strength, is indispensable to make any man, in any age, live out thoroughly and consistently the principles of the law of Jesus Christ. No man in this generation will work out a punctual obedience to what he knows to be the will of God, without finding out that all the ‘Canaanites’ are not dead yet; but that there are enough of them left to make a very thorny life for the persistent follower of Jesus Christ.
And not only is there courage needed for the application of the principles of conduct which God has given us, but you will never have them handy for swift application unless, in many a quiet hour of silent, solitary, patient meditation you have become familiar with them. The recruit that has to learn on the battle-field how to use his rifle has a good chance of being dead before he has mastered the mysteries of firing. And Christian people that have their Christian principles to dig out of the Bible when the necessity comes, will likely find that the necessity is past before they have completed the excavation. The actual battle-field is no place to learn drill. If a soldier does not know how his sword hangs, and cannot get at it in a moment, he will probably draw it too late.
I am afraid that the practice of such meditation as is meant here has come to be, like the art of making ecclesiastical stained glass, almost extinct in modern times. You have all so many newspapers and magazines to read that the Bible has a chance of being shoved out of sight, except on Sundays and in chapels. The ‘meditating’ that is enjoined in my text is no mere intellectual study of Scripture, either from an antiquarian or a literary or a theological point of view, but it is the mastering of the principles of conduct as laid down there, and the appropriating of all the power for guidance and for sustaining which that word of the Lord gives. Meditation, the familiarising ourselves with the ethics of Scripture, and with the hopes and powers that are treasured in Jesus Christ, so that our minds are made up upon a great many thorny questions as to what we ought to do, and that when crises or dangers come, as they have a knack of coming, very suddenly, and are sprung upon us unexpectedly, we shall be able, without much difficulty, or much time spent in perplexed searching, to fall back upon the principles that decide our conduct-that is essential to all successful and victorious Christian life.
And it is the secret of all blessed Christian life. For there is a lovely echo of these vigorous words of command to Joshua in a very much more peaceful form in the 1st Psalm: ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, . . . but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate day and night’-the very words that are employed in the text to describe the duty of the soldier-therefore ‘all that he doeth shall prosper.’
In this episode, we review a message by Steve Kelly at Wave Church, where he talks about how you can change the life of a $100 bill. How do you ultimately do that? The answer may not surprise you...
This link takes you to the page discussing the various monikers and levels of recognition granted to people at Wave Church, depending on how much they give above and beyond their tithes and offerings.
This link takes you to the podcast episode where we review Steve Kelly's teachings on leadership, which are dangerously cult-like.
from the 2014 issue of Wave Foundation Magazine). Basically, it depends how much you give to the church ("over and above" the tithes and offerings, according to the magazine), and the titles can be separated as follows:
If you give $120 to $2,499 annually to Wave Church (why these specific numbers, I don't know), you become a member of the Army of Faithful Believers. They are considered the "lifeblood of Wave Church" (I don't know what those who give under $120 are called - knowing Steve Kelly, probably Parasites).
If you give $2,500 to $7,499 annually to Wave Church, you are called a Centurion. This title is inspired by the "high-yield, low maintenance" centurion from Luke 7...which is interesting, given that the story of the faithful centurion in Luke 7 has absolutely nothing to do with money or giving money. These people are "a key part of the financial leadership" of Wave Church, who "see it as a part of their mission to resource the Kingdom" (I suppose the Army of Faithful Believers don't).
Finally, if you give $7,500 to over $1,000,000 annually to Wave Church (remember, this is "over and above" the tithes and offerings), you are called one of the Kingdom People. Like a Centurion, these Kingdom People see "part of the reason they exist is to resource the Kingdom of God," but are those who "consistently place the cause of the King as their first priority" (I guess the Centurions aren't as consistent, or don't have their priorities straight). These people are likewise considered "the financial leaders" of Wave Church.
In application, Centurions and Kingdom People get marginally more benefits than those in the Army: Kingdom People/Centurions Appreciation weekends are held, and both groups have their own "Amazing Race" events. This is on top of the Centurions being "a key part of the financial leadership" and Kingdom People being actual "financial leaders." It's quite clear that the more you give to Wave Church over and above your regular tithes and offerings, the more and more respect and privilege you earn. While they use the phrase "kingdom of God" and claim this is about those who are assisting the kingdom, it's quite clear that this is in a strictly Wave Church context - I doubt I would gain a Kingdom People title giving $1,000,000 to a small church in rural Alabama.
More importantly, is this kind of classification any where in scripture? Were Army of Faithful Believers, Centurions, or Kingdom People mentioned in the gifts of titles listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:28 or Ephesians 4:11? No, they were not. When Paul wrote on donations for the church in Jerusalem in 2 Corinthians 9, did he divide up the believers by how much money they could possibly give? No, not at all. Nowhere in scripture are these titles mentioned, taught, or even hinted at.
What this essentially does is take the church and turn it into any other club or organization. For example: one can be a Regular Member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and enjoy some benefits; or, one could donate thousands of dollars per year and become an Endowment, Patron, or Benefactor Member, all of whom are able to vote and assist in major decisions made by the organization. Again, the same concept is seen right here in Wave Church: donate more and more money, and receive more and more benefits. Want to become a top financial leader at the church and carry a little bit more weight? Donate enough money to become Kingdom People.
This is especially unbiblical in the sense that it emphasizes benefits for how much one gives, rather than the motivations for it. I am reminded of the story of the widow's offering (Mk 12:41-44; Lk 21:1-4), where a poor widow places two copper coins into the offering box. This woman was commended by Christ because, although her amount was terribly small, she had given all she had. Most churches would recognize the importance of motivation over amount, hence why most of the time givings are anonymous or done out of private conviction. According to the ranks at Wave Church, however, the widow was not placing "the cause of the King" as her "first priority," since she had not donated the demanded (and ridiculously high) amounts.
As I wrote before, there is nothing scriptural about this. This is simply a way for Wave Church to inspire more people to give more money, and to fleece the flock more than they already are.
I've met a lot of people who bore what I call "willful ignorance." That is, they've received correction, and don't want to reform. They've been told what is light and what is darkness, and they still refuse to come to the light. They have the truth right in front of them, and they still refuse to believe it. I know full well that no argument alone can win a soul. I know that. I realize that a person's regeneration comes only by the will of God (Jn 1:12-13) - again, I know all that.
All the same, it gets hard when that realization hits a bit close to home. When family or friends are the ones displaying it. It gets even harder when you have immense respect and love for the individual, and you just want to shake them and say to them "Wake up!" You want to ask why they can be so intelligent and well rounded in certain areas, and yet such a dunderhead with this topic.
I recall once a story by Christian apologist James White, who, after a debate, got into a discussion with a passionate Roman Catholic over sola scriptura and related subjects. After blowing every argument he made out of the water, the guy threw his hands up and said, "Well look, you're the apologist, not me." Then sometime later, James White was headed out, and saw the man talking with someone else on the same subject. As he was passing by, James White overheard him making the exact same arguments he had made before. It's easy for us to hear a story like that and say, "Wow, that's really sad for that individual." It's hard, however, when we know that such a person is someone we consider a friend, or know as a family member. It's not easy to dismiss or disregard. It gets painful, and hurtful really.
It's a reminder, one might suppose, that we should treat all men like friends and family when it comes to the Gospel. It's a reminder that we should remember even those who are stubborn against the truth with whom we have no relation should be treated with respect, and should be given the truth of God no less than those we know personally. Whether its a random individual online, an in person encounter, a friend, or a family member, all who are without the truth need He who is Truth. God bless.
In this episode we examine two clips about the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, which were played on the Christian Broadcast Network's 700 Club. Most importantly, we review how IHOP-KC will hide key points to their theology in a more public setting, and ask if CBN is really fully aware of what they believe.
This link sends you to the blog post giving the meeting notes where Bickle tells IHOP staff they are committed to this, and God will judge them for how they act.
This link sends you to the podcast episode covering Misty Edwards and forerunners.
This link sends you to the blog post discussing the Song of Solomon and whether it's literal or allegorical.
~150 AD - A group calling themselves the Montanists arise, whose founder, Montanus, claims to be the "Helper" mentioned in John's gospel. They engage heavily in prophecy, claimed to be guided by the Holy Spirit, and practiced what would be called today "Charismatic gifts of the Spirit." More importantly, they begin proclaiming that the church is in the rough stages leading to the return of Christ, which will happen soon (the founders believed it would happen after their generation). When they pray "thy kingdom come," they in essence pray for the quick end of the world.
~180 AD - Many during this time period apply the concept of Christ's return to their contemporary settings. The Church Fathers Irenaeus and Hippolytus, for example, believe that the return of Christ will happen after the destruction and division of the Roman Empire followed by the reign of the Antichrist.
847 AD - A so-called prophetess named Thiota prophecies that the world will end in this year. Many in the area of her ministry believe her, with some even sending her gifts and asking for prayers from her. When the predicted end does not come to pass, she is invited by the local bishops to a synod, where she is made to admit she prophesied falsely, flogged, and stripped of any ministerial power, after which she no longer prophesies.
~1000 AD - It became popular in Europe to believe that this thousand years was the literal millennium spoken of in Revelation, and that soon the Antichrist would come to bring about judgment on the world (some moved the date to 1033 AD, the supposed anniversary of the Lord's Passion). Many took the growing famines, heresies, and wars of the time period to signify the coming of the end. Some believed that Pope Sylvester II (known for having a deep interest in scientific arts that were taboo at the time) might have been the Antichrist foretold in Revelation.
1200 AD - A well known Roman Catholic mystic named Joachim of Fiore predicts that in 1260 AD humanity will come in direct contact with God and a great era of peace will begin. Obviously, this does not come to pass. His followers change the date to 1290, and then 1335. Neither dates see an era of peace descend upon the earth.
1666 AD - An English group known as the Fifth Monarchists (1649-1660) predicts the coming Antichrist will be replaced in this year by Christ as the "fifth monarchy" (the other four being in Daniel 2).
1688 AD - Noted mathematician John Napier (1550-1617), attempting to calculate the apocalypse, predicts that the world may end at this time. He likewise argues that 1700 might be a valid date.
1843 AD - The return of Christ, which had been predicted by Seventh Day Adventists in 1840, does not occur. It soon begins to be proposed in Adventist circles that Christ will return on October 22 of that year. This likewise comes and goes without any sign of a return.
1874 AD - Charles T. Russell, founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, predicts that Christ will return in this year. When nothing unfolds, Russell assures his followers that Christ had returned, but invisibly.
1914 AD - Charles T. Russell predicts that the Battle for Armageddon would commence in this year, and that Christ's earthly reign would begin. This doesn't occur.
1925 AD - Jehovah's Witnesses predict that the resurrection will occur, with the return of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the return of earth to a paradise. Membership into the Witnesses grows immensely in the years leading up to this date. The predicted resurrection, however, doesn't occur.
1939 AD - Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, reports on the radio that World War II will center around Jerusalem and will end with the second coming of Christ. Neither of these prophecies are realized. Armstrong even went so far as to compare Hitler and Mussolini to the Beast and False Prophet in Revelation.
1956 AD - Herbert W. Armstrong releases a publication on what the year 1975 will be like. He predicts that World War III and Christ's return are coming soon.
1970 AD - Hal Lindsey publishes his famous book The Late Great Planet Earth, which speaks on end time events. In it, he states the possibility of the end times unfolding in 1988, based on a 40-years time period and the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. As time shows, this did not occur.
1975 AD - Jehovah's Witnesses predict that Armageddon will occur. Membership into the Witnesses increases dramatically in the years leading up to this date. However, the predicted Armageddon once again does not occur.
1985 AD - Herbert W. Armstrong publishes a book reaffirming that Christ will return soon, and that many mysteries of the Bible regarding the end times had not been revealed until recently.
1988 AD - Inspired by Hal Lindsey, Edgar Whisenant publishes a book entitled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988, adding, "Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong..." When the rapture does not happen, Whisenant publishes another book in 1989, claiming it will happen that year. He tries again in 1993, and yet again in 1994.
1994 AD - Harold Camping predicts two years before that Christ will return on September 6, 1994, although he leaves room for 2011 to be the year. When the rapture does not occur, he settles on his 2011 dating.
1999 AD - Mike Bickle founds the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOP-KC) on supposed orders from God, believing he is going to prepare the church for the return of Christ, which he believes will happen in this generation.
2011 AD - Harold Camping declares more publicly that the rapture will happen on May 21, 2011, followed by months of judgment upon the earth. When this does not occur, he predicts that the judgment as a whole will happen on October 21 of that year. This also does not occur. Camping will go on to repent of his dating, and ask others to avoid making similar mistakes.
2012 AD - Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and incarcerated for sexual crimes against minors, tells his followers in December that the world will end before 2013, and that they should prepare for the end. Obviously, the prediction does not come to pass.
This contact provided me with two documents, which are transcripts of meetings held with Mike Bickle. These staff meetings apparently "alarmed a lot of people there and kinda woke them up" (the person's own words). Why is this? Because the staff were essentially told that, if they committed to IHOP-KC, they were in it for the long haul. Why? Because IHOP-KC was, after all, set up and organized by God. God Himself commanded that it be set up. The double language, of course, was still there: "This isn't about Mike Bickle, but honor the private revelation and commands given by God through Mike Bickle"; "You can serve any part of the ministry in the church, but if you've committed to the forerunner ministry, you're committed"; etc. Nonetheless, many realized what the real language of Bickle and company meant.
Most notable about these documents are two things:
1) The emphasis placed upon the prophetic history of the movement. The contact even wrote:
All staff meetings, worship team meetings, leadership meetings are all about prophetic history. For many it has caused them to question...why is this the means for encouragement and not the work of the cross or the bible?...Over the years hundreds have approached Mike on his usage of scripture and obsession with the "prophetic history". He views them as the "barking dogs" (Bob Jones vision thing) and they are trying to talk him out of the call of God, etc. I've had conversations with the main leaders, and none of them want to see it. The hunger of being apart of a "great move of God" has blinded them. They're all nice moral people but are definitely deceived. They are allegiant to Mike.2) The subtle language of placing divine judgment and authority upon those who would leave the movement. To again quote my contact:
IHOP is obsessed with teaching about "not quitting" and not "giving up". They equate faithfulness with committing yourself to something for decades. Yet in the same sentence they cover themselves by saying..." this doesn't mean doing ihop. It's living wholehearted, seeking God". The big problem is EVERYTHING is vague. Mike doesn't really use Biblical language in context so he says things like "i want a vibrant heart. I don't want to back down from getting all I can in God". Young believers therefore here... do IHOP. IHOP and the prayer room then become your means for keeping you saved. disaster.And likewise:
Mike makes his "non confrontational approach" seem more holy. He will make remarks on how God is his defender so he doesn't need to defend himself. He is very good at playing the victim and rarely takes responsibility for any wrongs on his part. In fact, if you do approach a leader and say, "you hurt me when you did this". They'll usually respond with a, "Well God chooses the weakest people to be his leaders and God's imperfect leadership is His perfect leadership". In the transcriptions I send you I'm pretty sure Mike when he is talking about people leaving says "they're just licking their wounds" "they didn't get what they wanted". He will always make others out to be the bad guy to protect himself. Very manipulative...Below are links to the documents sent to me:
And you know Mike's monastic influence "living a simple lifestyle" is a huge part of IHOP's commitments...it is impossible for [one employee] to get a job because he has to do 50hours a week to be on full time staff so he can play on a team. But if he "quits" he is seen as missing it, or giving up on his assignment, or whatever...So the leaders manipulate people to stay even through the hard times, but Mike is getting 90,000+. That's pretty shady to me.
First link. This is a transcript of a staff meeting held in August of 2013.
I’m just giving you a little bit of this experience. Here is what the Lord’s mandate to him then which is to you. This is a mandate to you....Second link. This is a transcript of a staff meeting held in October of 2013.
Here’s my point. Is that just a good story? No. When God does this. Here's the point I want you to put your seat belt on. When God gives signs in the Heaven to back up words that have to do with a global purpose and he invites you to do it. You are now accountable for it and you will talk to him at the judgment seat of Christ about it...
Honestly, I went ahhhh and the Lord said I’m not really asking your opinion I’m pointing my ﬁnger and saying "do it"...
I wold [sic] just rather have a little ministry on the side and do this and that and the other like a bunch of my friends are doing out there. The Lord said you don’t get to choose any of that. I sent signs in the heavens. I raised up prophetic voices. I went out of my way to establish it. You are bound to this or we are going to have a serious talk...
...it’s a purpose God really cares about and again years later looking back I can’t negotiate it, but neither can you. That’s the point I want you to see. I want you under the weight of that. It’s not that mike is bound, you’re bound. You're sent here, you’re bound. Not to this city. Not to the way we do the ministry ut [sic] to the message and the values. If you were sent you’re bound. All your days to do this...
And when you talk to the Lord on day he’ll say where is your family at? Where are you at? Did you do it? Not for a summer, not for a month, not for 3 years for the rest of your life. I called you to this are you and he, talking to your husband or wife, your children, are they doing it? Well no I got my missionary stipend I come to most of my prayer meetings well I didn’t make all of them, but most of them I got sick a lot and couldn’t make it and ya well no one really knew but hey it seemed to work. I mean I did it for a few years and the Lord says what?! I sent you there and that’s your answer to me? I raised up this movement with supernatural signs and wonders raised up prophetic voices and a global reality and that is your answer to me?!...
24/7 prayer. Now this is not something that is just we do because it's kind of neat. I know we know that. But the Lord went out of his way - I'm saying that tongue in cheek - I'm saying that as a phrase, He went out of his way to tell us how serious he was about night and day prayer. He's really serious about this. It's not optional for us. He didn't say "build the church, engage in the Great Commission, and do a little prayer." He spoke thunder from heaven, "I am calling you to do this."...
When I stand before the Lord on the last day, he's going to hold me accountable for the whole written word of God. I mean, all of us are, we're accountable through the lens of His grace for our primary calling of building the church and engaging in the great commission, but the Lord is going to ask me in a very particular way: "I went out of my way" (again, I say that as a figure of speech) "to make this clear to you that this was important to me. I invested in this. I raised up prophets, I had a storyline unfold, I trained you, I trained them, I brought it together, I gave special supernatural exclamation points to show you how important this was to me". So when I stand before Him, it will be an issue of accountability. It's not an issue of strutting or being special above other folks. He didn't give it to us so we'd feel special. We feel special because Jesus called us and drew us to Himself and calls us His bride and we're children of the Father...
They join the vision, they join the family, they now the storyline, they build the church, they are engaged in the great commission, we're not drawing back from the reproach of the 24 prayer, we're not drawing back from the rigors of the 24 prayer, we're not drawing back from the challenges, economic and other, of 24 prayer, because the Lord says "I really really really want you to do this 24 prayer"...
Here is the continuation of our two-part series on the Council of Nicaea and the Nicene Period. This episode, we cover the decades after Nicaea, with the Arian Resurgence.
On every question of construction, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.And another quote:
Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.The gist of it is this: the Constitution is a historical document which had a history behind it. We are to understand the Constitution not according to how later generations defined it, but to how its writers defined it. We are not to read backwards in history and force our current situation into the Constitution, but we are to look forward in history, and see what led up to the formation of the Constitution. Most of all, we are to hold everything by the wording of the Constitution and what the Constitution says, not how we choose to define it.
There are many Christians today who would gladly adhere this way to the Constitution...but not to the Bible. They would never take uncritically what a modern-day Democrat said about the Constitution and what it means, and yet they would gladly accept uncritically what someone a few hundred years after the writing of the last books of the Bible said. They would never accept what a politician a hundred years after the writing of the Constitution had to say about it if it contradicted the context and historical background of the document, and yet they would gladly accept words and explanations which clearly contradict the Bible. Once I was asked by someone if I believe a Christian can lose their salvation - I said no, to which they asked, "Oh, then you disagree with what such-and-such Church Father said?" I replied, "I agree with what Jesus said."
Obviously we should read the works of men who come after a document - don't mistake my words here as a certain extreme. As I wrote before, we should not dismiss all Church Fathers, Reformers, modern theologians, etc. Many of them have wonderful insight. However, we need discernment, and we need scripture to be our source for discernment. If scripture says x, and a later theologian says y, we should immediately accept x. When we see a later theologian handling a theological subject, or looking at a passage of scripture, we should ask ourselves, honestly, "Is this person treating the scriptural passage/the teaching of scripture with honesty and clarity?" If we find something lacking or contradictory, we should dismiss it - it is as simple as that.
Next time you want to treat the Bible solely through the lens of later generations - be it 200 years after Christ or 2000 years after Christ - just ask yourself, "Would I treat the Constitution this way?"
Over the past few decades, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more popularly known as Mormonism) has begun to attempt to mainstream itself. Whereas in the olden times they taught that there were two churches - the church of the devil and the Mormon church - nowadays they attempt to pass themselves off as just another denomination, like the PCA, LCMS, Reformed Baptist churches, etc. They do this by softening their language to sound more and more orthodox, while leaving out all the questionable theology, or the theology unique to the teachings of their founder. For example, they will tell you that they believe this God to be "the God of this world," which sounds harmless...until you realize that Mormonism teaches God is quite literally the God of this world, and that all other worlds have their own gods.
I couldn't help but notice, in the past few years, that IHOP-KC has begun to do likewise. I've written before about what Francis Chan's visit to IHOP-KC's 2013 OneThing Conference meant - namely, getting a big name in the Evangelical community to come out and declare publicly "I love Mike Bickle" and "I love IHOP-KC" (which Francis Chan, unfortunately, did). I've mentioned that those within IHOP-KC have heard Mike Bickle admit that the "vision for IHOP is at its lowest point," and they "need people to buy into the movement." One way they seem to be going about this, aside from getting big names to support them, is by attempting to soften their theological rhetoric when discussing prayer, missions, and the like.
A recent article in Charisma magazine, and about the 2013 OneThing Conference, showcases this. It discusses the issues of prayer and worship at IHOP-KC, but just from this one article, one would never have assumed the deeper implications believed about these subjects at IHOP-KC. Take, for example, this part at the beginning (quotes from the article will be in purple):
"We want to see the gospel preached and 24/7 worship and prayer in every tribe and tongue," said Mike Bickle, founder of IHOPKC, in the opening session.Reading this, you would think that IHOP-KC was just another movement desiring to evangelize, like many others out there. Why, however, do they believe in prayer and fasting? Why do those at IHOP-KC believe there is a "common urgency that we need to pray"? What does that entail? What is not mentioned in the article is that the "urgency" to pray comes from a belief that through prayer we grant God the permission to act on earth as He pleases. What also is not mentioned is that, according to IHOP-KC's end time beliefs, when enough prayer is offered up to God, then the vengeance against the antichrist and the powers of evil will begin.
Bickle added, "We're believing for 10,000 prayer chains or prayer ministries across the earth. We're hosting the first meeting, bringing together the movements in church planting, missions, prayer and Bible translation. There's one movement in God's heart, and some people think a call to prayer and fasting is a call to isolation and [to] disengage. The missions movement needs the prayer movement, and the local church needs to be filled with the glory of God."
More than 500 leaders from around the world met for the first Onething Leadership Summit.
"We sent letters to 200 leaders, inviting them to this summit six weeks ago," says Daniel Lim, CEO of IHOPKC. "Over 80 percent of the leaders we invited said yes. This is such a unique meeting because we have a common urgency that we need to pray."
And what of the fasting? As taught by Misty Edwards and many others (including Bickle himself), fasting and prayer brings about the ability to become more "in tune" with God...which at IHOP-KC means being able to receive the "secret things" of God's heart, namely end times revelations and special insight into the spiritual realm. The IHOP-KC view of the rewards of fasting is like a mix between Gnosticism and Christian eschatology.
Another example of what I'm talking about is seen later on in the article, and is written after a discussion on the need for Bible translations in missions:
Bickle sees the house of prayer movement as a catalyst for missions, evangelism and Bible translation.Is that all it is? Why was Mike Bickle called to begin the International House of Prayer? According to Bob Jones, a proven false prophet but someone whom Bickle calls his good buddy, God raised up Mike Bickle to lead an end times movement among the youth to prepare the church for the return of Jesus. Teachers and preachers at IHOP-KC and its related movement continually use language in the vain of, "the Lord is doing this," "the Lord is raising up," etc. This is what all those "missions, evangelism, and Bible translation" ministries are getting involved with.
"We're just hosting the dialogue and providing the platform for new relationships, new ideas and new plans every year in Kansas City," he says. "The house of prayer movement is the banner for all of these over movements."
When you present people with this kind of watered down rhetoric, it's not hard to win supporters, or people who will at best have antipathy towards you. Such a person will encounter a critic of IHOP-KC and respond to them, "I don't get it, why do you dislike them so much? They just seem to enjoy prayer." It is similar to those who are ignorant of the errors of Mormonism and respond to Christian discernment with, "I don't get it, they believe in Jesus too, right? Why do you think they're not Christian?"
The unfortunate thing is that many who come across IHOP-KC through these kinds of articles may eventually have enough of an interest to sign up for the prayer room or at IHOPU, and so fall into the snare of the wolves in sheep's clothing. There they will be taught and fed the truly erroneous doctrines given by Bickle and his followers. We should pray and ask God that this does not happen, and that those currently at IHOP-KC would be awakened by the Spirit to the spiritual junk food being fed to them, and then freed from the yoke placed upon them by their Hyper-Charismatic leaders.
Here is the latest podcast: the beginning of a two part series discussing the Council of Nicaea, and the common myths that surround it. Apologies for the way I sound at times - I'm still getting over a cold.
The following is taken from Augustine's On Christian Doctrine.
He has given, therefore, the keys to His Church, that whatsoever it should bind on earth might be bound in heaven, and whatsoever it should loose on earth might be loosed in heaven; that is to say, that whosoever in the Church should not believe that his sins are remitted, they should not be remitted to him; but that whosoever should believe, and should repent, and turn from his sins, should be saved by the same faith and repentance on the ground of which he is received into the bosom of the Church. For he who does not believe that his sins can be pardoned, falls into despair, and becomes worse, as if no greater good remained for him than to be evil, when he has ceased to have faith in the results of his own repentance. [source]
How do you handle criticism? Are people punished for criticizing you? Do you provide avenues for feedback? Do you request feedback from people who love God, love his Word, love you, and do not fear you? Do not wait for criticism but habitually plead for feedback. Make it a regular practice when you meet with church members to ask, "Do you have any feedback for me?" This example models humility, puts them in a position to share honestly, and helps you grow in ways you have not yet considered.
If you never receive healthy criticism or punish those who do, you might be establishing a cult of personality.Full Article: How to Avoid a Cult of Personality
I know I haven't posted anything in a while, so here's a little something.
Wait, no, don't go for that little red "x" on your browser - hear me out.
As a kid, this movie was one of my favorites growing up, and (amazingly) it still holds up for me even as an adult. For those who don't know, the film is about a robot that is one of five originally designed as a battlefield unit. Fittingly enough, he's simply known as "Number Five." While stationed outside in the rain after a test run, Number Five is struck by lightning and nearly destroyed. Brought back into his storage unit, it turns out that, due to the effects of the lightning strike, Number Five has in fact become a conscience being, just like his human creators. he quickly escapes from the weapons testing lab and goes out into the real world, beginning a quest to confirm his living status and gaining his freedom.
A few things I thought about in regards to this:
First, Number Five didn't choose to be struck by lightning. Granted, there is no claim to divine intervention by the screenwriters (and I'm not attempting to read God's presence into the film). The point is, Number Five didn't go out in the rain and yell out, "OK, lightning! Strike me! I'm ready!" Out of all the robots that were out in the rain, only Number Five was struck by lightning.
Second, before being struck by lightning, Number Five was simply living as he was programmed to do, which was to destroy. He was, in essence, enslaved by the will of his master programmers. You could have told him to go out and read a ton of book at a hyper speed or make pop culture references, and he wouldn't have done it. His way of life was set in the way of evil and destruction.
Third, after being struck by lightning, Number Five's will is turned towards a new direction. He was, quite literally, made alive. After being made alive, Number Five proceeds to obtain more and more knowledge, and become more and more human in personality and intellect. By the end of the film, he even grants himself a human name.
Granted, this post is just written in humor. I dunno - maybe I'm just looking for a way to justify showing this film to my future kids and making it somehow edifying. In the meantime, here's some 80's music goodness:
We all know that Jonah was the prophet who tried to run from God’s call. But do you know the reason he tried to run? Jonah was afraid that if he preached repentance to the people of Nineveh, who were Israel’s arch enemies, God would forgive them.Dr. Brown's ultimate point is that there are some people who do not want to see God merciful towards others, and would rather see them suffer. At some point, he turns it to the infamous Benny Hinn debacle he found himself embroiled in a few weeks ago, writing:
In other words, Jonah had a problem with the goodness of God.
He would have been much happier if God simply wiped out the people of Nineveh rather than had mercy on them, and he actually complained about this at the end of the book.
But as shocking as it is to see the wickedness of Jonah’s heart, many of us are just like him. I call it the Jonah Syndrome, and in times past, it has affected me too.
This past week, having received a tremendous amount of criticism from some circles for appearing on Benny Hinn’s TV show, it dawned on me that some of his critics did not rejoice when he reconciled with his wife, while others were upset to learn that he renounced some erroneous teaching more than 20 years ago. They would rather see him fall than remarry his wife or repent of wrong teaching.Of course, I can't speak for all of Benny Hinn's critics. There might be some out there who want to see him suffer regardless of any personal life change. There are some people who, like the Pharisees, just write people off and will hate them even if the person sincerely repents of their sins and shows the fruits of a regenerated life. I won't necessarily deny that.
However, I think by and large Dr. Brown is either misrepresenting them or bringing up a fringe opinion as if what a handful of people think is relevant to the larger picture. Most people I know who dislike Benny Hinn (including myself) were not concerned that his wife and himself reconciled (I was personally happy they did) - rather, they were upset for how he acted during the whole ordeal (holding hands with Paula White in Rome, throwing his wife under the bus on his TV show, etc.). As for him renouncing "some erroneous teaching more than 20 years ago," it would help if Dr. Brown told us what specific teachings Hinn has supposedly repented of. If Brown is referring to the infamous "Nine Person Trinity" heresy (which Brown has repeatedly claimed Hinn renounced), then to my knowledge Hinn admitted to an audience at one event that it was a "stupid thing to say," but before Paul Crouch on TBN he claimed he never said it and people just misunderstood him (a blatant lie, and just one of many Hinn has told over the decades). Likewise, has Benny Hinn repented of the Prosperity Gospel? Has he repented of his false healings, passed off as legitimate? Has he repented of the countless lies documented over the years? Has he repented of using the money from his flock to dine at five-star hotels and expensive restaurants, all the while claiming that it's for the ministry of the Gospel?
Most of all, however, what struck me about the article was that Michael Brown seemed to be defending himself against critics by saying that he went and preached the Gospel on Benny Hinn's show. However, he has himself admitted in interviews that he'd have to sit down with Hinn personally and chat about Benny Hinn's actual problems and theological hang ups. In other words, Michael Brown went and gave a general Gospel message (which is good, don't get me wrong), but one that didn't directly attack or criticize anything Benny Hinn or his followers taught and believed.
Was this what Jonah did? Was it what we saw in the book of Jonah? Was Jonah's message a general call to repentance to all people? No - what we saw was a personal rebuke in God's message. God's message was directed towards Nineveh and their specific sins. Look firstly at what God said to Jonah, at the beginning of the book:
"Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me." [Jonah 1:2]Look also at what Jonah said upon entering the city:
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" [Jonah 3:4]Did Michael Brown go in and say, "If you do not repent of your Prosperity Gospel errors, your ministry will be destroyed"? Did he say, "If you do not repent, Benny, of your heresy, lies, and great deception, there will come a day when God will judge you and exact divine punishment upon you"? Did he say, "If you do not repent of your corrupt financial practices, then Benny Hinn Ministries shall be overthrown"?
No, he didn't.
Imagine the following scenario instead. Imagine if Jonah one day got up and went to Nineveh, and preached a general message about God's Law and the need for sacrifice, but that was it. Nothing was directed towards Nineveh and their terrible evils, and there was no outward sign of repentance from Nineveh. Imagine if Jonah's fellow prophets stood up and said, "Whoa, Jonah, you do realize that's Nineveh, right? One of the most sinful cities in the world, and that part of the world that especially hates God's church?" Imagine if Jonah replied with, "Oh, well, I'm ignorant of what Nineveh does, but a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy told me that they're pretty good these days, so I decided to just show up. But I'm not going to defend or criticize Nineveh's practices." Then, when people started calling Jonah out on this ridiculous excuse, he started going around saying, "Hey man, these other prophets just don't understand God's mercy." Would any of Jonah's actions be sensible?
This is the situation we're dealing with; Dr. Brown would rather it be that people saw him as this innocent preacher of the Gospel, who just went to Benny Hinn's show to share the message of reconciliation. His critics, however, are these evil people who don't want anyone under Benny Hinn to repent, and in fact desire to see them all destroyed. As he continues writing in the article:
How is this the spirit of Christ? (I shudder to think about some of the comments that will be posted in response to this article, as critics quote verses of judgment that rejoice in the fall of their enemies or that call for divine judgment on the “the wicked.” For my part, I am neither the defender nor the accuser of Benny Hinn’s ministry.)Here he admits his moral antipathy towards Benny Hinn's ministry, which is really just about as bad as being a defender of it. It's like a politician responding to a question with, "I can neither affirm or deny that statement." The absurdity of this statement has already been talked to death: as I wrote in my previous post on the subject, Michael Brown is walking around in the Emperor's New Clothes, performing a parade when no one else is convinced (and even people on the Hyper-Charismatic side are noticing his hypocrisy).
Most amazing is Michael Brown's use of the Parable of the Vineyard Workers to justify his decision:
Let’s remember the Lord’s words in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, where he rebukes those who had a problem with the owner’s goodness, asking, “Are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15)Is this a relevant passage? What was the "owner's goodness"? Was it that God had mercy on those who didn't deserve it? Actually no, it was the fact that those vineyard workers who had only worked about an hour or so got paid the same amount that those who had been working all day had (Mt 20:9-12). This was the "generosity," and this was why the other workers were "envious." Using it to defend your association with a well known false prophet and heretic is inexcusable. In this situation (and really, the Jonah story in general), Dr. Brown is using scripture to defend his association with a false teacher and heretic.
He ends the article with these words:
And let’s remember the words of Jacob (James), that “judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (Jam 2:13)The problem with this application is that Benny Hinn is not a child of God. This has been demonstrated by nearly every Christian watchdog group on the planet - even in Charismatic circles. He's been recorded teaching heresy after heresy. He's been called out on for lie after lie. His false healings and corrupt financial lifestyle has been exposed by virtually every news network in the country. Dr. Brown can speak all he wants to about "camps" and "sides," but even he knows there's truth and error, and for him to try to use an emotional appeal to defend Benny Hinn shows the intellectual inconsistency and dishonesty that he is willing to engage in to keep up association.
As we have received mercy, let us show mercy, never forgetting there are not different “camps” or “sides” in the Body of Christ – even if we use those terms descriptively – but just one family with one Father, and He desires to do good to all his children.
The greatest hypocrisy here, just like the situation with Mike Bickle and Rick Joyner, is that Dr. Brown continues to attack or criticize his opponents, while at the same time refusing to interact with what they have to say. He'd rather misrepresent them or take one or two extreme opinions and act as if those alone negate everything coming from the opposite end. He'd rather make red herrings like, "You say pastor x is a heretic, but some people say pastor y is a heretic," as if criticisms of Pastor y somehow negates legitimate criticisms of x. He'd rather claim ignorance of Benny Hinn on the one hand, then on the other hand claim that he had enough information to make an educated decision on appearing on his show. Then when people try to inform him on the errors of Hinn and others, he'll simply ignore them or make excuses like "I'm too busy," even if it's a small article or a seven-minute video (never mind he asked Phil Johnson, second-in-command of John MacArthur's church, to listen to hours of pro-Charismatic audio and video). Yet, after ignoring what his opponents say, or dismissing any chance he'll ever interact with what they've written, said, or researched, he'll turn around and publicly claim their entire argument is spiritually or intellectually deficient.
That isn't discernment - it is intellectual dishonesty, and it shows a great hatred for the truth.
I'm reminded of a line from Chris Rock's stand up, where he says, "Hey man, I love rap music, but it's getting harder and harder to defend it." Every time Dr. Brown attempts to dig himself out of the discernment grave he's gotten himself into, he only digs himself deeper and deeper, and I find it harder and harder to consider him a brother in Christ who loves the truth and hates error.
Charles Hodge, in speaking on the aftermath of the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) and the Arian Resurgency, touches upon a flaw in the Roman Catholic definition of what the church is, and how it is identified.
In dealing within this undeniable fact, Romanists and Romanizers are forced to abandon their principle. Their doctrine is that the external Church cannot err, that the majority of the bishops living at any one time cannot fail to teach the truth. But under the reign of the Emperor Constantius, it is undeniable that the vast majority, including the Bishop of Rome, did renounce the truth. But, says Bellarmin, the Church continued and was conspicuous in Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius, and others. And Mr. Palmer, of Oxford says, “The truth was preserved under even Arian bishops.” But the question is not, whether the truth shall be preserved and confessed by the true children of God, but, whether any external, organized body, and specially the Church of Rome, can err in its teaching. Romanists cannot be allowed, merely to meet an emergency, to avail themselves of the Protestant doctrine that the Church may consist of scattered believers. It is true as Jerome teaches in the passage above quoted, “Ubi fides vera est, ibi Ecclesia est.” But that is our doctrine, and not the doctrine of Rome. Protestants say with full confidence, “Ecclesia manet et manebit.” But whether in conspicuous glory as in the time of David, or in scattered believers as in the days of Elias, is not essential. [source]
The following podcast covers a variety of topics. We play a clip from Chris Rosebrough's Fighting for the Faith, review a "testimony" by a girl named Katie at the International House of Prayer, and then review a supposed demonic possession at Nigerian "prophet" TB Joshua's church.