Friday, October 18, 2013

The Unwritten "Word of God"

The following quote comes from the blog of Julie Meyer, a singer and speaker at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. It can be found in her recent post 28 Years In the Prayer Room:
I remember being there the day Bob Jones came up and said, ‘24/7 House Of Prayer’. The singing will never stop round the clock. God is releasing the song birds’ At that time I could not imagine doing anything else. A small group of us would talk about this over coffee frequently. ‘What would this look like? How could this be? 24/7 worship? Will I get to do this full-time? Will this be my job?” [sic]

I think it is an awesome thing to watch the spoken prophetic Word of God become a reality. That is exactly what I have watched these past 11 years. I literally saw the Prophetic Word become a reality of which I am actively involved in. I have watched my children grow up in the House Of Prayer. I have watched their hearts awakened to His Love at young ages. I have watched them become excellent in the Word of God and also excellent in their skill as prophetic musicians.

Now I am watching for the 2nd half of the prophetic word to become a reality. For I remember the day Bob Jones stood up and said ‘Out of this 24/7 House of Prayer will come the day when ‘No disease known to man will stand’. We are so close to this. I can feel it. I can see it in the distance but it is getting closer and closer. I tell myself, ‘I am so blessed that I get to do what I do. I get to praise my Bridegroom. I get to sing to my Father and experience the touch of the Holy Spirit. This is my calling. This is my heart and this is my Glory to awaken the dawn with my song. To sing, to praise, to prophesy that which is on the Lord’s heart.
Those who listen to my podcast might remember that when I reviewed Mike Bickle's message about the founding of IHOP-KC, I played a clip where Mike Bickle was speaking to Bob Jones about a revelation he discovered, and Bob Jones replies, "That's just as good, it's the Word of the Lord." Here we have Julie Meyer talking about the "spoken prophetic Word of God," as given by Bob Jones, and this is mentioned alongside the regular "Word of God" (which we'll assume is scripture).

Those who have studied the teachings of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the like, will know that there are often two authorities spoken of: the written word of God, and the unwritten word of God (most commonly called Holy Tradition or the teachings of the Church). Our Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox friends, of course, would never argue that Holy Tradition supersedes or takes priority over scripture, only that it be seen with the same light and authority as written scripture. They argue that, since both come from the same source (namely, God), and were given to the church, then they are to be treated as equals. Of course, this boils down to whose authority you believe and who decides to discern what is and isn't infallible tradition (as there are major differences between Rome and the East), but that is another blog post for another time. For now, let's recognize that Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and many other so-called "apostolic" churches establish two sources of authority for their followers: the written Word of God, and the spoken or unwritten Word of God.

With this in mind, we realize two things regarding IHOP-KC, their opinion regarding the authority of scripture, and the role of their leaders:

1) In regards to the authority of scripture, IHOP-KC is no different than Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy. They believe not only in the authority of the written word, but in the authority of the unwritten word, spoken by their prophets and leaders. This is something I've brought up before, asking whether or not IHOP-KC and its leaders are truly adherents to the doctrine of sola scriptura. While they claim on their website and in public statements that they hold everything up to the light of scripture, there are plenty of examples where scripture was read through the lens of the personal revelation and so-called prophetic experiences of their leaders (for example, Mike Bickle's treatment of Haggai 1:2 in the previously linked post).

2) We see yet again a confirmation that the interpretation of scripture and the guidance of the church, for those in these Houses of Prayer and Hyper-Charismatic movements, is not the plain meaning or historical interpretation of scripture, but rather the interpretations and personal revelations of their leaders. While they may deny this, if they were intellectually honest, they would realize this is the case. If Mike Bickle and Bob Jones had never existed, the interpretation of scripture as taught at IHOP-KC - especially in regards to the end times - would have never been reached. No one until the past few decades believed that there would be a group of "forerunners" preceding the end times. Again, the interpretation of scripture and the guidance of the church is dependent upon the leaders of the movement and their supposed connection to God.

This is, as I've discussed before, one of the traits of a cult, but more importantly it is simply another affirmation that scripture is not the final authority in these movements. The Houses of Prayer are not founded upon the word of God, but the word of their leaders, which interprets the word of God for their members and gives additional input for their theology. In the end, this separates them from the orthodox, universal church, and makes them very dangerous for unwary Christians.