IHOP: Theology and Practice

IHOPI don’t want non-Pentecostal views on the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri. They’re inherently flawed. God doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6), so the Holy Spirit still works in and through people just like he did in the book of Acts. Did he work at IHOP? No. Satan did. Sadly, it took a Rolling Stone Magazine article to make me see that.

I’ve never visited IHOP or listened to their sermons or worship services online. My knowledge of them was based solely on their website and networks, so the online articles and blogs I’ve read are a sad revelation. I used to think that IHOP consisted of super Christians. Now I see that some were possessed, others deceived. Satan masquerades as an “angel of light,” his servants as “ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Mike Bickle and Tyler Deaton are such servants. The latter is a demon-possessed homosexual, a control freak, and a murderer.

Theology

I skimmed one of Bickle’s sermon outlines on the bridal paradigm and I found little wrong with it. I came to similar conclusions recently. [Read “Friends of the Bridegroom” and “The Bridegroom: Going Home.”] Still, much of Bickle’s theology is wrong.

jesus christ bridegroom bride rapture churchSong of Solomon is about the marriage between King Solomon and one of his wives. It’s also an allegory of the relationship between Jesus Christ and his bride the church. Those who deny this spiritual interpretation are in error. History and allegory are not in conflict. Still, the corporate church is the bride, not individuals. Jesus kisses our spirits with the Word, but this relationship isn’t sexual (Song of Solomon 1:2). He’s returning to earth to rapture his bride, but we won’t endure the Great Tribulation (Matthew 25:1-13). Instead, we’ll be in heaven preparing for the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9). Does Jesus need to hear a “bridal cry” from us to return? No. Others will cry, “The bridegroom is coming” (Matthew 25:6). I do believe that end-time forerunners will prepare the church for the rapture (Malachi 4:5, Matthew 11:14, 17:10-13).

Practice

The Holy Spirit continually overpowered the worshippers, knocking them down and inspiriting tongues. Moore was on his knees, yelling and experiencing head convulsions, and he “shook all the time,” says Herrington. One night during worship, the Spirit descended with unusual strength. Everyone was “screaming and rolling around and writhing like the demons in Pandemonium,” he says. — Rolling Stone

A band played hypnotic Christian music while the audience of 100 or so youth engaged in a diverse set of worship rituals. Some were seated, as if they were in a traditional church setting. Others danced and skipped, like they were in some sort of fundie rave. One youth twirled a purple fan, as if he were at a gay circuit party. About a quarter of the participants walked in a trance-like state through the aisles muttering to themselves — a practice that I had not seen before. Some of these youths walked non-stop for over an hour, with no signs of stopping to rest. — Truth Wins Out

ihop_worshipSome people see yoga in their worship. Bickle even practices astral travel. True Pentecostals know that these practices are of the devil. There is the Holy Spirit’s fire and then there’s wildfire. The Spirit still moves in some churches, but not like this. Some practices are biblical, others demonic. It takes divine wisdom and discernment to know the difference. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater, as non-Pentecostals do.

IHOP’s bigger problem is setting up shop in one place and never leaving, just like Roman Catholics in their monasteries and convents. It’s not biblical. The Essenes did this in Jesus’ day, but Jesus went where the people were! His 3.5-year ministry consisted of walking across Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. Once the 120 apostles received the Holy Spirit, they didn’t stay in the upper room and hand out free tickets to the action (Acts 2:1-4). Instead, they traveled to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth in order to preach the gospel (1:8).

praying_man_at_altar spiritual birth conversionAngels in heaven worship God 24/7, but they’re it (Revelation 4:8). We’re not called to such a schedule here on earth. Jews worshipped God at morning and evening sacrifices in the temple (1 Chronicles 16:40, 2 Chronicles 2:4). Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10). After Pentecost, believers worshipped God daily in the temple (Acts 2:46-47). Otherwise, they went about their business. A lifestyle of worship, serving God and others through obedience and self-sacrifice, is what Jesus seeks from us – not 24/7 services.

Finally, why are IHOP conferences so expensive? Where does the money go, into Bickle’s pocket? The control freak has no right to meddle in other people’s lives either: dating, worship, etc.

Conclusion

I hope IHOP goes out of business – fast. I’m sorry that I recommended this organization to anyone. I hope Charisma News gets the message. They still don’t know what IHOP really is. Please follow “Stop IHOP cult” on Facebook and WordPress.

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