(After a threatened lawsuit by the International House of Pancakes, the International House of Prayer began using the moniker IHOPKS for International House of Prayer Kansas City.)
IHOP was founded in 1999 by Mike Bickle [pictured] (b. 1955).
Seventeen years earlier, Bickle had founded the Kansas City Fellowship after allegedly hearing an audible voice of God inviting him to “raise up a work that will touch the ends of the earth.”
He was joined by men such as Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, Paul Cain, David Parker, and Francis Frangipane, who were promoted as prophets of a latter-day miracle revival movement.
Though Bickle doesn’t claim to be a prophet himself, he does claim that he has heard God’s audible voice and alleges that he has been taken to heaven twice (“This IHOP serves generous portions of prayer,” Reading Eagle, Reading, Pennsylvania, Aug. 8, 2009).
In 1990, Bickle and his church were brought into the Vineyard Association of Churches by John Wimber. The church was renamed Metro Vineyard Fellowship.
In 1996, the Vineyard Fellowship disassociated itself from Bickle’s church, which subsequently became Metro Christian Fellowship.
Three years later, Bickle founded IHOP.
In 2000, Bickle turned over the senior pastorship of Metro Fellowship to Floyd McClung, former director of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), to focus on IHOP.
Bickle’s emphasis is a Latter Rain signs and wonders ministry in preparation for Christ’s return. The IHOP website proclaims the heresy that “prior to the return of Jesus, the earth will experience unprecedented worldwide revival.”
IHOP has grown into a large international ministry. There is a Bible College and seminary, music academy, media institute, college campus ministries, a 94-acre retreat center, social work ministries such as Exodus Cry which opposes human trafficking, and many other things. The ministry has 2,500 full-time staff members, students, and interns (“25,000 Young Adults Gather at IHOP Conference,” Charisma, Dec. 28, 2010). They claim to have trained 7,000 students and 5,000 interns. The annual OneThing conference in 2014 drew 30,000 people. They stream their prayer services in nine languages.
There are IHOP churches in Seattle, Atlanta, Pasadena, Dallas, Charlotte, Chicago, New York City, and other places.
Beyond IHOP itself is an international 24/7 prayer movement said to be in 10,000 locations.
IHOP hosts 24/7 prayer meetings which are mystical contemporary worship “encounters” powered by rock music.
The chief objectives are “worship and warfare.” IHOP believes they are encountering God in an experiential way, releasing angelic powers and overcoming demonic strongholds. Ultimately they believe that they will release the judgments described in the book of Revelation and usher in the return of Christ.
Of the 24/7 prayer ministry, IHOP says, “This House of Prayer for All Nations ministry includes continuous praise and prayer dethroning the principalities and power over a region declaring God’s sovereignty.”
The 24/7 services are weird charismatic free-for-alls.
IHOP’s 24/7 prayer sessions have been described as “frenetic ... euphoric worship ... mesmeric, musical worship, repeating the same phrases over and over” (“Love and Death in the House of Prayer”).
“The IHOP conferences and events are stage-managed to produce the maximum amount of visual, aural, psychological, sensual and spiritual stimuli--all of which can superficially appear to be revival” (“Bridal Eschatology,” Herescope, Mar. 8, 2014).
“Onstage at the Spiritual Warfare and Prophetic Worship conference at Municipal Auditorium, Mike Bickle sways with his eyes closed as he cradles an open Bible. Beside him, guitarists play and a woman sings. Two thousand Christians again and again sing a simple lyric: ‘Pour your spirit out over this place. Pour your spirit out over this place. Pour your spirit out over this place.’ For fifteen minutes, they repeat the line until, finally, the music quickens and a woman in a red dress on a rear balcony whirls, waving a shredded white flag of surrender from a pole. Some worshipers clasp their hands below their chins in prayer. Others hop up and down, flailing their arms. ‘Release the anointing! Release the fire of the Holy Spirit!’ an impassioned Bickle cries into the microphone. ‘Beautiful God! Beautiful God!’ In the mosh pit, a middle-aged woman jerks her head forward then back between her raised arms as she dances. She opens her eyes and blows kisses toward the rafters from her open palm, drops her head to giggle, then sends Jesus another kiss or two. ‘We must have more, Lord! More in your kingdom!’ Bickle yells from the stage. ‘More, Lord, bring us more!’” (“Return of the Prophets,” The Pitch, Oct. 10, 2002).
I attended IHOP worship services as well as the 24/7 prayer sessions multiple times on October 8-10, 2014, in the context of an IHOP conference. For many hours a day a full-blown rock band plays, sometimes with singing and sometimes only with electronic noises that create a mystical atmosphere. At other times, soloists sing with a keyboard or other instruments. People are entering and leaving the room; people are walking around; people are dancing; people are praying out loud; people are in conversation; people deliver “12-second prayers” into microphones. People are packing and unpacking equipment. There are pounding drums. There are repetitious music loops and repetitious lyrics. There are messages and photos and video clips on flat screen monitors. The atmosphere is “mystical, ethereal.” There is a distinct lack of peace. The order is disorder.
It is the opposite of Paul’s instructions pertaining to the exercise of spiritual gifts:
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
“Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
Ever since Azusa Street, the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement has loved disorder. Consider the services at the Azusa Street Mission, widely acclaimed as the birthplace of Pentecostalism. People sang out at the same time but “with completely different syllables, rhythms, and melodies” (Ted Olsen, “American Pentecost,” Christian History, Issue 58, 1998). The services were characterized by much confusion: dancing, jumping up and down, falling, trances, slaying in the spirit, “tongues,” jerking, hysteria, strange animal noises, “holy laughter,” “spiritual muteness” or people trying to speak and unable to do so, etc. A very sympathetic biographer of William Seymour admits that “at times the meetings would become so boisterous that the police were called” (Larry Martin, The Life and Ministry of Seymour, p. 188).
The spirit of Azusa is very much alive at IHOP.
It would be impossible to keep your focus on thoughtful prayer in such an environment. It is not a place to hear the “still small voice” that Elijah heard (1 Ki. 19:12-13).
But IHOP’s 24/7 “prayer” is not about thoughtful, biblical prayer. It is not about quiet, thoughtful meditation on Scripture.
It is about charismatic mysticism whereby God is allegedly “encountered” in and beyond the prayer and the Scripture. It is about “experiencing” God. It’s about direct communication with God. It is about an emotional experience. It is about bringing in the kingdom of God through signs and wonders.
This is why IHOP is attracted to Roman Catholic contemplative prayer, as evidenced by the fact that their bookstore features dozens of contemplative titles. Contemplative prayer has the same mystical objective as IHOP’s 24/7 prayer: an experience with God and direct revelation from God beyond Scripture.
But when you go beyond Scripture, you go beyond the God of Scripture, and you open yourself to angels of darkness masquerading as angels of light. This is why charismatic worship and contemplative prayer lead to association with Rome, the heart and soul of apostasy, and ultimately to universalism, pantheism, panentheism, and idolatry, as we have documented in our book Contemplative Mysticism.
IHOP’s worship is also about spiritual warfare. IHOP worship leader Laura Hackett describes their belief in the Word-Faith heresy of positive confession:
“When we confess with our mouth, it has authority in the spirit realm, it has authority over our own hearts. So when we proclaim truth with music, it exponentially grows in power because music has given us this medium to touch our hearts and emotions in a way that nothing else can” (Tony Cummings, “Laura Hackett: The Kansas City IHOP worship leader with a much praised album,” Nov. 23, 2014, crossrhythms.co.uk).
Thus, IHOP believes that by proclaiming things, they are creating things “in the spirit realm.” They are convinced that they will literally direct God’s judgments on earth during the tribulation.
A major emphasis in IHOP’s worship is to gain intimacy with God. It is spiritual romance. It is a romantic encounter with God. Misty Edwards, one of the prominent IHOP worship leaders, says that she appreciates Kevin Prosch because of the romantic intimacy of his worship songs. (Prosch must be a very romantic man, as he has had two wives and has committed multiple adulteries.)
On her 2014 album, Misty Edwards sings Prosch’s “The Gift” because, she says, it describes “the joy of being lovesick.” Consider the lyrics:
“You are the Bridegroom/ take us in Your arms./ ... It’s the joy of being love sick/ The pleasures of loving You/ ... The aching longing to see You face to face/ ... So spread Your blanket of love over Your love sick ones/ Let love flow now/ The Spirit and the Bride say come/ Comfort Your love sick ones/ Let love flow now.”
The emotionalism of this approach is doubtless one reason why women are often at the forefront of contemporary worship.
Of this song and of IHOP’s mystical worship in general, Misty says:
“It’s a gift that pulls us into TRANSCENDENCE AND PULLS US INTO THE ETERNAL and immortal ... As broken and messed up as we are, the way that He feels about us when we reach out to Him, longing for Him, moves Him deeply. I think about how we move His heart, He responds, and then we are moved, and we respond. There’s a back and forth relationship that we have with Jesus, that we move Him in our brokenness and our weakness” (“‘The Gift’ by Misty Edwards,” NewReleaseTuesday.com, Nov. 18, 2014).
She is saying that contemporary worship can transcend this present life and bring the worshiper into a sensual experience with God. She describes the believer’s relationship with God in terms of human romance.
What is wrong with charismatic “romantic worship”?
1. It brings God down to a human level and deals with him in human terms.
Consider Misty Edwards’ song “Ezekiel 1,” in which she describes God on the throne in Ezekiel’s vision and then repeatedly sings, “Come near, O Burning One.” As she sings this, she beckons with her hand as to a lover.
Imagine Ezekiel responding to the awesome vision like that? This was most definitely not Ezekiel’s response to the vision of Almighty God. Nor was it Isaiah’s (Isaiah 6:1-5) or Paul’s (Acts 9:3-6) or John’s (Revelation 1:17).
In “romantic worship” the sense of the fear of God is lost. He is just an divine lover, and that is never how the Bible depicts God.
Even in eternity, in the New Jerusalem, there will remain a vast barrier between God and His people.
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Revelation 22:3).
2. The contemporary worship atmosphere apes the sensuality of rock & roll lover songs.
Contemporary musicians create the very same atmosphere that has been beloved by rock & rollers for decades because of the powerful feelings it creates. There are the sensual rock rhythms that move the body in sexual ways. There are the unresolving chord sequences that create a sensual, trance-like environment. There are the sensual vocalization styles, the darkened building, the spotlights on the singers and musicians, the sensual dress and movement of the singers.
Contemporary worship is exactly the same, except the words are directed to God and Christ.
In fact, oftentimes it isn’t clear who the lyrics are directed to. The ambiguity lends itself to multiple applications, which is how many CCM artists have achieved “crossover” success with “worship” songs.
Consider “Song of Solomon” by Misty Edwards.
(The video is titled “Pour My Love on You,” but there are actually three songs on the video and the first one is “Song of Solomon.”)
A pastor friend observed, “We get no indication that this ballad is about God until about 14 minutes into it. And that was in a single, very quick, easily missed reference to Him.”
Edwards sings the following words in soft rock ballad style:
“When I feel the cold of winter and this cloak of sadness, I need you. All the evil things that shake me, all the words that break me, I need you. Over the mountains and down by the sea, you’ll come running, my love to me. Do not hide me from your presence, pull me from these shadows, I need you. Beauty, wrap your arms around me, sing your song of kindness, I need you.”
She carries on like this for 17 minutes, singing in a moaning, cracking, trembling “rock chick” voice with interludes of emotional “scooping and sliding” without any words. A musician friend remarked, “The ‘Marilyn Monroe’ breathy tones are sensual, along with the facial expressions and body language.”
In “Do You Know the Way You Move Me,” Misty Edwards sings a song as if God were saying the following words to the individuals in the congregation:
“Do you know how you caught my eye, in the secret place where you choose to be mine? I saw you there, longing to be mine. Even in the night time I saw you reaching out to me.”
Kevin Prosch, whose worship songs are praised by Misty Edwards, has taken this so far as to sing the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” as if God were singing it to the congregation! This was at the 1996 Heart of David Conference on Worship & Warfare, sponsored by “prophet’ Rick Joyner’s Morning Star ministries. They even claim that when they sang the Beatles’ song, God signaled His pleasure with miraculous signs.
Prosch also sings the Wailers’ very sensual rock song “Stir It Up” as if the Lord were singing it to His people.
To ape the world is to be worldly. It is to love the world.
“Romantic worship” is nothing more than worldliness perpetrated by people who are truly drunk on rock music and who have confused their own feelings with the blessing of God.
Fervent sincerity and passionate romantic emotionalism do not sanctify something that is unscriptural. David was sincere when he had the ark of the covenant placed on a cart for transportation to Jerusalem, and Uzza was sincere when he reached out that day to steady the ark, but God struck him down (1 Ch. 13:7-11). It seemed to be a reasonable action, and even David was offended at God that day, but God did not accept Israel’s sincere, enthusiastic, but unscriptural worship. Only when they took the ark off of the cart and put it on the shoulders of the divinely-appointed Levites did God accept them. On both occasions, the people were fervently worshipful (1 Ch. 13:8; 15:28), but only when they obeyed the Scripture was God pleased.
3. There is no biblical justification for “romantic worship.”
While the Bible does describe the church’s relationship with Christ in terms of a bride and bridegroom in Ephesians 5, and while there is an application of the Song of Solomon to the believer’s relationship with God, we must be careful about introducing human romance into the worship of God.
The bottom line is that the blatant romanticism of contemporary worship is not how the Bible describes the worship of the resurrected Christ.
We don’t see this type of thing in the Psalms, which is the divinely-inspired worship book.
We don’t see this type of thing in the New Testament epistles.
We don’t see this type of thing in Christ’s post-resurrections appearances in Matthew 28 or Acts 1 or Revelation 1 or Revelation 4-5.
It is therefore presumptuous. It goes beyond biblical authority and example. It is unscriptural.
A pastor friend observed, “Jesus Himself never behaved inappropriately towards women while He was on the earth, and it certainly tears down His high and holy character for people to think that He would condone the practice of women singing to Him like this now.”
“Romantic worship” fits the emotionalism and experience-orientation of contemporary worship, and it is suited perfectly to the vehicle of rock & roll. But it isn’t Scriptural and must therefore be rejected.
Anything that is unscriptural is both wrong and spiritually dangerous.
4. Any “romantic” relationship between the believer and the Lord is a private matter.
A pastor friend made the following important observation about “romantic worship”:
“It seems clear that the Song of Solomon represents individuals in a relationship. If it is an example to believers, it should be confined to our personal relationship with God through Christ. If done corporately, we would call that a sexual orgy. No true believer would want to be a part of the intimate lives of all the other people in their congregation on a physical level, and neither should we be involved with them to that level of intimacy on a spiritual level. This song [Misty Edwards’ ‘Song of Solomon’] invites us all into the most intimate levels of experience this woman has with God. Yet, it combines those feelings with a physical medium that confuses all who hear it and invites us into her moaning and groaning on an intimate physical level also. Those physical expressions are sacred and should be reserved for her husband.”
Other comments on contemporary “romantic worship.”
“While we all need to be grateful to God that He even offered salvation to wretched sinners like us, gratitude is not a license to abandon all self-control to the dictates of our flesh and carry on like some worldly, starry-eyed teenager. The words to the songs may have some resemblance to the Song of Solomon, but the performance is a classic, well-practiced, choreographed, Pentecostal/Charismatic ‘worship’ service like nothing Solomon ever saw or imagined--and certainly like nothing God never intended for His words to be used for.”
‘When Song of Solomon was written, I doubt it was performed on a public stage in a rock concert, accompanied by the best looking girls in tight jeans, and I don’t think Solomon would have had amplified, flesh-arousing instruments, which he and his band played for over 45 minutes, with the purpose of ‘calling down’ and ‘experiencing the presence’ of the ‘holy spirit’; and manipulating an emotional response from the participating ‘worshippers.’”
5. Charismatic “romantic worship” is not based on Scripture rightly divided. It is based on “prophecies.”
As we have seen, charismatic “romantic worship” is not based on Scripture. Where does it come from, then? Prophecies!
The following is excerpted from a report published in Rolling Stone magazine:
“One July day in 1988, Mike Bickle was sitting in his office, reading a wedding card inscribed with a verse from the Song of Solomon. ‘Jesus, seal my heart with your seal of love,’ Bickle spontaneously prayed. Unaccountably, he began to weep. The phone rang. A prophet had heard the ‘audible voice of the Lord’ for Bickle: The Song of Solomon, a dialogue between King Solomon and his beloved, should become a focus of Bickle’s ministry. It eventually came to Bickle that true believers must see Jesus ‘through the eyes of a bride with loyal, devoted love’--they must ‘feel loved and in love’ with Christ. Without this intimacy in worship, Christ would not return to earth. ...
“IHOP’s website states that one of its prayer guides, Bridal Intercession, ‘presents prayer as the joyful and romantic communion between the lover and his beloved. ... Readers will find themselves ... eager to encounter this lovely Lord who is their bridegroom.’ ...
“Across the IHOP complex, in cafeterias, hallways and the prayer room, music composed to enhance the ecstatic experience is omnipresent, according to an ex-member. Among the lyrics to two popular songs: ‘God is a lover looking for a lover/So he fashioned me and ‘Do you understand what you do to me? . . . How you ravish my heart with just one glance?’ Some former IHOPers have talked of being addicted to it--they become nervous and irritable when they turn it off. Another IHOPer has written about addiction to the sedative atmosphere of the prayer room itself: ‘A common refrain around anxious, discouraged IHOPers is, I just gotta get to the prayer room’” (Jeff Tietz, “Love and Death in the House of Prayer,” Rolling Stone, Jan. 21, 2014).
The “romantic worship” is simply another heresy that was imparted to this movement by fallen angels masquerading as angels of light.
A BRIDGE TO ROME
Mindless mysticism permeates the IHOP movement. It is reflected in the music, as we have seen, and it is reflected in its acceptance of Roman Catholic contemplative mysticism which encourages an “encounter” with God through practices such as the repetitious Jesus prayer, visualizing prayer, breath prayer, and centering prayer. These practices were developed by Roman Catholic “saints” such as Ignatius Loyola and Teresa of Avila in the terrible spiritual darkness of Catholic monasticism.
IHOPKS’s large bookstore next door to its 24/7 prayer room contains dozens of titles promoting contemplative prayer. I saw these on a visit in October 2014.
Mike Bickle has been teaching contemplative prayer since the early 1980s. A couple who joined the Kansas City Fellowship when it was formed testified of this as follows:
“We were part of the original church that Mike Bickle started in the early 80’s called Kansas City Fellowship. In fact, when Mike first arrived in Kansas City, he spoke at a woman’s Bible study that I was attending at the time. It was the first time I had heard contemplative prayer taught. I was so intrigued by his teaching, I made it a point to attend his soon-to-be new church” (“Mike Bickle: The White Horse Prophecy,” BeyondGrace.blogspot.com, Aug. 24, 2011),
The mindless nature of this mysticism is illustrated by The Cloud of Unknowing, one of the books that can be purchased at IHOP’s bookstore. This Roman Catholic book encourages the use of a mantra to drive away conscious thoughts with the objective of entering into an experiential communion with God in “the nothingness.” This is Christianized Hinduism, and it is most dangerous.
The Cloud of Unknowing says:
“... DISMISS EVERY CLEVER OR SUBTLE THOUGHT no matter how holy or valuable. Cover it over with a thick cloud of forgetting because in this life only love can touch God as he is in himself, never knowledge” (chapter 8, pp. 59, 60).
“Focus your attention on a simple word such as sin or God ... and WITHOUT THE INTERVENTION OF ANALYTICAL THOUGHT allow yourself to experience directly the reality it signifies” (chapter 36, p. 94).
“For in this darkness we experience an intuitive understanding of everything material and spiritual WITHOUT GIVING SPECIAL ATTENTION TO ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR” (chapter 68).
Richard Foster, one of the most prominent gurus of contemplative mysticism, and another author whose books are promoted by IHOP, says repetitious prayers such as breath prayers “BIND THE MIND” (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 124).
This is not biblical meditation; it is blind mysticism. It is a dangerous recipe for demonic delusion. We must seek God through faith, and faith comes only by the Scripture, not by a mindless encounter with God beyond Scripture and even beyond thought.
In biblical meditation, the mind is always in gear.
In biblical meditation, silence refers simply to a quiet place in which the soul can effectively seek the Lord. In Scripture it is called seeking the Lord (Psalm 105:3; Isaiah 55:6), waiting on the Lord (Psalm 69:6), meditating on the Lord (Psalm 104:34), meditating on God’s Word (Psalm 1:2).
In these times, when most of us use computers and smart phones and our waking hours are filled to the brim with distracting busyness, it is important to have daily periods of silence for spiritual devotion. During these times we don’t sit with an empty mind and DO NOTHING; rather we open the Bible and read and study and meditate on its teaching, and we pray IN WORDS to God the Father through Jesus Christ by the wisdom and direction of the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, “THE silence” of contemplative prayer refers to pursuing God beyond the Bible, beyond thinking. It refers to putting aside thoughts through mechanisms such as mantras.
It has been popularized by contemplative gurus such as Richard Foster and Dallas Willard and is promoted by many evangelical leaders today, including Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah, Beth Moore, Mark Driscoll, Max Lucado, Leighton Ford, Ed Young, Gary Thomas, Philip Yancy, Lee Strobel, and Charles Stanley. (See “Evangelicals Turning to Roman Catholic Contemplative Spirituality” at the Way of Life web site.)
Harry Plantinga, director of Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL), describes contemplative prayer as follows: “As I was growing up, my church experience seemed somewhat heady to me--concerned more about correct belief than about actually loving God. Whether or not that was a correct perception, I wanted more. I wanted not just to know about God, I wanted to know God ... Christian mysticism addresses that longing of the heart. ... Webster defines mysticism as ‘the doctrine that it is possible to achieve communion with God through contemplation and love WITHOUT THE MEDIUM OF HUMAN REASON’” (CCEL Times, April 1, 2008).
This is not biblical meditation; it is a dangerous recipe for demonic delusion. We must seek God through faith, and faith comes only by God’s Word.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
If we try to know and “experience” God beyond the pages of Scripture, beyond the teaching of the Bible, we are walking in disobedience and unbelief and are setting ourselves up for spiritual deception from the hands of the one who appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
The late Roman Catholic-Buddhist Thomas Merton, one of the most influential contemplative writers, described his own delusion in these frightful words: “In the end the contemplative suffers the anguish of realizing that he no longer knows what God is” (Merton, The New Seeds of Contemplation).
Contemplative practices, such as the Jesus Prayer, visualizing prayer, breath prayer, and centering prayer are exceedingly dangerous. Many who practice these things end up believing in a pagan concept of God such as pantheism (God is everything) and panentheism (God is in everything) and universalism (all people are God’s children). Through these practices, people typically become increasingly ecumenical and interfaith in thinking.
One does not have to choose between knowing about God and knowing God personally. GOD IS KNOWN IN CHRIST THROUGH HIS WORD. The study of the Bible is not an end in itself and should never be a mere dry intellectual exercise; it is the means whereby we know God and this is something we grow in year by year as long as we don’t lose our first love.
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4).
(For more about contemplative prayer see the book Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, available from Way of Life Literature.)
The contemplative prayer connection is a bridge from IHOP to the Roman Catholic Church. This explains why Mike Bickle was willing to join in fellowship with 15,000 Roman Catholics at Indianapolis ’90. I heard him speak there, and he did not utter a word of warning about the ecumenical movement that was represented by that conference or about Rome’s heresies.
BRINGING IN THE KINGDOM
IHOP’s contemporary music-driven prayer sessions are supposed to be the means of experiencing the “presence of God,” which will ultimately result in the miraculous empowerment of “the church.”
The revived “end-time church” will prepare the way for Christ’s return by performing miracles, battling the Antichrist, and bringing to pass the tribulation judgments described in the book of Acts. According to IHOP theology, it will be the church, not Jesus, who will bring these judgments to pass through prayer and worship. Evil will be cleansed from the earth through the miracle-working, end-time church, and then Jesus will return.
IHOP believes that its 24/7 prayers and the prayers of similar groups will direct God’s judgments upon the earth.
Mike Bickle says:
“We’re not absent for the great tribulation, now listen carefully, the church causes the great tribulation. What I mean by that--it’s the church, it’s the praying church under Jesus’ leadership that’s loosing the judgment in the great tribulation in the way that Moses stretched forth his rod and prayed and loosed the judgments upon Pharaoh. The church in the tribulation is in the position that Moses was before Pharaoh, but it won’t be a Pharaoh and Egypt, it’ll be the great end time Pharaoh called the antichrist and the book of Revelation is a book about the judgments of God on the antichrist loosed by the praying church. ... Jesus is not coming until the Body of Christ globally is crying out ‘Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus,’ and they don’t just say, ‘come and forgive me,’ they are crying out in the understanding of who they are as the one that is cherished by Jesus in the bridal identity” (Bob DeWaay, “Mike Bickle and International House of Prayer,” Critical Issues Commentary, Jul.-Aug. 2008).
The following quotations from End Times Simplified: Preparing Your Heart for the Coming Storm by IHOP senior leader and Bible teacher David Sliker state the movement’s prophetic theology. This book is published by IHOP’s Forerunner Publishing, and the foreword is written by Mike Bickle, who is quoted on the back cover as saying, “I highly recommend this book.”
“The Church will not impassively look on from a distance hoping Israel will make it. The Bride will be like her Bridegroom. The Church will fearlessly enter into the trial and trouble of Israel and fight for the nation when no one else will. ... the Lord is going to use the Church to cause the coming crisis through anointed preaching with power. The Lord will also use the Church to solve the coming crisis through anointed prayer with authority” (Sliker, End Time Simplified, 2013, pp. 74, 75).
“Though the tribulation will be worse than ever in history, the Church will do ‘greater works’ than the ones Jesus performed (John 14:12). ... Even now, she is being prepared to operate in unprecedented power in concert with the Holy Spirit. The prepared Bride will partner with Jesus to loose His judgments on the nations of the world” (Sliker, End Time Simplified, 2013, p. 128).
“God’s ‘secret weapon,’ an authentic prayer movement, will be unleashed on the kingdom of darkness. ... The unveiling of Jesus’ singing, praying Bride will surprise the nations and dismay the evil one, Satan” (Sliker, End Time Simplified, 2013, pp. 188, 189).
“God will fundamentally change the expression of Christianity. The Church is not taken seriously now, but God will restore the Church to her rightful place. He will express Himself through His Bride in a way that will cause the nations to tremble. ... As the worldwide prayer movement matures, the Lord also will release anointing on His people to do the ‘greater works’ promised by Jesus in John 14:12-14. Moses ... Elijah and Elisha ... the apostles ... The Church’s anointing and power, however, will exceed that of any period in history. ... The Church’s power will far exceed, in both glory and might, the power of the Antichrist and the False Prophet” (Sliker, End Time Simplified, 2013, pp. 202, 203, 204).
Among other things, this doctrine of the end times misapplies Israel’s prophecies to the church.
God’s witness on earth during the tribulation is Israel. In the book of Revelation, the churches are not seen on earth after chapter three. The seven years of tribulation described in Revelation 6-18 is the final week of the 70 Week prophecy in Daniel 9:22-27. It is a prophecy that pertains to Israel, not to the churches. Daniel was told that the prophecy pertains to “thy people,” which of course is Israel (Dan. 9:24). The 144,000 who are sealed and who preach the gospel of the kingdom in the tribulation are Jews of the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7). The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 are Jews. They are associated with the rebuilding of the Jewish temple (Rev. 11:1-2). They minister in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. The church has no such capital, her hope being heavenly, not earthly (Col. 3:1-4; Phil. 3:17-21). The Two Witnesses are clothed in sackcloth, typical of Old Testament Israel, not New Testament believers. Nowhere are the churches seen in sackcloth. They are told, rather, to “rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4). Further, the Two Witnesses call down judgment upon their enemies (Rev. 11:5-6), whereas Jesus rebuked his disciples for desiring to do just this and instructed church-age believers to pray for the well-being of their enemies, not for their destruction (Lk. 9:54-56; Rom. 12:14, 17-21).
IHOP believes that God is raising up an army of young people who will form the end-time empowered “church.” The army will even be composed of “anointed” children.
Francis Frangipane, who was one of the original “Kansas City prophets,” says that the “end-time church” will display the actual glory of God.
“God’s plan is that here on earth, in us, the glory of the Lord will be revealed! The luminous, radiant light of His Presence, as it shone from Moses’ face and flooded Solomon’s temple at its dedication, as it radiated from Jesus and bathed His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration—that light of God’s Presence shall arise from within us at the end of the age! This same divine glory shall, in ever-increasing degrees of brightness, appear upon us in the years prior to the Lord’s actual second coming” (Frangipane, The Days of His Presence, 1996, pp. 21-22).
THE NEW PROPHETS
Central to the alleged end-time miracle revival is the restoration of prophets to “the church.” Mike Bickle has been involved in the new prophet movement since the 1980s.
But even during their “heyday” in the 1980s and 1990s, the “Kansas City prophets” admitted that their prophecies were often inaccurate (which is an understatement).
Bob Jones (not the Bob Jones who founded Bob Jones University) was allegedly told that the general level of prophetic revelation was about 65% accurate at that time. Some were 10% accurate, while a very few were supposedly approaching 85% to 95% accuracy. Rick Joyner observed, “Prophecy is increasing in purity, but there is still a long way to go for those who walk in this ministry” (“The Unfolding of a Prophet,” Fulness Magazine, Jan-Feb. 1990, p. 13]).
The “new prophets” claim that this is not a matter of concern because prophets must grow in their prophetic ability, ignoring the biblical standard of Deuteronomy.
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, IF THE THING FOLLOW NOT, NOR COME TO PASS, THAT IS THE THING WHICH THE LORD HATH NOT SPOKEN, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:19-22).
God says that if a prophet’s predictions do not come to pass, that prophet’s ministry is not of the Lord. The new charismatic prophets fail this biblical test terribly.
Mike Bickle’s book Growing in the Prophetic promotes the heretical notion that prophesies can be wrong. Of the “prophetic office,” he says, “This doesn’t mean that prophets are 100 percent infallible, but their words are to be taken seriously. Unlike the Old Testament ground rules for prophets, where 100 percent accuracy was required upon the penalty of death, the New Testament doesn’t require the same standard of its prophets” (Growing in the Prophetic, p. 41).
The idea that New Testament prophets could be wrong is refuted by Scripture. There is no biblical example of an alleged prophet who was wrong in his prophesying yet was accepted as a prophet of God. We think of Agabus, who prophesied that Paul would be imprisoned in Jerusalem (Acts 21:10-11). There was nothing ambiguous about his prophecy, and it was fulfilled exactly as given.
Bob Jones, one of the chiefest of the Kansas City “prophets,” claimed that God told him that their prophetic words were only “two-thirds accurate” and “the other third will be like popping a bullet at the enemy [that] wouldn’t fire; it was a blank.” God allegedly told him that the reason that the prophets were not 100% accurate is because if God released 100% accuracy at this time “the accountability would be awesome and you’d have so much Ananias and Sapphiras going on that people couldn’t grow; they’d be too scared” (Bob Jones, Visions and Revelations, fall 1988).
This is heretical nonsense, and we need no other reason to reject these men than the fact that they issue “prophecies” that are inaccurate and twist Scripture to defend the practice.
Some spiritual gifts can be increased, but an apostolic gift like tongues speaking or prophecy is not a learned experience. You either have it or you don’t! It is either a miracle from God, or it is a deception.
IHOP’s prophesying has been filled with grievous errors.
Consider, for example, that it was long and fervently prophesied in Mike Bickle’s prayer meetings that his quadriplegic brother would be healed. (Pat Bickle became a quadriplegic as a teenager via a football accident.) Following is the testimony of a couple who were members of Bickle’s church from its inception until 1990:
“One other important fact that never gets mentioned, and has since been removed from the history. Mike had a quadriplegic brother named Pat whom we were close to. Pat always attended the evening prayer meetings which we also attended. Keep in mind, the early prayer movement was very sparse, a far cry from what it looks like today. Just a dozen or so faithful regularly attended. As a result, we got to know one another pretty well. Well, amongst all the prophecies and promises of the spirit being poured out on us, there was ALWAYS the promise that Pat would be healed. So often was that promise repeated that we spoke of it as a ‘given.’ All of the prophets mentioned it numerous times. In fact, it was going to be THE EVENT that started the whole ball rolling. Sadly, Pat passed away a few years ago. More sadly, however, is how THIS OFTEN-STATED PROPHECY, AT LEAST HOW PIVOTAL IT WAS, WAS ERASED FROM THE HISTORY. Now, when new IHOPers listen to the 18 plus hours of how IHOP came to be, they won’t know about Pat and that profound promise that we hoped for in his healing” (“Mike Bickle: The White Horse Prophecy,” BeyondGrace.blogspot.com, Aug. 24, 2011).
In a series of interviews with Mike Bickle in 1988, Bob Jones claimed that God had shown him a prophecy in 1982 which taught that Mike Bickle was the chosen leader of the end-time prophetic miracle movement, that Jones was chosen by God to keep the movement on the right course, and that Pat Bickle’s healing would be a signal of the beginning of great miracles.
This was called the White Horse Prophecy. Jones allegedly was shown a vision of a white horse carrying a man lying on a board and another man walking alongside. Jones was told to lead the horse into a stream bed in which a trickle of water flowed and to keep the horse in the center of the stream until rains came and filled it up. He interpreted this as follows: The white horse signifies the end-time prophetic movement. Bob Jones was appointed to keep the prophetic movement on the right course. Pat Bickle would be healed when the water of end-time miracles began flowing. Mike Bickle was the appointed leader of the movement.
Here is Jones’ description of the prophecy in his conversations with Bickle in 1988:
“I saw the White Horse and this time they was a man and that man was laying flat on a board on his back, and they was another one walking (by his) side and I couldn't understand it, but it was like one of them was walking beside of him was one of the men that was chosen to have a little power ... and he was to be a leader of this. ... This one, that was at his side, was saying ‘This man, he’s not heavy, that I’m bearing, He's my Brother.’
“And that White Horse, some of the main purpose that the White Horse (corporate purpose) was to begin with, was to begin to pray for that man, I didn’t know it then, but to pray for the man that was on that board.
“And the White Horse, I was told to lead the White Horse into the middle of a dry stream. It was a stream that centuries ago had water in it, but now it was dry. And as I led the White Horse right into the middle of the stream the Spirit of the Lord put water, like a little trickle, on both sides of it.
“And He said, ‘I’m releasing the spirit of prophecy, to keep the White Horse in the Middle of the stream, and that’s your only duty. Just walk along side, hold on with a gentle reign to keep it in the middle of the stream. Because, one day the rains will come and the flow will begin and when it does, the man on the white horse on the board shall be the one first to touch that stream” (“Mike Bickle: The White Horse Prophecy,” BeyondGrace.blogspot.com, Aug. 24, 2011).
Jones also described “rabid dogs” on both sides of the river barking, which he interpreted to be those who resist the new prophets and their miracle revival. Every critic of the movement is considered a persecutor. Another of Bickle’s “prophets” conveniently prophesied that God did not want IHOP to answer its critics.
“Persecution will be birthed against you and the work that God has entrusted to your leadership, and the Lord says you are not to touch it, you are not to answer it; you are to leave it in the Lord’s hands, and He will settle it for you” (Augustine Alcala, quoted from “Mick Bickle: Inoculation of the Sheep,” Aug. 8, 2011, beyondgrace.blogspot.com).
Any movement that refuses to listen to “critics” who are basing their “criticism” on Scriptural rightly divided is a movement that does not love the truth and that is condemned to be led astray. The Bible was given for reproof (2 Tim. 3:16). The New Testament commends scriptural reproof (Eph. 5:11-13). Biblical preachers are reprovers (2 Tim. 4:2). All things are to be proven (1 Th. 5:21). The Bereans, who tested everything by Scripture, are not treated as carnal troublemakers, but as “noble” (Acts 17:11). Paul’s “criticisms” of Peter (Gal. 2:11-14), Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:19-20), Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Tim. 1:15), Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17-18), and Alexander (2 Tim. 4:14-15) are presented in a positive light in God’s Word. Proverbs, the book of practical wisdom, emphasizes that one’s attitude toward reproof is a test of one’s spiritual condition (Prov. 6:23; 9:7; 10:17; 12:1; 13:18; 15:10, 12, 31-32; 17:10; 29:1).
Returning to the White Horse Prophecy, we note that Bob Jones said that one of the MAIN DUTIES of the movement in its early stage was to pray for Pat Bickle.
But Pat, the “man on the board,” died in May 2007 at age 50 after being paralyzed for 33 years, totally discrediting Bob Jones as a “prophet” and Mike Bickle as the leader of a miracle movement.
Instead of admitting that the vision was a lie and repenting of his heresies, Bickle has modified it so that Pat’s death is the fulfillment. In 2009, Bickle replaced the “Prophetic History” that is taught to all IHOP students with a new edition. The title is “Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History.”
The vision of Pat’s healing was changed to a vision of Pat’s death!
“On August 8, 1982, Bob saw a white horse in the middle of a river bed that had 4 inches of water in it, with rabid dogs on the sides. Bob saw me and my brother Pat in the river bed. He stood behind us. Bob saw that when the Lord ‘raised up Pat,’ then the floods of the Spirit would follow in God’s timing. The Lord raised up Pat and took him home to glory when he died on May 5, 2007” (“Encountering Jesus,” 2009 outline distributed by Mike Bickle, cited from “Mike Bickle: The White Horse Prophecy,” BeyondGrace.blogspot.com, Aug. 24, 2011).
By 2011, Pat Bickle had disappeared from the White Horse prophecy entirely!
Well does God’s Word reprove those who speak false things and give people false hopes and lead people astray:
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:16).
“Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD” (Ezekiel 13:2).
Mike Bickle would say that those who critique and reprove him are “rabid dogs,” but they are actually God’s faithful watch dogs.
Most of the “prophesies” of these end-time “prophets” are not clear enough to test, as they are delivered in vague, ambiguous, parabolic terms.
Mike Bickle says that they speak in “parables and riddles” (“15 Year Anniversary Honoring Bob Jones,” Sept. 20, 2014, CD, International House of Prayer).
“Jesus often spoke in parables to hide truth so that only those hungry for God would gain understanding. He said, ‘I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand’ (Mat. 13:13). In the same way, the Holy Spirit often speaks to us prophetically in dreams and visions using parables. Only those who are desperate to know God’s heart will understand what He is saying. Therefore, it is important that we be cautious and not overly confident and dogmatic in giving or receiving prophecy. ... God purposely gives the information in a dark saying or parable” (Growing in the Prophetic, pp. 25, 26).
It is true that Jesus spoke in parables to unbelievers at times to hide the truth, particularly in the parables of the mystery of the kingdom in Matthew 13, but when He spoke to believers He plainly interpreted the parables (Mat. 13:18-23).
In the first century, Christ didn’t speak to believers in riddles or in confusing parables and leave them in a quandary about the meaning, and He would not do such a thing today.
By its very nature, a vague prophecy or a riddle or an ambiguous parable cannot be tested. It can mean anything and nothing. In contrast to charismatic “parable prophecies,” when the Bible uses parables and riddles, it interprets them, either in the immediate context or when Scripture is compared with Scripture.
Bob Jones (d. 2014) (again not the Bob Jones who founded Bob Jones University in South Carolina) is one of the men that Mike Bickle accepted as a “Level IV prophet.” Bickle compared this level with “the Old Testament ministries of men like Samuel and Elijah” (Growing in the Prophetic, p. 42).
Bob Jones claimed countless out-of-body experiences, visions, angelic visitations, personal tours of heaven led by Jesus, and face-to-face conversations with God. He said he had a spirit guide who took him on out-of-body adventures. His first alleged trip to heaven was at age 13.
On another “trip to heaven,” he supposedly saw “Jesus in the form of a light who would grab and kiss men and women and then make them disappear by absorbing them into his body” (Visions and Revelations, series of five tapes from the fall of 1988).
“Visions and Revelations was removed from Bickle’s catalog in 1990, together with other “prophecies” by Bob Jones and Paul Cain’s messages, but we have a digitized copy of Visions and Revisions in our possession.)
Jones saw unsaved people on an escalator to hell which was “like a cold storage place.”
Jones said that on one occasion Jesus came to him in the appearance of an angel named Dominus and they sat in rocking chairs holding hands and looking down on a church service in progress while they were invisible to the people.
All of this is contrary to Scripture, and if Jones even had these experiences, they were demonic deceptions. (We deal with Pentecostal visitations to heaven in the book The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements, available from www.wayoflife.org.)
Jones taught the Manifest Sons of God heresy, claiming that the sons of God will be glorified and miraculously empowered before Jesus returns. He prophesied of a “New Breed” of prophets that Jesus would raise up and “the government will be on their shoulders.” He described evangelists who will heal by means of a “ray of light” that will emanate out of their hands (Visions and Revelations, Fall 1988).
He said, “They will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever moved in before. Every miracle, sign and wonder that has ever been in the Bible – they’ll move in it consistently. Every sign and wonder that’s ever been will be many times in the last days. They themselves will … put death itself underneath their feet ... a Church that has reached the full maturity of the god-man!”
Following is one of Bob Jones’ prophecies about the New Breed:
“I went and I seen the Lord, and it was like He was looking at little yellow things--little round, yellow things like a spirit of God itself. And there were billions of them. And it was like Him and all the angels were looking through these and every once in awhile they's say, ‘Hey, here's an end-time one; get it down here on the end. Here's another good one.’
“I said, ‘What are you doing?’
“He said, ‘Oh, we're collecting those who are foreknown and predestinated for the end-times, for you see, they’ll be the best of all the seed that’s ever been. And we’re looking through the seeds and this’ll be your grandkids. This will be the end generation that is foreknown and predestinated to inherit all things. And these will be like grandchildren to you--even those that you minister to won’t be this generation; their children will be. You are to write into their minds, as they write into the children’s minds. You’re to bring them to a place to allow My Spirit to rule in their life where they can begin to set the Church on the proper foundations, as they will. They’ll birth the Church, but their children will attain levels of the Holy Spirit that they will not.
“‘Although their parents will reign over them and be the leaders of the last-day church, their children will possess the Spirit without measure. For they are the best of all the generations that have ever been upon the face of the earth. And the best of all generations are those elected seeds that will glorify Christ in the last days.’
“That’s the purpose so that Jesus in the last days has the seeds that will glorify Him above any generation that has ever been upon the face of the earth. They will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever moved in before. Every miracle, sign and wonder that has ever been in the Bible, they'll move in it consistently. They’ll move in the power that Christ did. Every sign and wonder that’s ever been will be many times in the last days. They themselves will be that generation that's raised up to put death itself underneath their feet and to glorify Christ in every way.
“And the Church that is raising up in the government will be the head and the covering for them. So that that glorious Church might be revealed in the last days because the Lord Jesus is worthy to be lifted up by a Church that has reached the full maturity of the God-man!” (Bob Jones, Visions and Revelations, 1988).
Jones’ prophecies about children being a major part of the end-time miracle revival is one reason why IHOPKS has a ministry to train children to “move in the Spirit.” They are taught to prophesy, speak in tongues, lay hands on one another, pray for healing, etc. IHOPKS claims that they have trained 50,000 children! Imagine the confusion that has been imparted to these children by this heretical nonsense!
Jones claimed to “operate with his golden senses,” meaning that “he literally walks into their [other people’s] bodies and feels their feelings, tastes their tastes, sees with their sight and hears what they’re hearing” (Burl and Sharon Wells, By the Book, Vol. 3, Issue 1, 1990, Go Ministries, San Jose, Calif.).
Jones claimed that oil appeared on his hands as a sign from the Lord. He allegedly could smell “anointings.” For example, he would smell roses when he ministered to a “worship leader.”
These are occultic phenomena. We do not see God’s true prophets operating like this in Scripture.
The main thing that caused people to believe that Jones was a prophet was his knowledge of the secrets of their lives. This soothsaying what convinced Mike Bickle.
“Several weeks later, a week-known preacher named Art Katz was visiting our Sunday morning church service. I had heard of Art but had never met him. After the service, I saw Bob Jones talking privately with him. I expected Art to reject Bob as I had done. Instead, when I came up to greet him, the first thing he said was, ‘Mike, this man Bob Jones is a prophet of God. He just told me the secrets of my heart!’ ... About 9:00 p.m. that night, Art insisted on seeing Bob again. We met at my house from 10:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. It was a very unusual and emotional evening. I was overwhelmed by the private things that God revealed to Bob about my personal life. In the emotion of the moment, I blurted out, ‘Bob, I believe you are a prophet’” (Growing in the Prophetic, 2008 edition, p. 14).
Jones met Mike Bickle in 1983 and prophesied that God was going to use Bickle to usher in an end-time miracle revival. We have already looked at Jones’ White Horse Prophecy.
Jones communed with an entity that he called “the angel Emma,” claiming that “she” birthed the Kansas City prophetic movement.
Pentecostal “healing” preacher Todd Bentley says that he was told about Emma by Bob Jones and later communed with her himself:
“Now let me talk about an angelic experience with Emma. Twice Bob Jones asked me about this angel that was in Kansas City in 1980: ‘Todd, have you ever seen the angel by the name of Emma?’ He asked me as if he expected that this angel was appearing to me. Surprised, I said, ‘Bob, who is Emma?’ He told me that Emma was the angel that helped birth and start the whole prophetic movement in Kansas City in the 1980s. She was a mothering-type angel that helped nurture the prophetic as it broke out.
“Within a few weeks of Bob asking me about Emma, I was in a service in Beulah, North Dakota. In the middle of the service I was in conversation with Ivan and another person when in walks Emma. As I stared at the angel with open eyes, the Lord said, ‘Here’s Emma.’ I’m not kidding. She floated a couple of inches off the floor. ... Emma appeared beautiful and young--about 22 years old--but she was old at the same time. She seemed to carry the wisdom, virtue and grace of Proverbs 31 on her life. She glided into the room, emitting brilliant light and colors. Emma carried these bags and began pulling gold out of them. Then, as she walked up and down the aisles of the church, she began [distributing] gold dust. The Lord answered: ‘She is releasing the gold, which is both the revelation and the financial breakthrough that I am bringing into this church. I want you to prophesy that Emma showed up in this service--the same angel that appeared in Kansas city--as a sign that I am endorsing and releasing a prophetic spirit in the church on people.’ ...
“Within three weeks of that visitation, the church had given me the biggest offering I had ever received to that point in my ministry. Thousands of dollars! Thousands! … During this visitation the pastor’s wife (it was an AOG church) got totally whacked by the Holy Ghost--she began running around barking like a dog or squawking like a chicken as a powerful prophetic spirit came on her. Also, as this prophetic anointing came on her, she started getting phone numbers of complete strangers and calling them up on the telephone and prophesying over them… Then angels started showing up in the church’” (P.J. Miller, “Lakeland Revival: Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, and Some Things to Consider,” May 8, 2008, pjmiller.wordpress.com).
The “Lakeland Revival” ended abruptly when Todd Bentley was discredited as an alcoholic and an adulterer, so it is possible that both Jones and Bentley were simply lying and there is no Emma. If she does exist, she is a demon, as angels are never referred to in Scripture in female terms. Further, according to Bentley, “Emma” preaches word-faith, prosperity gospel heresies.
In 1991, Bob Jones admitted to “a moral failure” (Lee Grady, “Wimber Plots New Course for Vineyard,” Charisma, Feb. 1993, p. 64).
Jones was using his alleged spiritual authority and “prophetic anointing” to induce women to disrobe so they could “stand naked before the Lord in order to receive a word.”
It wasn’t long before Jones was back, though, with his own “prophetic ministry” based in Mississippi, and he continued to travel and “prophesy” at charismatic churches and conferences until his death in February 2014.
On a visit to the IHOP bookstore in October 2014, I purchased a CD of a special service that Mike Bickle had dedicated to Bob Jones’ memory earlier that year. In this service, Bickle honored Jones as a major prophet of God and credited him with introducing him into the “prophetic” ministry. Bickle and other IHOP leaders described the operation of Jones’ “golden senses.” Bickle said there were five or six times when Jones knew the details of his dreams. He said that God once told him to call Bob Jones on the phone to get the interpretation of a dream. A woman said that Bob Jones attended her wedding, and before the service started he told her that he had already seen her wedding day and, “It is good.”
Paul Cain (b. 1929) is probably the most renowned of the Pentecostal “new prophets.”
He claims that the “Angel of the Lord” first visited him when he was eight years old and that he has experienced countless visions, revelatory dreams, and angelic visitations since then.
He began conducting healing campaigns at age 18 and was one of the prominent names in the Pentecostal “Healing Revival” of the late 1940s and 1950s. He was an associate of William Branham and on at least one occasion took over a meeting for Branham.
In 1954, he purchased an 8,000-seat gospel tent from Pentecostal evangelist Jack Coe’s ministry and toured the country. He also had large meetings in Switzerland and Germany.
Cain says that when he was in his early twenties, the “Angel of the Lord” called him to a celibate unmarried life. He said that he was driving his Lincoln Continental in southern California in the 1950s when “the Lord,” dressed as a monk, appeared in the passenger seat. In the ensuing conversation, “the Lord” indicated to him that he should cut off his marriage engagement with a young woman and live celibately.
“After the Lord had finished discussing some other matters with him Paul felt it was a good opportunity to raise the question of his recent engagement to be married. So he told the Lord about it and asked: ‘What do you think of it, Lord? ... You don’t seem very pleased. Don’t you want me to be married?’
“The Lord looked at him again and repeated softly, ‘I walked alone.’
“‘Lord,’ said Paul, ‘if you don’t want me to be married I am willing to give up the idea, but you will have to do something about my feelings.’
“The Lord replied by simply placing his hand upon him. To Paul it felt as though fire passed right through his body. From that day to this, he says, he has never experienced any further sexual desire. That was Paul’s initiation into celibacy” (David Pytches, Some Said it Thundered, p. 40-41).
If this “visitation” actually occurred, it was a demonic visitation, as it is a doctrine of demons to forbid marriage (1 Timothy 4:1-3). The apostle Paul taught, by divine inspiration, that celibacy is for those who have a gift for it, and that it is better to marry than to burn (1 Cor. 7:2, 9, 28).
Furthermore, as we will see, Cain was lying about not having “any further sexual desire.”
Like William Branham before him, Cain has the occultic gift of clairvoyance or soothsaying and knows details of stranger’s lives. This convinced many people of his authenticity as a “prophet.” It appears that Cain inherited occultic gifts from his mother and grandmothers.
“Paul’s mother, grandmother, and great grandmother had all been born with the gift of seeing. His great-grandmother would sometimes see things in broad daylight and ask her friend or family if they could see them too. If they said they could not, she would occasionally wave her hand upon them and they would immediately see the identical vision. ...
“Paul now found he was ‘seeing’ also and would know things that were going to happen to classmates at school or were happening to absent friends. He knew simple things like who would end up with a bloody nose or who would win a race. ...
“There was a special bond between William Branham and Little Brother [Cain] in the early days of Paul’s ministry. ... Sometimes when Branham could not meet a commitment, he would send Paul in his place.
“The extent of their spiritual ‘light’ was phenomenal. When they called each other by phone one would often say to the other in fun, ‘You’re all right today. How am I?’ and each would know the other’s state of health precisely.
“On one occasion Mike Bickle had been complaining to his wife that he had ‘a bit of a sniffle’ or a slight cold--something he rarely had--the phone rang, Bickle picked up the receiver and heard Paul on the line. He had heard about Paul's gift so he said by way of a joke, ‘Hi, Paul! You’re all right today! How am I?’ Immediately Paul answered him, ‘Why Mike, you've got a bit of a sniffle and you are all wet. Your hair is standing up on the left side of your head.’ (Bickle had just gotten out the shower)” (David Pytches, Some Said It Thundered, 1991, pp. 24, 26, 29, 30).
“A friend of ours from Australia was in a public meeting in which Cain was speaking. This man had just lost his wife and Cain (with no knowledge of this man) pointed to him and told him so and proceeded to name his four sons. ... A publisher of a famous charismatic magazine once harbored some doubts regarding Cain. Cain later met him and ... referred to a boat owned by the publisher and preceded to tell him the numbers of his boat license after which the publisher called him truly a prophet of God” (Orrel Steinkamp, “Paul Cain,” The Plumbline, Dec. 2004).
Cain teaches the Manifest Sons of God heresy. He said:
“I want you to know he’s [Christ] coming to the Church before he comes for the Church. He’s gonna perfect the Church so the Church can be the Image, be Him, and be his representative” (Cain, My Father’s House, Nov. 1988, Grace Ministries, Kansas City).
“If you’re really in the vine and you’re the branch, then the life from the Son of the living God keeps you from cancer, keeps you from dying, keeps you from death ... Not only will they not have diseases, they will also not die. They will have the kind of imperishable bodies that are talked about in the 15th chapter of Corinthians ... this army is invincible. If you have intimacy with God, they can’t kill you. ... There will be a manifestation of the sons of God. And it won’t be this baloney that we’ve heard of in the past. ... I’m talking about a true manifested son of God ... God wants us to realize once again in closing that there’s going to be a great company of overcomers prepared for this mighty ministry which I call the prize of all the ages” (Paul Cain, “Joel's Army,” cited in Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship, Shawnee, KS: Full Faith Church of Love, 1990, p. 218).
Cain frequently described visions he allegedly had of stadiums filled with hundreds of thousands of people and of great miracles: of resurrections, of believers walking through walls, of preachers levitating and standing in fixed poses for 24 hours. He says that he believes we are on the very threshold of these events and that Promise Keepers could be the forerunner to the last days miracle revival (Ed Tarkowski, “The Significance of Filled Stadiums,” The Christian Conscience, Feb. 1996).
Between 1958 and 1987, Cain ceased public ministry and lived with his mother, in accordance with a “personal revelation.”
In 1987, Cain was accepted as a prophet and a “father” by Mike Bickle and the Kansas City Fellowship because of Cain’s knack for soothsaying.
Bob Jones stated that Cain is “the most anointed prophet that's in the world today” (Visions and Revelations, interview with Mike Bickle, Kansas City, MO: Grace Ministries, 1988).
In the late 1980s, Mike Bickle and Paul Cain were promoted by John Wimber, who brought them into the Vineyard association. The Kansas City Fellowship was renamed Metro Vineyard.
I heard the three of them speak at Indianapolis ’90, which I attended with media credentials. Half of the 30,000 or so in attendance were Roman Catholic. There was a Roman Catholic mass every morning, madonnas and other idols promoting Mary as the Queen of Heaven were on sale in the book sales area, and a Roman Catholic priest brought the keynote message.
John Wimber had long lusted after signs and wonders, not being content to live his Christian life by faith. He wanted to “feel God” and “do the stuff” (referring to performing miracles). This resulted in great spiritual delusion. (For documentation, see The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements, available from www.wayoflife.org.)
When he met Paul Cain in December 1988, Wimber was convinced that the man was a genuine prophet of God because Cain told him secrets of his life that no man knew. Also Cain foretold that a mild earthquake would hit the day he arrived, though a mild earthquake is NOT an uncommon event in southern California!
When Wimber accepted Cain into the Vineyard, he did so with no reservations. “We did not have to correct Paul Cain because there were no charges whatsoever in all our investigation on Paul’s ministry, or his theology, and/or his history. Although there are those that have held negative views” (John Wimber, “Forum on Prophecy, Signs and Wonders,” Indianapolis 1990, Aug. 17, 1990, audio cassette).
In October 2004, Cain was exposed as a homosexual and an alcoholic by Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle, and Jack Deere, who said that Cain had refused to submit to discipline.
“‘In February 2004, we were made aware that Paul had become an alcoholic. In April 2004, we confronted Paul with evidence that he had recently been involved in homosexual activity. Paul admitted to these sinful practices and was placed under discipline, agreeing to a process of restoration, which the three of us would oversee. However, Paul has resisted this process and has continued in his sin.’ With our deepest regrets and sincerity, Rick Joyner, Jack Deere, Mike Bickle.”
Eventually Cain admitted his sin, saying, “I have struggled in two particular areas, homosexuality and alcoholism, for an extended period of time. I apologize for denying these matters of truth, rather than readily admitting them” (“A Letter of Confession,” February 2005, web article no longer available).
As we have seen, for 40 years Cain had claimed that he had no sexual feelings because “the Lord” had touched him. He had repeated this mythical story to many, including John Wimber, Mike Bickle, and David Pytches, author of Some Said It Thundered, and had used it to impress people with his “prophetic mystique.”
Rock music is at the heart and soul of the new prophecy movement represented by IHOP. If you could remove the music, the movement would die. They worship to rock music, pray to rock music, prophesy to rock music, speak in “tongues” to it, fall on the floor to it, drink their coffee to it. They are addicted to sensual music.
Integrity Music, which owns Hosanna Music, has been one of the channels for the spread of the new prophets’ message.
Integrity rose out of the charismatic movement, and the music it distributes to 117 countries is charismatic to the core.
Integrity recorded an album at the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, where a strange charismatic “revival” broke out in 1995. Don Moen, who was “creative director” for Integrity at the time, described the power of the music recorded at Brownsville:
“... SOMETHING IS IMPARTED WHEN YOU LISTEN TO THIS TAPE. I don’t want it to sound spooky or mysterious, but there’s something powerful about embracing the music of the revival. The fire of the revival can stir in you even as you listen to the songs that took place at the Brownsville revival” (“Don Moen Discusses Music at Brownsville Assembly,” Pentecostal Evangel, November 10, 1996).
The “revival” to which Moen refers is a “revival” in which people become drunk and stagger about and fall down and are unable to perform the most basic functions of life. John Kilpatrick, the senior pastor at Brownsville during the alleged revival, testified that it took him a half hour just to put on his socks when he was drunk with the Brownsville revival spirit. He lay on the church platform for as long as four hours, unable to get up and unable to exercise his responsibilities as a pastor. His wife was unable to cook or clean the house.
Whatever this “revival” is, it is not Bible based, yet Moen testifies that this spirit can be imparted through the music.
Integrity’s Hosanna worship tapes include songs by Robert Gay, who records music from alleged prophecies. Gay claims that the Holy Spirit gives him visions for his songs. He is connected with Bill Hamon’s Christian International Network of supposed prophetic ministries.
The major “prophetic” ministries, including IHOP, publish contemporary worship music. IHOP publishes selections of the music from its 24/7 prayer services. This is the music that is used to create the mystical atmosphere in which their people “encounter God.”
Brethren, beware of the “new prophets” and any church or movement that believes in such prophets. We don’t need new prophets; we need a greater love for the old Prophets! The Bible is absolutely sufficient. It is able to make the man of God perfect. What else is needed? Cleave to it, and you’ll not be led astray, nor will you be adrift on the restless sea of charismatic confusion. Don’t follow “signs.” Don’t follow your emotions. Don’t accept doctrines and practices that can’t be backed up by the Bible rightly divided.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:19-21).
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1).
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Beware of any ministry that treats biblical reprovers as enemies.
Beware of any ministry that holds to the heresy of an end-time miracle revival. No such revival is prophesied for end of the church age. Rather, we are taught to expect great error and spiritual confusion that will result in the formation of an apostate one-world “church.”
For more than 40 years since I came to Christ, I have examined the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement. In my travels to three dozen nations, I have looked for apostolic gifts exercised according to God’s Word, but I have searched in vain. The “tongues” are vain babblings. The healings are nothing like what we see in the Gospels and the book of Acts. The resurrections are non-existent. The prophecies are false. Women lead contrary to the law of God.
From its inception, the Pentecostal movement has been permeated with heresy and pure nuttiness, and many deeply sincere people have been deceived thereby because they are willing to ignore the plain teaching of God’s Word, lusting after “signs and wonders” and experiences.
If you are not content with the Bible and you are not content with living by faith, you are a prime candidate for spiritual deception.
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