Monday, June 16, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
- Cultic Origins and Goals.
- Author says, IHOP began when a man named Augustine told Mike Bickle about hearing an audible voice for Mike and his congregation “I am inviting you to raise up a work that will touch the ends of the earth. I have invited many people to do this thing and many people have said yes, but very few have done my will.” Since many cults started with God telling people a special message this must be a cult as well. The goal of IHOP is to bring on the great tribulation and Mike Bickle proposes that the end time church defeats Gods Enemies.
- The examples of cults hearing from God all are cases of not being true to the Scripture. Hearing God is nothing new. Your pastor heard the call of God to the ministry. An audible voice is unusual but God can speak to us anyway He desires. He is at work in the world. The problem is not how God spoke but was what He said Biblical. I saw nothing counter to the scripture in what was God's message.
- I listened to what Mike actually said in a teaching about Revelations. From his teaching Mike believes that God will bring about the judgments as a result of the prayers of the church. God brings the tribulation not the Christians, but at the behest of the prayers of believers. He never says that IHOP people praying or even people praying as IHOP prays. I do think Mike is right saying that Christians do not pray as they should and hopefully he is right that Christians are changing in their prayers from just for salvation and being blessed to crying out for the lord, in the world and in their lives. The author is saying things Mike Bickle does not say. Some quotes from Mike Bickle on this subject:
- The prayers of all the saints during the tribulation will
release the trumpet judgments
- The prayers of the martyrs in heaven will also be used to
release God’s end-time judgments
- Jesus returns in answer to global concerts of prayer
offered by the Church with a bridal identity. Every church will
have a spirit of prayer in the End Times or they will cease to
- Jesus will not release the seal judgments until the bowls of
prayer around the throne are full. In other words, the end-time
Church will be mature in prayer BEFORE the final 3½ years.
- Yes, Mike does believe The Church goes through the
tribulation but that does not make him a cult.
- Mike believes that the Church will have victory over the
Anti-Christ but that does not mean they won't die or will kill the
Anti-Christ. Not turning from Christ to follow the Anti-Christ is
- The Power of Emotionalism, Mysticism nad Gnosticism.
- Author says, IHOP practices contemplative pray. This is relaxing and letting youself find the presence of God within.
- This is basically what Andrew Murray calls “Waiting on the Lord” It is meditating on Christ and letting Him talk to you. Unless you don't believe a still small voice from God can talk to you, there should not be a problem.
- Author believes IHOP claims hidden knowledge by way of prophecies, visions and dreams. Too many people in IHOP rely upon experiences.
- Nothing hidden about this at IHOP. They simply believe that God works today through Prophecy, visions and dreams. You can agree or not but that does not make it a cult. Charismatic churches would agree with that. I do agree that people should not depend upon these kind of experiences and IHOP would agree as well which is why they have a teachings, school and internships to ground a person in scripture.
- The IHOP Dilemma.
- Is IHOP full of false prophets or true prophets?
- It is true that there are some false prophecies given by people who are training at IHOP but any prophecy given must align with scripture and people are told that if given a prophecy to test the spirit. Is it biblical? Is this the only person saying this? If it is then do not trust it unless others agree with it.
- A Sampling of the Prophecies
- Author gives examples of prophecies given.
- Back to point one. God speaks today and can speak anyway He wants. Nothing counter to the Bible here.
- The Denigration of the Bible and Sola Scriptura.
- Author claims IHOP does not see scripture as the revealed will of God and the only necessary thing for faith and practice of Christianity. For example when making a decision they do not use only the Bible but also as God for revelation concerning the decision.
- HOW HORRIBLE! Yes they do pray for God's guidance when making a decision.
- Indexed as a Cult by Multiple Ministries
- Short list of 6 ministries that believe IHOP is a cult
- So if I have 6 ministries that believe my church is a cult does that make it so? I can find a list of ministries that do not believe IHOP is a cult but to be honest that does not prove is it not a Cult.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
- Mike Bickle believes that the Church brings about the great tribulation. The church looses the judgments upon the world. It also claims that Mike “obviously refers to people who have adopted his movement” when talking about the people who pray during the tribulation for the judgments of God to come.
- The prayers of all the saints during the tribulation will release the trumpet judgments
- The prayers of the martyrs in heaven will also be used to release God’s end-time judgments
- Jesus returns in answer to global concerts of prayer offered by the Church with a bridal identity. Every church will have a spirit of prayer in the End Times or they will cease to exist.
- Jesus will not release the seal judgments until the bowls of prayer around the throne are full. In other words, the end-time Church will be mature in prayer BEFORE the final 3½ years.
- Yes, Mike does believe The Church goes through the tribulation but that does not make him a cult.
- Mike believes that the Church will have victory over the Anti-Christ but that does not mean they won't die or will kill the Anti-Christ. Not turning from Christ to follow the Anti-Christ is victory.
- Mike teaches that there will be a great end time revival from Matthew 24 but the author sees no evidence of this in the chapter.
- Since Mike believes that Christians will be in the 7 year tribulation we can find these verses to support that there is a great mentioned in Mathew 24.
- Matthew 24: 14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
- Matthew 24:30-31, “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.“
- Is Mike right about the Church going through the tribulation? I don't know. I don't think so but I know I can be wrong. Either way that does not make him a cultist.
- Mike Bickle allegorizes scripture wrongly. Specifically the 10 virgins is given as an example.
- The author does not agree with Mike Bickle on the meaning of these stories which Jesus tells. They disagree and I disagree with Mike on some of it but either way this is not a cultist issue. It is simply a Christian issue of interpretation.
- In the section Deeper Life Pietism the Author claims that there is not an “elite” christian but Mike Bickle says there is. Such as in the 10 virgins where the wise 5 virgins are Christians who have a close relationship with Jesus and the foolish virgins are Christians who do not have a close relationship. The author says the elite minded leaders of IHOP are imagining “passion for Jesus” along the lines of sensual intimacy that they have ascended into an elite class that will make them like Moses and able to call down plagues on the world.
- Yes, it is true that Mike Bickle wants everyone to have an intimate relationship with Jesus, but it is a spiritual intimacy and not a physical or sensual intimacy. Is there an elite Christian? Is Billy Graham an elite Christian? I would say he is an outstanding Christian because of his relationship with the Lord Jesus. If you agree with the definition of elite being “a select part of a group that is superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities,“ then I would say Billy Graham is elite. I wish we all were elite and if we had an intimate relationship with Christ as we should, we would all be in that same category. Will that make us able to call down plagues? Only if we have a close enough relationship with Christ to hear Him tell us to call it down. Isn't that what intimacy is? Being close enough to someone to hear them and serve them? I never found anywhere where Mike said we would call down the plagues in Revelations but our prayers would move God to send the plagues. Mike Bickle does not say people have to be with IHOP to be intimate with Jesus.
- The Marriage supper of the lamb section the author says Mike Bickle cannot know exactly what the Marriage supper means. He than goes on to tell about what we do know about it in relation to the Last Supper.
- The author did not say what wrong teaching Mike Bickle had but even if Mike Bickle was wrong in his interpretation of the marriage supper, that does not make him a cultist, only a Christian who is wrong on a minor point.
- Author's conclusion is he is right and Mike Bickle is wrong.
- Mike's stand is totally Christian and many people have twisted (accidentally or on purpose I do not know) what he has said. All Christians have disagreements but that does not make them cultist. A cult leader teaches that Jesus was not the only way to salvation. The Bible is not the ultimate and inerrant word of God. They add to the scriptures because they do not see it as the final authority. IHOP does believe Jesus is God, salvation is through him alone and the Bible is inerrant and the final authority. Here are some places to see what Mike Bickle and IHOP does believe. Read for yourself and decide.
Monday, May 26, 2014
- The author says that a IHOP is a cult because it controls its members' behavior. She complains that as an intern she was restricted in where she could go (unless she got verbal permission), the hours required to be at prayer room, classes and attending services at night.
- When signing up for internship, she knew what the requirements were and didn't have to apply for internship. She could have left at any time if she so wanted. Compared to some colleges (such as Bob Jones University which once had two sidewalks with one for boys and one for girls) these restrictions were not that bad. Also it is very wise of IHOP to restrict where people go since it is not in a safe area of town.
- Cults have destructive ethical double standards. The author complains that interns were punished when they broke rules and didn't like being required to participate in sharing personal struggles and questions. They were required to keep a journal and turn it in weekly to a leader.
- IHOP has to have rules and breaking rules will have consequences. The journal keeping is a good practice and letting leaders see what you wrote so they can help you and pray for you should not be a problem. HOWEVER, I do think they were wrong to pray for someone from things in the journal when other are around.
- Destructive Cults have two basic purposes: recruiting and fund-raising The author did not like being pressured to recruit new interns. At conferences internship was promoted. She also did not like having to pay $4500 for 6 month intership.
- As an intern she would be a great person to tells others what it is like so of course they wanted her to tell others about it. That is pretty much normal. The intern shares a fully furnished apartment for 6 months with 5 other girls. The upkeep and utilities come out of that tuition. She attends college level courses and is trained in Bible study, prayer, witnessing, and other Christian activities and gains practical experience in their use. $4500 is not a bad price and I am not sure where you could go to get that kind of training for less..
- Destructive cults appear innovation and exclusive. The leader, Mike Bickle, refered to us and them when talking about the people in IHOP verses people not in IHOP. Those in IHOP were cutting edge and ahead of the church in something new.
- They are cutting edge when it comes to some things. They were one of the first to have 24/7 prayer year around. They make disciples of people and not just bring them to Christ. Compared to almost every church I know, they are ahead of them.
- Destructive cults are authoritarian. Friends of the author were concerned about theology and the model of everything at IHOP. (never says what theology) Mike Bickle says, “This is how we do things here. This is how IHOP is. It's not for everyone.” IHOP has its own culture and you had to assimilate that culture. If you had problems with the culture you were told you just were not a good fit for it.
- The author was definitely not a good fit. We have different cultures everywhere. Each church is a different culture and we all look for a church culture we fit into. The IHOP culture was not a good culture for the author.
- Destructive cults have self appointed messianic persons claming to have a special mission in life. The author was required to listen to a 12 hour history IHOP. Prophetic words were spoken about Mike Bickle leading the next big thing God was doing. Mike was to lead a movement that would change the nature and expression of Christianity on Earth. Mike's mission was to capture the hearts of young people. This teaching put Mike on a pedestal and he has a “Messianic-like” following. If Mike says a book is good, all copies of that book would sell out. Mike is charismatic and people are drawn to him and follow him blindly. IHOP calls on young people, who do not think the church or their parents understand them, to come to IHOP where people are understanding. Some people who go to IHOP never want to leave.
- A pastor of a church is almost always held up on a pedestal. They were called by God to preach and lead that church. Mike Bickle is in the same boat. He is held up on a pedestal because he was called by God to lead IHOP. In both cases we should not hold anyone up as better then us but only with a different calling. However, that is often not how it turns out. God has called Mike to lead IHOP. He is charismatic and he does desire to capture the hearts of young people for Christ. Young people are often troubled and feel like outsiders in their families and churches. So what is wrong with calling on them to come to IHOP and train to serve God. Yes, it is true that some people might go and become afraid of going back to their previous home culture but that can be true of anything such as becoming so attached to your job you could never leave it.
- Cult leader centers veneration upon himself.
- Just because people hold Mike up on a peristalsis does not mean he wants them to. Does a pastor want it? They are there to simply serve God and the Church.
- Cult leaders tend to be determined, domineering and charsimatic.
- Mike Bickle is determined, domineering at times and charismatic. If that makes him a cult leader then we have a few million cults in our land.
Friday, April 4, 2014
I find that I so often put God into a box. I look at that box and I say to myself, “WOW! I really serve a big God.” I look at other people’s God and the box they have Him in is always smaller (yeah I get delusional at times).
Not long ago I was reading about how Jesus has gone away to prepare a place for us in John 14:2 where it says “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” I got to thinking about what does it say in the Greek about my fathers “house” and “mansions”. I got out my Strong’s Concordance and found pretty much what I expected.
“House” is a family dwelling and “mansion” is a residence. So in God’s house we get a room to live in. That really didn’t seem that great. Nothing much to be excited about. If I was a good little Christian boy I might even get a few rooms to live in.
I looked at the verse and asked God about it. I didn’t really see much in this verse that God could tell me about but hey, maybe God was smarter then I was and could shine a small light on something new. This is approximately how my conversation went with that still small voice:
God: Where is my house?
Me: In Heaven. Its beautiful there with a huge throne room, lightning and thunder, angels everywhere and people worshipping you.
God: Where is my house?
Me: Oh! You mean inside me?
God: Where is my house?
A confused me: Um….what do you mean?
God: Where do I live?
Me: Well, you’re in my heart. (quiet) You’re in Heaven. (quiet) You’re um….everywhere.
God: Where is everywhere?
Me being dumb: Well, its everywhere. (quiet) You live here and in Heaven. I guess you fill the whole Universe and every other dimension there is.
God: I live in all of existence and in all of time. My house is far more then a simple building of wood or stone. The place that is being prepared for you is far greater then a room or mansion.
Me in wonder: The universe is your home and you have a place for each Christian someplace in your universe. Wow! You mean like I will get a world or maybe even a solar system in the Milky way as my own place to live in? That is so cool Lord.
God: You think small, child.
Me stunned: But… Lord that’s huge. How could you…?
Then it hit me. God reminded me of a You Tube video I once saw (video here) which showed two pictures that the Hubble telescope had taken. The pictures took 10 and 11 days each with the telescope pointing into a dark patch of space. What they found were thousands of galaxies with millions of stars in each one. There must be billions of galaxies out there. Could each one of them be a residence that Jesus is preparing for us?
I don’t know for sure that this is what God has prepared for us. I do know that we think to small when it comes to God. I would not put it past him to have a galaxy for each of us, but with a God as big and as great as ours, He could prepare a whole universe for us if He wanted. I did learn one thing for sure. Don’t limit what God can do for you.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
If baptism is not needed for salvation then why does the Bible command us to be baptized? It’s a good question, so lets take a look at some scriptures concerning baptism and salvation.
Acts 22:16 is the account of where Ananias tells Saul (later to be called Paul), “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
Notice how there is an “and” between “baptized” and “wash away thy sins”, but there is no “and” found between “wash away thy sins” and “Calling on the name of the lord? The “and” separates “baptized” from the “washed away thy sins,” but does not separate “washed away thy sins” from “calling on the name of the Lord.” To have your sins washed away you need to call upon the name of the lord.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
Paul retells the gospel which he had preached to the Corinthian Church by which they were saved, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” That is the gospel. That is the key to how the Christians in Corinth were saved. Paul did not preach the need for baptism to be saved but only that they receive what Jesus had done for them.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:17a “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:…” Baptism is not part of the gospel. It is separate and does not save. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Jesus’ death and resurrection for the sins of the world.
Acts 2:38 says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This is probably one of the best verses to support baptism for salvation. Before we go into this verse, lets see what Peter said before this in Acts 2:21 “and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Also in Acts 3:19a, when preaching his sermon from Solomon's portico in the Temple, he says “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…” Again no mention of needing to be baptized.
If Peter believes you need to be baptized to be saved why doesn’t he always say so? Why would he say you need to be baptized in one verse but not say it in the others? To answer that we need to go to the Greek.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” We are going to look at that little word “for” which in the Greek is “gar”. Gar has many translations. It is used for assigning a reason (used in arguments, explanations and intensification). Another word that gar can be translated as is “because” That little word changes everything. Repent and be baptized because your sins are gone.
Peter in Acts 10 went to see Cornelius in Cæsarea. Verses 44 to 48 reads, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”
Order of actions is: 1. Peter spoke. 2. The Holy Spirit came to those who heard Peter’s words. 3. They were baptized. The baptism was the result of God’s work within them. They were Christian believes who the Holy Spirit had come and dwelt within them and then they were baptized. We are all to be baptized (outward expression) because our sins are forgiven, (an inward work) It was true then and it is true today.
In the previous post “History of Baptism” I told how Baptism was done in the times of Jesus. If baptism was required for salvation then we would have to do it right and that is how Jesus was baptized. Where you baptized in living water (stream, river or ocean) or in a mikvah (large container of water which came from a natural source such as rain)? Where you touched when baptized (which can prevent water from reaching all your skin)? In fact in those times anyone who was baptized was naked. Were you wearing anything at the time of your baptism? If you don’t meet these requirements then you were not truly baptized properly. Does that mean your not saved?
Going under the waters are figurative for dying, just as Jesus died. Coming out of the water is figurative to rebirth and resurrection just as Jesus was raised from the dead. To say that a person must reenact the death and resurrection of Jesus for salvation is to add something we must do to be saved. It is no longer a gift but something we must earn by being baptized. Just before Jesus died he said “It is finished” It was the exact words used by merchants when a debt was paid. It meant “Paid in full”
To say baptism is needed to be saved, is to say his death on the cross was not sufficient. You still have to do something else to add to the work of God.
I will say no more but I pray that you will read this and pray about it. I can not change your mind even if I should write a thousand pages. The only one who can show you what is true is the Holy Spirit. Pray and ask Him to show you what is true. I have searched this subject thoroughly for hours, not just to win some foolish argument but) to find out what the truth is. If I was wrong I would have been praising God to have found out something new about Him and His word. The truth that I found is this: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
In order to fully understand what baptism is to Peter we need to go back to what Baptism meant to the Jews of his time. The Jewish term for baptism is “Tevilah”. Tivilah is a ritual bathing (totally immersion) within living water such as a stream or using a mikvah (a specially constructed ritual bath which required to hold at least 120 gallons of water and came from a natural source such as rain. The water for a mikvah could not come from a well or cistern.
Tevilah is required when someone converts to Judaism. When the person was baptized he would walk down into the water and crouch down under it so that he was totally covered. That way no contact with the person overseeing the baptism prevented the water from reaching their whole body.
John the Baptist (Yochanan ha Matbil) would preach to the crowds for repentance of their sins. People were convicted and came down to express their change of heart by baptism. To show that they were converted to a new way of life they would immerse themselves under the water. John would not do the actual immersion himself, but oversaw their Baptism. John would make sure that the ritual was done properly and that the person completely immersed himself under the water.
Baptism was the outward action of the person to show, in a spiritual ritual, what had occurred within their heart. A person who converted to Judaism believed that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the one true God and the old testament was God’s word. They gave themselves to God so that they might worship, serve and know Him. The Tevilah was simply the ritual to show that he was now dead to serving his previous gods and was now alive to serve the one true God.
The word we translate as Baptism literally means “ total immersion”. It refers to something being immersed into another substance so that it might take on the attributes of that substance. It is like immersing a cloth into a dye so that the cloth can take up the color of the dye.
When Tevilah takes place it is done in living water (moving water). Jesus uses the term living water when he speaks in John 7: 37-38 “On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)”
When we are baptized we are performing a ritual to express what has happened with us in the spiritual realm. We are buried in Christ. We are no longer living as our old sinful self but our sins are removed from us by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are immersed in living water (the Holy Spirit) who permeates our being and now lives within us. We are raised alive in a new birth with God indwelling inside us.
Now that I have spoken on what Baptism is I will say more on its relation to Salvation in my next post.
Photo Credit: River baptism in New Bern by Jaaziel