Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Emergent Monday: IHOP - Feeding the Undiscerning

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in  sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
(Matthew 7:15)
Once upon a time, Joseph Smith said that God sent him a message, so he started the Mormon Church. Ellen G. White also claimed a message from God and she started the Seventh Day Adventists. Mary Eddy Baker believes she got a message from God and she started the Christian Scientist church. Sun Myung Moon said he got a message from God and he started the Unification church. Muhammed claims to have received a message from God and started Islam.

Then there's Mike Bickle. In the 1980's Mike was a preacher in a small church St. Louis when a man named "Augustine told him that he had heard an audible voice that told him to prophesy "by the spirit of truth" to Bickle's congregation. Bickle allowed him to do this and was impressed by the seeming accuracy with which he described the condition of his church. In September of that same year Mike claims that while visiting Cairo, Egypt a mysterious, audible voice told him:
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. (Source, page 60)
In 1999 Mike Bickle started the International House Of Prayer known for it's 24/7 prayer ministry. It has since grown to establish international ties, its own seminary, and an undergraduate program along with tying itself to the New Apostolic Reformation. And when I say it's a 24/7 prayer ministry, I mean it's really, really, Really 24/7. Nonstop praying 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is true that there's no such thing as praying too much, so the idea of a ministry dedicated to non-stop prayer is a good one. But what worries Christians is the type of prayer they use. IHOP is dedicated to contemplative prayer. Here are a few quotes on contemplative prayer by Mike Bickle. 

“Every one in the Body Of Christ is called to live lives of contemplative prayer…”
“Everybody is called to live in the contemplative lifestyle. Everyone! Everyone! Everyone! That’s one of the great strongholds we have to overcome (resistance to contemplative prayer).
“…contemplative prayer, you gotta get over that hurdle! Barnes & Noble is prophesying it! Hurtle one we gotta understand it’s for everybody! Everybody is called to the fullness (contemplative prayer). We’re all going to go into this thing!”
What's so wrong about contemplative prayer? First and foremost, consider the origin:
Centering Prayer is drawn from ancient prayer practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, Lectio Divina, (praying the scriptures), The Cloud of Unknowing, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. It was distilled into a simple method of prayer in the 1970's by three Trappist monks, Fr. William Meninger, Fr. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating at the Trappist Abbey, St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts... During the twenty years (1961-1981) when Keating was abbot, St. Joseph's held dialogues with Buddhist and Hindu representatives, and a Zen master gave a week-long retreat to the monks. A former Trappist monk who had become a Transcendental Meditation teacher also gave a session to the monks. (Source)
Ok, so you have a style of prayer designed by Roman Catholic extremists and tweaked by pagans. Not a good start. Now consider the prayer itself.  Contemplative prayer starts with "centering prayer" a form of meditation where the pray-er focuses on a word and repeats that word over and over for the duration of the exercise. This is supposed to "clear one's mind" is it biblical? You tell me:
And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. (Matthew 6:7)
This has no scriptural support at all. In fact it's the opposite of what the Bible defines as prayer
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
Prayer is meant to be communication with God. Contemplative prayer uses God as an excuse and an exercise to clear your mind leaving you open to  occultic incursion.
Contemplative prayer is no different than the meditative exercises used in Eastern religions and New Age cults. Its most vocal supporters embrace an open spirituality among adherents from all religions, promoting the idea that salvation is gained by many paths, even though Christ Himself stated that salvation comes only through Him (John 14:6). Contemplative prayer, as practiced in the modern prayer movement, is in opposition to biblical Christianity and should definitely be avoided. (Source)
Contemplative prayer is the exact opposite of what it sounds like. Using the word "contemplative"  makes it sound like you're thinking about what you're praying about, but the opposite is true, you're emptying your mind, leaving it wide open to anything that may want to wander in. According to Pastor Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel, contemplative prayer has two overlapping goals. The first goal is to encounter (or experience) God in an inexplicable way. 
There are many terms that seek to capture this dynamic – silent prayer, centering prayer, contemplative prayer, interior prayer, prayer of the heart. Each carries a slightly different nuance, but they all are attempts to capture the same thing: the movement beyond words to an intimacy that requires no words. This intimacy is the kind that lovers know when they give themselves over to the act of lovemaking (Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythm, (Dowers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006), p. 68.)
It should be noted that this type of erotic/romantic expression of the believer’s relationship with God is historically common among the mystics. Barton describes contemplative prayer as a “deeper level of intimacy that will move us beyond communication, which primarily involves words and concepts, into communion, which is primarily beyond words. If there are any words at all, they are reduced to the simplest and most visceral expressions.”

The second goal of contemplative prayer is to actually hear from God.
I certainly have no way to prove it was God speaking to me. A few friends have told me that early in life they were given a clear sense of what God was speaking to them. They learned to recognize certain movements of heart and mind as being the voice of God the way children learn to recognize the voice of their mother…I must be open to the possibility that sometimes God does speak directly to me…We must learn to listen for the still, small voice…In fact, being open and receptive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit is a nonoptional part of transformation. (John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), p. 143).
This emptying of the mind is a dangerous occult practice that leaves you open to occult intrusion. It can put a person in an altered state of consciousness and open him up to a spiritual connection that is not in harmony with scripture. Many adherents of contemplative prayer claim they hear from God, but how can they be sure it's God? 
No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Former satanist Max Debono-De-Laurentis relates: 
When I was heavily involved in the occult/new age, one of the most important forms of developing your communion with the spirits was through mantra chanting and emptying the mind to hear what the spirit has to say to you. I understood that I was to hear my spirit tell me what to do. It worked, and I have the emotional scars to prove it.
When I got saved and set free through the shed Blood of Jesus and His resurrection, I believed this stuff was all behind me. I had repented of the occult practices I was involved in, from Martial Arts to Satan worship. 
In the last 20 years as a believer I have seen more and more practices I thought I had left behind coming into the church and believers calling it Christian and Biblical. These practices have been around for three thousand years or so, and never until recently have they been called Biblical... In this day of so called ‘spiritual enlightenment’ we need to be extremely careful as believers as to what we are taught and choose to believe... Satan is the father of lies and he desires to confuse and destroy the saints, by not being as the Bereans, Christians are letting him. That frightens me. What about you?
So the International House of Prayer is praying 24/7 in an unscriptural manner based on mysticism and pagan ritual, and their leader hears from "God". For me that's enough to stay away from the big cooler marked Kool-Aide, but there's much more to IHOP.


  1. Great history of Bickle; I hadn't seen some of those claims to hearing from God. As you note, IHOP has the same start as all the other cults.

  2. Another chapter in an excellent series. Thank you!

  3. A much needed report. Thank you. I am not sure about contemplative having gone from Catholics to pagans (if I understood correctly what you are saying)--Catholic monks back in the early centuries near Egypt may have taken a pagan practice and adapted it to their religion. Or, perhaps these came about independently. Whatever its origin, it is infecting the visible church, and IHOP has been a leader in this.

    1. When I said it was tweaked by pagan religions I made a mistake by using jargon. "Tweak" means to fine tune. I was pointing out that Thomas Keating met with Buddhist and Hindu representatives and went to a week long retreat with a Zen master. He more than likely took away new skills to fine tune contemplative/centering prayer.

      Meditation is an ancient Hindu practice dating to 1500 BC, but our spiritual roots are not Hindu, they're Jewish. We are the shoot grafted onto the vine. I'm not a Hebrew Roots type, but I did study Genesis under a Rabbi, and I highly encourage every Christian to do the same. He taught us about how a Jew goes about prayer - it's a conversation, it's an argument, there's pleading and bargaining and joyful chatter. It's like having a chat with your dad. This is the thing we should be bringing into our prayers, not pagan rituals that leave us open to demonic influence.

  4. There is more to the history than what you stated here. Bickle highly esteems Count Zinzendorf who was a closet Kabbalist. Zinzendorf had 24 hour prayer in his cult. Bickle adopted that 24 hour prayer model. In the prayer room at Ihop there is even a quote written on the wall by Zinzendorf.

    1. Thank you for that tidbit, Sarah. A quick search for Zinzendorf Bickle reveals that I've got a LOT of writing to do.

    2. There are several exposes' about the Zinzendorf/Bickle connection already. Parables blog (although they seem possibly Hebrew Roots-ish) have a very thorough expose on Zinzendorf/Bickle. There is a couple video exposes' too.