IHOP: International House of Political Action
IHOP Enters Dominion/Christian Right Politics, Part 2
"If Governor Rick Perry (R) of Texas runs for president of the United States, he will have one of the most unusual and specific bases for his platform of any candidate in many decades—the spiritual visions of the ancient Hebrew prophet Joel.
"Perry has jumped on the 'Joel's Army' bandwagon, claiming in his promotional message for his The Response prayer and fasting event in Houston in August....
"The 'response' Perry is talking about is the one Joel 2 calls for when God's people are confronted by an Apocalyptic crisis. In part a call for fasting and prayer, it is also a description of a powerful army of God.
"One group which has for many years taught a theology based on Joel 2's crisis or 'shock doctrine', is the Kansas City prayer organization IHOP (International House of Prayer), headed by Mike Bickle, part of what was known in the 1990s as the Kansas City Prophets, a neo-charismatic movement of Christian 'dominionists', who seek to transform the USA into a Christian theocracy.
"Perry lists several figures associated with IHOP and with TheCall movement, started by IHOP associate Lou Engle, as part of the leadership team for the governor's August 6....
"These self-proclaimed prophets often employ the militaristic rhetoric of Joel 2, which describes a great and destructive Army of God, thus Joel's Army. To fill the ranks of this army, the leaders of the movement target young people and children, and shape their message with raucous (often violent) themes and music, intended to appeal to young people's raw emotions."
READ Part 1: IHOP is starting to feel its Dominion oats
The Rapid Expansion and Franchising and Global IHOP Branding
IHOP began in 2000 in a renovated strip mall on Red Bridge Rd. in Grandville, Kansas City. In the past decade and especially in recent years IHOP ballooned into a major presence in Kansas City. There are roughly 500 people on staff. In 2009 they commenced a world headquarters including a 5000 seat conference center.
In 2009 The Kansas City Star reported that at least 80 homes had been purchased and converted to intern dormitories. The Star also reported that 150 IHOP related families were residing near Grandview. An observer saw a large trailer roaring up the street. It was a family from Minnesota, a husband, wife and two boys. There are numerous programs, conferences, and training tracks located at IHOP. I will refer only to a small number of these: There are four levels of 6-month internship programs. There is IHOPU, which is roughly a 4-year training program which includes a music academy and Lou Engle's TheCall Institute. The Simeon Company is for those 50 and older and the Joseph Company are people in the business world who provide finance, and there is a Children's Ministry Center designed to teach and prepare a second generation of IHOPers. The Star article reported:
IHOP has a "Children's Equipping Center," which, according to the Web site, seeks to mold a million children to lead the next generation, by empowering them "with DNA components that produce in them a holy passion."
Throw in the proportionally heavy infusion of young believers, things such as the "Fire in the Night" internship that meets from midnight to 6 a.m. and a "prenatal soaking room" for expectant mothers and the word "cult" occasionally can be heard in the neighborhood.
There are the core teachings of the 24/7 prayer and worship ministry based on the Tabernacle of David (TOD, discussed in Part 1). Another featured teaching is the Bridal Paradigm. There are a number of anointings taught, and among them are the Shulamite anointing, a reference to the woman lover in Song of Solomon. There is the Hannah anointing, referring to Hannah who spent her time in the temple (1 Samuel chapters 1 and 2). The whole Contemplative Prayer Ministry is also taught. Special weekend conferences for people across the nation and the world are organized and they include "One Thing" conferences, and "Fire in the Night" conferences. And last but not least there are prenatal soaking ministries for pregnant mothers in which they purport to impart new spiritual DNA to their children in the womb preparing a second generation of spiritual warriors (the "elect seed"/"New Breed" teaching).
Charisma magazine reported, in a 11/16/10 article, "We Won't Stop Praying," that the "ministry includes 1,000 full-time staff and 1,000 full-time students at the university, IHOPU, yet each person’s role, function and purpose at IHOP begins entirely in the prayer room," which is heavy on experiential mysticism through music and altered states of consciousness. The article also details how the ministry is "Going Global" with a partnership with heavy-dominionist "mission" group YWAM (Youth With A Mission).
The IHOP goal is to establish IHOP 24/7 prayer rooms and ministries in every major American city and most campuses. At the University of Minnesota (in my own state) there is an UMHOP as an example. They boast at least 200 of these both in the USA and around the world. A continuous flow of free live web streaming flows daily from the KC prayer room and made available around the world to their satellite prayer rooms. Internees are encouraged to become part of establishing these prayer rooms and their 24/7 scheduling. Those trained at IHOPU are slated to give over-all leadership to this expansion. The free web streaming of the IHOP prayer room is sent abroad and is translated into at least 6 major language groups. Young people in many places become designated "apostles" and "prophets," and they are told they are an elite group with special "deep truth" and "special anointings" or spiritual gifts that elevate them above those who aren't as "spiritually mature." This is often how they recruit new members, by promising them heightened spiritual power, not unlike the occult. One former IHOP member gives the following account:
This is a very close paraphrase of what I’ve heard many, many times at One Thing, IHOP conferences and in teachings by leaders:
“YOU are called to be on the cutting edge. Come here and join a community of other people who are like you, called to what you’re called to. We understand you. You’ve been mis-understood in the church. You’ve had your wings clipped, your gifts misunderstood. Here you can fulfill your forerunner calling that your family just hasn’t understood about you. You might feel like you don’t fit back home, you’re on the outside, no one understands the fire in you. Well we get it. You are the leaders that G-d is raising up in these end times and you will be kings and queens on the earth—reigning with Him. You were made for this place. IHOP is an incubator for people like you.”
Narcissistic speeches like this instill a sense of pride, arrogance and elitism in the hearts of youth who hear it and it feeds their need for validation and identity. They run to IHOP, leave their families, join internships…hoping that what they’ve heard is true. They go to IHOP looking for identity…instead of finding it in Jesus.[emphasis in original]
This is not all about "prayer." The Charisma article explains how prayer is being turned into activism, and this is the activism that is now becoming overly political:
That long-term generational target is also one of the driving forces behind IHOP’s recently expanded vision to combine 24/7 prayers for justice with 24/7 works of justice until Christ’s return. Of the 75 departments that make up IHOP, more than three-fourths are dedicated to action outside the prayer room—everything from orphan care to crisis response to inner-city ministry to training marketplace leaders. This is in addition to a thriving worship label, music school, conference ministry, media institute, Israel initiative, children’s and high school ministries, and an ever-increasing list of other ministries making their mark.
The leaders have equipped their rapidly growing "Joel's Army" of grassroots activists with a passion for Dominionism:
“If your idea is that people are just sitting there in the prayer room, you’re missing the point. You have to have a revelation of what’s happening in that room or it’s just sitting there,” Bickle tells me before we enter the prayer room for an intercessory set he’s leading with Edwards. As if following a script, we walk in right as she sings what’s become the cry of an entire army of worshippers: How far will you let me go? / How abandoned will you let me be? 
Red Flags Over IHOP
But the Internet will reveal that not all IHOP interns have prospered spiritually at IHOP. Most appear to be totally immersed in the life and teachings of their leaders. There are continuous reports, however, of over-zealous monitoring of interns. It is reported that they are regimented quite strictly. Among those parents are wary of the IHOP experience of their children, are reports of being rebuffed and interns who have been counseled to declare up to year of separation from their families. Other internees tell of being refused permission to leave the scheduled prayer room duty, even when feeling tired or sick. Finally some internees seem to suffer from sleep deprivation. These testimonies of from IHOP internees and parents can be readily be found on the Internet. I have no idea how much justification should be given to these reports, but many of us have heard reports just like these.
Bickle's "Forerunner Eschatology":
Just a Slightly Different Route to the Dominion Mandate
Mike Bickle presents a variant of Dominion end-times teaching that crossbreeds elements of Dispensational eschatology with Dominion Post-Millennial views. This at first glance seems similar to Dispensational teaching which has occupied for decades the most popular view of the end times. But Dispensational Pre-Millennial eschatology in its pure form is directly in opposition to the Dominion teaching.
Most Dominionists portray Dispensationalists as passive in a derogatory way, depicting them as believers who simply wait for the day and hour for the Rapture which snatches them away before the Great Tribulation can begin. But in Mike Bickle's treatment of the Bible's book of Revelation there is no passive waiting for the Rapture. Rather the church has the mandate to bring forward the return of the Lord, even as it must fight against the Antichrist, and go through the horrors of the Tribulation period. Bickle, who espouses "restored" Dominion Apostles and Prophets of the Latter Rain restoration scheme, nevertheless promotes a view he calls Pre-Millennial Dominionism. Previously, most Dominionists rejected the Dispensational teachings of the church going through the Tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist.
C. Peter Wagner, head of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), promotes a Charismatic version of Post-Millennialism they call "Victorious Eschatology," which is the eschatology promoted on the Reclaiming 7 Mountains website associated with Dominionist leaders Lance Wallnau and Os Hillman. This eschatology sees the church in Post-Millennial fashion as defeating the forces of evil , making the Tribulation and the Antichrist a mute point.
And now, thanks to Mike Bickle, many Dispensational end-time teachers have very quietly made the transition to the elements of the Dominionist view which Mike Bickle calls Pre-Millennial (or Forerunner) Dominionism. Now people with a Dispensational view can advance the Dominionist prophetic clock:
Although Bickle admits that Christians can’t predict the exact “day or hour” of Jesus’ second coming, he firmly claims that we can know the specific “season” of His return and boldly tells his followers that he believes the end of the world will unfold in this generation.
In light of Bickle’s conviction that we are living in the generation of Jesus’ second coming, he preaches that, as God raised up John the Baptist to be a forerunner preparing his generation for Jesus’ first coming, God is now raising up an elite end-time forerunner movement within the church. This movement will prepare this generation for the soon-coming Great Tribulation and Jesus’ return.
Bickle believes God has anointed him to call forth and train these end-time Christian forerunners. He is praying for thousands of last-days “forerunner Christians” to be raised up within this generation as special prophetic voices that will emerge in the spirit and power of Elijah and defeat the Antichrist’s soon-coming one-world government and religion by praying the “battle plan” of the Book of Revelation.
The End-Time Forerunner Church
Bickle teaches that Jesus’ second coming can be delayed or sped up according to the degree of the church’s spiritual maturity and readiness. He declares that most Christians are waiting passively for Jesus to return, when in actuality, Jesus is waiting for the church to prepare itself as the pure Bride of Christ and to ready itself to launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory.
In Bickle's morphing of elements of Dispensational and Dominion views, believers must fight the Antichrist and the evil forces during the Tribulation instead of watching from the grandstands of heaven. In fact, we may be in the great Tribulation even now -- according to Bickle the endtime church is far from passive but victorious in the Tribulation against the Antichrist. Furthermore, the overcoming church can speed up the return of Christ and actually defeat the Antichrist and execute judgment on the Antichrist and the ungodly.
Bickle does not simply preach that the church will go through the Great Tribulation sealed by God’s sovereign power, but that the end-time church will actually cause God’s judgments to be released on the earth through prophetic prayer. In other words, the end-time praying church will not simply be helpless martyrs during the Great Tribulation; it will victoriously establish justice on the earth by releasing the devastating Great Tribulation judgments on the Antichrist’s global evil empire. [emphasis added]
In fact, even now Lou Engle is setting up JHOPs, justice centers, one of which is "strategically located only a couple blocks away from the Supreme Court and the Capitol Building" in Washington, D.C. The theology of these centers is based on Bickle's eschatology:
Luke 18 gives us a mandate to never give up in night and day prayer for justice. This draws us near the heart of God in His great desire to release justice in the earth and ultimately the return of Jesus–the Just One.
Many Charismatics who were raised on Dispensational views are now being told to forget the Rapture and prepare to fight. This cross breeding of eschatological views permits those previously trained in, and committed to, the Tribulation view of the endtimes to now embrace the essentials of the Dominionist Mandate. Joel's Army, a booklet published by Discernment Ministries online, which discusses the eschatology of the "Kansas City Prophets" in detail, explains that "The 'Day of the Lord' is re-interpreted by [these] false prophets to mean that Christ will come to His Church and incarnate (become God in flesh) an army of believers – thus giving them supernatural qualities to execute judgment on the Church."
Bickle teaches that Jesus' second coming can be delayed or sped up according to the degree of the church's maturity and readiness. He declares that most Christians are waiting passively for Jesus to return but asserts that in actuality Jesus is waiting for the church to prepare itself as the pure Bride of Christ. The church, he says, should ready itself to launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth, and cleanse it of impurities, so that it can be filled with God's love and glory. It starts with the church, then spreads. Again, the Joel's Army booklet explains:
The “Day of the Lord” as seen through the eyes of the New Wave “prophets” will be a time when Joel’s Army, led by these “prophets,” will pour out God's wrath on the church! Then, they claim, for the first time in two thousand years the “pure church” will come forth. In other words, the blood of Christ did not avail, nor will it, in the last days because this Joel’s Army and the “prophets” will do what Jesus Christ’s blood could not; i.e., “cleanse” the Church....
Those... attending the Docklands conference in England were promised by John Wimber, “There is something higher than being Baptist and that is to be in this Endtime Army and involved in this greater prize of bringing everything on the Earth and above the Earth and below the Earth to the feet of Jesus.” Clifford Hill in his publication Prophecy Today summed it up:
The opportunity of joining the “new breed,” an elite group of
believers endowed with supernatural power that would enable
them to be part of the army of “dread warriors” that God was
said to be raising up in our generation. According to John
Wimber this is a type of “Joel's Army” who will overcome all
opposition to the gospel and eventually subdue the nations.
This teaching is part of what is known as “dominion theology”
which teaches that an elite army of “overcomers” will either
destroy or subdue all the enemies of Christ until they
eventually gain power and authority throughout the world. The
government of the nations will be upon their shoulders and
when all the secular authorities, governments, princes and
kings have finally submitted to them, Christ will return and
they will present the kingdom to him. (Prophecy Today, Vol. 7,
No. 1, England)
Bickle does not simply preach that the church will go through the Great Tribulation sealed by God's sovereign power, but he also teaches that the end-time church will actually bring God's judgments to be released on the earth through prophetic prayer. The end-time praying church will not simply be helpless martyrs during the Great Tribulation: it will victoriously establish justice on the earth by releasing the devastating Great Tribulation judgments on the Antichrists global evil empire, he believes.
Bickle declared in 2008 that
it was time for the prayer movement to realize that it will be the primary agent to transition human history to the age to come through "prayers of faithful not only to heal, but also kill," releasing the heavenly arsenals through intercession that will strike the Antichrist's political, military, and economic power bases across the earth.
This sounds like preparing for literal warfare!
Furthermore, the end-times church will bring back a killing and blood-spilling " Jesus," whom Bickle sees covered in real blood as he does physical combat against the Antichrist's army. From Bickle's tape, "Armageddon and the Second Coming," this returning Jesus will go on a 30-day violent campaign from Egypt to Jerusalem with his resurrected saints, a Jesus killing spree with his own sword and splashing blood on his robe in fashion as David in the OT. [But note the biblical facts: David was kept from building the temple because he "shed much blood" (1 Chron. 22:7,8). Furthermore, 2Thess. 2:8 pictures the Lord destroying with the breath of his mouth, and destroying the Anti-Christ with the brightness of His coming. I think I will go with Paul on this one.]
Bickle envisions that the end-time forerunner church will be an advanced 'apostolic' movement. They will experience 'greater things' than the original [New Testament biblical] Apostles themselves. They will function as the last day Moses (more allegorizing) who through prayer releases God's plagues, etc. on the Antichrist, the end-time Pharaoh.
According to Bickle, since the specific sequential events of the future have been prophetically predicted in the Book of Revelation, the end-time church will be able to loose or bind God’s judgments exactly as they unfold in history.
Bickle envisions prayer rooms around the world in full agreement as they pray the events of the end-time battle plan into existence. It is because of this belief that Bickle is now attempting to get the global prayer movement to embrace his exclusive interpretation of the Book of Revelation. By praying Revelation’s Great Tribulation events into existence, this will result in billions of men, women and children being killed.
The IHOP prayer and intercessory army of young people apparently now sees itself involved not only in prayer and intercession, but preparing to recall a "killing Jesus" back to the earth. The end time new Moses Prayer and Dominion movement supposedly must prepare for battle to drive the Antichrist (the new Pharaoh) from the land. The church must begin to execute the very judgments of God upon the earth.
IHOP's only difference from current Apostolic Dominionism (NAR) is that it points more directly to an actual war. The NAR Apostles and Prophets have always been happy to present a political/spiritual combo warfare effort. But with extremist IHOP staffers now leading the organizational effort for Rick Perry's "The Response" conference in Houston, the escalation of spiritual warfare into potential literal physical warfare (revolution) will surely increase.
24/7 worship and intercession prayer rooms should now be seen as places where youth are being marshaled into Dominion forces for actual spiritual warfare, in actual SWAT team versions of spiritual/physical warfare to cleanse the land. In this scenario the already militant rhetoric of IHOP's Lou Engle will surely become an even more actual declaration of some kind of physical warfare in the land. Sounds dramatic, especially to young adults, and many are lured in by the promises of power and elitism. This is seen as a superior kind of spiritual activism. But all this has no basis in Scripture, the actual Apostles of the Lord, as spelled out in the New Testament. The only authority for this new eschatology comes from pretenders and false prophets like Bob Jones and his Latter Rain cohorts.
All this amounts to a false gospel. As the Joel's Army booklet explains:
If indeed it takes this Joel’s Army to purify the Church, then all the preaching of the Cross from the early Church to the present was in vain. And rather than the Cross of Christ being God's final answer to “walking in newness of life,” we should look for another.
This Joel’s Army heresy, as it is applied to the Church and the world, is not only in total conflict with the true Gospel of Christ, but represents a radical new rendition of the doctrines of redemption and purification. By all analyses it is “another gospel.” It poses a real threat to unstable churches because it is yet another great deception beguiling the Church.
1. The Kansas City Star article from which these facts and figures in this paragraph are drawn is no longer posted online. However, major excerpts from the original article now appear on this webpage: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/ihop-call-247
3. See "The Bridal Paradigm: Let the King Bring Me Into His Chamber ," by Dr. Orrel Steinkamp, The Plumbline, Volume 14, No.2, March/April 2009, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel34.pdf
4. Note that these examples use allegorizing, which is one of the problems inherent in the Latter Rain cult hermeneutics. This type of mis-use (abuse) of Scripture is explained very clearly in the Joel's Army booklet, published online at Discernment Ministries website at http://www.discernment-ministries.org/JoelsArmy.pdf A key section of the book tells us:" The proponents of the 'Joel's Army' heresy are notorious for reading between the lines and spiritualizing Scripture. They are even spiritualizing global events to parallel their outlandish prophetic views. It seems to give them a deep feeling of being spiritually perceptive. In researching their materials, we see this time and again. By all accounts this belief system is 'Gnosticism' to the core.
In the New Wave (New Apostolic Reformation) theology, we find that whatever God says or promises Israel is dogmatically applied to the Church; and in some cases this done to such extremes that the Church is deified. The danger is that spiritualizing God's Word in this way can result in idolatry and fanaticism. Because they rely upon the old Gnostic 2nd-century allegorical method of interpreting the Scriptures, the modern 'prophets' have come to believe that the Church is the exclusive beneficiary of all God has promised to Israel." See also the online book STRANGE FIRE: The Rise of Gnosticism in the Church by Travers and Jewel van der Merwe, posted here: http://www.discernment-ministries.org/StrangeFire.pdf
5. Marcus Yoars, "We Won't Stop Praying," 11/16/10, Charisma magazine,
6. "Why I Believe IHOP is a Cult," Ariel, 2/18/09, http://gospelmasquerade.blogspot.com/2009/02/why-i-believe-ihop-is-cult.html
7. Charisma article, Ibid.
9. Abuse accounts are widespread, and many of us in discernment circles are personally acquainted with stories. Youth are being captivated and put through what amounts to rigorous brainwashing, including sleep and food deprivation, heightened sensory stimulation, altered states of consciousness-inducing activities, rigid and totally controlled schedules, loss of personal privacy, training in marketing tactics, idolizing leadership, and terrible pressure to conform. All of this amounts to cultic abuse. As any survivor knows, it takes incredible courage to go public with stories like these. These accounts can be found at the following Internet locations.
- "Some of my IHOP 'Red Flags'" Posted: January 1, 2010 by Ariel, http://gospelmasquerade.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/some-of-my-ihop-red-flags/
- "Julie's story," 1/14/10, http://thegreycoats.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/julies-story/
- "Testimony of a Former IHOP-KN Attendee: Stephanie," 3/5/11, http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/testimony-of-a-former-ihop-kc-attendee-stephanie/
- "Former IHOP Interns Testify that IHOP is a cult," 4/11/11, http://truthspeaker.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/former-ihop-interns-testify/
- "Why I Believe IHOP is a Cult," 2/18/09, http://gospelmasquerade.blogspot.com/2009/02/why-i-believe-ihop-is-cult.html
- "Mike Bickle & IHOP Cultlike Tendencies," http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/mike-bickle-ihop-cult-like-tendancies/
- "Former IHOP KC Leader’s Testimony 'Ihop is a cult,'" 3/10/11, http://truthspeaker.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/former-ihop-kc-leaders-testimony-ihop-is-a-cult/
- "WARNING MIKE BICKLE AT HOUSE OF PRAYER IS A HUGE CULT LEADER," http://www.factnet.org/vbforum/archive/index.php/t-5847.html
11. Yet another hybrid, see: http://www.reclaim7mountains.com/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=62371&columnid=4347
12. Andrew Jackson, "Forerunner Eschatology," Christian Research Journal, Issue 32-04, http://journal.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology
13. Ibid. Also see Bob DeWaay's analysis: "Mike Bickle and International House of Prayer: The Latter Rain Redivivus," at http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue107.htm
14. http://jhopdc.com/about Also written about here, with an accompanying video: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/groups/justice-house-prayer
15. Ibid. Emphasis in original.
16. "Forerunner Eschatology" article, Ibid.