Not sure if I’m actually going to add anything new in this thread but thought I would give it a shot.
We live in the K.C. area and some family and I actually went to the IHOP headquarters here in K.C. for about 2-1/2 years. It’s always interesting to me when spiritual concerns are asked in this area because it usually has to do with one of three groups; the RLDS institution, Unity Village, or IHOP.
I would start by saying I actually like IHOP even though we don’t go there anymore for various reasons. I think they are doing a lot of good things. They have great music (we listen to Misty Edwards too), they encourage a strong and genuine love for Jesus, and there are a lot of younger people involved. However I think some of those good and positive things are mixed up with some questionable actions and teachings…at times (not all the time), some of which have already been mentioned by others in this thread.
The thing that made me start raising an eyebrow was that for a long time (over a year) I could not understand the messages that Mike Bickle preached, and I consider myself fairly acquainted with Scripture. I later learned that this was because there is a lot of language that is used that has a particular meaning for them (e.g. apostolic intercession, Spirit of the Tabernacle of David, Daniel anointing, forerunner ministry, etc…). There is so much of their own particular way of using biblical words and phrases that their web site has a whole “Glossary” and “Acronym” page to help people like me ‘get it’. That’s cool and all but I would rather Scripture give its own meaning to words and phrases with out us adding anything to it. So that started making me wonder what they meant by all those words and phrases which pushed me to research IHOP’s whole background and where they were coming from.
I came across their checkered past which you can find easily on the web. Most of us have a checkered past so that in itself wasn’t real surprising. However one particular story bothered me and it had to do with Bob Jones, one of their more prominent leaders, who apparently used to tell women they needed to be naked to get a ‘word of the Lord’ from him. Of course that is disturbing. Apparently he ended up confessing and repenting of those sins and was asked to step down from his prominent position, which he did. Something that disturbed me just as equally though was that he was allowed to be reestablished into his previous position. That bothers me a lot. I can understand forgiving someone who genuinely wants to be restored in fellowship but allowing a person who abused their leadership role as badly as he did back into that same previous leadership position shows a serious lack of discernment. Needless to say you won’t see my wife or 3 year old daughter in a ‘private conversation’ with him…ever.
Another reason we left was how flippant the use of the gifts of the Spirit were used. By the way I do believe that the gifts of the Spirit are operational today and needed. Quick example – you can sign up for a specific time slot (usually 2-4pm) on particular days (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays) and go into a room with 3-4 people who will prophecy to you. It makes you wonder ‘What if God doesn’t have anything to say until 7:30? Does that mean I just miss what God has to say to me?’
One other big reason we stopped going was because there is such a strong emphasis on a particular end time view and the nation of Israel that if you don’t hold those same views your kinda ‘left behind’. What I mean is almost everything is centered around Jesus returning in this generation which of course means there is a lot of talk about the ‘biggest move of the Holy Spirit in all of history’ and the like. This kind of talk is exciting to young people (by the way, I was 28ish when I went to IHOP) because it’s sounds ‘revolutionary’ and ‘cutting edge’ and ‘new’ and ‘unprecedented’ (they say the word ‘unprecedented’ a lot too), which may be why there are a lot of younger people involved at IHOP. It’s just kind of hard to fellowship sometimes with people who only want to talk about a view that you disagree with. For IHOP, I wish there was more focus on simple discipleship or humbleness or meekness or walking by faith instead of so much unprecedented new movements of God that never seem to land and grow.
They also seem to have had some very similar theology as that of previous movements like the Latter Rain Movement, the Shepherding Movement, and Dominion Theology, however they address this on their website as having nothing to do with those movements. I haven’t been there in a while so I’m not sure if they have washed themselves of those labels or not, but when I was going they certainly seemed to have elements of those movements.
I am hopeful for IHOP. They bring some good things to the table and I hope that the truth and love God would abound in their ministries more that anything.
As far as research goes you can pretty much find everything on the web.
Also the ‘CRI Journal’ had a recent article specifically about Mike Bickle and his ‘end times’ view which was pretty descriptive. I’m sure you could find it on the CRI site.
Last edited by johnb
on Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
“The Underground Church is a poor and suffering church, but it has few lukewarm members.” - Richard Wurmbrand