There are various types of Pietism but, like the Latter Rain, Mike Bickle’s IHOP movement takes pietism to a whole new level. One example of this is shown in his message on the parable of the virgins, wherein Bickle claims that the wise virgins are Christians who have a secret, elite connection to God and the foolish virgins are Christians with a lessor connection to God. Pietism is NOT Biblical and Bickle twists scripture in the parable of the virgins in order to find it there.
First, to fully understand the parable of the virgins you need to read the parable before it (the one about the master and servant) and the parable after it (the one about the talents). These parables are located in Matthew 24 and 25.
Mike Bickle teaches that the foolish virgins are Christians with a lessor connection to God, but this is not the case. The foolish virgins represent those who are not Christians, because Jesus says to them, “I do not know you.” Salvation through Christ is received by faith and through grace. That salvation is not removed so for Jesus to say “I do not know you” signifies that they are not believers. In the parable about the master and servant, as well as the parable about the talents, the worthless slaves depict those unfaithful to Jesus because they are not believers.
If you take the time to study these parables you will see that Bickle’s two-tiered scheme of Christianity isn’t Biblical, despite how he twists the meaning to try and make it so.
Mike Bickle attempts to cause division in the body of Christ in many ways, one of which is by teaching that there are good Christians who are “connected” and lessor Christians who are “disconnected.” Don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at his words:
Bickle states: “God wants us connected to his heart, not that you feel God all day every day, but I tell you when I press into the Lord with a bridal paradigm and I stay connected to him, my heart gets tenderized.”
Typical of most of what comes out of Bickle’s mouth, this doesn’t sound bad; but look deeper. If I come to God, believing that Jesus’s blood washed away my sins and I draw near to Him by faith, accepting His salvation through grace… am I to believe that I am still missing a connection that only elite Christians like Bickle have gained through some sort of bridal paradigm revelation? This is NOT Biblical! Pietism sounds spiritual at first, but it is really an attack on the finished work Christ did at the Cross. When Jesus died to forgive our sins, he brought us near to Him and that statement is true for ALL believers.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).
Mike Bickle teaches that by imagining a passion for Jesus in terms of a sensual intimacy, that he has ascended into an elite class of Christians, when this is simply not the case and could not be further from what the Bible tells us. Keep in mind, God is always truth. Truth and a lie cannot exist together. How many falsehoods have been proven at IHOP? How then can you still believe anything that comes from Bickle’s mouth?
Mike Bickle has been a player in every radical charismatic movement over the past twenty years. He is quick to jump into the next best thing and declare it as a new revelation from God. To name a few, he was a part of the Toronto Blessing, which was proclaimed false. He brought in Jill Austin (renowned for her false teachings of angel experiences, second heaven visitations, etc.) to teach at IHOP and she was later declared a fraud. He backed Todd Bentley and Patricia King, both declared as false teachers. He backed Lakeland until it too was declared fake. He built the foundation of IHOP on the false prophesies of Bob Jones, Paul Cain and John Paul Jackson, all declared false prophets. His band of Kansas City Prophets were declared not only as false prophets but false teachers pushing a demonic agenda. IHOP has been labeled a “dangerous cult of epic proportion.”
Lie after lie after lie and yet Mike Bickle continues to pump himself up into imagining that he and his elite group of Christians will usher in the Tribulation, which will become the stage for them to show off their spiritual talents. He renounces using the term Joel’s Army, but the concept is the same. This is truly scary stuff.
Like every cult leader before him, Bickle preys on the youth because they are naïve and less likely to see through his hypnotic tactics. He teaches them a reworked version of the elitist Latter Rain heresy, convincing them that normal faith is inadequate. They don’t realize that Bickle’s doctrine is an attack on grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, and Scripture. They are taught to “add the revelation of the bridgegroom God” which interprets to thinking of Jesus as a sensual lover, so to avoid becoming one of the “foolish virgins.” Because, you see, the “foolish virgins” are anyone who doesn’t believe Mike Bickle’s false teaching.
Bickle creates an “us versus them” mentality; a “those who have and those who have not” division within the body of Christ. This is not Biblical as Jesus was clear that there is only one Body of Christ. Again, let’s look at Mike Bickle’s words:
“Being the bride of Christ is a position of privilege near to experience the heart of God.”
Thus, the privileged ones possessing this Bickle made-up revelation are supposedly closer to the heart of God than ordinary Christians are. I could literally go on and on, and Lord knows Bickle drones on for hours with this crap. Once again, nice try, Mike, but it’s not Biblical.
The book of Hebrews speaks of drawing near to God in several passages, and none apply to an elite group with a special revelation. Neither do any speak of a “bridegroom God.” Here are a few:
Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. . . . Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. . . . Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 4:16; 7:25; 10:22)
Drawing near to God is not based on being part of an elite Christian class who have achieved a better piety. Scripture teaches it is solely based on what God has done for us in Christ. The Bible offers us assurance because we know we are sinners and that God is holy. Our comfort is that Jesus intercedes for us and has made a way that our sins are forgiven and we have access to the throne of grace. We draw near because of what Christ has done, not because we know some secret to intimacy with God that has NOT been taught in Scripture.
Open your eyes and pray to see the truth. Mike Bickle is a deceiver and a manipulator of the Word. Don’t believe something because it seems okay or sounds good…. Dig deeper…find it in the Word and pray for understanding. God is always truth and truth will never beget a lie. Mike Bickle has a history filled with nothing but lies. Look at the evidence.