Why is it so difficult to break free from something like the IHOP (International House of Prayer) organization?
There are many reasons. Indoctrination, manipulation, and isolation to name a few; not to mention they target the youth who are less experienced in discernment, lack the wisdom that comes with age and the Biblical fortitude of years of study. Like any “cult-type” structure they use tactics that promote a dangerously deep emotional, psychological and spiritual dependency among members. Some people call IHOP a “cult” and others do not. Regardless of what term is used, the fact remains that it promotes both anti-Biblical activity and bases those activities on a foundation of twisted Scripture.
Over the next several weeks I will break this down into three parts: Isolation, Indoctrination and Manipulation. I will give examples of each and factual evidence of these tactics being used today at IHOP in Kansas City.
Isolationism is the number one mind-controlling, awareness-altering tactic used in cult-like organizations. When dealing with an evangelical Christian organization, isolationism becomes an even greater tool because it is used to solidify trust in the leadership. IHOP leaders teach attendees that they will be persecuted for their beliefs and commitment to God. The Bible clearly states that Christians should expect to endure persecution from the world, just as Jesus himself did. However, IHOP doesn’t place the emphasis for persecution on the world, but rather on fellow believers in Christ; and they don’t emphasize that the persecution will be against the movement, but rather against their walk with God. This emphasis is to such a degree that there are numerous documented cases of leaders advising members to stay away from their families, have no contact with friends outside of IHOP and cut off all communication with their parents. In some of the younger students attending summer camps, the leadership has gone as far as to deny the child the right to telephone their parents, despite the fact that they requested to leave numerous times. There are also a number of documented cases of children stating that they were told “not to tell your parents what goes on here” and that “they (their parents) wouldn’t understand.”
There are several isolation techniques happening here. First, to emphasize that members will be attacked by other Christians causes a mindset that they are different than other believers; when Christ clearly states that all believers are one body in Him. Overall, this causes division in the church or body of Christ as a whole. Second, to emphasize that the persecution will be against their walk with God lends itself to a defensive mindset. This is intentional. They want members to build a wall around their minds and hearts and view any question as an attack on their commitment to Christ instead of as a questioning of the movement’s fundamental beliefs. This personalization technique takes the heat off of the movement by making the member feel personally persecuted. It is a mental and spiritual manipulation of the mind.
Why is this tactic so powerful?
When a young person is told that their parents will question them and even become angry at them for their service to the Lord, it builds a sub-conscious barrier. Then, when their parents actually do question because they see changes in behavior or red flags, their outreach of love is viewed as an attack, which thereby becomes a confirmation to them that they must be on the right path… because their IHOP leader said it would happen and it did. Thus, a false trust has been established.
IHOP promotes an internal language unique only to their members, which is an isolation tactic making it more difficult over time for them to relationally adapt to the outside world. It also makes it challenging for their friends and family on the outside to understand what they are saying much of the time. It’s called relational division and it’s a very powerful psychological tool.
These are just a couple intentional tactics to promote isolation and division being used in IHOP today. There are many others and I will continue to post them as time allows.
Let me leave you with this thought: Satan knows a house divided will crumble, thus he divides in subtle ways. If he can weaken the Body of Christ by tearing apart churchs, breaking up marriages, destroying relationships, shredding families and annihilating friendships, all supposedly in the name of God; look at the power he has gained. To be successful in his destruction, Satan doesn’t need a person to be looking at him, he only needs to distract the person so they cannot see the truth.
If you are involved in IHOP or know people who are…. please pray for those demonic strongholds to be broken and for their eyes to be opened. If you have never studied this organization, please do so before blindly stepping into what looks like a beautiful pond but is a demonic cess pool beneath. ~