I am still trying to get through all of the letters I have received on the topic of IHOP, but I wanted to share an excerpt from one. It is from an ex-intern at IHOP in Kansas City. In the letter she described her reasons for leaving, many of which were the same as what everyone else has said. What struck me was that most of her letter spoke about the way she has been treated since she left IHOP.
She wrote: “From the moment I began having doubts about some of the things occurring at IHOP, I began to be treated differently, like an outcast. I was basically punished, though they didn’t call it ‘punishment.’ I was told that I couldn’t receive prophetic visions and words because of my doubting and the fact that I was not committed to prayer to rid the world of homosexuals. I was given extra journaling assignments, specifically on the topic of getting rid of homosexuality and had to spend extra time in the prayer room. I had to participate in a mandatory fast, even though I believe fasting is something that God puts on people’s hearts individually and shouldn’t be forced on anyone. I was constantly monitored and my friends and roommates were talked to and told not to listen to anything I said. They were told my doubts were from the devil. After I left, none of my IHOP friends would talk to me. They didn’t answer my calls, emails or respond to my text. One day I ran into a friend, while she was off campus, and I confronted her about not talking to me. She said she was told that I was not serving the Holy Spirit, but entertaining demons who were making attempts to distract God’s people from their commitment. She said she was sorry but she wasn’t allowed to be my friend.”
The letter was lengthy and went into specifics that I feel are not appropriate to share at this time. What I want to talk about is the fact that anyone who has doubts or a difference of opinion is “outcast.” Of the hundreds of letters I’ve received, this has been a common thread. Everyone who has left has stated the same treatment, using these words to describe their experience: outcast, ostracized, condemned, punished, ignored, judged and belittled.
Now, I ask you… did Jesus ever treat anyone like this? Would anyone who encountered Jesus during His time on earth describe their interaction with Him using any of the words above? I highly doubt it. As a Christ-based ministry, aren’t Christian values supposed to be upheld? Values of acceptance and love, faith and hope. Didn’t Jesus Himself say, “Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is love.” Is the definition of love building walls and casting people away? Is the definition of love mistreating others? Is the definition of love forcing people to fast?
This young woman stated above, “She said she was told I was not serving the Holy Spirit…” This statement alone throws up red flags about what is being taught at IHOP. As Christians, we are not to serve the Holy Spirit. We are to serve God, Jesus and each other through love. The Holy Spirit was given to us as a helper, not as someone to be worshipped, praised or served. This is not Biblical. The theology being taught by Mike Bickle and other IHOP leaders is inaccurate, but purposeful. The intent is to get people to go inward, invoke the Holy Spirit and seek out prophecy. The problem is, when a person purposefully invokes the spiritual realm, they are no longer dealing with God’s Holy Spirit. Why? Because we are not supposed to pray TO the Holy Spirit. The Bible is clear that we are to pray to the Father. Invoking a spirit and asking for a prophetic word is taking a dangerous step into the demonic realm.
If you are involved in any group that condemns you for asking questions, that is a big red flag. If you are involved with a group of people who ostracize you for leaving, this is big red flag. If you are involved in a group that teaches their members to outcast anyone who has doubts, that is a huge red flag. Please, seek answers in God’s word. Don’t be spoon fed or force fed information from any leader or any group. Seek out the answers for yourself.
IHOP has a “feel-good” feature, but that doesn’t mean it IS good. Drugs feel good too, but they destroy your body and your mind. IHOP is addictive and spiritually destructive….period. It uses a combination of meditative mantra and music to create a hypnotic “feel-good” sensation that lures people back for more. Just like heroin. Let me pose this: God is God, unchanging, and everlasting. He can touch your life and speak to your heart no matter where you are. If you HAVE to be in a prayer room with a certain type of music and chanting in order to “feel” the presence of God… this is a sign that something is terribly wrong. If you cannot talk to God without begging for prophetic revelation and you cannot feel fulfilled unless you receive some type of prophetic word…something is terribly wrong. When seeking prophecy becomes an obsession, your spirituality is out of whack. If you need to shoot up on the IHOP heroin in order to feel as though you are closer to God… something is terribly wrong.
Prophecy is a gift given by God to a very, very few. Prophecy from God will always be one hundred percent accurate and true. It will never be partially true, because God speaks only in all truths. IHOP has a very non-Biblical approach to prophesy. It’s man-made, Bickle-ego-influenced and completely false. Study it for yourself and you will see the truth. ~