The above video is available on Youtube. For a good introduction to Mike Bickle, founder of IHOPKC, you can go to bickle.prayerproject.us. Below is my response this video. You may want to watch the video and read this along with it…
IHOPKC frequently teaches that prophets are not perfect and that everyone has sin before they go to be with the Lord. The Lord can speak through a person who can then go sin. That is not the Lord endorsing the sin nor is it the sin removing God’s permission to speak through sinful people or even donkeys. Trust God, not the prophet. This is said regularly and is evident in their culture.
Bob Jones was removed from IHOPKC shortly after this incident. In the early days of Jone’s relationship with Bickle, Jones said that he was “injured” and would not remain with Bickle’s ministry forever.
Paul Cain was removed from their fellowship swiftly after the homosexual situation had been discovered. Leaders at IHOPKC went to Cain privately, in accordance with Matthew 18:15ff and, at the end of that processess quickly informed the public, reminding the public of that God can speak through donkeys… it doesn’t mean that donkeys are perfect nor does a donkey speaking mean that it can’t be a message from the Lord.
Many of the visions and images of Heaven are like dreams. They are not theological and are often interpreted figuratively. Being “in” Christ fits with this picture. IHOPKC has not teaching of Heaven as some form of “loss of identity”.
Many times, IHOPKC will talk about “prophets” and they are speaking of Christian leaders in a generation that is either very young or hasn’t been born yet. IHOPKC terminology rarely defines “prophets” as Cain, Jones, and a handful of others, specifically. Their emphasis was always on the generations yet to come in the future. These men were merely informing Christians that revival is coming.
The prophets “inspecting” other leaders in the Body of Christ is not defined in this statement. The man making this video seems to be assuming that some system of authority will be inspecting those leaders. Actually, this is a way of saying, within IHOPKC culture, that there is much hidden corruption among leaders in the Body of Christ the Lord will raise up Christians who not be easily fooled. The purpose of God doing this is to bring the Church into better obedience to God’s commands. This also fits with IHOPKC’s teaching that we can’t be Christian, but then live in blatant sin, and expect the Lord not to take action similar to a loving parent who punishes disobedient children because of the father’s love for the child. That is more of the emphasis of this message bout the prophet’s “inspecting” Christian leaders. The purpose of this message is not to create some new layer of bureaucracy in the Church with a subjective authority of mere man. When men who made this video says, “So, you’ve got men who are observing to see if men are in sin or not, instead of God,” he is giving his interpretation, not “just the facts” as he claims. It is clear that this is this man’s opinion, which helps the viewer understand why other information, such as in my response, here, is not mentioned in this video. I believe this man is making an honest mistake, but he is making this mistake because he is approaching the topic without disposing of his bias first. That’s why his bias surfaces, though he claims not to have a bias.
10% accuracy for knowing what God is telling the Christian is higher than the Church averages today. Jack Deer explains in his book, “Understanding the Gift of Prophecy” that few prophets in the Old Testament ever were expected to hear the Lord perfectly. Samuel was special because he didn’t make mistakes. The prophet Nathan spoke presumptuously and the Lord told him to correct it. Deuteronomy says not to fear a prophet who predicts something, but is wrong, explaining that the prophet merely spoke presumptuously. The prophet to fear, according to Deuteronomy, are those who perform signs and wonders successfully, yet lead people to disobey God and to worship false Gods. I’ll not do your homework for you. If you are researching this matter, you should know Deuteronomy well enough on your own. But, to point you in the right direction, the numeric reference to that passage in Deuteronomy does contain the digit “3” in the chapter-verse reference number.
As for the claim that IHOPKC’s message was for the entire Church, and that if the Church doesn’t heed their message then the Church will suffer loss… This is somewhat accurate. However, IHOPKC did not establish any form of empire or “accountability” or “membership” or “denomination” or “association” over any other ministries in the Body of Christ. They ordered no one to give them money, though many other Christians in the Body of Christ, who do not claim prophecy, do teach, in summary, “Give me money or else you are disobeying God.” The few times when IHOPKC speaks this way, it was to emphasize that they believed God was, in fact, making some major changes to the way Christians come together… just as God does make such changes in every generation. But, in this generation and in the next couple of generations, God will make somewhat bigger changes. It is very important that other Christians take heed and listen. The changes will be bigger and so will the dangers of not changing, also be bigger. The Lord will lead Christians to understand this. IHOPKC is not the only place to understand the Lord’s voice. But, the Church should seek the Lord to understand what is coming soon. I happen to agree with IHOPKC about this and I think, if one believes that such change is, in fact, coming, IHOPKC would only be honest if they tried to emphasize the situation to the Body of Christ. Even if the change does not happen, there are many in Generations X and Y who agree that a more significant change is certainly needed in the Church. IHOPKC is merely saying that they believe it actually will happen.
IHOPKC actually does believe in a millennial reign of Christ. They believe in a literal second coming, which is premillennialism, and not amillennialism in the least. As for the timing of the rapture, they don’t have a clearly defined “pre-trib” or “post-trib” view since those views assume that Christians will either “suffer” in the end times tribulation or will “escape” or “not suffer” in the end times tribulation. IHOPKC teaches that Christians will always be both persecuted and victorious throughout Church history, up to the end and that God’s punishment against the Beast and his kingdom will not be a punishment against the Church just as how the 10 plagues of Egypt were not against Israel, though they were in Egypt. IHOPKC teaches that the end bowls and trumpets will be similar to Israel and Egypt during the Exodus, in this manner. This view is not common the the Body of Christ today, though it fits closer to “pre-wrath” and is certainly premillennialist, being orthodox. But, because it has “victory through the trials” as an overtone, many Christians fail to understand IHOPKC’s position accurately and often rush to put IHOPKC in the wrong category… a category which isn’t correct, but one that the critic is familiar with himself.
Being leaders in an End Times “army” does not mean that these people are controllers or mediators. They are more or less “encouragers” and “mentors” to help. Many denominations and clergy are much more heavy handed, mediator-oriented, and controlling than IHOPKC.
The stories of bad things happening, including the opinions that “this is not of the Lord”, and controlling views of IHOPKC are from people who have a history of problems with many Christians, many broken relationships, and have multiple indications of seeing life through rose colored glasses. Their view of “prophetic hierarchies” and that you have to “act crazy in order to get into the inner circles” are simply false and likely seen through blurred vision. Nearly every Christian has been described by some other Christian as doing something that is “not of the Lord”.
The statement that Chrsitians who struggle with homosexual feelings will stand with the Lord is not a contradiction to the statement that “homosexual Christian” is not a Biblical idea. The first statement is about temptation, even Jesus was tempted, this does not maker Him a sinner. Likewise, many Christians struggle with homosexual temptation, but do not act on it, or, if they do, they quickly repent and refuse to make it part of their lifestyle and flee from sin with as much energy as the Lord may give them. But Christians who openly and willfully pursue and celebrate the homosexual lifestyle are different from those who struggle and eventually have victory at the end of their lives. The person was speaking about two different categories and they do not conflict.
“Once saved always saved” is not a real theological teaching. It’s what some Christians say about other Christians to misrepresent that belief. Kansas City has beliefs that are very far from “lawlessness” or “fire insurance” Christianity. “Once saved always saved” wouldn’t be used to describe Kansas City by anyone who is truly familiary with both the Calvinism “eternal security” idea and Kansas City.
Actually, IHOPKC has addressed this issue, often likened to “Arminianism v Calvinism”, by talking about the steadfast love that the Lord has for Christians. As Bickle often teaches, when we stray from the Lord in sin, His love for us continues, so he may give us difficulty to draw us back to him, much like the Lord did with Israel to show his chastening love. Revelation 3:19 says that the Lord disciplines those whom He loves. This is a New Testament/New Covenant view, which has not changed from the Old Testament when the Lord chastened Israel like Hosea’s wife, the harlot, when He took her into the desert and put a hedge around her… she would chase after her lovers and they would flee from her (Hos 2). This emphasis on the continued perseverance of the Lord to draw us into the benefit of obeying Him, rather than the emphasizing the ability to sin and still keep his forgiveness, is a long-standing theme of IHOPKC and has been emphasized in their teaching much more than they have emphasized prophecy or healing miracles. It is interesting, however, that with debates such as “Lordship v Grace”, as IHOPKC has provided this type of explanation that should seem palatable to both camps of that debate, both Lordship and Grace camps rarely mention this contribution from IHOPKC. They seem to prefer to contend with the less frequent teachings from IHOPKC, concerning prophecy and miracles… again, gravitating to the subjects with which they disagree, rather than emphasizing Christian unity. This is typical of the spirit in which many Christina critiques are made of each other.
IHOPKC’s view of prophecy is somewhat unique in the Body of Christ because of its emphasis on a “love the Lord with all your heart” emphasis. “Prophecy” is more about having and developing a relationship with the Lord. It does not carry the autocratic overtone and clout that the term “prophecy” carries in Baptist circles. When IHOPKC says “prophecy” they mean the same thing as a Baptist who says, “the still small voice told me… and I love Jesus a lot more now”. Anyone familiar with both Baptists and IHOPKC should decifer this easily and quickly. Someone with only a surface level of familiarity would easily view it as this man describes it, thinking of it as “just the facts” yet still not knowing and understanding the “rest” of the facts.
This man does not seem malicious at all, merely needing more time. It is likely that, if he had significant time with IHOPKC, he would reach the same conclusion that I have:
IHOPKC does, in fact, have many problems. However, the critiques coming from the non-Pentecostal and non-Charismatic Christian circles, which are very well summarized by this man, here, do not describe more real problems happening in IHOPKC. Instead, they describe things more akin to “honestly misunderstood straw men”.
I shall keep the real problems at IHOPKC to myself. I shall keep my peace concerning them, as long as those at IHOPKC (they know who they are and they are few) keep their peace and do not stir trouble. However, the real problems at IHOPKC might be understood from a generic and respectful view by another man with baggage in his life (every Christian has baggage or he wouldn’t need the Lord’s forgiveness). Although he has baggage, he understands IHOPKC’s problem well and has a more or less good response, which is loving and includes reaching out to them. Doug Perry, who founded Fellowship of the Martyrs, has some good critiques. He does have problems, but he is familiar with IHOPKC enough that his criticism is not only accurate, but it is also useful.
In any critique of other Christians, never accept an accusation that is not primarily redemptive and useful. A good critique between Christians will be very much like the type of correction a grandparent gives anyone in the family. They are bold, curt, yet done with thorough knowledge and love for everyone in the family and very easily attempt to bring people back onto the right path.
Remember, always, people from different cultures easily misunderstand each other. This applies to Easterners and Westerners. It also applies to Baptists and Pentecostals. Many Christians from different denominations and fellowships use the same words, but have entirely different meanings. This causes much confusion. The non-Pentecostal and non-Charismatic circles’ misunderstanding of IHOPKC is no exception. It’s the same old misunderstanding, in a new box, with a new label.
Calling these men “false prophets” is not “just the facts”, it is a subjective opinion. I think the man who made this video has good intentions, but he could sort-out his ideas better and should do some more personal encounter with communities, such as IHOPKC, before publishing a critique about them. The biggest problems in among Christians, leading to division, is that Christians believe they can understand each other through published literature and observing through mass media. Actually, the only way for Christians to understand each other is to sit down and talk for long periods of time, frequently, for spans anywhere from an afternoon to years. Only with such in-person fellowship can our descriptions of each other reach a level of accuracy worth publishing and reviewing.