The River

In some ways  Bethel is just a shopfront…  a collection of all sorts of differing spiritual ideas coming together but really because of the relationships between all the leaders of these various streams or movements it all really is the same
Indeed there  was also a prophetic word about 3 Rivers coming together, Redding, Kansas & Toronto  given by I think, Carol Arnott.  Even without this word, I think they would have melded anyhow as they each feel they are about Kingdom Business  & will relate to each other on that basis..    We saw a gathering of a collection of these individuals on 23rd June 2008,  in Lakeland at Todd Bentley’s Commisioning..
Well, this means that for any tributary flowing in & from this one great river is going to have the same water & by default the same pollution coursing through..  It is inevitable then, that if a church or ministry aligns with any of these others that are also in this river,  they will be totally open to receive the same blessing, the same spirit & the same deception.
In overview it could all be called as being as part of the  NAR  New Apostolic Reformation  — bit of a mouthful  isnt it   goes by  other terminology  too…  but it amounts to the same thing.  out of the same cauldron cooks the  same  brew….    these are they
  •  The new Breed
  • 3rd wave
  • The RIVER  (common in the UK)
  • Manifest sons of God
  • Latter rain
  • neo charismatic  or post charismatic
  • Joels Army
  • Word Of faith
  • Elijah Generation

Some of the major ministries & people involved:

  • IHOP- Mike Bickle
  • Morningstar  -Rick Joyner
  • Catch The Fire – (formerly TACF) Toronto
  • The Call – lou Engle
  • Generals International – Cindy Jacobs
  • XP   Extreme Prophetic   – Patricia King
  • The New Mystics – John Crowder
  • Bethel Redding- Bill Johnson & Kris Vallotton
  • Bob Jones
  • Todd Bentley
  • IRIS   Ministries –  Heidi & Rolland Baker
  • Global Celebration  – Georgian & Winnie Banov
  • Church For the Nations   (Phoenix AZ)  Michael Maiden
  • Global Spheres   ( formerly  Global harvest Ministries)  –   Peter C Wagner
  • The Glory Zone/David Herzog   Ministries  –   David & Stephanie Herzog
-If we could say it has an overall leader it would be Peter C Wagner… as he has served as president of ICA   International Coalition of Apostles   but all of them are linked in & pull  towards one terminology or another…  This is all  Word OF Faith  Prosperity  teaching too  Health & Wealth… create by the power of your words – worldview
In the UK, many of the ministries  & churches & leaders are a part of or actively partnering with:  Revival Alliance...  & Global Legacy  (which is a Bethel initiative)
At the top of all of these, is the same group of interconnected leaders.  Together  we can  term this whole ethos of  supernatural spirituality   the River
in the UK  some of the major churches/networks involved:
  • LSSM   london school of supernatural ministry
  • Supranatural  Life –  Christen Forster
  • Revival Fires:  Dudley/Birmingham – Equipped for supernatural living  apostolic school :  Trevor & Sharon Baker
  • River church –  Maidenhead
  • Harrogate New Life
  • Kingdom Faith Yorkshire
  • Bath City Church
  • Vine life Church – Manchester….  Phil & Sarah Smith //  United school of Ministry Manchester // Jesus Culture UK
& any church  that calls itself “river church” or has any tag line about “rivers”  is likely in the UK  to be plugging into Bethel/latter rain teaching…

12 thoughts on “The River

  1. thanks to LJ Steward for this article

    The following is an excerpt from the article entitled the NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION IS DECEPTIVE: The International Coalition of Apostles headed by C. Peter Wagner is the most influential purveyor of the New Apostolic Reformation, a term coined by Wagner. This organization is really an extension of the New Order of the Latter Rain whose influences and mentors include William Branham, Franklin Hall, the Hawtin brothers, and more recently Bill Hamon, Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets.

    The doctrines of the Latter Rain have influenced most of the televangelists on TV today, and so have crept deceptively into many denominations.

    The main heretical teachings of the New Order Of The Latter Rain, as ruled in 1949 at the General Council of the Assemblies of God held in Seattle, were as follows:

    (1) The restoration of foundational apostles and prophets in the churches.

    (2) The teaching and promotion of a transferable impartation or anointing that are passed on “by” the laying on of hands “by” the will of man.

    (3) Confession and deliverance from sin to men.

    (4) The impartation of spiritual gifts by the laying on of hands such as the gift of languages for missionary service and other “ministry skills”.

    (5) The extreme and unscriptural practice of imparting or imposing personal leadings by the means of the gifts of utterance, “word of knowledge” or prophecy.

    (6) Distortions of scripture interpretations, which are in opposition to teachings and practices generally accepted among the Church.

    These doctrines deemed heretical by the Assemblies Of God in 1949, which are now common fare because of the Brownsville ‘Revival” and the Third Wave movement, are all being promoted today in the New Apostolic Reformation…

    ..Mike Bickle & IHOP Cult-like Tendencies Comment by Richard | July 18, 2009
    Whether we name this ungodly operation a sect or cult is somewhat irrelevant. It‟s like arguing over cyanide and arsenic. Both KILL you so why would you expose yourself to them. IHOP is the bastard child of he now debunked and evil Kansas City Prophets alliance which spawned the twisted and deviant line of sexual predator Bob Jones, homosexual alcoholic Paul Cain, convicted child abuser, serial adulterer Todd Bentley. Mike Bickle led a team of false prophets as KCP prophesying in 1990 that the UK would experience great revival. Not only does history show this to be false, but affirms the very opposite to be true. The UK has slid further into moral and spiritual decline ever since… [NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION IS DECEPTIVE is available at Apologetics Coordination Team (ACT)‎

    “After the Assemblies of God denounced this movement and excommunicated some ministers it died down as a movement per se. Yet its heretical teachings were never abandoned and they took root in the Charismatic Renewal Movement of 1967, the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement, and all of the other alleged moves of the Holy Spirit, up to and including the Holy Laughter Movement in Toronto which has some of the original N. Battleford people involved in it.” And now, apparently, the A/G is subscribing to these doctrines again through influence of the Toronto “Blessing” through the Pensacola “Outpouring”. Restoration “The Latter Rain Movement” by Rev. Robert S. Liichow, 1997

    In 1980, the General Council of the Assemblies of God criticized the doctrine of positive confession, noting examples of negative confessions in the Bible (where Biblical figures express fears and doubts) that had positive results and contrasting these examples with the focus on positive confessions taught by prosperity theology. The Council argues that the biblical Greek word often translated as “confess” literally translates as “to speak the same thing”, and refers to both positive and negative confessions. The statement also criticizes the doctrine for failing to recognize the will of God: God’s will should have precedence over the will of man, and Christians should “recognize the sovereignty of God”. The statement further criticizes prosperity theology for overlooking the importance of prayer, arguing that prayer should be used for all requests, not simply positive confession. The Council noted that Christians should expect suffering in this life. They urge readers to apply practical tests to positive confession, arguing that the doctrine appeals to those who are already in affluent societies but that many Christians in other societies are impoverished or imprisoned. Finally, the paper criticizes the distinction made by advocates of prosperity theology in the two Greek words that mean “speaking”, arguing that the distinction is false and that they are used interchangeably in the Greek text. The Council accused prosperity theology of taking passages out of context to fulfill its own needs, with the result that doctrine of positive confession is contradictory to the holistic message of the Bible.’‘

  2. Todd Bentley:

    The world has waited over 4 long years to hear from TB & God TV an apology for the Lakeland Outpouring… Finally aired on Jan 21st..2013 is this 1hr 35 mins discussion with TB & Rory & Wendy Alec

    I have a couple of things to say in response to watching this video:

    * Yes Todd – as a man & a brother – of course you are forgiven… we stand together & offer that freedom of forgiveness & reconciliation that you are entitled to (just as any one else is) for messing up.

    * However, biblically we cannot agree that you should be restored to any form of ministry or responsibility of any leadership over the precious body of Christ… personally, I can never again sit under or submit to any teaching or insight you have further to offer.

    * a couple of concerns have presented – from the watching of the video:

    these are:
    1) TB’s comment about the messy ness of the Gospel becoming something “else”.. there is confusion here – there is no “other Gospel” the Gospel that we have – the same one apostle paul preached of (Christ Crucified) & has been held to steadfastly through out the entire Christian church history – has not & cannot MUTATE & “become” anything else… to do so or believe so indicates a transition into the realms of A DIFFERENT GOSPEL...

    2) Wendy Alec – openly states that there was a shift – during the outpouring… & subsequently wrote & sent a (prophetic) warning which was not heeded. I am in agreement – that there was indeed a “shift” I felt in my spirit the exact same thing – shortly after the commissioning of 23rd June 2008 & after a 2 week break (in TB’s appearance at Lakeland…) I discerned that there was something very very amiss In TB’s personal life… according to this interview it transpires that the marriage to Shonnah had already been finished legally- with divorce papers prepared & served from that time onwards… this means that at least TB’s marriage counsellor & possibly others were in the “know” from the day of the commissioning onwards. Although it was not made public knowledge until the end of August… in other words TB & others “allowed” the outpouring to continue under TB… with some knowledge that there was a problem.

    3) By his own admission TB states that he did not have a good doctrine about marriage & reconciliation – his strength, he says – is in the understanding of the doctrine of miracles, signs & wonders. This then is a discipleship issue to do with maturity & accountability….which has produced a completely out of balance (understatement! ) “Move of God” High profile leaders who stand on the stage & represent the things of God & the person hood of Jesus to the whole church across the entire world need to be completely mature & fully trained in the full counsel of the WHOLE word of God. They surely must understand the full weight of that responsibility. Why should it be that the precious people deserve or have any less..? In some senses – the responsibility for this lands squarely in the laps of those who had taken responsibility for Todd – as spiritual fathers in covering him.. before & during. In this case The board of Fresh Fire- Revival Alliance – BJ – the leadership of Ignite Church (initial hosts of the outpouring) & God TV…

    4) TB admits that he got straight on a plane to BJ at Bethel after finishing at the outpouring (late August 2008)… this indicates how close the “spiritual” relationship is with Bethel/BJ & TB- with Rick Joyner of morningstar later picking up the tab in facilitating TB’s restoration. TB also says that BJ knew of prior “marital Issues & difficulties” before Lakeland

    5) There is always a choice – TB has said that he & Shonnah – mutually arrived at the end of the marriage… TB did not have to divorce right away (during the revival) which he must have known – that once that gets out that its all over!.. He did not have to marry Jessa – even if he did feel as though he had “lost everything” – within the year… there could have been different choices here.

    6) Although TB has offered some measure of an explanation for what went on at Lakeland – I couldn’t help but feel that there was still some dishonesty & deception in the mix… some things still don’t quite add up truthfully & I feel there has still been some damage limitation & spin…

    Thank you Todd for sharing – its good to hear you speak directly on these matters… It has further revealed your heart…

    & then there’s this:


    the following demonstrates the essence of what is being taught in the RIVER regarding Dominionism & touches on many things we are discussing around this blog & others

    no context of Christ Crucified here! Im very sad to say

    hear Jerame describing an encounter with a visitation of “Jesus” who anoints him into this ministry in the middle of the night…

    ask the question: if Jesus came to you in physical form, as he did with Paul on the Damascus road — would you be acutely aware of his holiness & your sin- would you worship him reverently in renewed repentance & humility: would you go do what he has instructed through his word to preach the Gospel & make disciples of all nations – because of it- as Paul did- would that be the flavour of your conviction?

    2 Corinthians 11 v12 But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to deny the opportunity of those who want an opportunity to be regarded just as our equals in what they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destiny will be according to their works.

  4. I didnt write this: but its a good article on Neo Charismaticism:

    With discernment urged from Scripture, the startling lack of books written by avowed charismatic leaders on the topic of discernment should trouble us. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a British, Reformed pastor now many years deceased, wrote perhaps the best books on the subject decades ago—a sad statement concerning a topic so essential to keeping the “fire in the fireplace.”

    With this in mind, I offer the authority of Scripture and six others tests charismatics often overlook. Anytime we encounter a teaching, practice, or supposed moved of the Holy Spirit, we should instinctively start counting red flags. Fulfilling any one flag should not immediately disqualify a genuine work of the Spirit (with Flag #1 being a very strong exception), but any two are reason to be cautious and perhaps reject that practice or teaching:

    Flag #1 – Cannot be squared with Scripture or is based on a single verse of Scripture (usually taken out of context).
    Any charismatic teaching or practice that contradicts the Bible provides an immediate grounds for squelching it. God’s revealed word, the Bible, will not contradict Him, nor the other way around. We MUST always test against Scripture, not only in the moment, but later. Truth is truth and time doesn’t diminish it. We must also be wary of theologies built around a lone passage of Scripture. The Bible is a coherent whole and the completeness of it means that doctrines contained in it possess multiple reference points. Attempting to create a theology from a single passage usually leads into error. This is especially true when we exegete passages apart from their context (eisegesis).

    Bible, Bible, Bible—there can be no practice or theology apart from it. It’s by far the foremost flag

    Flag #2 – Is pronounced by direct revelation through a single individual or a small group of people.

    Any of us who have been around the Christian life for any length of time know that truth is not typically spoken by a lone voice. Even when Elijah thought that he was the only prophet of God left alive, God had preserved a remnant. Anyone claiming to have a unique revelation of God should automatically force us to tread lightly. We should always remember how easy it is to follow someone claiming special revelation right into hell—think Jim Jones and David Kouresh. Small groups of people making revelatory claims are also suspect. Again, proceed with caution and consider other flags.

    Flag #3 – Is considered relevant for today, yet has no historic precedent in the Church.

    Too many charismatics disdain historical Christianity, but the Church has existed for a couple millennia and has seen just about everything. Even in Old Testament days, the writer of Ecclesiastes noted that there was nothing new under the sun. If a teaching, practice, or manifestation of the Spirit occurs nowhere in the writings of those Christians who preceded us in the faith, then a very good possibility of aberrance exists in the new “move.”

    To our shame, we in the CM have completely misinterpreted Isaiah 43:19. God Himself is remarkably consistent. The “new thing” isn’t some new teaching, practice, or kind of manifestation. New moves of the Holy Spirit are more geared to individuals or local churches and not to the Church as a whole. For a perfect example we find Acts 13:2, which says, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” This is not a new teaching. In fact there are NO new teachings since the closed canon of Scripture contains all doctrinally-sound teachings. In this case, the Spirit’s call is a new thing in that He is giving a command to move to a particular area. The practice—in this case, preaching the Gospel—has already been previously spoken of by the Lord as biblically sound.

    Flag #4 – Attempts to make a New Testament practice/theology of an Old Testament practice/theology rendered moot by the finished work of Christ.

    All Old Testament practices/theologies were fulfilled in Christ. No longer were God’s people to do blood sacrifices for the perfect sacrifice had come. The rule of the Law had given way to the freedom of the Spirit of Christ. We are no longer under the old, but the new. Christ did it all.

    Flag # 5 – Involves “Restoring” or the “Restoration” of a practice or theology.

    Similar to the preceding flag, but deals more with semantics. Many aberrant charismatic practices seem bent on restoring something. When a charismatic teacher claims that his new teaching concerns “restoring the Melchezidek Priesthood” or “the restoration of New Testament worship styles,” the word restoring or restoration should automatically raise a flag.

    This also pertains to ministry practices, especially healing ministries, yet in a different way. Restoring, restoration, and restore are buzzwords commonly used by those of dubious healing ministries and are quickly swallowed by the undiscerning. If you hear these words spoken by anyone claiming to move in the power of the Spirit, caution should follow.

    Flag #6 – Is a “redeemed” version of a secular/occult concept or practice (usually which has been abandoned or discredited by secular/occult practitioners.)

    Charismatics have been as bad, if not worse, than evangelicals in attempting to Christianize secular practices. But as with all things secular, the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of this world are utterly incompatible.

    Despite this, Francis Schaeffer claimed that whatever you see happening in the world, you will see happening in the Church seven years later. As I’ve watched the Church in the last thirty years, I’ve found those prophetic words eerily true. In most cases, the world discredited or abandoned the defective practice, yet foolish Christians struggle to incorporate it into the Church by wrapping “Jesus talk” around it. This flag is, unfortunately, exceptionally common.

    Still worse, though, is the sickening attempt to modify occult practices to fit Christian usage. The use of spirit guides is an all too common example of this. Most often this takes the form in charismatic circles of supposed angelic communications from angels that, in truth, are not what they appear to be. (We must test all spirits.)


    This is a time in Christian history when God is wooing His church as never before. There are times when the Lord extends His scepter and things that were not possible become possible. When God moves and revival comes, there is a grace there that is not present before or after. During the height of the Latter Rain Revival from roughly 1946-1956, there was an anointing for physical healing available and many pressed in and received that anointing andastounding miracles took place. After 1956, they didn’t forget how to do it. Rather the anointing for it began to lift.

    We are entering a period when the veil between the natural and supernatural realms is becoming very thin. The door is being opened to come up here and pass back and forth between the spiritual and physical planes of existence. Portals are being opened. We are hearing a lot about portals these days. Gary Oates is in the process of writing a book on portals. Portals are open doors to heaven. Portals give us open access to an open heaven. Portals bring heaven to earth and are doors to the spirit realm.

    Some portals will be healing pools and anyone who comes into them will be healed. Other portals will be places of profound revelation. Some will be in churches, some will be in geographical areas, some will be connected with movements and leaders and will move with them and some will be hidden and only known by those who God calls to those places to be commissioned.

    Paul Keith Davis & Dr. Scott Flanagan- Whitedove ministries

    • this practice of opening a door to the spirit realm through portals: Occult to the core…! it has more to do with mysticism & the Da Vinci code than it does with the precious Word of God

      • John Paul Jackson, an esteemed false teacher and prophet, has a lot to say on portals – upwards, sideways, down – .snakeholes. An ex friend and follower of his seriously believed rays of the sun coming thru the clouds are portals. Nutty, but this is how deceived people can become, even the obvious and ability to reason is taken from them. Before I left the Vineyard church, they claimed there was a healing pool just at the front of the church, the alter area, if you will. Many people could see it, feel it. As nutty as this stuff may sound, there is truth behind it. Not biblical truth of course, but supernatural, satanically inspired LIES and the power behind it is quite real.

  6. Another great testimony:

    Why I Believe IHOP is a Cult
    Posted: February 18, 2009 in Cult, IHOP, Leaving a cult, Uncategorized

    A cult? Strong word you might say…and you are correct. It is not a word I use lightly or carelessly to label anything. But much prayer, time and years of research and personal experience have brought me to the conclusion that I can say confidently that the root system–or foundation–that IHOP is built on follows the basic premises and signs of a cult religious group. When I first left IHOP, I went through a severe culture shock that is hard to put into words. When I began studying the signs of cult fallout and the things that cult members go through after leaving a cult, my eyes began to open to what I had been a part of and recently come out of.

    Below I have listed some common signs of cult operation. Below them I cit in RED text short examples of my personal experiences as IHOP which illustrates these particular signs in IHOP’s day to day practice. After 6 years of being out of IHOP I still hold to my position that it is a dangerous place for people’s hearts and I have seen much destruction of families, relationships and marriages of those who have been involved with this movement.

    I appreciate your taking the time to read and prayerfully consider the research and personal testimony I have included below.

    1. A destructive cult tends to be totalitarian in its control of its members’ behavior. Cults are likely to dictate in great detail not only what members believe, but also what members wear and eat, when and where members work, sleep, and bathe, and how members think, speak, and conduct familial, marital, or sexual relationships.

    As an intern at IHOP, our day to day lives were closely monitored and dictated. I was not allowed to go anywhere or leave IHOP premises without express verbal permission from a community leader except on our one day off. Our schedules started early in the morning with hours in the prayer room, then classes, then back to the prayer room. Our nights often ran late with required attendance at EGS (Encounter God Services) or any other special event Mike spoke at that we were required to attend. Sometimes we had to attend worship sets that ended at 10 pm or midnight. Sleep was minimal and was often un-restful when I did get it. Sleep deprivation is a commonly used tactic in many cult groups to weaken the mind and make a person more susceptible to the embracing of the doctrines taught by that cult. There are many biological and psychological effects of sleep deprivation on the mind.

    2. A destructive cult tends to have an ethical double standard. Members are urged to be obedient to the cult, to carefully follow cult rules. They are also encouraged to be revealing and open in the group, confessing all to the leaders. On the other hand, outside the group they are encouraged to act unethically, manipulating outsiders or nonmembers, and either deceiving them or simply revealing very little about themselves or the group. In contrast to destructive cults, honorable groups teach members to abide by one set of ethics and act ethically and truthfully to all people in all situations.

    Anyone who rebelled against IHOP’s rules went through a strict disciplinarian process. At its most minimal level of discipline, for an intern, this meant the loss of having a day off and having to do manual labor. Everyone was kept on a short leash. We also had weekly groups as interns that we were required to participate in where everyone was “interrogated” and pressured to open up and share their personal struggles, etc and answer personal questions about their lives, struggles, thoughts, fears, and walks with G-d. It often felt like going to some kind of confession (as in Catholocism) and some interns out and out refused to be so vulnerable and disclosing in front of people they did not know. We were all given journals and told that we had mandatory writing assignments to complete. We were to record details of our IHOP prayer room times, things God spoke to us, dreams, visions, or whatever else that happened in us spiritually and then had to turn in our journals weekly to have an internship leader review/read them. In the last month or so I was at IHOP I paid particularly close attention to the fact that internship leaders ironically prayed things over me in prayer times or at the altar in the prayer room that related directly to things I had put in my journals. So what often might have seemed prophetic was the result of the information about me they already had access to.

    3. A destructive cult has only two basic purposes: recruiting new members and fund-raising. Altruistic movements, established religions, and other honorable groups also recruit and raise funds. However, these actions are incidental to an honorable group’s main purpose of improving the lives of its members and of humankind in general. Destructive cults may claim to make social contributions, but in actuality such claims are superficial and only serve as gestures or fronts for recruiting and fund-raising. A cult’s real goal is to increase the prestige and often the wealth of the leader.

    They were always an underlying pressure to bring people into IHOP. We were encouraged to invite others and get them to join what we were doing. IHOP campaigns big time to recruit new interns. At every conference, advertising and marketing videos are used to this day to promote the internships. They are played on large TV screens like presidential campaigns and are just part of the propaganda used to “sell” young people on this new version of what walking with God is supposed to look like.

    Each intern paid $4,500 to attend a 6 month internship. This covered some books/teaching material we were given as well as food, lodging etc. Check this out though: Every intern lived in the Hernhutt apartments (located next door) which IHOP owned anyway so the only expense was utilities and general upkeep. There was no rent. Plus when there was a mandatory fasting day, weekend, week, etc. no meals were served. So those who didn’t choose to fast had to go out and buy food and no interns were not allowed to have jobs so this got to be a big expense since there wasn’t extra money to live on.

    I lived in a 2-bedroom apartment. It housed 6 girls from the ages of 20-23. 4 of us shared one room and 2 shared another. The prayer room costs nothing to attend and is free and open to the public. So hmmm….$4,500 for meals, my electric bill and some IHOP books. I currently live in my own apartment, pay all of my own bills including rent, food, gasoline, renter’s insurance, credit card bills, student loans, electric, cell phone, etc etc and ALL of that costs me approximately $1,500 a month. So basic math says that someone was getting a big paycheck because my expenses would have never cost that in an internship program where we were given so little.

    4. A destructive cult appears to be innovative and exclusive. The leader claims to be breaking with tradition, offering something novel, and instituting the ONLY viable system for change that will solve life’s problems or the world’s ills. But these claims are empty and only used to recruit members who are then surreptitiously subjected to mind control to inhibit their ability to examine the actual validity of the claims of the leader and the cult.

    In the time I was there Mike often used “them and us” types of statements when referring to “the church” or those outside of IHOP. We were given a sense of being on the “cutting edge” because we were ahead of the church and were doing something new & innovative that was going to sweep the world. It all sounded good so everyone wanted to be in on it as a “forerunner” and liked the label of being on the front lines. So no one dared questioned it.

    5. A destructive cult is authoritarian in its power structure. The leader is regarded as the supreme authority. He or she may delegate certain power to a few subordinates for the purpose of seeing that members adhere to the leader’s wishes. There is no appeal outside his or her system to a greater system of justice. For example, if a schoolteacher feels unjustly treated by a principal, an appeal can be made to the superintendent. In a destructive cult, the leader claims to have the only and final ruling on all matters.

    Our family became friends with a Jewish couple who were in KC for a conference. They were part of an orthodox Jewish congregation in Israel and were missionaries in the US. They had some grave concerns and red flags (regarding IHOP’s theology, the model that is used with everything IHOP related, etc) that they attempted to meet with Mike and discuss. After being brushed off by Mike multiple times in his refusal to meet with him…even though they were Jewish leaders from Israel and Mike knew of them, he finally told these friends of ours that “This is how we do things here. This is just how IHOP is. It’s not for everyone.” If there was something you didn’t like or didn’t agree with, you were basically told “IHOP wasn’t for everyone so if you couldn’t handle it, maybe you shouldn’t be here.” There was no actual accountability for anything deemed wrong/un-Biblical. We were told that IHOP has its own “culture” and you must assimilate into that culture and language to really understand it. If you had a problem with something, you were told that you just had not been around long enough to understand how they did things OR that you just weren’t a good fit. These were the answers I was given when I met with internship leaders right before leaving. There was never actual admittance of wrong doing or hurting anyone who was caught in the crossfire.

    6. A destructive cult’s leader is a self-appointed messianic person claiming to have a special mission in life. For example, leaders of flying saucer cults claim that beings from outer space have commissioned them to lead people away from Earth, so that only the leaders can save them from impending doom.

    Every intern was required to listen to the 12 hours of IHOP’s recorded history on CD footage. Much of this content was heavily edited before its publication. These tapes told of “prophetic words” and signs that were given to some of Mike’s mentors (Bob Jones, Paul Cain, etc)—who were all naming him as the leader of the next “big thing” God was doing. Over and over and over again I’ve heard it said (both directly by Mike as well as from others) that he (Mike) would be the leader of a movement that “changed the nature and expression of Christianity in the earth”. Every time, all recognition points to Mike. His “mission” to transform the church and capture the hearts of America’s youth has been his declared goal since the early 1980’s. One of the major dangers is that these grandious sounding claims and “prophetic” words are laden with flattery, narcissism, elitism and are a perfect guise under which anything Mike introduces through IHOP can fall under the heading of being a “new thing” God is doing.

    This elitist teaching puts Mike on a pedestal and he has a Messianic-like devoted following of people who would do anything if he told them to without a moment of questioning or hesitation. From my observations and experiences on staff, IHOP members do not think for themselves or question Mike’s interpretation of scripture or the slant in the way he teaches it. At any conference, one will easily observe that if Mike recommends a book or promotes a teaching, a t-shirt or a speaker, at the next break, ALL of that item will be sold out in their bookstore. When I was on staff, I heard people continually sing Mike’s praises around the clock and quote more of what Mike says or thinks or teaches than actual scripture.

    Mike has an alluring charisma and many seem to be instantly drawn to his convincing appearance of direction and purpose. He teaches with passion and emotion rather than truth and it’s that charisma that draws and hooks people causing many to blindly follow (and defend) his message.

    I believe that the IHOP lifestyle by and large sets people up for disillusionment through the false hope that its deception provides. It is a pseudo, manufactured reality where people are told “you can live in Nirvana and enjoy the ‘high’ of being in God’s presence 24/7 and that can be ALL that you live for” so people sell all that they have, buy into a dream and move across the country to be a part of a ministry that makes captivating claims…and then their world often crumble to ashes when things aren’t as they seem once they arrive.

    Mike’s primary target and focus is on the young people. His appeals from the pulpit and his well-polished speeches aim at capturing the hearts of America’s youth. Children and youth are not told or encouraged to respect or honor the parents G-d gave them. Instead, wedges are driven between families and a seed of pride, rebellion and elitism gets planted into the hearts of youth when they are told things like the following…

    This is a very close paraphrase of what I’ve heard many, many times at One Thing, IHOP conferences and in teachings by leaders:

    “YOU are called to be on the cutting edge. Come here and join a community of other people who are like you, called to what you’re called to. We understand you. You’ve been mis-understood in the church. You’ve had your wings clipped, your gifts misunderstood. Here you can fulfill your forerunner calling that your family just hasn’t understood about you. You might feel like you don’t fit back home, you’re on the outside, no one understands the fire in you. Well we get it. You are the leaders that G-d is raising up in these end times and you will be kings and queens on the earth—reigning with Him. You were made for this place. IHOP is an incubator for people like you.”

    Narcissistic speeches like this instill a sense of pride, arrogance and elitism in the hearts of youth who hear it and it feeds their need for validation and identity. They run to IHOP, leave their families, join internships…hoping that what they’ve heard is true. They go to IHOP looking for identity…instead of finding it in Jesus.

    Once outside of the IHOP environment, they are terrified and overwhelmed by the “real” world and don’t know how to function in it when they’ve been in an intensive internship environment. There is a degree of re-acclimating to normal life that feels like an IHOP detox afterward. It’s a severe emotional drop because the hyped up services and conferences that were your manna are now gone and when there is no prayer room, your life in God feels empty and lifeless. Many simply don’t know how to engage with God in a real day-to-day basis once they’ve left. I experienced this and heard the exact same thing from a handful of my friends after they left IHOP and the internship. At that point when disillusionment sets in, I know many interns that walked away from God completely upon leaving the internship and went back into lifestyles worse than the ones they left when they came to IHOP originally.

    7. A destructive cult’s leader centers the veneration of members upon himself or herself. Priests, rabbis, ministers, democratic leaders, and other leaders of genuinely altruistic movements focus the veneration of adherents on God or a set of ethical principles. Cult leaders, in contrast, keep the focus of love, devotion, and allegiance on themselves.

    I believe my statements above illustrate this so I won’t be redundant.

    8. A destructive cult’s leader tends to be determined, domineering, and charismatic. Such a leader effectively persuades followers to abandon or alter their families, friends, and careers to follow the cult. The leader then takes control over followers’ possessions, money, time, and lives.

    Youth are pumped up at conferences and then go home to tell their parents they are moving to Kansas City to join IHOP, be part of an internship, etc. At the time, sadly, they don’t realize how much more they are giving up and leaving behind than just their families. I was hurled into a system that took control of my time, when I ate, slept, had time alone, etc. Picking up the pieces of my heart and rebuilding a Biblical view of God after getting outside of IHOP was quite a long process. I hope that by sharing all of this, I am able to spare others the heartache of what I went through.

    Please don’t just take my word for it. Start doing your own research. Ask the Father to lead you as you pursue what is TRUTH. Don’t just stop at the facts–look deeper. Do Google searches on cults and ask the Lord to unveil deceptions.

    Blessings to you on your journey of walking with Him.

    • Hi there,

      I attended a conference at IHOP ( I used to live in Chicago and I drove down to Kansas City, at the encouragement of a friend, to attend a conference there) I think that the guy who encouraged me to go was romantically interested in me, and wanted me to go, for some reason. Anyway, I stayed with some friends of his, a young family who moved from the Chicagoland area specifically to be a part of IHOP. To make a long story short – I attended the first night of the conference (so I was there for maybe 2 hrs total) and then – something about it just did not sit right with me. I thought it was – at the time – just the “culture” – it seemed very “southern” and I’m a northerner that turned me “off” but no – I have also been a missionary overseas – and experienced different cultures, different types of worship. So, I don’t think – being a different culture than myself (a.k.a “southern”) would not have turned me off. But something about it just did not sit well with me. I spent the rest of the 3 days that I should have been at the conference – touring Kansas City instead (hey, I drove down there..) taking in the museums, presidential library, etc. It was wonderful! but not at the conference. (Kansas City is a nice town, I enjoyed it)

      the people I stayed with were totally gracious. I said that it just wasn’t for me, and they did not mind at all. A couple years later, I heard that the wife died of breast cancer (how sad…) she was not very old and they had three kids.

      So, I don’t really have an “experience” per say with IHOP. I have a non experience. Something about it I just didn’t like.

  7. Testimony of someone who escaped IHOP:
    The IHOP Cult

    IHOP Cult Leader Mike Bickle

    Some of my IHOP “Red Flags”

    Posted: January 1, 2010 by Ariel in Cult, Deception, False doctrines, IHOP, Leaving a cult, Mike Bickle, Spiritual Abuse

    There were many, many experiences that made me do a double take and say “what?” while I was at IHOP but that internal questioning was quickly explained away or rebuked by internship leaders. Once I began to deviate from IHOP’s teachings and study scripture on my own for answers to the internal conflicts I wrestled with, I began questioning the pseudo reality I had been conditioned to embrace. Suddenly I saw the isolated red flag incidences as a seamless pattern of error and the veil of deception fell. I stopped rationalizing and justifying. Enough was enough and I was done and wanted out.

    There are much more personal experiences than I can put into one single blog post, but here are a few I still recall pretty strongly.

    1. Mandatory fasts which made me very physically ill. They would never admit to having “mandatory” fasts but when you don’t have any food available, close down the kitchen, give your cook the day off and don’t allow interns to hold jobs (so that they have money to go buy food if they aren’t participating in the fast) then that is called mandatory.

    2. Being practically held hostage in the prayer room and told that it was required that I be there and I was not allowed to leave even though I did not feel well and wanted to go back to my apartment. I was told I needed to stay in the prayer room to be part of the “corporate anointing” and that I shouldn’t leave. It was one of my “required” prayer room sets as an intern so I spent the remainder of that 2-hour set in one of the side prayer rooms in the back sobbing on the floor because I wanted to leave so badly and our internship leaders were standing by the door. You might ask “why didn’t you just force your way out and leave anyway?” When you are part of cult where free, independent thinking is not condoned when you don’t comply with what is expected of you, very often guilt, manipulation and penalties are instated for those who resist. Interns who didn’t follow “the rules” of the internship were penalized through loss of privileges (such as loss of your day off, having to do extra work/manual labor, etc.)

    3. The grip of control and micro-management increasing: greater demands and restrictions on interns (such as increased pressure to fast more to attain a higher pinnacle of spirituality) being told where we had to sit when in the prayer room, taught a model for how to pray, how to dance, sing, etc. Any form of worship outside of this model was not considered to be acceptable. It had to fit IHOP’s style and method to be admissible.

    4. Mandatory journaling assignments which we had to do weekly and then we had to turn in our journals to be read by internship leaders

    5. Seeing how controlled the prayer room was. Rather than having freedom to express my heart to the Lord, I was put in a box and told how I had to do everything IHOP’s way. I had reading and writing assignments whenever I was in the prayer room.

    6. There was no alone time ever to really think, reason, test, question or process anything. We were run ragged from sun up to late into the night which always left me exhausted, depleted and burnt out.

    7. Once when I got sick, my mother came to pick me up and internship leaders resisted letting me leave with her (even though she lived in town). My internship ‘com leader’ (short for community leader) objected and still impressed upon me the importance of going to the prayer room even though I was too sick to get off the couch. My mother said “she is my daughter and I’m taking her home and taking care of her. Period.”

    8. The more leadership responsibility I was given as an intern, the more I got peeks into the “inside”. I saw the outer fringes of the internal operations of how IHOP functioned. I was on an IHOP dance team and sang as a chorus leader on a few worship teams. To dance, I had to follow a specific model that IHOP required. To sing, I had to attend the briefing/de-briefing meetings before and after each worship set where I saw first-hand how carefully controlled that the seemingly “spontaneous” aspects of worship were carefully calculated and often planned ahead of time.

    9. Another intern got deathly ill and it wasn’t until she ended up being hospitalized that internship leaders took seriously the fact she was sick. They accused her of faking an illness to get out of attending IHOP classes and time in the prayer room. This was told to me directly by that intern.

    10. If I wanted to go anywhere off IHOP property (even to go see my family who lived in town) I had to notify internship leaders of my whereabouts at all times. I had no autonomy or freedom as an individual. Some leaders who were 19 (but were former interns which gave them elite status) were telling me where to be, what to do and when I was expected to be home. I had to answer to them for everything. I was in my early 20′s and had lived on my own before so the feeling of suffocation and having no personal rights to space, privacy, independent thought, etc. was overwhelming.

    There is much more but I think that’s a sufficient start to at least give you an idea of some of what was happening when I was at IHOP. It wasn’t until after I left that I began to see far more than I had been able to see when I was still involved. The casual observer on the periphery won’t necessarily see the reality of all that is happening there because they are seeing the veil that IHOP has built to carefully cloak the truth of a lot of what really happens.

    After I left, I realized how worn out and exhausted I was in every way imaginable. I spent days and weeks sleeping and physically healing from the trauma of the experiences I had just come out of and to let my body heal from the fasting and sleep deprivation. It took a long time for me to really start healing emotionally and spiritually and to begin putting pieces together. Recovering from mental and spiritual abuse like that is a hard road and a difficult place to come out from. I did months of research after I left IHOP and the immediate dust had settled. I wanted to see the roots of the giant beanstalk that had sprouted up and choked the life out of everything in me. I started going back as far into the history of IHOP as I could. As interns we were required to listen to 18 hours of audio CDs recapping all of the history of IHOP and the “prophesies” that led to it’s starting. I started researching on the internet about the names of the so called prophets of this movement and what they had come out of. That led me to picking apart a very carefully woven web of key players that all were connected to this massive organization.

    I shared with one parent who e-mailed me about her own child at IHOP the importance of praying that the L-rd will open their eyes not only to see, but to recognize and identify the red flags of IHOP. The thing is, they are probably already seeing them, but rationalizing and excusing them away as isolated events rather than viewing them as a destructive pattern. I pray that the Father will show those there who are truly seeking him the pattern of red flags…making them so obvious they can no longer ignore them.

    My hope is that the young people there who are much like I was will begin to question what they see and compare it with what the scripture actually says…not how Mike Bickle twists and teaches it…and that they have the courage to identify it and reject it. Those who oppose IHOP and speak out typically experience some kind of consequences or backlash. People are a commodity there. They are traded. When wounded ones leave, IHOP leadership doesn’t sweat over it…new and unsuspecting people who are ignorant of their dangerous devices but are hungry for emotionally-driven experiences and spiritual highs will come back in the same door the others left. It’s a revolving door of deception.

    The deceptions of IHOP are treacherous and very real. Did G-d use that place in my life and work together for my good the devastation I experienced? Absolutely. But that is a testimony to the goodness of our G-d…not a stamp of approval on a place. Remember he spoke through a donkey and a burning bush. That doesn’t mean we should glorify donkeys and start worshiping bushes.

    I’ve been asked many times how my eyes were opened to see what was happening at IHOP and how I got out, etc. I’ve thought about that many times and the simplest answer I can give is that I knew who my source was. G-d was my source of instruction, teaching, counsel, truth, etc. It was His voice I was seeking to hear and His approval I desired. IHOP wasn’t my source. So when the things I heard from the L-rd through prayer and studying His word were in conflict with the things I was being taught in IHOP it made the decision to leave an easier one. It was traumatic and painful and I’m not going to minimize that. But it was the price of protecting truth and I knew that staying would have compromised what I knew was right and since my desire is to delight the heart of my Father, once He removed the scales, I was out.

    My desire is to see people set free to live lives of healing and wholeness…walking in genuine love and pursuing truth. My prayer is that the things you read on this blog inspire you to that end.

    Grace and peace to you.

  8. The word of God says:

    When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn to imitate the abhorrent practices of those nations. No one shall be found among you who makes a son or daughter pass through fire, or who practices divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or one who casts spells, or who consults ghosts or spirits, or who seeks oracles from the dead. For whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord; it is because of such abhorrent practices that the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You must remain completely loyal to the Lord your God. Although these nations that you are about to dispossess do give heed to soothsayers and diviners, as for you, the Lord your God does not permit you to do so. Deuteronomy 18 v 9-14 (NRSV)


    For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness. Ephesians 5 v 4-8 (NIV)

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