Last night in Kansas City at the International House of Prayer, leader Mike Bickle appeared on stage at their One Thing conference. It is an annual conference, attended by thousands of college aged and youth seeking ‘a fresh word from the Spirit’ to put it in their carnal vernacular. That in itself is newsworthy, because IHOPKC as they are known, is a house of heretics damaging the church of Jesus Christ and polluting His doctrine. As Pastor Phil Johnson put it, Mr Bickle
admits with a grin that 80 percent of the phenomena in the thousands of charismatic meetings he has sponsored and participated in have been utterly false—phony, fraudulent, fleshly—totally and completely fake. Bickle insists that’s not a problem. He is willing to “allow the false for the sake of the real.”
To see so many gathered at IHOP KC One Thing hurts my heart and spirit just as much as when I see the UK newspapers publish photos of the solstice pagan ceremonies at Stonehenge. The two events are no different. Pagans worshiping made-up gods, wasted flesh, and blackened spirits wallowing in sin is a spectacle no Christian ever wants to see. But it is a spectacle every true Christian knows they will see, because that is the world, and satan is the god of it. (1 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2).
|Left, ancient pagan ceremony with obelisks,
right, modern pagan ceremony with obelisks
|Top, pagan priestess leading worship at Stonehenge
bottom, pagan priestess leading worship at OneThing
many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. (Matthew 24:11)
But even more disheartening than to watch thousands of blind and misguided youths praising their blind leader guiding them to the pit (Matthew 15:14) is to see a yoking of darkness with light and a leader who was thought to be in the light suddenly developing a blind spot.
The Southern Baptist Convention has historically been the one denomination considered to be the most conservative and the most protective of the inerrant authority of the Word of God. It has historically been strong on doctrine and diligent in the practice of living a holy life, Occasionally that practice has worked itself out in publicly repudiating false teachers or dismissing wayward churches from their fellowship. Just last month a South Carolina church was booted from SBC membership over the doctrine of female pastorship. In another recent case, the SBC has removed from membership local churches for their unbiblical stance on homosexuality. When it comes to social issues like feminism or homosexuality, the SBC has historically and recently been strong.
What is lesser known is the SBC’s waffling stance on doctrine. Though the origins of the historical SBC began with a clear positive stance on Calvinism and has deep roots in the Convention, in these latter years, the doctrines of grace and those who hold to them have been repudiated in turmoil. Nevertheless, the SBC’s adherence to biblical authority and a clear proclamation of the Gospel, with firm walls to keep out the liberalism and falsity, has generally been the SBC’s hallmark.
No, I’m not being overly dramatic.
John Park at Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry wrote a good paper on The Dangers of the International House of Prayer. Please read it to understand why partnering with IHOPKC is so dangerous and actually a blot on the name of Jesus Christ. For example, IHOP founder Mike Bickle said he had a vision where he was raised to the throne room of God and stood at the Lord’s left hand.Our God is gracious for not smiting Bickle on the spot as He did with Ananias and his lies to the Spirit. Bickle has uttered many “prophecies” some of which had a date to them which has passed with no fulfillment. Bickle has taught that he and his disciples are the true disciples and are anointed to usher in the second coming of Jesus Christ. In addition, multiple ministries have indexed IHOP as a cult. Sources are at the CARM article linked above.
Yet when invited the SBC president Ronnie Floyd accepted the invitation to partner with Bickle and speak at the One Thing conference.
Many were shocked that such a historically conservative denomination’s President would partner with such a grossly blasphemous cult, but held out hope that perhaps Floyd intended to employ the biblical mandate of leaders to rebuke the false and plead for repentance. (Titus 2:1, Titus 1:11). In discernment, one does not throw out years of solid labor when one potential misstep arises. One is patient, waits to see outcomes, prays, and hopes for the best though keeping their discernment radar tuned up. I was one of those hoping fervently that would be the case. Sadly, it wasn’t.
Floyd came out with guns blazing, firmly setting aside theological differences stating the obvious, that
“we do not agree on secondary matters of life, prayer or even the bible.”
The Bible is a secondary issue? So with all those differences, many of them assuredly not secondary, why partner? Because, Floyd wants to pray. He wants a revival.
I’m not here tonight not to highlight our theological differences, but to bend my knee alongside you to pray…” R Floyd
One must ask the obvious, to whom does Mr Floyd expect an IHOP initiate to pray? What KIND of prayers are they praying? There is a right way to pray and a wrong way. Prayers can be wrong you know. The wrong people can pray them. And to which Jesus? A general call to the wicked to perform any kind of prayer does no good, because God will not hear any old prayers. (John 9:31, Proverbs 15:29). Praying to a made-up idol the false convert calls “Jesus” does no one any good and in fact does much harm.
And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, (Isaiah 29:13)
But among the many words spoken by Mr Floyd at IHOP last night there is one thing I want to focus on. Mr Floyd’s pragmatic call. IHOPKC tweeted this:
“When it feels like the ship is sinking, everyone needs to grab a bucket..”—Ronnie Floyd, on unity in the Body of Christ #Onething2015
There was another one who thought the boat was sinking, but he was wrong.
And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:37-38)
And what did Jesus say to them? HAVE YOU NO FAITH? (Mark 4:40). Mr Floyd, have you so little faith? The boat is not foundering.
Mr Floyd said that about the boat and the bucket at the beginning of his speech and it is a devastating indictment on everything a true Christian should stand for. We do not open the doors to one and all simply because ‘the times’ seems to call for drastic action. We do not display so little faith, as Jesus admonished. Here is why Mr Floyd’s appearance at One Thing, why his pragmatism is misguided, and why it is futile. Though of course we know the ship of state, the church of Jesus Christ is not sinking, do you know why it feels like it is?
Because of IHOP.
Because of false doctrine that Bickle promotes.
Because of the acceptance of an errant Bible and exalted personal revelations.
False doctrine always loads down the ship of state. Always. Our leaders are supposed to keep it out, guarding the deposit and teaching what accords with sound doctrine. They are not supposed to minimize, dismiss, and disregard theological differences.
IHOP is the reason the ship feels like it is sinking. (one of…)
When the ship of state feels like it is foundering that is because it is loaded down with sinners and their baggage of false doctrine. Mr Floyd, why did you load a piano in the canoe?
|IHOPKC, welcome aboard, There’s plenty of room.|
Mr Floyd’s pragmatic approach to prayer, revival, and doctrine is based on the reasoning that the times are so bad that we need all hands on deck to bail, even if those hands are unqualified, or even if there are stowaways whose passage has not been paid. (Romans 3:24)
The problem is, sinners’ buckets have holes in them. Sinners’ buckets won’t bail.
Bail! Bail! The ship feels like it’s sinking!
O, why is it still sinking?
Our ship of state should be floating buoyantly, but to Floyd his ship is foundering. It’s an old problem. IHOPKC and the problem of partnering with them is not a new thing. Jeremiah spoke of leaky buckets in his day.
for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)
Mr Floyd has left the fresh fountain of living water and drunk from a poisoned well which is leaking and leaching into the Body directly from places like IHOP. The IHOP people are broken cisterns because the walls of their cisterns are made of man’s bricks, having no foundation in Christ. Matthew Henry says of the Jeremiah verse:
They took a great deal of pains to hew themselves out cisterns, to dig pits or pools in the earth or rock which they would carry water to, or which should receive the rain; but they proved broken cisterns, false at the bottom, so that they could hold no water. When they came to quench their thirst there they found nothing but mud and mire, and the filthy sediments of a standing lake.
The disturbing lack of discernment in some of our high leaders of late is a sad testament to our witness. There’s John Piper, who seems to have forsaken any semblance of discernment at all. SBC’s Russell Moore visiting the Pope. Now the President of the SBC linking with outright heretics.
Is it too much to ask that our leaders adhere to biblical principles? That they lead in truth and courage? That they remain strong and not compromise? Apparently it is too much to ask. Apparently it is- for some. I still thank Mr Floyd for his years of service and continue to pray, this time altering my prayer to one that asks the Lord to move his feet away from the path of compromise and to give him a spirit of discernment. I praise God for the strong men of truth whose decades of witness does not have a false doctrine among them, men like MacArthur, Lawson, Begg, Ferguson, P Johnson, SL Johnson. Solid men like Lloyd-Jones, Barnhouse, Boice, Sproul.
Fifteen years ago John MacArthur preached:
They have entered upon what I suppose if we were living in Spurgeon’s time would be called a downgrade. Church is on a slippery slope, the evangelical church is progressing down away from the heights of truth and the honor of God. It is willingly abandoning its discernment, willingly abandoning bible exposition, and therefore a deep and accurate understanding of truth. In so doing it is moving away from what glorifies God, because what glorifies God is the exposition of scripture.
At the heart of this is this tragic thing of embracing non-Christians as if they’re Christians; … Without a deep grasp of biblical truth there’s no discernment, and with no discernment then you just can’t tell who’s a Christian and who’s not, so Satan comes into the church, comes into the leadership, comes in to teach at colleges and teach at seminaries and write books and get on Christian TV, and on and on it goes. (source, bold mine)
I am a Southern Baptist disappointed to the point of grief that our denomination’s president has done this. Yet this too shall pass (paraphrasing 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Trumping my denominational affilition is the fact that I am a Christian in the Church that Christ is building. Men will fall, blind guides will guide, the pit will widen, false prophets will proclaim, and doctrine will be polluted. Yet Jesus is building a church that is sterling, beautiful, honed and ready. His church is TRUTH.
As a final thought, here is a 13-minute clip from S.Lewis Johnson expositing from Titus, and declares unequivocally how false teachers (like Bickle) should be treated. Please take a listen so as to refresh your mind and so in coming days you won’t get caught up in the blurred lines of compromise and believe that Mr Floyd’s parsed and careful words at IHOPKC One Thing Conference are really loving and truthful. They aren’t and they weren’t.
As for us who praise the Lord we still have discernment by His grace and by His grace have not wandered away from the narrow path of solid truth. He is the King, sovereignly holding His church in His hand.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
The Broad Brush: A biblical review of Mike Bickle, by Phil Johnson
The Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, a sermon that speaks directly to why the IHOP approach to Christianity is actually blasphemy.