When the news broke last week, a commentator on this blog said that the group had started in Texas and therefore the cult mentality could not be blamed in Mike Bickle and the bunch. Yet, there is more news. Tyler Deaton and his group was from Georgetown, Texas, a small town north of Austin and south of Waco. Do you want to take a guess as to what group has a location in this town?
The cult mentality and heretical teachings of Mike Bickle may not be directly responsible for the death of Deaton and others, but it is is passively so. It attracts and validates those with such views and gives them the intellectual argument to continue their cult — all in the name of God, all blessed by Mike Bickel.
The statement said witnesses told detectives they were a part of a “religious community” where they had sex with each other. Witnesses told detectives Deaton’s husband, Tyler Deaton, was the leader.
In the statement, Moore told detectives Bethany Deaton was being sexually assaulted by him, and several men at a home in Grandview. That is how Moore said he knew Deaton and her husband.
A spokesperson for IHOP said Moore was a student in the Bible school at IHOP University. The statement said Moore told an IHOP pastor at the Grandview Police Department that he video recorded the sexual assaults on his iPad, located at his apartment on College Ave.
Bethany was raised in Texas and moved to the Kansas City area to intern at IHOP. Deaton’s husband started their own religous group and he was regarded as their spiritual leader. Roomates at the house also told detectives they were involved in a sexual group and the sex was part of the religious experience. Neighbors say there was a lot of traffic at the house and knew the group was involved in the IHOP church so they thought it was just a bible study group.
The group did worship together at the International House of Prayer, but church members say this is not indicitive of the whole church.
Mike Bickle runs a cult so we shouldn’t be surprised when his members have their own little cults.
Dr. Witherington has a post up on an article which ran over the weekend in the New York Times regarding the International House of Prayer. Dr. Witherington notes the bad theology, bad eschatology, and the rampant emotionalism which is normally attached to IHOP. What he doesn’t note is the authoritarianism often reported by those who have worked with Bickle and the Bunch:
Founded 12 years ago by Mike Bickle, a self-trained evangelical pastor, with a group of 20, the International House of Prayer, in a former strip mall, now draws tens of thousands of worshipers to its revival meetings. A wholly devoted cadre of 1,000 staff members, labeled missionaries, have given up careers to move here, living off donations and spending several hours a day in the prayer hall to revel in what they describe as direct communication with God. Another thousand students attend the adjacent Bible college, preparing to spread this fervent brand of Christianity.
Mr. Bickle has won praise from many evangelicals, but he has also been criticized by some pastors for what they describe as unorthodox theology and a cultish atmosphere, charges that Mr. Bickle rejects. Some former students said they had been expelled for questioning the fascination with mystical healings, prophesies, angels and demons. (NYTimes)
I am unsure that Dr. Witherington’s students have actually worked at IHOP or just attended there, but if you search the archives, I’ve linked to several stories about former ‘missionaries’ who report a very cultish mentality. Bickle, if you remember, was part of the failed and discredited ‘Kansas City Prophets, with such illustrious leaders as Bob Jones. He runs a tight ship, but stories to appear.
A commentator has asked for my own understanding on the eschatology proposed by Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer. I will do this series in parts. The original can be found here. I have done minor editing for formatting purposes only.
A. Eschatological: means pertaining to the End Times
B. The coming eschatological revolution will be the most comprehensive revolution in human history and will involve the unique dynamics of the end of the age. This revolution will include Jesus coming back to earth to replace all the leadership on the earth that aligns with darkness.
The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15)
I saw the Beast (Antichrist), the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered to make war against Him (Jesus)…20 The Beast was captured, and with him the False Prophet…these two were cast alive into the lake of fire…21 The rest were killed with the sword…20:1 Then I saw an angel…2 He laid hold of…the Devil and bound him for 1000 years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit…4 I saw thrones, and they (the saints) sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus…and they lived and reigned with Christ for 1000 years… (Rev. 19:19-20:1-4)
He (Antichrist) shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High…27 Then the…greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. (Dan. 7:25-27)
There is no issue here except with the term ‘revolution.’ That term implies an active part on the Church, when in reality, it is not the Church, but Christ who is leading, not a revolution, but a complete and quick take-over.
C. The Church in the generation in which Jesus returns will actively participate in this revolution.
The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…
Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God… (2 Pet. 3:10-12)
I have previously spoken on this idea that we can hasten the Day of the Lord. (Here) To what level do we hasten the day? It is through the unity of the Faith, not secular action, or serving as an Army of the Lord (otherwise known to the Dominionist as ‘Joel’s Army.’) Again, Bickle uses the term ‘revolution’, which is not something in Scripture. When the Lord returns, it is do battle against the forces of the False Prophet, and He returns with the Church. In Revelation 19.11-16, we see that Christ, the Word of God, will return with the Armies of Heaven. These are not to be identified with Angels, because they carry with them the garments of the Saints. (Rev. 19.8)
While the Church will participate as the Army of the Lord, it will be from Heaven that they descend, not on Earth to ascend.
D. My premise: many people alive today will see this revolution in their lifetime. Thus, they are called by Jesus to actively participate in this revolution in a personal and dynamic way. Scripture outlines what is involved in preparing the Bride. She must be prepared in an intentional way.
For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7)
While we may see the times of the End in our lifetime – so many others thought the same thing – we are always called to array the Church with fine linen, especially since we are commanded to grow into one new man (see above mentioned post). The thing that is always missing from Eschatology is the connection to the Jewish wedding motif. The Church is married to Christ, but not consumed. When Christ returns, we will then be a Bride. The Bride is made ready, in heaven.
E. We need to be focused on what to do now in practical ways to be prepared for this. This is our forerunner call to action. There are specific actions that must be taken now by forerunners. The next few decades will involve a unique preparation for a unique transition of human history.
This is not biblical in any way. John in the Spirit of Elijah was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, but no where do we have the permission to take up that mantle. Contrary to what Christ taught concerning that no man would know the day, and that the Day would come like a thief in the night, Bickle is attempting to give a timeline.
F. First, we must clearly see the “big picture” concerning this dramatic change to the earth. Next, we must understand what the role of the Church is in this coming eschatological revolution.
The anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart (Great Tribulation). In the latter days you will understand it perfectly. (Jer. 23:20)
The Anger in the Lord’s Heart is not the Great Tribulation, but either the fall of Jerusalem, which was Jeremiah’s concern, or the time of Jacob’s Trouble. The Hebrew in this verse is literally ‘after the end of days,’ indicating that we will understand prophecy after the End has already come. (Which is a reason to spend so little time on such pursuits)
G. We must prepare ourselves to prepare others to prepare the nations for the greatest transition in history. In the time of this coming storm, being prepared is all about loving Jesus and people.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God…
The glory of the LORD shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together (at Jesus’ Second Coming)… (Isa. 40:3-5)
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household… (Heb. 11:7)
Again, the Church has been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ – which is what matters – for 2000 years (or near about), but with never the idea that she is the forerunner of Christ. The passage from Isaiah is applied to John, not to be reapplied to the Church. Concerning the Ark, the Church is the Ark, and has already been prepared for us by the blood of Christ and founded up His Apostles.
H. Important to Jesus’ End-Time purposes are forerunners who are called to be faithful witnesses of the truth. They will overthrow nations by prophesying, praying and doing acts of kindness.
The Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you…”
The LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
I have this day set you over the nations…to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” (Jer. 1:7-10)
There is a terrible problem with picking and choosing the application of Scripture. This passage was said to Jeremiah alone, who was a prophet to the last days of Jerusalem under the Davidic line. This has never been applied to the Church, and was never intended to do so.
By selective application, Bickle and his consorts in the New Apostolic Reformation, build themselves up as something more than they are (or claim to be.) It will become more apparent as we progress through this eschatology that Bickle is setting up a kindgom against the Church, but calling people to activily overthrow kingdoms in order to prepare for a new Kingdom.