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.
- Rick Perry partners with pastor who thinks Oprah is paving the way for the Antichrist (secularnewsdaily.com)
- Heresy and IHOP (magdalenaperks.wordpress.com)
- Former Member Says IHOP is a Cult (slaughteringthesheep.wordpress.com)
- Herescope: IHOP Enters Dominion/Christian Right Politics (returnofbenjamin.wordpress.com)