Two years ago, when I was an intern at IHOP-KC, I put up a post called Is IHOP a Cult? Rather disappointingly, until recently, that post was always the most popular post on this site. In fact, it still gets an average of 2 hits a day. Judging by the time spent on the page, it looks like people have found my "intern's perspective" on whether or not IHOP-KC is a cult helpful.
In that post, however, I also said that I would do a series of posts analyzing different issues that people have against IHOP-KC. If you have looked at the archive for this site, it's quite clear that I never did any of those posts. There are several reasons why:
- At the time I wrote that post, IHOP-KC was still "them" for me and I felt like I could have an outsider's perspective. However, very shortly afterwards, I felt freedom from the Lord to return to IHOP-KC long-term, and IHOP became "us." It's a very different thing to write a post that analyzes "them" and a post that defends "us."
- A large part of the reason I wrote that post was because I was in conflict with a friend over IHOP's theology. I quickly realized that I could not continue to write about the subject without trying to refute my friend in a passive-aggressive way.
- Most importantly, I became familiar with the prophetic history of IHOP-KC (which is available on the IHOP website1). I realized that the issue of opposition and responding to it with meekness has been a central command from the Lord in Mike Bickle's ministry from the beginning.
The story from the prophetic history that I'm talking about is a prophetic word that Mike Bickle received from a prophetic man named Augustine in St. Louis in 1982. This was later repeated by Bob Jones as confirmation of Bob's prophetic ministry.2 The four parts of the word were:
- Thousands of young people are going to be gathered to Kansas City.
- There will be a full release of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:12)
- A false prophet will be in your midst from the very beginning.
[All I have ever heard Mike Bickle say about this is that that already happened long ago and has been taken care of.]
- Persecution will be birthed against you and the work that God has entrusted to your leadership, and the Lord says you are not to touch it, you are not to answer it; you are to leave it in the Lord's hands, and He will settle it for you.
If you go on listening to the prophetic history, you will hear about a massive controversy that did break out over Mike's ministry in the early 90s.3 It was related to the connection between the Kansas City Fellowship (Intercession and the prophetic) and the Vineyard (Worship and compassion/healing). However, the IHOP-KC leadership do not believe that what happened in the 90s means the controversy is over. They fully expect more intense controversy to come.
Partly for this reason, Mike Bickle has taught repeatedly on respond to mistreatment in a Biblical way. The life of David gives a great illustration of how God calls us to respond when we are slandered, mistreated, and even persecuted. Jesus, of course, lived out these principles perfectly in His life; far beyond King David. (for example, although David passed the test of mistreatment twice when he had the opportunity to kill Saul, he would have failed the test with Nabal if Abigail had not intervened - 1 Sam 25:34)
Mike Bickle recently spoke on this topic at Forerunner Christian Fellowship. You can read his notes on the IHOP website, or listen to the sermon on the weekly teaching podcast. I highly recommend this teaching. Although I have used it to help explain why I refuse to "set the record straight" about IHOP-KC, its primary application is to our personal lives. As Mike said in the message, every one of us will be mistreated many times in our lives - often in small ways and sometimes in big ways - and it is incredibly important that we learn to respond rightly!
1 On the Free Resources page, the prophetic history is called "Mike Bickle: Encountering Jesus Series" As of June 17, 2009, the link is broken, however. You can find it as a free download on the Internet Archive.
2 Prophetic word from Augustine to Mike Bickle in Jun 1982 ("Encountering Jesus" series, Disc 3, starting at 5 minutes); Independently confirmed by Bob Jones on Mar 7, 1983 (starting at 31 minutes)
3 "Encountering Jesus" series, Disc 11, from 45 to 48 minutes, more from 58 to 64 minutes