IHOPKC and the quest for biblical Eschatology
I used to be part of the IHOPKC (International House of Prayer-Kansas City) ministry. It is what Mike Bickle calls an “apostolic community.” I was there from day one actually. Mike gave the call to content for stadium Christianity and power that no disease known to man will stand against. That is what I signed up for.
Back then, we didn’t have much. We just had an old double wide trailer on Grandview Rd next to the United Pentecostal Church and that was it. A few dozen of us kept the fire burning day and night in worship and intercession for revival. It was wild to think we did it back then. It is a real miracle. There was a short list of worship leaders and one of them was Misty Edwards that was not very good back then.
Around 2004, we started to really grow and we moved into a strip mall on Red Bridge Rd. This is when everything changed for IHOPKC. The emphasis went from revival, Stadium Christianity, and miracle power to eschatology, Daniel, and Revelation. It started with one meeting a week on Saturdays and then it slowly overshadowed everything that the ministry did. Anyone who disagreed with it was basically told to change their theology to line up with the ministry.
Due to some unrelated (indirectly) issues with a key leader, I left the IHOPKC movement in 2005 officially.
Mike Bickle’s obsession with eschatology
As I said, I signed up for revival. It was the call that I wake up for every morning and I go to bed dreaming about. I believe that understanding Daniel and Revelation is important but it was secondary to having wheelchairs empty.
Add to the mix that I believe in Pre-tribulation Pre-Millennial “rapture” of the saints at the end of the great end time harvest. My eschatology remains revival at the end of the Church age until the rapture. We can figure out all those seals, bowls and trumpets later. After all, we probably have it wrong anyways.
Since 2005, the obsession of Mike Bickle has become the obsession of IHOPKC. It has gotten to the point that it even over shadowed intimacy with Jesus (Bridegroom God) that was the central teaching of the ministry. Prayer is about intimacy, not the Great White Throne of Judgement. What happened is everyone going to IHOPKC left six months later a certified theologian about Revelation and Daniel. (and hardly knew the other 64 books existed)
Eschatology matters. It really does. However, so does Christology and do your Pneumatology. I could be wrong but I would much rather someone focus on Soteriology. If you get that wrong, it is about Heaven or Hell. That is the one area of theology that we must get right. That is a salvation issue….litterally.
What happens is people who focus too much on End Times get really messsed up ideas about their missiology. They think that world missions is not that important and that we have time, at least seven more years if you believe like IHOPKC does. This is dangerous to say the least.
The Church is not Fox News
What happens is people becoming end time “experts” like the they are guest analysts on the Bill O’riely Show. Many of them even end up having more wacky ideas about what is happening in American than Alex Jones from Info Wars. They are always waiting for the next big “event” that will fulfill some verse in Revelation that they believe is prophetic. They have no hope for America or the world. They are just waiting for the bowls of Revelation to tip and watch genocide to manifest.
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”….The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:3-4,9)
When I hear people from IHOPKC talk about how we have so much time and that Jesus is not coming tomorrow, I get concerned. Peter called such people as false teachers. The focus of eschatology must be leading men to the kindness of Jesus that result in repentance. If that is your motive, you have missed the whole point of your theology. Our job is preach the gospel until He comes.
IHOPKC stands at a cross roads
I believe in the ministry that goes on there. However, I really believe this obsession with the End Times is killing it. People are staying away from the house of prayer because of their bullying people who do not share their position.
I remember when I was in Bible College (as well as seminary), we were told to study all the different positions of eschatology and figure out our own doctrine with fear and trembling. Did the Central Bible College have a position? Yes, the Assemblies of God are very strong but they didn’t say, “only study our position, the rest are hogwash.” I had friends that came to believe in the post-tribulation rapture. No one blacklisted them for it and they still graduated with the rest of us.
The staff at IHOP University and the leadership of the IHOPKC ministry needs to openly discuss all the different positions and let each person be a Berean studying the Word for themselves.
If they do not allow a difference of opinion on a doctrine, they are not a New Testament ministry; they have become a cult. This is what Jim Jones did in the 1960’s that forever made Kool-Aid popular.
The sad reality is that many prayer ministries end up with some pretty cultlike views in the end. The famous Moravian movement started well but ended with people believing they are just “worms in the Body of Jesus.” They did alot of amazing things but ended with all types of bizarre ideas about who they were in Christ and who Christ was in them.