But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Gal. 1:8-9
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at the International House of Prayer,
How I have seen you moved. I have sat in your midst, not for a weekend or for a conference, but for years. I have seen you weep, I have seen you laugh, I have seen you anguish, fast, sing and dance… You have been up in arms. Not once, not twice–but consistently. The most prominent among you are the tensest, the saddest, the most anguished, the thinnest…the longing-est.
Oh, I have heard your preachers rock and shout and wail and cry out. What urgency! What dedication! What a clarion call! About what? Depends on the week.
Orphans! Sex slaves! Abortion! Homosexual agendas infiltrating America! The dead church! Israel, oh Israel! Obama! Health care! The end of the age! There is so much to be concerned about, to anguish over, to wail in prayer about. You will never run out of material. No, you will certainly be given a steady supply. Just as steady as the young zealouts, lacking knowledge, who come through your doors.
But a man named Paul, once counted as little by some very spectacular and demonstrative Christians in a place called Corinth, the apostle to the Gentiles, he was up in arms about one thing. Or should I say, “OneThing.” This lowly, humble servant of God, this gentle teacher and soft-spoken apostle who said he was among his churches like a nursing mother, he rose up and towered with thundering speech over one thing: the pure gospel, cursing the wolves who would steal it from God’s children. Cursing even himself, should he turn from it!
“Oh you foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”
You rock and you sing and you moan and you chant. Who has bewitched you? Where is the gospel? What gospel do you preach? Why do you not rock and pray and shout and cry out about what Paul did? Why are you shaking your fists in the wind of man’s wickedness, when you cannot even quell your own? Simeon and Anna: you use their names rightly. Those of the Old Covenant, still longing to see the answer, longing for the Messiah.
Except Simeon and Anna recognized Him when He came, and turned their mourning into dancing. What kind of lie do you tell, when you turn the Lord’s beloved church’s dancing into mourning? When you urge them into solitude, to fasting, to weeping, to prayer in the tradition, in the manner, in the anguish of those who yearn but have not yet seen Christ? What kind of gospel is this, where instead of proclaiming the finished work, the completion, the fullness, and sending whole, obedient servants out to make disciples, you draw them back into the old wineskin to suffocate on false spirituality? Or to put it simply, why are you so sad?
And He (Jesus) said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” …Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” Luke 24:17 and 25
Dear brothers and sisters, you are breathing lies in a stagnant pool of lies. Your faith is riddled with unbelief. The infrequent retelling of the basic doctrine of salvation does not indicate which gospel you believe, the fruit of your life does. The sadness of your faces, the anguished rocking, the solitary seeking for that which supposedly has not yet been found…these are the children of God, purchased with HIs blood and indwelt by His Spirit? These are the light of the world, the ones out of whom flow rivers of living water? Oh you who spread your false faith of unbelief to the ends of the earth…persecuting and troubling God’s church!
And what spores spread in this damp, moist environment of faith and unbelief mixed together? The curse of the law, of course! The appointed days of fasting, the “right” foods, the idolatry of the natural, the banning of alcohol, birth control, doctors, hospital births, the vows, the charges, the mandates, the oaths (forbidden of course, by our Lord! Mat. 5:33-37) the constant, constant, constant fear, never having done enough, laboring for nonexistent gain, poverty for the sake of others’ wealth, a living sacrifice on a false altar. No, none of these are “official” doctrine. We will not find these rules on your website. Mike Bickle may decry each one. But no matter how many times a sermon sprays a little vinegar on the mold, it will come right back, until the dark dampness is dispelled by the Light of the World.
Oh, my brothers and sisters, you have been cheated (Col. 2:8). You have been cheated. And you rise up to cheat others, seeking to dispel your misery with the comfort of a platform of your own. You endure a training of suffering and poverty to rise up and spread it to another region. Rightly do you ally yourselves with the Catholic church, borrowing from their centuries of experience in “self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, [which is] of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” Col. 2:23
And oh, the indulgences of the flesh that abound in your midst. The perversion, the lust, the vain-glory, the idolatry of men and music, the pride, the sensuality. The useless books and the false prophecy. And now, the murder. Your shame, your fruit is now being spread abroad, as Almighty God warns the world against your false gospel. Among you we find that which is not even named among unbelievers. The hundreds of warnings you’ve ignored, the wisdom of the righteous, the caution of the fruitful, the charges of the apostolic messengers who have been sent to you. But you trust in yourselves, in the angels who have visited you, in the false prophets, in the signs and wonders, in the messages and the mandates you’ve received, ignoring the Scripture.
Who has bewitched you?
You who preach the impending judgment of God, why are you unconcerned with the one curse He set forth in the New Testament? How do you suppose to gain insight into the mysteries of His return without fully believing the message of His first coming? How could you attain such wisdom, while bypassing the gate to enter into it? No wonder the fruit of your foreboding is fear and angst and poverty, disobeying the command of the Lord to not worry about tomorrow (Mat. 6:34).
Why, when His apostle rose up indignant over one thing: the purity of the gospel, do you think that you will please Him with your wasted efforts over so many other things? Do you not remember that He made One Way? He delights in the overwhelming victory of His Son. He charged you to proclaim it, church victorious, even in death. He charged you to believe it, to obey it, to hold fast to it. But you have found other things to do.
OH, church, first in America and then worldwide, will you not rise up and call other gospels accursed? Will you not proclaim the foolhardiness? Are you so unfamiliar with your fullness, completeness, and victory in Christ that you could be so bewitched?
Who will guard his or her children, who are wasting their youth on futility in Jackson County, Missouri, the seat of Mormonism, the portal of Joseph Smith and Bob Jones, a graveyard of the gospel? Who will say, “Get those filthy rags of self-righteousness away from my son, he is fully clothed in the righteousness of Chrsit!” or “Do not teach my daughter to chant like the heathen with vain repetitions, she is filled with faith and walks daily in His power!” or “Do not allure the youth of my church with your offers of spiritual impartations, they know full well from the Scripture that they who believe are already indwelled with the fullness of Christ!” or “Do not call our disciples away from the fruitful labor of preaching the gospel and making disciples into the charade of insulated, religious barrenness, they know better than to take up a new mandate in denial of their Lord’s clear commission!”
Church, your sons and daughters are being devoured by wolves and discipled by false prophets!
Why are you so meek in the face of the one conflict which caused Paul to rise up by the Spirit and shout a rebuke and a curse? God help you awake from your slumber and your passivity.
To you, brothers and sisters, involved in IHOP, I charge you to come out. Not quietly or softly, speaking of a “journey.” But with due repentance! Awakened! Hating even the garments defiled by the flesh (Jude 1:23). I charge you to seek the gospel of Christ, and call every false gospel accursed. To reject false prophets, and turn to attend the sheep of God, rather than ravaging them to prop up a false movement. God have mercy, for all your seeing and hearing how blind and deaf you are!