To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. Titus 1:15-16
Some of the most beautiful, sincere believers I have ever met are part of the IHOPKC community. Devoted lovers of God, caring, eager, willing…rare and precious.
I think of one woman in particular. A holy woman, shining, beautiful in her kindness and love, a true worshipper, soft-hearted, humble, and trustworthy. If she were the face of IHOP, you would not want to look away. If she were their fruit, you would call this a very good tree. If you know people involved in IHOP, it would not be that odd for you to add, “And I respect them more than any Christians I know.”
IHOP has a way of skimming the cream off the top of local churches. Christians who are disheartened by carnality and hypocrisy in their local church, and young people filled with real zeal who are looking for the power and purpose they read about in their Bible but do not see in their fellow congregants: these are the types who are often drawn to the International House of Prayer. So you may know the so-and-so’s who are soooo wonderful and moved there last year, and you may just adore young Miss Fire who did an internship last year and is more in love with Jesus than ever.
“To the pure, all things are pure…”
There is a safety and refuge in Christ that does not disappear because your environment is unsafe. On the contrary. If a pure-hearted follower of Christ flies 1,000 miles to the prayer room, seeking to know Him more, guess what? They are probably gonna know Him more. They are probably gonna share in Jesus’ promise from the sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
Whether you visit IHOPKC to pray and worship, or IHOP pancake house with Bible in hand, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, you will be filled (hope you enjoy my pun). God is good. Unfortunately, most believers are too ignorant of their individual place in the kingdom and too awed by corporate expressions to ascribe the fruit of their seeking to God’s goodness, rather than attribute it to the conference, the worship team, or the room.
In other words, you were filled because you hungered. You were blessed because you worshiped the Living God. You were healed because of your faith. These are biblical principles. Instead of preaching Christ and the Bible, ignorant believers preach, “You gotta visit this place (or hear this music, or experience this environment…)!!!”
My point is, with any movement, it can be hard to distinguish as you seek to discern the fruit, which fruit you are looking for. Here’s an analogy: IHOP is full of transplants. It is mostly derived out of other churches. Its membership only has a very small number of converts. So if I take a bunch of young orange trees carefully tended in an orchard, which have some oranges hanging from their branches, and place them in a greenhouse filled with toxic gas, when the oranges fall, does the greenhouse get credit?
Going back to my beautiful friend I mentioned in the beginning. Was she IHOPKC’s face or fruit? Nope. She was the fruit of godly careful parents, healthy, stable church, and years of righteous instruction. BEFORE IHOPKC.
This is almost always the case with the people who are stable and fruitful (and precious and wonderful!!) in that community.
To discern IHOPKC’s fruit, you need to track its impact. Not its entrants. Despite all their protests, Tyler and Bethany Deaton are IHOPKC’s fruit. The perverse “cult” was formed in the context of their whole-hearted jump into IHOPKC teaching, doctrines, and practices as well as other prophetic streams. Tyler was massively influenced in particular by Rick Joyner’s book Final Quest . THIS CANNOT BE IGNORED. The bright new faces are not the fruit of these movements, the state of the faithful adherents over years are.
Don’t be confused. “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure…”