This is the final post in a series, primarily aimed at parents who have questions about sending their son or daughter to IHOPU or young people who want to know what they are getting into there at IHOPU or the wider IHOP-KC community.
When I was a child, the incidence of kidnappings were on the increase in the United States. The most manipulative trick out there, the one that made every parent’s blood run cold, was the predator who played on a child’s willingness to obey, “Your dad sent me. He said I was supposed to pick you up and take you home for him. I’m his friend.”
Parents everywhere sat down with their kids. “I will NEVER send a stranger to pick you up. Do you understand? NEVER. If someone says that I sent them, but I didn’t introduce you to them, then run away as fast as you can.”
The idea makes our blood run cold because it is so horrific in its violation. Why? Because it would work the best on the most obedient child. It is a tool that takes hold of everything that is right within the child, and preys on their virtue. It’s the opposite of alluring the naughty child with candy he knows he ought not to have.
So, in such a world, parents realized that they must not only teach their child to obey, but to discern their parents’ identity carefully from others. They could not just teach their children to obey adults, but had to teach them to ONLY obey the right ones. They had to teach their children their character, so their children could not be lied to.
My friends, the Lord God Almighty is a Good Father. In these posts, I have quoted the verses commanding us to beware false teachers and prophets over and over. Here is another one, from Paul to the elders in Ephesus, the heart of a father poured out to those he is leaving in charge, begging them to be as careful with the sheep as he had been:
…Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. Acts 20:28-31
Understand the heart behind these warnings. These are not doctrinal issues at core, but issues of love. Who will prey on the sheep, and who will protect them? Who has the right to speak as the oracles of God into the doctrines and practices of God’s church? Whose voice should we, the sheep of God, heed?
Friends, God has done much better than earthly parents ever could at making it clear what His character is like, what His voice sounds like, and how far and fast we should run away from strangers. He did it IN HIS WORD. Why are believers looking for new doctrines and revelations? WHY? Why are we even open to them? What is lacking in His Word that we would look for something new? It’s almost like we want the stranger to kidnap us.
He gave us complete instructions, “…everything that is needed for life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) He IS the truth, He gave us plain, full commands and told us to be busy spending our lives teaching others everything that he commanded (the Great Commission, Mat. 28), and He established His church, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Himself as the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2).
If He were going to change the plan, introduce new mandates, new paradigms, “change the expression of Christianity within one generation,” HE WOULD HAVE TOLD US IN HIS WORD.
This is a simple concept, but I have found it bounces off the most reasonable minds once they have accepted spiritual experiences as sufficient foundation for doctrine, (which is everyone who has accepted IHOP’s doctrines). For American readers, I will use this analogy. When a campaigner comes to your door talking about change, any citizen hopefully knows the difference between a city councilman who wants better parking meters and a senator who wants a federal law about campaign donations. And then, even as significant as that difference is, it is a far cry from an amendment to the constitution about who has the right to vote. You might sign the councilman’s petition without much thought, but hopefully you have some serious questions about a constitutional amendment.
However, if someone comes to your door to coerce you into supporting the institution of a NEW constitution, you note the foreign accent, look them over for firearms, and call the police. That kind of person is called a “revolutionary,” and if they’ve taken action to subvert the reigning government and institute a new one, they are treasonous. If it’s a time of war, they will be put to death. Do you see the distinction? When someone is proposing change, you had better assess if they have the authority required to make such a change, and how much they stand to gain if it is made (note the verse I quoted above about “drawing the disciples after themselves,” rather than after Christ).
For myself, I’ll admit I fell for all of it. I fell for the little personal prophecies that didn’t line up with the Word, and messed with my life. Even worse, I have wasted months waiting in passivity for “a word from God,” to give me direction when I could have been busy morning until night with the plain commands of Scripture. If you liken those things to the city councilman’s ideas, you could say I’ve fallen for the senators, as well. When they said that my city was destined to be a center of revival, with the stadiums filled with the lost seeing miracles and the dead being raised, I bought in. I told others this would happen, discrediting myself and mixing the true gospel (found in scripture) with nonsense (not found in scripture). Many of my compatriots in that movement are permanently damaged by their foray into false faith. Sadly, some of them have come out of this upside down, holding onto the unbiblical prophecies and letting go of the biblical principles of the gospel, repentance, and discipleship.
I even fell (briefly) for the “amenders,” the ones who want to tell us the new way God wants to move, to “bring the kingdom” in order to reach the lost. How it focuses on honor and healing and signs and wonders, instead the preaching of the true gospel, which confronts the need for salvation from utter depravity through repentance. I am horrified by these massive, weighty changes, that alter the believer’s thinking, lifestyle, focus, and ministry so drastically. I will write more about these.
But I’ve only fallen for one revolutionary ministry that had the gall to openly declare that God would “…change the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation.” That would introduce the paradigm of the Bridegroom and Lover instead of the biblical paradigm of the wretched sinner needing salvation. Jesus talked about the publican that beat his breast and cried out, “God have mercy on me, a sinner!” IHOP-KC talks about being “dark but lovely,” and “immature but not rebellious.” They present their teaching as if it is complementary, as they do all their “revelations.” But that is not how prophetic additions to scripture work. “This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.” Gal. 5:8-10
ONLY ONE revolutionary ministry claiming that God spoke audibly the mandates of 24/7 prayer and worship in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David instead of the Great Commission. They have protested to me that there is NO SUBSTITUTING of the Great Commission, that in fact they are so actively praying for the fulfilling of it! But that is just not how the kingdom works. No church can truly care for its sheep and run a 24/7 prayer room. (But I’ve seen churches become Houses of Prayer, and lots of church go-ers leave for Houses of Prayer.) No person can attend to the Lord’s commands to make disciples, serve the local church body, provide for his family, parent his kids, and love his wife as Christ loves the church, AND fulfill the new mandates given to Bob Jones and Mike Bickle. It can’t be done in real life, and additions to scripture end up in practice as substitutions of scripture. In real life, I remember a missions base I visited that had more than a hundred missionaries really into the prayer movement, multiple intercessory ministries (often they would travel to another country to intercede!!), and we only found one person on the base who regularly used the time in his week to try to preach the gospel to the local people. ONE. But they were all supported as foreign missionaries.
ONLY ONE revolutionary ministry that is waiting on myriad fulfillments of cataclysmic prophecies about the visitations of the Spirit that are to come, extensive teaching on how to encounter and experience the glory realm, catastrophic judgments to be preparing for…only one that is so fully built on the prophecies about what is to come rather than the testimony of what has already been done. Only one that is such a systematic departure from the foundation of the apostles and prophets into expectation and preparations built on extra-biblical revelation.
ONLY ONE revolutionary ministry that could fill a young man’s head with extra-biblical nonsense for four whole years, and give him a degree that leaves him fundamentally no more able to lead his wife, parent his children, or disciple a real person into any sort of wholeness than before. And then has the effect of leaving him too puffed up with knowledge to discover the one thing he really ever needed to know: how badly he needs the salvation of Jesus in his REAL life.
ONLY ONE revolutionary ministry that prophesies about incredible supernatural, X-men type super antics for the forerunner generation, but can’t help their own except to wait for an “awakening” type visitation: can’t help a young man to be delivered from nightmares, a little boy to be delivered from demons, a young woman from a suicidal spirit, a founding member deliver his wife out of her prayer idolatry that keeps her physically bowed to the Bible for hours a day, and on, and on, and on. I hear so many stories of people who want help being sent away for outsourced help with addictions, anger problems, disorders, etc. How much more simply can I put it…the real Jesus SAVES! If you cannot help people with these things though they want it, you are distracted from the essence of New Testament Christian life and the power of the Gospel. Jesus did not come to start a prayer movement, He came to SAVE!
I bought it, without questioning WHY IF IT IS FROM GOD, IT IS NOT CLEARLY LAID OUT IN THE BIBLE. This ultimate form of manipulation, (“THE LORD SAID…”) that reached in and grabbed me in my most vulnerable place: my ardent desire to obey God at any cost. I was afraid to miss what God would have me do. I wanted to obey Him with all my heart.
People have tried to tell me that my real problem was that I was too zealous. Too zealous? Find that in the Word for me! There’s the devil offering his solution (passivity) to his problem. No, my real problem was that I was not clear on what my Father sounded like (HIS WORD), and that He would NEVER send someone to add to it what is plainly not there. Now I am clear.
I will never be manipulated again by someone who claims to hear from God and knows what the church needs to do next, even if it as compelling as a global youth harvest or adopting all the orphans or freeing the sex-slaves. If it is not clearly laid out in the Bible as a fundamental command for believers, then that good-intentioned, tearful lady preaching her works is dead wrong. That is NOT what the church needs to do next, and no one who questions her is in unbelief. Of course, she can get up and say, “I have been led to adopt an orphan.” And she should stop right there, and listen to a man teach out of the Bible what the church is supposed to do next (hint: it will be similar to what they’ve been supposed to do for the last 2,000 years).
I will never be afraid to walk away from someone who acts like I have “unbelief” because I don’t buy their supernatural memoranda from God. I have watched the lives of people I love deteriorate into utter ruin, all while receiving steady stream of words “from God” and spiritual encounters that continually confirm to them just how right they are, how all their choices were good, how all the bad fruit is not their responsibility. I have confronted people I love with scripture, trying to rescue them from the destruction that is plainly coming, to have them return and tell me how God “showed them” that I was wrong and filled with pride. People who disobey Scripture are in unbelief, not people who question prophecies.
I won’t ever take a sign or a wonder to be from God, no matter how good it looks, if the doctrine that arises from it deviates from or adds to Scripture in any way. What sign do I need? The Son of God raised on the third day, and gave me resurrection life. Every area I have been willing to humble myself and confess that sin is the problem, He has met me with all power and deliverance. I have a thousand testimonies from every area of life: marriage, parenting, physical healing, emotional restoration. I know my Shepherd; He never fails. That is not just an idea or belief system or the chorus of a song, it is my ACTUAL STORY OF MY REAL LIFE.
I will never listen to someone who has a word from God about the “NEW” (wine, movement, ways, doctrine, revelations, DECEPTION) instead of application of the everlasting and unchanging, the Word of God. No movement, no harvest, no real revival has ever been produced by believers receiving an extra-biblical blueprint and laying their plans. All power, whether saving one lost sheep or hundreds at a time, comes from the same place it has always come from. The preaching of the true gospel unto repentance and obedience to the Word of God. Once the gospel of repentance and faith in the LORD Jesus Christ was made clear to me, I have found that it needs no ADDITIONS. WHATSOEVER. I am full, not empty, and so additives make me sick. When I used to be empty, bound and bored, unfamiliar with my need for and the joy of personal metanoia and scanning the horizon for the “works of God,” I was easy prey for any smooth-talking, semi-accurate prophetic voice to manipulate.
Someone once said to me, “I am afraid that you will blaspheme the Holy Spirit,” even though there was no area of biblical disobedience in my life, because I did not receive these sexual deviants as prophets of God or the false teachings that have arisen out of their prophecies. I was living a holy life, resisting the chains offered to me (in the form of “revelation”) by unholy men. The irony was completely lost on her. But the force of the fear (that I would be reprobate!) in that little sentence…she uncovered for me the strong spirit of manipulation and control behind the thing and exposed it in its salacious drool, lusting for the souls of believers.
“Won’t your Father reject you if you don’t listen to his prophets and join his movement on the earth and hear what he is saying through his anointed ones? What if the end comes, and you do not have enough oil? How can you consecrate yourself enough to know you are really saved?” the deceiver hisses, bringing God’s little ones into terror, manipulating them through fear into submitting to these false teachings. Not all are in fear; some people love it. They want extra nonsense to give them a sense of self, of achievement, of spirituality. They can have all this garbage, because in fact, they refuse to part with it. But this website is for those who are drowning, searching for the true God in the midst of this chaos.
My Father speaks to me safely, firmly, and finally through His Word. He did not send a sexually immoral crazy man to tell me the new way to do the Christian life and usher in the second coming, and He will not judge me for refusing this new information in favor of His everlasting Word. On the contrary.
When you understand His voice is the Scripture, what His message of salvation sounds like, you can firmly say as I have learned to say, “NO. I don’t listen to strangers.” And turn and run away as fast as you can.
Friend (I am speaking to born-again believers), if you have suppressed the voice of the indwelling Spirit inside of you that is urging you to follow the Shepherd out of all this foolishness because of a fear of disobeying God, I urge you. Believe on Him who He has sent, who is FULLY represented in the Word of God. Find a simple, loving, Bible-believing fellowship where you can love, grow, and live simply learning righteousness according to the Word of God (1 Thess. 4:11).
Note: I love the gift of prophecy, earnestly desire it , prophesy personally more than most people I know, and have been abundantly blessed and transformed by its proper use, subject to the paradigm of the gospel as presented in the New Testament. (1 Cor. 14:1-5) There is much more to be said about the proper place of prophecy, but this post is mostly about what prophecy is NOT for. It is most definitely NOT for introducing new doctrines, understandings, or revelations of Christ and the kingdom that are not plainly found in Scripture. Here is a great article on this issue from a more theological perspective written by a brother in a part of the church that’s been fighting this good fight for over 400 years.