What do Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, Michael Brown and now Mike Bickle all have in common?
They deny their involvement in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
When we look at the writings of the head of the NAR C. Peter Wagner – when we read the works of ‘hyphenated’ NAR Apostle Bill Hamon, it becomes clearly evident that Mike Bickle and his Kansas City Fellowship/ Kansas City Prophets/ iHOP played a central role in establishing what is known today as the New Apostolic Reformation.
Recording their involvement in the 1980s, Bill Hamon referred to what Mike Bickle and Bob Jones were a part of then – the Prophetic-Apostolic Movement (PAM). (This is what Hamon called it.)
Unlike other NARpostles, Bickle has been very careful about using the title of ‘apostle’. Nevertheless, even back in the 1980s, he has been painting himself as a ‘hyphenated apostle’ (apostle/prophet) in the NAR, with Ernie Gruen documenting this progression back in 1988. So it is a blatant lie when iHOP states on their website: “IHOPKC has never claimed any membership or part in the NAR movement.” (When they ask the question, “Is IHOPKC part of the New Apostolic Reformation,” why didn’t they just give a yes or no response?)
Bob Jones’ prophecies and Mike Bickle’s involvement in the NAR (the NAR relies on relational networking – not membership), demonstrates that this FAQ on the iHOP website is not going to be an honest representation of the NAR, iHOP or Mike Bickle himselfThe FAQ exists to shut down honest dialogue and genuine people who raise these types of questions regarding Mike Bickle and iHOP. In this case, if people put up evidence on FaceBook regarding Bickle or iHOP being part of the NAR, people can simply copy/paste this statement to unfairly shut them and their valid argument down.
RECOGNIZING THE TACTICS OF NAR APOSTOLIC MINISTRIES:
Tactic 1 – blatant lying and trickery
A key signature tactic of leading NAR apostles, prophets and leaders of this global cult is their ability to lie to the general public about their involvement in the NAR or who they are. They lie about who they are and what they believe. In their FAQ, iHOP do exactly this. In fact, their history is built on the rejection of the bible in favour of new revelations, false prophecy, and deceptive tactics. This deception is used to further their cause and movement – we saw this when Mike Bickle attacked the integrity and ministry of Ernie Gruen – Gruen exposing how theologically cult-like they are. As we’ve written in the past, the nature of the NAR, since its inception back in the Latter Rain days of 1948, is to take over Christian churches and ‘cloak’ themselves under local denominational orthodoxy.
So when we read iHOP claim, “We believe in the authority of scripture and the supremacy of Jesus in all things, we believe in the Apostle’s Creed” and many “classic statements of Christian doctrine,” any Christian has the right to rule them out for explicitly lying to them (as do most NARpostles and NARpostolic ministries when they tout these types of claims). (See below.)
Tactic 2 – red herrings, semantics and category fallacies
“The more academic examinations of the NAR, the theological arguments are rooted in whether the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased in the first centuries (which leads to a position known as cessationism) or whether the gifts of the Holy Spirit continued through the Church age and are available to believers today (which leads to a position often known as continuationism.)”
The ‘cessationism versus continuationism’ argument is a category fallacy to put focus on the wrong thing, thus a red herring. This has been the tactic of the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) to have Christians embrace its demonic offspring known as the Charismatic RENEWAL Movement (CRM). This is because even Pentecostals knew that the restorationist teachings of the NOLR were heretical and condemned the idea of modern day governing apostles and prophets back in 1949. But the tactic of the NOLR/NAR was semantics. By making the argument over ‘cessationism versus continuationism’, they took away Christianity’s orthodox goal posts and fused it with their heretical restorationist heresies – thus painting Christianity as dead orthodoxy unless they embrace their heretical restorationist notions.
Every Christian believes in God’s providence and God’s healing if it is His will. Every Christian believes in the supernatural. Someone being born again is both miraculous and supernatural. Every Christian believes in the continual offices of evangelist, shepherd and teacher. The Christian faith cannot operate under these continual spirit-filled offices if it was not for the apostolic and prophetic offices that gave us the Old and New Testament. If we confess these gifts and offices continue to this day, even the most conservative teachers like John MacArthur should be considered by everyone as a continuationist. However the NOLR/NAR aren’t continuationists – they are restorationists. They believe God is RESTORING/RENEWING things to his church. And this is where the battle plays out.
Christianity (Continuationism) versus NOLR/NAR (Restorationism)
As soon as we accept the NOLR/NAR on these grounds, Christianity has to accept the most insane, lawless, wicked or even sex/murderous cults. Because Christianity rejects modern day apostles and prophets, (as the church has done with Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Latter Rain and even the late Jonestown cult), NARpostles accuse them of being cessationist – which is why the NARismatic movement accuses the historic Christian faith of being dead, traditional, religious and demonically possessed. In demonizing, dehumanizing, stereotyping and bullying Christianity in hopes of embracing their theology, the NARismatic movement has grown in leaps and bounds. No one wants to be consider themselves spiritually dead or quenching the Holy Spirit. (NOTE: The NOLR/NAR were the first to use these tactics on the church before the LGBTI movement did.)
Thus Bickle concludes he is a ‘restorationist’ by claiming, “IHOPKC would fall within the ‘continuationist’ camp.” All Christian churches obey 1 Cor 14:1 but Christianity does NOT believe in the continual office of Apostle and Prophet – which is why Bickle specifically used this scripture. Bickle shows his ‘restorationist’ hand by proceeding to link 1 Cor 14:1 of “that you may prophesy” to the NAR’s favorite verse in Ephesians 4 to justify the restored offices of Apostle and Prophet, “we believe that spiritual gifts are given to serve each other so that the body comes to maturity.” That language is lifted straight from Ephesians 4. He’s blurred 1 Cor 14:1 (gift of prophecy) with Eph 4 (office of prophet). Very different.
In other words, in typical NOLR/NAR fashion he has deceitfully switched categories to push NOLR/NAR ‘restorationist’ heresy.
And this is why the Charismatic RENEWAL movement was so deceitful. Christianity has always BELIEVED and EMBRACED the gifts (charisma) of the spirit but never the restored/renewed offices of apostle/prophet. The church has always known its spiritual parameters until the New Order of the Latter Rain came along with its Charismatic chaos candidates.
If Bickle is prepared to play semantics like this, you know he cannot be trusted – especially when he proclaims brazen statements like this: “There are no individuals with the title or office of prophet or apostle within the IHOPKC leadership team.” When Bickle talks about the history of his church (even before Bob Jones passed away), you often hear him elevate the prophetic office of men such as Bob Jones, Augustus and many others in his sermons and workshops. Maybe he has removed them since – which only makes him someone you really cannot trust.
WHY CAN WE DISMISS THEIR CLAIMS OF ORTHODOXY?
A really simple answer to this question is by examining what the NAR say about their own. Latter Rain acolyte and NAR Apostle Bill Hamon connects iHOP to the Latter Rain movement and enthusiastically educates his readers how essential Bob Jones and Mike Bickle were in helping establish end-time governing apostles and prophets in the NAR movement:
Quite frankly we could expose all the lies in this FAQ put out by iHOP. However, the fact that NAR churches and their leaders are not afraid to publicly lie to shut the mouths of their discerning critics and to please their followers, only goes to show that they are to be treated no differently than the worst of cults. For instance, we have NAR Apostles like Michael Brown claim that the NAR doesn’t even exist while Mike Bickle acknowledges that it does and attributes friends of Michael Brown to being a part of it. NAR Apostle Bill Johnsons claims not to be an Apostle of the movement but was acknowledged several years ago by C. Peter Wagner that he was one of the three apostolic pillars of the movement.
So why are these so-called ‘apostles’ of Jesus lying and hiding their ‘apostleship’?
Furthermore, the NAR and its leaders are the first to condemn, malign and slander orthodox Christianity, claim Christianity is “traditional, religious” or “dead” and have the audacity to parade their ‘New Wine Skin’ churches as being on the forefront of ‘the new thing’ God is doing. But when asked directly who they are and what they are – what do they do?
They use the ‘sheepskin’ of traditional and historical Christianity to give the impression they are legitimate Christian ministries. For instance, iHOP point us to their statement of beliefs where they claim:
“We believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God; that He is God incarnate, fully God and fully man” [Source]
Only to have Mike Bickle denounce Jesus Christ as “God incarnate” and Jesus as “fully God and fully man” in his sermons, espousing the heretical dominionist, kenotic Christ. In other words, just like NAR cults, they hide behind the ‘sheepskin’ of orthodoxy by copy/pasting orthodox belief statements to silence their critics while practicing whatever deception they like. Regarding iHOP espousing NAR dominion theology, Mike Bickle lies about this too. The NAR push their dominion theology through various mandates – two being the Dominion Mandate and another known as the Seven Mountain Mandate.
Bickle explicitly teaches the latter mandate – thus proving he lied in his FAQ.
A culture where deception flourishes creates sycophants and liars. These mindsets are reinforced in the NAR cult, specifically in this iHOP cult. None at the top or bottom of this movement can be held accountable to their wild, exaggerated or misleading claims. In only a few decades the NAR has raised up unstable, double-minded men who unashamedly lie to hold on to the financial and prestigious benefits that come with so-called Christian (or even divine) offices – then blatantly lie or deny their divine status or involvement with the NAR. The statement below of iHOP is proof of this. How else do you think Mike Bickle and iHOP rose to prominence?
(It’s also worth noting that iHOP acknowledges that the NAR has their own bible translation but doesn’t name Brian Simmons and his Passion Translation (TPT) as being that particular bible.
Here is iHOP’s attempt at deception in order to silence their critics.
What is IHOPKC’s stance on the New Apostolic Reformation?
In the summer of 2011 a term began to be used by many mainstream media outlets to refer to a Christian movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. The term was used pejoratively to distinguish this movement from orthodox Christianity and the International House of Prayer was included in these news reports and was said to be a leading voice in this movement. Here we answer some frequently asked questions regarding this issue.
1. Is IHOPKC part of the New Apostolic Reformation?
Although the term New Apostolic Reformation was popularized in the mainstream media, its origins are from a scholar known as Dr. C. Peter Wagner (1930-2016) who coined the term in 1994 after trying several alternatives such as “Neopentecostal,” “Neocharismatic,” “Independent,” “Post denominational” or “Nondenominational.” This name referred to a movement in the body of Christ at-large of churches with some charismatic/”Third-wave” (also a term coined by Wagner) similarities. He subsequently wrote of the NAR in his books The New Apostolic Churches (1998); Churchquake! (1999); Apostles and Prophets (2000); Changing Church (2004); and Apostles Today (2006).
Wagner has noted that this nomenclature has subsequently been used against him.
“NAR has become a tool in the hands of certain liberal opponents of the conservative [political] candidates designed to discredit them on the basis of their friendship with certain Christian leaders supposedly affiliated with the NAR.” (http://www.gloryofzion.org/docs/8-20-11_nar.pdf)
While any Christian scholar has an ability to name a movement, the question remains whether any organized movement exists and whether IHOPKC is part of that movement.
In much of the writing against NAR, there are strong implications that NAR is an organized movement with such things as “leaders,” “spokespeople,” “theology,” “interpretations of the Bible,” and even a NAR translation of the Bible. This presentation is misleading and disingenuous at best, as these same writers will add caveats that no such organizational apparatus or agreement between leaders and spokespeople exists. When examining this subject Dr. Roger Olson notes that he could discern no kind of organized movement, rather a “kind of umbrella term for a loose collection of independent ministries that have a few common interests.” (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2015/06/is-the-new-apostolic-reformation-movement-a-cult/)
IHOPKC has never claimed any membership or part in the NAR movement. While we know and honor some ministries who are identified as being part of the movement, we honor them as we would any other part of the Body of Christ.
This means we would have differences in theology and practice with these whom we would still consider brothers and sisters in Christ.
We believe in the authority of scripture and the supremacy of Jesus in all things, we believe in the Apostle’s Creed and many “classic statements of Christian doctrine” (http://hich schoww.gloryofzion.org/docs/8-20-11_nar.pdf). (IHOPKC’s statement of faith can be found here.) Our approach in relating to other members of the Body of Christ can be summed up in the common saying, expressed in various ways and attributed to various authors: in essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
2. Has IHOPKC had any organizational relationship to C. Peter Wagner?
While Mike Bickle personally knew and esteemed Peter Wagner as a brother in Christ, Peter had no organizational relationship with IHOPKC. Peter Wagner never spoke at an IHOPKC event and to our knowledge never visited IHOPKC. (Peter Wagner passed away in 2016.)
3. Does IHOPKC believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
While the term NAR may be used simply as a pejorative affiliation in the mainstream media, in the more academic examinations of the NAR, the theological arguments are rooted in whether the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased in the first centuries (which leads to a position known as cessationism) or whether the gifts of the Holy Spirit continued through the Church age and are available to believers today (which leads to a position often known as continuationism.) IHOPKC would fall within the “continuationist” camp, believing that today’s Church should also follow the apostle Paul’s encouragement to “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Cor 14:1 ESV)
Visitors to IHOPKC will quickly note that all members of the leadership team are simply known by their first name. While we believe in honoring each other, we believe that spiritual gifts are given to serve each other so that the body comes to maturity, not so that individuals can be honored by a title or office related to their gifts.
4. Is IHOPKC part of a movement led by people claiming to be apostles?
There are no individuals with the title or office of prophet or apostle within the IHOPKC leadership team. IHOPKC leads with an eldership team model, having no one with the title of apostle or prophet. The IHOPKC leadership team strongly and consistently emphasize that believers must check the teachings that happen from any teacher in our congregational settings against the Bible. Further the IHOPKC leadership team have robust discussions about differing theological interpretations.
5. Does IHOPKC govern a network of churches?
No. IHOPKC is friendly with many in the Body of Christ across denominational boundaries and a number have been inspired by what has happened in Kansas City and have established “Houses of Prayer” in their own city. IHOPKC does not have any governmental authority over any of these churches or spiritual communities. While IHOPKC loves to serve and resource individuals and churches outside Kansas City, the leadership of IHOPKC only extends to our Missions Base in Kansas City.
6. Does IHOPKC believe that the end-time church will operate in miraculous powers?
Yes. IHOPKC believes in the continuation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit beyond the first century. We believe that believers in the Body of Christ today can operate in gifts such as healing and prophecy. Eschatologically, IHOPKC holds a theological view known as historical premillenialism. This is a mainstream orthodox belief amongst Christians throughout church history. We believe that Jesus will return to earth and believe that, prior to His return, the earth will go through a great tribulation. In the midst of this trouble we believe that many believers will be what the book of Revelation terms “overcomers.” Part of this overcoming we believe is the church operating in unity with the Holy Spirit and operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit as outlined in the New Testament.
7. Does IHOPKC believe that before Jesus returns the end-time church will release Jesus’ judgments on the Antichrist?
Church history shows that there are four major ways in which scholars have interpreted the text of Revelation. IHOPKC interprets Revelation through a futurist lens, which is consistent with an historic premillennial position. This is not a unique approach to reading Revelation historically. It falls well within the scope of historic orthodoxy.
Because IHOPKC holds this hermeneutical approach, it means that we believe there is a connection between the prayers of the saints and the judgments of God described in Revelation. This should not lead to a caricature of renegade believers roaming around calling down judgments as some have portrayed it; however, in dismissing such caricatures, we cannot dismiss the scriptures that indicate a connection between prayer and the release of God’s judgement in the Antichrist’s evil empire.
In speaking of Revelation 8:5 conservative scholar G.E. Ladd states
“This verse  dramatically pictures the fact that it is in answer to the prayers of the saints that God’s judgments will fall upon the earth.” (George Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John, p. 125f.)
Mainstream evangelical preacher John Piper begins an entire sermon on this subject.
“The utterly astonishing thing about this text is that it portrays the prayers of the saints as the instrument God uses to usher in the end of the world with great divine judgments. It pictures the prayers of the saints accumulating on the altar before the throne of God until the appointed time when they are taken up like fire from the altar and thrown upon the earth to bring about the consummation of God’s kingdom.” (http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-prayers-of-the-saints-and-the-end-of-the-world)
8. Does IHOPKC use the NAR translation of the Bible?
IHOPKC leadership and faculty generally uses the New King James Version (NKJV) or English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible, although we do not require or specify any version in particular. We have no comment on the so-called NAR translation, having never used, endorsed, or sold this translation.
9. Does IHOPKC teach dominion theology?
We affirm that God’s purpose is for Jesus to come back to fully establish His kingdom rule over all the earth. After the second coming, the saints will rule the earth under the leadership of Jesus Christ when He sets up His government on earth in Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom (1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 5:10; 20:3–6). We believe that believers in this age are called to serve Jesus in many different spheres of society including politics and to help establish righteousness and justice in legislation when it is possible. We are to seek to be salt and light. However, we do not believe that most of society will be Christianized before Jesus returns. We believe that all the nations will follow the Lord and obey His Word after Jesus returns to establish His millennial kingdom.
We deny that the Church will take over all the governments of the earth before the return of Christ. In this we would differ from others who hold to more of a triumphalist eschatology that many organs of government will become Christianized before the return of Christ.
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