I first heard about IHOP – the International House of Prayer - via facebook. Of course, I thought they were talking about the International House of Pancakes, the chain resaurant featuring many flavours of corn syrup to pour on flapjacks. I had no idea it was so controversial until I read an article in the New York Times. Now I can see what all the shouting is about. When I did see some assertions about IHOP, Bickle’s forerunner theology, and end-time prophecies fulfilled, my response was a shrug and “Nonsense,” which hurt those “friends” who are enamoured of Bickle and his praying down the eschaton.
This sort of muddle-headed and puropsely deceptive theology is what I have called before “heroic Christianity.” With our efforts, Jesus will return! We have the knowledge!
The “forerunner” part of this is dangerous. It contradicts what both Jesus and John the Baptist taught, that John’s time has been supplanted, and that those who follow God will model themselves on Jesus Christ, not on John the Baptist. It turns ordinary Christians who should be out living good plain lives of faith, humility and virtue into generals in the heavenly army. It elevates hubris through false ascetic practices. Mike Bickle has already been involved with a discredited “Prophets” movement, and he seems to have carried that mistake into his new heretical teachings.
I am particularly disturbed by his teaching about a “killing Jesus,” that the Son of Man will return, literally, with a sword in hand to destroy those who serve evil, and that – literally – the streets of Jerusalem will run with human blood. This is based on an exaggerated interpretation of the Revelation to St. John the Divine, commonly and incorrectly called the Revelations. John was caught up in the horrific persecutions of Christians under Nero; city streets did run with Christian blood. Certainly, John is offering visions of the return of Christ, but he is also offering Christians of his day comfort in their afflictions.
Bickle also promotes the false teaching that Christ cannot return until the temple is rebuilt, contradicting 2000 years of orthodox teaching that Jesus Christ Himself is the new temple, as He said in the statement that the temple would be torn down, but rebuilt in three days. Yes, He meant His own body and being. End of argument.
Don’t be pulled in and deceived by these false prophets. Bickle is just another nutbar looking to for his megalomania to be aggrandized by a lot of naive people who will donate money and time to his cause.