International House of Prayer

The International House of Prayer, or IHOP, says on its website that it is

“Committed to praying for the release of the fullness of God’s power and purpose, as we actively win the lost, heal the sick, feed the poor, make disciples, and impact every sphere of society — family, education, government, economy, arts, media, religion, etc.”1

But what does that mean? Judging by the church’s actions and affiliations, it means an astonishing amount of bigotry toward anyone not following a fundamentalist Christian lifestyle — especially those who are gay or who support women’s reproductive rights.

Take a look at some of the statements attributed to IHOP’s leaders, as well as the agendas of the organizations and individuals that IHOP is affiliated with:

  • The International House of Prayer’s founder, Mike Bickle, claims that Christians who are gay are opening themselves up to attacks from Satan. Bickle, who is best known for saying  Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist2 and arguing that the “gay marriage agenda” is “rooted in the depths of Hell,”3 said in an interview about homosexuality that gays and lesbians must “declare war” against their sexual orientation or will face “flaming missiles of the Evil One.”4 (RightWingWatch.org)
  • IHOP is affiliated with the Desert Stream and Living Waters “ex-gay” ministries5 which promote “therapy” that purports to turn gays into heterosexuals. These therapies have been condemned by all leading medical and mental health organizations in the United States, including the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association6. Consider the words of one man who was active in the ex-gay ministry movement and has since left:

“There’s psychological damage … when sexual orientation remains homosexual. I certainly heard stories and knew people who committed suicide. I’ve seen what I believe is a higher incidence of risky behavior and alcohol and drug use among a lot of people who go through an ex-gay ministry.”7 (Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, Winter 2007)

  • Lou Engle, an evangelical who has spoken at IHOP conferences and whose books and sermons are for sale on the IHOP website, has openly affiliated with and supported individuals who work to push through of legislation aimed at gay people — including a bill in Uganda that would have made homosexuality punishable by death. Engle praised the country’s “courage” and “righteousness” in promoting the bill.8 (The New York Times)
  • In associating closely with Engle, IHOP is associating with a man who believes that the tornado that killed more than 150 people in Joplin, Mo., in 2011 was sent by God. At IHOP’s 2011 Onething conference, Engle reiterated his claim that the Joplin tornado was a sign of “the beginning of God’s redemptive judgments” for abortion.9
  • Alarming reports from former IHOP interns have surfaced about the treatment they received while in the organization. One former IHOP staff member and Christian blogger recounts the use of sleep deprivation, mandatory fasts and other cult-like isolationist practices, such as not being allowed to have an outside job. IHOP tightly monitors and controls information and freedom to leave IHOP premises. Protesting or failing to comply results in strict disciplinary actions, such as manual labor or the loss of free time.10
  • Other former interns complain

“that the sensory overload and isolation had left them unable to think for themselves, and that some leaders had urged them to avoid contact with skeptical parents.”11

These are only a few examples of the statements and worldviews that IHOP supports, either directly or through close association. We encourage anyone attending the Onething conference to learn more about the IHOP organization, whose radical and dangerous views are described in numerous reports widely available online, and ask themselves whether this is a group worthy of their support.

__________

  1.  http://www.ihopkc.org/about/
  2. Watch video: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/rick-perry-partners-pastor-who-thinks-oprah-precursor-antichrist
  3. Watch video: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/rick-perry-ally-bickle-says-marriage-equality-rooted-depths-hell
  4. Watch video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcNnhTQv2D8&feature=youtu.be
  5. http://www.desertstream.org/Groups/1000040180/Desert_Stream_Ministries/Looking_For_Help/Friends_of_Desert/Friends_of_Desert.aspx
  6. http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy
  7. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2007/winter/coming-out
  8. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/03/world/africa/03uganda.html?ref=africa&_r=2&
  9. Listen: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/lou-engle-has-prophecy-looming-natural-disasters-and-economic-wreckage-because-legal-abortio
  10.  http://gospelmasquerade.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/why-i-believe-ihop-is-a-cult/
  11.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/us/10prayer.html?_r=1&http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/us/10prayer.html?_r=5&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23&

2 Replies to “International House of Prayer”

  1. Mike Bickle’s own nephew is a drug user, thief, uses girls to try to prove his own sexuality. I’m not sure if he’s questioning it himself or just trying to prove he’s not gay.

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