FAQs and Controversies (incl. Affirmations and Denials)

Our approach to handling sensitive information about a person’s sin or other wrongdoing

When someone in our church family or organization mistreats or sins against another individual in any way—physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, relationally—the IHOPKC leadership is committed to a biblical process of healing and restoration for all parties, including an approach to see the offender come to a place of genuine repentance for their wrongdoing. If anyone has information that will help in the healing process of someone who has been mistreated, then we ask that it be shared privately with one of our leaders—a leader who is involved in the healing process or a leader who is a position of authority over either of the parties involved.

Our desire is to steward sensitive information about all people in redemptive ways that create a safe environment to bring restoration and healing to anyone who has been mistreated. We have no desire to use sensitive negative information about either the offender or the offended for any purpose other than to promote love, life, and healing for all—especially those who have been mistreated. If the offender is genuinely repentant and working in good faith towards the restoration of all parties, our past experience indicates that communication about the situation by those who are not involved in the process is usually detrimental, and, unless it is necessary for the process of healing, we will not give out sensitive information about any of the parties. We take sin seriously, but we also take redemption seriously. We care about both.

If the mistreatment or abuse is of a criminal nature, the IHOPKC leadership remains committed to support the work of the authorities to act in accordance with the various legal processes that are applicable and required.

In light of the sexual, emotional, physical, and spiritual abuse that occurs in our society, we emphasize that our leadership team greatly values the safety of all of our people with a particular focus on providing a safe environment for those who are most vulnerable in our midst (Please find our policies for child safety). We have zeal to identify any people who have shown any propensity towards predatory behavior and follow actions that will ensure they never come into contact with the vulnerable.

Some in the news media expose sensitive negative information due to their sincere desire for justice and for redemptive actions to be taken that will bring healing. Others make information known for less noble reasons—some promoting other agendas, seeking to make a name for themselves; some using such stories to attack those who hold different worldviews, specifically on social issues; or some even simply engaging in social voyeurism.

May the Lord show His mercy and grace to all of us. Lord, give us wisdom on how to walk in love, bringing Your healing and restoration to honor the dignity of every person that we communicate with and relate to.

Ernie Gruen and Mike Bickle’s Joint Statement from 1993

May 16, 1993

This is a joint statement from the leadership of Full Faith Church of Love Ministries and Metro Vineyard Fellowship of Kansas City.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons . . . For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.

—1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12 (NASB)

Ernie Gruen and Mike Bickle have forgiven each other of all offenses. Their senior leadership has come together in a spirit of forgiveness; we also ask the Body of Christ to forgive us of any offenses that we have caused the Church universal. We feel it is time to bring to a close the events of the past. We believe it is time to go on and to seek to heal past wounds. We want to publicly lay down any personal animosities, wounds, or misunderstandings between the two churches. Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ as one Body, we want to be joined and knit together in His love, “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3, NASV). We desire the Body of Christ represented by our churches to flow together in the love and mercy of God and begin to rebuild relationships and friendships.

Ernest J. Gruen

Mike Bickle

Download a PDF document of the joint statement »

Can evangelical believers fellowship with other Christian traditions such as Catholic, Orthodox, Eastern, and Coptic?

Several IHOPKC leaders recently participated in an event hosted by United in Christ called Kairos 17. IHOPKC helped the United in Christ team by letting them use IHOPKC’s building. The purpose of this event was to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the 40th anniversary of the Kansas City Charismatic Conference with a summit of different leaders from different traditions and denominations in the Body of Christ.

The glorious destiny of the Bride of Christ is a sign and wonder; that the mature and unified Church would be presented to Jesus “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:27) is certainly something to marvel at when you consider that the history of the church is oftentimes a history of broken men and women with wrong ideas about each other and more importantly about God. Yet we believe that the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17 that the church would be perfect in unity will come to pass before the return of Jesus.

While the history of all church traditions is a history of schisms and divisions, we still believe that there are born-again believers in Jesus in widely diverse traditions such as the Eastern Church, the Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church and the Catholic Church. We value the friendship and fellowship of all born-again believers that love Jesus, seek to obey his leadership, honor the Bible as authoritative in matters of faith and ethics, and value the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the fellowship of believers.

In embracing believers from different traditions we want to emphasize that in doing so we are not embracing or endorsing the religious institutions and authority structures of any of these traditions or denominations. We recognize that in many of these traditions doctrines and practices have been promoted which we would firmly reject as unbiblical such as prayer to the saints, etc. In fellowshipping with believers from different Christian traditions we are not ignoring these doctrinal differences, but we do recognize that unity of the faith is not necessarily unity of doctrine. At the same time we celebrate statements such as the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between Lutherans and Catholics and Pope Francis’ affirming statements of Martin Luther’s reforms concerning justification by faith which was the initial impetus for the Reformation 500 years ago.

We invite you to watch this video of Mike Bickle recounting his experience of meeting the Pope:

How can I learn more about the house of prayer?

There is no substitute for learning about a house of prayer by going and experiencing it for yourself. We invite you to come and discover for yourself what the International House of Prayer of Kansas City is about. Come for one of our events—conferences, camps, weekends—or if you can come for a longer period, consider participating in one of our three- and six-month internships.

How do music and singing fit into a house of prayer?

We are in the midst of a global worship movement, focused on prayer and intimacy with God. It is vital that prayer becomes enjoyable for every believer; it releases a spirit of devotion and  fills the heart with worship.

Many who have begun houses of prayer will attest to the “rock-pile” prayer meetings, where one feels as though he or she is simply chipping away little by little at the resistance around them, with very little anointing and power. Fortunately, through God’s sovereign design, when worship is combined with intercession, a spiritual stirring occurs through the corporate body of believers.

Music awakens the heart to beauty. Since God is a musical being and we have been created in His very image, we have been made with a musical spirit. Almost every person finds solace, comfort, or expression in music. Again, this is God’s design. In heaven, music and verbal expression (prayer) are never separated from one another. We base most of our prayer meetings in the house of prayer upon this concept and value.

When King David instituted the tabernacle, he knew that worship and devotion were major components of day-and-night intercession. He must have possessed deep revelation of how heaven hosts a prayer meeting. We are seeking to emulate this heavenly model, found in Revelation 5:8. We call this particular model “harp and bowl intercession.”

Why are the concepts of beauty and enjoyable prayer important for the house of prayer?

The highest expressions of beauty are the beauty of God (see Ps. 27:4) and the beauty He imparts to the Bride of Christ (see Eph. 5:27; cf. Ps. 149:4). These two realms of beauty provide a solid foundation and fuel for night-and-day prayer.

Fascination: The heart of man was designed to be fascinated with who God is and what He looks like—never to be dull and lifeless. Part of our journey is rediscovering how amazingly beautiful and fascinating He is.

Confidence: As we begin to understand how amazingly beautiful He is, we also begin to understand that He has passed His own beauty on to us. We stand confident in His love and grace, sustained in affection, not in shame or fleshly motivation.

Pleasure and joy are indispensable to the house of prayer. He assured us through the prophet Isaiah that He would give us joy in the place of prayer (see Isa. 56:7). The psalmist said, “At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).

In the house of prayer, we are operating under a paradigm of a God who is beautiful, fascinating, and full of delightful pleasures. These qualities are inexhaustible on this side of eternity and are a worthy and wise pursuit for the human heart.

Is a certain prayer format important?

It is important that the house of prayer be organized, so that there is no confusion for leaders and participants. We believe God works through anointed leadership that allows freedom in the Spirit. God is the Head, and He looks to partner with us here on the earth.

Individual houses of prayer in different cities function somewhat differently from each other, and usually takeon the “flavor” of the region for which they are contending. The format at IHOPKC is 24/7 prayer and worship. We have been going nonstop since September 19, 1999, and we have set our hearts to continue until the return of Christ Jesus to earth.

Where is the concept of the house of prayer found in the Bible?

The phrase house of prayer is from Isaiah 56:7, where it is used twice: “These [foreigners] I will bring to My holy mountain and give them joy in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

Jesus refers to this verse when casting the money changers from the temple, as recorded in Mark 11:17: “Then He taught, saying to them, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations”? But you have made it a den of thieves.'” (Transcribed also in Mt. 21:13 and Lk. 19:46.)

The heart of the house of prayer is perhaps best captured by David’s heart cry in Psalm 27:4: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.”

King David established the tabernacle of David. Referred to in many parts of the Bible, this house of prayer is best described in 1 Chronicles 16:1–37:

So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it . . . And he [David] appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the LORD God of Israel . . . So he [David] left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister before the ark regularly, as every day’s work required. (1 Chr. 1, 4, 37)

The best picture of what the house of prayer strives for can be found in the book of Revelation, in the many descriptions of the redeemed gathered before the throne of God, such as:

The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (Rev. 5:8–9)

We have started a house of prayer in our city and have named it “International House of Prayer [Our City]”; should we refer to ourselves as “IHOP” or “IHOP [Our City]”?

IHOP is a registered trademark of IHOP IP, LLC, the parent company of International House of Pancakes. As such, IHOPKC urges other houses of prayer against any unauthorized use of “IHOP” or any geographic variation thereof, i.e., an abbreviation for a city, state, region, country, or other geographic area added to “IHOP,” such as IHOPNY or IHOP [OurCity].

What is the Bridal Paradigm?

We affirm that the Bridegroom message is about Jesus’ emotions for us, His beauty, His commitments to us (to share His heart, home, throne, secrets, and beauty), and our response of wholehearted love and obedience to Him. This message starts with experiencing Jesus’ heart, emotions, and affections for us, and understanding that He delights in us, enjoys us, values our work, and calls us to partner with Him in ministry.

We affirm that the bridal paradigm refers to having a bridal perspective of the kingdom. As Christians, we see the kingdom through the eyes of a bride, with wholehearted, loyal love for God. There are many paradigms of the kingdom of God in Scripture, including agricultural, military, and economic paradigms. The Spirit uses the bridal paradigm of the kingdom to transform our hearts, so that the first and great commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Mt. 22:37–38) might take first place in our lives.

We deny, we refuse, all sensual overtones in proclaiming Jesus as the Bridegroom. Jesus is not our lover or boyfriend. We do not go on “dates” with Jesus. Receiving the “kiss of God’s Word” (Song 1:2) has nothing to do with physically kissing God. Neither the spiritual interpretation of the Song of Solomon nor references to “the romance of the gospel” have anything to do with sensuality, but with the adventuresome love that is filled with a spirit of abandonment that sacrificially loves and obeys Jesus. An example of this is seen when Paul and Silas sang songs of love to Jesus after being beaten and thrown into prison (Acts 16:22–26).

Jesus was the first to introduce the bridal paradigm to the Church. He referred to Himself as a bridegroom (Mt. 9:15); He compared the kingdom to His Father arranging a marriage for Him (Mt. 22:2); He described ministry as those encountering Him as a bridegroom (Mt. 25:1); He will return in answer to the prayers of His Church crying out in her bridal identity—“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’” (Rev. 22:17).

Passages that point to Jesus as the Bridegroom God: Isaiah 54:4–12; 62:2–5; Jeremiah 2:2; 3:14; 31:32, Ezekiel 16:13–15, 32; 23:1–45; Hosea 1:2; 2:7, 14–23; 3:1–5; Matthew 9:15; 22:1–14; 25:1–13; John 3:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-32; Revelation 19:7-9; 21:9; 22:17.

I have heard the phrase “intimacy with God” at IHOPKC. What does this mean?

We affirm that spiritual intimacy with God refers to developing a deep personal relationship with God through the Spirit and the Word. In other words, it is based on a deep understanding and knowledge of what the Word of God says about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

We deny that spiritual intimacy is associated with anything related to human sensuality.

Explanation: For example, in Song of Songs 1:2, the phrase “kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” (NKJV) can be seen as an analogy, a divine metaphor referring to Jesus imparting revelation of the words of His mouth to our hearts. We speak of “the kisses of His Word,” not of physical kisses from Jesus.

What does IHOPKC believe about the use of prophecy?

We affirm that the Bible is the inerrant and sole objective source of direction and wisdom for the life of a believer. We believe in the operation of the prophetic ministry as a source of edification, exhortation, and comfort from the Lord (1 Cor. 14:3). We believe that the subjectivity of the prophetic ministry must be vigorously tested against the inspired and infallible Scriptures that God gave for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).

We deny that subjective prophetic experiences are equal to the inspired Word of God. In other words, all personal prophecy must uphold and honor the Scripture.

Explanation: Simple prophecy is limited to edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3). It is to enrich our spiritual life, rather than give direction in the domestic areas of our life. Edification speaks of spiritually building or edifying someone’s spirit by confirming their destiny or God’s purpose for their life. The most common way to edify a person through simple prophecy is to give a Scripture that has been previously important to them. Exhortation includes calling people to persevere and to not give up on their promises to God in hard times, and to not give in to sin. Comfort speaks of making known God’s perspective in a great disappointment or setback in a person’s life, by giving God’s perspective in telling them that God has a plan in their time of pressure.

We urge people to avoid giving others prophetic direction in the domestic areas of their life. This includes issues related to spousal designation, bearing children, changing jobs, moving, buying or selling (e.g., a house), leaving one church for another, etc. We may give godly counsel to one another in domestic areas without presenting it as a prophecy. Personal prophecies should be given with others as witnesses (we request that prophecies be recorded when possible). Some people have an over-reliance on dreams for direction in their domestic lives. God never intended to direct people mostly by dreams. Yes, God does use dreams to give some direction; however, dreams are not to be a substitute for gaining wisdom from Scripture. Some people rely on dreams for decisions because it absolves them from responsibility and lacking wisdom if the decision turns out to be wrong (Eccl. 5:3, 7).

What is the tabernacle of David?

We affirm that the Holy Spirit is orchestrating a global worship and prayer movement that will operate in great authority (Mt. 21:13; Lk. 18:7–8; Rev. 5:8, 8:3–5, 22:17; cf. Isa. 62:6–7; Joel 2:12–17, 32). This prayer movement will operate in the spirit of the tabernacle of David.

We deny that the restoration of the tabernacle of David is the same as the end-time prayer movement.

Explanation: In the days of King David, he established a tabernacle that had singers and musicians who ministered to the Lord night and day. Today, the prayer movement is in the spirit of David’s tabernacle. This means that the prayer movement will have some components of the tabernacle of David, specifically pertaining to singers and musicians.

The promise of the restoration of the tabernacle of David refers to the governmental restoration of David’s international rule as part of the restoration of national Israel in the millennial kingdom.

The context of Amos 9:11–12 is the governmental rule of Jesus from Jerusalem over all the nations. In Acts 15:13–18, James referred to Amos 9:11 declaring that Gentiles should be accepted into the predominantly Jewish Body of Christ, without needing to convert to Judaism. The apostles understood that in the end times, God would reestablish the Messianic kingdom over all the nations. God had just visited the Gentiles with salvation at Cornelius’s house (Acts 10). This was in agreement with Old Testament prophecy. James quoted Amos to prove that many Gentiles will be saved in the context of the restoration of the Davidic dynastic reign. This restoration will, of course, include David’s heart for worship and prayer. Though Amos 9:11 is not prophesying primarily about 24/7 intercessory worship, this kind of worship-based prayer will be a foundational reality in the release of Jesus’ worldwide rule over the nations. The prophetic word given to Mike Bickle in May 1983 was that “God would release 24-hour-a-day prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David;” in other words, it would involve prophetic singers and musicians. The practice of worship and intercession is not, in itself, the actual restoration of David’s tabernacle.

What is IHOPKC’s view on marriage?

The IHOPKC leadership team upholds the New Testament view of the sanctity of sex in the context of marriage between one man and one woman. However, we strongly oppose victimization or violence against any sector of society that disagrees with the biblical view. We honor the dignity and rights of all who differ from us.

What does IHOPKC believe about the Manifest Sons of God theology?

We affirm that all born-again believers will be “manifest” as sons of God after the second coming of Christ.

We deny that we will experience the fullness of our inheritance as sons of God before Jesus returns.

Explanation: Some uphold the false teaching that in this age believers can have faith that will enable them to attain to qualities of life that are reserved only for believers in the resurrection.

What does IHOPKC believe about “the Latter Rain” theology?

We affirm that the Church will experience the greatest outpouring of the Spirit in history before Jesus returns (Joel 2:28–32). This outpouring will result in a great ingathering of souls and a renewing of the Church so that believers will walk in godliness as declared in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:1–7:28). We affirm the presence of the fivefold ministry for the equipping of the saints (Eph. 4:11–13).

We deny the distinctive doctrines that go beyond Scripture that are often associated with the Latter Rain theology that was popularized in the 1950s.

Explanation: Some have wrongly identified our ministry today with the false teachings that were popularized by some in the Latter Rain movement. At no time in the past did we have any relationship with this movement.

What does IHOPKC believe about 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 politics and to help establish righteousness and justice in legislation. We do not have the assurance that all laws and governments will be changed until after the second coming of Jesus when He establishes His millennial kingdom.

We deny that the Church will take over all the governments of the earth before the return of Christ.

Explanation: Some believe and teach that all governments on earth will be transformed by the Church before the second coming of Jesus.

What does IHOPKC believe about “Joel’s Army”?

We affirm that the army in Joel 2:1–11 was an ungodly Babylonian army that destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC. We believe that this passage has a double fulfillment in that it also points to the Antichrist’s army that will attack Israel at the end of the age. We affirm that Joel was prophesying about the lifestyle of godly believers in Joel 2:12–17.

We deny that Joel 2:1–11 describes the end-time Church.

Explanation: The term Joel’s army has been used to signify the people who walk out the principles of prayer with fasting as taught in Joel 2:12–17. The term has been used much like “Joseph Company,” “Gideon Band,” or “David Company” to signify the people who embraced the godly qualities that Joel taught about prayer, fasting, and wholehearted obedience. Paul Cain had a prophetic word about a “Joel’s army in training,” referring to a group of people who would give themselves to prayer and fasting according to Joel 2:12–17. When used like this, “Joel’s army” does not refer specifically to the destroying army mentioned in Joel 2:1–11, but to people who walk out the lifestyle portrayed in Joel 2:12–17. The misunderstanding comes from giving the title “Joel’s army” to both the destroying army (Joel 2:1–11) and the group of people who give themselves to fasting and prayer (Joel 2:12–17).

What is IHOPKC’s stance on the “God Loves Uganda” documentary?

The IHOPKC leadership team have put together a statement of answers and questions about our stance on the God Loves Uganda documentary.

Q. What is God Loves Uganda (GLU)?

A. In spring 2013 a documentary was released at the Sundance Film Festival, entitled God Loves Uganda. The documentary explores the rationale behind a controversial piece of legislation proposed in Uganda that called for draconian, punitive measures against acts of homosexuality. The main rationale that the documentary explores is the influence of evangelicalism in North America, and in particular it follows a group of students from the International House of Prayer. The inference of the film is that such “foot soldiers” are fomenting anti-gay rhetoric and fervor, which has led to persecution of those in Uganda who identify themselves as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender).

Q. Does the International House of Prayer support the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda?

A. No, we do not. We never have, and stated as such in the interviews for the documentary (which never made it to the final cut of the film). We have very little to do with Uganda as an organization; we do not have missionaries in Uganda and do not send a dollar of our budget to Uganda. Our primary mandate as an organization is prayer and humanitarian action; it is not political. We are not involved in US politics, let alone politics in another nation. Upon further investigation of the bill (due to the making of this documentary), we would state that many of the provisions of the bill make it untenable in its current form, and we would oppose its passing.

Q. Does IHOPKC send missionaries to Uganda?

A. The International House of Prayer has developed a missions school over the past few years. We have sent missions teams and individual missionaries to many nations. The only missions team that has ever gone to Uganda is the team that the God Loves Uganda film crew followed. We have not sent any other missionaries to Uganda, and while we have friends in Uganda (as we have in many nations), we have no organizational presence there.

Q. Does IHOPKC support missionaries financially?

A. IHOPKC is committed to giving to the poor and to efforts that forward the Great Commission of Jesus throughout the earth. We do this primarily in our own city (Kansas City) through efforts that feed the poor, support widows and orphans, and help local schools and evangelism projects. We also support missionaries in other nations; however, we have never supported any of the individuals shown in the God Loves Ugandadocumentary.

Q. Does IHOPKC support violence against any sector of society?

A. We categorically repudiate any claims that we support violence. We strongly oppose victimization or violence against any sector of society. We honor the dignity and rights of all whose opinion differs from ours.

Q. The director of God Loves Uganda claims that evangelical missionary activity (including that of IHOPKC) is a numbers game, a fight for souls, and that IHOPKC does not care about social justice or humanitarian issues. Is this true?

A. Evangelicalism has become a byword among many, and perhaps, at times, for good reason. However, the history of evangelicalism sees a people convinced by the claims of Christ as shown in the Bible, which, as a result of a spiritual transformation in their own lives, has led to great social reforms in human history: the abolition of the slave trade, the feeding of the poor, the establishment of labor laws, education as a right for all. We identify and seek to emulate this evangelical tradition, seeking justice for the whole person. We, along with the Body of Christ, seek to serve both the spiritual and physical needs of people: spiritual needs through prayer, Bible translation, teaching, and evangelism, and physical needs through feeding programs, training programs, clothing those in need, combating the orphan crisis, and seeking to end sex-trafficking. The students that the God Loves Uganda film crew followed were involved in prayer, evangelism, and humanitarian activities. At no point were they preaching sexual morality or fomenting anti-gay rhetoric in Uganda.

Q. What is IHOPKC’s stance on homosexuality?

A. We uphold the New Testament view of the sanctity of sex in the context of marriage between one man and one woman. We uphold the teachings of Jesus and the apostles as outlined in the Bible as our primary authority and moral guide. While we recognize that many in today’s society do not accept the sexual ethics as laid out in Scripture, we wish to pursue this ethic as closely as possible in our congregation. Therefore, we seek to lead lives of sexual purity, which includes calling actions of sexual union outside of the marriage covenant sin; such sinful actions include premarital and extramarital sex, be it heterosexual or homosexual in nature. We honor the dignity and rights of all whose opinion differs from ours, and work with many who may hold such differing views.

Q. Why did you give this film team such open access in the filming process?

A. We were given to understand that this film would not pursue a polarizing view of evangelicals and missionary work. We believe that it is important for the good of society to have civil dialogue over the issues of the day. We believe that those in the faith community should not shy away from such discussions. IHOPKC is completely open to civil dialogue and mutual respect in such discussions. It would appear from the inferences, innuendoes, and untruths alluded to in the documentary that the filmmakers were not open to such civil dialogue and have instead pursued a deceptive means to achieve a hateful, polarizing result.

Download a PDF of the God Loves Uganda document »

Listen to interview on National Public Radio »

“God Loves Uganda: In a documentary along the lines of ‘Jesus Camp,’ who’s demonizing whom?” on Christianity Today »

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 [5] 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 a so-called NAR 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.

How can Christians discern between truth and error?

Scripture admonishes us to embrace a love for the truth and Jesus Himself repeatedly urges us to not be deceived. Join us with this panel of godly men as they explore the nuances of discerning between truth and lies in doctrine. 

The panel includes Dr. Art Lindsley, Vice President of Theological Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics, Mike Bickle, Howard Cordell, President of Midwest Ministers’ Fellowship, and Wesley Hall, now of Stuttgart, Germany.