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Saving the Lost or Smiting the Wicked?

One of my friends recently told me she enjoys watching the Web cast of non-stop prayer and worship produced by the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri. Her reason seems like a good one: the emotional, heart-felt singing helps her worship God.

And who could argue with that?

I don’t doubt my friend’s claim that she has had genuine experiences of worship while watching the IHOP prayer room. The problem I have with IHOP’s prayer room is that, unbeknownst to my friend, IHOP is smuggling in a teaching that has the potential to lead her away from God’s plans and purposes. This teaching is called “dominionism.”


Dominionism is the belief that Christians should seek to rule the earth. According to the dominionism of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement, the way the church will set up God’s kingdom is through a combination of political activism and miraculous powers.

Mike Bickle’s Denial of Dominionism

Yet, NAR leader Mike Bickle, the founder of IHOP, flatly denies that he holds to dominionism.

More specifically, Bickle denies that the church will be successful in taking over all the governments of the earth prior to Christ’s return. In that sense, he does differ from many other dominionists. Nevertheless, Bickle still advocates dominionist teachings.

Mike Bickle’s Promotion of Dominionism

Bickle’s most troubling dominionist teaching is that Christians will cleanse the earth of evil by engaging in “prophetic” prayers that will release God’s judgments against the wicked.

In other words, end-time Christians–through their prayers–will cause all the Great Tribulation judgments in the Book of Revelation that will kill millions of people. Bickle believes the IHOP prayer room is preparing Christians for this very role.

The Issue of Timing

Of course, there is a small grain of truth in Bickle’s teaching. That is to say, the Bible does seem to indicate that God’s people will play a part in executing judgment. See Psalm 149. But the issue has to do with timing. According to the Bible, those judgments that God’s people take part in will be after Christ’s return. According to Bickle, those judgments will be prior to Christ’s return.

And timing is everything. Wouldn’t you rather that the judgments of God be initiated by Christ Himself–the only Person is perfectly holy and, thus, the only Person who can judge righteously? Yet, in Bickle’s teachings, fallen human beings who are still motivated by sin and selfishness–however holy they might have become–are directing the judgment. This is a scary teaching and should give pause to anyone who visits the IHOP prayer room.

Two Paths

This teaching reminds me of the time when two of Jesus’ disciples. James and John, wanted to call down fire from heaven on the Samaritans who rejected Jesus. Yet, Jesus rebuked them (Luke 9:51-55).

Rather than preparing for a future role in releasing judgment on the wicked, Christians would do better to focus on the actual task Jesus gave them–that is, warning the wicked of the coming judgment and sharing with them the gospel of forgiveness of sins that is available in Jesus Christ.

So, what do you think Christians should be doing–calling for the lost to be saved or calling for them to be judged?




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3 Responses to “Saving the Lost or Smiting the Wicked?”

  1. Anjanette Potter Says:

    I beleve we should be evangelizing the lost and leave the judging until Je eus comes. I’m not with the NAR’s views.

  2. Diana Lesperance Says:

    I believe the Church needs to have this discussion so badly. Does God judge nations before the return of Christ? Or does God no longer judge at all (John 5:20) and instead give that authority to Jesus who will initiate judgment at the Day of Wrath?

    “The Harbinger,” by Jonathan Cahn, says that 9/11 and the 2008 financial crash were warnings of judgment from God on America.  This has divided the “discernment ministries.” In particular, Jan Markell and Eric Barger have supported Cahn and divided with Jimmy DeYoung and Brannon Howse.  

    Personally, I don’t believe the New Testament teaches that God judges all nations in the way he judged Israel for the sins of unfaithfulness and idolatry, or Sodom and Gomorrah for sexual immorality and violence. This doesn’t mean nations won’t reap what they sow, just that God doesn’t use calamities to indiscriminately judge the righteous with the unrighteous. Jesus will be a just judge, just like the Lord was in the Old Testament.

  3. Libby Tomlin Says:

    “So, what do you think Christians should be doing–calling for the lost to be saved or calling for them to be judged?”
    Neither. We need to be in the trenches, crying with them, loving them, touching them and letting them know they are desperately loved by our wonderful Lord and Savior, just as He did when He walked the earth.
    I know very little about the NAR movement or their prophets or apostles, but I know the Power of the Holy Spirit is alive and well and working.  The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God. He that doesn’t love, doesn’t know God, for God is love.”   It requires a complete dependance on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to know God just as it requires the full power of the Holy Spirit to love the unlovable.
    A true prophet of God will seek to turn the hearts of ‘his’ people to the consuming fire of God’s salvation, through prayer, fasting, tears and acts of service, even at a great cost to himself. A true apostle will lay his life down in order to spread the goodness of God to those whom he is sent to.  No man made hierarchy can duplicate the fruit which flows from a Spirit lead person.  The true church needs true apostles and true prophets, by God’s wonderful design, and those who delight in the ways of God will enjoy the fruit.

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