Mike Bickle–the leader of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri–is revered by many people in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement as a sound Bible teacher, as someone who majors on teaching people the written Word of God.
But I have noticed something disturbing about his teachings. The Bible verses he uses to support them frequently have nothing to do with those teachings–and sometimes they actually teach something very different.
In this post, I look at one of Bickle’s teachings and show how he attempts to support it through the use of a botched interpretation of Scripture. This example should raise a flag of caution in people’s minds when they encounter his other NAR teachings.
The ‘Israel Mandate’
IHOP has a ministry called the “Israel Mandate,” that seeks to mobilize people to pray for Israel and the salvation of the Jewish people. Well, this might all sound good–even to many traditional evangelicals who have, historically, shown strong support for Israel and Jewish people.
So, then, what’s the problem with the “Israel Mandate?”
It’s this. According to IHOP’s description of the mandate, part of the “primary calling” of the Gentile church in regard to Jewish people is for the church to be “moving in the supernatural.” In other words, Gentile Christians have a responsibility to perform miraculous signs and wonders so that Jewish people will believe the gospel.
And what is the Scripture verse cited in support of this teaching? It is 1 Corinthians 1:22:
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom (New King James Version)
But this verse does not support the Bickle/IHOP teaching that Christians have a duty to perform miraculous signs for Jewish people. Quite the contrary. The apostle Paul, the author of 1 Corinthians, is actually criticizing the Jews for demanding miraculous signs and the Greeks for seeking worldly wisdom.
Paul goes on to say that he did not give in to the demands of the Jews or the Greeks, but instead he preached the simple but powerful message of “Christ crucified.” Yet this message was not well received by the Jews, who craved displays of God’s supernatural power. Rather, the idea of a suffering Messiah was a “stumbling block” to those Jews putting their faith in Christ. See for yourself by reading the verse in its larger context.
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[a] foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:20-25)
Notice two things from the above passage: (1) the Jews’ request for miraculous signs is not portrayed in a positive light, and (2) the apostle Paul does not grant their request for signs. So, then, how can Bickle use this verse in support of the NAR teaching that Gentile Christians have a responsibility to perform signs and wonders for the Jewish people?
– By Holly Pivec