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Bickle’s Bible Botching

Mike Bickle

Mike Bickle

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

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6 Responses to “Bickle’s Bible Botching”

  1. Lindsay Says:

    This is a very sensible article scripturally, and very timely.  Bickle’s misuse of Scripture and his exegetical gymnastics is a common tactic used by false teachers, and even by those who would not even be in the NAR brigade, eg, Rick Warren’s use of The Message.  I pray we will always be alert and warn others, regardless of the earthly consequences. The only antidote to this poison is a good dose of ongoing Bible Study, discernment and prayer.

  2. ali Says:

    Discernment and knowledge of The Word are our only weapons against false teaching.

    Spurgeon said it well:

    “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.”

  3. M. K. Says:

    I watched that happen in a home fellowship meeting in our ex church which was into the NAR before Wagner even wrote the book. I have since concluded that this way of treating scripture is common to all heresy and doctrines that oppose Christ.

    The home group leader would start by stating a concept he wanted us to learn, then he would twist scripture to fit. He would IGNORE a perfectly good scripture to back up what he was saying in favour of teaching a habit of twisting scripture.

    At first I thought he was just well meaning but misguided since he always (at that time) taught reasonable doctrines. I routinely held up the class and challenged the use of the inappropriate scripture, suggesting the appropriate one, BUT because everyone was getting restless as I did this, and BECAUSE up till then, nothing he taught was off kilter in any other way, I backed off.

    BIG mistake.

    After I shut up, it only took a few months and he started teaching Latter Rain stuff, a little bit at a time. I challenged some, but the group was with him, so we left that fellowship and I warned the pastor about it. Nothing was done and I really regretted my first mistake in not challenging EVERY misuse of scripture.

    Later I found that the head pastor, and many under him were in favour of the Latter Rain nonsense, the Toronto Airport Vineyard stuff and later this NAR nonsense. Eventually I found out the pastor was in serious sin, and we were excommunicated to shut us up. (We left anyway, and wouldn’t have gone back, except that the pastor was worried that we would talk about why so he forbade anyone from speaking to us)

    All you have to do, is notice how Mike Bickle treated the real IHOP. International House of Pancakes. He disdainfully ignored them when they begged him for decades, to stop using their IHOP acronym for their International House of Prayer.

    That eventually ended in a lawsuit a couple of years ago.

    I KNOW he wasn’t using the name ignorantly, it was an “in joke” that my prayer leader who was very taken with his book and ministry shared with us. It was DELIBERATE! I didn’t like it then or now, and I view it as corporate theft of a pre existing name and logo.

    I don’t know how the lawsuit turned out, but my former prayer leader (who eventually became prayer pastor in my ex church) was fine with that. That was in the early 90′s if I recall correctly.

    Which says at the very least, that other people don’t matter to Mike. As long as Mike can benefit by a cute in joke that helped spread his fame, he was OK with taking something that belonged to someone else and using it for his own benefit.

    He has a similar tin ear for Scripture, just as he does with ethics!

    But in terms of spot the heresy merchant, it;s actually a good early warning sign. One I will never ignore again!

  4. Jim Says:

    It sure sounds like you all are content with getting the “right theology” as the path to salvation and truth. 

    If path to salvation and truth is simply the matter getting the “right theology”, then we can all call Jesus a lier because he said “HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE”. 

    Since when does the church deviates from getting nourishment from the fountain of life by not eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood, but eating the fruit of “knowledge of God”?

  5. Ro Says:

    My sister got involved in this movement.  There are demonic things going on in it.  she attended a church plant in Canada.  She went to the last One Thing gathering in Kansas City and said they’re really clamping down on sexual immorality….why are they having sexual immorality issues?  Because of all the repetitious prayers, trance states, exhaustion and lack of solid leadership.  This is a perfect environment for Satan.  Praise God she has realized it is a cult and deeply corrupted.  It’s not surprising that that group within IHOP murdered that woman and were fornicating with one another!!  My sister said that one night when they were doing a “burn” for 24hrs she literally felt as if one of the worship leaders had fornicated with her in the spirit!!  She jumped away, but then felt herself being led back.  I don’t believe it was the leader, I believe it was a demonic presence masquerading as the leader!  Very frightening.  I am deep ly disturbed by this movement and it’s direct targeting of college age people.

  6. Dawn McClendon Says:

    READ  JUDE 3….IN THE KING  JAMES VERSION
    NEED ‘JUDE’ SAY MORE?

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