Statement about relationship with IHOPKC

In 1999, I returned from the Brownsville Revival to a young prayer ministry known as the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. The values of revival, miracles, and worship was things that I saw values in the revival and in the larger Pentecostal movement.

I understood the concerns about accountability of prophetic words, the study of mystics and contemplative prayer. The main of these concerns for many was the lack of accountability for false words of prophecy. People questioned if I should be involved.

I have studied the views, the papers in 1990 that created all the drama, the prophetic words that did not happen, and even the aftermath. In short, it was a free for all for anyone claiming “thus saint the Lord” in the 1980’s. There was true prophets and there was false prophets.

However, the desire to see the Spirit of God poured out on ALL flesh (Joel 2:28), miracles confirming the gospel (Mark 16:15-20), and the presence of God to cover the earth was what “I signed up for.” The main driver was revival to complete the great commission.

I saw this as a extension of the declaration that “we commit to each other and to Him for the greatest evangelism thrust the world has ever seen.”

I returned to IHOPKC in 2021 after being away for over 15 years for a season of prayer and healing from non-stop ministry.

What about eschatology?

Today, IHOPKC is more known for its estachology than it is its pneumatology. Mike Bickle has taken some very strong views of what he called, “Apostolic Eschatology.” To be very clear, I reject the view that Mike pushes outside of revival and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

I believe that the Holy Spirit will be poured and has been since the Topeka Outpouring (1901) as the latter rain. It will continue until every tongues, tribe and people have heard the gospel and seen it confirmed with miracles. After all have heard, the Church will be evacuated prior to the times of testing or the “great tribulation.”

What the International House of Prayer teaches is a modified interpretation of historical premillennialism. Most of their views is nothing new. It has been present for most of the history of the Church. While the view is problematic, it is not uncommon.

The reason that I can not agree with it is I do not see in light of the cultural and theological expectations of the early church. They clearly lived as if Jesus would return by the end of that week, if not before. There is no way the believers in Acts expected to live seven years out. They didn’t know if Jesus would come back in the next 7 hours.

The other challenge with the end time views currently at IHOP is the underlining Kingdom Now ideology. Much emphasis has been on redeeming the culture and fighting liberalism instead of preaching the gospel with power to the people trapped within that culture. This eschatology emphasis has replaced the emphasis on revival and the harvest.

So what is the relationship?

I have a commitment of being in 12 hours a week (two hours a day) as a “prayer room staff.” I am only involved in being in the prayer meetings. I am not part of Forerunner Church, Israel Mandate, or other expressions of ministry. I am still only “signing up” for revival, miracles and worship. I value the people but not involved at any level.

The passion for revival is what keeps me here and until the Lord tells me to move away from the prayer room completely, I will remain faithful to be here to pray for revival, miracles, and the harvest.

As Smith Wigglesworth said a century ago that the Spirit would shake everything that can be shaken and that the vision and revelation of God would become a burning love for sinners.[1]Smith Wigglesworth, Complete Collection, p. 478

The truth is I see the prayer room for what it is: a prayer meeting. It is a place to come and pray with others for revival. I do not have to agree with everyone in the room to seek the face of God with them. The truth is no everyone in any assembly agrees completely. Many within the Assemblies silently question women in ministry, for example.

I realized that many have questions and I also realized many within the “IHOP community” (not really a community!) view me as the bull in a China shop for the same reason. Basically, I with IHOP in prayer but not in theology.

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest

I am an evangelist. I burn for souls. I live, breathe and sleep evangelism. There is little or no evangelism going on within the IHOPKC context. In fact, everytime I have asked about it, it has been shot down. Evangelism is seen as not important at IHOP.

While you can have evangelism without revival, you can’t have revival without evangelism. The idea that revival will come apart of compassion for sinners and love for the downcast is deception. Praying to the Lord of the Harvest without a desire for the harvest does not connect.

Evangelists need to be people of prayer. You can’t give away what you don’t have. (Acts 3:6) However, the outlet of that prayer must be evangelism. This simply won’t happen at IHOPKC and it goes deep than philosophy, it is theological. There is actually anti-evangelism doctrine at play.

With that established, I consider my relationship with IHOP is more community that that of family. I am a friend of the ministry more than a family member. I can not, honestly, say I can “run with” a group of people that refuse the directly fulfill the commission of Jesus locally and globally.

As long as the Lord allows, I will use the prayer room for times of seeking Him for outpouring of the Spirit and strategy for how to reach the broken, the downcast and the homeless. This remains the driver for being part of prayer meetings. This has not changed since the days of the Brownsville Revival.

 

Peter

 

References

References
1 Smith Wigglesworth, Complete Collection, p. 478

Midwestern Baptist Seminary and humanism?

I have recently had some theological discussion with a new friend that is a student at Midwestern Baptist Seminary and had some “interesting views” that lean toward humanism. So where would they coming from?

The other day, I thought I would look at their website and what I saw was very concerning to put it lightly. Dogmatic would be a gracious way to say it, cultish is would be a more clear application of thought.

Let me state from the start that I am not Baptist. A quick look at the theology of Quest for Souls would tell you that I am Pentecostal in doctrine. I told to many things to many things that Midwestern Baptist Seminary would agree to but there are clear differences, especially concerning pneumatology. This is not a “I am right and because you disagree, you are wrong” type thing.

The more pressing issues that I see with the emphasis of the school is the undertones of humanism in the vision, goals and programs of the education of people that may or may not have a call upon their lives. As I said, this is not about theological differences, this is about truth and confronting humanism in the camp of the people of God.

Vision for Church or Jesus

Midwestern Baptist Seminary claims they exist for the Church and to biblically educate men and women to be and make disciplines. (Not sure what that means for women who have no place in the Baptist Church!) While it is important to believe in the Church, we do not exist for the Church but for the proclamation of the gospel. (More on this later) The Church is temporal, the gospel is eternal.

In contrast, the seminary of my education makes it clear that “shape servant leaders with knowledge, skill, and passion to revitalize the church and evangelize the world in the power of the Spirit.” 

The emphasis of Midwestern Baptist Seminary seems to be on the Church or humans to do the great commission which is more rooted in humanism that theocentric. They believe the Great Commission is to plant more churches. Jesus never said in any of the passages of the Great Commission to plant churches but preach the gospel with power gifts to confirm.

One of the biggest problems that we face is that they are pastoral centric to education. They seem to believe that the Church is the only way God does things. As a matter of contrast, the seminary of my theological education states clearly, “To provide culturally relevant professional skills training for pastors, missionaries, evangelists, military and institutional chaplains, teachers, and others.” 

Do you see the difference? We believe that could raise up pastors but also evangelists, missionaries and teachers. We do not believe that it is only pastors. Paul made it clear there was Apostles, Prophets and Evangelists just as much as pastors.

The challenge here is they define the Church as a community of faith while Jesus saw it an “an assembly with a purpose.” When He told Peter he would be build the Church, He was saying that Peter would lead His assembly with the purpose of the gospel. (VFW is a gathering with a purpose but void of the gospel) The Lord saws a gathering with the purpose of the Lord was a church. This is the biblical understanding that the original believers would of had.

The Baptist tend to add a long list of requirements to be a church and they understand “for the Church” to include government, programs and many other things. In the culture of the apostolic church, they would have had to have 120 men to be considered a community with its own council. Until that was present, there was no “deaconship” in our context.

However, the biblical model remains that any gathering of believers for the purpose of worshipping and proclaiming the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Anything to adds to that is not being faithful to what the early church understood a “gathering with a purpose” to be.

If a seminary claims to be “for the Church,” then we need to define what the “Church” means to them. As we can see, how they define it and how the scripture reveal it is two different matters.

Expository preaching?

This is where it gets interesting. I am in support of true expository preaching. However, again, we need to make sure we are talking about the same thing. Many think this is going “verse by verse” that is popular in the Calvary Chapel movement. It is not.

Expository preaching is when the message is based in the text within the original context of the culture that was spoken to and the application that they would understood. Any attempt to remove a text from culture becomes out of context.

 

 

Embracing Pentecostal community

There is much discussion about community and what does it look like. Many ideas are through around but what does the scripture and the Spirit tell us about how a biblical community of Pentecostals should look.

There is several things that we do know about the issue of community. The Book of Acts was written to a people who valued community. They saw community as being one in intention or “capacity of moral preference.”[1]Greek word is καρδία

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. (Acts 4:32)

They also saw the community as being united as the “seat of affections and will”[2]Greek Word: ψυχή They laid down their own rights to emotions and desire for the sake of others. They did not value themselves but the people of God alone.

In Acts 15:28, it is implied that there was a communal or corporate understanding of revelation. They have a community that shared the same value system. It was based on personal pursuit of truth that become a community of Spirit-Baptized revelation.[3]See Craig Kenner’s Spirit Hermeneutics

Understanding the culture of the apostolic age is critical to form a doctrinal framework for what we can gather as a people in our culture and time of history. There are truths for us today in our expression of culture and national values.

We live in a time of where community is a buzzword. We see it being talk about in theology, philosophy, and sociology circles. We are led by social sciences but it is important to establish that the influence within theology, especially Pentecostal Ecclesiology has suffered. Paul warned against allowing the things of this world take root in our theology of the Spirit.

Any community will seek to contextualize the fruits of its exegesis for its’ own setting…including Pentecostal circles.[4]Craig Kenner, Spirit Hermeneutics, p. 278 (Craig Kenner)

For a people to be a community, there must be critical analysis of biblical text. We must seek to have knowledge of what was happening within’ the apostolic culture and then how we do apply it to our culture and our national identity. We seek to view doctrine through our lens of culture just like they did.

For example, in the apostolic age, study of scripture was a community exercise because a majority of the believers were illiterates and untrained. Therefore, teaching the scriptures became very important. To that end, we live in a culture that at least 88% of the people read and write. The importance of biblical education moves from corporate to personal.

It is clear that much of the mindset of the early church’s view on community was the influence of Jewish culture of the day. They desired to live among the culture they were called to, not create a counter-culture as many church leaders suggest currently.

One blessing that we have received as a people is the criticism of people who deem themselves cessationist. One of the main complaint they have is that people who consider themselves Pentecostal or Charismatic is that we place value on the spiritual gifts or what they call the “apostolic gifts.” The role of Pneumatology in our Ecclesiology is central to understand our value system.

Ekklesia: People of God’s Presence

The Church exists in the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit.[5]Ralph Del Colle, Holy Spirit, the Church, and Christian Unity, p. 249 (Ralph Del Colle)

Any gathering of believers must be theocentric. The purpose of connection to others must be around the presence of the Spirit. Our identity is not to a social agency that just talks about Jesus but be the conductor of Heaven’s glory to the lost and dying world.

As the community of faith is relational in nature, we find our renewal and cause in the presence of the Spirit and an overflow becomes a prophetic sign of grace and compassion to a world of broken people due to sin.

Historically, the beliefs has been to unity is found at the table of spiritual identity. This not realistic and will not happen in practice. The common bond is found in communion with the Spirit. When this become the purpose of gathering, the shared meal, mission and intimacy is about the Spirit living in, on and among the believers.

Some suggest that the growth of the people of God throughout the first few centuries can be connected to the quality of the Spirit’s presence among the faithful. It works out to about 40% growth per decade over several centuries.[6]Rodney Stark, The rise of Christianity, p.20 This remains the model for growth until roughly 400 AD.

A people that are Pneumatologically centered become a bridge between the Kingdom of Christ and the souls of society that we dwell among. It is in this bridge that people find freedom and healing. (2 Corinthians 3:17) In light of the presence of Pentecost, broken people are set free as a prisoner would receive expungement.

An example of this is found in Acts 12. Rhoda, a servant girl has Peter knock on the door and she does not know what to do. Someone inside says, “It must be his angel.[7]Some use Acts 12:15 for a basis of guardian angels which is reading in the text things that are not there.” The question, whose presence had Peter in? It is the Angel of the Lord.

In other words, Whom presence you dwell within will flow out of your presence to others. The intimacy we have as a community because the anointing we care to the lost world in our midst.

It can not be overstated that the centrality of the Pentecostal community if found in our commitment to the presence of the Spirit. Paul even called the mystery of the gospel to people who were not Jewish. It is Christ in us, the hope of Glory.

We are by calling a gathering of the faithful who because of the work of the Cross live in and through the expectation of the the manifest presence of the Father’s promise: the glory of the Lord!

Incarnational gifts of the Spirit

Spiritual gifts are designed for the people of God’s presence and are cultivated by fanning the flame (2 Timothy 1:6) within the context of relationship. It is not biblical to gather as the people of faith and not see the outpouring of the Spirit through the operation of the gifts.

Because the spiritual enablement of Pentecost are interactive and relational[8]See Michael Welker’s book God the Spirit for more; they work best in the framework of the assembly of saints. The exceptions to this would the manifestation of healing and tongues.

Healing is present to the unbeliever as a testimony of the resurrection of Jesus. This is clear in several biblical texts. Healing was the “proof” of the gospel to the unbeliever. It was not reserved for the Pentecostal community as prophecy and words of knowledge seem to be.

Casting out of devils was not mention as a gift by the Apostle Paul because it was something that every believer was expected to do in the anointing of the Spirit. It was never a central point nor did anyone in the apostolic church have a “deliverance ministry.” They just knew to cast out the demon and move on. It seems to normal to them.

Since spiritual gifts are relational and interactive, they serve to structure the church as a community of relationships that facilitate communion of the Spirit and show forth sign of grace to the world.[9]Frank Macchia, Baptized in the Spirit, p. 242 (Frank Macchia)

Most agree that a gathering of believers is structured by the 18 spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament.[10]I hold the 4/5 mentioned in Ephesians 4 to be mantles, not gifts Any structure of a people must be fluid and relational to the cultural dynamics of the national and local anthropology.

It is my conviction that a grouping of believer is not biblical without the centrality of the presence of the Spirit and the operation of most, if not all, gifts of the Lord to the people of faith. Simply put, a church service without the spiritual gifts happening is not a biblical manifestation of the Church!

This is an area where our Oneness Pentecostal brethren has done much better than we have. For the most part, they have remain faithful to be theocentric and building a foundation on the gifts than other Pentecostal groups that in some cases have become “Methodists than believe in tongues.”[11]Many Classic Pentecostals have backed down on Pentecostal doctrine While there doctrinal concerns, we can celebrate their devotion of the Pentecostal theology we all claim to hold.

In my experience, the churches who see themselves as Oneness Pentecostals would be insulted to be given to the marketing philosophies of the world that many other groups within the movement are very open to. They do not see the gathering of the faithful as an opportunity to be a life coach or to have group therapy. The sole goal is to hear the Spirit and to see Him move and transform people.

The gifts of the Spirit are still God’s primary means of building the Church both spiritually and numerically. Nothing else can do it.[12]Stanley Horton, What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, p.283

The cause of  Ekklesia

The existence of the people of God’s presence is the expression of the Lord of the Harvest Himself. Without a vision for the lost and broken around us, we have lost the cause we live for and the reason for taking of space between conversion and death.

Our cause is expressed through J. Roswell Flower when he said that the Apostolic standard of the Church must be the “heathen in the neglected parts of the earth would scarcely have time to hear before Jesus should come.”[13]J. Roswell Flower, Pentecostal Evangel, p. 20

When the Lord of the Harvest left us, we was left with a mandate that once we have the presence of God and was filled with fire, we was to take to the end of the earths as witness (or living martyrs) according to Acts 1:6-8. The intimacy of the Spirit was never designed to be for the believers alone. It always had a mission and for a cause, the cause of Christ.[14]Gary McGee’s Miracles, Missions, and American Pentecostalism is a great place to start for more information.

As Margaret Poloma points out in 1989, as a people we are struggling to be lead by prophetic preaching and by the voice of the prophet.[15]Margaret Poloma, Assemblies of God at the crossroads, p.132 When we replace the prophetic word of the Lord with life coaching and being “purpose driven,” we have lost all right to be a voice for the Lord.

In 2010, it was said that only a minority of leaders regularly experienced prophecy, healing and other manifestations of the presence of the Spirit.[16]Margaret Polomo, Assemblies of God: Godly Love, p. 73 This is concerning that 2 out of 3 gatherings across America do not have the markings of the Spirit’s presence and are just religious formalities.

The challenge becomes how do we take the anointing, the manifest presence and bring it to a lost and dying world? The power of God is how fulfill the mission of God; however, loving people where they are is how we make the presence human. It need some flesh and bones to the lost. The glory of God needs a face to be seen. That’s the Great Commission in a local context.[17]Borrowed from Alton Garrison’s Spirit Empowered Church

The answer to the world’s problem is always the Spirit’s presence and power. This is true with Teen Challenge, Chi Alpha and Mercy Hospital in India. They all realize the only hope is how in the power of God.[18]Donald Miller’s Global Pentecostalism: the new face of Christian Social Engagement

Nowhere has this been more true that in the last few years in Springfield, Missouri. A friend has planted a ministry to those who have migrated. There is not hundreds of people who have felt the presence of God and given their lives to Christ as a result. This is being repeated all over the world.[19]Allan Anderson’s to the ends of the Earth is recommended for more on this concept

Apostolic ministry began with the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost; and that they might be prepared to receive Him the preliminary measure of his power and grace was granted them by the risen Lord.[20]J. Richie Smith, Holy Spirit in the Gospels, p.371 (J. Richie Smith)

 

 

 

References

References
1 Greek word is καρδία
2 Greek Word: ψυχή
3 See Craig Kenner’s Spirit Hermeneutics
4 Craig Kenner, Spirit Hermeneutics, p. 278
5 Ralph Del Colle, Holy Spirit, the Church, and Christian Unity, p. 249
6 Rodney Stark, The rise of Christianity, p.20
7 Some use Acts 12:15 for a basis of guardian angels which is reading in the text things that are not there.
8 See Michael Welker’s book God the Spirit for more
9 Frank Macchia, Baptized in the Spirit, p. 242
10 I hold the 4/5 mentioned in Ephesians 4 to be mantles, not gifts
11 Many Classic Pentecostals have backed down on Pentecostal doctrine
12 Stanley Horton, What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, p.283
13 J. Roswell Flower, Pentecostal Evangel, p. 20
14 Gary McGee’s Miracles, Missions, and American Pentecostalism is a great place to start for more information.
15 Margaret Poloma, Assemblies of God at the crossroads, p.132
16 Margaret Polomo, Assemblies of God: Godly Love, p. 73
17 Borrowed from Alton Garrison’s Spirit Empowered Church
18 Donald Miller’s Global Pentecostalism: the new face of Christian Social Engagement
19 Allan Anderson’s to the ends of the Earth is recommended for more on this concept
20 J. Richie Smith, Holy Spirit in the Gospels, p.371

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