Testimony of a Former IHOP-KC Attendee: Stephanie

[Part of this testimony first appeared here and is titled "I Was at IHOP and FSM for about 3+ Years..."  In a subsequent comment on that blog article, "Stephanie" added some more to her testimony.  She graciously revised her testimony to include both the original and her additional comments for publishing here at CrossWise.  Bill over at Beyond Grace has recently published two other testimonies.  Please take the time to read both The Mother of all IHOP Casualties and Red Flags over IHOP - Devotion or Deception?.  I had previously made a passing reference to another one of the second author's articles (Red Flags... author "Ariel") in a previous CrossWise post -- The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II (at footnote 5).]

I grew up as the only Christian in my household. My parents came to know Jesus when I was about 10. My Father began to backslide after his grandmother died which took a pretty big toll on his relationship with my brothers, my mother, and I. Off and on since I was in about 7th grade, I had severe night terrors and nightmares. I attended a Bible High School as well as a Bible College after I graduated. I often tried to find a reason and a way to stop my night terrors, with little to no answers.

Meanwhile, my family was extremely rocky to say the least. My dad was an absentee, my youngest brother was abusive, and my mom was enabling them both. I always wanted to help them, but neglected myself in the process. Wanting to get closer to the Lord, I decided to go to an extension campus in Hawaii (without praying about it and for pretty selfish reasons). I knew I probably wasn’t supposed to go but went anyway to escape from everything else going on in my life.

The Pastor who ran the campus quit 3 days before our arrival and a local apprentice to the pastor was put in charge and (very) reluctantly took the position. It was a pretty messed up situation, to which I and everyone else on campus (about 20 people) ended up leaving as a result. At this point, my walk was very dry and I felt so out of place no matter where I was. I just needed a place I felt I could fit in and, at the same time, draw closer to the Lord and get some answers for weird things that would happen (like the night terrors).

Then a friend told me about the International House of Prayer (IHOP). I heard that my favorite band was going to play at their “One Thing Conference” in December. I decided to go, for three reasons:

1. To meet the friend who told me about IHOP

2. To see my favorite band

3. Hopefully get closer to the Lord and find some answers to my questions

At this time, I had absolutely no experience in anything the Charismatic church teaches and was clueless about manifestations, deliverance ministry, baptism of the Holy Spirit, etc. At the same time, I was very desperate to be loved and accepted by God and by people, and I was desperate to feel anything. I felt so dry and empty. I just needed someone to be there for me and understand… I needed Jesus.

SO I went to the conference and had some very different experiences. I heard people speak in tongues for the first time. People talked about Angels and Demons like it was a normal every day experience, and I heard doctrines that I’d never heard before. I was also told that all the other churches in America were dead, dry, and boring and were, therefore, without Jesus. Because my walk was dead, dry, and boring, it seemed right to me. And the experiences I had that weekend, although strange to me, felt good and exciting. Because of the conference, I decided that I wanted to go to FSM [ed: Forerunner School of Ministry], in hopes of finding Jesus and acceptance there.

I attended IHOP/FSM and was heavily involved for about 3+ years.

My first semester there, I had nothing but good things to say about IHOP because I was still learning all these new things that I found to be fascinating, and I felt I was accepted by everyone else who was “just like me.” I also thought I found answers to my night terrors, when they explained it was because I “had demons” that needed to be delivered. After going through several of their deliverance ministries, however, the terrors only got worse and more frequent.

It wasn’t until my second semester (after going home for Christmas break) that I realized I had completely disconnected from my family, friends, and reality. All of my closest friends and family members sat me down (individually) for an intervention, of sorts. They would tell me things like that I’ve changed and I seemed happy and “on-fire” for God, but that something was off and something was wrong. And when I would tell them some of the things I was learning or experiencing, they only became more worried and they confronted me with scriptures, which got me thinking. So going back into my second semester, I was a lot more confused and had a lot more questions.

Slowly but surely, the Lord chipped away at my heart and showed me very clear scriptures to cause me to question the things that would go on there. After realizing this, I started feeling really weird about some things that were being done and said there, so I took it to the Lord, as any “Berean” should. I started looking up the scriptures my teachers would give us in handouts to explain some of their doctrines, and I realized that not one of those scriptures had anything to do with those doctrines. They were either taken completely out of context or just had nothing at all to do with what the doctrine was (ie: deliverance, manifestations, etc). So, I became even more confused and concerned. I started asking very genuine questions about where certain things were in scripture (like deliverance ministry, false prophesies, manifestations, etc.) because I wanted to be sure that I was doing the right thing in God’s eyes. I just wanted it to be explained to me because I didn’t understand the doctrines and I didn’t understand why the scriptures weren’t lining up with my experiences. When everyone would “feel the presence of God” or everyone would “break out into manifestations of God,” I wouldn’t feel anything and I would almost never experience what everyone else did. So, most days, I felt like an outsider because everyone but me was “getting it.” I started feeling confused and rejected by God, which is why (again), I turned to scripture.

I noticed that, when I started asking questions, that I had been “red flagged.”  What I mean is that I had particular people in leadership following me around and keeping tabs on me.  I was moved out of my core “Omega” group and into one with Sabrina Walsh who was a former, practicing witch and was also a leader at FSM. She and her husband were in charge of the “Signs and Wonders” classes where they teach kids how to prophesy and perform miracles. I was put in the group because I was to be “monitored.” After changing groups, I began having strange dreams and getting attacked on almost a daily basis.

As I read more scripture, I also began to realize that much of what they were teaching and practicing was extremely unbiblical and even dangerous. We were constantly fasting and in the prayer room. After starting to eat more and going to the prayer room a little less, I felt my head start to clear up and I didn’t like what I was seeing and how I felt. I often went back and forth, in my mind, between wanting to feel what everyone else felt, and realizing that it wasn’t from God, trying to figure it out. Half-way through my third year of school, I was brought into a room with several staff members (including Walsh) who accused me of many things that I hadn’t even come close to doing and they said something to the effect of:

“We know that you have father issues that need to be resolved (I didn’t) and we can tell that you are heavily oppressed by many demons.  However, we are incapable of this level of deliverance on someone. We just don’t have the time or the resources. So we are going to send you to this wonderful place in Toronto, Canada.  This rehabilitation facility is capable of handling your type of situation. We’ve sent many students there who have come back completely delivered.  We are going to send you there.  You cannot come back to IHOP or FSM until we have a written letter from them stating that you have been delivered.  In the current state you are in, you’re a danger to the other student’s growth and spiritual being.”

…To which I told them I would certainly go, but had no intention of actually going. I said I would go because I was very much afraid of what would happen if I told them I wouldn’t go, and was afraid until I moved back home. After the meeting with them, I immediately called my Dad, who I’d been told not to talk to anymore because he said IHOP was a cult. At one point, they also told me that I needed to stay away from my mom (who is my best friend in the world) because she had demons and was pulling me away from God (which was anything but true). My Dad booked the first flight to Kansas City.  At that time, my mom and I owned a home in KC and we had been helping students that went to FSM by providing rooms with low rent. I had an excellent relationship with each person in the house. Within two weeks of being pulled into the office ALL of my roommates – my friends - moved out. When asked directly, they either had no response or told me that the school had told them it was an “unsafe environment” because I and my mother “had a demon”.

I was absolutely crushed.  All I ever wanted was to know God and at the time I felt completely rejected by Him. When I finally left IHOP, I was not all the way better. I was actually worse than when I started because I was more confused, felt rejected, and still needed help. My head felt like it was covered in a fog. I would constantly go back and forth between “I know what happened was wrong” and “God was the one taking me out of there to save me” all the way to “IHOP was right” and “there is something wrong with me.” Like I said, I was a complete mess and it took a whole lot of love and prayer to get me out of that state of mind. I even flew to Illinois to go to my friend’s church (the same one who told me about IHOP in the first place) to try to get “Delivered” of this demon that IHOP told me about because I was so messed up. After that trip, I walked away from the Lord completely for about 6 months and was absolutely miserable both in and out of the church.

It wasn’t until I came back to my Calvary Chapel church that life started to become normal again. Even then, it took a really long time. I was able to let go of needing to feel something that wasn’t there and just focus on the truth of the Word of God and loving and understanding who God is. He is never-changing, always loving, arms-wide open, ever wise, ever beautiful, ever strong, amazing, orderly, and truthful God. He is my best friend, my Father, my peace, and my joy. And it didn’t take barking like a dog, falling over, being “drunk,” or being “delivered” from a “demon,” to do it. It was straight-up surrendering to His will and letting go of mine. It was repentance and it was loving God, even if it seems “Boring.” It was just worshipping at his feet, reading His word, fellowship with believers, accountability, etc… going back to the basics. The gospel is truly simple and God is very straight-forward. He is not the author of confusion.

I thank God for my Calvary Chapel pastor back home (and the amazing women at my church) who spent every minute praying for me, speaking life over me, and bringing me back to the truth of the Word of God. I almost lost faith and hope many times. But God is so amazing…He spared my life and got me out of there.

I grieve for the people I love who are still stuck within the lies of IHOP and for the many who are recruited to IHOP daily. I pray for their souls and I pray for the truth to be made known to them. If ever there was an “antichrist spirit,” this is it.

I’ve kept all of my journals, notes, books, and materials from when I was there. When looking back on the things I wrote and the things I would say…it’s like I was a mindless drone who repeated everything I heard. It scares me to think that so many people are being deceived, so many families ripped apart…so many lives destroyed….and all in the name of “Jesus”.  God help us and God forgive those who tarnish and blaspheme Your name!

[see also Hyper-Charismatica versus True Christianity]

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87 Responses to Testimony of a Former IHOP-KC Attendee: Stephanie

  1. cherylu says:

    I wonder how many of us that have come out of any part of the hypercharismatic movement have felt the same type of confusion and going back and forth on what we thought was truth for quite a while before making the break. I know I did, altough not to to the extent Stephanie evidently did.

    It is truly very confusing and for a time, maybe a very long time, a very debilitating experience. Truly not something I would wish on anyone. I believe that this whole movement is spiritually deadly–not at all spiritually life giving.

  2. Craig says:

    Paul Gowdy has a timely article regarding “Christian Deliverance”:

    http://iftruthbeknown.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/the-lie-that-is-the-christian-deliverance-ministry/

    It fits in with portions of this testimony.

  3. Craig says:

    I also find it EXTREMELY interesting (and disconcerting) that in “difficult” cases like “Stephanie” here, IHOP (and I’ve read about others as well) want to send these individuals to Toronto — Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF), the “church” of John Arnott, home of the so-called Toronto “Blessing.” TACF is one of the hubs of hyper-charismaticism.

  4. Craig says:

    On the site stats I get to see the search terms individuals use to land at the CrossWise site. Here’s one from today verbatim:

    why are the people from ihop so weird

    Interesting…

  5. Craig says:

    Truthspeaker just posted this article from a former leader at IHOP. It was posted in one of the comments on another thread on the Truthspeaker site and was made into a stand-alone article:

    http://truthspeaker.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/former-ihop-kc-leaders-testimony-ihop-is-a-cult/

    It begins:

    Being part of IHOP-KC for over 8 years and being part of the leadership for over 6 of those years, I have to disagree with you. IHOP-KC is like any other cult – or maybe that is too fierce of a word. Jehovah’s Witness, or Mormon type of religion might be a better category to place these IHOPers in.

    For the record, both Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism are considered cults.

  6. George Watts says:

    THIRD WAVE MINISTRIES TO BE AVOIDED
    (1) Todd Bentley.
    (2) Rodney Howard Browne – the so-called “Holy Ghost Bartender.”
    (2) Rick Joyner or anyone connected with Morningstar Ministries.
    (3) John Arnott & any connected with TACF (The “Toronto Blessing”).
    (4) Peter Wagner of the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ who claims to be head of a worldwide network of ‘apostles’ –
    (5) Mike Bickle and IHOP Kansas City
    (6) Bob Jones – the Kansas City prophet whose ministry is utterly tainted by it all.
    (7) Patricia King and anyone else from ‘Extreme Prophetic.’
    (8) John Crowder & anyone connected with “Sloshfest.”
    (9) Bill Johnson of Bethel church, Redding
    (10) Heidi & Rolland Baker of IRIS Ministries
    (11) Randy Clark, Wes & Stacey Campbell, and other key figures from the “Toronto blessing.”
    (12) The Elijah List – and almost anyone featured on it.
    (13) 700 CLUB
    (14) Revival Alliance

  7. Pingback: Hyper-Charismatica versus True Christianity « CrossWise

  8. Craig says:

    Here’s a comment from a former IHOPer from Bill’s Beyond Grace blog:

    http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/2007/10/kcf-kansas-city-finances.html?showComment=1300116285175#c3672510428406678316

    Here’s the comment in full:

    “Thank you for your posting. I need to add that you have only touched the tip of it. I was part of IHOP-KC and part of the direct leadership. What I saw and experienced first hand made me question my own worth as a Christian. What could I do, I was in too deep. Even when I fiund out Mike and Dianne had another home huge home in Belton I stayed quiet. Even when I found out how much the upper management was making and the lies they would share in the pulpit I stayed quiet. Its all a scam, it is a cult and meanwhile they prey on the young students and focus on that age since they are easier to control. Heaven forbid the older Christians would question the doctrines being taught and eventually would turn the place upside down. The Gospel is twisted the leaders are under a witchcraft spirit, the spirit of control. Unless you are solid in Christ when you enter this ministry and seek truth through the cross do you have a chance of walking away from this deception. Money? I counted the money folks during conferences and Sunday multiple services they make in one service to pay for 3 bartle hall events and then some…how people and I could be so convinced this was okay is wrong. How I could see what the donations were being used for and how the students and your Church was being treated and I did nothing. Jesus Son of David have mercy on me, Mike Bickle, Allen Hood, David Sliker, Corey Russell, Julie Meyer, the worship rockstar wannabes…the Walsh family that would have Derek Prince rolling from his grave if he knew how they were doing deliverance, the paid staff that now but are too scared to speak out because would that mean they too would be asked to leave and they can’t clain unemployment they are techically volunteering and doing internships and not really working. What lies, what scams…help me Abba to expose what is really happening help me God give me the strength to do what I must do. Knowing you have forgiven me and that you want to set your people free.”

    [continued]

  9. Craig says:

    [continued]

    In further comments on the Beyond Grace blog, the individual was asked to come forward in order to substantiate the story. Here’s the response from 3/19/11:

    “I will please give me some time. I myself am working out so much of the bondage that I was entrapped in for so long, seeking even more of the truth in the scriptures and the finished work of the cross. I will, please continue to pray for me and others to come forth. I live only blocks from the prayer room and am surrounded by all of these IHOPers daily, I sold everything and purchased a house here for me and my family and they know I am no longer part of their witchcraft cult. They believe I am the one that has been deceived, no so many others it is unreal… ”

    Please pray for this individual:

    1) to be healed of all the associated fallout from the involvement at IHOP

    2) to have the courage to come forth in order to substantiate the account

    3) protection from the enemy

  10. Craig says:

    The following comment posted by “inerrantword” has been moved from the Open Challenge post by administration (Craig). This is a personal testimony regarding Bethel’s influence and how the individual eventually broke free.
    ______________________________________________________________

    Here are the links:

    Part 1 – http://inerrantword.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/a-dangerous-journal-my-wifes-deliverance-from-extreme-pentecostalism-part-1/

    Part 2 – http://inerrantword.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/hidden-dangers-my-wifes-deliverance-from-extreme-pentecostalism-part-2/

    Part 3 – http://inerrantword.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/uncovering-the-dark-deception-my-wifes-deliverance-from-extreme-pentecostalism-part-3/

    Part 4 – http://inerrantword.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/what-is-a-false-jesus-my-wifes-deliverance-from-extreme-pentecostalism-part-4/

    I hope people learn from this…

    [This is now posted as a separate article on CrossWise here.]

  11. MaryM007 says:

    I am on staff at my church – my last day is this Friday…I am leaving because our church has become ‘little bethel’ – I quit attending last summer when we started our own “school of supernatural ministry”… I love these people – some are my dearest friends – I took my concerns (which the Lord kept speaking to my heart – “Beware Beware Beware and Foundation Foundation Foundation) to a pastor (I’m his administrative assistant) and, because I started crying – he asked me to write down my concerns and then we would talk. I did – it is 11 pages and I could have written more – he read it and took it to the rest of the pastors. They do not agree with me – they are continuing down this road. I know getting away from it is what I have to do – but my struggle is watching people who dearly love the Lord and serve Him with all their heart being drawn deeper and deeper into this. They are into soaking, signs and wonders, etc. They accept the feathers, gold, jewels, oil, zapping each other with ‘power’, etc. – as blessings from God. For me – a HUGE sign was when God orchestrated all the “leaders” of this movement on the same stage in Lakeland FL commissioning Todd Bentley – all speaking “thus says the lord” over him and then the whole thing falls apart soon after that – which meant all those ‘words’ spoken over Todd were NOT ‘from God’ – He wouldn’t have blessed this with all that was going on behind the scenes…This movement is huge – It’s hard to find a church now that I can trust – but I know the Lord will lead me to where I need to be. Keep praying for all those caught up in this – that God will open their eyes, too. I have been to these meetings – you don’t realize the error until you step back away from it – it all sounds so right when you are in the midst of it…and it becomes ‘your bible’. Just as tolerance and political correctness is ruining the world – ‘judge not’ and ‘love one another’ is ruining the church. Keep shouting it (warning) from the housetops! :)

  12. Craig says:

    Mary,

    I’m saddened to read of your plight; but, on the other hand I’m encouraged that you stood up for your faith. Praise God!

    Would you mind copying and pasting your comment over to this thread which is a Bethel-related testimony? That would be appreciated.

  13. Julie says:

    Mary,

    It is so encouraging to hear about your coming out of all of this. My hope is that many, many more people are walking away as well – but we just aren’t hearing about it.

    Back when I heard about Lakeland, even though I had fled charismania years before, I was *open* to it being something the Lord was visiting. It didn’t take me long to discover that, He wasn’t in this move either.

    It seems the whole world had an opportunity to evaluate the men at the helm of this movement when they laid hands on Todd, and then he crashed and burned. I wondered why this wasn’t a major wake up call to the sheep in those folds. I am so glad to hear that you were wide awake during this time and saw it for what it was.

    My hope is that many people are beginning to see the truth and are ready to walk away. A true son of God longs for the truth – and these lies do not impress forever. So, thank you for your testimony. And thank you, Jesus, for making the truth clear to another precious believer.

  14. Julie says:

    I said Toronto when I meant to say Lakeland. I’ve only had one-half cup of coffee so far. I’m blaming it on that.

  15. cherylu says:

    Hi Mary,

    I was glad to read your testimony too. If you have read here for very long, you know I am also an “escapee” from this type of church and theology. It does my heart good to read of everyone that sees the truth of all of this and leaves. And I know the pain of seeing your friends still being caught up in this stuff. But it is certainly worth it to get out. I don’t think you will ever be sorry!

  16. Craig says:

    Julie,

    I fixed your comment now. Have you finished that cup of coffee? ;-)

  17. MaryM007 says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments and for blogs, websites, etc., like these. The more that speak the Truth – the more will hear it – and the more will be assured they are not alone in their doubts and concerns about what’s going on. Even if they don’t hear it now – (right now – you are all ‘heresy hunters’ and they can’t stand you because of the deception) – but, sometime down the road… it will come to their remembrance and they will see. God Bless you guys! :)

  18. Laura Mac (Felt I needed to share my story- things at IHOP are getting worse) says:

    I challenge anyone that thinks they are not a cult to remove themselves from IHOP for 6 months totally and seek God and His word. He will show you the truth the question is are you willing to seek the truth?

    I did and I found out that yes in fact IHOP has many cult tendencies and I am more on fire for the Lord for real now than every before and I don’t need a fix (a prophetic word or crap) to sustain me until the next mega conference. I have his Word and it is enough…..really look into the truth of what IHOP was based on and seek the scriptures God will show you the truth if you really want the veil to be removed.

  19. cherylu says:

    Laura,

    Thanks for your testimony.

    I’m wondering, in what way are things at IHOP getting worse? And how long ago were you there?

  20. J.D. says:

    God please send help to all these people:
    Read Stephanie’s account and Ariel’s account and Google: Annunk and her accounts and comments and BeyondGrace and it’s very disturbing what’s allowed to go on in Christendom not to mention abuse and very out of control behavior; what are you all doing about it?

    Call Editor’s of Charisma Magazine and Christianity Today. Report to: David Wilkerson and Dr. James Dobson/H.B. London Jr. and George Barna of Barna Research Group, and Editors of Christian Examiner, Heads of Fuller Seminary, Azusa Pacific, Life Bible College, Biola; USC/Yale/Harvard Religion Departments; Trinity Foundation/Wittenburg Door, Dallas TX, Bill/Jackie Alnor to come in and investigate,
    Wallwatchers.org, Dr. Ron Enroth of Westmont College “Churches That Abuse” and article “brainwashing of the youth”; Jha Swarna, C. Peter Wagner (see his excuses), James Lloyd, Rick Ross (rickross.com), Call Dan Merchant of Jesus Save us From Your Followers and see if he wants to do a film documentary on this exposing it, or James Sundquist, Sheepleblog.net, InPlainSite.org, ripoffreport.com. DO SOMETHING, TAKE IT PUBLIC, contact writers of “Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse and or Insanity in the Church Tim Williams any writer that exposes church abuse. CALL THEM, WRITE THEM. DO SOMETHING! Copy all the articles, blogs, comments and send it to them, please. GOD HAVE GREAT MERCY on this Staff!

  21. Anonymous says:

    MaryM007:
    look at ripoffreport.com and in the search box type in John Paul Jackson (and 2 reports will come up, above that it will say read all, click and five reports will come up if not more). Please read all reports and comments. One lady was complaining of that same attitude of coming into her church was grievous. Not to mention all the ministries involved in this abuse and think it’s ok and that it won’t go public and who are they aligned with?

    See this re: Elijah List: http://www.zionfire.org/elijah-list-1/

    Come out of a cult, worse in the guise of christian and it’s a long haul, expose it and help others get thru it.

  22. Craig says:

    J.D.,

    Great ideas! Perhaps you may have time to do what you propose.

    I submit, though, that blogs such as this and others are, in fact, taking this public as this is a public forum.

    At least some of those you mention have been contacted in one form or another and some appear actually to be complicit.

    Apparently, you’re not aware that C. Peter Wagner is a graduate of Fuller along with his protege Rick Warren and I don’t see Fuller being concerned about the damage both of these individuals have done and likely will continue to do for Christendom. In fact, a few leaders of these organisations and individuals signed an ecumenical document in attempts to bridge Islam with Christianity and in effect denied Jesus Christ as Savior and the Son of God by implicitly affirming the Muslim belief that Jesus was merely a “prophet” as opposed to Mohammed who was identified as a “Prophet” — with a capital “P” — in the document these “Christian” leaders were responding to.

  23. J.D. says:

    Craig: Should have clarified, exposed dogma on C.Peter Wagner and Rick Warren (past). I don’t like Fuller Cemetery (no slip up), I just think the colleges should see what garbage they’re putting out as they’re taking the money from people in the guise of education. Get reamed for this, Jesus didn’t send anyone to modern babylon fuller cemetery. Regarding the time to do what proposed (would need an administrative assistant and help and it’s very expensive to copy and mail and you really should mail it priority 2-3 day envelope). It’s best to post on rickross.com (he can’t be swayed to remove comment if someone thinks in error instead of exposing the truth which most christians can’t handle).

    I was in a secular work meeting when Crystal Cathedral someone on staff backed up and was excited about Muslim-ism and that was what 90’s (took it public when happened).

  24. MaryM007 says:

    Thanks, Anonymous – I checked out the ripoffreport.com articles and I have seen the Elijah List testimony thru Andrew Strom’s website (www.johnthebaptisttv.com) – and Paul Gowdy has written about being deceived by lying signs and wonders (http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/category/paul-gowdy/). In my own research I found that the ‘deception tent’ is HUGE. A good portion of it began when Rodney Howard Browne gave God an ultimatum ‘either you come down here and touch me or I’m coming up there for you to touch me’ – well, something ‘touched’ him – he said a power came over him and he started laughing and rolling about and he was never the same again. Some years later, Randy Clark attended one of his meetings and he, too, got ‘touched’. Randy then preached at Toronto where the now known ‘Toronto Blessing’ broke out. Toronto was part of the Vineyard churches and John Wimber – who was all about ‘signs & wonders’ – even asked them to be careful about some of the manifestations – to reign it in. John Arnott let anything and everything continue as all a sign from God – and was expelled from the Vineyard churches. Mike Bickle/IHOP, also a part of Vineyard and in very close relationship with Bob Jones – resigned from Vineyard in support of Arnott. Bill Johnson is included in this – basically – all those who were on the stage commissioning Todd Bentley in Lakeland…all speaking “thus says the Lord” over him. Rick Joyner – Bob Jones – others are – Patricia King – John Crowder (he ‘tokes the ghost’ – and gets ‘anointed’ from the grave of John Alexander Dowie – videos available on youtube). Frankly, I’m tired of those who say that not everything they preach is heresy so we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Satan always mixes his lies in with truth…he wouldn’t be able to deceive us if he didn’t. Like the old story of mixing 1/2 tsp of doggie ‘you-know-what’ into the brownie mix – it’s just a teeny tiny bit. Brownies, anyone? Beware!

  25. Craig says:

    MaryM007:

    By the way, Paul Gowdy has his own site and here’s the article on the Toronto Deception ["Blessing"]:

    http://iftruthbeknown.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/the-toronto-deception/

  26. extremely upset re: Charisma! says:

    Craig and readers:
    Very sad read that Charisma and Editors allowed this and didn’t either research a matter and or were complicit with because J. Lee Grady has been on a report church abuse list since early of year 2000 and confronted him for compromising. Cover Story on IHOP–KC in “Charisma” Magazine, November 2010 (he’s going to get raked over the coals before church leadership for this and j. lee knows better and obviously he doesn’t care that’s what’s really sad is he’s part of the abuse of ihoprayer churches for not exposing; he’s known about incidents).

    Confronted anyone for compromising and selling out for a paycheck or to keep numbers up (people not leaving and that would also apply to the so-called church). All you have to type is: Google: Abused by Ihoprayer churches and or Mike Bickle; ihoprayer, people negative feedback and or ihoprayer, people’s controversial articles. I’M SO UPSET – that they would compromise especially with backing so many wrong ministries like Todd and others; worse told for years !

  27. Be encouraged. says:

    MaryM007
    Mary, so grievous to see you going through this, will be praying.
    Struggled with being in a church after coming out of a pentecostal/charismatic cult. Fed up with the dead institutionalized Church that doesn’t preach the Bible, prayer is talked about never done; repentance/humilty isn’t a way of life, no accountability and NO fruit. Someone told me about the House2House movement, home churches that have their reasons for going back to home but the problem with that is the organized denominational churches come in and proselyte them to come over and or they’re starting a new church (their mentality is bring them to the building; come in and destroy and divide; conqueror and hear we go again). One movement that keeps destroying them. Tough call.

    Few men have told me they found a group of people wanted to go home, set up a structure Biblical base and building healthy people and families, not into big numbers but foundations in Bible. The people all know what they come out of and don’t want the same; they’re hoping not to make the same mistakes plus they utilize the entire body and ideas and feedback (iron sharpens iron). One man said their church people were disillusioned and group of people left and started home church. Hope you find a place of rest and to be loved, restoration, strengthened and your gifts brought out and utilized. Blessings.

  28. Craig says:

    Thanks to “peacebringer” for providing a link from a thread on Andrew Strom’s Forum to this testimonial here.

    Since the subject of Misty Edwards and the “Jesus is your boyfriend” came up on that thread, I thought I would address it here. I may just put up a separate post in a bit.

    I’ve been told that Brennan Manning’s The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus [previously Lion and Lamb] is required reading at IHOP and that the book includes a reference that God is sexually aroused by His people. [Can anyone else verify that Manning’s book is required at IHOP?] Here’s the passage which specifically states this:

    Sexual imagery is universal in human religious experience. But when the living God in whose presence Moses had to remove his shoes is presented as a cuckolded husband who relentlessly pursues His wayward wife, some Christians have protested that this is not only an outrageous symbol but a blasphemous one. Why? Because the prophet Hosea is implying that God doesn’t just care for His people; Hosea is implying that God is sexually aroused in the presence of His people… [pp 109-110]

    I see the first sentence above as totally false with respect to historical orthodox Christianity. And, I’d like to know where he gets the claim that “some Christians” view the Book of Hosea in the way he mentions above. Manning is the one who has taken an allegory WAY too far. The point in the Book of Hosea is that Israel can be likened to an adulterous bride as metaphor, NOT that God is aroused by His people. This is both disgusting AND blasphemous!

    Bickle interprets the Song of Solomon [Song of Songs] as allegorical so that the woman represents the Bride of Christ and the man is represented by Jesus. He calls this teaching the “Bridal Paradigm.” This leads to a “Jesus is your boyfriend” mentality in some contrary to the claim that Bickle is constantly stressing not to view Jesus in this way. One example of this teaching is in Appendix II of Bickle’s book Growing in the Prophetic: a Mission Statement of the now-defunct Metro Vineyard Fellowship [which had teachings on the Bridal Paradigm as a sort of precursor to IHOP as evidenced by a cassette tapes series in my possession dated 1996 titled “Bride of Christ”]. Under “ESSENTIAL FACTORS,” Passion For Jesus – John 17:26 under 2nd bulleted statement is:

    Because God first loved us, we desire to passionately love, know and enjoy Jesus (Song 8:6-7). [p 229]

    Taking the latter part of verse 5 for complete context, from the NIV [1984] we have:

    Under the apple tree I roused you;
    there your mother conceived you,
    there she who was in labor gave you birth.
    6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
    for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
    It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.
    7 Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot wash it away.
    If one were to give
    all the wealth of his house for love,
    it would be utterly scorned.

    Clearly, this is speaking strictly of the passion between a man and a woman – in this case the Shulamite woman and King Solomon. To portray this as analogous to Jesus and the Bride of Christ is just plain wrong despite Origen and other early ‘church fathers.’ The Song of Solomon is poetic literature and is not meant to be taken allegorically. In the Gordon Fee/Douglas Stuart book How to Read the Bible for All its Worth the authors describe why an allegorical interpretation [2nd ed; pp 227-229] is faulty. In the NIV Study Bible, the Introduction to the SoS states:

    Virtually all agree that the literary climax of the Song is found in 8:6-7, where the unsurpassed power and value of love – the love that draws man and woman together – are finally expressly asserted. Literary relaxation follows the intenseness of that declaration. A final expression of mutual desire between the lovers brings the Song to an end, suggesting that love goes on… [p 998]

    Keeping the above in mind, when reading lyrics of Misty Edwards such as the following, it’s no wonder some adopt the “Jesus is my lover/boyfriend” mindset:

    God is a lover
    Looking for a lover
    So He fashioned me

    From “See The Way” from the recording Always On His Mind. See how the focus is “ME” centered rather than God centered?

    The whole “Bridal Paradigm” is a perversion on more than one level…

  29. Craig says:

    Here’s Stephanie’s YouTube video testimony on Fellowship of the Martyrs (FOTM) in which she goes over some things not in the written testimony in this blog article:

  30. Craig says:

    Here’s NY Times reporter Erik Eckholm’s article on IHOP:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/us/10prayer.html

    Stephanie Gerard, 27, said that she was asked to leave the Bible school two years ago after she started challenging her teachers’ fascination with mystical “signs and wonders,” and that after months of praying and fasting, “I sounded like a clone.”

  31. Kevin Kleint says:

    I worked for the Elijah List for 7 Years and have experienced first hand a lot of what “Stephanie” is talking about. Feel free to check out my story here: http://www.honorofkings.org/elijahlist/.

    God Bless

  32. Craig says:

    Kevin,

    Thanks for posting. I’ve read your series of articles. I’m glad you’re away from that!

    You may want to have a look at some of the recent articles here exposing the faulty foundations of IHOP including the Kansas City Fellowship days of which Bickle still espouse as part of the IHOP heritage.

  33. Kevin Kleint says:

    I’ll do that, thanks Craig!

  34. NOLR History says:

    Stephanie,

    Thank you for having the courage to post a small sample of the abuse and attempt to marry your soul to another Jesus, another christ, and another spirit. Many more are coming out and hopefully they, like you, won’t give up on God. As a former member of another New Order of the Latter Rain cult called Maranatha Campus Ministries, my testimony parallels yours. I too had genuine dreams as warnings from God as well as dreams from the enemy. Maranatha leaders assigned several people to “disciple” me and were worried that I would catch on to their past history of being a cult, which I did. Yes, this is an extremely dangerous occult movement that has entrapped 10s of 1000s of youth who were simply looking for the real, genuine Jesus Christ and orthodox doctrine. Instead, they have been tricked into entering a “Mystery School” initiation into a deadly mind-control cult that has a long well-documented link to the political “Right” in the USA. The Republican Party has been riddled with members of the New Apostolic Reformation and Word-of-Faith movements for decades.

    First they want to take over your mind over time. Then, after your ability to think is taken away and replaced by Christian Kabbalist group-think, then you are encouraged to move up into “leadership” or remain a slave. On a regular basis, the leaders will expect you to show your blind loyalty by having you agree with their ongoing false doctrines and practices to keep you in check after the initial soul-suppressing transformation. Yes, this is an Anti-christ occult movement if there ever was one.

    Please be encouraged in Christ and keep up the great work. We are the true “Overcomers” who God is using to set the captives free.

    –NOLR History
    10/21/11

  35. Craig says:

    NOLR History,

    Thanks for posting your brief testimony as well. Others will be coming out I’m sure as God will, in His mercy, open their eyes.

  36. Julie says:

    I want to share another person’s recent brush with IHOP. They recently involved themselves in another 21 day fast that just ended. This person, already knowing of the dangers involved in this group, never-the-less was somehow seduced by this recent corporate fast. Not only did this very fit (read, no body fat) young man choose to fast, he also fasted from water and sleep!

    A family member of mine, who is very good friends with this person, intervened, took him to get something to eat, sat with him while he drank many glasses of water, and took him home where he could get much needed sleep. The young man appeared to be grateful, but honestly, his mind was quite confused and his expressions were those coming out of a fog. He was nearly incoherent. However, he did express thanks through many tears.

    I have no reason to believe IHOP encouraged this young man to fast in such an extreme manner. However, what is the atmosphere, what are the pressures, what is the SPIRIT that would bring this type of abuse? I already know of another person who is practically on life support due to this extreme fasting influence. What is it going to take to wake people up?

    I just learned of this last night and am feeling especially anxious for the youth there. Could law enforcement be brought to bear? This is just getting more and more outrageous!

    There, my rant is over. I think.

  37. Craig says:

    Julie,

    Thanks for sharing this. It breaks my heart to see the young and spiritually immature get caught up in this – and these groups do definitely, specifically target the youth.

    You wrote: “what is the atmosphere, what are the pressures, what is the SPIRIT that would bring this type of abuse?” Yes, what IS the spirit behind all this? Clearly, it is NOT the Holy Spirit.

  38. Pingback: Testimony of a Former IHOP-KC Attendee: Stephanie « DiscernIt

  39. Pingback: IHOP’s dangerous, heretical teachings entering EFC-ER via MUHOP « Christians United Against Apostasy

  40. Arwen4CJ says:

    Oh wow….I followed the link that you pingbacked on. I know the group that that is referring to — it breaks my heart to know that they have continued to move in that direction. That church is becoming more and more a cult, and now is infecting more people. I think I need to say something.

    I think, perhaps, that it is time for me to tell my entire story of involvement and exposure to the charismatic movement. It’s part of my testimony. Perhaps it will be encouraging to some and a warning to others.

    I probably won’t have time to finish it, as I’ll be going exercising soon — but I do want to share this with anyone interested.

    I grew up in a United Methodist Church. At the time, that particular church was a whole lot more social than it was a church — at least that is the way it appeared to me. I learned a lot about Old Testament stories and about Jesus, but these were just history lessons, the way that they were taught. No one talked about having a personal relationship with God. No one talked about how God could help me in my daily life. I didn’t know I could rely on Him. People at that church didn’t really know or even read the Bible much. I believe that the people were sincere, but they just didn’t go very deep with their faith. The church seemed empty and dead to me. There were some that were even trying to take God out of the church. Still, others wanted nothing to do with sin, grace, or salvation. They told one of the pastors when she first came that they didn’t want sin, grace, or salvation taught. They covered up the cross in the “contemporary service.” Needless to say, I didn’t really hear the gospel at my church. I still had faith, though.

    I just want to say here that not all United Methodist Churches are like this. Not even that church is like this so much any more. Things are getting better at the church, praise God. But that’s how it was when I was growing up.

    When I was in high school, I joined a Bible study that met at the school, after school hours. It was part of Campus Life, which is in turn part of Youth For Christ. It was there that I started to read the Bible and be exposed to the gospel (as an adult.) I went to an event called Niagara 2000, which was amazing. That’s when I understood what worship was, and that’s when I really understood what the gospel was as an adult. The worship was amazing, and I really started to grow in my faith at that time. I won’t go into too much detail, but it was wonderful. I started to have a deep passion to grow in my faith, and just a passion for God in general.

    (I have to go now…I’ll finish this when I get back.)

  41. Arwen4CJ says:

    Before I go — I do want to say that, looking back, some of the speakers were a little questionable. One in particular — Tommy Tenney. I don’t know about the others — I would have to re-listen to there talks. I don’t know that Tommy Tenney really said anything off then…I would have to re-listen to him as well. I just know that he associates with the NAR crowd now.

    If anyone did teach false doctrine, it didn’t impact me — or God didn’t allow it to — or whatever — but the overall experience was good. I did meet God and I learned a lot. I was a senior in high school at the time, and I didn’t know anything about false teachers or apologetics or anything. All I knew was that God was real.

    From what I remember, it was all orthodox Christianity. I know that there were no weird manifestations or anything at all going on. It was good Christian worship.

    I can’t vouch for any of the speakers or the worship leaders in all their ministries — again, I don’t know — I would have to research — but I do know that what I took away was a true relationship with God and an understanding of what it truly meant to worship Him and to surrender my life to Jesus Christ.

  42. Arwen4CJ says:

    Okay — time to continue. I’m not sure how much I’ll write before I’ll eat lunch — but I do want to say a little more now.

    I got back from Niagara 2000, having truly experienced what Christianity is supposed to be like, and I wanted to share with people at my church what I had learned and experienced there. I talked to the people that were in my Sunday School class about it. Unfortunately, the class consisted of myself and one or two other high school students, and two people who had graduated from college. These college graduates shouldn’t have been in the class. One was practically an atheist, and he took fun in steering the Sunday School teacher away from teaching anything. That one individual explained my experience away, and the teacher didn’t really say a whole lot about it.

    Very few people in my church seemed interested in my experience. Only an older lady who had befriended me. She listened, and she cared. In fact, she wanted to sponsor me in Chrysalis, which is a Christian weekend that is pretty powerful as well. I went on a Chrysalis weekend the summer before I started college (undergrad). That was another amazing experience. I continued to grow in my faith. That weekend I learned more about God’s love and the fact that other Christians would love me, even though they didn’t know me. I’d never really felt that before from the people at my church. I think I learned more about relying on God and trusting Him during that than I had before. I learned more about what being a Christian was all about.

    Again, I don’t know about the teaching or the speakers, as I didn’t have any concept of there being false teachers. All I knew was that God met me at both events, and my faith in Him definitely grew.

    I never really knew that I could pour out my heart to God, as I did at these two events.

    I then went off to college in the fall. I’m going to name the school because it is important to what I’m going to talk about. The school I attended was Mount Union College (now called Mount Union University), which is in Alliance, Ohio. Alliance is located in the eastern part of the state, not far away from Canton and Massilon.

    Okay, time for me to eat lunch. I’ll finish this later.

  43. Arwen4CJ says:

    Back again —

    When I had filled out my rooming application for living on campus, I had said that I wanted a Christian roommate. The reason for that was because I wanted to be able to pray, talk, and study the Bible with someone else. I wanted to continue to grow in my faith. Well, as it turned out, I didn’t get a roommate that wanted to do these things. At that time, she wanted faith to be a private matter that she didn’t want to talk to anyone about. My hopes were dashed.

    I think both she and I had a difficult time adjusting to living away from home — to the reality that people are different, and not everyone does things the same way. I found out later that she was having a really hard time and was possibly suicidal, but she didn’t tell me that. Anyway, things got really bad between us. It got to the point where I was afraid of her — she would scream at me and it just wasn’t pleasant.

    Sometime during my first semester, a group of students started a Bible study that would meet in the lounge of our residence hall. However, it met much later at night than I wanted to go to — (it met at like 10:00 or 11:00 PM). I did want to go to a Bible study, though. By the time I had decided to go, I found out that my roommate was attending that Bible study. I didn’t really think I would be welcome there because of her, and I didn’t really want to cause a problem that way.

    Therefore, when two other freshmen on my floor invited me to an off-campus Bible study, I welcomed the opportunity with open arms. They told me that it might be a little different than what I was used to, but I was willing to go to any Christian Bible study. This particular Bible study met every other Saturday at a home in Canton or Massilon — I can’t remember now.

    They had both gone to this Bible study since they had been in high school. They had even gone on mission trips in Africa with the group, so they were pretty dedicated. (And no, it wasn’t Heidi Baker’s ministry, but rather something that this Bible study group did on their own — as far as I know. They went every year. They went to Ghana. I don’t know if they still do it.)

    (Now — just to give it a little perspective on time — Niagara 2000 took place just after Christmas in 2000. I went on the Chrysalis weekend the summer of 2001. I started college in the fall of 2001).

    At any rate, this couple opened their home up to at least 50 high school, college students, and young adults. I thought that was pretty neat. They had a time of worship, mostly consisting of contemporary worship songs, and then one of the two leaders would speak. They would speak based on the Bible — and enough of it was sound that it didn’t raise too many alarm bells for me. Again, though….i didn’t know to be looking out for false teaching, so I don’t know what the true content was.

    I do remember, though, that I did learn some good things from them. I remember one time when the female leader talked about having Jesus as our first love. That was really important to me, because it was something that I’d never really heard taught on before — or at least the way it was presented. I appreciated the people’s love for Jesus, and that they were really serious about their faith.

    At the end of their teaching time, they would all pray in tongues, which was a little weird. I had never really heard of tongues before, and didn’t even know what they were. Although it wasn’t something that I had an experience with, I accepted it because I was open to the idea because I knew that God was more than what the church that I had grown up in taught.

    After they were done with that, one of the leaders told us that if we had never been baptized in the Spirit, or if we wanted to learn more about what that was, that we could go into a room that was next to the living room, which is where they worshiped. I decided that I wanted to have what they had — they had such a passion for Jesus. I was definitely interested in this Baptism of the Holy Spirit thing.

    So…that first night I went to the back room, and several people came in and talked to me and…I think there was one or two other people who were interested. The female leader’s son (and stepson of the male leader) was there along with some others. They talked to me about it, pointed me to some Scriptures in Acts, and gave me a little booklet about it that their ministry had put together. Although I listened with interest, I wasn’t ready to be prayed for to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. They told me that I could take it home and pray about it and look into it. I told them that I would.

    This was certainly different from anything I had ever heard of in the church I grew up in, and I wasn’t so sure what the United Methodist Church thought about it. I didn’t know what God thought of it, either. I believed in the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t know much about Him or what His purpose was. I knew nothing about spiritual gifts — I didn’t even know they existed, as they were never talked about at the church I grew up in. I was confused.

    However, they were nice about it and didn’t pressure me into getting prayed for to be “baptized” in the Holy Spirit.

    I continued to go to the Bible study for a while with the two women on my floor.

    (To be continued)

  44. Arwen4CJ says:

    I haven’t mentioned the Bible study’s name yet, so let me do so now. It was called Frontline Ministries International, or FMI for short. That way, if I use FMI, you’ll know that I am meaning that Bible Study group.

    During that first semester in college, I was also involved in a group on campus called Emerging Leaders. This wasn’t a Christian group, but rather one that focused on being a leader on the campus. It only lasted the first semester, and there was a group of about 15-20 of us freshmen. It was really good.

    Anyway, I had made some friends in the group, especially a particular guy. He was an atheist, although he was willing to talk about Christianity and faith and God. He and I started to have long discussions about God. He was interested — but it took him a long time to agree to go to any sort of Christian event. I went to the chapel on Sunday mornings (it is a United Methodist affiliated school). I invited my friend to come along, and he finally agreed to come. He actually became interested in attending a Bible study. Since I was going to the FMI Bible study, that is the one that I invited him to.

    Sigh….

    Well, as you can probably imagine, he found the tongues thing to be completely strange. However, this didn’t stop him from being interested. At the end of the Bible Study, they gave their usual invitation to go into the small room to either learn about the baptism of the Holy Spirit or salvation. Well, since he wasn’t a believer, he was interested in the salvation part. Since I wasn’t a leader or even a regular group member, I didn’t go in the back room, so I had no idea what was going on. He was in there for a really long time, though.

    When he finally came out of the room, he came over to where I was and where the female leader was. I guess I might as well mention the leader’s names — their names are Mary Pat and Bill Gokee. That way, I can just use their names from now on. Mary Pat asked my friend if he had accepted Christ. He said yes, although I doubted his statement. I don’t know why…but I thought that he was lying. Anyway, one of the people attending the Bible study happened to be walking at the time of the question. He said loudly and in a strange voice, “I can see it in your eyes!” My friend looked at him really weirdly.

    Afterwards, when my friend and I were not in the hearing range of anyone from the Bible study, I asked him if he had really accepted Jesus. He told me no, and then proceeded to tell me what had happened in that room. He said that he felt forced to pray the prayer to accept Jesus, and that they basically wouldn’t let him out of the room until he prayed it!

    He then wanted nothing more to do with Christianity — these people turned him off from it completely. He wouldn’t go to chapel with me at all. He was still willing to talk about it, but it wasn’t the same. He wasn’t really interested anymore.

    I got really upset with the way they had treated my friend. I also started to wonder about some of the people in the group. I still went to the Bible study like one more time after that incident, but I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable with it.

    Around this same time, my roommate stopped going to the Bible study that she’d gone to before. I was invited to that Bible study by someone, and so I started going to that one off and on. This Bible study had nothing to do with FMI, and was led by other freshmen. In fact, they had started it.

    At that time there was another Bible study that I hadn’t heard about, but it met on Thursdays and was affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ. I never went to that one — not really sure why — maybe was afraid that my roommate might be a part of it, or maybe I had class on Thursday night…I don’t know. This Thursday Bible study is important for later…so keep it in mind.

  45. Arwen4CJ says:

    I don’t know why I went back to the FMI Bible study after they treated my friend the way that they did, but I did go back at least once. The Bible study had a trip planned to go to something called Acquire the Fire. From the way it was described, it sound a lot like Niagara 2000, so I was completely up for that. I signed up to go Acquire the Fire with them. They bought tickets for people to go, so it didn’t cost much, although I probably had to pay for some things.

    Well, although it reminded me of Niagara 2000, it wasn’t as good. However, the FMI people ordered pizza. The pizza was really late in being delivered. This gave plenty of time for talking. I asked several people there about spiritual gifts. A friend of mine from the other Bible study was there as well (the Bible study that some freshmen had started.) She was Roman Catholic and told me that the gifts were orthodox, but not very many people spoke in tongues. This kind of gave me some reassurance on it.

    As we were walking around, waiting for the pizza, we talked more about the whole idea of Baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. One woman who was part of the FMI Bible study said that she wanted to receive it. She and I had lots of questions. I was praying about it, and finally I said that I wanted it, too.

    I don’t remember how many people there were — just a few — maybe one or two or three people — laid hands on me and prayed for me to receive the “baptism” in the Holy Spirit. I asked what I was supposed to do, and they told me that I should pray in English out loud.

    I’ve thought back on this several times, especially in light of what has become FMI now — wondering if I might have received something false, etc.

    Although I don’t remember the whole incident in detail, I remember wanting to make sure that I was praying to and receiving something that was only the God of the Bible. I think that the Holy Spirit was letting me know that counterfeits did exist. I did not want anything from something that wasn’t God. I don’t remember if I prayed to protect myself from false stuff — like I said I don’t remember the exact details. I do remember that I only wanted God and His truth. I also remember the Holy Spirit kind of saying to me in my heart something like, “I’ll give this to you, but with it comes a lot of responsibility.”

    I do believe that what happened was of the God of the God of the Bible, although I don’t believe in the term “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” anymore, nor do I believe that tongues are any special evidence that a person has received anything.

    Anyway, what did happen was that my mouth started moving and sounds came out that weren’t things that I was making up on my own. It was a neat experience.

    I think both of the two women who took me to the FMI Bible study were present during the time that I had received the tongues, because they both commented to me that they thought something had gotten in the way. I wasn’t speaking the way that they thought I should be speaking — I wasn’t speaking full words, but only syllables — or something. I don’t remember what they said, but they wondered if their was sin or something that was preventing me from speaking the way they thought I should be speaking. They recognized that there was something different about it, and they thought something had messed it up a little.

    The rest of that night and the next couple days I felt like God kept on telling me that with the spiritual gifts like this come great responsibility. I felt like He was also telling me that these kinds of gifts could be counterfeited by Satan, and that I needed to watch doctrine closely. Again, I don’t remember all the details, but I do feel like God was giving me a warning in regard to spiritual gifts.

    (more later)

  46. Arwen4CJ says:

    Now — at that time FMI was not a church. It was only the Bible study and the ministry that it had in Ghana, Africa. I asked the two other freshmen what church they attended, and what church the people in FMI mostly went to.

    Both of the other two freshmen went to an Evangelical Friends Church in Canton. If I remember correctly, I think they also said that Mary Pat and Bill went there as well, as did a lot of other people from FMI. I never went to church with them, so I really don’t know about that — but I do know that people who went to FMI also went to the Evangelical Friends Church, at least at that time. That is where the connection between the two started. I don’t know anything about the Evangelical Friends Church, so I don’t know what kinds of things they taught there or accepted.

    I did ask how Mary Pat and Bill came to accept tongues. Apparently one of Bill’s daughters was on a mission trip somewhere in South America or in Hatti or something — and during worship she and others started to speak in tongues. She came back home, and Mary Pat and Bill tried to figure out what had happened. That is how they and their Bible study got involved in the idea of Baptism in the Holy Spirit and tongues. I don’t know if their church investigated that and came to that conclusion, or if it was a conclusion that only Mary Pat and Bill came to.

    It doesn’t sound like, then, that Mary Pat, Bill, or their children sought out spiritual gifts, but rather just something that happened to Bill’s daughter, and then they looked into it. I don’t know how much before this that FMI was teaching and emphasizing tongues.

    FMI had a retreat, I’m thinking, the spring of my freshmen year. I hadn’t really gone to the FMI Bible study much — I might have gone a few times since Acquire the Fire — but I had been going to the one that the other freshmen my age had started more. (We’ll call the Bible study that people my age started “Freedom Bible Study” or just “Freedom” from now on.) Almost everyone from Freedom went to this FMI retreat because the two freshmen invited everyone to go.

    There were a few things that happened at the retreat that bothered me at that time, and thinking back now, were red flags.

    1.) Mary Pat thought that the only true worship was contemporary worship in which the person was closing their eyes during the songs. She said something like, “we’re not like the spiritually dead places where a bunch of old people read something off of pieces of paper, just signing dead songs out of hymnals.”

    She then went on to say that anyone who wasn’t closing their eyes and lifting up their arms wasn’t really worshiping.

  47. Arwen4CJ says:

    This bothered me, because….although I personally got a lot out of contemporary worship songs — because it was in a contemporary worship setting that I first learned what worshiping God was — I also like quieter songs rather than really, really loud ones. I also do feel that I can worship with hymns. I know that some people have trouble worshiping using contemporary songs. There are different styles of worship that some people find more worshipful than others. No one should be condemned because they don’t worship in the same style that you prefer.

    I also don’t like to be forced to respond a certain way — such as being expected to lift up hands or close my eyes. In my opinion, these things should be choices people make because that is how they want to respond to God. I personally don’t like lifting my hands up during worship unless I really feel led to. When I worship, I like to read the words so that I can think about them and what they really mean.

    I was one of the ones she was condemning and that she said really wasn’t worshiping because I wasn’t lifting my hands or closing my eyes.

    2.) During part of that retreat I wasn’t feeling well, so I wanted to stay in the bathroom rather than hear some of the talks.

    People from FMI came in and told me that Satan was trying to prevent me from hearing the message. I really needed to get in there and listen to what was being said.

    This bothered me because it felt very controlling. It just didn’t seem right to me.

    The rest of the retreat was okay, from what I remember, but it was a little…controlling, I guess. I don’t really know how exactly to put it.

    Now, don’t get me wrong — the people there really did love God, and the leaders were nice people. However, there were definitely seeds of both a theological and a sociological cult that existed.

  48. Arwen4CJ says:

    During my sophomore year of college, I became more involved with the Freedom Bible study, and I didn’t really associate with FMI at all. I don’t think I ever went to a Saturday FMI Bible Study after my freshman year. The two women with whom I had gone the previous year were no longer on my floor, or I think, in the building.

    However, there were some freshmen that year who were a part of FMI that were on my floor. I knew them from my experience with FMI. Not only that, but Mary Pat’s son also started going to FMI. So FMI now had several students who attended Mount Union.

    About this time Freedom Bible Study became associated with Campus Crusade For Christ.

    I was also really getting into my Bible and reading it more than I ever had before. I liked the people at Freedom, and I was really growing in my faith. I decided to go on the Campus Crusade spring break trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. Another person on my floor who was also part of Freedom decided to go as well.

    This friend told me that she was talking to one of the FMI people, and when my friend told her that she was going to Florida with Campus Crusade, the FMI person started ignoring her from then on. My friend would try to talk to her, but the FMI person wouldn’t even say hi.

    I don’t know why, but at that time FMI really did NOT like Campus Crusade For Christ, or anyone associated with it. That attitude seemed pretty un-Christian to me.

    I’m not sure, but the rift between FMI and Campus Crusade For Christ might have had something to do with that Thursday Bible study that I mentioned earlier, that was also affiliated with Campus Crusade. I had a good friend who liked to go to that Bible study. At some point that Thurs. Bible study fell apart completely. I don’t know the circumstances, but I know that it happened. I also know that a lot of people who went to the Thurs. Bible study started to go to FMI.

    Eventually….again…sometime during my sophomore year, FMI started up their own Thursday Bible study that met on Mount Union’s campus. This Bible study was called The Edge. The Edge continued to meet on Mount Union’s campus through my senior year. Last time I looked at FMI’s website, they still hold the Edge there :(

    I ended up having classes on Thursday evenings, usually, so I didn’t go to the Edge much. There were a couple times that class was canceled that I did end up going because I promised my friend that I would go. It was basically a shortened version of their Saturday night Bible studies.

    I didn’t really have much to do with FMI, though. Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t.

    There is more….

  49. Arwen4CJ says:

    Although I believe that FMI was off back then — they have continued on a trajectory that is nothing short of false teaching.

    During the time that I knew them, tongues was about the only spiritual gift and/or manifestation that they talked about. There might have been one or two people falling down at the retreat — I can’t remember. The point is, though….that they weren’t into any of the really weird stuff that they are into now. (Gold dust, gems, soaking, etc.) At least that I knew of.

    During the time that I knew them, I don’t remember them ever talking about people like Patricia King, Mike Bickle, IHOP, Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, or the like. Maybe the leaders and people attending liked these people, but I don’t remember any of these people mentioned. Now, maybe they were mentioned, but I didn’t pay any attention because I had no idea who/what they were.

    I really had kind of forgotten all about FMI until someone at my first practicum site gave me a book to read on prayer walking, which I’d never heard of. My first practicum site was at an independent Christian counseling center, not associated with any specific church. I’d told the people about the lack of sound doctrine being taught at my grad school, which was a seminary. One of the employees loaned me the prayer walking book because she thought that prayer walking might benefit me.

    I read the book — and came to the conclusion that the author made most of it up. It sounded very far fetched to me, and there was false theology all over the book. The author’s name is Henry Gruver.

    Here’s one of the books this man has written

    I don’t know if that’s the book I read or not, but he basically lied. His “proof” that his book was real was when he gave a testimony of going to some city in Ohio on his way to the Cleveland airport (he literally said “some city” he didn’t name it.) and that the pastor took him on a street and Henry Gruver claims that he could name every sin on that street. He claimed that there were a lot of gambling casinos and abortion clinics on the street. He then claimed the pastor said he was correct, and was amazed at this.

    At the time that I read the book, there were no gambling casinos in Ohio. Ohio has only recently voted to have gambling casinos, and it was well after the book was written.

    Anyway, I wanted to look Henry Gruver up on the Internet to see if I could find anything on him. About the only page I came across was FMI’s website.

    This must have been the fall after Todd Bentley’s Lakeland, because I remember reading FMI’s website and seeing that they had completely embraced Lakeland. They had shown God TV footage nightly.

    I also learned that they were now no longer just a Bible study, but a church. They now have a building, and they were also into soaking. They had John Arnott or someone from TACF come and do a special seminar to the people at FMI.

    According to their website, part of their leadership requirements include soaking at least once a week.

    Reading the website broke my heart — and it also drove me to contact my friends from my Mount Union days that I knew had been involved with FMI. I wanted to warn them, as much as I could. Todd Bentley’s Lakeland was finished, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to talk to them.

    My good friend from FMI told me that she went to the church, although she thought they might be a cult. She thought God wanted her there to try to help them. However, she told also told me that she had been really interested in a guy there. He’d been interested in her. The leadership knew this. While my friend was gone on a vacation, they hooked the boy up with someone else in FMI. They told him that he had to date this other girl instead of my friend.

    Why? Because they didn’t think my friend was a good enough Chrisitan. They didn’t even know if she was really saved because she didn’t go along with all the things, and they treated her like she wasn’t one of them.

    My friend tends to be liberal in her political views, which they also didn’t like. They actually condemned her from the pulpit because of her political views :(

    She also told me that soaking and gold dust and gems and other “manifestations” are now common at FMI.

    Another friend that I know that was involved with FMI had a completely different response. She is now in a position of leadership there, and she was completely into Lakeland. She was convinced that Todd Bentley was sound, and even took FMI youth to Lakeland, Florida. She really likes Patricia King, Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, etc.

    Some of my Mount Union friends in that part of the state are still heavily involved with FMI.

    From what my friend told me, and from what I read from their website, and now what I read in that article, I am thoroughly convinced that FMI is a dangerous cult.

    I saw on their website the last time I looked that they were trying to get Bible studies on other colleges near FMI. Malone was one mentioned. I’m very saddened to see that it is becoming a reality.

    I’m not really sure what I can do or say about it — as I haven’t really been a part of FMI for a long time. Seeing how their poison is spreading to colleges in the area, I would have thought that other people would say something about it. I wish I would have known to say something while the Edge was just new on Mount Union’s campus. I guess I didn’t realize that things would get as back as they have become.

    Campus Crusade must be aware of FMI’s existence. But they probably have no idea what is going on…..

    I’m going to pray for the colleges in that area.

  50. Arwen4CJ says:

    I say all this because I know that it is only by the grace of God that I didn’t get involved in FMI. Yes, I attended several of their Bible studies, but I never was really into the group.

    College age people, especially if they come from a church like mine — with very little Christian doctrine being taught, are very vulnerable.

    College age people mostly only know of the world from what the place they grew up in was like. I was thirsty for God, and I had no idea that there were false teachers out there. I’m sure that this is how many get pulled into these cults. They person just wants to grow in their faith, and they see people who seemed to be excited about Jesus, why wouldn’t they want to join in?

    I thank God that He led me away from FMI

    time for me to eat again…..I’ll finish my conclusion later.

  51. Arwen4CJ says:

    but I could have so easily gotten really involved with it, even though a few things bothered me about it.

    Oh….I started reading that article you linked above further. I went to the Malone IHOP link (I’d stopped reading the article when it talked about someone in Canton’s Evangelical Friends Church being in IHop — but I didn’t look to make sure that the Malone group was FMI. I just assumed that it was because I knew that FMI wanted to get on its campus.

    Upon looking at the Malone IHop link, it doesn’t appear that there is a direct connection with FMI.

    I do know, though, that FMI has a worship center and soaking stuff….so it didn’t seem far fetched to me that they would be associated with Malone’s IHOP. There still may be a connection….but anyway….FMI is dangerous because it is on other campuses, and it’s trying to get on others.

  52. Charlotte says:

    When I (Norwegian girl) first went into missions for 6 months working with prostitutes in Philippines in 1999, my mum got this word from God as a comfort: 2.Chr. 16:9 a – “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

    Now 13 years later 12 of them deeply into all sorts of “Toronto blessing counselling style”, “IHOP intersession style”, “Bethel Redding worship/kingdom thinking” – I can only thank God for His promise. By His grace He has taken me and my husband out from this deep occult practises, starting to open our eyes as we are now a family living to reach the unreached in the Philippines.

    We still get confronted by the Word about our old learned practises from this movements, so I am so thankful for this website and Beyond Grace page as they uncovers the deep roots of the herecies that this “apostles and prophets” are teaching.

    I can totally relate to this testimonies- and are so sad of all the innocent youth that want to give 100% to the Lord and get occult experiences in return.

    But I am encouraged by the word that my mum got. God is in control!

    Just recall a visit from an IHOP-teacher at our sending mission center, where He was teaching from the Revelations – and as we were reading the words from ch 5:9 “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…” My heart were moved and I tried to share how this were so in line with the words from Mathew 24:14 saying: “and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” But I was not able to share this great “pearl” I discovered – it came out just stupid…because it didn’t fit in the “restoration of Davids tabernacle of prayer and worship” – But the word is alive and will not return empty.

    So let’s encourage each other that one day, as we boldly continue to share the basic gospel with those God leads in our way – that one day we will all stand/or bow down before the Lamb and worship him from all tribes and tounges, nations and tribes – :)

    Bless you all that have had the courage to share your testimony to help me and many many more to wake up and start seeking the word for ourselves with the help from the Holy Spirit!

    For Him – Charlotte

  53. Craig says:

    Charlotte,

    Thanks so much for your comment. And, yes, let us all encourage one another and pray that more eyes are opened.

  54. Craig says:

    I’ve just posted a new article (part of an older article) on the foundation of IHOP:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/the-sandy-foundation-of-the-international-house-of-prayer-ihop/

  55. ed feys says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
    1st i would like to say that i am not in any way affiliated with IHOP or any other Christian organization over another. nor do i support one over the other. i do analyze arguments and this article/testimony does not hold much sand. The reason for this evaluation is simple, the writer did not give specific examples that could be checked and then they did not back them up with specific scripture verses or quotes. This article could simply be amended by citing people, quotes and scripture that can then be cross checked. in essences writer Catholicised*/nullified the article by not backing anything up with a resource that can be cross checked. all we have here is conjecture from a admittedly disturbed individual. i strongly encourage the writer to redo this article, and offer something concrete.
    thank you again,
    God bless you and grant you peace
    ed

    *catholicised this word does not exist, that is why i offered nullified. i have discovered that catholic teachers often do not cite their arguments or points with their own catechism or with the bible, thus making them much like a bag full of air that is deflating.

  56. Craig says:

    ed feys,

    I’d say your analysis is way off target. “Stephanie” specifically mentioned Sabrina Walsh, as one example. And just where would you suggest she put in Scripture references? Perhaps you can enlighten us. I thought her use of “Bereans” was quite obvious, not requiring chapter/verse, for example. This was not intended as some sort of formal critique against IHOP’s doctrines, if that’s what you’re getting at. However, there are plenty of websites which question a number of IHOP’s doctrines in a more formal manner.

    And where do get off with your statement that she is “a admittedly disturbed individual”? How can you make that assessment from this short testimony? I’d say that what she endured was disturbing, but I don’t see this testimony as revealing that she is herself disturbed. So, then what, in your enlightened view, makes her “a admittedly disturbed individual”?

    Your use of “Catholicised” is quite novel; however, perhaps you should have checked Catholicized which IS a word, meaning a convert to Catholicism:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/catholicized

    One could say you’re the one “much like a bag full of (hot) air that is deflating”. But, I wouldn’t be that unkind.

  57. upset says:

    Craig, MaryM007, Stephanie, etc., Julie etc.,

    Haven’t been on in awhile. Very sad that Bethany Deaton was allowed to happen. IF, the false church leadership that had taken heed of the over *35 websites (letter that was sent) regarding IHOPrayer abuses and many concerns. Julie regarding your October 24, 2011 memo, HOW ABOUT GOD/JESUS/HOLY SPIRIT calls you to FAST, not man (look at Jeremiah Candler). The town had a town meeting over IHOPrayer, really sad when the community has to come together over all the bizarre items they’re seeing regarding Church.
    Wonder how many interceptor secretaries intercepted letter (jezebelian secretary’s) and threw away. Also, some guy blogging claims to be a sheep and yet he’s gotten many items that told several people. They finally realized he was wrong, in error and probably a plant=showed a major woman hating spirit.
    *NY Times ran a report.

  58. JeffBoles says:

    Seems like any ministry that is doing great work for God is hated by you types. I’m offended ya’ll didn’t mention to stay away from my church haha! Literally, several ministries I hold as powerful Spirit filled ministries you guys tear to shreads. It looks to me like part jealousy, part backwards theological baptist horse poo but mostly you pick out some of the most minor dis-agreements you have theologically and hold in contempt any who would dare disagree with you. It’s really sad, truly, and quite depressing that so many in the Church today feel the need to destroy other ministries with thier tougues. If others have been burned, let them give that account, if you havent and you only have your personal opinions of another work you really should check yourself. Then again I’m sure every descentor of IHOP and similar ministries has only the restoration and edification of believers gine astray at heart. It actually seems like any church that believes in the living and active spirit of God having power to do miraculous is deemed as blasphimous cult groups that desire vain self exaltation and such. I’m so sick of this. Spirit filled folk need to get on these freaking blogs and chat rooms and blow you folk up but then again they are probably too busy praying and interceeding for the church.

  59. Craig says:

    JeffBoles,

    You wrote, …Spirit filled folk need to get on these freaking blogs and chat rooms and blow you folk up… ad nauseum.

    For such a “Spirit filled” guy you sure seem to lack the agape love as spoken of by the Apostle Paul – let’s see which chapter of 1 Corinthians is that in? Oh yeah, 13 – right between 12 and 14 where Paul is speaking about those gifts of which you refer.

    You wrote, …It looks to me like part jealousy, part backwards theological baptist horse poo but mostly you pick out some of the most minor dis-agreements you have theologically and hold in contempt any who would dare disagree with you….

    As Mike Bickle himself to this day still proclaims Kansas City Fellowship as “foundational” to IHOP, to include two false prophets referred to as his “spiritual fathers”, Bob Jones and Paul Cain – both of whom were widely known to fall into some serious sexual sin, and both of whom propounded the heretical manifested sons of God doctrine (some will obtain their imperishable, resurrection bodies this side of glory) – I’d say these are more than “minor” theological differences. In the following is but ONE example of the numerous false, and ever-evolving, “prophecies” by Bob Jones, this particular one providing the entire foundation for the so-called “apostolic-prophetic” movement:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/the-sandy-foundation-of-the-international-house-of-prayer-ihop/

    The above was a slight rewriting of the final part of this very lengthy two part article detailing the goings-on of Kansas City Fellowship:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/did-ernie-gruen-recant-his-%e2%80%98aberrant-practices%e2%80%99-document-regarding-kansas-city-fellowshipgrace-ministries/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/in-exonerating-paul-cain-is-the-%e2%80%98aberrant-practices%e2%80%99-document-invalidated/

    Your comment falls outside the boundaries of my instructions regarding commenting as found on the “Before You Comment” tab; however, I figured I’d still release it as an object-lesson to the readership, primarily to illustrate the hate-filled rhetoric fueling those caught within hyper-charismaticism. However, rest assured, any future post which falls outside the parameters of instructions on commenting will be summarily deleted. But, I’m assuming you are a ‘drive-by’ commenter; so, I’ll be surprised if you actually attempt to post anything further, as that’s been my experience with folks who post comments such as yours.

    Should you defy the odds and actually return, I suggest you read the following short article:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/are-you-a-heretic/

  60. Stephanie G says:

    http://www.escapethelie.com/ for more on my personal testimony with this cult. Thanks for continuing to spread the Truth!

  61. Andre says:

    Hi everyone.

    I am a little confused. Please, when I make my comments, I am just asking questions because I did not know about this. So far I have not agreed fully with a lot of what has being said. I do agree that something isn’t right about the IHOP movement and the people accoiated with it. I was also part of IHOP (or Toronto House of Prayer) I played drums for their watch night services. I never fully understood what was going on and ended up leaving because of it. It seem way to “spiritual” for me and I felt I wasn’t at their level.

    But in the story, stephanie says that some of the doctrine they teach does not match up with the word of God and that they also twist the word to fit what they are saying. What exactly are they teaching that isnt biblical? She didnt give many examples. What about scripture they were twisting?

    What is it about Bill Johnson and the bethal church that is so bad? I’ve listened to many of his sermons and have not found anything that didn’t match word. What is wrong with praying for healing? What about learning how to use the gifts of the spirit that you were blessed with?

    I am not defending it. Its just that my church is involved with Bill johnson and love his teachings, also they sing bethal and hillsongs. Worship is amazing at my church ( play drums for the team) and the word that my pastor brings forth is very good. We also have connections (bible study cell groups) so I just don’t understand.

    George Watts commented that we need to stay away from those pastors, but doesn’t say why.

    Please help me out!

    Blessings

  62. Craig says:

    Andre,

    My first suggestion is to do a ‘Google’ search for Mike Bickle/IHOP and Bill Johnson (individually) to see what others are saying. From the CrossWise site here, in the following are articles specifically on Bickle/IHOP (actually as Kansas City Fellowship, which is pre-IHOP, though Bickle still refers to KCF as foundational to IHOP):

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/the-sandy-foundation-of-the-international-house-of-prayer-ihop/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/did-ernie-gruen-recant-his-%e2%80%98aberrant-practices%e2%80%99-document-regarding-kansas-city-fellowshipgrace-ministries/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/in-exonerating-paul-cain-is-the-%e2%80%98aberrant-practices%e2%80%99-document-invalidated/

    As for Bill Johnson, there are more Bill Johnson articles on this site that probably any other. You can start here, which is an “anthology” of all articles on Johnson/Bethel from 1.5 years ago:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/anthology-of-bill-johnson-articles-so-far/

    Since then, there’s also been quite a few:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/learning-etymology-with-bill-johnson-a-new-age-repentance/

    Plus this one and all its parts:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/bill-johnsons-christology-a-new-age-christ/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-christ-anointing-and-the-antichrist-spirit/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/assessing-bill-johnsons-eternally-god-declarations-amidst-his-other-christological-statements-2/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/bill-johnson-claims-you-can-think-and-live-from-the-right-hand-of-god/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/kris-vallotton-on-becoming-an-incarnation-through-holy-communion/

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/five-years-on-todd-bentley-and-bob-jones-teaching-manifest-sons-of-god-in-2008/

    To comment further, please go to the appropriate thread(s).

  63. jeffrey says:

    I just got a testimony from a personal friend who went to IHOPU. It was sad tale of spiritual abuse and manipulation. He is now no longer even a Christian. He assured me the system that allowed and encouraged the Bethany Denton murder was not an isolated aberration, but an epidemic situation. Many things he had to say confirmed what I was coming to believe and had heard on internet testimonies. It is so much more real when you know the person.

    I have other friends still caught up in the system, and some are very strong, committed believers. I do believe God is working there in spite of the deception. That’s how good God is, and merciful, and long-suffering. Many there are sincere people who are just ignorant, others refuse to obey God and be discerning. But when you open yourself to evil, it blinds you more and more. I pray this place gets shut down though and the secret heresies and new age practices being promoted get exposed and people get healed from them.

    I was partially caught in this movement as some of you know. God used it (or people there, depending on your outlook) to bless me, but also to warn me and awaken me. I think it is getting darker as time passes.

    again, this is a spiritual war, only the HS can open the eyes. We must pray and share the truth in love.

  64. @jeffrey – I echo your heartfelt concerns for those caught up in the movement. On a happy note, it is very nice to ‘see’ you around again…perhaps you have been and I just missed you comments? Anyway, God bless you! Sherryn

  65. @ Charlotte – praise God that he is so full of mercy and grace and saved you out of such deception! It is a painful process of conviction and repentance, but it leads to a glorious end in Christ. Your testimony is a great encouragement, thank you. I grew up in the Philippines (’75 – ’89). I am glad to hear you and your husband are serving the Lord there! Blessings in Christ, Sherryn

  66. Craig says:

    Readers of this thread should view the video posted at the following comment:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/miscellany/comment-page-1/#comment-10819

  67. Craig says:

    Here’s the Rolling Stone article on the Bethany Deaton murder:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/love-and-death-in-the-house-of-prayer-20140121

    I’ve only skimmed this, but I’m disappointed, though not surprised, in its depiction of Christianity. Why didn’t the article make it clear that other’s view IHOP as not representing orthodox Christianity?

  68. nicielee says:

    God bless you for sharing your testimony. My son experienced something similar, but it resulted in greater tragedy. Never apologize for telling your truth. Parents and families everywhere need to hear it. If only one is saved or whose eyes may be opened, your story is worth telling. I pray that you receive the fullness and joy that Jesus delivers through grace, not through works prescribed by a man named Bickle.

  69. jeffrey says:

    Narrowing Path,

    Thank you. Always good to fellowship with the body in whatever capacity. I am actually in the USA right now, travelling some with my Latvian wife. It is a very uncertain time for us, and we really could use some prayer. God has spoken we are to be here longer than expected, and that we have a very important, but temporary mission in this nation.

    I know some loving, true Christian brothers and sisters are still in IHOP, some of them may be in the leadership even. My main complaint is their overall vision and structure leads to control or manipulation and group think. It can be an atmosphere where clone like behavior is encouraged. But good things still happen there. a conundrum that I don’t always understand why God allows.

    This is the funny thing, though. Abuses can happen in the best of ministries, and even some of the worst cults have started out as legitimate places of Godly worship. This should be sobering and humbling truth for us all to consider. I have even recently been challenged to concede that I might have been wrong about BJ in many ways. I know that it seems impossible for some here to believe, but I think he may just be a man of God. But in the end, I just can’t put my faith in any man, and must be Berean about everyone, though without malice, spite or any wrong motives. I don’t really follow him that closely, cause it’s just a distraction for me at this point. but anyways, this is a spiritual war, and no person is our enemy. If they are deceivers, it is because they are deceived. If people feel called to expose him, they should do that prayerfully. To that end, I respect the work Craig is doing here. I think he and others have raised some important issues.

    To be critical in thinking without being critical in spirit is such a challenge. I have a hard time with it, but when I slip into the latter, I realize I can become just as much a tool for the enemy as anyone. And ultimately, I just want truth, love and for people to be free. I suspect that is true of most of us here-Craig and others.

    Sometimes I wish places like IHOP and Bethel would just go away and we could get back to the simplicity that is in Christ. I actually think there will be a rise in the monastic movement again, as disillusioned and wounded people will move away from mega-ministries and desire just a loving, simple life in God. We need to get away from the “movement” mentality, and back to the Cross. Take our western thinking and culture to the cross.

    I myself can’t wait to get away with my wife and the Lord to a quiet art studio somewhere that we can just pursue the mysteries and beauty of the divine romance we have in God. No hoopla needed.

  70. Craig says:

    jeffrey,

    You wrote, I know that it seems impossible for some here to believe, but I think he may just be a man of God.

    That’s a difficult one for me to swallow. While none of us are saved by correct theology, a teacher who makes the claims Johnson does belies one led of the Holy Spirit. To claim that Jesus received the “Christ anointing”, resulting in his title of Christ, specifying that without this experience there can be no title implies Jesus was NOT the Christ prior to this experience. Thus we don’t have a real Incarnation, but a man (Jesus) who was “christed”. That’s New Age / New Spirituality teaching going all the way back to 2nd century Gnosticism.

    You wrote, To be critical in thinking without being critical in spirit is such a challenge. I have a hard time with it, but when I slip into the latter, I realize I can become just as much a tool for the enemy as anyone. And ultimately, I just want truth, love and for people to be free. I suspect that is true of most of us here-Craig and others.

    It IS difficult to steer clear of being critical in spirit, and I think I fail at times. But, you are correct in that my desire is to see people free from the snare of false teachings. This is reflected in one of my very first (and short) posts:

    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/are-you-a-heretic/

  71. Carolyn says:

    Quote Jeffrey: “I know that it seems impossible for some here to believe, but I think he may just be a man of God.”

    On what basis do you make this assumption?

    If someone denies that Christ is God come in the flesh as his core teaching, I have to reject his teaching. The Bible says “he is anti-Christ”. Isolate the lie.

    A true man of God will NEVER mix truth with a lie. Consider how Billy Graham began with truth and then mixed it with the lie of Masonic Universalism. He tried to make a lie palatable to Christians by surrounding it with truth. But it’s still a lie. That IS duplicity and looks like a man talking out of both sides of his mouth.

    If a so called “man of God” will not accept correction, but continues in the lie, or tries to sugar coat it with the truth, then he is not a man of God. A man of God speaks truth and never mixes it with a lie.

    This foundational lie of Bill Johnson is the fruit of his ministry. No matter how much truth he may speak around the lie, he is certainly, no man of God. If you will agree with Scripture (instead of Bill Johnson) and accept that he has denied Christ’s divinity, (with the same craftiness that the serpent used), then I can guarantee that your blinders will be removed and you will see the rest of his false teaching.

    Pay close attention to Jesus’ words:

    Matthew 7
    True and False Prophets

    True and False Prophets

    15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

  72. jeffrey says:

    Carolyn,

    I feel you have basically attacked me now, stating that I believe BJ rather than scripture. You also say I have blinders on. How are you so certain of this?

    How do you know he wont receive correction? are you aware of who he is accountable to? You said “A true man of God will NEVER mix truth with a lie” I agree that no man would KNOWINGLY mix truth with a lie. I am just not certain of this on BJ behalf. In my case, I think it would be prideful for me to say. I have thoroughly investigated this man, and I do see what appears to be a mixture, but I have prayed a lot also about this. I have read Craig’s every blog piece about BJ over and over, along with other sources, and I honestly see how some of this stuff can be taken wrongly. I can only speak for myself in saying what I did.

    I am not here to defend BJ. I doubt anything I would have to say would sway you. If you think he is deceived, pray for him, because he’s still not your enemy, even if he is an enemy of the Gospel. Apostle Paul was once the worst kind of enemy of the gospel.

    Craig,
    I agree it’s hard to swallow from a certain perspective. I honestly think BJ may truly be ignorant of the implications of some of his wordings. I pray the spirit of truth brings clarity to him. Again, personally I just cannot pass judgment on him. I feel as though I did, and the Holy Spirit corrected me. That is all I can say. I don’t doubt your intentions are good, and I say fight the good fight, and most of all, pray for wisdom and truth. God bless you.

  73. Craig says:

    jeffrey,

    Not to belabor the point, but I ask you to do a bit more investigation. As this article indicates, when directly questioned if he denies the deity of the earthly Christ, he responds with (in the tweet):

    No I don’t believe that. Jesus Christ is eternally God. Always has been, always will be. There’s a hurtful rumor.

    This illustrates he’s aware of the controversy (“hurtful rumor”), yet continues stating things like the following from a 2011 book noted in the above-linked article (find citation at source) without making an effort to change them:

    Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and became man (see Philippians 2:7). While He is eternally God, He chose to live within the restrictions of a man who had no sin and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. In doing this, He provided a compelling model to follow.

    And, again:

    While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divinity and became a man (see Philippians 2:7). It is vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow.

    One might think, at best, he’s sufficiently ambiguous such that he really needs to clarify his meaning. However, when viewed alongside the rest of his writings, his duplicity is plain to see – as pointed out in that article. He may be too blinded to see it; but, once again, this belies being Holy Spirit led. The Holy Spirit testifies TO and ABOUT Christ, the Holy Spirit will not allow a man to continually deny His deity in his writings and other material. Yet, the article following the above-referenced one indicates that I was, in fact, correct in the speculations re: MSoG, as Johnson made it abundantly clear. Viewed from the perspective of MSoG doctrine, his seemingly contradictory words match perfectly.

    Johnson’s getting worse, not better, despite his “hurtful rumor” comment. That’s just more spin, as I see it.

  74. Craig says:

    jeffrey,

    One other thing: assessing someone’s doctrine and finding it faulty is not passing judgment. If that were the case, then Paul was guilty, according to Scripture (Romans 16:17-18; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15; etc.). The early Church “fathers” were much more direct and harsh than I’ve been, e.g.

  75. Nicie Lee says:

    Here is an excellent research paper I located on Bickle and the IHOP movement. It appears to be an objective analysis of the theology.

    Cult-like activities are not really addressed. But from personal experience, “debilitating” is a gross understatement. Many people on-fire for Christ join IHOP on an emotional high, ready to be the best forerunner possible for Christ. And then they leave IHOP broken, confused, wrapped up in works, overwhelmed with guilt and questioning their salvation.

    http://www.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology/

  76. Craig says:

    Nicie Lee,

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve seen Jackson’s article, and I think I may have referenced here in the comments somewhere from a different source (it’s not original to CRI).

  77. Carolyn says:

    Jeffrey, My apologies for seeming to attack you. Of course I didn’t intend for you to feel that. I thought I was being quite simple (not simplistic) and forthright in my defence.

    In my own experience, I had blinders on due to the conditioning of my religious background. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon. I meant no unkindness or offence toward you.

    I differ with you a little on this point: “I am not here to defend BJ. I doubt anything I would have to say would sway you. If you think he is deceived, pray for him, because he’s still not your enemy, even if he is an enemy of the Gospel. Apostle Paul was once the worst kind of enemy of the gospel.”

    If I have determined that someone is an enemy of the Gospel and of the cross, then they have become my enemy. Titus 3: 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

    I long ago made a choice not to hate anyone and I hold no malice toward my enemies…. BUT, I would rather obey the Word that instructs me on how to treat false prophets. Trying to reform their deception or rebellion through the application of my own human compassion is a waste of time. We are in a battle. I will, of course, pray. That is a definite DO. And I will point to truth.

    The teaching of Bill Johnson’s Dominionism, and emphasis on signs and wonders has created a paradigm shift away from Christ’s original mandate. We now have to perform rituals to get God to act according to our directives. The responsibility is on us to bring heaven to earth, to model Jesus and to do spiritual warfare. We are the new focus. Feelings of mysticism and experience back up our faith. This is unstable ground.

    Here’s the truth that sets us free. Christ has Done the Work. We serve him by faith. We are led by the Holy Spirit. He is the focus of our worship and attention. God’s purposes in the earth are fulfilled by his effectual grace working his plan out in our hearts and lives. Facts of Scripture back up our faith. This is solid ground.

    Jeffrey, God can use us to sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron. We certainly don’t have it all figured out yet, but from where we are, we travel forward on the path that he has set out for us. I hope we can keep on discussing things with mutual respect and whenever I get out of line, let me know. Thanks for being honest.

  78. jeffrey says:

    Craig, I had already read that several times. My points still stand.

    He may be getting worse, I don’t know.

    I agree that assessing doctrine does not equal passing judgment, but it often proceeds it.

    These things take a ton of humility and sobriety. We too can fall. I don’t wish to argue, nor defend Bill. I don’t know where he is with God. IF you believe he is false, I’d say it’s your duty to expose him.

    I know I have had some sobering moments with God lately concerning the false practices and doctrines of others. He has shown me I just don’t love people enough. And we know what 1 Cor. 13 has to say about that.

  79. Craig says:

    jeffrey,

    Here are some statements that you’ll need to somehow construe as orthodox (from here and here), and this is only a small sample:

    The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him…The outpouring of the Spirit also needed to happen to Jesus for Him to be fully qualified. This was His quest. Receiving this anointing qualified Him to be called the Christ, which means “anointed one.” Without the experience [the Christ anointing] there could be no title [of Christ]. (If Jesus did not have the title of Christ before the “Christ anointing”, then He logically wasn’t ‘Jesus Christ’ before it; so, who WAS He? And, if the “Christ anointing” provided the title of Christ for Jesus, wouldn’t it logically follow that we receive the title of Christ upon receiving this same “Christ anointing”?)

    He forfeited all so that He could re-inherit in a way that would include us. (What was ‘forfeited’ and how would Jesus’ doing so “include us” when it was “re-inherited”?)

    The anointing Jesus received was the equipment necessary, given by the Father to make it possible for Him to live beyond human limitations…That would include doing supernatural things. The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him to destroy the works of the devil… (As the “equipment necessary”, the ‘Christ anointing’ was very significant, for without it, Jesus couldn’t “live beyond human limitations”, for this anointing “linked Jesus, the man, to the divine”. Doesn’t this state that Jesus was not linked to the divine prior to the “anointing”, i.e, that Jesus was NOT divine in and of Himself? Doesn’t that fit with the “He emptied Himself of divinity and became man” statements? All that’s left is figuring out how He can concurrently be “eternally God”. The answer there is MSoG – living in two realms at once (see next:))

    Jesus stood before His disciples, before Nicodemus in John chapter 3, and He made this statement, He said, “No one has ASCENDED into heaven except He that descended” [John 3:13]. Now this is before His death, before His Resurrection; so He was describing here a lifestyle of intimacy with the Father where even though He was standing on earth He had ascended into heavenly realms in His relationship with God. The point being, that is an invitation for every believer (Doesn’t this imply bi-location at the least? This is MSoG speak; and, Johnson’s point is that we can do the same thing = MSoG.)

    …I want you to take note that it says that the FULLNESS dwells in Him BODILY – not just in His head… the FULLNESS of God that dwelleth in JESUS in bodily form, now dwells in the CHURCH in bodily form (Johnson’s point here is that since we are the ‘body of Christ’ [Church] then we also have the same ‘FULLNESS of God’ dwelling in us. That is Jesus is the “Head” containing the FULLNESS of God, and this FULLNESS also dwells in His “body” which is the Church = us. Therefore, we have this same FULLNESS. This apparently came about as a result of the “Christ anointing”. Are we really equal to Jesus Christ, having the same FULLNESS of God dwelling in us?)

  80. memoryvictim says:

    I was struck by this part of Stephanie’s testimony:

    “We know that you have father issues that need to be resolved (I didn’t) and we can tell that you are heavily oppressed by many demons. However, we are incapable of this level of deliverance on someone. We just don’t have the time or the resources. So we are going to send you to this wonderful place in Toronto, Canada. This rehabilitation facility is capable of handling your type of situation. We’ve sent many students there who have come back completely delivered. We are going to send you there. You cannot come back to IHOP or FSM until we have a written letter from them stating that you have been delivered. In the current state you are in, you’re a danger to the other student’s growth and spiritual being.”

    Does anyone know if this type of “referral” to Toronto is common place?

  81. Craig,

    this is the statement I find most troubling: “The anointing is what linked Jesus, the man, to the divine, enabling Him”

    Jesus did not do anything to link Him to the divine. He WAS divine.

    I want to clarify my position though. I have MANY concerns about Bethel, and BJ (more than most leaders there). I just feel that the Holy Spirit has personally asked me to step away and focus on other things. That may be due to my propensity to criticize rather than edify. I still feel it may be possible, however unlikely, that God is giving Bill a space to clarify his heart before the Lord, or he may have already gone past the point of false prophet. I know that his ambiguous statements, can not stay that way. Everything comes to light.

    I feel in my calling, God is asking be to “light a candle rather than curse the darkness” so to speak. This stuff I think is just a distraction in my life, and can lead me down a path of being overly critical and paranoid. Again, this is personal for me. I can speak the same for IHOP, who I think has the biggest problem of not having Godly structure- “government.” Ihop has become church for a plethora of young people, but there is no church structure- Elders, pastors, etc. This is their biggest problem. Bethel has similar and other issues.

    Carolyn, I agree with almost all of what you are saying. Thanks for your heart in this and passion for truth. I still don’t view anyone on this earth as my enemy, be it Bill Johnson, or the leader of the church of Satan. Having nothing to do with someone does not make one an enemy, it means we have wisdom about what we let influence us, and what we condone. I do agree with what you said about human compassion though!

    I am praying to walk in a level of holiness and closeness to God where I fear no man, and I have the knowledge to know that when I oppose something, it is wholly on God’s behalf and has no mixture of my flesh, mind, etc. And that, I think is what is so difficult. We absolutely must have the Holy Spirit on such issues. We can’t trust our own judgment, nor even fully our application of the word. Believe me though, I grieve for God’s church. I want the false obliterated. But I also would like to minimize any unneccessary damage. I don’t want to aid Satan in division. So, let us continue to sharpen one another!

    One further note to anyone here: My wife and I have been in the USA now for 2 months visiting. It seems God has plans to keep us here longer, and the reason why is clear. He keeps speaking it, louder and louder. We are here to warn America. This country is in serious serious trouble. It is much worse than you can imagine. I don’t say this from a view of politics, or any other bias or agenda, as I don’t have one. God is telling me by the Spirit, this nation is in a state of critical danger. Babylon is at the door. WE, as His people are mostly to blame. We have to repent of our own sins and for the nation. My wife had a horendous dream a few nights ago about the spiritual adultery in this land, and Go keeps telling us the church is asleep. Please read Nehemiah chapter 1- we need this kind of heart. We must intercede. I implore you to fall on your faces and just cry out for mercy. We need mercy, we need the fire of God to fall. I cannot even express how critical the situation is, pray for God to show you, pray for His burden, for the Spirit of Truth to give you revelation. It is not about information, it is about the Spirit’s revelation. God bless you.

  82. Craig says:

    jeffrey,

    If you wish to see more of the context, click on the first page here (marked 59, but actually page 79 in the book):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=msDOo0EM6ucC&q=anointing#v=snippet&q=%22anointing%20means%22&f=false

  83. Jayson says:

    I am deeply moved as I read yours & other’s stories – those of individuals who have had negative experiences at IHOP-KC.

    Personally I love IHOP – but myself am cautious of the fanaticism.

    The problem, and not just there but anywhere – is often times we can fall in love with a movement – a firework so to speak. We see the flash – hear the bang and are wowed into awe and want more. Our desire to be thrilled spiritually was placed in us by God.

    However even within a movement there can be a focus on “the word” but as a part of the movement…

    I too was part of a movement. A long running revival in Florida in the late 90’s. It was glorious – what was glorious about it – and looking back there were so many things that could have been different. In the end more good than bad came of it but I too know of folks – and myself who were burnt or hurt in some way or another.


    We are about to move to Kansas City most likely – and in fact wish to take advantage of the worship & prayer atmosphere…. but from the outskirts.

    I have come to learn over the years, only cultivating love for Jesus – and God’s word in our own personal life. Being teachable – willing to learn and grow will we come to some level of spiritual maturity.

    We cannot sell our soul to a movement – or a leader – or a fad – or anything like that. But we have to be grounded in the word – not governed by emotion. Of course being in the word and experiencing God produces emotions – and that’s ok. But it is when we begin to “live off of” or “need” those emotions or that charismatic euphoric emotional high in the whirlwind to keep us going — that we fall flat on our face hard as soon as the wind stops blowing or blows the wrong way.

    I am so sorry you experienced what you did. I am sure there is much truth to it & I pray you find healing.


    May God help us all to heal from people who have hurt us – and may we find our true and lasting identity and assurance of self worth in him & his word. And may God bless all those who have mistreated us.

    Anybody open to talk look me up on FB and send a private message

    Jayson Szymaszek

    (I’ve got a couple pages – friend request them all and send your message inbox to all of them. I’ll respond to the one I actually use when I get it)

  84. Craig says:

    Jayson,

    I do hope you’ll reconsider your move to KC. It’s not just the fanaticism one has to be cautious of, it’s the entire foundation. Mike Bickle proudly includes the former Kansas City Fellowship (’83- ’90), which later came under Vineyard/John Wimber in the midst of the Ernie Gruen controversy (see here) as Metro Vineyard Christian Fellowship (’90 – ’96), and changed Metro Christian Fellowship (dropping the Vineyard association -’96 – ’99) as part of IHOP’s heritage. In June ’90 certain tapes that were being widely distributed in a tape catalog by Grace Ministries, which was the umbrella organization for KCF, were discontinued to include one by Paul Cain titled “Joel’s Army” (see here). This tape, which I have digitized, is a monologue of Cain spoken at Kansas City Fellowship explicitly going through Joel 2:1-11 as God’s end time army. Yet IHOP/Bickle make the explicit claim that Cain never used 2:1-11 for Joel’s Army, but 2:12-17 instead (see http://www.ihopkc.org/about/affirmations-and-denials/). This is a blatant lie, with Bickle covering up this fact. One has to wonder why Bickle would choose the word “army” to refer to individuals with a “fasted lifestyle” – well, that’s because he’s “revised” the truth. After I finish a few other articles in the works, I intend on publishing one on this.

    As part of Bickle’s current forthright endorsement of his Kansas City Fellowship days (in his “Encountering Jesus” series at IHOP – see here) is his explicit endorsement of Paul Cain and Bob Jones as “spritual fathers.” You may wish to do a search on these two individuals. It was Jones’ “drought prophecy” which was to provide God’s blessing upon the whole KCF/IHOP ‘movement.’ Yet, as shown here, this “prophecy” was not fulfilled in the manner in which it was initially prophesied, no matter how Bickle wishes to make it fit.

    And Cain’s “Earthquake Prophecy” was similarly to provide legitimacy to the whole modern “prophetic movement,” to include the Vineyard, yet even Wimber had difficulty remembering if this was actually prophesied (see 2nd section here).

    Cain and Jones both had claimed numerous ‘prophetic words from the Lord’ that never came to pass. And yet Bickle claims these guys as “spiritual fathers”?!

  85. iwtt says:

    John Wimber reportedly said much later after his “covering” days of those in the Kansas City Fellowship, ” I wished I had never gotten involved with these folks!” I read this from a man who was and may still be heavily involved with the same church that John Wimber pastored in California.

    I too would pray that you would reconsider your move or involvement with this group.

  86. Christina says:

    Thanks so much for writing this. My husband (then boyfriend) and I went to an IHOP event in Kansas City back in 2012 with the church we had been going to. The first night there I cried myself to sleep because something felt very ‘off’ and scary to me. The very next day after worship I told my boyfriend that we absolutely had to get out of IHOP. During worship I was watching the people around me and everyone seemed so into it, and I wasn’t feeling anything but fear. Something just felt so wrong and demonic. I felt God telling me to go home and that it was okay that I wasn’t feeling the worship. I was very confused and felt like something was wrong with me, but the further my boyfriend and I drove away from IHOP the calmer and more clear headed I felt. We have since stopped going the the church we were attending. (Every Sunday they only ever talked about how the world was about to end, we needed deliverance, etc.) I also just met a lovely girl who was on the IHOP prayer room team for years and had a similar experience as you. Glad that I am not alone in my experience! God bless.

    Christina

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