Sunday, January 2, 2011

OneThing 2010 in Kansas City, MO

The International House of Prayer (IHOP), a New Apostolic Reformation organization based in Kansas City, MO, held its annual OneThing celebration on December 28-31, 2010. This week-long celebration is geared toward young adults and features musical performances, ecstatic prayer, and preaching from IHOP leaders such as Mike Bickle, Stuart Greaves, and Lou Engle. MP3 downloads, videos, and notes from OneThing 2010 are available at the IHOP website.

One amateur video shows Mike Bickle preaching to a crowd of young attendees about Messianic Jews. (Click here if you're having trouble viewing the video.)

Another video, taken with an attendee's Android phone, captures an ecstatic prayer service in one of the conference's prayer rooms. (Click here if you're having trouble viewing the video.)

Many of OneThing 2010's talks revolved around ecstatic prayer, fasting, and spiritual discipline, but several speeches contained political content as well. The IHOP website made available several free MP3 downloads of conference sessions, which contained troubling but familiar messages.

In a December 29th session entitled "The Calling of God on the Black Community", Stuart Greaves discussed Christian faith and the African-American community. After reading from chapter three of Ephesians, he argued that God was making a powerful statement by bringing together two hostile ethnic groups in ancient times (Jews and Gentiles) to celebrate his glory. Much of his talk focused on racial unity and the place that diverse groups have in God's mission. Greaves urged unity among believers while still stressing the importance of diversity and difference within that unity.

At the 8:22 mark of the recording, however, Greaves reverted to a right-wing message. Lumping abortion and Islam together with poverty and HIV, he depicted reproductive rights and Islam as threats to the African-American community.

"There's a crisis in this nation. I want to talk specifically about the black community, and I believe this crisis is a demonic resistance against the black community to keep us from entering into the fullness of what God has called us to do. Some statisticians say that the black community is the only community in America that is decreasing at an increasing rate . . . And that is because of various reasons. Thirty-seven percent of the abortions in America are practiced within . . . the black community. Forty percent of most AIDS cases happen within the black community. Fifty percent of black families live in profound poverty. There's the onslaught of Islam, both orthodox and as well as the Nation of Islam that is a spiritual onslaught against the black community. Now there's a solution, and the solution to this is fasting and prayer."
Such rhetoric closely resembles the message of the 8:18 Movement, a New Apostolic Reformation ministry aimed at African-Americans. (I later learned that Greaves belongs to the 8:18 Movement leadership team.) He later spoke warmly of the 8:18 Movement and Dehavilland Brown.

Also on December 29th, the avuncular Lou Engle delivered a talk entitled "The Contending House of Prayer", which discussed the role of the faith community (ekklesia). In a 45 minute MP3 recording, Engle explored the historical and Biblical context for the term ekklesia and provided a philosophical framework for creating Houses of Prayer.

At the 0:04 mark, Engle delighted in the anti-abortion efforts that he and the International House of Prayer fostered. Just as the 8:18 Movement seeks to draw African-Americans into anti-abortion activism, Hispanics will be the new target of anti-abortion advocacy.
"Six years ago, at OneThing, I spoke on the book of Esther, and we launched a  movement of prayer out of OneThing. I went to Washington D.C. and there we sought to see if prayer is stronger than abortion. We went to challenge the gates of Hell with the House of Prayer. Six years later, partial-birth abortion has been overruled. Six out of ten young people in America now believe that abortion is an immoral act. Judges have been appointed, both righteous and unrighteous in these days. But we're not done yet! I am daring still to believe what I believed six years ago, when we launched a movement. Now today, a movement called Bound4Life, there are 240 chapters nationwide praying in front of abortion clinics. God wants to challenge the gates of Hell with his prevailing, praying church. There is no safe place for the Devil! And from this weekend, we launch to California with a prophetic vision that the Hispanics are going to raise up a House of Prayer to challenge abortion in America."
At the 22:02 mark, after describing the meaning of the Greek term ekklesia in history and scripture, a passionate Engle bellows about the power of today's ekklesia.
"Understood properly, the ekklesia was a threat to every drug lord. The ekklesia is a threat to every rebellious king and government. The ekklesia is a threat to the Supreme Court when it rules against the laws of God and releases the death culture through abortion. The ekklesia is not under the kings of the earth. The ekklesia is the ruling body with Christ on his throne in Heaven."
At the 26:59 mark, Engle claims that the power of God (through the ekklesia) will triumph over sex trafficking, Hollywood moguls, earthly rulers, and the "pagan priests" of academia.
"When you get a revelation that Jesus is far above mafia, the powers of mafia doing sex trafficking, when you get a revelation that his authority is above the money moguls of Hollywood, when you get a revelation that he is above judges and rulers, that he is above the pagan priests of humanism in your universities, when you get that revelation, then I will build upon that revelation an ekklesia, a ruling company, and that ruling company, he says the gates of Hell will not prevail against."
In short, OneThing 2010 was both an ecstatic worship experience for youthful attendees and a medium for IHOP's political messages. At this emotionally charged celebration, young audience members found not only worship and music, but also fundamentalist messages about abortion and rival systems of thought (i.e., Islam, humanism).

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