Monday, September 5, 2011

The Religious Right Around the Globe: Lou Engle Preaches to Russian IHOP

Lou Engle, co-founder of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), is a decidedly energetic preacher, sharing his New Apostolic Reformation ministry around the globe. Engle's anti-gay efforts in Uganda have been well-documented, and his outreach to Spanish-speaking audiences has been noted here. On YouTube, I stumbled upon a video of Engle preaching to Russian IHOP, which provided a unique opportunity to hear the messages he promotes abroad.

With fierce gusto, Engle delivered a passionate talk to a Russian IHOP audience through an interpreter. Many of the talk's topics were familiar, including the intercessory power of Nazarites, Nazirite DNA, the origins of TheCall, his son's Nazirite vow, and the alleged evils of abortion and homosexuality. However, this talk was unique in that it focused heavily on demons (specifically Jezebel), with talk of religion guiding government. As an added surprise, Engle made reference to a petition of 70,000 signatures that he received from the "homosexual community," a likely reference to a petition delivered to IHOP in February. What he had to say about the petition disappointed me, as it suggested that his anti-LGBT attitudes remain strong.

Engle began his talk with a reference to ancient monarchs in the Bible. At the 3:37 mark, he described the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel in lurid terms, painting their reign over Israel as a monstrous time.
"When there was the worst government in Israel's history, Ahab and Jezebel are governing the nation. Where we have the altars of Baal ... You have state-sanctioned sexual immorality, and you have the legalization of the shedding of innocent blood. They offered their babies to Moloch. The kind of sexual immorality in the culture of Ahab and Jezebel was a vile culture. Homosexual and heterosexual ... state-sanctioned prostitution. Asherah poles everywhere. The whole nation was filled with sexual immorality. The prophets were all hiding because of the persecution, and it is into this context where ... seven thousand out of a population of ten million had not bowed the knee to Baal. It looks like the worship of Yahweh has been completely overwhelmed and swept away. It is in that kind of culture where God sends his greatest prophetic movements. We cannot be overwhelmed with the darkness. The darkness produces the greatest prophets."
The implication, I suspect, is that modern society is supposedly like the dark reign of Ahab and Jezebel. Engle has long railed against "sexual immorality" in today's world, and "shedding of innocent blood" is a dysphemism for abortion among anti-abortion activists (see here). To boot, abortion has been likened to pagan human sacrifice by some anti-abortion figures (see here and here). Engle may have been suggesting that modern times are as depraved as the days of Ahab and Jezebel, necessitating the rise of godly prophets.

Engle's focus on Ahab and Jezebel is not accidental. Some Apostolic circles speak of Ahab and Jezebel as demonic entities who spread corruption, which is precisely how he speaks of Jezebel through the rest of his talk. For example, at the 34:48 mark, he urges young people to establish authority over Russia, warning them about the worldwide Jezebel spirit.

"We need a generation of young people that get authority over Russia in the spirit, that get authority over the demonic realm ... I'm convinced that God wants to give us authority over the nations. You know the passage in Revelations chapter 3 or 2? 'I have this against you. You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who teaches and seduces my bondservants into sexual immorality.' In the end times, it is a worldwide spirit seeking to destroy the prophetic bondservants at the end of the age, and basically destroying them with sexual immorality. Isn't it interesting, he uses that passage, and the Bible says that Elijah's also coming at the end of the age. Jezebel's coming, but so is Elijah. The harlot church filled with fornication and the shedding of innocent blood God's going to confront with Elijah movement at the end of the age. Get authority over nations."
Quoting Revelation 2:26, Engle urged listeners to resist Jezebel and thereby gain authority over the world. At the 46:01 mark, Engle predicted the "liberation" of gays from the "spirit of lust" through spiritual intercession.

"If you beat Jezebel in your nation, you get authority ... The spirit of lust that is being unleashed on the whole world, God says if you can come out of that intimidation and live above it, you can have authority with fasting and prayer. We're going to see the liberation of homosexuals by the thousands."
Jezebel was a recurring theme throughout the talk. At the 36:45 mark, Engle recounted a dream that a woman shared with him, alleging that a demon akin to Jezebel held sway over California.

"It was in 1999. A woman came to me and she said, "I had a dream, and I saw this Roman war goddess on this body of water, like an ocean or a sea. And in this dream, she was heaping up huge waves, and people swimming in the waves could not get to their destinies." In the dream, a woman appears to her--I mean an angel appears to her and says the only thing that can break the power of this spirit is forty days of fasting like Jesus. She says, "Does that mean anything to you?" And I said, "Yes, it does," because there's a Roman war goddess on the state seal of California. I prayed in California for twenty-five years, and this Roman war goddess is on San Francisco Bay. She's the Roman counterpart to the Jezebel demonization of the culture of Israel. The bad news about the dream, if it's true, is there's a spirit that's keeping California from fulfilling its destiny. The good news is that a forty day fast can break its power."
Engle described how he was allegedly called by God to fast for forty days. In doing so, he claims to have defeated the demon dominating California. He then described a dream with alarming overtones of domination, in which then-governor of California Gray Davis had to submit to him. At the 47:00 mark, Engle recounted his dream, which took place in a stadium where people where declaring the word of God on a platform.

"In this dream, I stood on that platform ... and I decreed the word of the Lord, and in the dream, the governor of California, Gray Davis, was in the stadium, and he had to submit to every word that I was speaking. In other words, if the church gets to that place of authority, governments will come under the dominion of the capital of heaven. This governor was passing homosexual bills, sexual immorality bills. We began to pray the dream, and on the day after TheCall in San Francisco, all of California rose up and impeached the governor and removed him from office. Everybody looks at the process [and says] 'Well, it's just natural politics.' No, something was being bound in heaven that was manifested in the political realm."
Perhaps the biggest surprise was a reference to a petition condemning Engle's homophobic rhetoric in Uganda. Back in February, Soulforce and Human Rights Campaign delivered a petition with 70,000 signatures to the International House of Prayer, urging Engle to cease his anti-gay efforts in Uganda (see here and here). At the 50:40 mark, Engle referred to 70,000 signatures in his Russian IHOP talk, which was likely a reference to the Soulforce/HRC petition. His plans for the 70,000 signatures on the petition suggest that his homophobia had not softened.

"Just two Sundays ago at IHOP, 70,000 petitions were given to me from the homosexual community, from across the nation. Names from across the nation, just hating me. And I just know we're in a showdown with this spirit. Every nation's in a showdown with this spirit. We love the homosexual. We love the homosexual but we stand against the spirit that's behind the ideology ... Bob Jones had given me a prophetic word. He got a visitation in 1991 that the Lord would save 100,000 gay and lesbian men and women. So we've launched this movement to pray for a hundred thousand gay and lesbian men and women to be saved and transformed by the love of Jesus. They've just delivered 70,000 names. It's like Elijah, when they blinded the army and then led them right into the city where they were captured, and the king of Israel said 'Shall we kill them?' He said 'No, give them a feast and send them home.' We don't want to kill homosexuals. We want to give them a feast of the love of Jesus, the power of God. So I'm trying to raise up a nationwide prayer movement, and I'm going to  deliver these names to houses of prayer across America, and we're going to start praying for them by name." [Applause]
I had been unaware of his feelings about the petition, much less his plans for the names of the 70,000 signatories. When I heard this, I sighed. Not only had Engle learned nothing from the petition, but actually saw it as a tool for vanquishing homosexuality.

Listening to Engle's Russian IHOP talk was surreal, without a doubt, but it also provided a fresh glimpse into his ministry. Unfortunately, Engle's talk contained many of the same themes I'd heard before: opposition to abortion, anti-LGBT attitudes, antipathy toward "sexual immorality", and a vision of the world in which fundamentalist Christianity guides government. The New Apostolic Reformation, it seems, now extends to many places around the globe.


  1. Wow. So it was Engle's 40 day fast that led to the demise of Gray Davis? Here I thought it was the right-winger Darryl Issa and his car alarm money that brought about the recall. (Impeachment?) I realize these are minor points given the whole of Engle's hate-infused message. However, I continue to be surprised by how those on the right seem so disinterested in checking the facts.

  2. Donna -- The Religious Right has never been too concerned about hard reality, unfortunately. Engle seemed to be constructing a narrative to make his fasting and prayer appear efficacious.

  3. Hey Ahab. I just noticed that you added me to your blogroll. Thanks!

    And I agree with Donna. Seems like God was working in mISSAsterious ways on that Davis thing. And what did California get for Engle's efforts? A philandering liar who tanked the California economy.

  4. Noodleepoodlee -- You're welcome.

    Yeah, Engle conveniently left out details about the guy who came after Davis! :)

  5. I desperately want to say something smart and pithy but after reading Engle's words I'm pretty sure I just lost some brain cells.

    Aha! NOW I know why some humanoid-ish creatures actually take Engle seriously. ... Before we know it they're going to start jumping up and down, screeching, and throwing their own feces.

    P.S. Ahab, this comment is NOT bigoted. It's well-founded in my scientific-ish observations. Just sayin'.

  6. Cognitive Dissenter -- Yeah, it can be hard to say something pithy after high-level Engle exposure. That man never fails to providing material for progressive bloggers.


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