To read about Mike Bickle's talks at OneThing 2012, click here.
OneThing 2012, hosted by the International House of Prayer (IHOP), took place at the Kansas City Convention Center on December 28-31, 2012. OneThing is an annual young adult prayer gathering featuring New Apostolic Reformation preachers such as Mike Bickle and Lou Engle.
Initially, a Catholic track was part of OneThing 2012's itinerary, indicating collaboration between IHOP and its Catholic neighbors. The Catholic track was a joint effort between the Archdiocese of Kansas City and Franciscan University of Steubenville. However, OneThing's Catholic track was abruptly cancelled in November, according to a statement at the Franciscan University of Steubenville website. The university's OneThing promo page states that the cancellation was because of "the short time frame and organizational logistics", although blogs such as My Word Like Fire and Beyond Grace observed that the cancellation came shortly after a highly publicized murder case involving several people affiliated with IHOP.
Among this year's speakers was Lou Engle, the charismatic founder of TheCall, a longtime ally of IHOP, and a wellspring of passionate, alarming messages. I listened to Lou Engle's talk at OneThing 2012, which was laden with messages about demons, missionary work, and eschatology. In a video posted on YouTube, Engle urges his audience to preach the Gospel to non-Christians across the globe and herald the arrival of Christ.
Engle, always larger-than-life, began his talk with an ambitious vision. At the 1:42 mark, Engle announced that he and God were initiating action to hasten Christ's return to Earth.
"I feel today that I'm launching--and God is launching something that will bring the return of Christ. Sounds kind of boastful! I'm calling for a million people to pray a prayer every day ... I'm daring to believe that the church of the whole world will be reverberating with one mighty prayer in these days."Engle recounted a story from Oswald Smith's 1950 book in which Satan's demon princes rule over non-Christian nations. In the tale, Satan and the princes discuss their strategy for keeping the Gospel out of the "closed lands" so as to stonewall the return of Christ on Earth. Engle used this story as a segue way into a talk on why Christians should proselytize across the globe, especially to cultures unfamiliar with Christianity.
Engle was amazed that "principalities and powers" seem to understand God's plan better than the church. He stressed the importance of preaching the Gospel in every nation (ethnos) of the world, which will allegedly hasten God's return to Earth.
The missions movement is "kissing" the prayer movement, Engle insisted, suggesting that collaboration between the two camps is blossoming in the name of spreading Christianity worldwide. He likened Christians spreading the Gospel to laborers reaping a bountiful harvest, citing Matthew 9:37-38 (“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few; ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.") At the 16:49 mark, he urged listeners to pray for Christianity to spread abroad.
"I want you to lift your eyes not just to America, not just to the inner cities, into your schools. We must pray for laborers in those. I want you to lift your eyes to the end of the earth. Seven thousand people groups, 2.9 billion, have never heard the Gospel, and only ten percent of the missionaries on the ... foreign fields are in the unreached people groups. Something's wrong."At the 17:18 mark, Engle described the current state of northern India, where his son Jesse had traveled recently.
"My son Jesse was just in Varanasi, India, and there on the river, the capital of Hinduism, thousands gathered together day by day, and they burned their dead bodies and throw the ashes into the river believing that they will receive salvation. Folks, in India, northern India, three hundred plus million unbelievers, hundreds of unraised people groups, and less than one percent Christian! Lord of the harvest, ekballo [send] laborers!"At the 21:35 mark, Engle stated in no uncertain terms that Christian proselytization drives demons from non-Christian societies.
"To the degree of the darkness and the demonization of the unreached people groups, it is the degree that God, with fire in his bones, unleashes and ekballo [sends] laborers into the harvest field ... [Inaudible] ... When Jesus, prompted by this prayer, says go, demons vacate and missionaries relocate."Engle concluded his talk by promoting the Antioch Center (particularly its Mission Ekballo project) and the Joshua Project. As worshippers removed their shoes out of reverence, Engle urged them to pray fervently for the spread of their faith. Hypnotic Christian music poured over the audience, many of whom stood in stocking feet with shoes aloft.
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My curiosity aroused, I visited the website for the Antioch Center, where photos of golden Buddha statues, prostrating Muslims, and mosques greeted me. The Antioch Center, a premillenial "forerunner" ministry, encourages global evangelization through training programs affiliated with the Luke18 Project.
At the Antioch Center's "Mission Ekballo" page, visitors are enjoined to sign an online commitment to pray for "unreached" groups and support missionary efforts.
"By signing my name in the box below, I affirm the following commitments by the grace of God:The website included a short essay by Lou Engle on Mission Ekballo, in which he asks, "Will not the Lord of the harvest answer us and send laborers to the 7,000 people groups to challenge the hardest and darkest places of the earth where Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam have ruled?"
1. I will pray daily Matthew 9:38.
2. I will go to JoshuaProject[dot]net and pray for an unreached people group of the day.
3. I will go to unreached people groups (get trained to go: ACTSschool[dot]com) and give financially as the Lord leads."
"The uttermost parts of the earth are the 7,000 unreached people groups and the 2.9 billion people who are all waiting for messengers for gospel of the kingdom. Those messengers will not be sent unless the church prays like it has never prayed before for the release of an ekballo movement that bring forth the fullness of the gentiles where every tongue and tribe is worshipping Jesus around His throne and then the end shall come."Engle had mentioned the Joshua Project as well in his OneThing talk. When I visited the Joshua Project website, I found listings of "unreached" ethnic groups around the globe seeped in non-Christian faiths. The website offered resources for promoting the "Great Commission" to proselytize, as well as opportunities to support missionary work. The website was dotted with images of turbaned men and headscarfed women from distant shores.
For years, Lou Engle's rhetoric has entreated young Christians to take up anti-abortion activism. Now, Engle is also entreating them to support or engage in global missionary work. However, are non-Christians in these so-called "closed lands" receptive to NAR-style Christianity? Will these target audiences in distant lands welcome NAR proselytization, or will they prove more unyielding than erstwhile evangelists expect?
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Lou Engle's OneThing 2012 talk serves as a reminder that the New Apostolic Reformation seeks to spread its message across the globe. Worldwide outreach projects such as the Antioch Center's Mission Ekballo, as well as TheCall's rallies in foreign countries (Brazil, Switzerland), indicates that this New Apostolic Reformation leader has international ambitions.
These international dreams trouble me, given the New Apostolic Reformation's antipathy toward abortion, homosexuality, and religious diversity. I worry that anti-abortion, homophobic sentiments may accompany the NAR religious messages, so supporters of reproductive justice and LGBTQ equality should take note. Lou Engle's homophobic rhetoric in Uganda, where a draconian anti-gay bill is currently under consideration, is well known. As Engle and his allies send young NAR-affiliated missionaries abroad, will anti-abortion and homophobic messages be part of their great commission? We will see.
For more information on OneThing 2012, click here.