To read about Reinhard Bonnke's talk at OneThing 2014, click here.
Every December, the International House of Prayer (IHOP) hosts its annual OneThing celebration. OneThing gatherings feature music, ecstatic prayer, and talks from New Apostolic Reformation speakers on everything from the end times to anti-abortion activism to overseas missionary work to shunning non-Christians. OneThing 2014 took place on December 28-31 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The gathering featured speakers such as Christ For All Nations' Reinhard Bonnke and various IHOP leaders, including Mike Bickle.
Mike Bickle delivered a talk on December 28th entitled "The End-Time Crisis: God's Response to the Rage Against Jesus" (available at YouTube). Bickle's talk focused on Psalm 2 and its supposed implications for today's degenerate society. I was startled by Bickle's ominous rant, which was paranoid even for him. With feverish intensity, Bickle foretold violence in the streets, incarceration of Christians, and state-sanctioned slaughter of believers, magnifying the usual Religious Right persecution complex into an end times nightmare.
"There is a crisis that's in the land that's escalating quickly," Bickle told the audience. I believe that we're in a season actually in human history, and we're entering a new hour, a very, very sober time." Bickle cited Psalm 2 as a descriptive Biblical passage for today's society. At the 5:01 mark, he interpreted Psalm 2 in such a way as to suggest that today's leaders despise God and seek to remove God's word from society.
"For three verses, David describes their rage against God, against his Christ, the anointed, the Messiah. What the rulers of society want to do, according to David, they want to remove the influence of the word of God out of society and away from culture entirely, that's their goal. You can see that trend escalating right now. Many of the kings, but also the rulers of society, which are not the kings, the leaders in industry and business and sports and media, they're taking a bold stand, challenging the truths of the word of God, wanting to remove the influence of the word of God out of culture entirely, that's what their design is, according to David."Throughout his talk, Bickle raged at leaders of society for wanting to free themselves from God's "bondage". At the 25:07 mark, he claimed these leaders reject God because they've grown tired of slavery under the Almighty.
"They see the word of God as slavery. They see the moral standards of Jesus' leadership as slavery that is hindering their human potential, hindering and interrupting the dignity and equality of humans. They say, 'let's take the word of God, the bonds that enslave us, let's cast them away, let's break them! Let's show God who's in control."Later in Psalm 2, God tells the leaders of the earth that their machinations will fail. At the 6:32 mark, Bickle had this to say.
"He tells the kings of the earth, 'Your plans will come to nothing! For I've already determined that my son will be acknowledged as king in every nation of the earth, and I'm going to speak and move and act against you, and I will break your powers so you will not be able to resist my king effectively.' They will for a season, but only for a short season."Bickle elaborated on the significance of Psalm 2, telling listeners that many "kings" of the earth are resisting Jesus, and that much of the Christian church stands with them. Some people in the church even oppose God's truth under the guide of scholarship and biblical literacy, he claimed. At the 13:37 mark, he accused these Christians of giving lip service to Jesus but being "biblically illiterate".
"Right now a lot of believers are intimidated by the stand that the leaders of culture are taking against the Christ. Many in the church are echoing the stand of these leaders. They don't know the Bible. They're biblically illiterate. They have language -- 'Jesus' -- they know how to say grace, they know how to say 'kingdom of God'. They don't know the details, I mean, even the broad strokes of what the Bible said. So the voices of the culture seem convincing. Many people in the church are confused."Older generations are in a better position to appreciate the supposedly sinister changes in American society, Bickle argued. At the 16:45 mark, he listed the "gay agenda" and the "explosion of pornography" as signs of a society plummeting into darkness.
"Those of you that are in your twenties and younger, you can't maybe fully appreciate appreciate the escalation, the speed of which this is increasing like those of us that might have a forty-year-plus point of view looking back. I mean, the escalation is so intense. I mean, the phenomenon in the last five years of the gay agenda taking center stage in the conversation of our culture. This was unthinkable ten years ago! There were whispers ten years ago. The explosion of pornography in the last five years ... Where this will be in ten years is a moral crisis in our nation beyond anything we can imagine. And then ten years after that, and ten years after that if the Lord tarries."Heterosexual marriage was also imperiled by the advance of the "gay agenda", he argued. "Today, they're already talking about outlawing marriage, making the institution of marriage obsolete because of the controversies," Bickle claimed at the 40:10 mark.
Of course, Bickle denied that he hated LGBTQ people. At the 31:53, he insisted that he loved all people regardless of sexual orientation, right before warning his audience that the gay agenda was about to teach homosexuality to small children. Um, Mike? Spouting homophobic vitriol isn't loving, I thought.
"I love all human beings, regardless what their sexual orientation is, but God has clear definitions and standards of what love is. We have to line up with the Lord and with his Christ, and not against him ... In a few moments from now, they'll be teaching the six years-olds, in first and second grade, third and fourth grade, they'll be teaching them the details of homosexuality as part of mandate, by law, in the curriculum."One example of the spiritual confusion engulfing the church is the emphasis on feelings, Bickle claimed. At the 18:07 mark, he warned that young people who have been "seduced by the lies" of the surrounding culture use their feelings as the measure of truth. Was this a subtle jab at gay and transgender youth, I wonder?
"The father has very strong feelings about how many in the church are echoing the popular sentiments of culture, the preachers that are telling lies about the word of God to keep it popular, keep it positive; the young people that don't have a biblical foundation that are seduced by the lies, thinking that the things they feel must be the standard of truth, for they feel it, so it must be true. Their feelings are real but they're not based on truth."No IHOP gathering would be complete without anti-abortion rhetoric, and OneThing 2014 was no exception. Bickle blasted abortion as another sign of a fallen society, raging against "50 million babies, slaughtered in their mothers' womb, applauded by their culture."
Love, as the fallen culture allegedly defines it, disgusted Bickle. At the 29:22 mark, he contrasted God's love with "humanistic love", which many people allegedly worship as an idol now.
"God is calling young people to be bold, to take a stand for truth ... with humility, with love, love as God defines love, not as the humanistic culture. Right now, love is god to many people. Humanistic love is their god, and they'll throw a little Jesus language in every now and then, but humanistic love is the god they're worshiping and serving. God says 'No, it has to be love on my terms. I'm the God of love. Love is not god. I am the God who is love.' They're very different. Human sentiment is not the final word of what love is, but the written word of God."
Bickle's talk took an ominous turn, with visions of draconian persecution and violence. At the 14:46 mark, he claimed that criticism of God by celebrities and political leaders would give way to outright persecution of Christians. Believers who teach their children about salvation or criticize same-sex marriage will be arrested and incarcerated, he warned.
"It's going to escalate beyond the opinion of sports figures, movie stars, famous singers, famous actors, political leaders. It's going to go beyond their opinions ... They're going to use the power of the state eventually to enforce their ways. The days are coming where if a mom and dad tells their five year-old child, 'There's only one way of salvation', it'll be considered a crime. They tell their child, 'Homosexual marriage is contrary to the word of God, the Bible calls it a sin', they'll actually go to jail for it."The paranoid predictions continued. At the 20:07 mark, Bickle warned that at impending financial crisis would produce nightmarish "violence in the street" soon.
"I'm not even talking yet ... [about] the financial crisis that's right around the corner, far beyond 2008. There is a financial crisis looming over this nation and the nations of the earth. But this financial crisis will create a state, a context for violence in the street beyond anything we could imagine."The height of society's depravity would be the wholesale slaughter of Christians, Bickle told the audience. At the 40:57 mark, Bickle spouted paranoid predictions about world leaders passing legislation that would order the execution of believers as "enemies of society". The fact that governments murdering Christians en masse around the world would be both insane and logistically impossible did not occur to him.
"The rage is going to escalate. They will kill believers ... The day is coming where the kings of the earth, in their rage, will establish legislations where they will kill believers in the nations of the earth. They will see them as enemies of society, believers. They will see them as enemies of the people. This is an hour for you and I to decide are we going to go deep in the Lord and be faithful to truth?"After frightening his audience with visions of violence, Bickle offered the antidote. Prayer, he assured them, could set back the crisis by several decades. How convenient, I thought. Praying with IHOP will avert the impending nightmare.
Jesus will prevail over all the nations, and God will laugh at the "kings" of the earth for their hubris, he said. Bickle urged listeners not to be silenced or intimidated by the voices of the surrounding culture, since victory is assured.
Bickle comforted his audience with the assurance that some political leaders still love God, even though the percentage is small. Really? I thought. The Religious Right was still a strong presence in politics, the last time I checked. Bickle praised Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for arranging the Response Louisiana rally, and Texas Governor Rick Perry for arranging the 2011 Response rally.
Mike Bickle's OneThing talk can be summarized as such: The world is decaying because of non-Christians and phony Christians and abortion and dirty pictures and gays! The outside world is the enemy! They'll arrest us and kill us, and the only way you can stop it is to pray with IHOP!
Only a fearful worldview could produce this vision of the future. Only a worldview that sees outsiders as a poisonous force could produce this us-versus-them attitude. Fear, bigotry, paranoia, and insularity do not make for good spirituality.
This isn't healthy. IHOP enthusiasts, wake up.
To download the talk, visit mikebickle[dot]org/resources/series/onething-conference-2014