IHOP To It: A Little More About the Prayer Warriors Behind Rick Perry's "The Response"

Categories: Religion
bickle_opt.jpg
Mike Bickle had to shut down classes at his IHOP University because the spirit took over the building.
We're sure that you've been shocked (shocked!) to hear that many of the leaders and endorsers of Rick Perry's upcoming prayer-palooza, The Response, are people from organizations who really disapprove of both The Gays and The Abortion. Most of the protest against The Response so far has come from human rights groups unhappy that the American Family Association is such a big part of it, what with AFA founder Bryan Fischer's novel argument that homosexuals caused the Holocaust. Now public attention is starting to shift to the other group that's heavily involved in The Response: the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.

The New York Times profiled the group over the weekend, focusing on founder Mike Bickle, who believes (and teaches) that the Second Coming (and its attendant bloodbath) is imminent, and can be hastened by prayer from his followers. (Bickle also believes Oprah Winfrey is "a forerunner of the Antichrist," which is just mean. If he'd said Rachel Ray, I'd be right behind him, but Oprah? Now you're just being weird, Pastor Mike.)

IHOP describes itself as an "evangelical missions organization." It's a nondenominational charismatic church with more than 1,000 staff members, who call themselves "missionaries." Among other things, although they're not terribly explicit about it on their website, they're part of a growing wave of charismatic churches who believe in "Seven Mountains Dominionism," also referred to as "Reclaiming The Seven Mountains."

IHOP describes this philosophy as a desire to "impact the seven spheres of society -- family, education, government, economy, arts, media, and religion." Right Wing Watch describes it in a less-neutral way, as the belief that "fundamentalist Christians should have control over all aspects of society."

Evangelical author and speaker Os Hillman, one of the most ardent proponents of 7 Mountains Doctrine, describes it as "a strategy for impacting culture through the love and servant-hood of Jesus Christ." His website says that R7M is "not an initiative to establish dominion over all the earth or in governments." However, their first stated ministry goal is to "break down the wall of secular versus sacred," and they don't believe that church/state separation should mean "remov[ing] God from the public square."

IHOP will actually have a larger presence at The Response than the AFA. (In case you're wondering, yes, the International House of Pancakes did sue IHOP-KC for trademark dilution and infringement last September. The case was settled out of court in December. Correction: The trademark infringement lawsuit filed in California has been dropped; a new suit against International House of Prayer was filed in the U.S. District Court in Western Missouri and is ongoing.) Five of the 14 leaders of The Response are affiliated with IHOP, either as staffers, board members or missionaries.

Three of those five are also affiliated with TheCall, a group led by Pastor Lou Engle. Homosexuality is kind of Engle's core issue: He helped organize a huge rally in support of California's Proposition 8, which affirmed that marriage was between one man and one woman. He called gay marriage "a sexual insanity" that would "release a spirit" in California "more demonic than Islam." He was also criticized for travelling to Uganda and praising the government's anti-homosexuality efforts there, leading many people to infer that he supported the proposed government bill which called for the death penalty for gays and lesbians. He later said he doesn't support killing gay people, which is a really unfortunate clarification to have to make.

Most recently, Engle has been in the hot seat again for saying that the Joplin, Missouri tornado was the beginning of "God's redemptive judgment" against abortion.

The format of The Response owes a lot to both IHOP and TheCall, which both specialize in big, stylishly marketed stadium events with strong youth outreach components. Two senior pastors associated with IHOP, Engle and Mike Bickle, held a youth rally in 2009 called onething to address what they called "the crisis in our nation" (language that's echoed in the official descriptions of The Response).

"The serpentine stranglehold of abortion continues to squeeze the life out of over 4,000 wombs daily," they wrote on IHOP's website. "Sexual immorality, both heterosexual and homosexual, are reaching epic heights of perversity."

(This rally, by the way, took place about a month after IHOP cancelled their regular classes because the church campus was taken over wholesale by the Holy Spirit, according to Bickle and Engle: "On Wednesday, November 11, the Spirit fell on a class for more than 15 hours," they wrote. "The word spread quickly and over 2,000 people spontaneously gathered in the auditorium from all over Kansas City, as deliverance and physical healings continued to increase. We canceled our classes for the next week so that each one of our 1,000 students and interns could receive from the Spirit in an extended way.")

TheCall holds similar stadium events as well, 12-hour-long "revivals" conducted in major American cities every summer where they call on attendees to pray, fast for 40 days, and leave pledging to live abstinent lives, reject pornography, and fight abortion. The Southern Poverty Law Center criticized Engle for "venturing into bloodlust" at one such event in Kansas City this summer, sponsored by IHOP, where he told the crowd, "There's an Elijah generation that's going to be the forerunners for the coming of Jesus, a generation marked not by their niceness but by the intensity of their passion." Engle added, "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Such force demands an equal response, and Jesus is going to make war on everything that hinders love, with his eyes blazing fire."

So, The Response: a totally friendly, non-denominational group of folks, just gathering together to pray in a harmless and general way for the well-being of the country, right? Right.
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42 comments
Tom Stolz
Tom Stolz

This article was not written very fairly.  The quote about the kingdom suffering violence and the violent taking it by force is intentionally taken way out of context.  The leaders at IHOP and the Call both are very clear they are not talking about physical violence, they are talking about spiritual "violence", or an "intensity" of of chasing after Jesus and what he said we should be living for, which was loving God with our whole heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves.  This is the opposite of the type of violenece this article alludes to.  A gay person, or a person who had had an abortion, would find themselves just as welcomed as a bible toting person, like myself, at any IHOP event I have ever witnessed in person or on the web.  These people are talking about really following Jesus, and that means not judging individuals but loving them and recognizing we are all stained with sin.  Im not saying they don't call homosexuality or abortion sin, but I am saying they recognize we are all guilty of sin, and that the amazing sacrifice Jesus made is what pays the price for all of us. 

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

If Jesus rose from the dead, then its hard to say he really even died. The thing about death that sucks so much is that its permanent. If you can get back up 3 days later, it was just a really long nap. Thats why I have trouble understanding why being "dead" for only 3 days is such an "amazing sacrifice". Not only did he get to get up after 3 days, but he got to be God. I'll take that deal any day. 

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Oh, that nutjob did not found the AFA, another one did... Not Fischer.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Between this and Bachmann's nutjob of  a husband who thinks he can "cure" gays, Obama wins a second term. Their lunatic fringe will cost the GOP in 2012....

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

Yes, it would seem that the GOP's unholy love affair with the Christian extreme, starting with Reagan's unfortunate embrace of Jerry Falwell, has finally started to bite them on the ass. Obama should be plenty beatable in 2012, but between the silly pledges candidates must sign and the expectations of idealogical purity, there's no one left in the GOP who can appeal to a voter anywhere near the middle.

Darryl
Darryl

God doesn't belong to America or Americans. An all powerful being would certainly be light years ahead of gov. goodhair and his cronies. If he's up there, God has better things to do than worry about any economic crisis. This is Perry placating the extreme right, people who would vote for his (blindly) anyhow. I've never understood why republicans reach out to include the nutjobs. These teabagger types will never vote for the democratic. Remember the silent majority? Same dudes, different costume. Any God would be above and beyond this trivial plane. 

Jon
Jon

After blazing fire from his eyes, Jesus wept.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

What a bunch of wacko's!  Perfect company for Rick and his band of theives (aka: Republican party members).   Can't we recall this guy before he makes abigger ass of himself and the State of Texas?

scottindallas
scottindallas

That's pretty weird.  Again, I'm all for exposing these folk's ideas to the realm of debate and discussion.  I think that is the best way to discredit them.  Don't lump everyone in with them, they will turn you off.  Give the average Joe every opportunity to judge for themselves.  Then, you find they are again, an isolated few.  Then they can go help the settlers purge the occupied territories for Jesus.

Local Man
Local Man

This article is nothing more than an appeal to spite based on a riductio ad hitlerum ... in other words, "if a right wing nut job approves of you, then you must be a right wing nut job." 

It's a simply fallacy designed to further a political view.  European Socialists endorsed Al Gore.  That doesn't make Al Gore a socialist.

Why he's still in office?  Perry had already been governor everytime he was elected, including the first time.  The voters were familiar with them, liked his politics and gave him the election.

Let me offer this: Just because you're in the minority, does mean your cause is right.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

And just because you are in the right wing, doesn't make you right. Gov. Goodhair...is extreme in his fucked up values.  A minority that ask to be treated equal....EQUAL is not wrong.  They shouldn't have to be asking for it in the first place. 

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Who would have guessed Gov. Good Hair got himself hooked up the major crazies?

At least W's handlers knew enough to find more "main stream" Right Wing Dominionist to hang with, and not get caught with the loonies.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Holocaust, bestiality,sexual child abuse,earthquakes, marriage destruction,hurricanes,disco, and poppers require that gay people multi task.  It is, and always has been a 24/7 gig.As I get older, I may have to retire from homosexuality because I just don't have the time or energy to keep up.  I certainly will not be attending the Bachman School for Vaginal Love as Mr. Bachman makes me look like Chuck Norris on his butchest day.

me
me

Unfortunately, every group/cause has extreme wackos and the only thing they accomplish is taking focus and validity away from what they are trying to promote.

Coleman
Coleman

What they're trying to promote is pretty fuckin' wacko.

A liberal
A liberal

If I had the cash and the opportunity I would leave this state.  This man (Rick Perry) is a pox on society and he is rallying his psycho troops.  There are plenty of stupid people who follow him blindly and it's frankly frightening. 

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

I, too, am completely baffled by this state's acceptance of this obvious clown. Texas is fast becoming a really stupid state, and it makes me sad. It pains me to watch us go downhill in so many important areas, like education and health care for children, etc. 

jcs
jcs

Don't Forget Glenn Beck is moving to town also. I wonder if he will be at The Response?

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

He's Mormon - not invited.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

After hearing what some people who claim to be Christians have to say about helping the old, the young and the sick these days, I think they are pretty whacked themselves.

Darryl
Darryl

Mormons can be nice folks, but the theology (although not that drastically different from Christianity) can be prettty wacky. Any religion that doesn't allow caffiene is suspect if you ask me. Perhaps that's why some right wingers won't support Romney. Perhaps his Mormon faith will be his undoing.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

Oops!!!  Sorry!  I misread your comment and thought you said that Glenn Beck is a moron.  I had no intention of offending any of the very nice people who are Mormons.

Michael in LH
Michael in LH

How the hell does this guy keep getting elected? Maybe his run for the presidency will expose his insanity.

Erich S
Erich S

Maybe that's why he hasn't jumped in yet. He knows he will be scrutinized by the media. Better to keep his fiefdom in Texas where he can pull stuff like The Response and get away with it.

scottindallas
scottindallas

McCain got support from some of these same groups particularly John Hagee, who is not mentioned in this particular article.  McCain had called some of these groups out, then later courted them.  I don't know that this will hurt Perry.  These groups are notorious only to those who'd already never vote for him, and not on the radar of most.

John_McKee
John_McKee

Does anyone care that the Governor has clearly and very publicly aligned himself with nutjobs and hate groups?

Seriously, I'm hoping against hope that Texans care about this because it is disgusting and reprehensible. Is this our state? Is this how we want our Governor acting? Where is the outrage?

CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

He's a Texas Republican.  that's what they do -- align themselves with nutjobs and hate groups.......you know birds of a feather..............

scottindallas
scottindallas

do you so strongly oppose Jack E Jett's wilder claims?  I'm not throwing him under the bus, but he likes to venture into hyperbole (or should we consider it actual treason?)  I don't hear you "distancing" yourself from him.  And, you shouldn't need to. 

These extremists aren't terribly far from some reasonable people who see abortion as a grave sin.  I have no problem bringing their more extreme statements and causes to light, though I suspect that few of the many really know, or think these guys wilder claims are serious.

John_McKee
John_McKee

Jack E Jett is not an elected official nor do I invite him to orgies at my house. There is no reason to distance myself from him because we have never meet, work together or have any formal or informal relationship, the only thing we have in common is we are both gay and think Perry is an asshole.

I am kind of amazed that you would honestly think there are anything similar between me and Jack E Jett and Perry's relationship with two dangerous hate groups.

Michael C
Michael C

I just find it concerning that groups such as these are having an ever increasing amount of influence in the political realm, which translates into having increasing amounts of relevance in my life. 

And I have to continue to disagree with the old "Show the tolerance you are asking for" falsehood. I am not trying to legislate their lives, while they are trying to legislate mine. To me, that's a big difference. 

I am perfectly happy to let these extremists carry on with their 24-hour praying (can we say "cult"?) and their rallies. That's great, and they have more than a right to do that. Where I get irritated is when their rallies translate into them legislating their personal, religious beliefs into the lives of everyone else - many of whom may not believe in the same religion, or religion at all.

scottindallas
scottindallas

and, to protect religious minorities from each other. 

I didn't want to type Constitutional republic, just going for brevity john, again, a bit of tolerance

scottindallas
scottindallas

I'm not saying we shouldn't debate and discuss, I just think pouncing on prayer rallies is not the best place to debate policy.  Do you want to affirm their every paranoid fantasy?  Somewhere, we have to allow each other some quarter.  Take notes, hell, blow up the blog posts, say what you want; just be careful to extend as much tolerance as you hope to receive. 

John_McKee
John_McKee

This is not a democracy, it is a constitutional republic designed to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority and religious fanatics.

Michael C
Michael C

In addition to the new laws in Texas, I could track down all the other recent state laws just recently put into effect that if not out-right banning abortion, come right up to it. And these laws are direct results of groups like this. So I really don't think you can say that their influence is exaggerated.

These groups have been influential in defunding Planned Parenthood across the country, so all the women who formerly received medical care at Planned Parenthood are now just out of luck. No cancer screenings. No birth control. Does anyone really think that the health of these women won't be affected in a negative way?I think when we see fringe candidates like Michelle Bachman – whose entire political career has been based on anti-abortion and anti-gay (and no, I'm not exaggerating) – in the lead in Republican polling, we can quickly see that these groups have a lot of power and influence.Just look at how science is being bastardized in public schools by the attack on evolution and we can see how much power groups like these have.When the governor of Texas - who is an extremely visible and outspoken elected official - decides to promote and participate in an event like this, it's obvious how much power these groups have. To say they don't, or that we shouldn't worry about them, is bizarre.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Well, last I checked this is a democracy.  We are allowed to debate these issues.  I think you make some valid points about their arguments.  Though, I don't think these guys are about to get any real policy changes.  So, I dare say you exaggerate their influence/danger.  I'm not telling you to shut up, nor am I telling them to.  We get to debate and discuss in this country.  Remember Voltaire, "I may dislike what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

Michael C
Michael C

I think you could definitely call them "dangerous" if you are a woman or a gay person.

If you are a pregnant woman who (heaven forbid) might need an abortion for medical reasons, then too bad if these people have their way. And they ARE having their way in several states, attempting to pass laws that forbid abortions under any and all circumstances. I would have to say that I would consider a group "dangerous" if they force the death of my wife by making it a criminal act for her to have a life-saving abortion.

If you are a gay person who needs a job, or would like to buy insurance, or would like to be present as their partner of 30+ years dies in a hospital, then I would definitely consider groups like this "dangerous". If you are a young gay person who "deserves to be bullied to get the gay out of them", then I would say these groups are definitely "dangerous". 

scottindallas
scottindallas

Perry's just going to get some campaign cash, he's not endorsing all this.  (I really hate defending Perry)  He would be wise to not go if he is running.  If he is seeking the VP, or just trying to fatten his coffers for other days or influence--then this won't hurt him.  You may disagree with their politics, and I don't deny they have a damaging message, but I don't think you can call them "dangerous"

Jay Hawk
Jay Hawk

Straight-ticket voting soothes the outrage

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