The path that leads to life is indeed a narrow one.

Posted: January 7, 2010 in Bridal Paradigm, Cult, Deception, Discernment, False doctrines, IHOP, Knowledge, Leaving a cult, Spiritual Abuse, Truth

The below comment was posted on my most recent blog and I thought it to be quite insightful so I’m starting a new blog post with it.


“And the one who leaves the cult may experience negative consequences of the stress related to leaving…. marriage and family problems, or even sickness. The cult leaders then use this as ‘proof’ the one who left is out of the will of God or is suffering because he/she ‘touched God’s anointed’”

My response:

You bring out a very important and insightful point. Cult leaders have to find a way to explain away the effects of their abuse which requires making the victim always the one at fault. One I remember hearing a lot at IHOP was that this whole “bridal intimacy/wooing” message about how “feeling lovesick” was G-d’s way of wooing you closer to him…that He used this feeling to ignite/illicit hunger in His people. So when you felt the emotional “withdrawal” of coming down from the hypnotic high of being in the prayer room, that was decoded as “lovesickness” which was supposed to signal you to spend more time in the prayer room. It was supposed to be a trigger that initiated a certain responsive behavior on our part (as interns) and make us feel depressed, discouraged and disillusioned whenever we spent time away from IHOP.

It’s a form of internal programming (aka mind control) to keep people “connected” and to create feelings of guilt and withdrawal upon leaving. I will never forget the intense emotional reaction after I left IHOP and moved home. I have never felt anything before or since to which I can compare it. I felt like my emotions had been hi-jacked. It was like an internal magnetic pull that tugged at me. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to the way alcoholics and drug addicts describe coming down from a high. It’s an intense detox where you feel sensory overload and need another fix. That’s what it was like when I left. By the grace of G-d I was able to go against what I had been programmed to believe was “lovesickness” and I fought hard to not get pulled back into what I had just left. Within a matter of days or a couple of weeks, that immediate withdrawal broke and I started to feel like the cloud over my head was clearing. The dull heaviness lifted and slowly, things felt clear. Confusion was replaced with clarity and over time, the more I began to see, remember, process through what I had come out of, and the more free and light my heart became.

I added some new links to the “Research, Links & Sources” page. One of which was regarding mind control. IHOP most definitely uses mind control and they are very skilled at it. No one is dumb enough to stand up and say “Okay, we’re going to mess with your head now and manipulate you into following what we say by reprogramming the way you view G-d, the way you read scripture and the way you think about life.” It requires a slow buy-in from those who will believe their propaganda and those who embrace the idea that IHOP holds the golden ticket to “closeness with G-d”. Our L-rd and Messiah Yeshua (Jesus as the Greeks called Him) stated very clearly that He was the way to the Father. So anyone else who claims to be “the doorway” through which you come to the Father is leading you away from truth. Any “ministry” that adds additional hoops for you to jump through to achieve “enlightenment”, closeness to G-d, salvation, favor, blessing, etc. apart from trust in G-d and following the teachings He clearly lays out in His Word is serving up some major deception–think of it like spiritual poison with a spoonful of sugar on top.

Salvation is based upon trust. The word that was translated into English as faith actually means trust in the original language of the Hebrew scriptures. It is a trust that is tested by actions (James 2). That trusting brings about fruit in the life of the one whose trust is in the Son of G-d—the One who gave his life as the last atoning sacrifice for the sins of humanity. So someone please tell me how that simple message of trusting in G-d has been polluted and perverted into “calling down signs and wonders to make people feel good, having “drunk Holy Ghost parties”, turning worship services into rock concerts, fasting until you have a full-blown eating disorder and multi-million dollar organizations that “market” their dogmas through conferences and internships via the belief that attending will give you a ‘supernatural experience’ and thus make you ‘closer to G-d’?” Excuse me? Closeness to the L-rd is not based on emotionalism–but in studying His word and allowing it to transform us from the inside out. The best times I have in fellowship with Him are in my living room or sitting around a dinner table in community and fellowship with like-hearted believers.

Brothers and sisters in the L-rd, let us not stray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Him. The rest of this “higher spirituality” which deviates into mysticism, new age and other occult/pagan practices is nothing more than a re-packaging of the same deceptions that existed thousands of years ago which the believers then were warned by Yeshua, Peter, Paul, James and others not to participate in. Satan’s message doesn’t change…just the packaging through which He promotes it. It would be like taking Bounce fabric softener and pouring it into a Downy bottle and selling it as Downy. The analogy isn’t about laundry product brands–it’s to illustrate the fact that taking a substance (or doctrine, teaching, belief or idea) and re-packaging it with a different name or label in order to present it as something else is what deception is all about.

A love for truth and a foundation set on the teachings of the Word is the only anchor we can securely hold to if we want to be free from the deceptive trappings, doctrines and webs of control that bring about spiritual abuse.

In Hosea 4:6 G-d says “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.”

G-d does not desire His children to be ignorant and blindly following the winds of heretical doctrines. He created one law–one truth–for G-d is ONE and following the laws and teachings of any other besides Him is idolatry. Period.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 and 10 speaks of what will happen when the Anti-Messiah is fully unleashed in the earth. It says that through wicked ways people will be deceived because they would not receive the love of the truth which could have saved them.

We must TEST, TEST, TEST what we hear and see. We cannot afford to be blind, careless and naive. If we do not love the truth of G-d’s precepts and follow the standards and guidelines for living life that He sets up in His Word, we will live lives of lawlessness and complacency–creating “our own” doctrines and thus living under the ruler-ship of the world system and doing its bidding.

Just because someone teaches something that sounds “spiritual” and uses the name of G-d does NOT mean it is truth or that it is of the L-rd. In His word, the Father teaches us exactly what we should believe and what we should follow. Deviations from that or additions to that are schemes of the evil one.

This is why the L-rd said that the path that leads to life is a narrow one. To choose life so that we might live (Deut 30:19) is to choose the narrow path that requires G-d to be the guide. The wide road is easy to navigate and leaning on one’s own understanding or the secular worldview are a few of many ways that will get you there. To navigate a narrow road requires trust in the One who is leading.

May the Father guide you with His eye, cover you with His love and lead you into the truth which brings about freedom!

  1. Kerri says:

    Thank you so much for your blog & continuing posts. My best friend moved her family of 6 to Ihop about 6 yrs ago. Then so many other families she knew did the same. As now a branch of ihop has joined with something called Crisis Response International her husband &5 others have gone to Haiti. I’m ALL for being JESUS to the Haitians! What I see is continual mega Hype type gatherings. Their conferences, and now their “student awakening”, now Haiti; it never ends! The drama, energy and stirring up I guess is how they try to keep people engaged.
    It seems to me with sooo much emphasis on going there and joining them to get to a higher place with God is how the brainwashing occurs.

    If you go to you’ll see this crisis response team. If you’ll go to the link “about us” and read it thoroughly, they make a statement that says in their words; police, fire and ems are often unequipped to respond to crisis situations!!!

    Then go look at a few of their training videos where they simulate disaster situations and victims. Let’s just say I’d rather have police, fire or ems helping me any day…..but the catch is, they are going to go in and usher these peole into the kingdom of God with their enlightment.

    Again, we are to lay down our lives for our neighbors, but let’s not lead them to “their” God.
    My Gid is a God of TRUTH, and the truth is found in His word. And the word of God is THE lifechanging power.

    • Ariel says:

      Kerri, thanks for writing! I understand how very hard it is to watch people you love and care deeply about walk off the edge of the cliff into deception and error. I left many behind when I left IHOP that I cared about but who simply were “following orders” by cutting off contact with me once I was no longer part of IHOP/the internship. Nonetheless, the best support you can be to your best friend is to pray for her…pray that the scales fall from her eyes and that the L-rd puts a desire for truth in her heart so that she will be willing to see things for what they really are…not for what IHOP has told her they are.

      One sentence that I read in the “about us” section of the site you mentioned which jumped out at me was: “The person who stands up in the midst of crisis with the answer is the leader.” This is exactly the mentality behind how IHOP trains their staff. They state in some not so subtle ways that they have the the answers to the end times, they know the hidden secrets and mysteries of G-d (like transcendental meditation is now a secret since they named it contemplative prayer?) and they call themselves leaders because of their gnostic approach to twisting scripture to extract its coded meanings. It’s all about drawing people to themselves for their knowledge and their version of following G-d…it’s not at all about leading people to the Father and showing them how to lead lives of truth, freedom and wholeness. Leaders are very self-appointed at IHOP. If you “pray down someone’s mantle” in a service or have Mike Bickle lay hands on you then you are now a leader. Scripture certainly prescribes a higher standard and definition of leadership which among many things requires leaders to lay down their lives and lead people to the truth G-d’s word teaches…even in the face of persecution. These leaders are held to a standard of accountability that most self proclaimed leaders today refuse to acknowledge.

      Thanks for sharing and may the G-d of truth lead us all out of this muck and into the freedom of heart that comes with knowing HIM!

  2. […] Gospel Masquerade – I have three articles from Ariel’s blog for you to read (1) – The path that leads to life is indeed a narrow one. – (2): – Common Issues in Post-Cult Recovery and finally – (3) – Some of […]

  3. James Jones says:

    Very informing and well written, I also got a real nugget about the translation of the word faith, I have felt and taught that Faith and Trust were joined at the hip and now I know why.
    G-d Bless.
    James J.

    • Ariel says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you got a nugget that brought some clarity and understanding. Now you know exactly why there is a connection between the two words. Thanks for posting!