Archive for the ‘Catholicism’ Category

It was brought to my attention today that in my April 5, 2009 post titled: Heresies: Re-cycled. Re-packaged. Re-named, that the direct link I included to IHOP’s website where they explained and defined contemplative prayer had been removed.

HERE is where the link was. As you can see in the top of the internet tool bar the title of the article was on Contemplative Prayer. I guess it got some negative attention so it was taken down so as to not be able to be linked back to the new age practice I explained in detail in this post if you’d like to read it for more information.

I figured that eventually word would get out and IHOP leadership would see it was not in their best interest to broadcast the article on Contemplative Prayer directly from their website. So the text from the article was saved in a Word document and I am including it in this post for those of you who tried to visit their website after the link was removed.

(*note: this is a direct copy and paste of IHOP’s article. It has not been edited or altered in any way from its original format)

IHOP’s article described and taught contemplative prayer in this way:

Contemplative Prayer
Communing with the Holy Spirit who lives within you

I. Know He Lives Inside of You
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:24–27

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes…
— Ezekiel 36:26–27

But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.
— John 4:14

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
— Romans 8:9–1

Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive.
— John 7:37–39, KJV

II. Pray the Scripture

The goal is to search for the Spirit of Jesus in the Word and have depth, not necessarily length, in understanding the passage. Jesus is the Word (John 1) and we want to know Him, the Truth. In Him is life; it is His Spirit who gives life. The words of Scripture are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63). The entrance of the Word gives light and life (Psalm 119:130). As the Word of God enters your heart, the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal body (Romans 8:11).

Make sure you are searching for the Spirit of Jesus, not just searching for knowledge. Just pray the Scriptures. In simple terms, prayer is turning your heart toward God. In John 5:39, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You do not have His Word abiding in you … you search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”

Method #1

• Choose a short phrase in Scripture.

• Begin slowly praying the Scripture in silence.

• Focus your prayer toward the Spirit who lives inside you (John 7:38).

• Remain on the phrase as long as you feel the Lord’s presence on it. Then move with Him, slowly praying through the passage phrase by phrase.

Method #2

• Choose a short story in Scripture.

• Read through the story several times silently.

• Close your eyes and acknowledge the Spirit who lives in you.

• Use your imagination to imagine yourself as one of the story characters or as an onlooker.

• Play out the story in your mind applying all five of your senses.

Method #3

• We call this “Beholding the Spirit Within.”

• The goal is to search for and feel God’s presence inside you, not necessarily to gain more understanding in God’s Word as with the first two methods.

• Begin by gently praying a short passage of Scripture in silence while focusing on the indwelling Spirit. The Scripture is used to quiet the clamoring of your soul and draw you to God. It is the connection point, the springboard into the spiritual realm.

• Once you feel God’s presence, focus on it in a concentrated way.

• You will be able to notice His presence now; He has always been there, but now your attention is on Him within you. The outward senses are quiet and your surface thoughts are gone. You are beginning to be consumed by the Spirit.

• In this time, feel the freedom to stay quiet. Silently ask the Spirit to show you a vision, or slowly and silently say to Him, “I love You. I love You. I love You.”

Overcoming Distractions

Your mind will have to be trained in practial ways to not wander and think on other things. To overcome a wandering mind, simply begin thinking on the Scripture you have been meditating on, and focus your prayer to the Spirit within you. The Lord sees your heart as it searches for Him, and He is smiling upon you. You may become sleepy during prayer. To overcome, sit up straight instead of slouching and do not lie down. You can also begin speaking the Scripture you are meditating on under your breath until you feel the drowsiness subside, then return to the silent prayer.
Diligence in Prayer

In time these methods of praying will become easy. You will find the Spirit who lives in you if you search for Him with all your heart, but it will require time and your whole heart.
Keys to Progress

• Humility—the high and lofty One dwells with the lowly in heart (Isaiah 57)

• Disciplined life of prayer, fasting, giving and loving your enemies (Matthew 6)

• Total abandonment in love to Jesus and loving nothing of this life (Matthew 7:14)

[End of IHOP article]

If you take the detailed instructions above and compare them against a Hindu or Buddhist “how to” on transcendental meditation, you’ll find the same format minus the word God.  This is an ancient occult practice which has been re-packaged to appear “Christian” but IHOP certainly didn’t create it.  They are borrowing it from eastern religions and Catholic mystics and marketing it as a new way to connect with God.  The one who participates in TM will certainly connect into the spirit world…but the “spirit” they will be connecting with is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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In the physical world we live in,
where the foundation of something is not secure,
invading problems have a port of entry.

For example, cracks in a building’s foundation
compromise the integrity of a building.
Cracks unsettle the structure and can weaken interior walls.
Bugs, termites and other intruders make their way
into a home that isn’t well protected, stable and strong.

In the same way, when the spiritual foundations in our lives,
homes or ministries are compromised, there are open cracks
for the enemy to enter and bring in an entourage
of confusion, deception, lies, delusions and much more.

I’ve been asked many times about what I’ve seen and experienced
in the time I was on staff as an intern at the International House
of Prayer (IHOP) here in Kansas City.
One of the major cracks in IHOP’s faulty foundation
is their return in many ways to the New Age roots of Catholicism.
The saints, patriarchs and characters of scripture
are the ones idolized, emulated and worshiped.

Everyone is encouraged to be a “Mary” at the feet of Jesus
or an “Anna” in the temple or a “David” (ie: worshiper).
The focus is not on being like Jesus.
It’s about being like a particular Bible character.
Jesus is not the primary focus…becoming like a person is.
Catholics worship Mary
IHOP-ers worship the pillar figures that have become a staple
part of their doctrine.

Another example of this is seen in IHOP’s
erroneous interpretation of the book of Song of Solomon.

The book of Song of Solomon is held above the rest of scripture as the primary way G-d relates to His people. This makes G-d out to be a sexual, lovesick, love-struck, hormone-driven teenager who is so “captivated” and “awestruck” that He longs after humanity and is running around Heaven going crazy without her.

The relationship G-d has to Israel is likened to that of a marriage in a few places in scripture…but it’s with the nation of Israel as a whole…it’s not an individual romance between God and a person. The book of Song of Solomon is written about the natural marriage relationship between husband and wife as written by Solomon about his own marriage. It is not the blueprint of Christianity or the primary starry-eyed, lustful way that IHOP paints G-d’s view of His people.

On 9/24/07, an ex-ihoper shares on a blog forum that as part of the required reading curriculum at IHOP’s Forerunner School of Ministry, students have to read a book called “The The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus” written by a Franciscan Priest named Brennan Manning.  Chapter six expounds on the belief of the author that “God is sexually aroused by His people.”  This led students to confessing that reading this book caused them to have sexual thoughts…which they forced themselves to excuse away by telling themselves “well, God feels this way so it’s ok”.  When Allen Hood (the school’s president) was confronted about the book, he refused to pull it from the shelves or from the required reading material of the class.  His response was simply to “chew on the meat and spit out the bones”.  This is the kind of dangerous thinking that causes many in cults such as IHOP to have a passive mind.  They come under a learned helplessness and lose all ability to filter and discern between truth and error.

This theology which is a staple teaching of IHOP also forces men to relate to G-d in a feminine way with G-d being his lover. G-d never intended for men to sacrifice their masculinity in order to worship Him. He does not place men into feminine roles. I’ve heard Mike say things like “when we say ‘kiss me with the kisses of your mouth’ we simply mean ‘kiss me with the kisses of your word’.
No where in scripture is this interpretation supported or taught as a way of G-d relating to the heart of His creation. That verse does not say “kiss me with the kisses of your word.” This is IHOP’s translation of this verse which they tacked on to make it mean what they want it to mean.

It’s a deeply sobering and serious thing to take a verse, passage or book in the Bible and re-draw the lines of meaning and interpretation to propagate your own theology and teach your spin on scripture. G-d is pretty clear in His word about how He desires it to be interpreted. He warns against his Word not being added to or taken from. To mis-interpret scripture is to mis-interpret and mis-represent
the heart of the One who wrote it.

(see also this website article titled “Mike Bickle’s Romantic Jesus”)