Archive for the ‘Cult’ Category

A number of you have left comments on posts or e-mailed me asking for some pointers or steps on how to pick up the pieces and start over after IHOP. This is a huge topic but an important one so I will do my best to respond to it through illustrations and insights from things I have learned in my own journey.

I know there are others of you that read my blog who have come out of IHOP so please feel free to post your experiences in the comments as well. I certainly don’t claim to have the corner on this and everyone’s journey will be a little different. Each of you have your own story to tell and you will have your own nuggets of wisdom gained along the way.

I will relate things mostly to coming out of IHOP but if your experiences were with another organization these same ideas still apply. These concepts relate to coming out of any form of deception, spiritual abuse, cults, etc.

Please don’t read this as a “how-to” list that you simply check off. I’m not writing this as a 12-step program or self-help therapy. Rather than a spiritual to-do list I encourage you to view these points as overarching themes and priorities to keep in mind. The actual process might look a little different for different people but here are the things I believe to be the most important in coming out of spiritual deception and getting grounded in what is true.

1. Numero uno…and most importantly, remember that He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. Thank your heavenly Father for opening your eyes and trust Him to lead and orchestrate every step in bringing you out of the deceptions, involvements, etc that you have walked in. Life is messy sometimes and solutions don’t come packaged in pretty boxes with bows on top. Since we peer dimly through the filter of our human experience and emotion we don’t fully see any situation perfectly so we must trust the One who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Set HIS Word above the word of any man…no matter how eloquent it sounds or what venue, pulpit or position it is heralded from.

2. Do not condemn, berate or beat yourself up for not seeing it sooner. Condemnation is not part of the road toward freedom. It’s a trap door that drops you into a free-fall of judgment and self-analysis. Trust that the timing of G-d is right and He is perfect, true and just in all that He allows. He chose to open your eyes to the deception/error on His own timetable. Take your hand off the rewind button and don’t play back old experiences through the lens of “if I had only known this then, I would have done this…or I would not have done that…” You can’t judge yesterday’s actions in light of today’s wisdom. You didn’t know then what you know now so you couldn’t act out of what you did not yet know. What you know now however can equip you to make different choices going forward. So when the accuser comes knocking, remind yourself that you can’t change a month ago or 2 years ago but now you do know and you can choose to walk a different road…a road toward what is true because “you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free”. (John 8:32)

3) Pursue truth at all costs. When something doesn’t line up with the Word of G-d check it, test it, study, ask G-d for greater discernment and trust that discernment when you hear it. Don’t rationalize or excuse away what you hear. Trust that the Spirit of G-d is more than able to lead and speak to you. If you are His sheep, trust that you can know what is His voice. Still test however what you hear/discern/think He is saying but don’t discount it before you do. Don’t swallow any word, teaching, doctrine, scriptural interpretation, etc. you hear just because it sounds good. If a teaching/doctrine, etc. requires taking scripture out of context to understand it or apply its interpretation, run don’t walk the other way.

4) Give yourself time. You probably didn’t buy into IHOP’s doctrines overnight and it might take a little time to detox and sort through what is true and what is not and get your head clear but study what is true and the counterfeits become much more recognizable.

5) Don’t just get in the Word…let the Word get into you. Don’t study for studying’s sake. Absorb like a sponge the truth of scripture and let it permeate who you are. It will be the shield around your heart to protect you from the fiery arrows of deception, doubt, condemnation, unbelief, etc that are sure to fly your way. As you study, ask the Father to illuminate truth so that it comes alive to you and then the things which masquerade as truth can be more clearly recognizable. Read and study scripture in context. Studying in context means seeking to understand the audience, time it was written, who is writing, what was happening in the time and culture in which it was written and how should it be understood in light of the surrounding verses. A silly example of taking a verse out of context would be that if someone read the story of Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden and twisted its meaning and application they could say that G-d forbids eating fruit and we should eat only vegetables and meat. Context matters!

6) Don’t run away from research. Sometimes the thought of digging into something and researching it out conjures thoughts of college term papers and thesis writing. Panic attacks set in and the sound of laptops closing can be heard everywhere. Denial is not bliss but knowledge is power and if you are seeing red flags don’t ignore them. I’m not saying lock yourself away in a room for 6 months and go on a fact finding mission. I’m saying that part of seeking truth is investigating the roots of the tree from whose fruit you have been eating. If you’re wondering whether an organization you’re apart of is exhibiting cult-like behaviors and effects then perhaps research cult tactics and teachings and the side effects experienced by those who come out of them. Be willing to look at the dust that keeps getting swept under the rug. The value in researching is 2-fold: 1) you will often find evidence that backs up what you discerned. You then have that aha moment where you think “wow, I didn’t miss it.” 2) when you come across others who are waking up to deception and they are seeking answers to their questions about such-and-such you will have more than theories or hearsay to go off of…you’ll have some research: facts, dates and actual events, direct quotes and statistics, etc. in your back pocket. It’s not enough to convince someone with mere opinion.

7) Connect with other like-hearted believers who share your love for truth and are on that same journey. Being in fellowship with others who have discernment, who live lives that bear fruit and who speak the truth in love is really important. We were built for relationship and community. Seek healthy, authentic, truth-based, scripturally grounded relationships and communities to connect with. Another key to staying out of deception is being in fellowship with others who can see things that we can’t and who will lovingly illustrate truth by their words and actions.

May the Spirit of G-d continue to lead you into all truth.

Abundant blessings,
–Ariel

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There are some very informational links and resources out there that very accurately address the issue of control (particularly mind control) and how it works (whether it be in a relationship, a workplace, a church or other organization). In this post, I am going to feature a couple of article links that address topics which I find very prevalent in the body of believers today.

One of my blog readers sent me a great link this week which I’m going to pass along to all of you. This article addresses some very common trends seen within cults and “churches” that operate like cults. It highlights topics such as:

The “Super Apostles” and church government
Abusive authority by leaders
The often mis-quoted mantra of “Don’t Touch the L-rd’s Anointed”
“Umbrellas of Divine Protection”
“Thus Saying the L-rd” words, warnings and instructions
Exclusivity
Favoritism
…and much more

I think this article (link above) is very to the point and doesn’t tangent off and hits the heart of some big issues so I will just let you read it in its entirety and omit my commentary on this one. Prayerfully consider the info in the article and let the Spirit (Ruach) of G-d show you any areas where you may be witnessing or experiencing these abuses of power in your own life. As with all sources I refer to or link to, I do not necessarily uphold or endorse that site or organization in its entirety but do want to call to your attention a particular aspect or article of interest. Don’t throw your discernment out the window. Always read everything prayerfully and line it up with the plum-line of scripture.

I also came across an article that contains some helpful information on How Cults Work which helps to distinguish the different types of cults which still clearly fall within that label because of their abusive and heretical practices. It’s an informative read…especially for those who are new to the understanding of exactly how a cult is defined and what the characteristics are to watch for and be aware of.

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.

Comment:

“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!

by: Patrick Ryan, Editor of AFF News

Excerpt taken from this online article titled “Post-Cult Problems: An Exit Counselor’s Perspective”

Some of the recovery issues that keep recurring in my work with ex-cult members are:

1. Sense of purposelessness, of being disconnected. They left a group that had a powerful purpose and intense drive; they miss the peak experiences produced from the intensity and the group dynamics.

2. Depression.

3. Grieving for other group members, for a sense of loss in their life.

4. Guilt. Former members will feel guilt for having gotten involved in the first place, for the people they recruited into the group, and for the things they did while in the group.

5. Anger. This will be felt toward the group and/or the leaders. At times this anger is misdirected toward themselves.

6. Alienation. They will feel alienation from the group, often from old friends (that is, those who were friends prior to their cult involvement), and sometimes from family.

7. Isolation. To ex-cult members, no one “out there” seems to understand what they’re going through, especially their families.

8. Distrust. This extends to group situations, and often to organized religion (if they were in a religious cult) or organizations in general (depending on the type of cult they were in). There is also a general distrust of their own ability to discern when or if they are being manipulated again. This dissipates after they learn more about mind control and begin to listen to their own inner voice again.

9. Fear of going crazy. This is especially common after “floating” experiences (see point 18 below for explanation of floating).

10. Fear that what the cult said would happen to them if they left actually might happen.

11. Tendency to think in terms of black and white, as conditioned by the cult. They need to practice looking for the gray areas.

12. Spiritualizing everything. This residual sometimes lasts for quite a while. Former members need to be encouraged to look for logical reasons why things happen and to deal with reality, to let go of their magical thinking.

13. Inability to make decisions. This characteristic reflects the dependency that was fostered by the cult.

14. Low self-esteem. This generally comes from those experiences common to most cults, where time and again members are told that they are worthless.

15. Embarrassment. This is an expression of the inability to talk about their experience, to explain how or why they got involved or what they had done during that time. It is often manifested by an intense feeling of being ill-at-ease in both social and work situations. Also, often there is a feeling of being out of synch with everyone else, of going through culture shock, from having lived in a closed environment and having been deprived of participating in everyday culture.

16. Employment and/or career problems. Former members face the dilemma of what to put on a resume to cover the blank years of cult membership.

17. Dissociation. This also has been fostered by the cult. Either active or passive, it is a period of not being in touch with reality or those around them, an inability to communicate.

18. Floating. These are flashbacks into the cult mind-set. It can also take on the effect of an intense emotional reaction that is inappropriate to the particular stimuli.

19. Nightmares. Some people also experience hallucinations or hearing voices. A small percentage of former members need hospitalization due to this type of residual.

20. Family issues.

21. Dependency issues.

22. Sexuality issues.

23. Spiritual (or philosophical) issues. Former members often face difficult questions: Where can I go to have my spiritual (or belief) needs met? What do I believe in now? What is there to believe in, trust in?

24. Inability to concentrate, short-term memory loss.

25. Re-emergence of pre-cult emotional or psychological issues

26. Impatience with the recovery process.

—end of excerpt–

On a personal note, I can relate to experiencing some of these things after leaving IHOP and have heard many stories of others who have had involvement at IHOP and left (or were made to leave) who experienced much of this list as well.  Those who have left IHOP fit right into the same recovery process of those who leave cults.

There were many, many experiences that made me do a double take and say “what?” while I was at IHOP but that internal questioning was quickly explained away or rebuked by internship leaders. Once I began to deviate from IHOP’s teachings and study scripture on my own for answers to the internal conflicts I wrestled with, I began questioning the pseudo reality I had been conditioned to embrace. Suddenly I saw the isolated red flag incidences as a seamless pattern of error and the veil of deception fell. I stopped rationalizing and justifying. Enough was enough and I was done and wanted out.

There are much more personal experiences than I can put into one single blog post, but here are a few I still recall pretty strongly.

1. Mandatory fasts which made me very physically ill. They would never admit to having “mandatory” fasts but when you don’t have any food available, close down the kitchen, give your cook the day off and don’t allow interns to hold jobs (so that they have money to go buy food if they aren’t participating in the fast) then that is called mandatory.

2. Being practically held hostage in the prayer room and told that it was required that I be there and I was not allowed to leave even though I did not feel well and wanted to go back to my apartment. I was told I needed to stay in the prayer room to be part of the “corporate anointing” and that I shouldn’t leave. It was one of my “required” prayer room sets as an intern so I spent the remainder of that 2-hour set in one of the side prayer rooms in the back sobbing on the floor because I wanted to leave so badly and our internship leaders were standing by the door. You might ask “why didn’t you just force your way out and leave anyway?” When you are part of cult where free, independent thinking is not condoned when you don’t comply with what is expected of you, very often guilt, manipulation and penalties are instated for those who resist. Interns who didn’t follow “the rules” of the internship were penalized through loss of privileges (such as loss of your day off, having to do extra work/manual labor, etc.)

3. The grip of control and micro-management increasing: greater demands and restrictions on interns (such as increased pressure to fast more to attain a higher pinnacle of spirituality) being told where we had to sit when in the prayer room, taught a model for how to pray, how to dance, sing, etc. Any form of worship outside of this model was not considered to be acceptable. It had to fit IHOP’s style and method to be admissible.

4. Mandatory journaling assignments which we had to do weekly and then we had to turn in our journals to be read by internship leaders

5. Seeing how controlled the prayer room was. Rather than having freedom to express my heart to the Lord, I was put in a box and told how I had to do everything IHOP’s way. I had reading and writing assignments whenever I was in the prayer room.

6. There was no alone time ever to really think, reason, test, question or process anything. We were run ragged from sun up to late into the night which always left me exhausted, depleted and burnt out.

7. Once when I got sick, my mother came to pick me up and internship leaders resisted letting me leave with her (even though she lived in town). My internship ‘com leader’ (short for community leader) objected and still impressed upon me the importance of going to the prayer room even though I was too sick to get off the couch. My mother said “she is my daughter and I’m taking her home and taking care of her. Period.”

8. The more leadership responsibility I was given as an intern, the more I got peeks into the “inside”. I saw the outer fringes of the internal operations of how IHOP functioned. I was on an IHOP dance team and sang as a chorus leader on a few worship teams. To dance, I had to follow a specific model that IHOP required. To sing, I had to attend the briefing/de-briefing meetings before and after each worship set where I saw first-hand how carefully controlled that the seemingly “spontaneous” aspects of worship were carefully calculated and often planned ahead of time.

9. Another intern got deathly ill and it wasn’t until she ended up being hospitalized that internship leaders took seriously the fact she was sick. They accused her of faking an illness to get out of attending IHOP classes and time in the prayer room. This was told to me directly by that intern.

10. If I wanted to go anywhere off IHOP property (even to go see my family who lived in town) I had to notify internship leaders of my whereabouts at all times. I had no autonomy or freedom as an individual. Some leaders who were 19 (but were former interns which gave them elite status) were telling me where to be, what to do and when I was expected to be home. I had to answer to them for everything. I was in my early 20’s and had lived on my own before so the feeling of suffocation and having no personal rights to space, privacy, independent thought, etc. was overwhelming.

There is much more but I think that’s a sufficient start to at least give you an idea of some of what was happening when I was at IHOP. It wasn’t until after I left that I began to see far more than I had been able to see when I was still involved. The casual observer on the periphery won’t necessarily see the reality of all that is happening there because they are seeing the veil that IHOP has built to carefully cloak the truth of a lot of what really happens.

After I left, I realized how worn out and exhausted I was in every way imaginable. I spent days and weeks sleeping and physically healing from the trauma of the experiences I had just come out of and to let my body heal from the fasting and sleep deprivation. It took a long time for me to really start healing emotionally and spiritually and to begin putting pieces together. Recovering from mental and spiritual abuse like that is a hard road and a difficult place to come out from. I did months of research after I left IHOP and the immediate dust had settled. I wanted to see the roots of the giant beanstalk that had sprouted up and choked the life out of everything in me. I started going back as far into the history of IHOP as I could. As interns we were required to listen to 18 hours of audio CDs recapping all of the history of IHOP and the “prophesies” that led to it’s starting. I started researching on the internet about the names of the so called prophets of this movement and what they had come out of. That led me to picking apart a very carefully woven web of key players that all were connected to this massive organization.

I shared with one parent who e-mailed me about her own child at IHOP the importance of praying that the L-rd will open their eyes not only to see, but to recognize and identify the red flags of IHOP. The thing is, they are probably already seeing them, but rationalizing and excusing them away as isolated events rather than viewing them as a destructive pattern. I pray that the Father will show those there who are truly seeking him the pattern of red flags…making them so obvious they can no longer ignore them.

My hope is that the young people there who are much like I was will begin to question what they see and compare it with what the scripture actually says…not how Mike Bickle twists and teaches it…and that they have the courage to identify it and reject it. Those who oppose IHOP and speak out typically experience some kind of consequences or backlash. People are a commodity there. They are traded. When wounded ones leave, IHOP leadership doesn’t sweat over it…new and unsuspecting people who are ignorant of their dangerous devices but are hungry for emotionally-driven experiences and spiritual highs will come back in the same door the others left. It’s a revolving door of deception.

The deceptions of IHOP are treacherous and very real. Did G-d use that place in my life and work together for my good the devastation I experienced? Absolutely. But that is a testimony to the goodness of our G-d…not a stamp of approval on a place. Remember he spoke through a donkey and a burning bush. That doesn’t mean we should glorify donkeys and start worshiping bushes.

I’ve been asked many times how my eyes were opened to see what was happening at IHOP and how I got out, etc. I’ve thought about that many times and the simplest answer I can give is that I knew who my source was. G-d was my source of instruction, teaching, counsel, truth, etc. It was His voice I was seeking to hear and His approval I desired. IHOP wasn’t my source. So when the things I heard from the L-rd through prayer and studying His word were in conflict with the things I was being taught in IHOP it made the decision to leave an easier one. It was traumatic and painful and I’m not going to minimize that. But it was the price of protecting truth and I knew that staying would have compromised what I knew was right and since my desire is to delight the heart of my Father, once He removed the scales, I was out.

My desire is to see people set free to live lives of healing and wholeness…walking in genuine love and pursuing truth. My prayer is that the things you read on this blog inspire you to that end.

Grace and peace to you.

From my experiences as a former IHOP intern & staff member and from other involvements with cult-like religious groups and churches, etc. one thing that I find to be a consistent thread is the message of never being or doing enough. There is a spiritual pinnacle you are always trying to reach, a spiritual high you are always trying to attain, a sense of closeness to God that you are always running after but it seems to elude you. You run on a constant emotional and spiritual treadmill but you never reach the destination.

A cult always wants MORE. It requires more of your time and resources to accomplish its goals and visions. You become the fuel that they use to run the machine. It’s your energy that they extract to feed their agenda. A cult makes constant demands…some are spoken directly and some are implied indirectly by using guilt and manipulation to influence you to give more and do more…and make you think it was YOUR idea–not theirs.

A cult will never say “Thank you, you’ve done enough. You can stop giving to us financially, we have all that we need. You are enough exactly as we are and we accept you without requiring you to redefine who you are to fit with us.”

In a cult, there is never enough of your:

effort
dedication
sacrifice
money
desire/passion
self discipline
performance
focus
giving (of yourself and resources)
fasting
hours of prayer
meetings
time
energy
your talents and gifts

No boundaries are respected.
Personal free will and opinion is denied.
Questioning, independent thinking and logical reasoning are forbidden.

If you are content in who you are, they lose control. A cult cannot operate when its members are free thinking people with a free will to choose and make their own decisions. Co-dependency is required for control to continue.

But here is where the truth shatters the glass of deception and control:

You don’t have to do more to be loved more and you don’t have to be more to be accepted more.

While we were yet sinners, the Father sent our Messiah who gave His life as a ransom for us. Before we were anything by the world’s evaluation, we had purpose and value in the heart of the Father.

The goal of every believer and follower of God should be to live our lives from a place of complete shalom. Shalom in Hebrew doesn’t just mean peace. Hebrew words can often carry multiple meanings depending on the context in which they are used. Shalom can also be translated as tranquility, safety, well being, welfare, health, contentment, success, comfort, wholeness and integrity. It is a common Jewish greeting.

So when I speak of living life from a place of shalom rather than striving after something that a cult, church or religious group tells you that you have to work harder to achieve or attain, I’m talking about a life that is lived from a place of rest and wholeness. A place of having enough and being enough.

That doesn’t mean we won’t have trials or go through difficult times. It is about coming to a place of where our hearts are at rest and we experience total contentment in our heavenly Father. It requires ceasing from striving. It’s about having hearts and minds grounded in the truth that He loves us and delights in us….simply because we are His. We have inherent value because we were instilled with value when we were created. From the womb, we were given purpose and our purpose will never be realized and fulfilled in a cult or group that defines us and tells us who we are.

I invite you to leave the land of “never enough”
to let your heart cease from striving
and rest in the fact that you are loved
right this moment…at this very place and time in your life
even as you grow, mature and develop into the fullness of what God has created you for.
He has begun a good work in you
and since He is the author and finisher
of our trust, He will carry through to completion what he starts.

Grace and shalom to you!

–A

There are a number of different signs and symptoms or what I call the “red flags” of a cult. Among these is a secret language.

The reason I say it’s a secret is because the commonly used definitions for what a word means are substituted and traded out for meanings that only the inner circle of the group know…thus making it a coded language that members can communicate with.

As the link I sited above illustrates, it’s a careful bait & switch technique of taking an intangible concept or something vague and illusive and altering its meaning to fit with the propaganda of a group.

Let’s take for example the way IHOP uses a glossary of romantic, intensely emotional and spiritual sounding words for which they give their own set of meanings. You won’t find these in a Websters anywhere. They have taken a word that you or I might think we know the meaning of and use it to mean something different. Because what initially comes to mind is the commonly known definition, you might mentally assent and agree with what is being said…but if you knew the underlying definition, you’d probably think differently before nodding in agreement.

In the time I was an intern at IHOP, I lived in a swirl of these very spiritually saturated, emotion-inducing words. Just saying them brought electricity into a conversation and others would immediately nod in identification. But if you step back and look at the conversation objectively, you will realize it made no logical sense and seems to in fact, say nothing. Mike Bickle is a very passionate orator who can stir and rally a crowd with a devoted Messiah-like following. I once, to illustrate a point to someone, pulled up a video of Bickle speaking on YouTube. In the 9 minute video I could cite 1 by 1 the inconsistencies and unbiblical claims he was making. I stopped counting after I reached 12. But the spiritual sounding content contained no truth-based substance, just a lot of really intense terminology.

I am going to give you a paragraph below including some commonly used IHOP verbiage. I will then break down its interpretation below. After that, you can go directly to IHOP’s website to view the way they define these terms.

“I just believe I have an Anna anointing and I’m called to be in the presence. The Spirit is moving in the house and I want to be a part of that. I know I was made for this. I am called to a forefunner ministry and the prayer room has been a womb where I have grown into my destiny. My church back home doesn’t understand or get me. My parents don’t get me. They are part of a different generation and they don’t understand the apostolic intercession I am called to. I am the beloved’s and His desire is for me. He is my bridegroom and he is awakening my heart with a spirit of burning and desire drips from his Word. I want him to kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. I want him to break in like a hammer–to break in like a fire and bring signs and wonders through my life. He has ravished me. I am captivated by the God-man and by His beauty I am undone. I am lovesick for him and I believe we are entering the time of open heaven. I am calling out “COME!” and He will answer. Until then, I will be a 24/7 watchman on the wall.”

If you are unfamiliar with IHOP or their terminology. The above paragraph no doubt confused you entirely. But for those who have had some exposure to the way IHOP uses these words, this is probably vaguely familiar. I have had nothing to do with IHOP since I left but I could walk back in tomorrow and strike up a conversation with a total stranger there using the terms I just wrote into the above paragraph and they would nod in complete agreement and understanding. This is their language I would be speaking. They are drilled with it, indoctrinated with it. It comes with the package.

If you are curious how IHOP themselves define these words, you can click HERE to go to their glossary. Yes, they actually have a glossary of frequently used IHOP-KC words on their website (which they might take down now that I’ve linked to it also). It will give what they want you to think those words all mean. Just to cover the bases though, I’ll copy and paste the article below the line of stars. Let me help a bit in the decoding some of terms used.

“I just believe I have an Anna anointing (a way of saying you are called to be at IHOP) and I’m called to be in the presence (living in the eurphoria of God’s presence constantly by living a life of intercession in IHOP’s prayer room). The Spirit (what spirit is the question though) is moving in the house (the house is another way of saying the prayer room or the missions base of IHOP) and I want to be a part of that. I know I was made for this (I was created to be a part of this movement). I am called to a forefunner ministry (I have a special calling and a secret knowledge of things to come and I am called to lead out ahead of the church and warn and prepare others based upon what I know about the end times. I am making a way for God’s return. I will help usher that in.) and the prayer room has been a womb where I have grown into my destiny (a hyper spiritual way of saying I feel like I belong here, and am growing in the understanding of my real “calling and vocation in God”.) My church back home doesn’t understand or get me (IHOP programming). My parents don’t get me (IHOP programming). They are part of a different generation (young people are given this narcissistic complex of being more special and anointed than their parents or previous generations)and they don’t understand the apostolic intercession (I am called to chant prayers over and over again that were taken from letters Paul wrote in the hopes that praying them will make me apostolic) I am called to. I am the beloved’s and His desire is for me (I have a romantic relationship with God). He is my bridegroom (He is not just a bridegroom to the body of Christ. He’s my personal husband–worth taking a vow of celibacy and not getting married for) and he is awakening my heart (I am experiencing a new emotional surge rushing through me) with a spirit of burning (a feeling of intensity and a constant sense of striving after a spiritual high I can’t seem to touch) and desire drips from his Word (He has romantic feelings about me). I want him to kiss me with the kisses of his mouth (He is awakening romantic feelings in me that makes me see God differently than before). I want him to break in like a hammer–to break in like a fire (do something radical to reach me because He is so far away that He has to struggle to get to where I am. I am out of reach.) and bring signs and wonders (emphasis always given to what gets attention, stirs emotion, and enlists devoted followers) through my life. He has ravished me (back to romantic terminology). I am captivated by the God-man (God man is their 2 gods into one term rather than viewing God as one and the Messiah, Jesus, as an extension of Himself in human form where the Word takes on human flesh.) and by His beauty I am undone (romantic term for the affection felt toward God). I am lovesick for him (I feel an emotional low and need Him to give me another high. I feel empty and need Him to create a stimulating experience so I can feel him again) and I believe we are entering the time of open heaven (fascination with the supernatural–continually chasing after any vision or experience and stamping it as being “of God”.) I am calling out “COME!” and He will answer.(He will return to earth sooner if I pray harder) Until then, I will be a 24/7 watchman on the wall.” (I will be committed to being in the prayer room continually until He does)

Now of course, this isn’t usually what someone is thinking at the moment they are saying these things. But the interjected comments are the byproduct of what happens when you start believing that particular phrase or word. That’s the subliminal message that comes with it.

I went ahead and copied directly from IHOP-KC’s website below so scroll down for IHOP’s definitions of the terms above as how they say they use them.  (Sorry it’s long. My post resumes again below IHOP’s alphabetical glossary)

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“We’ve tried to make it easy for you to follow along with IHOP–KC prayers, teachings, and songs by compiling this reference dictionary with the most commonly used phrases and terms at IHOP–KC.

age to come. The epoch after this current historical time frame; the age to come encompasses the millennial kingdom and eternity. See also end times, eternal age, millennial kingdom, and second coming.

Anna anointing. Referring to Anna who “did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (Lk. 2:36–38). In application, this refers to the grace to spend long hours in prayer with fasting and to sustain it for many years. “Annas” are men and women, old and young, whose primary ministry is fasting and prayer aimed at changing the spiritual atmosphere of a city or nation. This is not necessarily their only ministry—Anna did the work of an evangelist and was a prophetess; she is recorded as the first evangelist in the New Testament.

anointing.
A special grace, blessing or extreme unction from God.

antiphonal singing. Alternate singing between two or more singers or groups of singers. Examples of antiphonal singing include the seraphim who sing “holy” (Isa. 6:3) as well the Levitical choirs (Ezra 3:11; Neh. 12:24). The idea of “responsive” singing comes from Ezra 3:11: “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: ‘For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.’ Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” The concept of “alternate” singing comes from Nehemiah 12:24: “And the heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers across from them, to praise and give thanks, group alternating with group, according to the command of David the man of God.”

apostolic intercession. Intercessory prayer to God on behalf of others derived from the apostles’ prayers written in the New Testament, which reflect the desires of God’s heart for the people. Common examples of apostolic prayers are Ephesians 1:17–19, Philippians 1:9–11 and Matthew 6:9–13. A small collection of key apostolic prayers can be found in our Resources >> Foundational Teachings section. Because of the divine and positive nature of the apostolic prayers, IHOP–KC uses these portions of Scripture daily in intercession.

awaken love. A prayer, asking to be filled with God’s love (see Eph. 3:16–19); to cause love or passion for God to be stirred up; to come alive to God in the deepest part of your life (Song 2:7).

awakened heart. A state of living and being in God in such a way that your spirit and emotions are alive and responsive to Him (Isa. 61:1; Song 2:10).

beloved. Seen regularly in the Song of Songs and in the gospel of John, this term initially refers to how God views human beings—they are His beloved. Secondarily, it refers to how human beings grow to view God—He becomes their beloved. This emotional exchange between God and His creation carries the most weight when it is birthed from the bridal paradigm.

break in like a fire and like a hammer. A prayer sung at IHOP–KC prayer sessions, asking the Lord to break into people’s lives with His Word (Jer. 23:29).

bridal paradigm. A term used to describe a view of God presented in Scripture which reveals God as passionate and emotional, and filled with gladness, affection, and beauty. Whether Jew or Gentile, the redeemed are described in the Bible as the Bride of Christ, while Jesus is presented as a passionate Bridegroom who loves the redeemed and laid down His life for them. By the Father’s design and the Son’s passionate work on the cross, the Holy Spirit is bringing forth a remnant out of the human race to be voluntary lovers of God. These redeemed, the Bride of Christ, will co-rule in intimate relationship forever with Jesus, the Bridegroom God.

Bridegroom, King, and Judge. Three specific faces of God that are currently being emphasized, and will be increasingly emphasized as this age draws to an end.

bridegroom fasting. Another dimension of glory that Jesus added to the doctrine of fasting (Mt. 9:15). In this way, fasting is not simply abstaining; instead it becomes the expression of longing and mourning for the presence of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Bridegroom God. This refers to Jesus Christ when He spoke of Himself as the Bridegroom (Mk. 2:19–20).

burning heart. A person who is filled with the love and passion of God (see Isa. 64:1–2); a heart in fellowship with Jesus in prayer (Jn. 5:35).

captivated/fascinated/ravished heart. In the context of the bridal paradigm, this refers to someone who is wholeheartedly in love with God. In the natural, this refers to a heart moved with deep emotion and love, due to the actions of their lover (Song 4:9).

Daniel anointing. A special grace to enter into extended periods of fasting and prayer, specifically seeking revelation as to the meaning and implications of dreams, visions, or other divine communications regarding the end times (Dan. 1:1–12:13).

David(ic) anointing. Generally refers to the combining of the kingly and priestly anointing; a person after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14).

divine escort. Overarching phrase describing some of the attributes of the Holy Spirit as He accompanies the redeemed through life. Other common terms include helper, comforter, and guide (Jn. 14:15–27, 16:5–14).

end times. Also known as the end of the age; this is the generation in which the Lord will return—the final decades of this current era of human history in which many major events occur: “the birth pains” begin, the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem; the Antichrist is revealed; the abomination that causes desolation is set up in the temple; the seals, trumpets, and bowls are released; a worldwide revival is led by the Church, etc. The end times will culminate with Jesus’ physical second coming as He establishes His literal millennial reign on earth, followed by the eternal age.

eternal age. The final time frame spoken of in the Bible, also called eternity. The redeemed and the triune God are continually in each other’s presence forever, while those rejecting Jesus will spend their eternity in the lake of fire.

fasted lifestyle. Voluntarily choosing a lifestyle of simplicity which limits various things in life: food, money, or accumulation of things, status, recognition, etc. While the rewards are primarily internal and spiritual, they are eternal (Isa. 58:1–14; Mt. 6:18, 9:14–17; 1 Cor. 2:10).

fire of God. God’s presence sent as a judge to burn away everything that hinders His love, thus enabling individuals to follow the first and second great commandments.

first and great commandment. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 22:37–40). Also referred to as making God your first love (Rev. 2:4) or the one thing necessary (Lk. 10:42).

forerunner. A person who goes ahead of the Lord and prepares people for His coming (Isa. 40:1–31; Lk. 1:76). John the Baptist and the prophet Isaiah are two biblical examples of the forerunner ministry. See also see John the Baptist.

forerunner ministry. The purpose of this ministry is to announce the unprecedented activities of the Lord that are soon to come, in order to make sense of what is happening and what is about to happen. The forerunner ministry has three main activities at the end of the age: restoring the first and great commandment to first place, releasing miracles to bring in the great harvest, and releasing the temporal judgments of God.

friend of the Bridegroom. Jesus Christ referred to Himself as the Bridegroom. John the Baptist referred to himself as a friend of the Bridegroom who stands and hears the Bridegroom’s voice and is glad (Jn. 3:29, 15:14–15); this is the primary identity of a forerunner.

God-man. Referring to the divine and human origin of Jesus Christ; He is fully God and fully man.

governmental intercession. Intercessory prayer to God on behalf of a people by a representative of the people (Neh. 1:3–11; Dan. 9:4–20).

harp and bowl model. An IHOP–KC term derived from Revelation 5:8, describing the elders before the throne with harps (representing worship with music) and a bowl of incense (representing the prayers of God’s people). It is the basic model of IHOP–KC’s prayer meetings—combining worship (led by worship teams) and prayer (both personal and corporate). IHOP–KC utilizes two harp and bowl formats: worship with the Word and intercessory worship.

intercessory worship. One of two prayer formats used at IHOP–KC: a worship team provides an anointed atmosphere for people to intercede for various corporate prayer concerns. See also harp and bowl model.

John the Baptist. One who announced the unprecedented activities of the Lord that were soon to happen. John described himself as a friend of the Bridegroom, which is the fundamental identity of a forerunner (Jn. 3:29). John is the chief representation of the forerunner ministry. Jesus described John as “a burning and shining lamp” (Jn. 5:35).

Joseph anointing. Referring to those called to prosper in the marketplace so that they might make provision to “preserve life” (Gen. 45:5) in the time when God releases His end-time judgments on the earth. These “Josephs” will have the anointing to release the prophetic, strategic thinking, and mercy deeds to the nations, impacting leaders and building “cities of habitation” (Ex. 1:11). King Cyrus is another example of this, but with the emphasis placed on building the Lord’s house (the temple) by releasing incredible wealth into the kingdom (Isa. 44:24–28, 45:1–13, and the many references throughout the book of Daniel; 2 Chron. 36:22–23; Ezra 1:1–2:70.) For deeper discussion of this topic, see the October 2005 JoCo Journal).

kiss me with the kisses of your Word. A prayer, taken from Song of Songs 1:2, asking that, as people read the Scripture, God would reveal His love, affections, and beauty so as to empower holiness and love for Him (Song 1:2–4; Jn. 17:17; Eph. 1:17).

lovesick
. Overwhelmed by love for God (Song 2:5, 5:8).

the love song of your heart. The special song that no one else but you can sing to God because of your uniqueness in God and your love for Him (Ps. 139:13–18); it is accompanied by being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18–19).

Mary of Bethany
. A friend and follower of Jesus Christ; Mary was representative of one who follows the first and great commandment; she lived a fasted lifestyle of pure and simple devotion to Jesus Christ; she sat at the feet of Jesus (Lk. 10:38–42); Jesus spent His final days before His crucifixion in Bethany with Mary and Martha, and their brother Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead (Jn. 12:1–3).

millennial kingdom or millennial reign of Christ. At the culmination of human history, Jesus Christ will return to earth and set up His literal, physical 1,000-year reign from the global capital city of Jerusalem; a theocratic government under Jesus Christ, with Jews and redeemed martyrs in positions of authority.

night and day prayer/intercession. In Isaiah 62:6–7, Isaiah prophesied that intercession would continue twenty-four hours a day; this is part of God’s answer to Satan who accuses the Church night and day (Rev. 12:10).

one thing necessary. Jesus’ validation of Mary’s choice to sit at His feet and hear His words: “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Lk. 10:42).

open heaven. A pronounced increase, in a particular season, of the supernatural invading the natural; examples throughout Scripture include Genesis 28:12, Exodus 24:9–11, Ezekiel 1:1–3:27, John 1:51; Revelation 1:1–20.

prophecy. Any God-inspired testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10), including (but not exclusive to) the written Scriptures; the key to understanding God’s voice is to know His heart.

prophetic anointing. A supernatural skill or gift given to a person by God in order to receive and understand divine information.

prophetic worship. Used within the harp and bowl model of worship and intercession. During worship, discerned themes that the Holy Spirit is emphasizing (holiness, healing, deliverance, etc.) are expressed, with opportunities for ministry (Zech. 4:6; Jn. 3:1–8; Jas. 5:13–16).

prophetic singing. The spontaneous singing of phrases that develop different themes (love, holiness, justice, etc.) found in a passage of Scripture. This occurs during all the IHOP–KC prayer meetings.

second coming
. The literal, physical return of Christ to earth, specifically to Jerusalem, to begin His millennial reign.

second (and great) commandment. “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 22:37–40).

Simeon Company
. IHOP–KC internship program; refers to a group of people in the 50+ age group who come to IHOP–KC for a three-month training program (Mal. 4:6).

sing to the Lord. One of the most reiterated commands in the Bible (Ex. 15:21; 2 Sam. 22:50; 1 Chr. 16:9, 23; 2 Chr. 20:21; Ps. 7:17, 9:2, 18:49, 30:4, 33:3, 47:6, 67:4, 81:1, 89:1, 95:1, 98:1; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

spirit of burning. IHOP–KC phrase; this is a cycle of maintaining a passionate desire for Jesus so that you are in a place of emotional pain whenever He is absent; hope and excited expectancy because of the knowledge that He loves to come to the hungry and thirsty heart; real experiential encounters with His beauty and presence causing you to have an even greater desire to be close to Jesus (Mt. 22:37; Lk. 24:13–32).

tabernacle of David. David established a worship ministry in which he set 4,000 musicians and 288 prophetic singers before the ark of the covenant (1 Chr. 15:1, 16:1–6, 23:5, 25:7, 37–42). The “restoration of the tabernacle of David” refers to Jesus establishing His throne in Jerusalem at the second coming and ruling the earth in the context of prayer and worship (Isa. 56:7; Amos 9:11–15).

theocracy
. A form of government based on God’s direct guidance and His righteous laws.

urgency of the hour. The understanding that time is short before Jesus’ second coming; Jesus’ return is inevitable and will happen very soon. Therefore, this time in human history is like no other. Each person is being invited to “repent, for the Kingdom of God is near” (Mt. 3:2; 4:17; Mk. 1:15; Lk. 13:1–5).

unveiled. Unashamed, corporate and individual interaction between the Bride and the Bridegroom God (Song 1:7; 2 Cor. 3:18).

watchman/watchmen. Refers to the requirement for us to watch over the Body of Christ while having a discerning, biblical understanding of end-time events. Our privileged calling is to intercede for God’s people and to co-partner with God’s unfolding plans in this final hour of human history, hastening the day of Jesus’ coming, our Savior and Bridegroom (Isa. 62:6–7).

watch and pray. This is a requirement that we live as wise sons and daughters, understanding the times and seasons in which we live, interceding accordingly, that we might not misunderstand what He is doing, but remain focused on His will and His affections (Rom. 13:11–14; Col. 4:2). The sons of Issachar (also called the men of Issachar) are examples of this (1 Chr. 12:32; Mt. 26:41; Mk. 14:38; Lk. 21:36).

worship with the Word. One of two prayer formats used at IHOP–KC: a worship team provides an anointed atmosphere for people to meditate on the Word in a focused time of study; the worship team selects a passage to sing through antiphonally as they expound on the themes within each verse, thus “worshiping with the Word.” See also harp and bowl model.

Zechariah 3
. Referring to the exchange between Joshua the high priest and the Angel of the Lord. The removal of the filthy garments in exchange for “a clean turban on his head” refers to the renewal of the mind, a clean and pure thought life, and holiness before the Lord.

24/7. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; unceasing or continuous.”

[end of article]

It’s one thing to just mis-define a word. But if you give it your own definition and then use it in a new context than it’s original definition required, you can develop a whole allusively vague language that only a select few can understand. I have literally listened to people from IHOP who can sit and carry on an entire conversation using the words I mentioned above and an eavesdropper in a coffee shop would think they were speaking Chinese. It is a poetic language which is intentionally made to be vague so that the definitions can be altered at any time it is necessary and because it’s using a word already introduced, it will feel familiar and through the power of suggestion, the words will be put together and given new definitions will be adopted without question. See how dangerous this is?

Charismatic speakers and leaders who can use emotionally stirring words and speeches, sermons and monologues to move a crowd or lead a movement, you hold the power to persuade people to do just about anything you suggest.

Here’s a few you have heard more frequently from someone that’s not Mike Bickle.

“Yes We Can”
“It’s Time for Change”
“Hope is now”

Every time I asked someone who quoted one of these phrases during the last campaign to please explain to me what they meant, I never got an answer. But read the words. They are rallying words. They are emotionally stimulating and move people to engage. I’m not intending to take this post a political direction. That isn’t the purpose or the subject I’m highlighting. I simply want to illustrate how simple it is to tack a new meaning to a word and create a catchy, yet vague phrase and then sell it to the masses.

So now take some that I mentioned above:

Kiss me with your word
Let your spirit of burning come
I am lovesick for you
Awaken divine desire

Same sense of vague emotional sensationalism…but no real content to the message. You can make it mean anything you want. “Let your spirit of burning come” might sound really intense and spiritual and like a good thing but I want to interject a word of caution here. These are not just things being talked about, they are terms being daily prayed for people…spoken over their lives. Leaders lay hands on a 16 year old and pray for a spirit of burning to come upon them. Now stop and ask yourself: do we really know what spirit that is imparting when it doesn’t line up with the name of any spirit God says to ask for or pray for. Jesus didn’t lay hands on His disciples and pray that a spirit of burning would come upon them. Sometimes you just have to stop and take off the hyper spiritualized glasses we are sometimes told to look through and just evaluate very plainly and logically whether this is something you want to have imparted when there isn’t a Biblical instruction or support to pray such a think over someone.

A quick word study reveals that scripture uses the word burning in a quite different way than the definition IHOP gives to it. The following ways are just the main themes that repeated themselves throughout the Bible:

Burning coal
Burning fire on an altar
Burning a city
Burning with anger
Burning sulfur
Burning fire in hell
Burning incense
Burning bush
Burning zeal
Burning like an oven
Burning stick
Burning with jealousy

The majority of uses in scripture of the word burning were either in regards to God burning with righteous anger or jealousy or the burning of judgement and destruction. Yes, I’ve certainly prayed that God would help me to make choices which guarded my heart from the things that would hinder my walk with Him, my sensitivity to be able to hear from Him, etc. But that is not the same thing as praying for an impartation of a spirit called Burning. Do you see the difference?

I could take these apart word by word but I think this is a start to begin to highlight the differences between the commonly used definition of a word based upon a dictionary and the way a spiritual sub-culture redefines those same words to put their own propaganda on them. It’s all about selling a different message. If we don’t guard carefully the things we buy into because we think we know what something means then we can fall prey to some very dangerous ideas and ways of thinking.

Remember that deception is deceptive and those that think they can’t be deceived already are.

Feel free to post comments of some words with twisted meanings you have come across as well. I’m mostly familiar with IHOP’s terminology but if you have experienced something similar whether from IHOP or another organization, feel free to share. Blessings to you!