Thursday, October 07, 2021

Contemplative Prayer Unites the Kansas City Prophets

 New Age Christianity Part Five

Start at the beginning. Read Part One  Jocelyn Andersen: New Age Christianity PART ONE

 The movement for Spiritual Formation is also spreading within Pentecostal and charismatic congregations and appears to have united the leaders of the Prophetic movement through the ministry of Mike Bickle, one of a small group of leaders who came to be known as the Kansas City Prophets.

   Bickle is a leader in the Prophetic movement and director of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Despite the fact that eastern forms of meditation cannot be found in scripture—except to forbid them—Bickle claims that God is restoring it to the Church.

   He claims that contemplative prayer is a God ordained means of entering into the fullness of God, and that the brightest lights in church history have been the Roman Catholic mystics. He goes on to say the “western church” has much to learn from the mystics.

   Anti-evangelical propaganda is prominent at Bickle’s meetings, and he shamelessly promotes an “us” and “them” mentality among his followers, pitting them against anyone who does not agree with his contemplative and prophetic message. During one of his conferences on contemplative prayer, Bickle stated that “Other Christians force us to hide our intensity, to wear a façade.”

   This is an example of how Bickle uses deliberately divisive tactics in binding adherents to him, turning Bible believing Christians into the devil of the prophetic and contemplative movements.

   Bickle’s attitude is not unusual among contemplative Christians.

   In her book, Out of the Cults and into the Church, Janis Hutchinson quoted Hoffer when she wrote, “Mass movements can rise and succeed without a belief in God . . . but never without a belief in a devil. This is because the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew should be completely destroyed, he answered, ‘No . . . We have then to reinvent him.’ Hitler further explained that ‘It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one.’”

   The “devil” of the prophetic and spiritual formation movements is the traditional Christian, often referred to as the “western” church. Bickle’s teaching fosters paranoia in his followers against anyone who disagrees with him. As Bickle promotes an “us” and “them” mentality which is cultishly exclusive, this also qualifies him as one who “sows discord among the brethren,”

   He comforted his followers with the good news that they did not need to wear façades while gathered at his meetings, which he calls “oasis.’”

   This leads to the obvious conclusion that when Bickle’s followers are around Christians who do not accept the spirituality he promotes, they practice deception by “wearing facades” to “hide their intensity,” whatever that means.

   This places Bickle and his followers in company with those who practice “Christian Witchery.” Christian witches wear facades and hide their true beliefs when around more traditional Christians. In lessons on Christian Witchery, one Norvecentian witch, Rawna Moon, instructed her neophytes to wear facades while attending church. Rawna Moon has since removed her Christian witchery website.

   Like those who practice Christian Witchery, Bickle and his followers deliberately use traditional terms to hide their true spirituality and contempt for biblical Christians so as not to alarm more traditional or evangelical Christians with their un-biblical teachings and practices.

   If Bickle’s prophetic and contemplative practices are scriptural, then why wear facades around those who are not familiar with what he truly teaches?

   Why be dishonest?

   At Bickle’s meetings, and other prophetic meetings similar to his, Bickle and his followers freely vent their feelings of spiritual superiority by openly ridiculing biblical Christians. In reference to the seductive experience of contemplative prayer, Bickle mounts an offensive against biblical Christianity by telling his followers, “They don’t grasp it at all!–being introduced into the deep realms of love (“deep realms of love” being one of his terms for contemplative prayer).”

   In defiance of scriptural censure against adopting eastern spirituality,[1] Bickle unashamedly pursues non-Christian, eastern, religious philosophies and has nothing but criticism for the unspiritual “western” Church.

   One indication that someone is being influenced, even indirectly, by contemplative teaching is when reference is made to the “western” church. 

   There is only one “Church,” and that is the mystical organism composed of all who belong to Jesus Christ. There is no eastern or western division within the true body of Christ. That division exists only between Roman Catholicism and the Eastern Greek Orthodox Religions. Eastern Orthodox Christians are also Catholic, just not Roman Catholic, and share all the idolatrous practices of Roman Catholicism.

   The doctrine of Roman Catholicism is contained within the Documents of the Vatican II, and a careful study of those documents reveals that salvation according to Romans 10:9-10,13 [2] cannot be found within Roman Catholic dogma. [3]    

   Visit any Greek Orthodox Church and you will find yourself standing inside of a very large idol. The shape and layout of the buildings themselves are highly and deliberately symbolic, filled with images, icons, and statues to be prayed to and venerated during their worship services.    

   According to Bickle, the majority of the truest and most enlightened Christians are Roman Catholic and that Roman Catholicism must be referenced if truth is to be found.

   Bickle believes that Protestant Christians are largely ignorant and spiritually blind. He claims the “Protestant wing” of the western church is only a tiny percentage of the Body of Christ and is nearly completely (98% he says) ignorant of the fact that the Holy Spirit is restoring contemplative prayer to the church. 

   Ignoring scriptural taboos against the use of imagery or the use of vain repetitions in prayer, he quotes repeatedly from the book, Sacred Pathways, which recommends carrying symbols or icons, choosing mantras, and visualizing God. Each of these things is commonly used in all forms of occult and witchcraft, and each of these things are forbidden to Jews and Christians.

   Bickle claims (in all earnestness) that the bookstore chain, Barnes & Nobles, is prophesying to the church. He says he believes this to be the case because the store has carried so many books on the mystics and contemplative prayer.

   He insists we need to study the lives and writings of the Roman Catholic mystics to walk in God’s fullness.

  Bickle wants to know why the entire church, not just himself and others who embrace eastern spirituality, is not picking up on the fact that God is calling the entire Body of Christ to live lifestyles of contemplative prayer.

   In the past, Bickle has seen Protestantism as a hindrance to the movement for contemplative prayer. Historically, this has been the case. Unfortunately, it is no longer the case.

   He claims the most inspiring light in all of Christianity came out of the Roman Catholic Church during the dark ages.

  Although no serious scholar or historian has ever made such a claim, Bickle says we have to dismantle (“we” meaning he and his followers) the idea that church history began with Martin Luther.

   In this, Bickle creates a non-existent conflict so he can provide his followers with a common enemy (or issue) to defend themselves against. This is standard tactic among all cult leaders.

   No Bible believing Christian has ever claimed that Church history began with Martin Luther.

   He minimizes the false doctrine and historic atrocities of the Roman Catholic Church.

   Speaking of the cruel torture and burning at the stake of those who refused to acknowledge the Roman Mass was anything other than symbolic of the body and blood of Christ, Bickle said, “But didn’t Catholics do some funny things? Well, when you stand before the Lord, you’ll find out you did some funny things too.”

   This writer refutes Mr. Bickle and his demonically twisted idea of what constitutes “funny.” The brightest and most inspiring lights ever produced by the Roman Catholic Church were not the mystics, but, rather, the lights produced by the fires at Smithfield as true Christians died with their lights still shining for the true faith, which consists in its totality and simplicity [4] of Jesus Christ and His great redemption, which is obtained by faith alone, independently of any church sacrament, creed, denomination, or spiritual discipline.

   These shining and burning lights were willing to be burned alive in defense of the truth rather than surrender to the tortures inflicted by the Roman Catholic Church during the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition.

   We fail to find anything in all of that that can remotely be referred to as, funny.

   Bickle heavily promotes Bernard of Clairvaux, who he claims was a quiet little monk who only wanted to stay in his hermitage praying and reading The Song of Solomon. He leaves out the part where the “quiet little monk” traveled extensively as a major instigator of the second crusade.

   Thousands died in those bloody crusades, and not one single true Christian ever participated in those brutal—strictly Roman Catholic—crusades.

   Bickle maintains that Roman Catholic contemplatives are examples of, “a way to a deeper life in God.” He says, “The protestant world is in great need of examples (like these) that will beckon us to the fullness of God.”

   What Mike Bickle is saying, is that God was lying when He promised that [through his Word and the Holy Spirit] we already have everything we need pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him. Nowhere in scripture do we find that we must add eastern spirituality to our faith, but we do find where we are warned against seeking out eastern forms of spirituality [5].

   Bickle is telling us that if we do not subscribe to the spirituality he endorses, we are woefully deficient, have lost God’s fullness, and need to look to New Age, Eastern, philosophy, and to Roman Catholic mysticism as examples of how to restore it.  

   Bickle admits this of contemplative prayer when he says the following: “… this is an imperfect science… it (the term contemplative prayer) is not a term that is a biblical term… it’s an idea.  … there’s no place where Paul the apostle said the term contemplative prayer means this… different ones throughout church history define it differently… I have 30, 40, 50 titles on contemplative prayer in my home… any book on contemplative prayer, I just buy em… at first it confused me, because one person talked about it so different from another person, it took me a few years to figure it out that there is no clear infallible definition…” [6]

   In plain English, what Bickle tells his followers in his audio message “Contemplative Prayer, Part 2.” is this:

·         Contemplative prayer is an evolving thing.

·         Contemplative prayer cannot be found in the Bible.

·         To one person it means one thing, to another it means something else.

·         Mike Bickle will read anything on contemplative prayer regardless of who writes it.

·         Contemplative prayer cannot be defined.

     Bickle also says, “You’re gonna need resources to do it (to go into the deep waters of God). The Protestant world is really, really, narrow on the resources of contemplative prayer.”

   May we comment as to why the Protestant world is really, really, narrow on resources of contemplative prayer?

   Because contemplative prayer as described by Bickle and the mystics is not found in the Bible!

   During the protestant reformation, Christians broke free from Roman Catholic tyranny, rightly claiming that the Bible alone tells us everything we need to know about life and godliness. Without rejecting the inspirational and revelatory nature of the Holy Spirit, they rightly rejected extra-scriptural revelation such as that which came from the Pope and from the Roman Catholic mystics.

   Contemplative prayer is not found in the Bible.

   Even proponents like Bickle freely admit to that fact. Yet they go right on assuring us that it is perfectly safe, beneficial, and even necessary to our spiritual growth, to pursue an unbiblical spiritual activity.

   Contemplative prayer is an unscriptural, spiritual activity. And if it is an unscriptural spiritual activity, what does that make it?

   That makes it dangerous.

   Proponents of the practice regularly warn their protégés that it is not a perfectly safe activity to engage in. They do this by teaching followers to pray for protection before meditating.

   The Holy Spirit cannot be party to spiritual activities that are unbiblical, so that brings us to the question of what spirit is behind contemplative prayer?

   We have only two choices here, either the Spirit of God is involved or another spirit that is not of God.

   Christians, we are not lacking in resources to help us connect with God. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the written word of God, and the Holy Spirit of God really do give us all the resources we need to experience our relationship with God to the fullest. It does not get any simpler than that.

   There are no gifts that can compare with the authentic gifts of God. Do not fall for cheap, soul-stealing counterfeits!

I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

[1] “Therefore you have forsaken your people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east and are soothsayers like the Philistines and they please themselves in the children of strangers” Isaiah 2:6

[2] “…if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead you shall be saved For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” Romans 10:9-10, 13,

[3] “The first communion may be seen as the full incorporation into the body of Christ.” Austin P. Flannery, Ed., Documents of Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1984

 [4] “But I fear lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3

[5] Isaiah 2:6

[6] This quote from Mike Bickle is taken from his audio message “Contemplative Prayer Part 2.”

 This is an installment of the book, New Age Christianity, by Jocelyn Andersen. Read along on this blog as the book is being written, and then have opportunity to buy a print copy once it is completed. To receive an announcement from Amazon whenever a new book is released by Jocelyn, subscribe to Her Amazon author's page.

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