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IHOP & the NAR

The Formation of a Revolution

Governor Rick Perry’s The Response prayer rally already has support from self-proclaimed prophets and apostles like Cindy Jacobs, Mike Bickle, Che Ahn, Doug Stringer, John Benefiel, and Jay Swallow, and now we can add one of the most prominent leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation to the list of endorsers: C. Peter Wagner.[1]

Background information:
Part 1: IHOP is starting to feel its Dominion oats
Part 2: IHOP: International House of Political Action

Last week C. Peter Wagner added his name to the list of The Response prayer rally endorsers.[2] This has the effect of putting the full weight of his New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) behind Texas Governor Rick Perry and his potential bid for president. The “Kansas City Prophets” via their IHOP movement was already a primary backer of this quasi-political “prayer event.” But now, with Wagner’s high-profile endorsement, the event takes on new significance. Wagner’s presence indicates the marshaling of forces of his Seven Mountains Army behind a potential presidential candidate.

Meanwhile, on Sunday (7/10/11), IHOP moved to the national stage with a high-profile New York Times article, “Where Worship Never Pauses,”[3] which provided a superficial overview of Mike Bickle’s movement, with only a few passing nods to the longstanding controversies surrounding this group’s cult-like activities and beliefs. Bickle, in classic fashion, was able to dodge the conflict by persuading the reporter that he had “avoided direct involvement with partisan politics himself” even while acknowledging that “a member of his leadership group, Lou Engle,” has now become a high profile political activist. The article made no mention of Bickle’s longtime association with C. Peter Wagner and the NAR.

Most Tea-Partiers don’t have a clue about the significance of these endorsements from NAR and IHOP leaders. This type of prayer seems pretty benign on the surface but it is a cover for political activism. To the leaders of the NAR/IHOP movements this prayer rally is much more than just delivering votes to an anointed Tea Party candidate for 2012. The NAR/IHOP leaders hope to gain power — political power. They have already built extensive downline networks which are well-developed at the precinct level.

To them, the real issue is their agenda. The NAR/IHOP movements have an agenda which has been percolating in the backrooms for three decades, and their leaders view an event such as this The Response prayer rally as a perfect opportunity to come onto the national stage as “change agents” on the political scene.

Their agenda in a nutshell: they want to rule the world.

Nope, this isn’t nonsense. There is a long and very well documented history behind this.

There is a fascinating history of how these leaders have managed to mainstream their most controversial doctrines into evangelicaldom. The IHOP movement which is supporting Gov. Perry’s prayer rally is part and parcel of C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation and, in fact, helped to spawn the NAR and its foundational doctrines for Dominionism. Here is a brief synopsis of the IHOP/NAR history:

  • IHOP is just one arm of a multi-faceted group (with many names, entities and offshoots) known as the “Kansas City Prophets” that has been around since the mid-1980s.
  • These Kansas City “prophets” are leaders who track a direct lineage back to the old Latter Rain cult.
  • John Wimber became an overseer of the KC group in the late 1980s when their cult excesses became public and controversial, and set them up under his Vineyard denomination.
  • John Wimber was a mentor to C. Peter Wagner and vice versa,[4] and the two of them have a history that tracks back into the mid 1970s at Fuller Theological Seminary where they concocted doctrines together.
  • C. Peter Wagner’s “Third Wave” movement, the predecessor to the NAR, was founded on Wimber’s signs and wonders mysticism.[5]
  • C. Peter Wagner’s “New Apostolic Reformation” was founded on the convergence of the mystical streams of John Wimber, the Kansas City group, and Fuller Theological Seminary.

The Rise of Charismatic Dominionism

Al Dager, in his key book VENGEANCE IS OURS: THE CHURCH IN DOMINION (1990) chronicled the early history of the various Dominionist streams. He examined the phenomenon of “Charismatic Dominionism” which began in the Latter Rain movement during the 1940s.(Dager, p. 49) Key leaders included Franklin Hall, who taught that “fasting” could be “a means of bringing about revival and the ‘restoration’ of the Church” in the endtime days. Hall, who went off the deep end into UFO-ology and demon gods, astrology and mythology, taught that men could become “immortal while in their present flesh-and-blood bodies.” (Dager, p. 51, 53)

William Branham, a pentecostal preacher who heard “the Voice” and went into trances,(Dager, p. 57) was influenced by Hall’s strange teachings. Branham came up with a doctrine that the Church was going through evolutionary “progressive stages of sanctification,” based on his synthesis of “the Zodiak, the Egyptian pyramids, and the written Scriptures.”(Dager, p. 55) Branham concocted an extremely controversial “Serpent Seed” teaching, which is “based on a twisted interpretation of Genesis 3:13” that Eve was sexually seduced by the serpent and produced a genetically mutant offspring.(Dager, p. 56)

Other notable men became part of this early cult movement, including George Warnock, George and Ern Hawtin (Dager lists many others on pp. 58-64). The cult was condemned as heretical at the time, but Dager explained in 1990 how the movement was able to continue:

Today, the doctrines of the Latter Rain Movement are experiencing a resurgence due to the charismatic movement and its influences in the Christian media. Although by all appearances the name has died out, the Latter Rain Movement has resurfaced under other names, and is held together by a network of teachers and organizations whose roots are in the healing ministries that grew out of the William Branham and Franklin Hall experiences.(Dager, p. 65)

The common thread that held all of these groups together is that these “men are seeking to establish the Kingdom of God on earth before Jesus returns” and that “the Church must be united in a dominion mindset.”(Dager, p. 65) The most controversial teachings in this lineage of heresies are various forms of British-Israelism, Identity, and white Aryan supremacy — teachings which subtly and occasionally reappear throughout Latter Rain teachings about their “destiny to rule the earth.” (Dager, pp. 66-68)

Dager wrote that “Charismatic Dominionism is largely an outgrowth of he Manifest Sons of God” (MSOG). This is a catch-all term that has fallen into dis-use as a result of so many games of semantic deception over the years. But essentially MSOG is

the generic name that applies to several sects birthed through the Latter Rain Movement. Manifest Sons teachings contain all the elements of classical dominion theory: perfection, immortalization, restoration of the Church, restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets, absolute authoritarianism, extreme shepherding-discipleship, attainment of godhood….(Dager, p. 69)

MSOG doctrine teaches an aberrant eschatology that “the Church, as the ‘on-going incarnation of God,’ is Christ on earth.”(Dager, p. 71) This is the crux of the whole matter, because from this heresy they arrive at the conclusion that they, therefore, must BE Christ on earth and wield the sword of Dominionism to conquer their enemies. A corollary to the MSOG message is the “Kingdom Message” (“Kingdom Now”) which

states that the Kingdom of God is a present reality in the earth, and is only waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God to demonstrate the Kingdom by taking their authority over the kingdoms of the earth. This will take place before Jesus can return.(Dager, p. 72)

“Restoration” teachings, which have been widely popularized by the IHOP movement, indicate that in order to achieve this Dominionism in the endtimes there must first be a

restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets, restoration of the ‘Tabernacle of David’ (signified by the restoration of worship and praise), and the restoration of power (signs and wonders).(Dager, p. 73)

Restorationists put an extreme emphasis on “repentance and holy living” due to their belief of “immortalization through perfection.” Dager explains that this is not about “a humble dying to self, but [rather] the desire to see God move more quickly in establishing the Church in dominion over the nations.”(Dager, p. 73) This is accompanied by a mystical false piety which emphasizes supernatural power in prayer and worship that creates “a euphoric state of altered consciousness from repetitious choruses…. [and] a frame of mind open to suggestion by the subsequent preaching of dominionist teachers who build on the fervor of the moment with messages of future power and glory.”(Dager, p. 75) The current IHOP movement can be characterized by precisely this description.

A key facet of Dominionism involves the use of “covenants” which are said to act “as a ‘force'” in the spiritual realms, not unlike the “positive confession” of “name-it-and-claim-it.” There are therefore numerous covenant documents, decrees, formulas, principles, oaths, promises, and attempts to make binding declarations. These Dominionists believe that in so doing they establish heavenly things on earth. This includes their use of prayer walking where they claim territories of the earth for their Dominion.(Dager, pp. 75-85) Hence they utilize a faulty method of biblical interpretation called “Replacement Theology,” which allegorizes Old Testament passages, and applies to the Church age (which is not a theocracy) “certain Old Testament Scriptures that relate to the Millennium and to eternity.”(Dager, p. 92)

Throughout its 50-plus year history, the Latter Rain and its subsequent offshoots and associated groups have utilized the thought control methods of “Shepherding-Discipleship” to “stifle the individual believer’s personal relationship to the Father and subordinate it to the corporate structure of the religious society.”(Dager, p. 81) The NAR variant on this theme is a downline interlocking networking structure of self-appointed, self-anointed “apostles” and “prophets” who claim to possess the penal powers of the Old Testament era. This “heavy shepherding” is a top-down hierarchical structure in which the sheep walk in lock-step, often signing covenants to obey. Obviously such a controlling structure is conducive to cult-type abuses, and many reports abound.[6]

The Kansas City Prophets

IHOP is just one movement of what is known as the “Kansas City Prophets.” Pastor Bill Randles authored several books in the 1990s that examined the far-reaching effect of these “prophets” and their influence, particularly their involvement in the Toronto and Pensacola “laughing revivals” which were accompanied by bizarre manifestations and teachings. His book WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING: Putting the Toronto Blessing in Context provides the essential historical background.

According to Randles, Mike Bickle began the Kansas City Fellowship (KCF) after his encounter with the man named Augustine in June of 1982.[7] From this time onward Bickle began to hear audible words from the Lord, and in 1986 “Bickle and his elders formed an organization called Grace Ministries,”(Randles, p. 72) which oversaw the ministries of Apostolic Teams, City Churches, The House of Prayer (which became IHOP), The Joseph Company (an early workforce Dominionism entity), The Israel Mandate, A Ministry Training Center, and Shiloh Ministries.[8]

During this group’s formative years in the second half of the 1980s, Kansas City “prophets” Paul Cain and Bob Jones in particular expanded upon classic Latter Rain teachings. To do this, these men relied heavily upon “false doctrine, and occultic dreams and ‘revelations'” as well as angelic visitations and extreme mystical experiences.(Randles, p. 74) There were many tangible linkages between the Kansas City “prophets” and the old Latter Rain cult — historically and doctrinally, and in terms of personnel. It was during this time that the doctrines of “New Breed” and “Joel’s Army” were perfected as an essential component of Dominionism. Bill Randles, quotes from Clifford Hill’s favorable report that summarizes the doctrines:

“The opportunity of joining the ‘new breed’ an elite group of believers endowed with supernatural power that would enable them to be part of the army of dread warriors that God was said to be raising up in our generation. According to John Wimber this is a type of ‘Joel’s Army’ who will overcome all opposition to the gospel and eventually subdue the nations. This teaching is part of what is known as ‘dominion theology,’ which teaches that an elite army of overcomers will either destroy or subdue all the enemies of Christ until they eventually gain power and authority throughout the world. the government of the nations will be upon their shoulders and when all the secular authorities, governments, princes and kings have finally submitted to them, Christ will return and they will present the kingdom to Him.”(pp. 82-83)[9]

By Fall 1989, John Wimber, a protege’ of C. Peter Wagner’s who headed up the Vineyard movement, was prominently featured as a key leader associated with Grace Ministries. A Special Edition of the Grace City Report reported that these groups were having “cross-pollination” and “networking” with “larger and smaller movements” in evangelicaldom as part of “preparing a new wineskin for the 1990s.” At this time Rick Joyner, Francis Frangipane, and several others from outside the Fellowship were listed as leaders. The Special Report stated:

We have recognized a mandate from the Lord to make a special commitment to follow the leadership of John Wimber and Paul Cain as they more clearly discern the purpose of God for their ministries in the 90s.

Grace Ministries believes that these two men are chosen vessels among others in the nation who will give seasoned and anointed leadership to large portions of the Body of Christ in the 1990s. As a result, GM has been developing a deepening bond of trust and affection with the Vineyard movement as a whole. This has been a special priority to us since January 1988 when John Wimber invited Mike Bickle, Noel Alexander and David Parker to minister to his leadership and staff.[10]

Meanwhile there was a huge eruption. Randles reports that in “January, 1990, Ernie Gruen a Charismatic pastor in Kansas City for 27 years,… released a 233-page document listing erroneous prophecies, statements, doctrines, and incidents involving the Kansas City Prophets.”(Randles, p. 83) Gruen’s shocking report on the Kansas City Prophets, “Documentation of the Aberrent Practices and Teachings of the Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries),” filled with evidences of spiritual abuse and theological excesses, rippled throughout the country, creating quite a stir. It was precisely at this point that John Wimber stepped in as a mediator and ended up taking over command, placing the KCF directly under the auspices of his Vineyard denomination. According to Randles,

Gruen and Bickle were headed toward a resolution of their differences, by a meeting of the Network of Christian Ministries, which was supposed to occur in July of 1990. But, in May, John Wimber stepped into the situation, offering himself and the Vineyard Movement as a ‘covering’ to KCF and the prophets.(Randles, p. 84)

Randles cites a report in Charisma magazine, which recounted,

“Wimber acknowledged that there were indeed ‘excesses’ at KCF. In a letter to Gruen, Wimber promised to address the errors and declared, ‘I am satisfied that we will not see these problems arising again in the future.’ The meeting with the NCM leaders was called off.”(Randles, p. 85)[11]

Randles recounts the cover-up aftermath of this Wimber crisis intervention:

Interestingly enough, in 1990, when the Kansas City Propehts began to be exposed as fraudulent, it was to Wimber that they went for ‘correction.’ But, he never stopped promoting the erroneous teachings of Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson. (Randles, p. 102)

“When all of this came out in 1990-1991, I think it’s important to note, that none of these men, including John Paul Jackson, had to quite ministering.”(Randles, p. 177)

C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber

C. Peter Wagner wrote in 1988, “A key part of my own spiritual pilgrimage was my close friendship with John Wimber, which began in the mid-1970s.”[12] John Wimber was an old rocker who was “influential in the field of music, forming and managing the pop group, ‘The Righteous Brothers’.”(Randles, p. 88) He began pastoring a Quaker church by 1970, and then left to become the “founder and lecturer for the Fuller Church Growth Institute.” There he came “into contact with C. Peter Wagner, a fellow professor at Fuller [Theological Seminary] and known as one of the leaders of the ‘church growth’ movement.”(Randles, p. 89) Wimber started a new church in 1977 which grew rapidly and eventually founded the Vineyard movement.

C. Peter Wagner brought Wimber in as a lecturer for an experimental course he taught at Fuller, “MC510, Signs, Wonders, and Church Growth.” The two men used this class as a laboratory to conduct experiments on signs and wonders. Wimber became known for his ideas on “power encounters” and “power evangelism.” He advocated a shift from Western rationalism to Eastern mysticism, claiming that the traditional biblical mindset was not receptive to miracles. C. Peter Wagner was enthusiastic and became one of Wimber’s biggest cheerleaders. And signs and wonders and experiences began to guide their theology. Randles writes:

Those evangelicals who suddenly became aware of the power dimension of the Gospel, became known as “The Third Wave.”‘ According to C. Peter Wagner, “The First Wave was the Pentecostal movement, the Second, the Charismatics, and now the Third Wave is joining them.”(Randles, p. 94)[13]

C. Peter Wagner has written extensively about John Wimber in his books over the past three decades. In 1983, in his book On the Crest of the Wave: Becoming A World Christian (Regal Books), Wagner described the class he did with Wimber:

One of our adjunct professors, John Wimber, who is pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Yorba Linda, California, came to us recently with a suggestion that we offer a course in Signs, Wonders, and Church Growth. I agreed to cosponsor the course with him, and early in 1982 we experimented with it. Eighty signed up for the course and saw God do remarkable things right there in the classroom. Christian Life magazine picked it up and dedicated a whole issue to it in October, 1982. The following year enrollment jumped to 270 and the syllabus expanded to a remarkable 250-page document. (Wagner, p. 131-2)

A year later, in Leading Your Church to Growth (Regal Books, 1984), Wagner referred to these Signs and Wonders as “fourth dimension faith, taking the name from the title of one of Paul Yonggi Cho’s books, The Fourth Dimension….” By this time Wagner was convinced that signs and wonders were an effective way to create church growth:

This level of faith has become tangible to me through a course that I have helped Pastor John Wimber teach in Fuller Seminary…. Not only has God shown us signs and wonders directly in the classroom, but our research has begun to uncover previously hidden facts about how this fourth level of faith relates to the growth of the church.(Wagner, p. 200)

By 1986, Wimber had become respectable enough to write a chapter for a book C. Peter Wagner edited, Church Growth: State of the Art (Tyndale House). And by the late 1980s, Wimber went off to work with the Kansas City Prophets in an experimental marriage that would create the doctrinal foundations for C. Peter Wagner’s next movement, the New Apostolic Reformation. The unrestrained and undiscerning free-for-all of Wimber and Wagner’s experientialism was now merged with the aberrant doctrines and practices of the old Latter Rain cult, as promulgated by the Kansas City “prophets,” and a new era was born.

Wimber continued his unrestrained spiritual experimentation beyond his Kansas City Prophets era. By the mid-1990s Wimber’s Toronto Vineyard was experiencing a massive paradigm shift, evidencing the extreme mysticism and manifestations of the laughing “revivals.”

John Wimber passed away in 1997, but C. Peter Wagner continues to laud his influence over the formation of the New Apostolic Reformation. In his 1999 book launching the NAR titled Churchquake: How the New Apostolic Reformation is Shaking up the Church As We Know It, (1999) Wagner divulges that Wimber possessed apostolic authority (“even though he chose not to use the term”) in his Vineyard movement.(Wagner, p. 117) Wagner further reveals that “it is remarkable that the Association of Vineyard Churches” is “one of the early prototypes of the New Apostolic Reformation in the United States.”(Wagner, p. 136)


It is true that politics makes for strange bedfellows. This is especially true this past year as the New Apostolic Reformation has sought to mainstream itself into comfortable respectability in the Tea Party and Christian Right. As with any daliance of this nature, sharing a bed with someone you don’t fully know is fraught with danger, both spiritually and physically. In this case, there are numerous dangers — not only to America but also to the individuals who are blindly aligning themselves with these leaders.

Over twenty years ago Al Dager penned a sober warning in his book exposing these movements:

While I don’t wish to label everyone who has contact with dominionists a fellow traveler, it’s obvious that those who are asked to teach on the same platform would share similar views. Otherwise their appearing together would be billed as a ‘debate’ or a ‘dialogue.’ And while they may not agree on every issue, there must be sufficient agreement in order to be supportive of one another. So those who are supportive of dominionists and/or hold to important dominionist philosophy are well known among their peers. To seek unity with them without challenging their error leaves one’s own beliefs open to question. Those who defend heretics, even if they do not believe in their teachings, are guilty of lending credibility to their heresies, and will be held accountable to God for the souls that are destroyed as a result. It’s up to those who know the truth to defend the Church against false teachers whatever the cost to unity or to personal benefit. (Dager, p. 125)

The Truth:

“O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.” (Psalm 84:12)

Editor’s Note: There is a huge amount of documentation that could undergird this brief historical overview. And there are many other threads to this story that we didn’t pick up that would have provided substantial documentation. There are numerous articles posted on http://www.letusreason.org/ and www.deceptioninthechurch.com that detail the chronology and aberrant doctrines of these interlocking movements. There are 1990s newsletters on these topics in our archives at the Discernment Ministries website (http://www.discernment-ministries.org/newsletters.html), and there are a multitude of previous Herescope posts on these topics (simply google “Herescope” with the topic, subject or name).
1. “Rick Perry Partners With Radical Apostle C. Peter Wagner For The Response Prayer Rally,” 7/7/11, http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/rick-perry-partners-radical-apostle-c-peter-wagner-response-prayer-rally, links omitted.
2. http://theresponseusa.com/endorsers.php
3. Erik Eckholm, “Where Worship Never Pauses,
The New York Times, 7/10/11, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/us/10prayer.html
4. Al Dager,
Vengeance Is Ours: The Church in Dominion (Sword, 1990). Dager writes: “Perhaps the biggest influence in Wimber’s philosophy is Dr. C. Peter Wagner, whose teachings on church growth have become popular among many pastors of all persuasions. Wagner was impressed by the growth of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, and his reciprocal admiration for Wimber’s power evangelism philosophy resulted in his applying it to the term ‘third wave.'”(p. 154)
5. Ibid.
6. See footnote 9, Part 2: “IHOP Enters Dominion/Christian Right Politics,” https://herescope.net/2011/07/ihop-international-house-of-political.html.
7. Bill Randles,
Weighed and Found Wanting: Putting the Toronto Blessing in Context, p. 71-72. See also footnote 17, Part 1: “IHOP Enters Dominion/Christian Right Politics,” https://herescope.net/2011/07/ihop-enters-dominionchristian-right.html
8. Michael Sullivant, “What Is Grace Ministries?”
Grace City Report Special Edition, Fall 1989, p. 9. Space here does not permit an in-depth analysis of these various ministries and how they evolved over time to the current day. Some of these ministries are still extant, and in some cases the names and/or mission have changed.
9. Randles, quoting from Clifford Hill’s article, “Kansas City Prophets,” in
Prophecy Today Magazine (no date given).
10. Sullivant, Ibid.
11. Randles, quoting from Lee Grady’s article, “Kansas City Churches Reconciled,”
Charisma, July 1993.
12. C. Peter Wagner, The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit (Vine Books, 1988), p. 27.
13. Randles, p. 94. The quote is attributed to C. Peter Wagner’s book The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit, p. 13.