*UPDATED* STEVEN VENABLE OF IHOP, LINGER CONFERENCE, AND TODD FRIEL ON IHOP

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UPDATE: THE MASTER’S COLLEGE WITHDRAWS AS EXHIBITOR AT UPCOMING LINGER CONFERENCE

I begin by pointing out that this all started with the Apprising Ministries article John Piper And Stephen Venable Of IHOP Together At Linger Conference. Now I’m fully aware that today we’re in a New Downgrade No-Controversy, so I didn’t cover this expecting much reaction at all.

That noted, let me walk you through a few key points as it concerns what some see as an obscure conference. New Calvinist mentor John Piper, Acts 29 Network president Matt Chandler, and Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, are all scheduled to speak.

So, I have a hard time thinking the Linger Conference (LC) is minor, or obscure. In the aforementioned piece I documented for you that this New Calvinism  (NC) is continualist in regard to the charismatic Gifts of the Spirit and even encourages Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM).

I also pointed out that NC is actually a postmodern form of Calvinism, which is an attempt to marry Counter Reformation spirituality to some parts of Reformation theology. As I told you before, this is a recipe for spiritual disaster that ends up breeding a new form of “enlightened” ones.

One neo-gnostic would be Stephen Venable of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) who’s on the list of speakers for LC. It’s important to note that Venable is “an instructor” at IHOP University; and in addition, he’s “part of the senior leadership team of the Antioch Center for Training,” an extension of IHOP.

This certainly isn’t guilt-by-association. As I’ve said before, Venable is as involved with IHOP as it gets; and you don’t get IHOP without its New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) “apostle/prophet” Mike Bickle who:

claims that he began his ministry through the hearing of an audible voice of God in 1983 that told him to start 24-hour prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David. (source)

You need to understand that claims to this kind of direct revelation, supposedly from God, through practices of CSM such as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP), a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness and the crown jewel of CSM, is standard fare for those in the NAR and IHOP.

With this in mind, I also brought to your attention that it would appear Stephen Venable of IHOP is actually to be a highlight of LC. Notice from the Saturday February 15th schedule below that Venable looks like he’s going to be teaching on the very namesake of the Linger Conference:

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(source)

As you can see, Venable has a Special Session on “Lingering” and the LC will be featuring a “Linger Room,” which actually opens at 8am when the conference begins on Friday. So, it seems to me that this lingering as taught by Stephen Venable is going to be quite important to this LC gathering as a whole.

Further confirmation would be the following from a spokesperson for LC explaining this Linger Room is a room used for “worship” of some sort:

The Linger Room is a “Get away” space.  Before and after conference hours and during meal times, there will be worship leaders in that space leading the room in worship.  At other times there will be worship music played on CD.  We have licensed Biblical counselors there throughout the conference and space set up for prayer.  We will adhere in that space and elsewhere to our theological statement, found here: http://www.lingerconference.com/about/theological/

If you have additional questions, please let me know.   We hope you can join us in February.

In Him,

[name withheld]

As a possible example of the type of worship music you may find, below we have some “deep prayer” in tongues from an IHOP Prayer Room1  The music/song is very reminiscent of another youth movement you meet in Louie Giglio, Passion 2013 And Jesus Culture:

Then, the LC Vision Statement sounds much like IHOP itself as anyone who’s been involved with it can tell you. Lots of contemplative jargon like, ” ‘Lingering’ in the presence,” “transformed in the presence,” and “hunger for the presence,” in the same vein as apostate mystics like “Brother” Lawrence and Madame Guyon:

The vision and purpose of the Linger Conference is to impart the fundamental importance of remaining or “Lingering” in the presence of the King. Our attention span as a culture, even for spiritual matters, is measured in seconds and minutes rather than hours and days.

This conference offers the opportunity to be transformed in the presence of God by lingering in worship, prayer, meditation on scripture, and reflection. We hope to draw the attendance of lay people in addition to church staff and provide a conference environment where believers can linger in the presence of the Lord.

We pray that this conference will spark a hunger for the presence of God and a lifelong pursuit of beholding His Glory. (source)

All of this would be completely consistent with the CSM, you’ll see below, Stephen Venable teaches at IHOP U:

One would have to be rather naive to think Venable isn’t going to teach a version of this, albeit a lite-version. Then in John Piper And Linger Conference With IHOP’S Stephen Venable And His Contemplative Teaching I brought out that The Master’s College (TMC) is found among the Exhibitors on the Sponsors page.

Here’s why I did so, 1) Dr. John MacArthur is president of TMC; and 2) it’s relevant because of MacArthur’s Strange Fire book and conference evaluating “the doctrines, claims, and practices of the modern charismatic movement.”2  The charismatic excesses don’t get any more excessive than IHOP’s Strange Fire.

As I get set to close this, for now, it’s important to understand that Stephen Venable is a teacher of CSM; and he gives every appearance of playing a very important role in this LC, which is targeting the younger sector of the continualist New Calvinists as well as the broader young, restless and reformed (YRR) camps.

Finally, recently in Francis Chan Declares “I Love Mike Bickle” Of IHOP we witnessed Chan, widely respected by many of those who are YRR, literally gush in praise of IHOP’s apostate founder. Then comes LC with Steven Venable, an IHOP instructor of CSM.  The question becomes: Are we now seeing the mainstreaming of IHOP?

Below is a short audio clip from Todd Friel of Wretched Radio responding to a couple of questions concerning IHOP. I heartily agree with Friel’s advice to the father of the young girl getting very involved with IHOP: Get her out. Well, the same principle applies to IHOP representatives at evangelical conferences: Keep them out.

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg_Kwyp8K4k, accessed 1/20/14.
  2. http://www.gty.org/resources/sermon-series/325, accessed 1/20/14.