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

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UPDATE: STEPHEN VENABLE OUT OF LINGER CONFERENCE

In recent pieces like John Piper And Stephen Venable Of IHOP Together At Linger Conference and Steven Venable Of IHOP, Linger Conference, And Todd Friel On IHOP here at Apprising Ministries I introduced you to this Linger Conference (LC) scheduled for February 14 and 15.

LC is going to be put on by Watermark Community Church (WCC) in Dallas TX where Todd Wagner is lead pastor. I told you that the speaker to teach what this “lingering” is would be Stephen Venable of the International House of Prayer (IHOP).

The fact is, Venable is as connected to IHOP as it gets being “an instructor” at IHOP University; and “part of the senior leadership team of the Antioch Center for Training,” which is an extension of IHOP. IHOP is the ministry birthed by New Apostolic Reformation “apostle/prophet” Mike Bickle.

You may recall that in John Piper And Linger Conference With IHOP’S Stephen Venable And His Contemplative Teaching I brought out that found among the Exhibitors on the Sponsors page is The Master’s College (TMC), of which Dr. John MacArthur is president.

MacArthur has been the subject of a little controversy with his Strange Fire book and recent conference of the same name taking issue with hyper-charismatic excesses. Stephen Venable of IHOP is himself a hyper-charismatic and teacher of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM).

I’ve mentioned before that the crown jewel of CSM is a form of meditation in an altered state of consciousness known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP). There’s no doubt that “lingering” as taught by Venable does involve CCP:

And it’s not like WCC is unfamiliar with CSM and CCP because under books recommended as small group choices for its 11th graders WCC’s New Leader packet lists the encyclopedia of theological error1 known as Celebration of Discipline by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster.2

It’s simply beyond question that Foster is hands down the leading proponent of spiritually spurious CSM, Now I’m pleased to pass on to you that today Phil Johnson, executive director of John MacArthur’s Grace to You ministry, announced on his Facebook page:

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(source)

Following is the comment Johnson is referring to. If you don’t know, Kirk Linahan is Director of Marketing for The Master’s College:

TMC has officially withdrawn from the Linger conference. We would like to thank everyone for their feedback. When we were invited to be an exhibitor at the conference, we were not aware of the full lineup of speakers.

Our decision to attend was based on the keynote speakers and other exhibitors whom we have strong doctrinal agreements with concerning the Gospel. However, based on the addition of some non-keynote speakers, we have decided to withdraw from the conference. The college fully supports the ministry of our president, John MacArthur.

While I can’t say for sure who all of the “non-keynote speakers” lead to this TMC withdrawal, it would appear CSM purveyor Stephen Venable would be chief among them. If you wish to get an idea of just how far out into spiritual outer space IHOP is, and why it’s so dangerous, carefully consider the following.

It’s from Love and Death In the House of Prayer by Jeff Tietz and concerns what I covered IHOPU Murder Suspect Micah Moore Claims Victim’s Husband Tyler Deaton Put Him Up To It:

At IHOP’s frequent, frenetic conferences, attendees learn that they are “in the early days of the generation in which Jesus returns,” as IHOP founder Mike Bickle puts it. “I believe that people alive on the Earth today will actually see the Lord with their own eyes,” he has preached. But Jesus has no clear return path. Demons, he says, have steadily taken possession of Christian hearts and infiltrated earthly institutions.

In 1983, Bickle says, God instructed him to “establish 24-hour prayer in the spirit of the tabernacle of David.” The tabernacle was the tent erected by King David to house the Ark of the Covenant after the conquest of Jerusalem; it became a dwelling place of God and a site of ecstatic worship. To resurrect this spirit of worship, Bickle would build IHOP’s first prayer room, a storefront hall next to the Higher Grounds cafe and Forerunner Bookstore in an IHOP-owned strip mall in South Kansas City.

Bickle believes that unceasing, euphoric worship and song at IHOP and in prayer rooms across the globe, which should never close or be empty, will promote passionate intimacy with the Lord, revive the church and demolish demonic strongholds. And so IHOPers pray all day and night, through blizzards and blackouts, in hours-long sessions of mesmeric, musical worship, repeating the same phrases over and over, expecting to precipitate the Great Tribulation and the final battle between good and evil that precedes the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

This is IHOP’s most alluring tenet: God needs IHOPers to effect the Tribulation and bring Christ back to Earth. “The church causes the Great Tribulation,” Bickle has preached. Before founding IHOP, he argued that “God intends us to be like gods. God has conceived in his heart of a plan to make a race of men that would live like gods on Earth.” Bickle sometimes affects to know God as he would a peer. “I heard what I call the internal audible voice of the Lord,” he has said.

He claims that he visited heaven one night at 2:16 a.m., and the Lord charged him with preparing for an End Times ministry and seated him in a golden chariot that lifted off into the empyrean. At IHOP, where prophetic experiences are endemic, the mortal and divine commingle liberally. The vanguard of God’s End Times army, according to Bickle, will be made up of young people, or “forerunners,” seers specially attuned to the will of the Lord, “the best of all the generations that have ever been seen on the face of the Earth.”

For seven years of Tribulation, they will battle the Antichrist. When Christ returns, he will slaughter by sword in a single day the unsaved, and his warriors will rule heaven and Earth forevermore. IHOP is not the only charismatic movement in America to adopt this theology of aggressive prayer. A constellation of ministries shares its vision. Together, they make up what has been called the New Apostolic Reformation, a decades-old rebellion against traditional Christianity that counts millions of adherents worldwide; it has become such a force in evangelical America that Texas Gov. Rick Perry hosted an NAR prayer rally in Houston for his 2012 presidential campaign.

As prayer rooms are established in ever more locations, according to NAR, the “seven mountains of culture” – government, business, family, educational systems, the media, arts and religion – will fall under its influence. Within a month of [Tyler] Deaton’s return from Kansas City, everyone in the group had become a “hardcore IHOPer,” [Boze] Herrington says. They consumed IHOP books, music and teachings, and road-tripped to NAR conferences.

They soaked themselves in IHOP theology until, in Herrington’s words, “it became an integral part of who we were.” The work that most enduringly shaped Deaton’s thinking might have been The Final Quest, an account of the End Times by NAR leader Rick Joyner, whose celestial travels and pretensions to divinity resemble those of Bickle. Joyner claims to have written The Final Quest in a “trance” state, akin to that of the Apostle John.

Joyner describes his book as “a call to all who will go on to the most noble adventure of the age” – the final showdown between good and evil. The Final Quest is ludicrous self-hagiography that casts Joyner as a hero of Armageddon, “one of the saints fighting the last battle.” (source)

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. “Celebrationj Of Discipline” By Richard Foster An Encyclopedia Of Theological Error
  2. http://www.watermark.org/fileadmin/materials/students/student_newleaderpacket.pdf, accessed 1/21/14.