In the months leading up to coming to IHOP, I was freaked out. I didn’t know much about IHOP, but I did know that a lot of people thought it was pretty shady. I take theology really seriously and was a little freaked out that they would preach some whack-a-doodle stuff. And so, I did what I always do when I have a question (no, it’s not prayer…working on it). I researched it.
I found a lot of dirt with minimal effort. There were entire blogs and Facebook pages dedicated to “exposing” IHOP. There was testimony after testimony of people who claimed to have been traumatized by this place. There were also a lot of “watchdog groups” who attempted to disprove their theology.
I first stepped foot on this campus very skeptical, to say the least. A teacher couldn’t utter a word without me completely filtering it and analyzing. I checked EVERYTHING with what I knew from the Bible. I purposed in my heart to read from Genesis to Revelation in two months. I was going to be vigilant against any false teachings.
I am now one month into this program. What do I have to say about IHOP now? Was my distrust warranted?
To be honest, I don’t care much.
You see, something has been stirring in my spirit. I can only explain it this way–when you spend between four to six hours a day praying, studying the Bible and talking with Him about your peers, your heart changes. It just does. Paul writes to the church in Corinth: And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. We become what we behold. In other words, if I am spending three hours a day watching episodes of Bones, that is the direction my heart shall go towards. If I am obsessed with my sin and am constantly dwelling on my darkness, I will only get lost in the darkness. In contrast, when I consider the Lord and his scandalous grace, the Light expels the darkness and I become more like Him. It’s incredible.
In two months time, I may leave this place believing that some of IHOP’s theology is jacked. But the thing about the Lord is this: He uses jacked up institutions and people alike for His glory. So rather than waste my time focusing on IHOP, I’ve got my eyes fixed on Jesus.