Ernie Gruen’s Report “Aberrant Practices” @ IHOP-Kansas City

Why This?

Many will and have voiced concerns about making this kind of thing public, perhaps because they think it might be false rumours, or inaccurate reporting, or that we are not to judge, or criticize, but ‘leave it in God’s hands.’ 1. The Bible tells us otherwise. 2. This report follows a blog on ‘Evangelical loss of biblical discernment,’ and cautions I was given by others. 3. Clearly this report reveals the accuracy, and validity of the blog, demonstrating exactly what I’m urgently wanting to communicate, a desperate loss of discernment, in evangelicalism today! 4. This has existed and grown for 35 years, 31 years since Derek Prince expressed his observations and concerns, with no apparent changes, being embraced by an ever increasing gathering of unaware evangelicals!

Ernie Gruen’s Report “Aberrant Practices”  … Full 233 page report available from web site above

DOCUMENTATION OF THE ABERRENT PRACTICES AND TEACHINGS OF … “WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?” Open Letter by Ernie Gruen, Pastor Full Faith Church of Love 6824 Lackman Road Shawnee, Kansas 66217 This letter summarizes a number of our, concerns regarding Mike Bickle and Kansas

“WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?”  Open Letter by Ernie Gruen, Pastor Full Faith Church of Love 6824 Lackman Road Shawnee, Kansas 66217                                                 

This letter summarizes a number of our, concerns regarding Mike Bickle and Kansas City Fellowship. I hope you will take the time to read it carefully. I have known Mike Bickle since his arrival in Kansas City a little over seven years ago. We at Full Faith Church of Love are also well-acquainted with many wonderful Christian brothers and sisters who attend there. While there have often been controversies, strange stories, and troubling rumors associated with Kansas City Fellowship, I never sought to substantiate them; rather, I accepted Mike Bickle with open arms as a man of integrity who was trying to do something for the Lord. In fact, I even put him on the steering committee of the citywide Charismatic Pastors Fellowship, which is hosted by our church. 
When people came to us who were upset with Mike, his methods of operation, and the prophecies, our attitude was, “Who in the ministry doesn’t make mistakes?” Mike had our support and best wishes. It was hoped that these were simply growing pains which would take care of themselves in time. However, in the last few years the situation really became serious, as it included accounts of wounded people, unethical practices, false prophecies, and damaged churches. Families reported how their lives had been tragically affected by their association with Kansas City Fellowship. The conviction grew in my spirit that something was very wrong. 
Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ laid it firmly on my heart that something had to be done. I decided to obey Matthew 18. I met with Mike privately, and then met twice with Mike and members of his leadership group. These efforts proved fruitless. During the meetings, aspects of Mike’s character which were extremely troubling came out. Mike Bickle delivered ominous spiritual warnings threatening me with harm. Our concerns were deepened rather than alleviated. Outer “lip service” reassurances by Mike never generated any real change of heart or practice. 

On Saturday, January 20, while praying at the church, God told that if I didn’t preach the message “Do We Keep Smiling and Say Nothing?”, I would be disobedient to Him. I had no choice but speak out publicly to warn the body of Christ. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but God was directing me to take a stand for the sake of His people. As I was praying with my wife, Dee, on the Monday morning after I preached that sermon, she referred to a scripture in Acts 18 which God had given us years ago when we first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit The Lord impressed me to look it up and read it. The scripture reads as follows: “…‘Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.’” Acts 18:9—10 (NASV) 

I had been afraid because Mike Bickle implied my death if I took a stand against his teaching, but now the Lord was clearly speaking to me that I ought not be silent; that He would be with me; that no harm would come to me; and that I had to keep speaking because of the people in this city. Mike has sought to portray our concerns as a “personality conflict,” a problem of “misunderstanding and lack of communication,” and even insecurity or jealousy on my part. I want to assure you that I did not place 34 years of fruitful ministry and my national credibility on the line for any of these trivial reasons. The deep conviction of my heart is that we have, in Kansas City, the beginnings of a Charismatic heresy which is far more significant than the shepherding controversy. I believe that this could split the body of Christ and cause untold damage to tens of thousands of Christians, as well as hundreds of churches across America.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

3. We all have a problem when Mike Bickle promotes an “elected seed generation” theology for his “Movement” that is so wild and so preposterous that it could only have come out of visions from his “prophets.” For example:  a. Their literal children, those born since 1973, are the “elected seed,” hand-selected by Jesus and the angels from “billions of little round yellow things” up in heaven to be born into the families of the “Movement.” The “little yellow things” are seeds from actual bloodlines, and they are the “best of every bloodline that’s ever been–Paul, David, Peter, James and John–the best of their seed unto this generation,” predestined and hand-picked to be part of the “end-time Omega generation.” 
They are described as the “chosen generation of all history” who will “possess the Spirit without measure.” This specific generation is the “bride of Christ…the man-child of Revelation 12…the ministry of perfection…the Melchizedek priesthood…the manifested sons of God–Romans 8:19-23…the 144,000 servants–Revelation 7:4…Joel’s army,” etc.

b. This “end-time, Omega generation superchurch” will do “10,000 times the miracles in the book of Acts.” They will conduct meetings of “a million or more” where they “will move their hands and the power of God will go like flashes of lightning, and as they go like this over a million people, if a person is missing an arm…it will instantly be created…” They will “walk through walls…they’ll be translated…hundreds of dead will be raised during meetings in ballpark stadiums…over a billion saved…eyes put back in eye sockets…‘invincible–can’t die,” etc.

c. Three hundred thousand of Mike’s generation and their superchildren will be last-days apostles. Thirty-five of KCF’s apostles will be “like unto Paul.” There is an invalid sort of circular reasoning taking place here, with the “prophets” reaffirming one another’s visions and confirming one another’s prophecies. The “prophets” are used to establish “divine credibility” for the “Movement,” for this dangerous theology, and for the very visions that they themselves claim to have had. (See Section II)                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 4. We all have a problem when Mike Bickle actively seeks the favor and support of Charismatic pastors and leaders, both locally and across the nation, while privately teaching his people that… “...The Ishmael spirit includes most of the Charismatic churches today. There are two movements, and I believe with all my heart the Charismatic movement is the Ishmael movement… “We’re looking for a whole new order…I don’t want prominence in Ishmael’s camp. I don’t want to be a part of it at all…we want to come out of the old order, because it’s unbroken…untrained…humanistic…manmade, self-centered… illegitimate…afflicted with evil spirits…“ This is deceptive, unscriptural, and hypocritical. Our assessment is that Mike is seeking to gather as large a following as possible unto himself before making his break from the “old order.”

2. THERE IS A STRONG EXPRASIS ON SACRIFICE FOR THEIR “MOVENENT” AND WAITING FAITHFULLY FOR THE FUTURE FULFILLMENT OF THEIR VISION. MB: “…This is the verse that he gave us three years ago. This is the verse that we said that we would never ever have to, or want to have to claim our weakness like this again, but I find that after three years, it’s the same verse the Lord speaks to us. “I Corinthians 15:43–it’s speaking of the resurrected body, but I’m speaking of our sacrifice of our waiting before the Lord. It spoke of the 21 days; it’s spoken of the last 21 months of the commitment that we made; it’s spoke of the last 9 months since the time that we gathered in September, and it’s spoken of the whole 3 years. It was sown in dishonor, but it will be raised in glory; it was sown in weakness, but it will be raised by God’s mercy and power..Our whole future is this verse.”(P.His 3, p. 11)                                           EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a clear example of an irreverent distortion of Scripture in order to promote their cause.                    

MB: “…because He wants us to sacrifice for it. And if we don’t believe it, we won’t bear the sacrifice in these days for it, if it’s just a little thing. He says, ‘You believe it, because I’ve proved it to you. Now you give your life wholly onto this cause. And you bear patiently and in humility while I perfect the people.’ (P.His 1, p. 7) 
“Why did God give us these signs?. So that we could tell good stories? He wanted us to believe so that we did not waver under the pressure of sacrifice and patience and humility–that the sacrifice is worth it–that patience is worth it. Bowing down is worth it, because it’s the move of the living God in the earth! (P.His 2, p. 2) “But from, even from the heart he would be committed. A lifelong commitment that would involve a daily walking out from the majority of the people on that team. And we’re going to be doing this the rest of our lives, while I maintaining a permanent covenant relationship and an involvement with the ones that we’ve already established.”  (NE, p. 20) A quote from a testimony letter states the following: “‘You just give of yourself totally and unselfishly–even at the expense of your job,’ I heard once, ‘if that seems to be what God is saying to us.’”                                                                                                                                                          

3 THEIR EMPHASIS ON CONTINUALLY SEEKING A “HIGHER ORDER” CAUSES HYPERSPIRITUALITY AND HYPERACTIVITY.          “Attendance at these meetings was important and seriously looked at to evaluate your commitment and leadership potential.” (Testimony Letter 2) MB: “..l982, when all this happened, we began the prayer meetings, 7-10, seven nights a week. Meeting from 7-10… (OPH, p. 6) “…that was a supernatural calling, that we’d gather the people together for a solemn assembly. And a number of people met for 18 hours a day–committed themselves… (OPH, p. 8) “We probably did that for 18 months and then, as you well know, in October 1984, we took off Sunday nights and began to meet three times a day, and in the end we’ll be meeting 24 hours a day in prayer. He said literally this work will be built on night and day prayer, literally, not figuratively–not kind of praying as you’re driving–literal night, and day intercession will go forth from His people, and that is a requirement from God if this thing is to touch the ends of the earth. (P.His 1, p. 13) “…And it literally happened. And He told me that ah, ah apostles would come forth from this movement. And it would be a holy thing that He was goin’ to do. And I don’t know when or how or anything, but, ah, that’s a very, very wonderful thing for God to tell men supernaturally like that. If that doesn’t cause us to have perseverance in intercession, I don’t know what will.                                                                                                                                                                                         

6. IMPLIED OR STATED SPIRITUAL THREATS ARE UTTERED BY THOSE IN THEIR “MOVEMENT,” AND THERE ARE TESTIMONIES OF FEAR IN PEOPLE AS A RESULT.                                                                                                                                      a. “1000 Religious Leaders to Die in 1990” BJ: “They were 1000 of the religious leaders that have (been) doing this, that was appointed to death–they’1l die this next year. So there’s some death that those that’s been using the anointing of God wrong. (F89, p. 13) “But many of those who have been appointed, even for destruction, they are still brothers.(F89, p. 20) “Well, you’re coming into a year that a lot of religious system and a lot of people that are using the anointing wrong, and it’s simply time for them to go home–will go home, because they’re withstanding the Holy Spirit and when they’re withstanding the Holy Spirit, that’s a dangerous thing now, for the Lord is moving and a lot of the religious system will be taken out of the way. That’s not our business at all…” (F89, p. 27) 
b. Letter from a local pastor: “A prophecy from one man was given to the elders of Second Creek with the full, blessing of Mike. It was a strong prophecy of judgment and that of people dying. It just so happened one elder was already terminally ill with cancer.” (Testimony Letter 24)  c. Testimony from a former KCF member: “We were warned by friends fairly high in the KCF ‘hierarchy’ that because we had had visible roles in the fellowship, that spiritually we would be ‘attacked’ and that we should pray for God’s protection over ourselves, our children, and our home. “There are other instances during the time we attended KCF that we felt ‘threatened’ as well, but listing these are burdensome and probably of no value.” (Testimony Letter 37)
d. As Pastor Gruen related in his message, “Do We Keep Smiling and Say Nothing?”, he met with Mike and his leadership in an attempt to correct growing problems. Mike made a spiritual threat at that time, warning of harm to Pastor Gruen. EG: “It was a terrible meeting. In alluding to the Horsecreek thing, where I sat him down, he said to my face. ‘You touched me illegally and people who touch me illegally, bad things happen to them.’”
e. Testimony from a former OCF member: “We left  the church because (one of the reasons) of a sermon by (a pastor at OCF) which warned against speaking out against the prophetic. Words like ‘judgment’ and warnings against ‘having a Jezebel spirit’ kept a lot of people from saying anything negative about the prophetic ministry.”

(Testimony Letter 13) “Kansas City Fellowship taught that eventually all churches would unite with Kansas City Fellowship to form a city church. Unity was encouraged at all costs, and any word of disharmony was viewed as demonic.”                                                                                                                                     

After having come out of a denominational church, one of the things that was so exciting to us at Olathe Fellowship was that everyone brought their Bibles, the Word was taught (I even took notes!), and people were frequently saved. All of that virtually stopped after Kansas City Fellowship took over. Our ‘sermons’ became pep talks about how we were God’s chosen people and how we would take over and rule the world. There was never a salvation message, never an altar call.” (Testimony Letter 6)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

9. JESUS APPEARS WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S FACE. This is a particularly bizarre, irreverent idea professed by Bob Jones and given credibility by Mike Bickle. MB: “…And Bob’s shakin’ his head and he goes, ‘You guys are never going to learn the language of the Spirit, are you? Never going to learn.’ He goes, ‘Jesus appears in thousands of different faces to portray something. He was trying to say, “I’m your friend; I am your familiar friend and I’m going to show you all things so you can move in the power of the Spirit.”’” (F88, p. 60) See Dominus Vision, Section II, C, and Section III, B. 
Jesus, in Matthew 16:11, warns His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”–in reference to “the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Though these teachings do not represent all of KCF’s beliefs, we believe this “Movement” is leavened throughout with false teaching. There is always a higher standard, higher order, more supernatural experiences to be obtained, a greater generation of people to come, a better church structure that must be reached, and future prophecies to fulfill. This is a great error that continually burdens and condemns. It is an extreme that goes way beyond Scripture and is mancentered, not Christ-centered. Their stand and their “Movement” is greatly inflated by their imaginary supposed supernatural experiences. Surely Colossians 2:18 – 19 applies: “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. (NASV)                                                                                                                                                                                

7. SHOCKING ACCOUNT OF ABNORMAL PREGNANCY “There were also times when the prophets were hauled in to prophesy over the masses. One particular friend of mine was prophesied to that she was going to have another child. It turned out that she actually was pregnant and didn’t know it. The strange part was that the pregnancy was not normal in any way. She had all kinds of strange problems, slow growth, abnormal bleeding, etc., and in the end she ended up having a D & C. The results of that were really strange–there was no baby per se, just a blob of hair, nail tissue and other atypical tissue for a pregnancy.” (Testimony Letter 18)                                                                                                                                                               

E. EXAMPLES OF THE ABUSES OF PROPHECY: 1. LETTER FROM THE ELDERSHIP OF A LOCAL CHURCH “We thought you might be interested in knowing that On June 22, 1986, three prophets from Kansas City Fellowship were invited to our church. Among other things, they each prophesied that the Lord had told them that our church was to disband, that we had no right to challenge the prophecy, and that if we failed to heed the prophecy, ‘Ichabod’ (the glory has departed) would be written above our door! As a result of the prophecy many people left our church. Those of us who doubted the prophecy prayed and sought the Lord’s will about what we should do. We believe that the Lord wanted us to stay and form a new fellowship, which we did.” (Testimony Letter 16) 

2. WITCHCRAFT, SPELLS, CURSES, AND PARANOIA “Another prophecy that really disturbed me was when John Paul came to Olathe and said that witchcraft was invading the church. He said that as a Christian you could have spells put on you by people you didn’t even know while you stood in line at the grocery store. “He also said that curses passed from generation to generation could control your life. From that point on, a ‘spiritual paranoia’ seemed to rest on the church.” (Testimony Letter 13) 
3. JOHN PAUL JACKSON TOLD CHURCHES TO COME UNDER MIKE BICKLE’S ANOINTING. “John Paul came and prophesied… ‘CCF will collapse unless it comes under Mike’s anointing.’ Two things bother me: We have done fine for four years; there should be nothing to fear…‘Mike’s anointing’–I want Jesus’ anointing.” (Testimony Letter 14) 
4. “GOD HAS MARTYRED YOUR BABY” “The wife of the worship leader of all KCF churches comes to practice telling us that she has lost her baby (she was only 3 or 4 months along)–that she was bleeding heavily, so they called Bob Jones and John Paul over to pray for her. Bob Jones prophesied that God has martyred her baby and that for every drop of blood the baby lost, a soul will be saved in Wichita.” (Testimony Letter 14)  5. SHEPHERDING “Kansas City Fellowship showed signs of being under shepherding. Their prophets were confusing them in their decision making. They were in love with people that weren’t quite as spiritual as these counselors thought they should be, and were getting advice that they shouldn’t marry. I observed crying and much confusion. They didn’t seem to know which way to turn. There were three couples, all about the same age, in their middle twenties. Two of them have married now and the other couple is still in confusion.” (Testimony Letter 10)

July 9: “A Statement from Derek Prince” is released due to persistent questions posed to him regarding KCF.  Prince is very critical.  He recounts a conversation that he had with Mike Bickle in March of 1990 which is followed by his scathing assessment of KCF/GM:

…At this time I was asked by Mike Bickle to counsel with him and some of his leaders.  I spent nearly three hours in discussion with them.  I told them that I felt they were receiving and propagating error.  Our meeting was conducted in a friendly spirit and ended with prayer, but no conclusion was reached.

Subsequent to this encounter, I studied [the Gruen Document]…It is based mainly on material published by Grace Ministries, or on transcripts of tapes made in Kansas City Fellowship which they themselves circulated.

Very briefly, I can sum up the main conclusions I have reached:

  1.  The material circulated by Kansas City Fellowship contains many statements which have no basis in Scripture and are frequently contrary to Scripture.  Some of the purported “revelations” could be described as absurd and even blasphemous.
  2.  Much of the material is permeated by what I consider to be occult influence.
  3.  The overall affect of the material is to divert attention away from Jesus Christ and the Scriptures and toward subjective experiences and human personalities.
  4.  The circulation of the material from Kansas City Fellowship has exposed the Body of Christ to much error and confusion.
  5.  These errors are deep-rooted and longstanding, dating at least as far back as 1983.

Any effective remedy would require open confession and renunciation of the errors practiced and a radical elimination of the occult element.  All this should be communicated as widely as the errors have been circulated.  A mere change of label or of leadership, by itself, is not sufficient.54

Prince goes on to stress that it’s the “doctrines and practices” and not the individuals he is judging.  He continues:

…We are living in a period when it is more important than ever for all of us to cultivate “the love of the truth.” (See 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.)55

Yes, Derek Prince was part of the “shepherding” controversy; however, his words and advice here are spot on!

The apostate road is wide that leads to destruction! My spirit is crying out with the Spirit of God, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.”

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