On October 30 th of 2012, the lessons from Sceva came home to roost in Kansas City as the body of Bethany Deaton was found in the back of a van with a plastic bag around her neck and an empty bottle of acetaminophen beside her. A hastily written suicide note was left and the police seemed content to leave it at that until one week later IHOPU student Micah Moore came to them confessing that he had killed Bethany at the instructions of her husband, Tyler. His claim, which his lawyer is now saying has been recanted, was that Tyler Deaton, Moore, and another roommate at IHOP had been sexually assaulting Bethany and drugging her and were concerned that she would tell someone. So Tyler ordered Moore to kill her. While this might just be chalked up to a really sad story does not end there. The journalist for Rolling Stone did a lot of digging and discovered that they were all part of of an end times glorification group that followed Tyler as an "Apostle" and had their roots firmly in the deception of the Harry Potter books. Furthermore, Tyler Deaton was not only married to Bethany but was sexually involved with the men in the group as well. All in the name of Jesus. The amount of detail in the Rolling Stone article is voluminous and frightening but worth reading to understand the depth of depravity this group was involved in, all the while deceiving themselves that they were serving God. The purpose here however is to not rehash the details of the article but to discuss the involvement of IHOP, who is supposedly led by a prophet of God in Mike Bickle. A man Francis Chan even recently said he loved. Yet here is what IHOP officially said in response to this murder and drama:
" Since Bethany's death it has come to light that over five years ago, both she and Mr. Moore joined an independent, close-knit, religious group in Georgetown, Texas. This religious group of fewer than 20 people was led by Tyler Deaton. They relocated to Kansas City over the last few years and operated under a veil of secrecy. This group has always operated independently of the university, and it is important to all of us that this group's secrecy and disturbing religious practices are fully exposed. Mr. Deaton led his religious group entirely independently from IHOPU, though he and some of his members were enrolled in our university. "
So it seems the strategy is to throw the group under the bus and pretend that you were just blindsided as everyone else? Except this seems different than another official statement released four days later:
" A volunteer mistakenly labeled Deaton as a divisional coordinator when preparing a preliminary small groups info packet. Because the small groups director was not consulted and did not catch the error, the volunteer continued to reprint the mistake. The incorrect information has since been removed.In mid-June, an individual spoke to the new small groups director raising concerns about Deaton's manipulative behavior in his independent Bible study group. The director met with Deaton and mistakenly concluded that these concerns had been resolved. This we deeply regret. This individual again voiced concerns in mid-October, and we began to investigate the situation. On October 26, four days before his wife's death, Deaton's application to raise financial support through our organization as a self-funded missionary was finalized. He had not been entered into our payroll system, never received money through our organization, and was immediately terminated. "
So Deaton was labeled as an IHOP small groups divisional coordinator until his wife ended up murdered and then was removed from the records as such because of a "volunteer error." Yet in the next breath they admit that they knew about his manipulative behavior with his group but took his word that it had been resolved until the complaints surfaced again? All the while approving Tyler Deaton to be an IHOP self funded missionary? But everything that was bad was done "under a veil of secrecy" by this rogue group from Texas? Even if all of this is somehow acceptable to anyone, it is irresponsible to pretend that IHOP had no influence on Tyler Deaton, his group, and the end result of the death of Bethany Deaton. According to Rolling Stone, this was what Tyler wrote to his friends after first attending an IHOP event:
"Friends"-."-."-."-I kid you not"-."-."-."-when I say that I feel God has transformed me more in that short period of time than I have been so far in my life."-."-."-."-I have one word attached to one phrase that God has violently poured into my heart. It is"-."-."-."-echoing in the heavens right this instant, and I mean that literally."-."-."-."-That word, that phrase"-."-."-."-is this: REVIVAL through prayer and worship. Friends, I freaking cannot wait to talk to you in person."
And he would talk to them and they all would eventually move to IHOP. Within one month according to Rolling Stone, "t hey consumed IHOP books, music and teachings, and road-tripped to NAR conferences. They soaked themselves in IHOP theology until it became an integral part of who they were. " As you read the article you can see Tyler Deaton begin to use the IHOP dominionist teachings and incorporate them into who he was as the leading "apostle" of his group. He would claim divine revelation like Bickle to control group members and all interpersonal relationships within the group. He would use the overly spiritual chase of experience to further his homosexual desires. He would tell his group that he had been divinely ordered to "train God's final army" as Bickle claimed decades earlier God had divinely ordered him to build IHOP.
The article looks into the over-sexualization of Jesus at IHOP and through their music and how that affected Deaton and his group. The music infiltrated all areas of IHOP, even the cafeteria. One of the more popular songs played over and over again has the frightening refrain of' " God is a lover looking for a lover/So he fashioned me ." As they delved deeper into IHOP theology they became convinced that their prayers had orchestrated the death of a fellow student who shared contrary beliefs. Their delusional "spiritual powers" were growing. This is only the tip of the iceberg but I wanted to show the direct correlation between the false IHOP teaching and the downward spiral of Tyler Deaton. One of the surviving group members lamented, " In some ways, Tyler was as much a victim as anyone else, t hese apostles destroyed him. I think they drove him mad ." It is simply reprehensible and morally bankrupt for IHOP to now pretend that everything that has happened here has nothing to do with what they taught Tyler Deaton. The spirits and demons they introduced into his life through their new age worship and unbiblical teachings. Was Tyler Deaton pretty messed up already? Sure sounds like it. But he did not have to then be taught that he was a little god. He did not then have to be taught that it was his responsibility to prepare the earth for Christ's second coming. He did not have to be taught about divine visitations and revelations. He did not have to be bombarded with overtly sexual messages mixed through Scriptures. He did not have to be taught that he was preparing the final army for the second coming of Christ. Most importantly, Bethany Deaton did not have to end up dead because of it.
But despite the responsibility IHOP needs to own in this murder, I have one important question that no one ever seems to ask. How did they not know? The Kansas City Prophets and New Apostolic Reformation all like to throw around their spiritual credentials. They all like to proclaim divine revelation and visitations from God Himself. How did you not know that this type of demonic behavior was going on under your nose and on your campus? How is it that you almost gave Tyler Deaton the right to raise money under your name to be a missionary? You are supposed to be a prophet of God! You claim your prayers are prophetic! You claim your worship is prophetic! You claim that you are prophetic! How can someone who claims to have visited the throne room of God hide behind statements that say he had no idea any of this was happening in the very place he claims God told him to establish? Was your god silent on the fact that you had a Jim Jones like character running roughshod through your campus? Maybe your god was sleeping like Elijah taunted the Baal prophets of. Either way, it should be painfully obvious to any who are truly willing to listen that IHOP is a sham and Mike Bickle is a false prophet.