Mike Bickle is believed to have a net worth between 10 and 20 million dollars, so spare me the pious blather about royalties, humility and modesty. Sure, he may not be flying around on Learjets like Creflo Dollar, but he is hardly impoverished. It is interesting here, as with Dr. Brown that they all but admit to not being objective brokers in this matter. Strang openly admits they are both personal friends and business associates. Predators like Bickle would hardly be sharing their conquests with people they have convinced they are of a shared religiosity. Strang already mentioned the great holiness of the man now credibly accused by at least eight women of sexual abuse, so who would give a whit what his opinion is? It is obviously tainted. Mike refused to defend his absurd theological positions so that makes him somehow more respected? No! The exact opposite! Strang openly admits that his friend of four decades has never even answered his email and he believes that is a positive point?
While at IHOPKC I got to meet several of the key leaders whom Mike mentored. They seem to be solid men of God who learned well. Now they are the ones who are trying to navigate what would be a nightmare for any ministry but especially for one that put such an emphasis on holy living and extreme devotion in terms of study of the word and prayer for hours a day. Since it started in 1999 IHOPKC has had 24-hour-a-day prayer and worship even during snow storms and power outages. They called it harp and bowl and modeled it after the tabernacle of David.
As his friend, I never saw anything that would have hinted Mike had a double life regarding what he's been charged with. Having said this, I believe when credible charges are brought they must be taken seriously to protect those victimized. It's like with the police. If charges are brought to them about a crime, they must consider it to be true. If there is enough evidence, then an indictment is issued and the case is tried in the courts. Those accused are innocent until proven guilty.
The legal standards of man for criminal justice are not applicable to the church. Of course, we investigate but Strang continues to pretend that the very same "respected" leaders have not already investigated and found the charges not only credible but that Bickle has been uncooperative, manipulative, and tried to discredit the victims. Again, the emphasis on holy living only underscores the rank hypocrisy. The 24-7 prayer shtick that Bickle was famous for is nothing more than performative charismania. It was a breeding ground for eastern mysticism, contemplative prayer and all sorts of false signs and wonders. That is not me talking but everyone who managed to get out of the IHOP cult.
While this is not in the courts it is playing out in the court of public opinion. Even some Christian media seem to be piling on. People are talking about it. One of my friends calls this "failure porn an expression I'd never heard before. But basically when a failure happens, all sorts of righteous people who would never look at porn delight in the salacious details that come out of the scandal. We mustn't let that happen. But we mustn't be glib because sadly the charges might be true. There's a saying "where there is smoke there's usually fire." But there are cases of false accusations even in the Bible. The best known is Potiphar's wife falsely accusing Joseph.
When they were nominated to the U.S. Supreme court, both Clarence Thomas and Brent Kavanaugh were charged with sexual misconduct by opponents trying to derail their nominations. Apparently the charges were entirely fabricated and both conservatives jurists were approved by the Senate.
These are the same tired arguments that Dr. Brown tried to deflect proper criticism. Pointing out what happened, what is alleged, what is confirmed and what has happened in the past is not "piling on." He sounds like the deniers who complain about interpretation when all I am doing is citing what scripture actually says. Strang tries to use the word salacious, as Dr. Brown before him but we do not allow it because the word salacious means an inappropriate focus on sexual matters. That is not what is going on. Mike Bickle had an inappropriate focus on sexual matters, not the people reporting on it. Strang's mention of Potiphar is absurd and using Kavanaugh and Thomas is blatantly false. They were only confirmed due to their own party being in control. Strang essentially is calling Dr. Anita Hill a liar when most consider her quite credible. Given the recent wildly unethical behavior by Clarence Thomas, perhaps he shouldn't be so prominently mentioned as a defense. Kavanaugh was worse as he clearly was credibly accused. The overarching point however is that it has no relevance. We must not lose sight that the point of Strang's article as Dr. Brown's radio broadcast was to provide cover for their friend and business partner. They are careful to sprinkle in some, "we care about the victims" language so they can defend themselves, but the point here is obvious. Muddy the waters enough to make people believe Bickle is not actually guilty when his own leadership team has already said he is. There is not only smoke, but IHOP is on fire and these guys are trying to put it out to salvage some of the money making as well as the false "spirit" theologies IHOP stood for. We need to let it burn to the ground.
In the church, we must hold up a high standard of morality because the Bible commands us to, and the world is watching. And Dr. Michael Brown discussed how clergy wrong-doing must be handled if the charges are true. (He made clear that he hoped the charges against Mike aren't true.) Now, information is coming out that this may not be a black and white issue. Only time will tell, but several close to the ministry who I know personally say they are standing with Mike until they see absolute proof the charges are true. Some have told me off the record that some former leaders have been gunning for Mike to remove him from leadership.
More bluster. More subterfuge. More distraction. People "off the record." Right. Why would people be gunning for such a humble, modest man who only preaches holiness? Why would the eight women go along with it, and all make up stories? Why would the current leadership, friendly to all things Bickle, say the allegations were credible. Why would Bickle refuse to meet with his own leadership folks if he was so darn innocent? Why would they say they have credible proof that he tried to manipulate and intimidate the victims? Again remember, the point of this article is to provide cover for his friend of forty years and business partner. So, two of the "believed to be" victims say it wasn't them even though he doesn't know the victims' names and now off the record folks are telling him people were gunning for poor Mike Bickle. Ridiculous.