In my long career I've seen charges of clergy immorality both in the Pentecostal movement as well as in evangelicals circles, the Roman Catholic church and even among Southern Baptists. Usually the leader leads a double life and is finally caught and within a day or two admits it is true. I've known Mike well for many years and I've never seen anything to suggest he has any sort of double life, and so I am choosing to stand with him, recognizing that we still don't know what is the truth and we must be careful to defend those who may have been victimized in some way. Why do I say this? According to reports there are 8 "victims," yet two have come out saying the charges (involving them) are entirely false. One is Misty Edwards, probably the best known worship leader to come out of this ministry. In a post on Facebook, she said she was very sorrowful about the charges and she wasn't commenting on any of the women, but she wanted "to make it clear, I am not one of them. I have worked with Mike for 25 years and in my personal experience he has only been godly. I have been sent several social media posts speculating differently and I want to boldly say, those are lies and entirely based on suspicion. I have never been sexually or spiritual abused by Mike Bickle."
The deception continues. There has been NO report of who the women are and some reports say the number is greater than eight. Note that Misty Edwards, who owes her entire fame and fortune to Mike Bickle and IHOP, is at least honest enough to admit that her involvement was pure speculation. I have no issue with her wanting to clear the air regarding this speculation, but Strang is reporting as if the speculation was fact, and it is not. By citing this as fact and putting the word victims in quotes, Strang continues this shill piece for his buddy. Nobody claimed to have realized Ravi Zacharias' double life either! That doesn't prove anything. The accused by the way NEVER come out and admit it unless irrefutable evidence comes forth. Ted Haggard denied the affair with the male prostitute until the male prostitute came forward with the receipts. Most of these people face legal problems and cannot just come out publicly that they had committed crimes.
Another Facebook post by April Rose (who I do not know personally) was even stronger. She said she was solicited by some former leaders based on something said about her secondhand "years ago" that she was one of Mike's victims. "This has NOT been my experience with Mike. I've only known him to be a God-fearing man who genuinely loves Jesus (with all of his heart) and is living for eternity. I have not witnessed any duplicity. In the years that I have known him, he has always been consistent with how all of us know him..." She went on to say she was outraged to learn that her name was added to the list of victims anyway and she says it in very strong terms. That makes me know something strange is going on. Time will tell what, if anything, Mike did improperly. But I'm urging the Christian community to not jump to judgment. There seem to be two sides. We need a thorough investigation.
Again, being speculated as one of the victims does not mean anyone said you were. It sounds like one of the victims mentioned this person and when investigators asked, she denied it. Nothing wrong with that. That is the purpose of investigating. The only strange thing going on are sycophants and the evangelical good ole boys network trying to save one of their own. It is disgusting to be lectured to about jumping to conclusions by a man clearly jumping to conclusions! Steven Strang has admitted throughout this piece that he does not believe the charges. It is not about "improper." If Mike Bickle was speeding that would be improper. Sexually abusing multiple women over decades and the spiritually manipulating them and targeting them to discredit them is a bit higher than "improper." We do, however, need a thorough investigation that lays bare everything.
What spiritual lessons can we learn? My friend Malachi O'Brien has been part of IHOPKC and a close friend of Mike Bickle's for several years. Here is what he posted on X Sunday afternoon:
What has come out (recently) does not discredit the prayer 24/7 movement, the labor of IHOPKC and its thousands of faithful missionaries and the tens of millions of people who have been impacted by Mike Bickle, the worship from IHOPKC, the miracles, the prophetic promises, and the innumerable hours of prayer. We know that Jesus is faithful when people are not. Remember, God blesses His Word and work because of what He desires to do on the earth. His blessing has more to do with His character than the character of leaders.
This is another tired argument that Dr. Brown tried to make. IHOP KC was built by Mike Bickle upon a false prophecy, and he was ushered in by a gaggle of other false prophets. Forcing kids to pray at 3 am is not biblical. The 24-7 prayer room thing was awash with horrible teaching, false worship and false signs and lying wonders. Jesus is certainly faithful but not to people who falsely represent Him. So, you want to hold to the prophetic promises delivered to you by people who could not even tell that their leader was a predator loose in their midst? God has brought to light these acts as an indictment against IHOP, not just Mike Bickle. Did God bless the cover up of the murder of Bethany Deaton? Did God bless IHOP using a disgraced child molester because he had done 18 months of repentance and restoration? You think God blesses the absurdly heretical bridal paradigm theology or the Jesus is my lover false worship that IHOP was infamous for? Read Acts 19 and you will see the Sons of Sceva were sincere. They thought they were casting out demons according to Christ until one day the demons answered and beat them so bad, they fled naked. Read Matthew 7 and realize the folks saying Lord Lord on the last day thought they were serving God only to discover too late that He never knew them. I understand that those caught up in the deception of Mike Bickle will have a hard time admitting they were duped but they were duped about everything. They need to hear the actual gospel so they might be saved and rebuilding IHOP on the ashes of Mike Bickle and his false, corrupt foundation, will not end well for anyone.
There is a tension between innocent until proven guilty and the need to validate and care for victims of any and all kinds of abuse. Mike has denied the allegations and I choose to believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt and I fully believe credible accusations must be taken seriously and victims deserve to be taken seriously without repercussions and character assassination.
We need to view all situations through a higher perspective. What does Father God think, feel, and see in this situation? What God wants is repentance, healing, and restoration. Truth is our ally and we must pursue it with patience and no bias"not the version we want but the version of truth and wisdom that identifies reality. Good or bad, we seek the truth and the appropriate response to it. Finally, let's reflect on our lives and draw closer to Jesus. Wise words we all must take to heart.