As we stand back and view the Bicklegate scandal unfolding over the past two months we begin to see things more clearly. It is clear now that there was at least person who was victimized at the age of 19 for several years. There also appears to be many others, as much as seven other women known, who have similar testimonies. These women have been represented by former IHOP leaders, who prior to this scandal had impeccable reputations in the IHOP community. It sadly appears that there has been a concerted effort by friends of Mike Bickle and ministry associates from the NAR Charismaniacal Industrial Complex who have spun a web of deception, false narratives and out right propaganda to try and protect Bickle to reforge his return to the pulpit. The head of that snake is Charisma News and its founder and CEO, Steven Strang. To a lesser degree, Charisma News writers, Larry Tomczak and Dr. Michael Brown as well. Now they all couched their defenses with calls for accountability, but that subterfuge was only implemented to provide a personal defense in case everything fell apart, which it has now done.
Early on, the names of two of the alleged victims were leaked, although no one could corroborate if they were actually part of the victim group. These two women, April Rose and Misty Edwards appear to have been floated for the sole purpose of allowing the women to deny the accusations and thus give ammunition to the defenders of Bickle. That is exactly what Strang and Charisma did:
"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." - Steven Strang
Except no one actually said Misty was one of the victims, nor April Rose. That was anonymously speculated so Strang and his cohorts could pretend all the allegations must be suspect if this one is. Note the duplicity, however. In one breath he says we must defend those that MAY have been victimized and out of the other side of his forked tongue, in the same breath, he spins this yarn about Edwards. This full-throated defense was offered by Tomczak and Brown as well:
"Here's the deal: In four-plus decades of relationship with Mike Bickle, I stand with him as a man who puts character before charisma. He lives in a modest home with a most generous heart. He's affirming, winsome and authentic. When he was transitioning from pastor to establish the International House of Prayer, he invited me to lead the church and was ever so gracious when I finally declined. While planting our church in a rented facility, I remember Bickle, our featured speaker, helping our takedown crew load up the van. On another occasion, after ministering for a weekend in our church, he gave his entire honorarium to our 20-year-old son in the parking lot so he could get engaged! Facing opposition from a combative local leader, Bickle humbly called me for advice. My wife (Bickle's her favorite Bible teacher) was blown away when he sent me home from Kansas City with a beautiful portrait of heaven. Every Friday, for years, I put out in our kitchen a picture of myself with Bickle and his wife, Diane, to inspire me for my weekly bridal fast. I say all the above while praying for God's perfect will to be done. I reiterate that accountability is essential. If the careful investigation reveals wrongdoing, I'm confident it will be handled biblically and redemptively with discipline and God's plan for restoration of this man of God who is a gift to the body of Christ worldwide. He needs our intercession at this critical time. May he emerge stronger than ever to finish well. We love and appreciate you, Mike!" - Larry Tomczak
Yes, he puts character before charisma. Well unless he is telling a 19-year-old intern that God showed him his wife Diane was going to die so they could marry. That is now the testimony from the victim released this week. He is authentic, winsome, and affirming? Well, I guess he liked to affirm young impressionable women. He was generous enough to give the victim her own apartment but of course that came with demands on who she was allowed to speak to and spend time with. Finish well? He never started well! He built IHOP while he was cheating on his wife, while spiritually, prophetically and sexually abusing one of his sheep! The daughter of one of his friends! Here is some more of Larry Tomczak's love and appreciation for this predator:
"Go to the IHOPKC website and read the "Report on Initial Findings. Three of the women issued public statements refuting the allegations. The leadership team states abuse claims against Bickle lack evidence. Legal counsel and the leaders have determined the allegations "lacked any semblance of reliability or due diligence. A document originally prepared by the group supposed to accompany the allegations does not contain any actual evidence from the supposed victims. The group's allegations were accompanied by a list of "demands and threats," which included dictating the use of IHOPKC funds. One of the alleged victims (using only initials) accused Bickle of "prophetically manipulating" her 25 years ago. The allegations were all nonsexual, but the other woman referred to some physical contact." - Larry Tomczak