When Francis Chan went off the rails it was by defending Mike Bickle. He gushed that he loved him and his heart, while at the same time admitting that people had described Bickle to him as creepy. That statement and warning has not aged well in light of new allegations. Dr. Michael Brown has tried his level best to balance what is his admitted friendship with Bickle and doing the right thing. He did walk away from direct involvement from IHOPKC when they reneged on their promise to bring in an independent investigator and for that he deserves credit. Unfortunately, he still must answer for why he refuses to properly distance himself from people like Steven Strang who has consistently lied, smeared the victims, and even declared Bickle exonerated while calling for his restoration. It seems that to maintain his own shred of credibility, Brown should no longer want to have his work represented by Strang on his Charisma News platform. Where is Strang himself, or Larry Tomczak, who also wrote unapologetically for Bickle. Where is Eric Volz who just stepped down as crisis manager declaring that IHOP was no longer in crisis as he blamed the victims and pretended that IHOP was the true victim here. These people along with the executive Leadership folks at IHOP have spent the past three months deflecting, dissembling, and providing cover for their predator-leader, while re-victimizing the actual victims. So, I ask today - where are these people and their sincere apologies?
One of the more insidious complaints from the IHOPPERS was that Jane Doe number one refused to reveal her identity and refused to meet with their investigator, IHOP congregant, Eileen McNamara. Volz went as far to presume there was no reason why these victims should not be comfortable speaking with his hand-picked biased investigator. These were poor arguments as most victims do not want their names plastered all over the news and speaking with someone with the appearance of bias, as McNamara clearly has is perfectly understandable. Another bogus complaint they had for the victims was what they referred to as a lack of evidence. They demanded texts and emails from a time period where neither existed. They insisted it was all hearsay, not understanding that the direct testimony of the victim is not hearsay evidence. It is direct evidence.
Well, Volz and his merry band of liars and flacks should be rejoicing today because Bickle has a new accuser, and she has no problem identifying herself and meeting with Eileen McNamara. She also is bringing receipts, such as direct testimony from other people including her father who had to drive to Kansas City to tell Bickle to stay away from his daughter. The long and short of the allegations are that when Bickle was a married 25-year-old minister, he befriended a 14-year-old girl in his church, made her his babysitter, mentored her spiritually, and then sexually abused her over a period of several years. He would visit her throughout her high school years - in her high school (sound creepy Francis?). He also told her the same story about his wife dying so they could be together that Jane Doe number one expressed. He eventually moved to Kansas City, and it ended, which was crushing for the girl but eventually she got married and had a family. She always told Bickle she would take the secret to the grave because she believed he was always remorseful, and she looked at his eventual success at IHOP as a sign that they redeemed a sinful situation. What she did not know was their situation was not special. That he had done this with other women. So, when the IHOP Bicklegate story broke she realized she had been duped all these years and spoke with family and pastoral counsel. She decided she was not going to protect him anymore, and has now come forward, including filing a police report.
I really do not have much more to say than this. It is certainly disturbing but not surprising. Now granted, everyone is innocent until proven guilty but how much smoke do you need to realize the house is on fire? The Jane Doe number one story has bene verified. The fact that the Misty Edwards leak was false has been verified. This new accuser, Tammy Woods, has no problem with people knowing who she is and has now said publicly about Bickle - YOU did this. I am glad she is willing to sit with Eileen McNamara but really it is time for IHOPKC to stop covering up. Send the PR flacks home. Bring in an outside group that the advocacy group agrees to and step aside. When the dust settles, we will find a lot more than is known now. Bank on it. These things do not happen in a vacuum. Ravi Zacharias was enabled by those around him and so was Mike Bickle. They have to be brought into the light. People need to realize that there is nothing redeemable or remotely biblical about IHOP and the 24-7 prayer movement. It was designed by a liar and charlatan. It was falsely prophesied by him, and two other sexual predators disguised as prophets. Their theology was horrific. Their worship music was overly sexualized and now we know where that came from, don't we? Look through the history and you will see a cult in Kansas City. Go read the articles about the murder of Bethany Deaton. Read about the IHOP minister that was hired despite a history of sexual abuse of a teen. Read the harrowing stories of those that survived this cult. How the prayer room was forced upon them. How they had to write journals to mystify their experience. How they used transcendental meditation and other mysticism techniques. How they controlled where the kids met, who they spoke to and what subjects they could discuss. How they all had to watch hours of false prophecy from and about Bickle. If you think God had anything to do with this, you need to actually read the bible. Do not confuse the sincerity of those who may have been duped with approval from God. IHOPKC was based on lies, built upon lies, and used by a serial predator to prey on young women. Christians should have united behind these women, not the cult of personality wolf they adored so much. I am heartened that it appears Bickle will not survive this ministerially, despite the efforts from Steven Strang to mangle the bible. IHOPKC must also not survive. Everyone needs to repent, hear the gospel, and be saved. Not saved to serve Bickle's prayer room but saved to serve Jesus Christ.
That only leaves us with the public call to those who lined up on the wrong side of this. I understand the charges were devastating. I understand it hurt. I understand it pricks our ego to think we could have been so fooled by such a huckster, but it is time to realize that is exactly what happened. It is time to try and salvage some of the cause of Christ we may have squandered in defending the indefensible. As Dr. Brown is fond of saying, this provides an opportunity for all of us to look inward and I agree with him. He needs to apply it to himself however and leave Charisma News. Where is Francis Chan's apology for all the victims he led to IHOP? Where is Larry Tomczak's apology for smearing Bickle's victims to defend his friend? Where is Eric Volz apologizing for ever taking this case on and defending this cesspool for months? Where is General Fuller's apology for re-victimizing the victims and continuing with his sham investigation. How many shattered lives do you need to read about before you realize that you are now a part of it? Dear Lord, forgive us all.
Reverend Anthony Wade - February 9, 2024