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November 1, 2023
Analysis of the IHOP Leadership Statement About the Predator Mike Bickle
By Anthony Wade
Taking a deeper look at the IHOP leadership statement
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. - Matthew 18:15-17 (ESV)
As the world is now aware, there are serious allegations pending against the founder of the International House of Prayer, Mike Bickle. This announcement stunned many in the Charismatic movement who are blinded to the rampant false teaching and cult like behavior within the apostate church they serve. Those with discernment have known for many, many years that IHOP was a cult, pure and simple. Those who survived and came out of IHOP tried to tell us all that for many, many years. When Bethany Deaton's lifeless body was discovered in 2012 there was obviously something rotten in Kansas City. One of her IHOP housemates confessed to murdering her at her husband's direction but later recanted saying it arose from an exorcism. Even though local authorities would dismiss the charges and rule the death a suicide, it remains murky at best and even if that was what happened, the reasons for the suicide/homicide rested squarely with the cult they belonged to. Survivors have testified to false manifestations, Brownsville like spasmodic movements being passed off as worship, other spoke of IHOP not allowing them to leave IHOP premises without permission, sleep deprivation disguised as supporting the 24-7 prayer schtick, and severe disciplinary processes.
Behind the scenes, Mike Bickle ran a tight ship. He was venerated as leader, pastor, and prophet. IHOP embraced the horribly heretical Bridal Paradigm, and their in-house worship music was primarily the "Jesus is my lover" type. So is it any wonder that it now comes out that over the past 4 + decades, Mike Bickle was abusing his authority to sexually abuse his sheep, and possibly one when she was still a minor. For all of the defenders, sycophants and protectors of the evangelical industrial complex, who keep insisting that "if" the charges are true, keep in mind what it takes for a cult leader's direct reports to turn on him. There is not just smoke, it is a three-alarm fire and the only true purpose for people insisting on the still vagueness of the charges is to minimize what happened and we will not allow that. Over this past weekend, the leadership of IHOP put out a statement regarding the charges and that is what we will respond to today. My allegiance is not to Bickle, who remains a horrific wolf, regardless of these charges. It is to the victims of IHOP. It is to those the escaped and to the memory of Bethany Deaton, who did not survive. So, let us reason once more together.
"A few days ago, we made the leadership team of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC) aware of serious allegations spanning several decades concerning its founder, Mike Bickle. Without going into details to protect the privacy of the victims' identities, we have found these allegations of clergy sexual abuse by Mike Bickle to be credible and long-standing. The credibility of these allegations is not based on any one experience or any one victim, but on the collective and corroborating testimony of the experiences of several victims." - IHOP Leadership
Let me speak to the length because this highlights the cult like nature of IHOP. Now, the purpose driven church model creates these cult of personality pastors across this country, but IHOP took it to a new level. I refuse to believe that nobody had even a vague clue over 40 + years. We saw this recently with Ravi Zacarias, who was far more credible than Bickle. After is death it was revealed that Ravi lived a life opposite of his public pious persona, including networks of sex workers and massage parlors across the globe. One of the primary characteristics of a cult is the inability of anyone to challenge the grand leader. New students to IHOP were required to watch 12 hours of Bickle teachings and the infamous Kansas City prophets which rode him into town all those decades ago. It reminds me of the leaked materials used in children's ministries at Elevation Church that teaches kids about "Pastor Steven's" vision given to him by God. This is not meaningless beloved. This is dangerous, dangerous stuff. It is the same stuff that led to Jonestown and Waco.
Also, here we should remind everyone that these allegations have already been vetted by those who were closest to Bickle. Sure, we want a full investigation but enough of the knee jerk "if" statements. Someone said to me yesterday in a Facebook thread that "now we have to investigate these women." Absolutely disgusting. Bickle's right hand men and women have already said the allegations are credible and based upon collective and corroborating testimony of several victims. We need to drop the pretense of "if" and focus on what the extent is.
"Prior to meeting with the leadership team of IHOP, we attempted to bring the allegations and
the testimony of one of the victims directly to Mike Bickle in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17. How- ever, we were repeatedly rebuffed by Mike Bickle and we were refused any sort of meeting. Instead, Mike used manipulating and intimidating tactics towards the victims to isolate them and discredit them. To avoid further wounding of victims, we met with several members of
IHOPKC's Executive Leadership Team. There, we shared testimonies of these victims of Mike's inappropriate words and actions." - IHOP Leadership
I have made the cited Matthew verses the key verses listed above because so many misapply these verses. This deals with one brother sinning against another - not a Pastor sexually abusing his sheep! Are you kidding me! So, what if Bickle "listened" as the verses state? What if he said, yeah, I did that. Have you "gained a brother?" No! You have gained an admitted criminal! We have to stop abusing scripture to make excuses. I might add that Bickle not only rebuffed and denied any meeting, but it was discovered that Bickle used manipulation and intimidating tactics towards his victims - sheep who had been entrusted to him! He tried to isolate them! He tried to discredit them! So, if you are really following Matthew 18, where is the treatment of Bickle as a Gentile and tax collector? Think for a moment what that means. treating him as a Gentile would mean that we acknowledge he is not saved and never was. That he is a hell-bound reprobate. God also said to treat him as a tax collector. We know that tax collectors were reviled by the Jewish people. They were HATED because they took advantage of people, they claimed lineage with. Are you seeing the correlation yet? Do we see that now towards Bickle? NO! They are still saying they are concerned about Bickle, I have even heard some already talking about his ministerial restoration! Mark Driscoll stole $200,000 in tithe monies to cheat the NY Times Best Seller List, bullied everyone on his staff, and ran away in the night to avoid church discipline yet today he comfortably pastors another church in a different state. Years ago, Ted Haggard was the head of the Nation Association of Evangelicals and pastor of a Colorado church of 12,000 people. Despite being a rabid anti-homosexual preacher, he was caught having a 20-year sexual relationship with a male prostitute who he did crustal meth with. Today? He is comfortably pastoring a different church in Colorado. Instead of focusing on the wrong verses in Matthew we should focus on the verses that spell out the qualifications to be a pastor. Driscoll and Haggard disqualified themselves from the office. The same goes for Greg Locke today who lectures believers on moral issues while leading his church with his adulteress that wrecked his first marriage. God was not suggesting these qualifications. Mike Bickle was disqualified based on his false teachings years ago but now? 40+ years of sexual abuse?
"When these allegations were brought to our attention, we were shocked. We could never have imagined that inappropriate conduct with women as something we would ever need to be concerned about. The allegations seemed out of character to the man we thought we knew, but they were so serious we could not ignore them." - IHOP Leadership
Now granted, people can be very adept at hiding their true selves. Isn't it telling however that no one ever seems to know when these things happen? Wasn't the selling point Bickle had for starting IHOP based on multiple prophets? So, we are supposed to believe that multiple people who hear from God directly, had no clue that this man was a serial sexual abuser for decades? I remember after the independent investigation regarding Zacarias, that there had been a long history of signs, warnings and red flags that were ignored. He would routinely take a female masseuse with him on long "ministry" trips. With Bickle, he created an atmosphere of manipulation. I found a sermon from 2020 he gave about entertaining false accusations! C'mon. In order for this statement to be true, all leadership, apostles, prophets, and laypersons would all be duped. It is time we grow up and admit that we wanted to be duped. No one wants to believe the worst of someone who claims the mantle of Christ in a pastoral or leadership role but to pretend now that this just dropped out of the sky is disingenuous at best.
"The Scriptures inform us that leaders in the church, especially those who teach the Word of God, are held to a higher standard and stricter judgment. We believe that Mike Bickle's actions were not above reproach and fall short of biblical standards for leaders in the church. To be clear, the allegations made about Mike Bickle's misconduct were sexual in nature where the marriage covenant was not honored. Furthermore, the allegations made also reveal that Mike Bickle used his position of spiritual authority over the victims to manipulate them." - IHOP Leadership
Yeah, while this is all good, it is all very, very late. Another pause here to consider this point they keep emphasizing that it was "misconduct" sexual in nature that did not honor the marriage contract. Intended or not, this is not the time to sanitize the truth. The first real truth here is that this was not merely misconduct. If I tear the tags off my mattress that is misconduct. If my kid cuts out of school, that is misconduct. If a pastor violates his office by having sex with the sheep entrusted to him, manipulates them, marginalizes them, revictimizes them, and tries to discredit them, that is a smidge higher than "misconduct." Falls short of biblical standards? It falls short of basic human decency standards. I know it hurts for those who were truly deceived by this man, but Mike Bickle was not only teaching you false doctrine for decades, but he was a predator in his own church. He was a wolf in the sheep pen devouring whatever sheep he felt like and when they tried to fight back, he used his ministerial authority to intimidate and manipulate them. Stop whitewashing this.
"We do not share this process to fill in salacious details, but to protect the integrity of the victims and their experiences that were shared. We appeal to you to refrain from using names of any victims. These are women who have always been viewed as credible, trustworthy, and coura- geous. None of these victims had any intention to punish Mike Bickle and they had nothing to
gain by sharing their experiences except the pursuit of truth, repentance, mercy, and grace." - IHOP Leadership
Please. Statements like these are not to protect the victims but rather the victimizer. IHOP leadership could easily provide the details without compromising the identity of anyone. The details are the point. Perhaps people would stop idolizing this false teacher if they knew the details. It sure helped with the Ravi Zacarias case. Imagine if all we ever heard was pious blather and protecting the victims mantra. Instead, the independent investigation uncovered that from Malaysia to Thailand to South Korea, Ravi sexually abused multiple women over many years. He would import overseas masseuses, use ministry funds to support them, or take some American masseuse with him on overseas ministry trips. He would groom them as a father figure, provide them with needed money and then demand sex for the money including forcing them to pray with him to thank God for the opportunity they both received. He referred to these women as his reward for living life of service to God pointing out that many godly men in the bible had multiple wives. He chastised one that if she ever told, she would be responsible for millions of souls who would lose their salvation if his reputation was ever damaged. Those that tried to question the bringing of female masseuses on trips were branded as engaging in satanic-type slander. Are these details salacious? No beloved. The word salacious means an inappropriate interest in sexual matters. There is nothing inappropriate with the findings regarding Ravi Zacarias and there would be none for Mike Bickle either. We are adults and can handle the truth. Anything short of an independent investigation by an outside entity will seem clumsy and designed to cover up the truth and the victims, which includes all of the IHOP family, deserve better.
There are two final points being missed here. The first is this notion that everything else was ok with Mike Bickle, if only he didn't abuse all these women. No. Mike Bickle created a cult in Kansas City that thrived on secrecy, loyalty and bad false theology. He openly supported the Bridal Paradigm and created horrific worship music. The 24-7 prayer house is NOT biblical. It is just another Charismatic attempt to exalt man instead of God. To force kids supposedly in school to sustain this to all hours of the morning for your own ego and bragging is not a Christian venture. Neither are the other prayer houses that have crept up because of this false teaching. Defenders will scream that I am against prayer and that is ludicrous. Prayer is obviously a vital part of any believers' life. So is sleep. So is making sure you are not in a cult, being abused by your leader. Even if these allegations never came to light, Mike Bickle would remain one of the most egregious false teachers and prophets in the world.
Which brings us to the final point. IHOP needs to be burned to the ground. No, not the actual buildings. The idea. It seems the leadership thinks that removing Bickle solves the problems, but he was only the head of the snake. Having someone else step into that void of heresy and false teaching does not solve anything eternally. People will scream about the "IHOP community" but that is who this is for. Realize they were not only lied to for decades about who Mike Bickle really was, but they were lied to about everything. Listen to the survivors! Go read the horrific story of Bethany Deaton. Read about the missionary at IHOP accused of sexual abuse of a minor back in 2018. When the victim discovered this man was now working at IHOP she asked leadership how they could employ him. Their response was that he had provided them with a psychologist practioner report stating he had completed an 18-month repentance and restoration process. For sexually abusing a minor. Just 18 months of saying "my bad" and you are good to go into ministry again? Absolutely sick. We must look at the big picture of IHOP, which was founded on lies and false prophecies by a man who manipulated and abused people in the name of Jesus while creating some of the absolute worst heresies today. IHOP was Mike Bickle, and both now need to go away. Bickle needs to be forever remembered now as Ravi Zacarias. A liar who got caught. A huckster and a wolf. Beloved, wolves know the bible. They can preach probably better than half of the legitimate preachers today. Here is one of the statements from the leadership team, trying to salvage IHOP:
"We know there's lots of great questions to ask. In a time like this, you don't want to feel like it's not OK to ask questions. We just might not be able to answer all those questions at this time. And we hope that's OK. Because there's times like this where just careful, deliberate, slow answers can feel like secrecy." - David Sliker
Only fitting we close by a comment from someone named Sliker because this is pretty slick. It feels like secrecy Mr. Sliker because it is. It is time for the people who call themselves Christian to rise up in support of the sheep instead of the wolves. There is absolutely nothing redeemable at IHOP. There is nothing to salvage. The cult, its leader, the egomaniacal prayer house, the abuse of students, the abuse of women, the horrific worship music, the bridal paradigm, the false prophets, the false teachings - it all has to be burned to the ground. An outside investigation needs to release all of the details it can while protecting the victims. Any potential violations of law need to be properly investigated by law enforcement. Mike Bickle needs to go away and IHOP needs to be nothing but a stain and blight upon the history of Christianity that we should all learn from in the future.
Reverend Anthony Wade - November 1, 2023