IHOPKC Cuts Ties With Mike Bickle Over ‘Inappropriate Behavior’
(RNS) — Leaders of the International House of Prayer, an influential charismatic evangelical prayer and mission group based in Kansas City, announced Friday (Dec. 22) that they have cut ties with founder Mike Bickle.
In late October a group of former IHOPKC leaders accused Bickle of a pattern of alleged clergy sexual misconduct. Earlier in December, Bickle admitted some past misconduct but said that many of the allegations against him were false.
“With a very heavy heart I want to express how deeply grieved I am that my past sins have led to so much pain, confusion, and division in the body of Christ in this hour,” Bickle said in an online statement. “I sadly admit that 20+ years ago, I sinned by engaging in inappropriate behavior—my moral failures were real.”
On Friday, IHOPKC announced that Bickle was no longer part of the group.
“Since taking over management of the crisis, the Executive Committee has received new information to now confirm a level of inappropriate behavior on the part of Mike Bickle that requires IHOPKC to immediately formally and permanently separate from him,” said spokesman and crisis management consultant Eric Volz in a video posted on YouTube.
Volz said that IHOPKC leaders did not have permission to share details about Bickle’s alleged misconduct, only saying an investigation into allegations against him is in process.
The spokesman also announced that Stuart Greaves, executive director of IHOPKC, had resigned, without giving any reason for why he had done so.
Bickle has long been an influential figure in charismatic Christian circles. An early leader in the Vineyard movement, he split with the group in the 1990s over theology and clashes with its founder, John Wimber, and other leaders. Bickle is perhaps best known for founding IHOP, which began holding round-the-clock prayer seven days a week in 1999 and later became a missionary movement.
Bickle has also been a leader in the New Apostolic Reformation, which stresses the idea the church should be led by modern-day prophets and apostles.
IHOPKC leaders released an initial report in November casting doubt on the allegations against Bickle, based on an internal review, but Volz announced earlier this month that IHOPKC had hired the Lathrop Group to investigate further. IHOPKC, which is paying for the review and signed the contract with the Lathrop Group, says the investigation is independent.
Volz said the decision to cut ties with Bickle shows why an independent investigation is needed. He also said IHOPKC leaders have pledged to “implement any and all changes necessary to church policies, procedures and culture to ensure that IHOPKC does not travel down this difficult road again.”
Advocates for alleged survivors of abuse, including attorney Boz Tchividjian, say they want the truth about the allegations but are skeptical that the Lathrop Group investigation will be independent. They cite a statement on the firm’s website that boasts of its work to defend religious groups dealing with abuse allegations.
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