The International House of Prayer in Kansas City on Friday officially 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 this month, 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,” he said in an online statement. “I sadly admit that 20-plus years ago, I sinned by engaging in inappropriate behavior — my moral failures were real.”
IHOPKC announced that Bickle no longer is 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,” Eric Volz, a spokesman and crisis management consultant, said in a video posted on YouTube.
He added that IHOPKC leaders do not have permission to share details about Bickle’s alleged misconduct, saying only that an investigation into allegations against him is in process.
Volz 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 founder John Wimber and other leaders. Bickle perhaps is 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 also has been a leader in the New Apostolic Reformation, which stresses the idea that 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 the organization 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.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice