Originally published in The Christian Post
More than a month after leaders of International House of Prayer Kansas City announced that at least one allegation of abuse including “sexual immorality” made against the ministry’s founder Mike Bickle has “some credibility”, the embattled minister confessed on Tuesday to sinful misconduct he committed over 20 years ago.
“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. I sadly admit that 20+ years ago, I sinned by engaging in inappropriate behavior — my moral failures were real,” Bickle said in a statement published on his Facebook page Tuesday, while adding, “I am not admitting to the more intense sexual activities that some are suggesting.”
Bickle’s confession comes after a woman identified as Jane Doe by The Roys Report alleged that for approximately three years, from 1996 to 1999, Bickle paid for her apartment, gave her a key to his office, and engaged in every sexual act with her except copulation. She said the IHOPKC founder wooed her with Scripture when she was just 19, and he was 42, then made her a kept woman for several years as he established his now popular ministry.
IHOPKC founding member Dwayne Roberts, former IHOPKC Executive Leadership Team member Brian Kim and former Forerunner Church Pastor Wes Martin revealed in a joint statement in October that they were the ones who first confronted IHOPKC leaders about the allegations against Bickle spanning “several decades.”
They alleged that before meeting with IHOPKC’s leadership team, they attempted to discuss the allegations with Bickle directly “in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17” but they were rebuffed. They claimed that Bickle also attempted to intimidate, isolate, manipulate and discredit his alleged victims.
“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 former IHOPKC ministry workers said. “The allegations seemed out of character to the man we thought we knew, but they were so serious we could not ignore them.”
In its Report on Initial Findings, IHOPKC’s executive leadership team said they treated the allegations against Bickle as credible and asked him to step away from public ministry on October 24, when they were first confronted with the allegations.
The IHOPKC leaders also noted that they identified five of some eight women who the complaint group alleges are Bickle’s victims and found the evidence thin. Three of the alleged victims called the allegations “lies.'” One of the alleged victims refused to communicate with the attorneys for the ministry. Only Jane Doe was found credible. Bickle said in his statement that he believed he had repented of that sin long ago until it resurfaced recently.
“I hate my sin and I see it as serious and grievous before a holy God. I take all sin seriously, so on those occasions I quickly and sincerely repented in a way that resulted in receiving assurance from God followed by a daily resolve to live holy in all of my ways. God graciously helped me to respond in those times with a broken and contrite heart that was filled with godly sorrow,” Bickle added in his personal statement.
“To this day, I remain sorrowful about those past failures. I am anguished that my past sins have caused great pain for my wife and family along with the IHOPKC family, and others. I am deeply sorry that my sin put the IHOPKC leadership and community in a very painful and difficult position. I asked my family for forgiveness. I now ask for forgiveness from the IHOPKC family and many in the body of Christ,” he added.
“Some may wonder why I am just now making a public statement 20+ years later? It is because I was recently confronted about things that I said or did 20+ years ago — things I believed were dealt with and under the blood of Jesus. Since this has now become public, I want to repent publicly,’ Bickle continued.
He said on Oct. 28, he completed a draft of the statement he published Tuesday, but he was “given legal advice to wait to make my statement public for several important reasons — mincluding creating the misunderstanding that I was confessing to the false allegations that were circulating.”
“I am very sorry that it took so long for this personal statement to come out. This delay created additional pain, anguish, division, and more for so many people that I love. I am deeply sorry for this,” he said.
He pushed back against media reports written about him since late October, saying they contain “many misrepresentations of my words and actions” and “statements that are out of context, greatly exaggerated, or blatantly false.”
“I ask that my family and friends do not defend me. I have confidence that the Lord will speak concerning what He sees and says about me in His timing. Please do not engage in debates on social media to defend me and please do not criticize those who are voicing their disdain for me,” he said.
Bickle also noted that he is prepared to permanently refrain from public ministry as a result of his sin, if that is what God wants him to do.
“For an extended season, I will not engage in my public preaching ministry (conferences, social media, zooms, etc.)—I see this as God’s ‘delayed’ loving discipline on my life (Heb. 12:6, 11). I will look to other leaders to determine how long this season will last—it may be long, and it may even be permanent,” he said. “I will only reengage in my public preaching ministry if God confirms it through others. I am at peace with whatever He wants (2 Sam. 15:25-26).”
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