In the latest episode of “The Strang Report,” Charisma Founding Editor Stephen Strang delves into the ongoing investigation at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, particularly focusing on its founder, Mike Bickle, and the accusations being made against him.
Strang shares his heart on the need for restoration for all parties involved, and is deeply concerned for the impact this controversy will have on the body of Christ. There is history between Charisma and Bickle dating back to 1990 through early coverage of 24/7 prayer at IHOP.
“I want you to know that I believe in him [Bickle]. He is my friend. I do not hide it,” shares Strang. “I don’t think it’s ever wrong to stand for your friends. And no matter how this comes out, Mike Bickle is my friend. That doesn’t mean I excuse anything Mike Bickle does or has done.”
Strang expresses the pain he feels for the broader Christian community: “I am a journalist, I seek for the truth. I want the truth. I love the body of Christ. And for me, part of the pain of all this is what it’s doing to the body of Christ,” Strang explains.
Strang acknowledges wrongdoing on both sides and emphasizes his careful approach to the matter. He recounted a previous podcast interview with IHOPKC’s General Kurt Fuller, now the Chairman of the Board, stressing the importance of a balanced perspective.
“Sadly, some of the nastiest fights are church fights,” Strang says. “And unless you’ve been in a church split, you don’t know how nasty it can get. And the thing is that most people on both sides of the church fight, maintain that they’re righteous and the other people are unrighteous. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.”
Strang noted an exception with Bickle, in his stance over a number of years of not defending himself if some matter arose.
Strang’s discussion revolves around the spiritual restoration that needs to take place on both sides of the investigation. Citing Galatians 6:1, he argues that individuals caught in transgressions can be restored with a spirit of meekness. Drawing from his roots in the Assemblies of God, Strang pointed to examples of other leaders such as Jim Bakker and Ted Haggard, who went through periods of restoration after public scandals.
“I believe that the apostle Paul writing to the Galatians said very clearly that people can be restored. I come from a denominational background that has a path to restoration for ministers who are repentant, and to their credit have always stood for righteousness. And they’re very quick if somebody messes up to deal with it, unlike some groups where it seems almost anything goes. But they also have a way that people can be restored,” Strang says.
“There’s other examples that I could cite, including my own mentor and longtime friend Jamie Buckingham, who died in 1992,” shares Strang. “Jaime had two, kind of crash and burns, both of them affairs. He, in two different churches, he was run out of town both times. He’s written about this, in several of his books, and all this happened before I knew him. It was a real crushing season for him, he described himself as being a very prideful Baptist preacher. And, and he was totally humiliated. But it was through that crushing that he became open to the Holy Spirit in 1967.”
Strang raises questions about the validity of the accusations against Bickle, emphasizing the need to consider the perspectives of all parties involved. He references a statement from Jane Doe’s, published by Misty Edwards on X, who claim they were involuntarily labeled and had narratives constructed by others. Strang urges a careful examination of the entire situation, questioning why some Jane Doe’s are believed while others are not.
This “Appeal and Protest Statement” is a collaboration with “Jane Does” who have been wrongfully identified by the “advocates” and some of those associated with them. Having read this, I am glad that our voices can finally be heard. #ihopkc https://t.co/BTF2YF78SG
— misty edwards (@mistydedwards) January 18, 2024
Strang also cites other complexities in this controversy, including social media reactions and criticisms faced by Strang for advocating the possibility of Bickle’s restoration. While emotions are running high on both sides of the investigation, Strang reinforces the importance of compassion, avoiding judgment and focusing on the bigger issues at hand.
“There’s been quite a bit on social media as a result of my last podcast, [and] I stand by the podcast. I was attacked for saying that he could be restored. But I’ve answered that with that Scripture from Galatians. And explained that my perspective is that ministers being restored is something admirable….as far as Mike Bickle is concerned, he will survive this, his name and reputation in some ways will always be tarnished,” Strang says.
Throughout, Strang grapples with the spiritual warfare aspect of the controversy, expressing concern for the potential vulnerability of all ministries if a prominent one like IHOPKC can be tarnished. He calls for prayer, forgiveness and support for the parties involved at IHOPKC.
“Most people, even most leaders, have done something they would not want [brought] out, and the enemy would want to destroy all the different ministries. So let’s forgive. Let’s stand together. Let’s be supportive of the leadership, they have a very great responsibility.”
James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma’s best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.