JOIN US MAY 20-21 FOR RESTORE CONFERENCE

Mary
DeMuth

Scot
McKnight

Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 1.50.18 PM

Naghmeh
Panahi

Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Charisma CEO Calls Exposure of Mike Bickle’s Alleged Sex Abuse a ‘Spiritual Attack’

By Julie Roys and Rebecca Hopkins
Stephen Strang Charisma spiritual attack
Charisma Media CEO Stephen Strang calls exposure of alleged clergy sexual abuse by IHOPKC Founder Mike Bickle a "spiritual attack" in a podcast Thursday. (Source: Video screengrab)

In a podcast Thursday, Charisma Media CEO Stephen Strang repeatedly called exposure of alleged clergy sexual abuse by Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOPKC), a “spiritual attack.” He further claimed that “to burn the ministry to the ground is just the tool of Satan.” And he expressed hope that Bickle “reemerges in ministry stronger than . . . before.”

Strang used the strong language during his interview with IHOPKC Executive Director General Kurt Fuller on Strang’s podcast, the Strang Report.

Strang also stated that “charges were leveled about Bickle” on October 7—“the same day that Hamas attacked Israel.” (The first meeting with IHOPKC leaders concerning Bickle’s alleged clergy sex abuse was on Oct. 9, according to members of the so-called “advocate group,” working with alleged victims of Bickle’s.)

“This persecution is coming from within the Christian community,” Strang alleged. “. . . There have been people that are just waiting for this and are downright nasty. To burn a ministry to the ground is just the tool of Satan . . . I hope Mike Bickle—this is my opinion, as his friend—I hope he reemerges in ministry stronger than he ever has before.”

Stephen Strang IHOPKC Mike Bickle
IHOPKC Founder Mike Bickle in the office of Charisma CEO Stephen Strang in 2020. (Source: Facebook)

Strang’s comments sparked strong backlash on social media, with people labeling his actions a “PR campaign,” “master class on unbiblical leadership,” and “DARVO,” which stands for deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender.

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “What If Jesus Was Serious about the Church?” by Skye Jethani. To donate, click here.

Even on Strang’s YouTube page, most of the responses were negative.

“The Strang Report just imploded on itself with one of the most bantenly obsurd (sic) videos,” wrote someone named Ron Lagerquist. “. . . This is not an attack from Satan. This is a sad story of a man who could not keep it in his pants and used prophecy to manipulate young women.”

A few commenters supported Strang, though. One wrote Bickle is “innocent until proven guilty” and another stated, “Stephen Strang and General Fuller are taking the appropriate action that I believe Jesus would take.”

The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to Strang for comment, but he did not respond.

Enough!

Strang’s interview with Fuller published hours after Fuller announced in a video entitled “Enough!” that he would no longer negotiate with the “advocate group” (AG). Fuller also accused the AG of lying and referred to the AG, some of whom were founding members of IHOPKC, as “men I barely know.”

“I cannot and will not work with or concede to the demands of people who do not tell the truth,” Fuller said. “To do so would compromise my own principles and our organizational sovereignty. It would be completely irresponsible.’

The AG is comprised of 15 former, top IHOPKC leaders who brought the allegations against Bickle to IHOPKC leaders privately. Then, when their efforts didn’t produced the desired results, the AG published the allegations in late October.

Fuller and the AG have reached an impasse concerning who should conduct a third-party investigation into the allegations against Bickle. Fuller said he is sticking with the law firm IHOPKC hired in December, the Lathrop Group. The AG has claimed the Lathrop Group is not independent and has refused to work with Lathrop.

IHOPKC Fuller
Acting IHOPKC Executive Director Kurt Fuller says he won’t negotiate further with AG in announcement on Jan. 25, 2024. (Source: Video screengrab)

A day before Fuller’s announcement, the AG released three videos explaining their many failed attempts to report Bickle’s alleged misconduct to IHOPKC leaders before going public.

In one of them, former executive IHOPKC leader and AG member, Allen Hood, gave a tearful plea to the Church to hold Bickle accountable for the sake of the 24/7 prayer ministry.

“There is a man who had hiddenness for over 20 years,” Allen Hood said on the video. “He is my spiritual father and I’m crushed over it.”

 Yesterday, impassioned charismatic leader Michael Brown urged leaders in the charismatic Christian community to bypass IHOPKC and work with the AG to find an acceptable firm to conduct an independent investigation. Brown also refuted a claim by IHOPKC worship leader Misty Edwards that the AG had a preconceived plan to take down Bickle. Brown called the claim a myth that’s “evil.”

In the interview Thursday with Strang, Fuller defended the independence of IHOPKC’s investigation.

“I’m certain it’s going to show that we had no influence over (the investigator) during the course of her investigation,” Fuller said.

Fuller also said the results of Lathrop’s investigation, which just started last month, will be finished “very soon.” (A previous third-party investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by another IHOPKC employee, Brad Tebbutt, took 10 months.)

Strang repeatedly said he was trying to maintain objectivity about the Bickle scandal, while also denigrating the whistleblowers, whom he accused of trying to “cancel” Bickle.

“These people that apparently are offended or have some kind of grudge or they have some kind of axe to grind, bringing in lawyers which always complicates everything. . . not cooperating with General Fuller and releasing these videos and so forth,” Strang said. “That’s just wrong. They need to be confronted.”

IHOPKC defends Fuller’s accusations against the AG

On Thursday, IHOPKC Spokesman Eric Volz defended Fuller’s allegation the night before that the AG had lied to Fuller.

IHOPKC Spokesman Eric Volz
IHOPKC Spokesman Eric Volz

“General Fuller had heard whispers of a video production that was being created by the Advocate Group,” Volz posted on X. “After Christmas, he met with 3 members of the Advocate Group separately. All denied knowledge of these videos. All 3 are IN the videos which were produced on Dec 20th.”

Jono Hall, an AG member who produced the videos, responded on X that Fuller had asked if he was “editing a documentary” on IHOPKC and Hall said no. Hall said he didn’t tell Fuller about the videotaped interviews, released earlier this week, because he didn’t consider them a documentary.  

“(P)reparing a video statement is NOT a documentary,” Hall wrote. “I did not mention we had filmed a video as firstly I consider them very different things (remember I’ve been in media for many years) – I have filmed very few documentaries, I have filmed thousands of videos.”

Hall further explained that when the advocate group filmed the videos in December, they had hoped that negotiations for a third-party investigation would go well and they wouldn’t need to release them.

“It is truly heartbreaking that this is being played out in the public square,” Hall continued. “(B)ut at the same time – IHOPKC had been consistently maligning the AG in videos and public statements and we thought it might be helpful to communicate as transparently and honestly why this group of friends found themselves in this situation.”

Volz also posted on X yesterday that IHOPKC had asked for a recommendation of a third-party investigator from Boz Tchividjian, a consultant for the AG and attorney for a primary alleged victim of Bickle’s.

Volz said Tchividjian suggested attorney Amy Stier, who previously worked with Tchividjian at Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE). She’s also working with Tchividjian on a different case, Volz wrote, all of which disqualifies her.

Boz Tchividjian call police
Boz Tchividjian (Photo by Christopher Breedlove)

“Ms. Stier’s ongoing working relationship with Boz, prior relationship with IHOPKC, and the rules of professional legal ethics, clearly disqualify her for consideration as a legitimate independent third party,” Volz wrote.

Volz also reposted a video of Strang’s interview with Fuller.

In response, Tchividjian accused Volz of being “selective with the truth.” He said that just as IHOPKC had agreed they wouldn’t discuss the investigation with the investigator they chose (Lathrop), Tchividjian offered to sign an agreement that he would not discuss IHOPKC’s investigation with Stier.

Tchividjian also claimed that Stier had done a previous investigation for IHOPKC in 2018, which would have positioned her well to work with IHOPKC’s chosen investigator.

Tchividjian added that on Jan. 16, he and his clients agreed to IHOPKC’s proposal that they choose an investigator to work with IHOPKC’s chosen investigator, Lathrop’s Rosalee McNamara.

“We actually agreed to YOUR proposal and sent you a name within 24 hours and then we waited . . . and waited,” Tchividjian wrote. “The truth is that it was not until your public post this afternoon that you informed me that IHOPKC was not going to honor its own proposal that you had made to us just over a week ago. Was that a lie??”

Tchividjian finished his thread by accusing Volz of growing the crisis, instead of managing it.

“(Y)ou may be a great crisis manager when it comes to international abductions and persecutions,” Tchividjian said. “You are not a great crisis manager when it comes to matters related to sexual abuse and the Church. In fact, you’ve actually managed to grow this crisis to something even more unfathomable and tragic.”

Julie Roys is a veteran investigative reporter and founder of The Roys Report. Rebecca Hopkins is a journalist based in Colorado.

SHARE THIS:

GET EMAIL UPDATES!

Keep in touch with Julie and get updates in your inbox!

Don’t worry we won’t spam you.

More to explore
discussion

27 Responses

  1. The overall lack of humility tells me there’s a fire. How about being victim centered? How about learning to be trauma informed in your approach to “care?” Where are the pastors? Where are the healers? Where are the shepherds tending to wounds? I don’t see any of that in their handling of this. No wonder the world laughs at the American church’s witness in the world. Peace, peace… when there is no peace.

  2. The problem is, if Mike Bickle is guilty, his lawyer(s) will advise him to be silent; which is exactly the opposite of what he needs to do.

    If he does what they say, everything will be further harmed.

    1. I agree, maybe Mike should just have a meeting with the advocate group of women and just repent and ask them for forgiveness. Repentance will bring release and healing to them and to himself.

  3. It seems IHOP is taking a familiar, but failed approach to this issue. Stage #1 I don’t want to hear this. Stage #2 I heard it, but I don’t want anyone else to hear it. Stage #3 Some people heard it, so now I need to control what other people hear. Stage #4 I need to discredit, discourage and disavow the people who made me hear it. Stage #5 Pressure comes and people ask why did you not do anything, so I need to change the date I think I heard it first. Stage #6 Time to circle the wagons, double down and deny, deny deny. Stage #7 We do an internal investigation, but keep the findings within a need to know basis to protect the “victims” wink wink Stage #8 The internal investigation is deemed insufficient so now I have to figure out how to do a 3rd party investigation and at the same time control who sees the findings. Stage #9, Put the offender on “leave” “Paid” with no real restitution, restoration or repentance, but plenty of REPROACH and hope the smoke clears, memories are erased and things can just go back to normal asap. Stage #10 Start floating the word RESTORATION of the man of God, before the other “R” words (restitution and repentance) are ever addressed. Post script, instead of the people loosing faith in a single individual, now they have lost faith in the organization as a whole, because the cover-up becomes a bigger problem than the thing they were originally covering up. A tale of the Mega scandal, and just like it says on the bottle of shampoo, rinse and repeat. Take notes T.D. Jakes.

    1. Exactly. Well done. And then #11 – Cue teaching seminar on “How to Forgive” with major segment by perpetrator’s wife on working through steps toward forgiveness, including her personal story of her ungodly anger, subsequent holy spirit conviction, repentence and ‘season of healing’. God closes doors, windows open, etc, etc. PTL!!!!!!

  4. I can trust Strang and Fuller, defending Bickle, who abused his position as a pastor/predator…or I can trust Tchividjian and his history of seeking truth to support victims . It seems like a very easy choice to make, especially when Strang doesn’t seem to care about Bickle’s victims, which leads to questoins about his own lack of spiritual discernment. It also leads to questions about whether Strang and Fuller have things to hide, when their focus is on Bickle, at the expense of Bickle’s victims. It’s easy to self-righteously pontificate, while not caring about the victims or investing in the truth about victims, while supporting the one who has victimized women. But this also sets Strang and Fuller up to NOT learn from Willow Creeks board, to NOT learn from the Catholic church, to NOT learn from the SBC, and to NOT learn from Boy Scouts attempts to deny and distract from the truth.

  5. No surprise really… Strang and Co have shown a consistent lack of Biblical/Christian discernment for many years now… the spirit he follows is not the Holy Spirit, but something else…

    1. Andrew
      Well said – years ago I recognized that the NAR/Pentecostal community – esp. leadership – was something completely of the flesh and entirely disoriented religionists.

      Admittedly, having bought into fundamentalist pentecostalism for some years in my 20s and then getting out – though some years to finally peel back all the sewage – which is endless.

      I feel bad for the poor souls being duped – I mean Hagin’s “UN-holy laughter” – give me a break – the ridicule….

  6. What a brood of absolute vipers we have here! A general who acts like a general, not a humble leader that Jesus said had to be there. Volz is just a vicious snake and Strang is truly strange. No love here whatsoever. It is good though that this general is in charge because it broadcasts clear signals to everyone. The General gives everyone the middle finger while acting rudely and arrogantly, with no fruit of the Spirit whatsoever and it becomes clear to those stuck inside a false church what it really is, what it always has been. It is a dumpster fire run by narcissistic, whitewashed septic tanks who have zero relationship with Jesus and when he falls on them and crushes them they will have no idea who just did that.

    The only way forward is out and for those who went to start humbly asking the Holy Spirit where they went so very wrong? Most everything that they thought was supernatural has always been fake and that is a very rude wake-up call as I knew some people who were deceived by this exact group.

    1. Ralph, my profound experience from years ago with IHOPKC was real, genuine and life changing. However I don’t know if, in recent years, the real presence of God was grieved and quenched because of these practices being alleged—then snake oil theology began to seduce and delude the masses. Satan is the master deceiver. He wants all of us to question the moments when God profoundly met us where we were. We need to pray for discernment. But, in my humble opinion, we must stand our ground, boldly, and say we will not let these attacks on the church, diminish our faith. 🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼

  7. We have to keep our comments under 300 words, so I’ll edit way back. But my experience with IHOPKC started in its early days. I’ve had real, transformative life experiences stem from that ministry. Our church started its own IHOP, which later lost steam because the pastor didn’t know how to sit back and let Holy Spirit move, freely. I don’t know if Mike Bickle is an evil, predatory monster or if he’s an innocent martyr. But I do know that the only way our world will survive what’s coming, is by the power of our partnering with ALL God wants to do in and through us. And it’s obvious Satan does NOT want that. So, we pray, fast and ask Him for revelation for how to defeat what’s behind what we’re seeing here.

    1. It’s all in the Good Book. Have a read some day. It’s God’s revelation to humanity. BTW the future of the world is not based on ‘our partnering’ but solely on the power of God’s Will. Our Father who is in Heaven . . .
      If we think otherwise we end up building empires and worshipping demigods.

      1. BTW I read God’s word, daily. And I pray like I’m breathing. I am weak and I sin. I know my limitations. And the fact that your dismissive, backhanded comment ‘bugs’ me, shows me my limitations. But I know He created you and me for relationship and partnership. I know He loves you and He loves me, even when we’re ‘not lovable’. He created Adam and Eve because He wanted a family. I know He has a plan for you and he wants to work in and through you as a hand fits in a glove. He wants to work through me, even when I don’t feel like I’m ready yet. Moses was a stutterer and didn’t feel confident. So God told Moses to have Aaron help him. We’re not here to sit on our thumbs. We have things to do, with His help. If that’s not partnership and relationship, I don’t not what is.

  8. Strang is Bickle’s publisher. Charisma House published, among other titles, “Growing In The Prophetic.” Its cover says 100,000+ sales. Venture to guess Strang pocketed at least $1,000,000 off Bickle from that one book alone. Reason enough to defend him and promote his return asap. Possible that Strang is following the Almighty Dollar, not the Almighty God.

  9. Steven Strang is so odd and has never seemed genuine to me. I couldn’t even watch this episode all the way through. In the first several minutes, he did all of the talking. And his voice and demeanor are so grating. I may go back and finish listening later. But I really don’t value his stance on anything.

  10. IHOP does need to burn to the ground. it is founded on false prophecy and false doctrine, and very subtly leavened with works while cloaked in “holiness.” It has vacuumed up the best and brightest among us to serve at its altar, and it should be no surprise that virgins are sacrificed to empower this Masonic Temple pyramid. The Most High is laying it low and what has been revealed is just the tip of the iceberg of a greater network of a secret boys club of puffed up super apostles and prophets. Bickle is one of many trafficking in young women. These NAR idols are falling. (P.S., I am NOT a cessationist, but if those who call themselves full gospel, will not clean up this mess then God will, and he will use the secular media, and insist and donkeys if he hast to.)

  11. I remember when Charisma magazine began. It seemed “all that”, having a glossy for the Pentecostal movement to go with the TV presence, the music, the productions, the busy churches. But that was before the hot mess the ‘charismatic’ movement, and now by extension, evangelicalism, in all its hubris and narcissism has become. Add celebrity leader worship, The Prophetic and its weird iterations (and on social media, no less), self-proclaimed apostles, Trumpism (!), and you have one of the most offensive chapters of American Christianity in our national history.
    Of course Strang calls the Bickle accusations a “spiritual attack”. There is zero common sense, zero morality, zero accountability anywhere to be found in this bubble. Deny, deflect, denigrate victims, keep an indefensible ‘ministry’ afloat so yet another offering can be taken. (Maybe it is good that they don’t seem to realize how many people are leaving and choosing a better way. Perhaps only lawsuits and legal action may eventually help them see the light. Time will tell.)

  12. I cannot speak to Mr. Strang’s motives or sincerity, but it is understandable why organizations like ‘Charisma’ defend the leaders of the contemporary Charismatic Movement since they have spent decades championing it and them. The problem is larger than IHOP. The Charismatic Movement has been infiltrated and corrupted by false teachings for decades. The Prosperity Gospel, Word of Faith, “Bridal” and other forms of mysticism, and practices of divination have all contributed to the transformation of the original Charismatic Movement. Something is fundamentally wrong when subjective personal experiences not only take precedence over clear scriptures, but are pursued with more vigor than the careful study of the Bible. Moreover, the leadership today is run by deceivers, false prophets, and con artists who “make merchandise” of God’s flock. It is big business. The Charismatic Movement was never well-grounded in Scripture, which goes to the heart of the problem. One must only study IHOP’s “prophetic narrative” to understand that it is built on false prophecies from known false prophets, one in particular, as well as nonbiblical teachings. This is not to pick on IHOP. The problem is Movement-wide, and a thorough housecleaning if not complete reconstruction by God is required. I believe in the gifts of the Spirit. But we must return to the Apostolic Tradition preserved in the New Testament so we can see what it teaches rather than looking for new “revelations” or secret knowledge from dreams, angelic visitations, lunar cycles, or excursions to the “third heaven.” The Jesus of Scripture, the “Crucified Messiah,” can only be understood through Calvary, not the ‘Song of Solomon’ or the meditative techniques of medieval Catholic mystics.

  13. Since Strang claims to be a reporter of sorts, shouldn’t he at least interview the other side… the Advocate Group. Ask them tough questions and expose them if they lack substantive answers instead of lobbing allegations from within one’s echo chamber.

    “For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light” ~Jesus

  14. I had to divide my response into two parts because it’s over 300 words. So here’s the first part:

    Do you guys remember when someone claimed to have found a hypodermic needle in a Pepsi can and when someone claimed to have found a fingertip in their Chili from Wendy’s? The people who filed the lawsuits didn’t know the manufacturing process and didn’t plan on the lawyers doing forensic testing and so forth. Their claims were lies. And the companies were able to prove that their lies cost the companies millions of dollars. In the comments in the first Roy’s Report that was all Jane Does claims, a reader said they weren’t going to support IHOP anymore. Was anyone else suspicious when we found out the Me Too people got involved? Did anyone else notice how quickly the leadership team moved to have MB ousted? Did y’all notice that the AG wants to control IHOPs finances? Is anyone else suspicious that the AG group won’t submit to an investigation? Why? What are they hiding? Has anyone read Misty’s letter posted on FB and X? She said they’ve been told what to say, they’ve been harassed etc. All of the ladies that were supposed victims say they are not. So in all actuality, they have 1 Jane Doe and she has no evidence. Just claims. She basically has no case.

  15. Here’s the second part:

    She basically has no case. One day, maybe we’ll find out that there was a Judas in IHOP leadership who wanted MB out and to be able to control IHOP’s money. And in all of this—- MB has lost his ministry and been treated like a child molester in that he can’t be anywhere near the property. Based on what?? Claims (not evidence) by 1 Jane Doe from 20 yrs ago. His ministry was taken from him and he was found guilty —— not by evidence—- but by claims. I think at the end of all of this, MB would have every right to hire a lawyer and sue for the money lost just like Pepsi did. And has anyone talked about Mike being restored? I haven’t heard it. Jane Doe forgave him 20 yrs ago and continued to work for him until recently. Maybe Mike believes his past sins are under the blood. Maybe that’s good enough for Mike, Diane, and Jane Doe. Shouldn’t that be good enough for us? Maybe making decisions and quickly acting off of claims and not waiting for the evidence was a bad decision. We have to learn to handle these crisis in the tight way and not just jump to the way the world handles thing

    1. Your observations have not aged very well, have they? Now Mr. Bickle has confessed in writing to being pleasured by another “Jane Doe”. . . although he stressed that it was only her touching him, and not him touching her. . . .

Leave a Reply

The Roys Report seeks to foster thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Toward that end, the site requires that people register before they begin commenting. This means no anonymous comments will be allowed. Also, any comments with profanity, name-calling, and/or a nasty tone will be deleted.
 
MOST RECENT Articles
MOST popular articles
en_USEnglish

Donate

Hi. We see this is the third article this month you’ve found worth reading. Great! Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation to help our journalists continue to report the truth and restore the church?

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “What If Jesus Was Serious about the Church?” by Skye Jethani.