Mike Bickle (minister)

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Mike Bickle
Mike Bickle.jpg

Mike Bickle (born 1955)[1] is an American Evangelical Christian leader best known for his leadership of the International House of Prayer (IHOPKC). As the leader of IHOPKC Bickle oversees several ministries and a Bible school. Bickle has written a number of books and served as the pastor of multiple churches.[2]

Ministry[edit]

Mike Bickle became an evangelical Christian when he was fifteen when his football coach paid his way to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes student conference in Estes Park, Colorado. After listening to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach speak of his "personal relationship with Jesus," Bickle committed himself to become an evangelical Christian.[3]

After serving as a pastor in several evangelical churches in St. Louis, Bickle moved to Kansas City to start the Kansas City Fellowship (now known as Metro Christian Fellowship) in November 1982. Eventually, Metro Christian Fellowship joined the Association of Vineyard Churches led by John Wimber in 1990 and remained a part of that association of churches until 1996. During his tenure as the pastor of Metro Christian Fellowship, Bickle pastored a group known to both detractors and supporters as the Kansas City Prophets that, by some accounts, included Bob Jones, Paul Cain, John Paul Jackson, and others. Bickle asserted no formal group known as the Kansas City Prophets ever existed, but that the term "clustered a whole bunch of personalities into one group and one stereotype."[3]

During his ministry, Bickle claims to have had several encounters with God, including hearing the audible voice of God and being taken to heaven twice.[4]

In 1999, Bickle left the church that he was pastoring, Metro Christian Fellowship, then a megachurch of over three thousand members, after he was fired over various internal conflicts and controversies, in order to start the International House of Prayer (also known by its acronym IHOPKC).[5] IHOPKC is most well known for its daily prayer meetings based on its "harp and bowl" worship model that are held 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year since September 19, 1999. IHOPKC also established a Bible college, known as the International House of Prayer University and several internships for young adults. In addition to these training programs, IHOPKC also organizes various evangelism and charitable programs locally and internationally. The ministry currently consists of approximately 2,500 full-time staff members, students, and interns.[6][7]

IHOPKC organizes the annual onething conference at the Kansas City Convention Center. In 2010, the event saw over 25,000 young adults attend. The conference focuses on worship music and sermons on prayer, evangelism, and Christian eschatology.[8][9]

Bickle is known for dressing casually while preaching and for his avoidance of "charismatic self-referentiality".[10][11]

Theology[edit]

Bickle's teachings have primarily focused on prayer, worship, fasting, the Great Commandment, with his own Trinitarian interpretation, the Great Commission, spiritual gifts, and the Bible with a particular focus on Passion for Jesus, the first commandment, and preparing people spiritually by understanding what Jesus said about the end-times.[12]

In 1988 Bickle began studying the Song of Songs, a book that he had dismissed in the past as being only for women. He interprets the Song of Songs as an allegory of the relationship between the body of believers (= the church) and God. After studying this book for several years, he began to focus his ministry primarily on the Great Commandment.[2]

Bickle teaches extensively on prayer. Bickle began teaching on the Tabernacle of David in 1983 after an experience in which he claims to have heard the audible voice of God.[13] He encourages churches and Christian ministries to develop a "culture of prayer" by developing continuous worship and prayer.[2][14]

Bickle has also focused some of his teaching on God's spiritual purposes for Israel. He believes that it is important for Christians to pray for the spiritual salvation of the Jews.[15]

Bickle also focuses much of his teaching on Christian eschatology. He has taught extensively about the Millennium, advocating historical premillennialism. Bickle believes that the Second Coming of Christ can occur within the next hundred years though he is quick to relate that no one can know the timing of Jesus' return with certainty.[2]

Reception[edit]

Various criticisms of aspects of Bickle's theology and ministry practices exist. Aspects of his ministry which have been particularly controversial include his view of the prophetic ministry today.[16] Most of the criticism involving Bickle's ministry, however, focuses on the sexual activities of some of the ministers that were closely connected with his ministry in the 80s and 90s, including Bob Jones[17][18] and Paul Cain though neither has been involved with Bickle's ministry for several years as a result.[19][20][18]

In 1990 Kansas City pastor Ernie Gruen published a report entitled "Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teaching of the Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries)". After the publication of this document, Bickle announced that he was submitting to John Wimber's oversight and joined the Association of Vineyard Churches in part to address the issues raised by his critics.[21][22][23][24] Bickle later noted that "We were tempted to say that the attacks were all of the devil. In retrospect, we see that God’s hand in all of this - even using the things that came from Satan’s hand as well. Some of the criticisms were valid (especially concerning our pride) others were not."[25][26]

Bickle's ministry has since been endorsed by several American Evangelical leaders, including Dr. Jack W. Hayford, Bill Bright, Loren Cunningham, Francis Chan, Jack Deere, and C. Peter Wagner.[27][28]

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Riss, Richard M. (2002). "Bickle, Mike". In Stanley M. Burgess. The new international dictionary of Pentecostal and charismatic movements. (Rev. and expanded ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House. p. 417. ISBN 0310224810. 
  2. ^ a b c d Yoars, Marcus (1 November 2010). "We Won’t Stop Praying". Charisma. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Hipp, Deb (10 October 2002). "Return of the Prophets". The Pitch (Kansas City). Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "This IHOP serves generous portions of prayer". Reading Eagle (Reading, Pennsylvania). McClatchy-Tribune. 8 August 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Round-the-clock prayer group trades riches for religion `IHOP' teams live with little more to give". The Washington Times. 5 April 2001. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Ministry Marks 10 Years of Nonstop Prayer and Worship, retrieved 2010-09-24 
  7. ^ About Mike Bickle, retrieved 2010-09-23 
  8. ^ LeClaire, Jennifer (28 December 2010). "25,000 Young Adults Gather at IHOP Conference". Charisma. Retrieved 9 February 2011. 
  9. ^ Bickle, Mike (December 2008), PODCAST: The Great Role for this Generation, Kansas City, MO: International house of prayer Onething'08, retrieved 2008-12-16 [dead link]
  10. ^ "Resuscitating spiritual passion `New breed' of pastors relies less on formal training and more on Jesus". The Washington Times. 6 July 2001. Retrieved 9 February 2011. 
  11. ^ Poewe, Karla (1994). Charismatic Christianity as a global culture. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-87249-996-6. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  12. ^ Grady, J. Lee (December 29, 2009), "Where Is God Going? Seven Spiritual Trends of the ’00 Decade", Charisma Magazine (December 2009), paragraph 6, retrieved 2010-09-25 
  13. ^ Bickle, Mike (September 9, 2007), God’s Desire to Find a Resting Place on Earth, pp. section I paragraph A., retrieved 2008-02-13  "In the May 1983 Solemn Assembly (corporate 21 days of fasting), the Lord spoke audibly commissioning us, saying: 'I will release 24-hour prayer in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David'.”
  14. ^ Walker, Ken (Sept–October 1990), "The Rise of Prophetic Worship", Ministry Today (Lake Mary, FL: Strang Communications Company), OCLC 132797310 
  15. ^ Falk, Gerhard (2006). The Restoration of Israel: Christian Zionism in Religion, Literature, and Politics. Peter Lang. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-8204-8862-2. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  16. ^ Maudlin, Michael G. (January 14, 1991), "Seers in the Heartland", Christianity Today 35 (1): 18–21, ISSN 0009-5753  "Several cult-watching groups have expressed apprehension, and a few, condemnation. Even some Vineyard churches have expressed grave concerns about the direction the prophets are taking them."
  17. ^ Bickle, Mike (Fall 1989), "Visions and Revelations" Mike Bickle interviews Bob Jones, (audiotape)  Background info on Bob Jones
  18. ^ a b "Kansas City 'Prophet' Disciplined", Christianity Today 36 (3), March 9, 1992: 67, ISSN 0009-5753 "Vineyard leaders took strong steps recently to discipline well-known "prophet" Bob Jones after Jones admitted to "Sexual misconduct (not adultery)" with two women." "Vineyard leadership also is supporting the Joneses through regular counseling, visits by the Kansas City Metro Vineyard leadership, and monetary contributions."
  19. ^ Joyner, Rick; Bickle, Mike; Deere, Jack (October 25, 2007), Special Bulletin, No. 37, retrieved 2008-02-03 
  20. ^ Grady, J. Lee (March 2005), Prophetic Minister Paul Cain Issues Public Apology for Immoral Lifestyle (– Scholar search), Altamonte Springs, FL: Charisma and Christian Life, ISSN 0279-0424, retrieved 2008-01-28 [dead link]
  21. ^ Gibson, Keith (May/June 2007.), "Speaking for God? A Response to the Apostolic and Prophetic Movement", Areopagus Journal 7 (3): 67, ISSN 1542-040X  Gibson notes "To Bickle, apparently, the Trinity is one of those "lesser doctrines" around which a true prophet may be misinformed."
  22. ^ Grady, J. Lee (Sept–October 1990), "Resolving the Kansas City Prophecy Controversy", Ministries Today (Lake Mary, FL: Strang Communications Company): 50–51, OCLC 132797310  "Gruen says he first became troubled about some of KCF's doctrines after a disagreement with Bickle during a pastor's retreat in 1984." and "In a surprise announcement, he [Wimber] said that Bickle and his associates had agreed to submit themselves to his oversight and become part of Wimber's Vineyard Ministries. The KCF network of fellowships would become Vineyard churches."
  23. ^ Beverly, James A. (1995), Holy laughter and the Toronto blessing: an investigative report, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, p. 180, ISBN 978-0-310-20497-8 
  24. ^ Poloma, Margaret M. (2003), Main Street Mystics: The Toronto Blessing & Reviving Pentecostalism, Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, p. 151, ISBN 978-0-7591-0353-5  "Despite the accusations of 'false prophecy and misconduct' directed at Bickle, Wimber stood by the Kansas City prophets and encouraged Bickle to bring his church into the AVC."
  25. ^ Bickle, Mike; Sullivant, Michael (1996), Growing in the Prophetic, Orlando, FL: Charisma House, ISBN 0-88419-426-4 
  26. ^ Maudlin, Michael G. (January 14, 1991), "Seers in the Heartland", Christianity Today 35 (1): 18–21, ISSN 0009-5753  "To cap it all off, Mike Bickle received public correction (from Wimber) for exaggerating some prophecies, for allowing too much latitude with some prophetic ministers, and for unnecessarily provoking other Kansas City churches for making unwise statements about the role of KCF."
  27. ^ Endorsements, archived from the original on 2011-12-10, retrieved 2012-05-20 
  28. ^ Deere, Jack (1993), Foreword, Passion for Jesus, pp. Page ix 

External links[edit]