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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

Just Mercy: Why IHOPKC Needs a New Third-Party Investigation

‘Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.’ Thomas Aquinas


Remarkable. Tragic. IHOPKC is dissolving before our eyes. How could something solid (24/7 prayer) led by someone true (Mike Bickle) disintegrate in 6 months?


Mercy without Justice

Perhaps IHOPKC tried so hard to grant mercy—God’s unmerited pardon of human failings—that it failed to recognize and remedy its own. Mercy may well triumph over the judgment incurred by sin (Jm. 2:13) but some sins bite and devour the saints. Especially those visited upon sheep by shepherds.


Riffing on Aquinas, Joseph Pieper writes that ‘justice is the virtue which enables humanity to give to each one his or her due’ (The Four Cardinal Virtues). That means that we as social creatures have some rights, some basic needs that others must recognize. What is ‘due us’ need not involve huge entitlements, just protection of basic human dignities. No justice, no dignity. And no clarity as to what we need mercy for—the sins we commit or are committed against us—that can invite His unfailing love and begin a process of healing and restoration.

Many have accused IHOPKC of a host of injustices. For mercy to restore the abused, objective markers of ‘abuse’ must be ascertained.


That’s not as easy as it sounds. Abuse—the misuse of power—is big business these days. The term is itself abused, so much so that those truly abused get lost in the cultural clamor of trauma without end. A ‘victim’s’ convincing internet accusation (where you become judge and jury) can assassinate the character of one innocent until proven otherwise; it also launches civil suits that can score the ‘victim’ million-dollar settlements.


Big money and big reputations are at stake today. ‘Influencers’ hope to manipulate the system to prove a point, even if the point is a minor one that is more ‘offense’ than real ‘abuse.’ For example, inviting persons with same-sex attraction to heal through a community of mercy is viewed by many in today’s culture as ‘abuse,’ a Christian abuse of power for men and women who just want to have fun. Who determines what?


That is why a new third-party investigation is essential for IHOPKC. The latter hired a lawyer to investigate this mess, but the block of credible witnesses didn’t participate due to mistrust of the rather implausible lawyer IHOPKC hired. Her weak report did justice to no one, in my humble opinion.


For mercy to begin to heal the abused, justice must be served. Justice hinges on an objective report involving experts, not Internet ‘influencers,’ who can use their skills to distinguish felonies from misdemeanors, true guilt from innocence. That applies to those claiming abuse as well as to alleged abusers, including Mike Bickle.


Justice without Mercy    

Is there restoration for Mike and others from IHOPKC? Can trust be rebuilt for those undermined by IHOPKC leaders? Merciful Jesus can do both. But objectivity is essential. Personal recollections and recounted memories are subjective by nature and need to be submitted to a controlled fire—an extended scrutiny as to separate wheat from chaff.  


We need a new third-party investigation process that highlights both wounds and wounders so that ‘what is lame may not be disabled but rather healed’ (Heb. 12:13).


Most dodge the hard work of such scrutiny. Restoration demands it. Jesus makes the narrow way possible. Warning: I have participated in many expressions of disciplining shepherds who failed to keep their bodily commitments of chastity with sheep or with each other.


My goal? Restoration of the shepherd, justice for the wounded sheep. In every case, I have been accused by the accused and his loyalists of being heavy-handed and rigorous. Those who shine the light of reality, however imperfectly, are the first to be demonized. Unforgiving business.    


Restoration is easy to say, hard to walk out. But I will give each one his due, Mike Bickle included. It’s up to each one under discipline to manifest contrition and submission to an agreed upon course of restoration.


IHOPKC strikes a deep and grateful chord in me. I am not untouched by its benefits. I ache for its failures, beginning with Mike’s. I want and need to keep surrendering a range of emotions (shock, fake peace and mercy, anger, hatred, etc.) to Christ Crucified so I can line up with His merciful heart. He is God and loves people on both sides more than I do. 


He doesn’t want any of us to grow hard due to yet another weird Body blow. Members of that Body struggle to trust again. That’s where we need mercy. And the key reminder of this Easter season: He is risen and He walks through walls to invite radical repentance.


I am not expecting Mike to make a valiant display of humility by coming clean online. He can’t. Legal eagles forbid him. Millions of dollars are at stake. That’s the litigious mess we are in.


While writing this, I was gutted by a report that the efforts to launch a new third-party investigation of IHOPKC just failed. IHOPKC Board member Pastor Shane Holden, brought on in November to broker such an investigation, just resigned after the organization refused one yet again. ‘There is a trust issue at IHOPKC right now…They do not have the trust of the greater body of Christ. Whereas if you would just do this investigation, open things up, be transparent, you would gain that trust back…’  


My biggest fear? That Mike will skip out, fueled by loud IHOPKC loyalists who claim he is a Trump-like victim of ‘fake news,’ a martyr for Jesus, etc. That would be the worst thing. That could tempt him to resurface in someone else’s sanctuary, having failed to endure what he must to be restored: vindicated for some things, refined necessarily for others.


Oh, for a chance at real restoration—this good, flawed man enduring his cross publicly for Jesus’ sake and ours. That requires, among other things, an expert and thorough third-party investigation. Mercy hinges on justice, then mercy is free to run like a river to cleanse and close this deep divide.


No new third-party investigation? No justice, no mercy, no trust. Jesus, walk through these walls.

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1 Komentar

5 days ago

Well written. Some of the emotions you expressed were as I felt when a certain ministry "network" shut its doors for good back in '13.

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