In the 1980s and/or 1990s Rick Joyner was associated with a controversial Kansas City church movement tied to Mike Bickle, Bob Jones and Paul Cain. He and others were making all kinds of prophecies some of which were related to their new eschatology and false teachings on church government. His prophecy collapsed after the church collapsed.
The Kansas City Metro Vineyard published a newsletter in the early 90s which promoted their church as a model of the newly emerging church. This church had been closely associated with the signs and wonders movement of John Wimber and officially was absorbed into the Vineyard until Wimber discovered how crooked it was. KC “Prophet” Rick Joyner prophesied:
Single presbyteries will form over cities and localities. These will be made up of pastors and leaders from all backgrounds. Their unity and harmony in purpose, as well as that of the various congregations, will become a marvel to the world. . . .
Some leaders will actually disband their organizations as they realize they are no longer relevant to what God is doing. Others will leave them behind to disband by themselves. Ultimately, all circles of ministry or influence with individual identities will dissolve into a single identity of simply being Christian for all who become part of this harvest.
Update: original source
This was a ridiculous prophecy and unsurprisingly it failed. The disturbing thing, however, is it was believed by the Kansas City Prophets and the people who followed them. They actually tried to shut down churches in Kansas City and some closed. They would prophesy that God was telling pastors to close their churches and join their church.
One pastor, Ernie Gruen, was so outraged he took a public stand against them, preaching against their corruption. His activism led to the KCP church getting shut down.
The presbytery prophecy failed for the model church in their ‘model city,’ and it has never been accepted as sound doctrine, either. Until it gains credibility (don’t hold your breath), it is unlikely this prophecy will ever be fulfilled. It is a very tough sell. Joyner himself doesn’t spend a lot of time promoting it, so the conclusion is he now agrees he made a false prophecy.
Andrew Strom, author of a few books and webmaster of RevivalSchool.com, used to live in Kansas City, a hub of a “prophetic movement.” He wrote the following after Pat Bickle passed away:
On a similarly tragic note [as the passing of Jill Austin], for those familiar with the “Kansas City prophets” movement, there is an important aspect of it that came to a similar sad ending not long ago.
Mike Bickle – who heads up that movement (and also IHOP) – had a paralyzed brother named Pat Bickle – and one of the major prophecies over the entire movement was that he would one day be dramatically healed, and this would spark off the big revival that everyone has been waiting for. This prophecy was at the very center of the whole Kansas City movement.
But tragically, in May 2007, Pat Bickle passed away – after years of battling his disability. It really is a tragedy, because I understand that Pat was a strong advocate of real Revival and “clean heart” holiness preaching. (He had distanced himself from the movement over the lack of this).
Again, it is distasteful and awful to have to speak of such things, but don’t these tragedies ever make Mike Bickle stop and wonder whether his entire movement is off on the wrong track and mired in deception? Doesn’t it ever give him pause?
The claim that this prophecy is fake, made up and posted online only to discredit the Kansas City Prophets and the IHOP movement would be false. It was actually recorded by a reliable source in a book:
In August 1984 Bob Jones came up to Mike [Bickle].
‘Oh, by the way, I have a prediction for you. A young man is going to have a vision very soon. It will lift you high off the ground. You will hold on to him and not let go!’
What young man could be going to have a vision that could cause Mike to leap up like that, he wondered. He went home rejoicing.
Once in the house the phone rang. It was Agustine [Acala].
‘Mike, God is going to visit your brother Pat [Bickle] tonight! He will show him that he will heal him!’
The Lord did indeed visit Pat during the night. It was at 4.03 a.m. on the Friday. Pat was wide awake when in what seemed like a trance (cf. Acts 10: 10) the Lord appeared and he was terrified.
‘I have come. For eleven years I have not dealt with you,’ said the Lord.
It seemed slightly enigmatic. Pat came out of his trance and lay on his bed still in great fear. He had clearly not been healed.
That morning he called Mike and asked him what it meant. Whilst Pat was still on the line, Agustine (who only knew directly from the Lord what had happened to Pat that morning) called Mike on another line…
Unable to reach him, Agustine left a message: ‘Regarding Pat’s visitation last night, look at Acts 3 where you will see that the key miracle that opened up the city of Jerusalem was the healing of a cripple, and then at Acts 14 where another cripple was healed and this second miracle opened the door for the gospel to enter at Lystra.
‘The Lord has called Pat and told him that he is going to heal him and this will be the key for the gospel to the whole of Kansas City.’
Mike was thinking fast. God had made Pat to be a sign to this city. Most people would have forgotten the story of his accident and subsequent testimony by then, but it seemed they would soon have cause to remember it.
The account is uncontested. David Pytches personally visited Kansas City and wrote a sympathetic book — so sympathetic it could be considered promotional material. Much of what he wrote shows he did not question the stories he was told and actually believed Pat Bickle would get healed.
Note the involvement of Bob Jones which helped set up or prime Mike Bickle for deception from Agustine Acala. Also note the fact Bickle had zero spiritual discernment that Jones was setting him up and Acala was giving him a false prophecy.
One of the most interesting aspects of the story is it looks as if three demons conspired to affect three people at around the same time (or one demon may have targeted all three): Jones, Bickle and Acala. It also appears as if both Jones and Acala were operating by a divination spirit (knowledge provided by demons). God would not have given Jones knowledge that would be used to deceive Bickle the way it was used. It is extremely difficult to believe Jones got the knowledge from his own imagination. The only other rational explanation is the knowledge came from an evil spirit.
The fact the prophecy failed raises questions about whether there will ever be a revival in Kansas City, or if it will ever come through IHOP, or anything associated with Bickle. None of their best leaders and prophets from Paul Cain to Bob Jones to Agustine Acala to Mike Bickle himself, despite many years of trying — teaching, preaching, fasting, praying, etc. — produced a revival. They are not spiritual enough. They are not powerful enough. Anyone connected to them because they are expecting revival because they prophesied revival needs to get their prophecy examined.
There is another account of the Pat Bickle story posted online from a person who claims she knew him. It is very similar to what Pytches and Strom wrote. It includes the comment that IHOP scrubbed the story from their prophetic history. Acala and Jones both passed away before being asked to justify or apologize for their false prophecies.
To be clear, Pat Bickle never prophesied his healing would be a sign of revival to follow. He never said or did anything deceptive or misleading. He was a victim of the deceiving or deceived people around him. By all accounts Pat was a godly man who believed until the day he died he would be healed and a revival would follow.
Mike Bickle made a funny comment about his trusted prophet:
In October 1982, while I was pastoring in St. Louis, Augustine Alcala, a man with a proven prophetic ministry, gave me four words related to starting a new young adult church in Kansas City.
What exactly was “proven” about Alcala before 1982? What did Bickle know about proving prophecy before 1982?
Andrew Strom, “Jill Austin Dies — and Also Pat Bickle,” www.prayway.com/prayer/topic/48615-jill-austin-dies-and-also-pat-bickle-by-andrew-strom/ (reposted) [Apr. 28, 2020].
David Pytches, Some Said It Thundered: A Personal Encounter with The Kansas City Prophets, 1990, pp. 102-103.
Mike Bickle, “Key Events in 1983 and 1999.” www.ihopkc.org.edgesuite.net/platform/IHOP/1020/202/PH01-IHOPKC_Key_Events_in_1983_and_1999.kd.pdf [May 1, 2020].
“I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation.” —Mike Bickle, 1982
The source of this prophecy is not disputed. It has been spoken publicly more than once, recorded in writing and currently appears on the website of the organization its author founded and leads. The precision of its content and age is also uncontested for the same reasons. The word is verbatim:
In the fall of 1982 Bickle (1955-) was 28 years old.
Bickle has detailed very little experience or undeniable accuracy at hearing God prior to 1982. He has not provided many examples of fulfilled prophecies he made before ’82. He was not known as a prophet before making this prophecy. Neither he nor his friends publicize a long list of fulfilled prophecies he made since then.
The prophecy is very short. Some of its content is easy to understand and some of it isn’t. The two clearest words and phrases are “Christianity” and “generation.”
Christianity means: “a religion based on belief in God and the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and on the Bible.”
Generation means: “a period of about 25 to 30 years, in which most human babies become adults and have their own children.”
The exact length of a “generation” could be considered as short as 20 years or as long as 30 years. Donn Devine, an expert at Ancestry.ca, says:
As a matter of common knowledge, we know that a generation averages about 25 years—from the birth of a parent to the birth of a child—although it varies case by case. We also generally accept that the length of a generation was closer to 20 years in earlier times when humans mated younger and life expectancies were shorter.2
The 20- to 30-year duration range requires Bickle’s prophecy to be fulfilled before 2002 (1982+20=2002) or 2012 (1982+30=2012).
Understanding and Expression
The meaning of the other words—”understanding” and “expression”—are generally understood but in this context they are not. They are so vague it could be argued that it would be difficult to know what the “prophecy” means and when it is fulfilled.
The obvious thing to do if you get an impression from God that doesn’t make sense or isn’t easy to understand is to ask God for an explanation so the “word” isn’t ignored after being rendered meaningless and useless. We are not aware that Bickle did this.
The second option that is almost as obvious is to ask an expert at hearing God what the prophecy or parts of it mean, especially when you are 28 or younger and have no experience being led by God or hearing His voice. We are not aware that Bickle did this, either.
Bickle’s problem was basic. In the 1970s and 1980s he did not have the volume or quality of books or teaching on hearing God that is available today. He could not have attended a reputable school of prophets. He also did not have access to reliable prophets. He was not training or working under a prophet like Elisha with Elijah.
Whom could he consult? Back then he was nobody. He knew nobody; nobody knew him. He could not just pick up a phone and call an expert. He was at the mercy of people he had met, such as Augustine Alcala and Bob Jones, two men who seemed to him to be legitimate until they became widely discredited false prophets.
So there you had a young guy with no education, no training, no self-education, no expertise and no expert consultants for prophetic revelation—getting a strange, ambiguous word he thinks is God—and we are supposed to believe it immediately without reservation and any critical consideration.
In the fall of 1982, Mike took a trip around the world to observe the plight of the poor. While spending the night in prayer in a hotel room in Cairo, Egypt, the Lord encountered Mike that September. He heard the audible voice of the Lord say, “I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation.”3
The statement “Whilespending a night in prayer” could be seen as corroborative of an accurate prophecy, but it is not considered confirmative. Anyone could spend time in prayer and not hear God. It is certainly not a biblical standard so it is not authoritative.
The statement “He heard the audible voice of the Lord” has not been verified. It is unverifiable. It sounds spiritual and authoritative but isn’t. People who hear voices are neither considered reliable nor authoritative.
There is nothing special about the location (hotel room, Cairo, Egypt) to make anybody say “It must have been God.”
The content of the prophecy had no relevance to what Bickle was doing at the time or where he was.
One observer commented: Why would you want to change the understanding of Christianity when it is already correctly understood by the preaching of the Gospel? We are no longer living in the days of Martin Luther! Mike Bickle’s prophecy would have been more relevant in 1500 AD.
There is already biblical understanding and expression of Christianity in many parts of the world. This was true in 1982 and it is true today. Clearly his word cannot be relevant for these places unless he was prophesying the demise of Christianity. But that’s not the impression most people would get of his prediction. It lacks a considerable amount of definition which undermines any claims of its value. It doesn’t say where in the world it is for. It doesn’t say what this new “understanding” will be; nor does it say what the new “expression” will look like.
The prophecy contains no new practical wisdom. It is a statement with no steps for how in the world the change will happen.
Unlike great biblical prophecies, Bickle’s had no conditions.
Notwithstanding the vagueness of the prophecy, nobody has been saying the understanding and expression of Christianity changed after 1982 before 2002, or before 2012, or since 2012. No Christian leader has claimed this including Mike Bickle. There is no indication the prophecy is partly fulfilled, or about to be fulfilled, or will be fulfilled in the foreseeable future.
It has not been fulfilled.
The clock ran out in 2012.
Bickle’s ability to discern the voice of God was unproven in 1982. He was young and inexperienced. It is not unusual for young people to think they heard God when they didn’t. The very odd thing is as recently as 2019 his organization was still talking about his 37-year-old prophecy (1982-2019) as if it were a legitimate word from God despite the fact it had failed in 2012 and cannot be fulfilled in the future.