Veteran charismatic minister Paul Cain issued a solemn apology on Jan. 31 in which he repented for immoral behavior and pledged to seek counseling for his alcoholism.
Celebrated in charismatic circles for his accuracy as a New Testament prophet, Cain was disciplined and disfellowshiped by three church leaders last fall after they determined he had engaged in a pattern of unbiblical behavior that included heavy drinking and homosexuality.
Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle and Jack Deere released their charges Oct. 19 in a statement on the Internet. They also said Cain was unwilling to submit to a restoration process.
Cain initially denied the charges in a statement on his own Web site, maintaining that his reputation was being attacked. But three months later he decided to come clean.
"I am as guilty as I can be," he told Charisma. "I am going for counseling. I am getting as much help as I can."
Joyner, Bickle and Deere made their initial charges public because they found proof that Cain was involved in long-term homosexual activity and often got drunk, sometimes in public.
"We apologize to the body of Christ for our lack of discernment in promoting Paul's ministry while he had these significant strongholds in his life," their statement reads. "We hope that Paul can yet be restored and used again for the glory of God in the wonderful way that so many of us have been blessed to see in the past."
Deere, who pastors Wellspring Church in Richland Hills, Texas, learned of the charges last year from a man who said he had been involved in a sexual relationship with Cain. Three witnesses also told Charisma that Cain drank heavily. The drinking got so serious that Cain once collapsed in public, one witness added.
Deere asked Joyner and Bickle to arrange a meeting in Moravian Falls, N.C., where they confronted Cain in April 2004. He initially confessed to the charges, Deere said. But later Cain retracted his confession and even sent out letters from doctors who vouched for his emotional health.
Now, however, Cain says he is no longer in denial.
"I have struggled with homosexuality for an extended period of time," Cain said in his written apology. "I have struggled with alcoholism for an extended period of time. I apologize for denying these matters of truth, rather than readily admitting them. I am ashamed of what I have done to hurt those close to me and for the pain I have caused those who have believed in my ministry."
Cain's accuser, who spoke with Charisma but asked not to be named, is now undergoing spiritual rehabilitation. Meanwhile, Cain--who is 75-- says he has no intention of going back into the pulpit anytime soon.
"I plan to take a low profile," Cain said. "I promise to seek immediate help for my problems and submit to leaders in the body of Christ who will supervise my restoration."
Cain has enlisted Korean pastor Daniel Kim of Destiny Training International in El Monte, Calif., to help him. Kim, who describes Cain as a "fallen general," says he will serve on a committee of leaders who will oversee Cain's restoration process.
"When a man of [Cain's] stature falls, there is often no support," Kim told Charisma. "How we restore this man in mercy could end up being a lesson for the body of Christ."
Kim said he believes Cain is also a "victim" in this tragedy because Christians sometimes idolize ministers and expect them to be super-human. "He had inner struggles and no one to confide in," Kim said.
Meanwhile, Deere, Bickle and Joyner said they regret giving Cain a platform. "I think our basic mistake was to overlook a lot of serious and obvious warning signs," Joyner told Charisma.
Deere agreed. "We all have preached that you never put gifting over character," he said, "but that is what we did for Paul. We would have fired anyone else. The reason we didn't is because of [Cain's] gifting. We let that gifting excuse character."
Cain launched his ministry at age 18 during the Pentecostal healing revival of the 1940s and 1950s. But he vanished from the scene for more than 25 years, then re-emerged in the late 1980s when Bickle promoted Cain's ministry at his Metro Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Kansas City, Mo.
Today Cain has homes in Kansas City, Dallas and Moravian Falls, N.C. But he says he plans to check into an alcoholism treatment center by the first week of March. If possible, he also hopes to complete a book he is writing, The Rise and Fall of God's Anointed, which will include his memories of Pentecostal evangelists such as William Branham and A.A. Allen--men who, like Cain, experienced supernatural gifts of healing and prophecy.
"I never expected that I would be one of those fallen ones," Cain said.
Cain's full statement of apology can be found on his Web site, www.paulcain.org.
J. Lee Grady