New Covenant Publications - A Counter Cult Ministry

 

3 Questions

About
The International Churches of Christ (Boston Movement)

 

 

The International Churches of Christ (Boston Movement), also known as the ICC, founded in 1979 by Kip McKean, is an organization which portrays itself to the public as “...a family of Christian churches whose members are committed to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible.” (Who Are We?, ICC Home page, http://www.intlcc.com/) By this statement they appear to be just another family of Christian churches. Is this an honest portrayal?In an article entitled Revolution through Restoration II (a sequel), written by Kip McKean (lead Evangelist and founder of the ICC), Kip states that perhaps the most often asked question of the ICC is “Are the people in the International Churches of Christ the only ones who are saved?” Kip avoids answering this question out right, but comments that the Bible’s answer comes from understanding the nature of God’s movements.

“To initiate his movement, God, in his grace, always works through a man. He puts his message on this man’s heart. As God’s man preaches God’s message, God moves in other men’s hearts to collectively come together to follow God through the leadership of his man.”   (Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

A few sentences later Kip states: “I believe with all my heart that the Boston Movement is God’s modern-day movement.” (ibid) This statement infers two things. First, that if the Boston Movement is God’s modern-day movement, then it’s leader, Kip McKean must be “God’s man” who is preaching God’s message. According to the above quote, this means that all persons who are moved upon by God to follow Him will do so through the leadership of “his man” Kip McKean.

Second, if the Boston Movement is God’s one and only modern-day movement, with Kip McKean as it’s leader (God’s man), then any person or group of persons not following Kip McKean by membership in the Boston Movement are not following God. So back to the question, “Are the people in the International Churches of Christ the only ones who are saved?”

In his article Revolution Through Restoration (the first one), Kip states: “I have never believed or taught that anyone has to be baptized into the Boston Church of Christ to be saved.” This statement, made two years earlier, appears to contradict the other. What does the leadership of the ICC really believe and teach on this subject?

Note: It is important to understand that Kip’s comments on the nature of God’s movements have to do with the Old Testament. Since the time of Jesus, God has never used just one specific man to deliver His message. He has used the body of Christ, the Church, every born again believer. Any man who claims to be “God’s man” preaching His one true message, puts himself in line with the likes of David Koresh, Jim Jones, Rev. Moon, etc.

 

3 Questions

 

The following three questions are accompanied by quotes from the articles, Revolution Through Restoration and Revolution Through Restoration II, written by Kip McKean, as well as quotes from other ICC literature.

1)  Do the leaders of the ICC believe and teach that they are God’s modern-day movement, the one true church, and that only members of the ICC comprise the kingdom of God?

“As God’s modern-day movement, the time is now for each true disciple to go far beyond any feat of faith or deeds of daring witnessed to this hour.” (Evangelization Proclamation, 2/4/1994)

“God in his grace and mercy has blessed his modern day movement of true Christians as our churches now number 146 with an attendance of over 75,000!”(Evangelization Proclamation, 2/4/1994)

Note: According to the ICC “a true disciple” or “ true Christians” are those who are members of their movement.

This is the true movement of God. There’s no other group, no other church that can touch this. The Boston Church is not any church, it is the Jerusalem of God’s modern day movement.” (Kip McKean, Boston Congregational Meeting, 5/6/90)

“All the denominational weak-faithed people, that’s very kind terminology for them, they just got out of Russia. And I was happy about it because it just left the true church right there.” (Kip McKean, Conference in Sydney, May 1996)

“When you say we’re the only true church...that’s gonna tick the religious people off.” (Kip McKean, Preach the Word, Johannesburg Leadership Conference, Aug. 1995)

“We have tried to pull into God’s movement the remnant of all those who are surrendered to the Scriptures and who believe God’s dream is to evangelize the world in one generation. We will continue to seek other isolated disciples who may be members in false churches.” (Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

“Today, we are calling out of the world, calling out of the denominations, out of the mainline churches, out of the campus ministries all of the people who desire to be a part of God’s restored true church and movement.” (Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

Note: According to ICC doctrine, any church that is not a part of the ICC is a false church.

“This is not just a church among churches. This is not just the best thing going in Tulsa. This is the movement of God, and we’re calling all who will be true disciples to align themselves with this movement of God. You think this is a church among churches, you can’t be a disciple. If you think there’s other churches out there you can go and be a part of and be just as good and just as saved...you can’t be a disciple.” (Nick Young, Friday Evening Message, Tulsa Reconstruction Weekend, Sept 1992)

“As Dr. Donald McGavran (considered the father of church growth by the denominational world) told me many years ago, ‘You are the only church with a plan to plant churches in every nation of the world in one generation.’ Once more, I believe this marks us as God’s true and only modern movement.”(Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

Note:  I think it important at this point to address this idea of evangelizing the world in one generation. Although I believe it to be a noble idea, to teach that it was commanded by Jesus is just plain wrong. The Evangelization Proclamation of the ICC states, “We affirm and assert that Jesus’ last command to the eleven faithful disciples was to evangelize the world in their generation.” It then states that this command, which extends to each succeeding generation, “...has not been accomplished again for millennia.” These statements are in error of biblical and historical fact. Jesus told His disciples to preach the gospel to all creation, but He never once mentioned that it was expected to be fully accomplished in their lifetime or within one generation. The fact is, the world has never been evangelized in one generation. Contrary to the teaching of the ICC the apostles did not accomplish this. If they had, the end of the world would’ve come in their lifetime. According to Matthew, “...this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”(Mt 24:14)

To believe that the first (or even the second) century church accomplished this goal is a display of biblical, as well as historical, ignorance. It took the early church almost three hundred years to evangelize the known world. And even then, there were areas of the world that they never reached. South America, for example, was not evangelized until the 1500’s. If evangelizing the world in one generation is what “marks” a group of people as God’s true movement, then the apostles and the early Church failed the test. Would the ICC dare to say that they were not true believers, a part of the body of Christ? And if the accomplishment of this goal of evangelizing the world in one generation is the “mark” of God’s true movement, how can any group call themselves God’s true movement before the goal has been accomplished?

“Revolution was and is in each step and breath of those who dare to embrace the true church of Jesus.” (Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

“This was and still is the true church of Jesus.” (Evangelization Proclamation, 2/4/1994)

“However, the Holy Spirit led the few good hearted individuals--the remnant--to the Boston churches.” (Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

“The Spirit then gave us a deep conviction that only these baptized disciples comprise God’s kingdom on earth.” ( Evangelization Proclamation, 2/4/1994)

Note: These last four statements suggest that up until 1979, when the ICC was founded, the Church (the body of Christ) was non-existent in the earth. How is it possible that there were no believers anywhere on the face of the earth; for where there is one believer there is the body of Christ? When was it’s demise? How did satan defeat and bring about the death of the Church (Christ’s body)? This whole idea goes totally against Scripture as the Bible clearly teaches that the Church would be in the earth until Christ’s return, that He would keep it strong to the end, and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. This claim by the ICC is plain arrogance. Paul rebuked a similar attitude in the believers at Corinth, asking them, “Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?” (1Cor 14:36)

 

2) Do the leaders of the ICC believe and teach that leaving the membership of the ICC is actually leaving God?

“Certainly to leave the family of God, the true church, is to leave God.” (Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

This is an issue of salvation.There are not two churches of God in this town. There is but one, and there will always be but one.” (Kip McKean, from a speech made in Indianapolis, 3/17/94)

Your salvation is hanging in the balance. You’re about to walk away from the movement of God. When you walk away from the movement of God, there is no where else to walk to. Walking out of the light into the darkness.There is nobody else, there is nobody else in this country that has the true gospel,...This is the movement of God.” (Nick Young, Friday Evening Message, Tulsa Reconstruction Weekend, Sept. 1992)

Note: If the ICC is the true church, the movement of God (as they claim), then to leave their membership would be to leave “the family of God”, thus to leave God. And if one’s salvation is hanging in the balance, then they must believe that to walk away from their movement is to walk away from one’s salvation. So, what of the question “Are the people in the International Churches of Christ the only ones who are saved?” They may talk around it in public, but it is apparent from these quotes taken from their literature and their speeches that they believe the answer to be “yes”. It is also apparent from Kip Mckean’s statement: “I have never believed or taught that anyone has to be baptized into the Boston Church of Christ to be saved.”, that there is some amount of deception going on.

According to Scripture, the only way into the Kingdom of God is by being born again, born of God. (Jn 1:12-13, Jn 3:3 niv) And anyone who is “born again” of God is a part of the body of Christ, which means they are “saved”. Now the ICC claims that their church is exclusively the Kingdom of God, as “only these baptized disciples comprise God’s kingdom on earth.”( Evangelization Proclamation, 2/4/94) So, according to the ICC, to be baptized into their church or movement is to be born again into the Kingdom of God. It logically follows, then, that to be outside their membership is to be outside the Kingdom of God. This would mean that anyone not baptized into the ICC (born again into the kingdom) is not a part of the body of Christ, not born again, thus not “saved”. This would make it utterly impossible for there to be “isolated disciples” in any other churches or ministries anywhere else on the face of the earth. Now either the leaders are unaware of what they are actually saying, or they are lying in an attempt to deceive the public.

According to a statement by Ed Powers, former Lead Evangelist for the Indianapolis church (ICC),

“I personally was in Los Angeles and was sitting in the audience while I heard Kip McKean state very emphatically to the cheers of leaders from nearly fifty churches in Marty Fuqua’s Sector,...I heard Kip say definitively, ‘If you are not a member of the International Churches of Christ then you are not saved.’ ...I remember feeling extremely uncomfortable with that...Now if somebody whom they believe cannot handle that information asks that question then the issue will be skirted, in a number of ways. But that is the official position of the International Churches of Christ.” (Ed Powers, Former Leaders Speak--Interviews With Former Leaders of the ICC, a video from Freedom House Ministries)

 

3) Do the leaders of the ICC believe and teach that opposing them is the same as opposing God, and that those who oppose them are lost?

As for those who continue to oppose us, they are lost--not because their baptism became invalid, but the Scriptures are clear that those who oppose and grumble against God’s leaders and divide God’s church are, in fact, opposing God.” (Kip McKean, Revolution Through Restoration II, 1994)

Note: In the actual speech by Kip McKean in Indianapolis on March 17th, 1994, Kip stated that “To grumble against God’s leaders is to grumble against God himself,....They have set themselves in opposition against God’s anointed.”Is Kip McKean really God’s anointed? Are the leaders of the ICC the present day leaders of God? If so, why do they lie and use deception? Does God lie? Does God use deception?

If you have been approached by the ICC or are studying the Bible with them, ask them any one of these three questions and see if they give you a truthful answer.

 

 

(The use of bold type, italics or underlining is used by this author for emphasis)

 

 

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