By the leadership of the International Churches of Christ
The following quotes were taken from sermons, speeches, and literature published by the International Churches of Christ (Boston Movement). These quotes are either in print (ICC literature) or recorded on tape and are easily verifiable.
Does Scripture teach that salvation is only for people who have jobs? Did Jesus teach His disciples to preach the Gospel only to specific economic classes of people? Does God discriminate or show favoritism? (Js 2:1-9) On the contrary, according to Jesus, we are to go out to the streets and alleys, the roads and country lanes, and bring in “ the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” so that “my house will be full.” (Lk 14:21-23)
Does the Bible teach that disciples are to be competitive in sharing their faith or preaching the Gospel? Does the Bible instruct us to stoop to name calling and condemnation to pressure people to crank out numbers?
Where is the love of Jesus? Did Jesus call people “yo-yo’s”, “disgusting”, “weird”, “sissy”, or “wimp”? Did He limit the gift of salvation to certain classes of people? Most of these quotes were things said to ranks of leadership during Leadership Conferences. And although tapes of these conferences do exist, I wonder if ordinary members are aware of these kinds of statements being made by their leadership.
Steve Johnson (a World Sector Leader) made the following comment about his belief on the subject of growth (numbers of members).
Kip McKean, however, does not appear to share this view.
The only parallels between the ICC and the Church in the book of Acts that Kip is speaking about is in reference to growth. According to Steve Johnson, what Kip is saying is “not only erroneous, it is dangerous”. And this comparison to the growth in the book of Acts isn’t even accurate. The 1994 ‘kingdom stats’ attest to the fact that there are almost as many who leave the ICC as those who join. The following statement was made by Elder Al Baird at a leadership conference in 1995.
How many ordinary members (those not in leadership) are aware of this? If they aren’t then the leadership of the ICC has been less than honest with ordinary members about statistics concerning growth, retention rate, and number of fall aways.
Contained within the Evangelization Proclamation of the ICC is the statement, “In the next few months the Bible doctrine from Acts 11:26 of Saved = Christian = Disciple was crystallized.” The Evangelization Proclamation was written on Feb. 4th, 1994. The statement cited is in reference to something that occurred in 1979, as is the following quote by Kip McKean.
The original formula, however, (from the Boston Discipleship Study) read: DISCIPLE = CHRISTIAN = SAVED. The wording was changed in 1991. In a sermon entitled: “Discipleship”, Kip stated,
Kip’s statement follows the original formula: Disciple = Christian = Saved. The original formula can also be found under the heading “Discipleship” in older publications of the “First Principles”. I have a copy of the “First Principles” which states the formula as being “DISCIPLE = CHRISTIAN = SAVED”. According to the original formula (which was supposedly “crystallized”), if you are a disciple then you are a Christian and you are saved. This is in agreement with what is written in the ‘Light and Darkness’ study on page 15 of The Disciple’s Handbook (an ICC teaching manual). It is stated that “Every person is either in the darkness or the light.” This means that they are in one of two categories, either “lost” or “saved”. A diagram on page 15 shows “Disciple” and “Christian” to mean “saved”, while “lost” means “not a Christian” and “not a Disciple”. The ICC teaches that a person becomes “saved” at baptism. So, according to their teaching, to be “lost, not a Christian, not a Disciple” means to have not yet been baptized. Again, this is in agreement with what Kip said at the Sydney Conference (May 96) about “30 would-be disciples” multiplying. The words “would meant that they had not yet been baptized (at least not baptized according to ICC methods). The following three quotes are also in agreement with this.
According to Kip’s own wife, one becomes a disciple at baptism. Yet, the following quotes claim that a person can be a disciple before baptism. These quotes, two by Kip McKean, himself, contradict his wife’s statement, statements made by others in leadership, his original formula from the Boston Discipleship Study, and statements which have come out of his own mouth.
If the original formula (Disciple = Christian = Saved) was “crystallized”, how could the wording be changed in 1991? And why was the wording changed? Isn’t the meaning the same either way? Actually, no, the meaning is not the same. The original formula emphatically asserts that to be a disciple is to be saved (disciple equals saved). In other words, one cannot be a disciple before becoming saved (“baptized” as the ICC teaches). The changed version of the formula makes no such assertion. It simply states that someone who is saved is a disciple. But it does not state that one has to be saved (baptized) in order to become a disciple. It is left open to the claim that one can be a disciple before one becomes saved; a claim that the original formula is not open to.
The above three statements assert that one must become a disciple before baptism. But according to Kip’s original formula (Disciple = Christian = Saved), this would mean that one becomes a “Christian” (Disciple = Christain) and thus “saved” (Christian = saved) before baptism. This contradicts the ICC teaching that one becomes a Christian (saved) at baptism. Perhaps the original formula was changed to cover up this blatant contradiction.
Why all of these contradicting statements by those in leadership? And why does Kip McKean contradict the Light and Darkness study in his own teaching manual, Disciple’s Handbook, published in 1997? Does Kip not have a clear idea of what he, himself, believes? And if Kip is really God’s man, leading God’s movement, following God’s plan, why did he apparently lie about what was actually “crystallized” in an article in 1992 (Revolution Through Restoration, UpsideDown Magazine, April 92), as well as in the Evangelization Proclamation in 1994? How many of the current members know that the changed version is not what was supposedly “crystallized”? Why doesn’t Kip freely admit that the formula was changed and explain why? This is being deceptive. Steve Johnson, a World Sector Leader, wrote the following statement in 1993:
From other documented evidence such as the lies that were continually told (and never repented of) concerning the Indianapolis Incident [see articles: What Happened? and The truth about what happened in Indianapolis], deception and lies concerning the Sin Lists [see: Television Reports on the ICC "Sin Lists", Confidentiality, and Related Documentation] , and from the information contained in the article “3 Questions”, it is very easy to show the use of “deception” by the leadership of the ICC to “achieve its end”. According to one of their own top leaders, Steve Johnson, this would make them a destructive cult.
These next four quotes show the importance that the leadership of the ICC puts on “cranking” out numbers.
How can anyone plan, commit, or confine to a calendar how quickly or in what manner God is going to move in the heart of a person? How can human beings plan a date for when a person is going to experience the new birth when it is God who brings about that experience? (1Cor 3:6-7, Jn 1:12-13) And this teaching that someone is going to be, or can be, “sawed off the vine” because they didn’t get enough people to join the “kingdom” is just out right absurd. Not only does this teaching pervert God’s holy and just nature, as recorded in Scripture, but it insinuates that God will hold a person directly responsible for someone else’s decisions. God does not hold a person accountable for how someone else responds to the Gospel.
And I challenge anyone to show me a single verse of Scripture which supports or validates Kip’s assertion that Jesus, in John 15:8, is talking about making disciples or baptizing people. I challenge anyone to find a single verse of Scripture which states that the activity of “bearing fruit” and the activity of “baptizing people” is one in the same activity. Contrary to what some people think, believe, or might have been taught, there is no mention of the activity of baptism in John 15:8. In fact, there is no mention of the activity of baptism anywhere in the 15th chapter of John. Contrary to what Kip McKean has stated (at least once, at the Apollo Theater in New York City), a disciple cannot make another disciple in the same way that an apple tree makes apples or an orange tree makes oranges. The apples and oranges are produced from within the tree itself. The fruit of the tree is it’s offspring, much like the baby of a human. Fruit is brought forth from within the tree (or from within the “branch”), not from outside of it. A disciple, however, cannot be produced or brought forth from within another disciple. This is a physical and spiritual impossibility. A disciple cannot give spiritual birth to another disciple. Only the Spirit of God can do that. Disciples are born of God, not other disciples. (Jn 1:12) A more detailed treatment of this subject is found in the article, Bring Forth Fruit .
Here again is the pressure placed on members by the leadership. Where in the Bible does it teach that it is a “sin” not to be the biggest church, or that you are in sin because you “let” another church be bigger than yours?
This last statement is such a clear example of the use of manipulation on the part of the leadership of the ICC. The claim of “20,000 members per church” is not mentioned anywhere in Scripture. Nor is it mentioned that anyone was “boasting” about membership. Statements like this are used to hype and manipulate people to crank out numbers. Paul spoke against boasting, except about his weaknesses or about the Lord. He said, “Therefore as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”(1Cor 1:31) This was a reference to a passage in Jeremiah which reads: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord ...” (Jer 9:23-24) Yet, Kip McKean has continuously boasted, not only about his church, but about himself as well.
These two quotes are just a few of the many that could be listed. Why all the exalting of self? Why does Kip attribute to himself the credit that should be given to God? Where did Paul, Peter, or any of the other apostles ever talk like this?
And finally, since the ICC puts so much emphasis on parallels to the book of Acts and resurrecting the first century Church, why don’t they follow the pattern used in the book of Acts (as well as throughout the New Testament) for spreading the Gospel? People heard the message of Jesus, believed, and were baptized. Then they were taught how to follow Jesus. Then they were taught the foundational teachings of the Christian faith. Why does the ICC (claiming to be the true Church of Jesus) front load the Gospel, making people go through nine doctrinal studies and agree with everything (even things that have nothing to do with the Gospel or salvation) before God will convert them? That is not the pattern of the first century Church. It is not the pattern in the book of Acts. And it is not the way God worked anywhere else in Scripture.
These quotes contained in this article are but a few of the many statements that show the true nature of the leadership of the ICC. More quotes are listed in the article Additional Quotes.
My prayer is that you will be skeptical of what you’ve just read, but true to Paul’s instruction: “ Test everything. Hold on to the good.” (1Thess 5:21)
(Bold type and underlining have been used by this author for emphasis)
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