New Covenant Publications - A Counter Cult Ministry

 

WHAT HAPPENED?

(The Indianapolis Incident)

 

The following are excerpts from a sermon by Ed Powers to the Indianapolis Church of Christ (ICC), February 27, 1994. A transcript of the entire sermon may be found at: (http://www.reveal.org/library/stories/churches/indy/unityor.html)

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ďWe can change this church. ÖJohn 8:32 Jesus said, ďYou shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.Ē Let me say this before we go on any further. Donít ever be afraid of the truth. Ö Iím saying this because I want you to understand something. There are many things that go on and have gone on in this church that really arenít up to us, things such as our special missions contribution. And there was a time when we had a special missions contribution because we had the idea we wanted to do it, because we wanted to be involved in the missions. Today we have a special missions contribution because we are expected to have a special missions contribution. The amount that we give is not an amount that is decided upon by us, by the leaders of this church or by you, the members. But it is an amount that is decided upon by the folks who oversee us in LA. This year the amount is $254,000. Thatís the amount that we are responsible for. I had no input into that. We werenít asked. We were assigned a time period in which it must be given. And it is expected.

Our giving per member is monitored on a weekly basis, the expectation is that we should give $30.00 per member. And we donít do that. We average giving about $25.00 per member. When you figure in the diversity of this church, the number of teens that we have, the number of senior citizens and the number of single moms and the factors that factor in, thatís what we give. And we feel pressure as leaders. We feel pressure about that - because the expectation is that we should be giving $30.00 a week.

Our attendance is monitored on a weekly basis. We report on a weekly basis by phone the attendance of this church. And we are rated ďbad,Ē ďgood,Ē ďgreat,Ē or ďawesome.Ē Now I think our attendance has been good lately. We are setting records. We have the highest average attendance that we ever had last month. We average a thousand and fifty some in attendance. We had two weeks last month when we went over 1100 in attendance. I was fired up about that. The truth is thatís bad because of a formula that has been come up with that is applied to us, so we will get ďbad,Ē ďbad,Ē ďbadĒ on the side of our stat sheet which we send in each week.

Leaders and members are available to the churches that are over us at their discretion, not ours. Sometimes we have run into problems because we have been expected to send some of you places that, frankly, you didnít want to go. And that put us in a bind, and so we came to you and talked to you and said ďYou need to go. You go.Ē And, you know, sometimes we needed to pressure people to go where maybe they didnít want to go, or maybe they did not feel led of God to go. And I think thatís one of the areas where the staff really needs to repent because we have pushed sometimes in areas where we shouldnít have. And sometimes we pushed harder than we should have in an attempt to meet the expectations that were placed upon us as a church.

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The last 5 years, I want to give you an illustration. In the last 5 years, twice other churches have come in and have taken from this church the best leaders that had been raised up to serve this church, and I could name names and it would sound like the hall of fame. He said, ďWell, whatís your beef? Are you against sending the leaders to other churches to help plant churches?Ē No. Iím for that. I believe that weíve got to work together to get this world evangelized. Iím not saying we want to horde all our leaders and horde all our money. But here is what Iím saying. I believe when you go out and you lead a person to Christ,... I believe that we have an obligation to those people. (thatís right) I donít believe that you baptize people into Christ and then fail to provide for them the discipling that they need. ...This church has been hurt by the taking of leaders. Sometimes we are hurt by the expectations in terms of money. Other churches have been hurt. 

Let me tell you Iím going to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That I, as long as I have been with this church, the truth is that I have filtered, I have filtered. I have not passed along to you everything that has been passed along to me. I have tried to protect you from legalism as best I could. And Iíll be the first to admit that sometimes I have given into the pressure and I have done some things even in this church that I am ashamed of and need to repent of. There are times that I have pushed the staff too hard. In fact, I believe that there are people who maybe could be in the ministry today who got out of the ministry because maybe I pushed too hard. And Iím sorry about that. One of the reasons that I pushed too hard was because I was being hard pushed. ... It has been devastating through this system. (right) The top leaders and the sharpest and best people were raked off the top and moved to Chicago, leaving behind the people who were weak, the people who couldnít move, many of them left behind guilt ridden, having been told ďYouíre not a disciple because you werenít willing to move.Ē The church was left behind without adequate leadership. Folks, Iím sorry-Iím sorry, Iím in big trouble, but I donít believe thatís right. (applause)

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1 Cor. 16:12. I want to give you another example. Paul writing to the Corinthians. He says, "Now, about our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity." You donít have here a system where people are being controlled, where there can be no freedom of diversity, where there can be no saying, "No, I canít do that right now." Or, "No, I canít give that right now." Or, "No, we canít accommodate what you are wanting right now." Apollos was free. He was free to say "No, Iím not willing to go right now." I donít think that would fly today the way we have the church organized. But thatís the way the church was in the first century.

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I believe another problem of unity through uniformity by means of authority is that error which originates at the top is spread uniformly throughout the churches. And we have all, those of us who have been around very long -- now some of you don't have the slightest idea of what I'm talking about ... because you've just been baptized recently .... Some of you know very well what I'm talking about. Error which originates at the top is spread uniformly throughout the churches.

You know, when you can't say no to policies and teachings, when you don't have that freedom to say "No, this violates my conscience, I can't do that." You say, "Well, you can do that though. You can say no -- this violates my conscience." -- Yah, if you want to move. Some of the error which has originated, that we've seen, we have lived through the teaching that you must obey your discipler in all matters, including matters of opinion. Many of us have lived through that. Many of us were almost killed by that. We have lived through the 8 and 10 on 1 discipling -- i.e. lynch mobs. We've buried our heads in our hands and cried and wept and said I'm sorry, please forgive me. And somebody would look back at us and say, "Brother, you're not there yet." I'm telling you, people were damaged. We went through the life talks, the reconstruction and people were damaged. And so it is with this kind of a system, error originates from the top and spreads uniformly throughout the churches. And folks, that's not right.

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The second obstacle and, by the way, let me throw this out. I'm talking about myself tonight and I'm also speaking for the staff. Because our staff, our staff is totally unified with me on the things that I'm talking about with you tonight. I'm not speaking for you though. You're going to have to make a decision for yourself about the direction that your life is going to go in the future. But the second thing that I cannot do anymore -- personally that I cannot subscribe to is the teaching that only those who are members of the International Church of Christ are saved. (cheers, applause)

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I know, I know some of you are totally convinced you know where I am going. Youíre totally convinced that what Iím going to recommend in a little bit is that we break away from the movement. Youíre totally wrong.

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Third: 2 Cor. 9:7 tells us very clearly -- and these last two points are not lengthy. And I'll tell you this, 2 Cor. 9:7 tells us very clearly how we are to give. It says, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Now that's right there guys.

And the third thing that I think hinders us from being out from under the legalism that has bound us and robbed us of our joy is the practice of giving by compulsion. The Bible clearly says here that giving is not to be done reluctantly or under compulsion. My question to you is this: how can we as individuals give not under compulsion when we, as an entire church collectively are compelled to give a random, specified amount? The point, guys, is not that we don't want to give to missions. This church gave to missions big time before it was ever expected or required. This church still wants to give that the gospel message can be preached around the world. But we can no longer, and the staff agrees with me on this, we can no longer give credence to the practice of giving by compulsion. You say, well how have we done it? This is one of those areas where I have really tried to protect this church. I get up here and I try to explain things, because we are given an amount to give. You know, we have to give 15 times our regular weekly contribution. We are responsible for that amount. We had nothing to do with setting it. That's what we have to send.

So what do we do? We come to you and say, "Pledge, tell us what you're going to give to special contribution." And we add it all up and come up about $100,000 short. (laughter) And then what do we do? Well, we get all the leaders together and say, "Go back to your people, go back to them again and ask them -- tell them we're not there yet -- ask them: can you do better? Can you give more?" And so we go back and say, "Can you do better?" Some people say, "Yeh, I can do better." Others say, "No, I can't, it's all I can do." And so we add it all up again. And we're still about $75,000 short. So we say, look, go back one more time and tell your people that you have to give your goal as a mission team and you have not done your part yet. Go back, talk to them again and get in there and talk to those people, you know, who you think maybe they have not given as much as they should have given. Have a personal talk with them and try to see if they can give more. So the leaders go back, and the leaders hate this, but they go back reluctantly and they come back to you and they have a talk with you, "Can you do better?" So we add it all up again and now we're a little closer but we're still not there. So we go back and say, "O.K., since we're not there yet, we got to go out and have a yard sale, we gotta have a garage sale. How many of you can work out at the Indianapolis 500 booth? How many of you can do the Gus Macker Tournament? Because we've got to get there, we've got to get our goal. And so people sign up to do things that they really don't want to do. And they go out and they do these things and they sweat their brains and we come back and we're still not there. We're still about $50,000 short. So what do we do then? Well, then we say, "Well, let's all go out and have a walkathon." And go knock on the doors in our neighborhood and ask our friends and neighbors, you know, to give money to God's work. And so we go out and do that, we knock on doors. Then we go out and walk around in circles, you know, on Sunday afternoon. And finally, we scrounge together enough money to send out to LA to meet our obligation. ...And I can no longer condone that practice of giving by compulsion.

Fourth and finally: Standing in the way of this church not being legalistic is facing the constant pressure of arbitrary expectations, statistics and quotas which rob us of our proper motivation. The point of the Bible is supposed to be loving God and loving man. It's supposed to motivate everything we do. What I'm saying to you guys is that we're under the pressure of so many arbitrary expectations in the statistics and quotas that many of us find it is almost impossible to keep our hearts pure and really focused on loving God and loving people. We are required to report on a weekly basis to Chicago, zone by zone, statistics in regard to our attendance, our contribution, number of baptisms we've had that week, what our budget is, what our average giving per member is, predicted increase in members for the coming week, the actual increase of members for the week just passed. Our attendance is analyzed as to whether it is "bad," "good," "great," or "awesome," according to a formula that has been compiled. Considering the number of children we have, the number of visitors we are expected to bring, and the number of members that we have, we have compiled what is a "bad attendance," a "good attendance," a "great attendance" or an "awesome attendance." Our contribution is analyzed by zone. Calculated how much the average giving per member is, not only in our whole church but in each individual zone of our church. It is evaluated. Expectations are passed down through the leaders and all of us have been guilty of passing those expectations along. The pressure is felt by the leaders from me to the staff, to the Bible Talk Leaders, the mission team leaders, the house church leaders, whatever we happen to be calling them at the time, and it's passed on down to you. And the result is that it has turned us into a group of people who generally do not tend to be properly motivated by the right reason, motivated by the means that God wants us to be motivated by. We've been robbed of our joy. And that's why we always have to pump up the church. It seems every time we get together we've got to pump that thing up again.

The other thing that has happened as a result of the pressure of arbitrary expectations, statistics and quotas is that many people have been wounded when we have failed to measure up to those expectations. I know of one church in the movement, and I don't know if the practice is still going on, but it went on at one time and may still be going on, for all I know, I know of one church in the movement that actually put in place the policy of removing from the membership any member who was not fruitful in at least two months, they were removed from membership. Guys, I'm telling you that kind of stuff wounds people. It hurts people. ...Also, I believe that these statistics and this pressure fosters a works mentality in us that robs us of the motivation of love. We studied Romans 12:8 and following in the lesson I preached two weeks ago, where God teaches us that love is the fulfillment of the law. That's the purpose for all of the commands. And, guys, I just want to say that I don't know, I mean I don't know how I can say to Andy, say, "Look, Andy, I want you to share your faith tomorrow because you love God. And that's all I want to motivate you. I want you to be motivated by the fact that you love God. And I'm going to call you tomorrow night and see how it went. O.K.? But I want you to do it because you love God. And if you don't do it, I'm also going to set your hair on fire but, (laughter) but I don't want you to think about that." That's an unhealthy motivation. Now you concentrate on love. I think it's almost impossible to focus on love when we fear the repercussions that will come from failing to measure up to the expectation.

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And what I'm also telling you is that it's getting hard. It's getting hard to fit into a legalistic system and do what's right according to our conscience. ... I'm not saying, in conclusion, I am not saying that I want to leave the movement. I'm not saying that we're right and now we discovered all the truth and everybody else is wrong. Because if we say that, then we're no different. I'm not saying that the movement, the churches, the people in the movement are lost and going to hell. I'm not saying that. I think that they are some of the finest people on the face of the earth. I believe that. ... I am not saying that we don't want to be a part of them. But this is what I am saying. Hebrews 10:26 "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." My life has changed. Now, after this message tonight, you can be sure of that. But my life has changed. I have made the decision to change my life. Why? Because I no longer can willfully sin. I cannot willfully participate in things that I know are wrong according to the Scriptures. I am not saying that everybody who doesn't see it the way I am is going to hell, because, hey, if they have a clear conscience before God, then God bless them. Because I'm probably wrong about a lot of things, too, in my life. So, praise God. ... I can no longer go on like this. I can't. The entire staff has made that decision. ... We ask you as a church tonight what direction do you want to go in the future, keeping in mind that I am not talking about leaving the movement. What I am talking about is saying, "Look, we want to have fellowship, but these things we cannot do...."

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[Concerning the rest of the ICC movement] We love you. We want to be a part of you. And we want to be fellowshipped. We want to participate. We want to give to missions. We want to be discipled. We want to come to seminars. We want to be involved. But, we can't do everything that you tell us to do, it's just not right.... I want to tell you something, guys, there have been many people in our movement -- good people -- who have stepped forward and said, "I can't do this anymore. I don't agree with this, I think you're wrong about this, this and this." And they had been disposed of quietly and they are gone. They are out of ministry. They are gone.

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We can bring about change...Because tonight, when this meeting is over, Iím going to walk into the office and Iím going to call Marty Fuqua in LA. and Iím going to tell him what my convictions are and where we are as a church. And Iím going to be calling him and saying, "Bro, the church doesnít want me anymore, you send somebody in to take my place and provide this church with leadership that they want and the leadership they believe in." Or -- and that is true for the rest of our staff as well, or (depending on how you vote), Iíll be calling and saying, "Bro, as a church, we have decided that we cannot do these things anymore. It doesnít mean we donít love you, donít want to be a part. But we are not going to do this anymore...and we still want to be a part."

Members of the congregation sharing their views:

"My name's Tom --...And I really believe that Ed has hit the nail on the head tonight. And I think what we have to do as a church is we've really got to pray tonight to God that God will protect the church and that also the church here will lead the way and others will join in. (applause, cheers) And that this will be a positive thing in all the world and that this won't be negative."

Male: "I agree with what Tom said and I also feel like that the biggest part of being here, thinking about that, that God is going to use this church as that catalyst to make change."

The result of the vote was: 596 voted yes, meaning that they wanted to remain in the movement but that they could no longer go along with these unscriptural abuses of authority, 6 abstained, 1 voted no (meaning they wanted to keep things as they were)

The following are excerpts from the "History Section" concerning the Indianapolis Church situation. The "History Section" may be found in its entirety at: http://www.reveal.org/library/stories/churches/indy/history.html

February 27, 1994: The congregation met in house churches throughout central Indiana in the morning. The congregation met at 6:30 p.m. at the church building in Castleton for a congregational meeting. Ed presented his convictions and asked the congregation to vote "yes" in favor of the stated convictions or "no" to oppose which would result in the staff resigning their positions. It is important to emphasize that Ed stated repeatedly through the message that the church was committed to remaining in the International Churches of Christ, but simply asked for the freedom to observe four stated convictions. Prior to the vote a number of members spoke up voicing their support of the staff and the stated convictions. A vote was taken and the congregation overwhelmingly voted in favor of the staff and the stated convictions. There was only one "no" vote, six "abstain" votes and the rest were "yes" votes. The attendance was not taken that evening, but it was a crowd estimated at approximately 600 adults. The results were announced and the crowd was ecstatic and overjoyed. Immediately after the congregational meeting Ed Powers went to the church office in the building and called Marty Fuqua in L.A. Marty did not answer the phone so Ed left a message for Marty to call him back that night. Ed and Bobby Powers and approximately 15 other members then returned to the Powers' home to wait for Marty's return call.

February 28, 1994: At approximately 12:00 A.M. Marty Fuqua returned Ed's message. Approximately 8 others were in Ed's office during his phone conversation with Marty. Ed reported to Marty the events and results of the congregational meeting. During the conversation, Ed emphasized a number of times that the Indianapolis Church was committed to remaining in the I.C.C., continuing to be discipled by the Chicago church, contributing to the World Missions Special Contribution, attending future ICC sponsored seminars, retreats and conferences, and participating in future Church plantings. Ed requested that Marty communicate that pledge of commitment to Kip McKean and the Elders of the LA church. Ed told Marty that in view of the present circumstances in the Indianapolis Church of Christ that he would not be able to attend the US West Training Classes for the Midwest Evangelists scheduled to begin on Tuesday, March 1. Ed had previously purchased the airline tickets to travel to this scheduled event.

At approximately 3:00 A.M. a member of the Indianapolis Church of Christ received a phone call from her sister in the Los Angeles Church of Christ. She called to state that she had been notified by an Evangelist in Chicago that Ed had led the congregation to leave the ICC. By the next morning the Indianapolis Church of Christ members began to receive hundreds of phone calls from other congregations in the ICC. Members of other congregations were reporting that they had received word early Monday morning from their Evangelists that the Indianapolis Church had voted to leave the ICC. On Monday Marty Fuqua called Ed Powers back to clarify the four principles that the congregation had approved the previous night. Marty informs Ed that he is coming into Indianapolis that week. Ed stated that he was willing to get together with Marty, but he requests Marty to have members of the ICC stop calling the members of the Indianapolis Church of Christ. Marty refuses to meet that request. Ed states that it is not in good faith for Ed to meet with Marty, if Marty refuses to stop the confusion of false misinformation. Marty does not try to persuade Ed to meet together. By Monday night the staff begins to hear rumors that other leaders of the ICC were going to begin coming into town on Tuesday to meet with members of the Indianapolis church.

March 1, 1994: Ed Powers and the entire staff of the Indianapolis Church of Christ meet to discuss the developments of the previous day. No one on the staff has been directly contacted by Marty Fuqua, Kip McKean, World Sector Leaders, or any leaders in the Chicago Church of Christ. The staff discusses different options to handle the present situation. It is finally decided to cancel the zone meeting scheduled for the evening and call a Congregational Bible Talk Leaders Meeting at the Church building in Castleton. The staff also learns indirectly on Tuesday afternoon that the Leaders of the ICC have called a meeting on Tuesday evening to present the other side of the argument that Ed had presented to the Indianapolis Church. The staff has still not been invited to the meeting. The majority of the Bible Talk Leaders attend the meeting and express frustration with the sequence of events and the amount of misinformation. Ed asks the Bible Talk Leaders to not attend the meeting scheduled by the Leaders of the ICC, so that the ICC leaders will know that the Church is truly united and that they will sit down to discuss the issues with the staff of the Indianapolis Church.

March 2, 1994: The Midwest Churches are informed of the situation in Indianapolis and Ed Powers and the staff are marked as being divisive in some of the congregations.

March 3, 1994: A meeting sponsored and led by the ICC Leaders is held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Indianapolis for Indianapolis Church of Christ members "to hear the other side". This meeting is attended by the following: Over 100 members of ICC congregations outside Indianapolis, approximately 100 members of the Indianapolis Church and ICC staff members from all over the world (including Kip McKean, Marty Fuqua, Al Baird, Doug Arthur, Roger Lamb, Bob Gempel, Chris McGrath, Steve Staten, John Mannel, Todd Asaad and others). Marty Fuqua speaks. Then Kip McKean speaks to the crowd about the history of the ICC. He also states that the Indianapolis Church of Christ did not have the growth that Ed had reported. Kip read the average attendance figures for each month in 1993.

March 4, 1994: Ed Powers calls Marty Fuqua to schedule a meeting to discuss the issues. The meeting is scheduled with Marty and Bob Gempel for the afternoon at Ed's house. Prior to the meeting Andy and Leslie Lawyer, Greg Edwards and Ryan Polk initiate a meeting with Marty Fuqua and Bob Gempel. (Kip McKean returned to Los Angeles on Friday morning). They plead with these two World Sector Leaders to not start a new congregation. (This is the first contact between the World Sector Leaders and any members of the Indianapolis Church Staff). Later that afternoon Marty Fuqua and Bob Gempel come to Ed Powers' house for a 3-1/2 hour discussion with Ed, Roger Hendricks and Dave Powers (Ed's Dad). It is important to note that Bob and Marty did not even open their Bibles during this 3/1/2 hour meeting. Roger Hendricks drove Marty and Bob downtown to the Embassy Suites. They communicated to him again that they would be in touch.

On that evening another meeting was held for the members of the Indianapolis Church of Christ. Marty delivered a speech on the perils of leadership. Douglas Arthur delivered a speech concerning the issues that Ed had raised. It was also announced there would be a worship service on Sunday morning of the Indianapolis International Church of Christ.

March 6, 1994: The Indianapolis Church of Christ meets at 8003 Castleway Drive for Sunday morning worship. The attendance is 620. The Indianapolis International Church of Christ meets at the Embassy Suites with approximately 200 in attendance. John Mannel is appointed the temporary Evangelist of the new congregation.

That evening Ed Powers and the staff explain to the Indianapolis Church the sequence of events of the past week.

March 8, 1994: The Indianapolis Church of Christ staff meets to discuss the needs of the congregation. Ed has still not heard back from Marty and Bob. Ed sends a fax to Kip and Marty requesting a public discussion of the four principles in question. Marty phones Ed later in the week and informs him that there will be no public discussion.

March 11, 1994: Ed and Bobby Powers, Andy and Leslie Lawyer, John and Rita Morrel, Roger Hendricks, Homer Schmucker, and Mark Davis (Campus Minister of the Elmwood Church of Christ [Lafayette]) attend a scheduled meeting at the IUPUI campus for college student members of the Indianapolis Church of Christ to hear the explanation of the Indianapolis events from the I.C.C. leaders. I.C.C. leaders present are as follows: John and Nancy Mannel, Dave and Judy Wedger, and Kyle and Bobby Jo Bush. John Mannel states that there will not be a meeting because the Indianapolis Church of Christ Staff is represented in the meeting. Ed and others try to urge John to continue with the meeting that was planned, but John refused to continue with the meeting.

March 15, 1994: The Indianapolis Church of Christ meets for a congregational meeting. Ed urges the congregation to "love the person who has set themselves up against you".

March 17, 1994: Kip McKean returns to Indianapolis. He preaches to the Indianapolis International Church of Christ. He marks Ed Powers, the staff of the Indianapolis Church of Christ and anyone meeting with them in Castleton as divisive. He warns the crowd if they have any contact with anyone who has decided to remain with the church that Ed is preaching they will also be marked as divisive. He informs the crowd that Dave Weger will be the new Evangelist of the Indianapolis International Church of Christ. All hopes of reuniting the two groups is now completely over in the minds of the Indianapolis Church of Christ.

April 24, 1994: The Indianapolis Church of Christ is renamed the Circle City Church of Christ to avoid confusion between the two groups. The Circle City Church staff sends a letter to Kip McKean, World Sector Leaders and members of the International Churches of Christ. The letter seeks to determine the truth regarding the Indianapolis situation. The ICC leaders never respond to the letter.

June 1, 1994: Roger Hendricks sends a letter to Kip McKean calling him to repent of the lies that were told in and about the Indianapolis Church of Christ. Kip never responded to that letter.

August, 1994: Kip McKean writes "Revolution through Restoration Part II", that is published in the August issue of Upside Down Magazine. Kip describes the Indianapolis situation as "a very sad chapter in our history". He also writes, "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. (Exodus 16:8; Numbers 16). Thus the rebellious become lost because they do not have a true faith."

Our comments:

Christians need to be in a church and they need to be discipled, submitting to the Word of God the leaders teach. But when leaders continue in teachings and practices that are against the Word of God, that abuse people, that damage disciples and are not open to listen to what the Scriptures teach, to listen to constructive advice from the Word of God, even when pointed out in love by many leaders and disciples under their care, something is drastically wrong! When leaders refuse to submit to the Word of God and choose to persist in unscriptural abusive practices, then they are the ones who are opposing God by opposing His Word. Exodus 16:8 and Numbers 16 do not apply to the situation in the ICC. Moses was not promulgating teachings and practices that were against the teaching of the Word of God. And besides, the brothers and sisters in the Indianapolis Church of Christ did not even want to leave the ICC. They were simply stating that they could no longer go along with some of the practices of the ICC, those practices involving the unscriptural, unjust and abusive use of authority.

In Acts 15 we find a New Testament example of how to deal with controversies regarding teachings and practices. One time Paul even had to rebuke Peter because he was in error (Gal. 2:11-16). Paul was not kicked out of the church, "marked" or considered as "lost" and going to hell because of it, but rather the church was helped. Leaders of the ICC lied to members telling them that the brothers and sisters in the Indianapolis Church of Christ voted to leave the movement, which they did not. Leaders of the ICC initially lied to the membership of the ICC (February 28, 1994) about what happened in Indianapolis and they have since perpetrated more lies (See also "The truth about what happened in Indianapolis"  by former members of the Indianapolis Church of Christ). At a meeting of the ICC held on March 17, 1994 Al Baird read this announcement:

"To all disciples of the ICC around the world from Kip McKean, Al Baird, Marty Fuqua, Ron Drabot, and the Elders of the Chicago Church of Christ. This announcement is to inform you of the actions of Ed Powers, Evangelist of the Indianapolis Church of Christ, which have resulted in part of that congregation being led astray from Godís Movement. On Sunday night, February 27, 1994 Ed called a meeting of the Indianapolis Church in which he asked for and received the majority vote of confidence from the congregation in a move to separate itself from the International Churches of Christ."

This is a lie and misrepresentation of what actually happened as they (596 sincere disciples) did not vote on leaving the movement, but wanted to remain a part of it. Ed Powers clearly and distinctly stated over and over again in the meeting that he was not suggesting that they separate from the movement (as anyone who reads a transcript of or listens to a tape of the sermon can clearly see). He even said that if the congregation did not agree with him concerning the issues that were presented that he would call the LA church and resign. What was voted on was to stop certain practices that they believed were not only a violation of their consciences, but a violation of Scripture. They just could no longer go along with certain unscriptural, unjust abusive practices and teachings that they felt were wrong. They were not even saying that others must stop these practices, only that they could no longer practice them because their conscience was being violated. And weíre talking about non-salvation issues. Many of them hoped their example would enlighten others in the ICC to see the need to correct these wrong practices, and thus improve their church. ICC leaders came in, started a new congregation, and tried to separate people from Ed and the Indianapolis congregation. Subsequently, Ed and all who remained true to their convictions were "marked" by Kip and ICC members were forbidden to have any contact with them. The issues and concerns that were brought up by Ed and the original Indianapolis Church of Christ Congregation (at the Feb. 27th meeting) never were dealt with. Ed Powers and Roger Hendricks requested to meet with Kip to discuss their concerns, and even offered to buy Kipís plane ticket to come meet with them, but there never was a response from Kip. And Kip has made it clear that (according to him) Ed and those who remained with him (whom the ICC pushed out) are lost and going to hell.

In a sermon given in Indianapolis (March 17, 1994) by Kip McKean to the new Indianapolis Congregation in response to the events that had happened there Kip taught:

"Itís not a matter of two camps that have a little different structure, little bit different opinions... Weíre not talking if their attitudes are correct, weíre talking about people who oppose Godís servants, and, thus, oppose God." ... "They have set themselves in opposition against the Lordís anointed." ... "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."

Anyone who hears (or reads a transcript) of the sermon by Ed can clearly see that the Scriptures are against the abuses of spiritual authority that were under discussion. And anyone who reads the transcript of Edís sermon can clearly see that they were discussing non-salvation issues.

Kip also read that night (March 17, 1994) from Romans 16:17 and tried to apply it to Ed and those in Indianapolis who remained true to their convictions:

ďI urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.Ē (NIV)

This and other similar verses (like Titus 3:10) are sometimes used by leaders of the ICC to demand unquestioning submission and allegiance to all teachings and practices of the ICC (even if they are wrong) lest one be shunned or "marked" by them (they were used to enforce the false unbiblical teaching that you must obey your discipler in all matters, including all matters of opinion). But what "teaching" is this verse talking about? The inspired apostle was obviously referring to the teaching of the Word of God (not to every extra-Biblical teaching, idea, practice, and method of Kip McKean). Hundreds of sincere disciples agreed with the Word of God that giving should not be by compulsion, that it is possible to be saved and not be a member of the ICC, that sharing our faith, special contributions, etc., etc. should be motivated by love for God and for man rather than arbitrary demands, statistics and quotas, and that if a policy or teaching which originated at "the top" (with Kip McKean) is wrong or violates a disciples conscience, a disciple should not be required to submit to it.

They were not even demanding that others accept their views on these issues, but they felt bound by the simple teaching of the Scriptures and the convictions of their conscience that they must obey the Word of God rather than man on these issues. They also wanted a system of church government and cooperation (between the church at LA and the church at Indianapolis) more similar to the pattern set in the New Testament (Acts 15:1-35, Acts 6:1-6 [I Cor. 16:12 e.g. freedom for a disciple to say, "No, I canít move right now.", when demanded by a church placed in jurisdiction over them] ). If Kip truly felt they were in sin he should have at least been willing to meet with them and show them their "sin", which he never did. By Kip McKean kicking them out and declaring that they are all lost and going to hell (for following the Word of God rather than him on these issues) he himself has in fact fulfilled what this Scripture is describing by causing division and putting obstacles in the way of disciples that are contrary to the teaching of the Word of God. Kip also taught that night:

"See, Korah opposed the Lordís anointed. In essence, he wasnít opposing Moses, he was opposing the Lord, God."

And as said before he proclaimed, "They have set themselves in opposition against the Lordís anointed." He read from Numbers 16 where Korah, Dathan and Abiram opposed Moses and the earth opened up and swallowed them alive. In this sermon he repeatedly compared what happened there with what happened in Indianapolis, comparing himself with Moses "the Lordís anointed."

As mentioned before, the situation in Numbers 16 has nothing to do with what happened in Indianapolis. Moses was not promulgating spiritually abusive teachings and practices that are contrary to Godís Word. Is God going to cause the earth to open up and swallow me alive because I agree with His Word that giving should not be by compulsion (2Cor. 9:7)? Because I agree with His Word that sharing our faith, special contributions, etc., should be motivated by our love for God and for man rather than statistics and quotas? Godly leaders seek to follow the Word of God and are humble to at least listen and receive input and make changes if necessary when it is pointed out by many disciples that something is contrary to Godís Word. And in a healthy church there is room for different views on non-salvation issues and to obey the dictates of our conscience, as we understand the Word of God (Romans 14).

There is no New Testament doctrine of the Lordís anointed one in the way in which Kip used it here in describing himself. Kip totally misused the Scriptures in Numbers 16 in a classic example of what cult researchers call "phobia indoctrination" -- to instill a fear in people to even question or disagree with him on anything. The disciples in Indianapolis were not personally attacking or opposing Kip or the ICC. Korah and others in Numbers 16 were seeking to usurp the priesthood from Aaron, to take his position and be priest in his place (Numbers 16:8-10). The disciples in Indianapolis were not trying to overthrow Kip or take his place or position or anything like that. They loved the ICC and wanted to remain a part of it. They just could no longer go along with some of the practices of the ICC, those involving the abuse of spiritual authority, because such practices are against the Bible (Acts 4:19-20 [and as such were also against their consciences]). And, as mentioned before, if Kip truly thought they were in error or in sin, he should have at least been willing to meet with Ed and leaders at Indianapolis and show them their error -- or sin -- from the Scriptures, which he did not. By Kip (and other ICC leaders) lying about what happened in Indianapolis, setting up a new congregation in Indianapolis and trying to separate people from Ed and those who held true to the convictions of their conscience and the Scriptures, pushing those who held those convictions out of the church, forbidding all ICC members to have any contact with them, and teaching that all who held to those convictions are lost and going to hell -- Kip has shown that he is the one being factious (Gal. 5:20) proud, arrogant and divisive to all those who truly desire to worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, the truth of the Word of God. Any indepth honest investigation into the Indianapolis incident clearly reveals abusive authoritarian leadership by Kip McKean and his ICC.

In 1993 Steve Johnson wrote the following statement:

"A destructive cult is any group that engages in deception as a means to achieve its end." (Steve Johnson, From The Editor, UpsideDown Magazine, Jan. 93)

From the deception and lies that were continually told (and have never been repented of) concerning what happened in Indianapolis (see also "The truth about what happened in Indianapolis"),deception and lies concerning the Sin Lists (see: "ICC.`Sin Lists’, Confidentiality, and Related Documentation" ), from the information contained in the article "3 Questions ", and from other information which exists 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 leaders, Steve Johnson, this would make the ICC a destructive cult.

 

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

 

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