Disciples in London Address
Inaccuracies in McKean Letter
The following is a letter penned by a large unified group of London disciples to Kip McKean addressing what they claim to be inaccuracies and slander in his recent letter From Babylon to Zion. This letter appears courtesy of those London disciples.
LONDON DISCIPLES SPEAK IN REPLY TO KIP’S LETTER
"Those who failed to oppose me, who readily agreed with me, accepted all my views, and yielded easily to my opinions, were those who did me the most injury, and were my worst enemies, because, by surrendering to me so easily, they encouraged me to go too far... I was then too powerful for any man, except myself, to injure me."
(Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France 1769-1821)
Our Dear Brother Kip
The above quote reminds us so much of you. We believe that you started out well with great intentions, and commend you for the good you have done. We do however feel that we need to set the record straight as to what has happened in London.
The first to present his case seems right until another comes forward and questions him (Prov 18 v 17)
Firstly, there are many inaccuracies in your letter, concerning London. We are all Londoners and we believe that only we know what has really gone on here, over the years, and what has caused the present ‘fall’. So we are therefore qualified to speak. You do not know us, you have not been in touch and have ignored us over the years. and only came over once, when you spoke to us at Alexander Palace. You were not here when we have been through our different crisis over the years. This is by no means an attack on you Kip, this is to help you to be more self-aware and to have clarification of the truth. We pray that you will see more clearly and retract some of your statements after reading this.
We are a large group of disciples from the ICOC London, our professions are ex-Staff members, Lawyers, Legal Secretaries, Doctors, Counsellors, Psychologists, Teachers, Accountants, IT experts, Sales Execs, Childcare workers and Alcohol and Substance mis-use workers. We are married and singles and are a cultural mix of British White, English, Irish, Jewish, Black, Asian and Chinese.
My personal trials have taught me the value of unmerited suffering. As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways that I could respond to my situation: either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force.
Martin Luther King, Jr 1929
We believe that Martin went through more than we can ever imagine, however we can so relate to a similar suffering within the Church and we have worked hard in working for change, without getting “bitter.” We have all been Christians ranging from 10-17 years. We have been beaten down, emasculated, slandered and criticised. As the more ‘mature’ disciples, we have been to ‘hell and back’; we have been there, done that and worn the tee-shirt, so to speak. We love our Lord and are still faithful to him, in spite of everything. Rather than have you getting hundreds of separate letters, all saying the same thing, as we are ‘like-minded’ we thought we would write collectively in the hope that this will help you fully understand.
A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit, who can bear?
(Prov 18 v 14)
Mark Templer came back from a so called Unity Meeting in America last year. He shared about the ‘fall’ of some of the Top Leaders, like Doug Arthur, Kip etc… However, ”OK so this happened in America, those guys need to repent, we have changed a lot of things here in London, so now let’s move on…”, but the staff were not having it, they demanded that Mark send for an elder from the States to explain everything in detail. Mark said at the time that he was so surprised that he had been so out of touch with how the staff were feeling toward himself and (his wife) Nadine. There were 2 sessions with the staff, open forums, where the staff told Nadine and Mark how they felt for 9 hours in total.
Mike & Terry Fontenot came over and Mike suggested that Mark & Nadine listen to what the staff had to say regarding their leadership. The first time this happened Mark and Nadine sat there for about three hours while the staff poured out how they really felt about their leadership. After this they had another staff meeting that went on for six hours with things becoming more heated and more divided. The issues: legalism, control, manipulation etc. Some of the issues dating back to the ‘Revival’, leaders who led around that time were now in America, they caused a lot of damage and never took responsibility, never apologised to those staff or congregation. Some of the staff were calling for Mark to resign, some were calling for him to stay and some were in the middle.
After years of silence or simply not being listened to, in an atmosphere where no one was ‘allowed to speak up’, because those who did were labelled, ostracised or even disfellowshipped and marked, there were pent up emotions; spirits had been crushed. There was a lot of anger, tears, bickering, some staff were not talking to each other, there was a lot of dis-unity.
There was a feeling of surprise and relief at the staff being able to say all these things that we (the congregation) have been saying for years, however you would have never known at the time, that was how they were feeling, because they always stood in fierce protection of each other, whenever any of their fellow staffers were challenged by us.
Eventually, after we had the open forums in various sectors, some staff resigned, some just took off and left the flock in their various sectors to fend for themselves. There was bad feeling all around and this was the staff! It was terrible.
A churchwide leaders meeting was called just before Christmas. The mature Christians were asked to attend. At this meeting Mark read from Galations 2 v 11 (when Paul opposed Peter to his face) and Galations 3 (about laying down the Law), and Galations 5, (‘freedom in Christ’). He apologises for his sin, specifically he apologises for banning the “Golden Rule of Leadership” book, for preaching “bloom where you are planted.” ie. Don’t move ministries (unless told to). Harshness, not listening to people, being a coward, legalism, forcing people to read their Bible for an hour and pray for an hour, having specific days of Events like the large event on 23 June. Mark also shared that he had a ‘dysfunctional’ relationship with Doug Arthur for a while. There were lots of tears. Nadine also apologised, for being harsh, not listening, raising up the young and ignoring the mature disciples, turning a blind eye instead of protecting people, valuing those who cranked the stats.
Some staff openly asked that if anyone wanted to get with them personally to share the past etc. they were to now feel free to be able to do, there were lots of apologies for not listening. This was all documented on tape, if you require a copy.
Adrian Hill (Elder) apologised for not speaking up, for not protecting the flock, for seeing and witnessing events but being too scared to speak up. He declared a time of prayer and fasting for 40 days, after that decisions would be made.
At this point we were all still hopeful of the ICOC changing.
Another meeting was then called, on a Saturday (all day) with the Fontenots, for all the family group leaders and mature disciples, the leaders had a planned agenda and what should have been a question and answer time (after Mike Fontenot’s talk) turned into an ‘open forum’ because people needed to speak! There was an extreme lack of trust, regarding finances, slander, labelling, etc. Not only had the staff lost confidence in Mark & Nadine, but the congregation also lost confidence in the staff and some called for all of the staff to resign. The biggest thing was the lack of Spirituality and Worldliness that had saturated the Ministry. The false doctrine was another main factor. People spoke with a lot of conviction, without going into detail, (we note that you have had the same challenges over in America) again it’s all documented on tape, if you require a copy.
Neville Lee (our head of Finances) also spoke in a later meeting – apologised for all the hurt the finances had caused, the giving under compulsion, that caused us to be burdened. He says he is aware that he has been ‘out of touch’ with regards to the needs of single Mums, the needs in the Church like funerals, etc. This was a major issue over here when it transpired that Ministry staff were getting Christmas bonuses, extra money to buy presents and the more children you had on staff was the more money you would get, for instance the State in England actually gives you extra money per month, per child, so they were collecting that, plus the Father would get ex amount for each child and so would the Mother! Every time they travelled to do a study with someone they would claim their petrol or travel, plus they were all given computers, mobile phones and all bills were paid. So much for a sacrificial life!
We thought of our single Mothers who really sacrificed and went without! This shocked and dismayed us, especially as FG Leaders worked so hard and never got a penny extra for all their travelling and phone calls etc. But the biggest things that made us weep was the fact that the needs around the Church were not met. In one of our sectors a divorced single Mother of 3 died of cancer and the Church was asked to pay for her funeral out of our benevolence fund, they said they no longer had one! A single Mother’s house burnt down in another sector and again, no money. In the end we had to raise funds from the already strapped disciples for both of them. You can imagine the anger, when all of these issues came out. Our qualified Accountants all over the Church put some tough questions to Neville, which he answered with integrity. It must be said that we were all impressed with Neville’s honesty, openness and calmness, when this all came to ahead, he stood pretty much alone, with little or no support from his fellow staff members. He took the full brunt of all the disciples anger.
In the past, we had already gone to see Mark and Nadine in person, about all these things before they blew up, plus some of us had written letters, they actually agreed to a lot of what we were saying, however, for the most part, their hands were tied because of the hierarchy and one leader higher up than them would pull the reigns. There were a few good Shepherds (who suffered immensely for putting the disciples ‘needs’ first instead of ‘stats’, you see you cannot put love and compassion on a stat sheet). However the majority were lousy Shepherds, their priorities had been upside down, it did not matter about the “fall aways” as long as we kept the numbers up by baptising. People were coming in and going out again at the back door. The heart of Jesus was ‘grossly missed’ God’s greatest commandment ‘Love’ had been seriously breached in the name of stats! A few of us have been fasting and praying for years that the London Church would no longer grow, because that is the only way that you would eventually see the ‘needs’ – so far as we are concerned, God has answered our Prayers!
You mentioned the Scotts, Fred and Mark could not see eye to eye, Fred was not at the last meeting and Fred and Emma were one of the main couples that took off and left their sector to fend for themselves. When many of the staff apologised for how they treated the flock, there was no letter of apology from Fred. You see, there are still some staff that just do not “get it”. The Scotts were actually made redundant. (laid off in American English).
After this the Directors were forced to make all the remaining UK staff redundant with the exception of 3 when the church funds depleted.
His letter, IS NOTHING NEW!!
We, the mature disciples (with conviction) are at a loss as to the impact Henry’s letter has had on especially you guys in America, UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN SLEEPING. Can you honestly say that nothing in his letter is true and you had not noticed or had not been told any of the things he spoke about until you read it?
We, in London have in fact been praying, talking and pleading about these very things he has shared in his letter for years, (not to mention also our critics). The difference is that Henry was a prominent member of staff, God had to use him, for by using one of your own, it’s the only way he could get your attention.
We did not listen to good hearted disciples or our Critics, but instead we subjected ourselves to years of ’control’ which is why we are in a mess today! On talking to some of the American disciples, we are amazed at just how ‘ignorant’ some of the Churches in America still are, they have no idea of what has gone on, they are still under the same old control, you cannot keep people in the dark forever, the truth will always come out in the end.
Henry did not write his letter in ‘bitterness of spirit’ as you have said. This is not TRUE. He is not BITTER if anything he is BETTER. That dreadful ICOC word needs to be vanquished from your vocabulary, it slanderous and cruel!
We actually prayed for years that God would start with the top leaders and ‘humble’ them, we prayed that God would use staff members with conviction to speak out, and not be afraid of losing their jobs, we prayed that the Churches would no longer grow (we knew that this is where it would wake you up) some of us had also written papers years ago and given them to various leaders, Mark & Nadine had a few, ask them! You are welcome to copies
Most of us would have left this Church as long ago as 1994, however John & Emma Causey came over and a lot of us felt that they were the best thing that had ever happened to London, we were hopeful then that things would change. They led by encouragement, and unlike previous leaders, were easy to approach, they were therefore good for the Sheep. However not long after they left, things started slowly to get back to normal, we also heard about the massive ‘rift’ on staff concerning them.
Acts 10 v 9-22
God was radical with Peter on racism…
Comment by ‘White Disciples’ “London is the most Cosmopolitan City in the world, we have every race and nationality here, we mix very well here and have not got the extreme ‘racism’ that you have in the USA. Our Church certainly reflected the different races but the Ministry did not. We felt that it was good to have a black couple lead us as it would inspire the non-White disciples to ‘raise-up’ and want to be a part of the Ministry.
There was a ‘subtle racism’ in the Ministry and for those of us in the Ministry who fell in love with black sisters, we were told ‘No’. There was even a couple of Chinese brothers in the Ministry who also fell in love with black sisters and were also told ‘No’. There were also derogatory comments made from the pulpit. What was strange was that there were already 4 couples with white spouses in the Ministry, we guess that maybe they did not want anymore. Needless to say, some of us did not listen and have gone on to be happily married, some of us with children. We remember well, Emma Causey challenging the staff on their ‘White English Pride’.
This subtle racism hurt the church big time.”
ICOC does not follow the scriptures, it lays down more law than the Pharisees!
By accusing Henry, you may as well accuse all of us who have stood up for the very things shared in his letter all these years.
Our hearts go out to you Kip because we see that you have no concept and do not seem to understand, that PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY DAMAGED. We have come to realise that those of you guys at the very top of the hierarchy are the most ‘out of touch’. For those of us who are Psychologists, Counsellors, Lawyers and Doctors, we have experienced first hand, the serious legal implications, the immense physical, mental damage and sheer abuse that has been done to people. A top London Psychologist was invited to speak to the staff a couple years ago and warned them of the very things shared.
The London Church has paid out compensation for a Lawyer who had his own business earning a fortune, however without going into detail he was immensely abused and damaged by the Church and can no longer work. In addition we have a large number of mature disciples who have suffered mental health, become ill through burn-out, suicidal, and extreme depression, some had problems before they came into ICOC and we just made them worse, this is deplorable.
Since all this has started ‘depression’ has kicked in and many ex-staff and congregation are in Counselling, a few ex-staff (who are still members of ICOC) had begun to take out law suits, but the Church in retaliation has said that they would counter sue! We were told in our financial meeting that the Church was no longer a Charity but a BUSINESS! No one bothered to inform us. Hence, we can now sue each other?! The Church are talking about changing their name, so as to avoid the law suits. Jesus must be weeping! If only we were listened to in the very beginning, none of this would have come to a head.
There were about 20 elected non-staff, 12 elected staff (of which Henry was one) and four moderators. A Group were chosen from around the whole Church (from staff and congregation) to stand in the gap and make decisions to help our Church through this spiritual crisis.
We do not know where you are receiving your information from Kip, but you are “erroneous,” when you say that Henry & Marilyn were asked to resign. They were not asked to resign. We actually wanted Henry and Marilyn along with John Partington and Rose to stay and help lead. However, the Partingtons had already resigned a year previously, and Henry and Marilyn decided to resign of themselves, due to the present climate in the Church. Both Henry and John wrote Papers, they were in fact writing them long before all of this started. Henry had started his paper 18 months ago, but due to the ‘fear and intimidation’ filtered down in the Church, he was afraid to let it loose and distributed it only in the Working Group. However, with the power of the Internet, it was sent abroad and before we knew it had gone world-wide. London had actually collapsed by then anyway. The open forums were already in motion and Henry had nothing to do with the ‘open forums’.
Henry left England popular and respected.
Henry has been slandered by you and other leaders. This is wrong.
Adrian Hill (as mentioned earlier) was an Elder overseeing the South sector, after The Partingtons resigned, he and his wife were the only ones left to act as “Elder”, it transpired in the meeting that he was re-baptised only a few years earlier after he was appointed as an ‘Elder’ but neither he nor anyone else told the congregation. He made it clear that he had not been forced or pressured into this baptism but that it was his own personal conviction He said he had taken advice from various people, so he was in fact a new convert! (1 Tim 3 v 6). Needless to say, this was totally unbiblical as to the requirements of an Elder. We were appalled. (Earlier, one of the brothers in the Working Group strongly opposed him and he was asked to step down). (1 Tim 5 v 20).
At the last meeting which we had at the end of the 40 days, Adrian said that he was now not an elder. He did not go into any detail as to why he was now no longer considering himself an elder, and at what point he came to that conclusion.
The Working Group chose the men they wanted to lead because of their Spirituality, wisdom, conviction and fear of the Lord, (Acts 6v3 onwards) but Adrian dismissed all of them and decided to choose his own “Yes” men, when he was asked in the meeting why he chose those men, he said they were chosen because of their talents! Really, now where is that in the Bible?
At this point many of us mature disciples knew that the Leadership of the Church did not want change! Many made the decision that night to leave ICOC all together.
You quote: “Obey your Leaders” However, Paul says as a Leader “Follow me, as I follow Christ…” Please do not twist or use the scriptures out of context.
You quote: “the congregation needs to humbly apologise to the staff….”?
Matthew 18: v 15-18
We followed this scripture whole-heartedly and were always met with a ‘Defence’. Because of the ‘gulf’ between staff and non-paid it was extremely difficult to find another staff member who was willing to support you in the “take two or three witnesses with you part” because of their own fear of man, and losing their jobs, they always seemed to turn it back on you, in fact they did everything that would take the focus of themselves. V18 “if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the Church, and if he refuses even to listen to the Church, treat them as you would a pagen or tax collector…”. The most popular way of getting a staff member to challenge another staff member on your behalf was: “you need to trust God that he will work it out…”. That was their way of shutting you down. However that did not come into the equation when the roles were reversed.
Once again you have focussed on the Shepherds instead of the Sheep!
We had ‘White Supremacy’ Shepherds who were extremely arrogant and not open to any type of correction, no matter how nicely you put it or whether you used the scriptures. What we prayed for and wanted was Shepherds who REALLY cared, really loved, transparent and open, we wanted to be part of a family that cared for the Sheep.
We should be most obliged if you answer these questions:
We have heard nothing but ‘negatives’ from the leaders in ICOC concerning the COC. Some of us have visited the Elders and Deacons in COC Church, right here in London, just to get our own perspectives. (We have no Elders in ICOC London, let alone Deacons). Do you know what Kip, they have never, ever said a bad word about you or ICOC, in spite of everything that has happened, they genuinely feel for what has happened to us in ICOC and have extended their arms to us in LOVE, we have experienced a level of Love, wisdom and righteousness that we in ICOC can only dream about. They have said that we are welcome to look at their books anytime, some of us have already taken up this opportunity and have been pleasantly surprised. All the Elders have secular jobs.
Our brother Paul in the Bible worked, he was a tent maker, he was never a financial burden to anybody.
For those who have left ICOC and those who still attend ICOC, they have strongly encouraged us to be Bereans, delve into our Bibles, continue to pray, and more importantly to ‘Heal’ they have offered us Pastoral care and are also praying for us to heal, they are so willing to help!
We were blown away! This prompted us to do some background research into the history of the way the Church started and we found that the Memorial Church of Christ withdrew the ‘funding’ of yours and Roger Lamb’s back in the May 1977. There was also another letter from Wayne Gelling of Heritage Baptist Church. This was because of the doctrine (based on the Master Plan of Evangelism, discipling etc.), the very issues that we are struggling with now. (this is all transcribed on tape). Why did you never mention this to us Kip? You told us that the movement started with the “30 would be disciples in Pat’s living room…” etc.
There are other issues we heard about too, but would not repeat because we have not the proof as is the case on the above mentioned. We invite you to share the ‘truth’ Kip, this is the problem we had in our present leadership, the deceit, the lack of transparency and openness. We can never inspire trust in any kind of leadership again unless we have this.
The Only Church
You quote: “you have always believed there were other Christians outside ICOC…” Yet that is NOT what you said. You quote: from a ‘94 KNN video “We are the only Church, everyone else is lost”. We still have the video if you require a copy. This was in fact a requirement back in the days of that dreadful Revival if people did not agree that “this was the only Church” they were put off the membership! Some of us just said “Yes” to save the hassle, or because we were afraid of being booted out of the Church, even though we did not believe it!
The fact that you said this is not to be taken lightly, this was severely filtered down and people have left ICOC and think they are going to hell, some were so ‘messed up’ they did not bother to go to any other Church, some disciples, still have that mindset in the Church today, there is a tremendous fear of leaving, Jesus is coming back to judge us individually, not whether or not you are a member of the ICOC!?
Single mature sisters who gave up boyfriends and finances to become members of this Church, had met righteous men outside ICOC, could have been married years previously, if they had not been waiting around for Mr ICOC Right! This has also been fuelled by the interference of some staff who believed it was their God given right, in telling people who they could and could not date and this was within the Church. There was a lot of interference and manipulation in this area. Some of these women have now gone through the ‘change’, so cannot now have children and they are devastated at what they see as ‘wasted’ years. This is so sad, because a lot of these women put their lives on hold to ‘build’ this Church and yet were always made to feel that there was something ‘wrong’ with them. They have had no help whatsoever in this area.
Only the Lord knows those who are HIS. “The Only Church” policy was arrogant and very wrong! If you truly believe there are Christians outside ICOC then you need to make it crystal clear and emphasise it publicly!
Another evil was putting young interns, (age and recent converts) with no life experience, limited Bible knowledge, over the mature bros and sisters, they were not interested in our ‘Wisdom’ (the bible speaks about wisdom crying out), older women teaching the younger women, not the other way round. They were the most arrogant, the scriptures were not obeyed ie: ‘recent convert’, ‘becoming conceited’.
You quote: “Only a few leaders have been immoral…” How do you know? Not everything that goes on reaches your ears.
You talk a lot about this, we have been knocked for six by all that has happened, we are wounded, sick and lame. Some are slowly getting well, some will never recover. We therefore have no intention of bringing anyone into this wounded mess right now. How do you convert people? Has your doctrine changed? What are you now going to do differently?
You do not mention LOVE, God’s greatest commandment. We’ve yet to learn this most powerful ingredient. Remember that Jesus said, people know we are his disciples by our LOVE, swelling numbers for church growth is God’s business.
We want you to know that we will NEVER, EVER go back to how ICOC was, we are following God NOT YOU or any other MAN. For the first time we are experiencing freedom in Christ, we understand God’s love, grace and compassion, and like the COC Elders say, right now we just need to HEAL.
We recommend strongly that you get some Counselling (Christian or Secular). Do some volunteer work in poorer communities, (without trying to convert anyone). It would be good for you to have real non-Christian friends without having an Agenda.
Jesus befriended people and did not convert everyone, he just met their needs anyway! This will help you to work on yourself, hopefully through your own counselling you will be able to really see the immense damage that you and others have filtered down throughout the whole of the ICOC churches.
What has happened in the London church is not the point though. We believe that no one is perfect and people make mistakes. Some have forgiven and moved on. For others there is no ‘closure’ therefore it will take time. After all have we not ourselves made a lot of the mistakes we have catalogued in this letter? And did not our Lord expect us to forgive? So this letter is not about pointing the finger. We are not into attacking. However, the saddest thing to come out of all this is that the staff (not all) have refused to repent or even acknowledge the depth of their sin. Why has there been no apology about Indianapolis or Milan or Madrid etc. etc.? Why has there not been an apology to those who were ‘marked’ for speaking the truth? Why has there not been an apology to the London church about the gross staff salaries and benefits compared to some who were struggling year in and year out to make ends meet?
2 Cor. 8 v 13. Why does there continue to be such lack of openness about American staff salaries? (DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO HIDE? 2 Cor 4 v2, Acts 20 v33-35) Why was there no benevolence? James 1 v 2.
Why do you deplore open forums when Jesus and Paul etc. had them all the time? (John 18 v 20) Jesus spoke openly and publicly, he said nothing in secret. Paul also spoke publicly and openly, through good report and bad report (2 Cor 6 v 3-11). They both welcomed ‘openness’ and ‘up frontness’ and were not afraid of strong emotions.
The Bible teaches that we are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and resolve conflicts and issues in a spiritual way. Those courageous enough to go against the unwritten rules and the popular "conventional wisdom" concerning the real results of this system do not deserve the condescending criticism that you Kip and others have provided. These people who speak truth in love when it isn't popular are heroes in heaven and ought to be heroes on earth as well.
Consider the story of the Grecian widows in Acts 6. These people were neglected and hurt. The Scripture says they "complained" (Acts 6:1). But the apostles LISTENED, humbly recognized these widows had indeed been neglected, gathered the church together, and came up with a solution in concert with the church. This is a great paradigm for solving problems in the church! The old ICC approach would have been to tell them to "deny themselves," "be disciples," "get a job," "persevere," "don't be bitter" and "quit grumbling against God's anointed" “don’t have a bad attitude” or else be cast out of the church.
When Henry Kriete was leading the way in standing up to those outside the church he was hailed as a hero. Now you deride him as ‘emotional’. We all know and used to shudder at that description. Once labelled as ‘emotional’ (with a little knowing smirk) it stuck and you were perceived as ‘weak and weird’ and not to be taken seriously. Why are you carrying on this mind game?
Kip, we invite you to come to London. Speak with us. You can stay in our houses. Please do not go and stay with those members who won’t speak the truth to you. There are those who would not take such a stance. Rather come to us who wrote this letter. We will look after you. But be ready to publicly debate your ministry and your doctrines and practices over the last 20 years. We will treat you kindly and with love but we will speak the truth to you. We can’t wait to meet you.
We pray that you take these words to heart and at least meditate on them. We love you and care about you and your family Kip. We are praying for you all. We will also be praying for your new Ministry in Portland.
PS, Note: Is your dear wife Eleanor in full agreement with everything you say? As she led the women, it would be great to hear from her also.
Your brothers and sisters in the Lord.