International Christian Church

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International Christian Church
Usd21globes.jpg
Globes that the ICC gives to missionaries.
Classification Christian, Non-Denominational, Restorationist, Christian Fundamentalism
Orientation Bible, Evangelical
Associations MERCYworldwide, UpSideDown21, Discipleship Media, International College of Christian Ministries
Region 21 nations [1]
Founder Kip McKean & Elena McKean
Origin 2006[2]
Portland, Oregon
Separated from International Churches of Christ
Separations Portland International Christian Church
Members 2000

The International Christian Church (abbreviated 'ICC,') is a conservative fundamentalist Christian Protestant denomination of about 2,000 members and 38 congregations,[3] which started in 2006 with 800 members as a split from the International Churches of Christ (ICOC), and is led by the former leader of the ICOC, Kip McKean. McKean had been disfellowshipped from the ICOC because of his unrepentant leadership sins. [4] [5]

History[edit]

On 12 November 2001, Kip McKean, who had led the International Churches of Christ since its founding as the Boston Movement in 1979, issued a statement that he was going to take a sabbatical from his role of leadership in the church:

During these days Elena and I have been coming to grips with the need to address some serious shortcomings in our marriage and family. After much counsel with the Gempels and Bairds and other World Sector Leaders as well as hours of prayer, we have decided it is God's will for us to take a sabbatical and to delegate, for a time, our day-to-day ministry responsibilities so that we can focus on our marriage and family.[6][7]

On 6 November 2002, Kip McKean resigned his World Missions Evangelist leadership position with the ICOC. He cited family problems and apologized for his own arrogance. McKean indicated that his sins "have weakened and embittered many in our churches," and "these sins have surfaced in my family as well as the church."[8]

Kip and wife Elena later moved up to Portland, Oregon in 2004 and began leading the Portland International Church of Christ. While there, Kip tried to regain the leadership of the ICOC but was repeatedly rebuffed because there were no signs of repentance from the sins he had publicly acknowledged. In 2005, The Elders, Teachers and Evangelists of the ICOC wrote a letter to McKean highlighting their ongoing concerns about his "lack of repentance on sins he has acknowledged in his life".[9] From there, McKean began to organize a network of new churches that he named the International Christian Church (ICC),[10] or the "Sold-Out Discipling Movement", (SODM) a term which refers to the total commitment expected of every member. He sent out a mission team to begin a new congregation in Phoenix, AZ in 2006 and then led a team to Los Angeles the following year to start the City of Angels International Christian Church.

In August 2008, the Portland International Christian Church under the new leadership of Steve Johnson, made the decision to break ties with McKean and the ICC.[11] The church then changed its name to Portland International Church of Christ in order to realign itself with the ICOC. [12] Douglas Arthur, long time friend of McKean's and lead evangelist of the Boston Church of Christ explained:

I personally traveled to Portland in May of 2006 to admonish my friend Kip and the Elders in Portland about "letting no unwholesome talk come out of their mouths" Eph 4:29. With the encouragement of Steve and Lisa Johnson, Kip showed some signs of changing, but in time quickly reverted back to slandering other churches not under his direction... People would be contacted and told that their church was now dead and if they had any hope of doing their best for God they should come join the new "Sold Out" (SODM) congregation. This pattern was repeated in a several cities around the world.

Four other churches, who initially listed with the Portland Movement, have since followed Portland's lead and disassociated themselves from the International Christian Churches.[10]

The International Christian Church is currently banned from the campus of Boston's Northeastern University, which recently issued the following warning on its website: "Warning! ... The Boston International Christian Church have been operating under a variety of names. Due to negative behaviors, these groups have been officially banned from NU recognition, as well as from many other universities..." [13]

Beliefs and Practices[edit]

Each new member must study the Bible, see that they are currently lost and separated from God as a consequence of their previous sins, agree to submit his/her life to Jesus and the authority of the church, make God and the church their first priority in their life, confess and repent of their sins, be baptized (fully immersed) in water for the forgiveness of those sins, agree to attend all church functions, and tithe a minimum of 10% of their pre-tax income as able. The church teaches that only fully committed, correctly baptized disciples who believe the correct doctrines are saved, and that the rest of humanity is lost and separated from God, and condemned to eternity in hell if they were to die right now.

Additionally, the church believes that they are God's one true church (abbreviated "OTC") and the only movement of Christians teaching the Biblical truth in the world today, although they teach that there are a few, scattered "saved" individuals in the ICOC and other churches that are very similar to theirs.

The general practice of the church is to hide their weaknesses and trumpet their successes through a weekly "Good News email". What is shown to everyone, is all the people joining the church, what is hidden, is all the people leaving the church. Sites like ExICC.org[14] have sprung up to provide a more honest picture and to counter the positive propaganda. Personal stories of harsh, authoritarian leadership abuses are described so people can "peer behind the curtain." Sadly these are the very same leadership sins that led the International Churches of Christ to disfellowship McKean.[9]

The ICC emphasizes that Jesus' church in the Bible was persecuted, and therefore, members should not be concerned when outsiders refer to the ICC as a cult or with other emotionally charged terminology. In fact, the ICC teaches that having detractors is great evidence that the they are effectively imitating the teachings and practices of the church of the first century.

Most disciples “expect” persecution from “the world.” The false charges against God’s new SoldOut Movement include being labeled a “cult,” and our members derided as “brainwashed” and “mind-controlled.” - Kip McKean, March 8, 2014[15]

The church also believes that the "kingdom of heaven" that Jesus spoke about in the Bible is the church, which was established following Jesus' resurrection. The church does not practice or believe in speaking in tongues, which it says are deceptions of Satan.

According to Michael Taliaferro, McKean, Raul Moreno and other leaders in the ICC (SODM), misrepresent the beliefs of the ICOC and paint a misleading picture. [16] Additionally the ICC has classes at the annual leadership Jubilee, where members are trained and instructed how to reach out to and "harvest" people away from their "former fellowship", the ICOC. Not content to simply evangelise non-Christians, they try to boost their growth by "drawing disciples away" from their current ICOC congregations. This is consistent with what the scriptures teach in Acts 20:30 [17]

The church justifies it's tactics to recruit from existing churches of disciples by using "remnant theology". This is an Old Testament concept describing Israelites who had not fallen into idolatry and abandoned their faith. This theology is twisted to apply to New Testament disciples who are in churches not under McKean's leadership. This same "Remnant Theology" has been used by many groups to make the group feel unique and justify exclusivism. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, has put a lot of emphasis on the remnant theme, based on a traditional interpretation of the King James Version of Revelation 12:17. Two of its official belief statements mention the remnant theme: number 13, "Remnant and Its Mission" describes an eschatological (end-time) remnant, and number 18, "The Gift of Prophecy" mentions the spiritual gift of prophecy "is an identifying mark of the remnant church".[18]

Further tenets of the church:

  • Jesus resurrected physically from the dead.
  • The Bible is the Word of God, perfect, and the basis of church authority.
  • Members must be "sold-out," completely committed disciples (their word for "Christian")
  • The One True Church of the Bible is made up of only "sold-out" disciples who hold to the correct beliefs, including water baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins.
  • "Be silent were the Bible speaks, speak where the Bible is silent." In contrast to the independent Churches of Christ, which believe "Speak when the Bible speaks, and be silent when the Bible is silent."
  • The church is led by a Central Leadership. Local congregations have an overseeing evangelist, with a worldwide organization (not autonomous or self-governing.)
  • The Evangelization of all Nations in this Generation – Jesus' Great Commission of Matthew 28 - means every member brings new members to the church and every member is involved in "discipling" relationships where they exercise church authority and teaching over each other.

The full outline of basic beliefs are available for study in the church's published doctrinal guide, called "First Principles." [19]

Meetings and ministries[edit]

The ICC has several main meetings: Sunday worship, the World Missions Jubilee, and the Global Leadership Conference, as well as the Spanish-language Latin ministry (Ministerio Latino).

Sunday worship services are held every week with singing, prayer, communion, main contribution for ministry expenses, secondary contribution for benevolence, sermon, announcements, and fellowship. Once or more times a year there is another contribution, the "Special Contribution," which is typically a multiple of 15-21 times the regular weekly contribution. This "Special Contribution" is taken up to fund missions and additional ministry expenses. Great emphasis is placed on each member reaching his or her goals of regular and sacrificial financial giving.

The International College of Christian Ministry (ICCM) is the internal "university" of the ICC. Credits are gained through hours spent leading Bible Talks amongst other study courses, so it is not accredited, but the ICCM can award symbolic Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate Degrees in the ICC's Ministry. Though these degrees would not be recognised anywhere else.[20]

Attendees at the 2013 Global Leadership Conference

The Global Leadership Conference (GLC) is an annual conference for members in leadership roles or those who aspire to leadership within the church.[21]

The World Missions Jubilee is a semi-annual conference of all of the congregations from around the world and all members are strongly encouraged to attend. Heavy fundraising usually takes place leading up to this conference to help pay for the many conference expenses as well as ministry compensation and expenses.

"Ministerio Latino" is Spanish for "Latin ministry" and are Spanish-speaking groups within some ICC churches.[22]

Associations[edit]

The ICC runs and helps fund several imprint organizations which organize charitable work, publishing, religious education and the dissemination of church news.

Founded in 2008 and based on HOPE Worldwide, MERCY (which stands for Maximizing Efforts for Relief Care and Youth), is the benevolent arm of the church and organizes charitable events including toy drives, blood donation drives, feeding hungry children, adoptions, and temporary clinics.[23]

Discipleship Media (DM) is the nascent publishing arm of the ICC and currently publishes "First Principles" church booklets written by church founder Kip McKean, which contain the teachings that new members of the church must accept before being baptized and then adhere to as members.

The Good News Network (GNN) is the film-making arm of the ICC, and has produced the short film, Eyes Wide Open.

Congregations[edit]

Currently there are 38 congregations in 20 different countries.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.chicagoicc.org/2014/01/crown-of-thorns-project-update/
  2. ^ Kip-mckean.com – Get Your Answers Here!
  3. ^ http://www.caicc.net/directory-of-churches/
  4. ^ http://www.icochotnews.com/?q=node/632
  5. ^ http://www.disciplestoday.org/commentary/perspectives/item-409-brothers-statement-to-kip-mckean
  6. ^ [citation needed]
  7. ^ McKean, Kip, Upcyberdown website, November 12, 2001
  8. ^ Timothy R. Callahan, "Boston movement' founder quits,", Christianity Today, posted 3/1/2003 (accessed December 16, 2013)
  9. ^ a b Brothers from the ICOC (4 November 2005). "Brothers' Statement to Kip McKean 4 November 2005". Disciples Today. Retrieved 6 May 2012. .
  10. ^ a b http://www.disciplestoday.org/commentary/perspectives/item-49-kip-mckean-starts-the-international-christian-churches
  11. ^ http://www.icochotnews.com/?q=node/632
  12. ^ http://www.icochotnews.com/?q=node/671
  13. ^ http://www.northeastern.edu/spirituallife/Pdf/csds_brochure_final.pdf
  14. ^ http://www.exicc.org ExICC.org,
  15. ^ http://www.caicc.net/2014/03/08/tear-down-this-wall-by-kip-mckean/ Kip McKean, CAICC.net website, March 8, 2014
  16. ^ http://www.icochotnews.com/?q=node/96
  17. ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+20%3A30&version=NIV
  18. ^ Seventh-day Adventist Church: Fundamental Beliefs
  19. ^ http://www.caicc.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/FirstPrinciples_Eng.pdf
  20. ^ http://ministeriolatino.blogspot.com/2014/03/international-college-of-christian.html
  21. ^ http://www.dcicc.net/report-2012-global-leadership-conference-chosen/
  22. ^ http://ministeriolatino.blogspot.com/
  23. ^ http://www.mercyworldwide.org/

External links[edit]