“You might have noticed that I’ve been preaching heavy duty about
the evangelism of the church. The evangelism of the church, right now,
stinks! It stinks! It’s terrible! We’ve got 740 disciples; we’ve got 120
studies going on. That is the PITS! Am I communicating here?”
(Dave Eastman, Christian Dating, 1991, sd 2)
“These 12 Jesus sent out with the following instructions.
Ok, let’s get practical about our Bible Talks here. ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go
rather to the lost sheep of Israel.’ You know it’s a hard teaching for many
of us. The Bible Talk leader says, ‘Ok
students, our goal is to build up the campus ministry.
I want you to go out and I want you to
convert some students. I want you to
convert some high powered leaders for the future of the church. I want you to convert someone like you,
reproduce after your own kind.’” (Gregg
Marutzky, Bible Talks That Multiply, sd 1)
“And I don’t believe that after two weeks you don’t have a
baptism it’s time to doubt your
conversion or your spirit-filledness or your correctness before the Lord.
But I think if you look back over a prolonged period of time and see no fruit,
something’s up and you need to invite discipleship.”
(Bob Trenchell, The Battle for Abundant Fruit,
1993, sd 1)
“Matter of fact, Chicago, the seminar there really changes
Jim. And he got a lot more radical when
he got back from Chicago; church got a lot more radical.
And he said, ‘You know, we need to have 30
baptisms in 30 days before May 21st.”
(Henry Kriete, Discipleship: Passing the Torch!, Part 1, Toronto COC)
“You know, we want fruit that will last…. There is no greater bummer than to
convert somebody and to have them fall away.”
(John Porter, How We Reached and Kept Our Converts, 1988, sd 1)
“We need to focus in our Bible talks on being
‘fruitful’ in 88. What do I mean by that? We need to be focusing on
bringing someone to Christ, personally.”
(Ashley Hockenberry, Jesus’ Bible Talk,
Toronto Church, 1988)
“If you want to be a disciple, then you better be
(Jimmy Rogers, The Battle For Fruit, 1993)
“We’ve got too many ‘solo’ Christians. Too many Christians
who think that there is nothing wrong with being unfruitful….
That’s a ‘solo’ Christian because you are not
remaining in the vine! Says here that
such branches wither. They’re already
fallen down. It says they’re picked up
and done what? Thrown in the fire.”
(Jimmy Rogers, ibid)
(1995 to present)
“I think that the evangelism in so many of our churches just
flat stinks. It’s not a matter of just expecting our
members to be evangelistic, the need to BE
EVANGELISTIC! It is a standard that
Jesus expects. Now PREACH IT!” (Kip McKean,
Preach the Word, Johannesburg World Leadership Conference, Aug 95)
“Singles, we’ve got nothing else to do. Without kids you have nothing else to do
except convert people. There are no excuses.”
(Dan Conner, Faith - Fear - Fruit, 1996)
“That’s really the key to building fruit, fruit that will
last. Guys, our relationship needs to
be ALL about evangelism. We can never take off from our relationship.
‘Oh, you know what? Let me take off today. We’re out on Saturday, so let’s not share our faith.’
Or, ‘You know what? Saturdays are just for us.’ Or, ‘We need to have family time together,
just for us.’ Guys, you need to have as many people in your life as possible.
You need to be working for the Lord incredibly.”
(Kendal Knight, Couples Facing One Another,
Singles Retreat: “Face Off”, 1998, sd 1)
“How much time are you spending with non-Christians on a
daily basis? You know, there needs to
be lunch time filled with non-Christians, evenings, having at least two or
three studies in the evening…. Use your relationship to evangelize…. Do you
have visitors with you on Sunday, at midweek, at Bible Talk?
Are there people with you? Are there non-Christian couples that you are
going out on dates with on Saturday night?”
(Dian Knight, ibid)
need to get a conviction that when the church is
not growing the first person we need to look at is the
preacher. And the second is his
wife. They lack faith and they’re in
sin!” (Kip Mckean, Preach the Word, Johannesburg
World Leadership Conference, Aug 95)
“I said, ‘Bro, I’m totally aware of the history down there.
hey haven’t grown for a year and they’re in sin.’ I went down, I told the church about their lack of growth, I laid out the
stats; we’re so afraid to tell the church the stats.
Let me tell you something, let the people know the problem.”
(Kip McKean, ibid)
“I heard this story about Kip going out to this school, Eastern Illi-noise.
No Eastern Illinois…. Anyway, so he’s out there and, um, you know, supposedly it’s
like a campus in the middle of a cornfield. Is anybody familiar with
this school? All right, a few people.
There’s supposedly not a lot going on, it’s
not like New York City. But he went out
there and he baptized, I think, over a hundred or over two hundred people in
ONE YEAR. Out there. Just to show that, ‘You know what? It can be
done.’ Just so he could say, ‘So there!’”
(Dan Conner, Faith - Fear - Fruit, 1996)
We set a new rule for evangelists for about a five month period.
You couldn’t preach a sermon in the DC church if you didn’t have a visitor sitting there
with you…. You got your sermon ready, that was important, but hey, you better get your visitor there or
you weren’t gonna do it. And brothers had spare sermons in their pocket. Cause if the one brother who was supposed to speak didn’t have his
visitor there, then flat out some other brother who had been sharing his faith
needed to get up and preach the word that day.”(Douglas Arthur,
Congregational Service,Ilikai Hotel, Dec 12, 1996)
“The reason we don’t have sons in the faith is cause we’re not a hero.
Now I’m not saying that in a boastful way, but you gotta make it one of your decisions.
I’m gonna be a hero. Heroes don’t happen by accident. You gotta
decide to be a hero. And you know something, when you’re a hero you’re gonna see the
‘five talent’ people get baptized….heroes make heroes who make heroes.”
(Kip McKean, Preach the Word, Johannesburg World Leadership Conference, Aug 95)
“Can you imagine the kind of, the kind, I mean, Peter had his 3,000, but what if
Judas would’ve turned it around?…. Can you imagine the amount of people he
would’ve affected?…. I mean, Peter’s line was pretty long to get baptized.
But Judas, oh my goodness. He would’ve had to tag team with, say, ‘Hey,
someone come baptize all these guys, man. Help me out, Pete. Goodness, you
only got 3,000? Hey man, you’re laggin, bud. Supposed to lead this kingdom.
I don’t know. Did Jesus not forgive you,
only 3,000?” (Bill Moulden, Changing Colors, Oct 25,
1998, sd 2)
I hope I’m not the only one who sees the absurdity of Mr. Moulden’s comments.
Not only is it absurd, it is wrought with misrepresentation and Scriptural error.
But this shows the kind of subtle manipulation and twisting used to get members to go
for the numbers. And find me any Scriptural reference for making such a
“rule” as Mr. Arthur is speaking of in regard to
preaching. I must say, sarcastically speaking, that this really sounds like a ministry
led by the Spirit.
“I think a lot of us just have studies, but we don’t have
friends. I was talking to someone and
they said, ‘Well, what happens if everybody cancels out on you?’…. What happens
if you have all these people cancel out, well then I would say they’re probably
not your friend. See, you can cancel
out on some guy who asked you to study the Bible on the train, because who
cares? You’re not going to see that guy again, maybe. But if it’s your friend,
if you care about him, you’ll at least, ‘Well, let me see what this person has
to say.’ Now, if this sounds like, ‘Well isn’t that being friends with an
ulterior motive?’ Well, I mean, we want to save the world.”
(Dan Conner, Evangelism, Aug 13, 1996)
“Moving to friendship evangelism. We’re going to move to
friendship. They’re kind of like when you do the crab bait. Remember when we
talked about you put the bait in there and for six or seven hours you have to
wait for the crab to come in there? So, that’s like with the friendship evangelism.
You go in and you build friendships with these women…”
(Sonya Weeks, Goin’ Fishing (women), Brooklyn Leaders
Retreat, Aug 21, 1999, sd 1)
“You want to help other men become disciples you gotta learn to serve’em.
You gotta learn to have a good enough job so you got enough money so you can
spend some money on some other guys. You know what
I’m talking about? You gotta be the one
treating for lunch, you gotta be the one helping people out.
You start serving people then they’ll want
to know you.” (Randy Tinnina God’s Dream for the Single Man,
Singles Seminar: What Dreams May Come, 1999, sd 2)
This reminds me of a former member telling me that people
were instructed to become “best friends” with every new prospective convert in
order to gain their trust so it would be easier to take them through the
studies. To become friends with someone
to insure that they won’t “cancel out” on you when you invite them to Bible
Talk or so that it will be easier to persuade them during the studies isn’t really
becoming their friend. It’s a facade to
gain their trust so they will do what you want them to do.
It is an old business trick taught in many circles as a way to manipulate people.
It’s the same as pulling the wool over someone’s eyes or running a number
“If you don’t know how to fish, then you need to get discipled and trained to
fish. Cause if you don’t know how to fish, then you’re not going to make it to heaven.”
(Terry Folker, The Call to Fish, South Florida
Church of Christ, Jan 4, 1998 )
“The second tool to effective fishing is bait. You can use
worms, hooks, sinkers, but these are all tools used to entice fish. And OUR
bait we need to realize is to make the gospel just look a lit- much
attractive. As women we need to be
able to look our best and be the most presentable to the crowds we are facing….
if we look good, they are going to want to come to us.”
(Maryum Delves, Goin’ Fishing (women),
Brooklyn Leaders Retreat, Aug 21, 1999, sd 1)
“So we’re going to talk about bait, catching
the fish, and reeling it on in. Ok…..
And along with that bait you have to think when fishermen go out they really
consider, ok, they consider the fish and what kind of bait the fish would be
attracted to. Ok. They don’t, they don’t just throw any old
bait out there, ok. That would be too suspicious, ok….So they choose flies or
they choose bait that look just like the bait that they’re already attracted to.”
(Natalie Bowen, Goin’ Fishing (women), Brooklyn Leaders
Retreat, Aug 21, 1999, sd I)
Talk about being deceptive. Don’t these people realize that bait is
something used to trick a fish. A worm or lure is used to conceal
(hide) the hook and the fish is deceived into biting it. It is actually a trap.
How can they be teaching people to use friendship as “bait”? And why are they
reducing the activity of preaching the gospel, or sharing their faith, to the
activity of modern day fishing? Apart
from the fact that Jesus was speaking metaphorically and only to the first two
disciples when he said “I will make you fishers of men.”, the modern method of
fishing being spoken about by ICOC leadership is quite different than the
method used in His time. One thing is certain, He was not teaching them to use “bait” to
“entice” people. Nor was He teaching them deceptive methods. Jesus taught his disciples to
preach the gospel. Simple. Straight forward. Truthfully. And that’s
just what they did. If you want to put it in “fishing” terms, they threw in their net
(the gospel) and men were caught up by it. As God once stated, “…so is
my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will
accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
(Isa 55:11) No bait, no lures, no tricks, absolutely no
deception. As the Apostle Paul said, “… we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do
not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the
contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every
man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor 4:2)
“God promises us that if we remain in Him we will be
fruitful…. How do you react when someone challenges you on it? When
someone asks, ‘Bro, man, how you doing personally with
fruit? How you doing?…. How’s it been going with meeting people that you can get out there and
baptize?’ How do you react?” (Dan Conner, Faith - Fear - Fruit, 1996)
“Who’s gonna say, ‘I’m sick of not being fruitful.
I’m tired of it…. You’re gonna come with me or not, but I am not going to rebel
against the Lord.” (Dan Conner, ibid)
“One thing I love about Kip McKean is that Kip McKean never tires of pushing the
basics. Every time I go to a leadership conference, every time Kip comes to town,
I know what he is going to talk about. He is going to talk about ‘Are
we making disciples around here? Are we bearing fruit for God?”
(Gordon Ferguson, Congregational Service, Ilikai Hotel, Aug 17, 1997, sd 1)
“We’ve got to ask ourselves a question, ‘Were you personally
fruitful last year?’ You know what the Bible says about the tree and the fruit?
It says Jesus looked at the tree and it wasn’t bearing fruit. He was
going to cut it down, said, ‘No, no, no, give it one more year.’ Let me tell you
what. God prunes the church, here. And the dead branches that aren’t bearing
fruit, God prunes.” (Terry Folker, The Call to Fish,
South Florida Church of Christ, Jan 4, 1998)
“You know, when you hear somebody saying this person is getting baptized,
that’s exciting because fruit is being born in the vine.”
(John Hafer, Getting Tied In, Oahu Church of Christ, Aug 30, 1998)
“When you’re not fruitful, you’re not
remaining in Jesus.”(John Hafer, ibid)
“And so from this one man, and he as good as DEAD, came descendants as numerous as
the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
What does this say about Abraham? Is that Abraham was fruitful. He wasn’t
hindered by excuses. I mean, the Bible says he was as good as
DEAD. Therefore, we can be fruitful as well.
As disciples, I don’t care how rough your situation
is right now. You’re not ‘as good as dead’. I mean, that’s a pretty bad
situation to be in. You see we’re called to bear fruit and sometimes
we can feel like, ‘You don’t understand my situation, you don’t understand the
circumstances I’m in’. But, Mark 1 says
if we follow Jesus we’ll be fishers of men. John 15 says if we remain in Him we WILL
bear fruit. What is our
excuse?” (Dan Conner, Therefore…, New York City Church, May
28, 2000, sd 1)
“But we know what God’s will is. When the
Bible talks about make the most of every opportunity, I believe the spirit of
it is always to be evangelistic. The spirit of it is ALWAYS to be
fruitful. The spirit of it is to ALWAYS have people in your lives that you
can baptize.” (Kendal Knight, Couples Facing One Another, Singles
Retreat: “Face Off”, 1998, sd 1)
“You need to ask yourself what is your time on the phone like now that you’re
dating, and now that you’re engaged…. Is your time on the phone more focused on
your partner rather than on the women you need to be studying the Bible
with? You need to be talking about who you’re reaching out to and who you’re studying
the Bible with. That needs to be a lot of what your conversation
is about with your partner. Why? Because there is a high expectation for
fruitfulness in your relationship.”
(Dian Knight, ibid)
“Focus on fruit that will last, making disciples.”
(Kendal Knight, ibid, sd 2)
“Is this person seeking God’s kingdom first in their life?
That means that they are seeking the mission, that they’re focused on making disciples.”
(Dian Knight, ibid, sd 1)
I would like to take a moment to confront the ICOC’s use of the phrase “Seek
first the kingdom”, a phrase used by ICOC leadership when correcting or
discipling (teaching) the members. The
phrase is taken from Matthew 6:33 which states “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things
will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
Most often only the first part of the verse is used and members are
taught that it means to seek first ‘what’s best’ for the kingdom (i.e. the
ICOC). When there are no specific
verses of Scripture to support a leader’s correction, teaching, instruction or
directive, the leader most always uses “seek first the kingdom”.
The problem with this is that it is a
misrepresentation, a twisting of Scripture and it gives leadership carte
blanche over the lives of the members.
To begin with, the word “seek” in Matthew 6:33 means to go
after as to obtain. And keeping with the context of what Jesus is saying,
that is exactly what is meant. In Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus is telling the people
not to worry about worldly possessions or needs, in other words not to focus on obtaining
those things. God already knows that they need them. Instead, seek (go after as to obtain)
first his kingdom and his righteousness, and God will take care of the things they need.
He wants their first focus to be on obtaining His kingdom and His
righteousness. It is also very
important to remember that Jesus was speaking to Jews who were unsaved,
not yet born again into the kingdom of God. Contrary to Diane Knight’s last
quote, at the time that Jesus said these words He had not yet given the great
commission. These unsaved Jews knew nothing about any mission of
making disciples. So to say that this is what Jesus meant when
he was speaking these words shows an ignorance of Scripture.
Secondly, the ICOC meaning does not fit with the second half of
the sentence. To say, “Seek first what’s best for His
righteousness”, “His righteousness” being the subject matter in need, makes
entirely no grammatical sense whatsoever in the context of what is being
said. Adhering to the context, the
subject matter in need is the unsaved people that Jesus was speaking to.
They were in need of God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. That is why Jesus was
telling them to seek the Kingdom and His righteousness before other
things. This is the biggest problem
with people using things out of context or using half of a sentence to try and
support a view or a teaching. It is gross error of exegeses. And it leaves
one to think that it was done intentionally.
Many former members have claimed that the leadership of the ICOC has
abused it’s authority through harsh demeaning, abusive, controlling “discipling”
that many times has had the effect of tearing people down rather than building
them up. This includes harsh rebuking and undue pressure to seek and accept advice.
It is asserted that the leadership goes way beyond the authority given
to them in Scripture, using intimidation to get members to submit to them in
all areas of their lives. I am not
suggesting that people refrain from seeking advice.
On the contrary, Scripture teaches us the invaluable rewards of
doing so. However, individuals should
never feel pressured to do
so. Nor should they ever feel expected or obligated to follow the advice given.
Advice is just that, advice, an opinion given by men. It is not a command from God. It
should never be put on the same level as words spoken by God.
The apostle Paul was careful to note the
difference. To reject advice, or even
human instruction, is not a sin. (For a more in-depth treatment on Biblical authority, read
Led By Men Or Led By God?
and chapter 3 of Mary Alice Chrnalogar’s book Twisted
Scriptures, which can be ordered at most Bible book stores.)
In Scripture, Timothy was instructed to correct, rebuke and
encourage “with great patience and careful instruction.”
(2 Tim 4:2)Scripture teaches us to admonish and correct
one another with wisdom, gentleness, and respect.
As Christians we are to clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness,
and patience.” (Col 3:12)
This includes people in leadership. Paul instructed Timothy, a brother in
leadership, that the Lord’s servant “…must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them
repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…”(2 Tim 2:24-25)
The only time anyone was instructed to rebuke “sharply” was in reference to people
rebelling against the word of God and teaching false things for dishonest
gain. To this Paul said to “rebuke them sharply so they will be sound
in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths...”
(Tit 1:13-14) The “Jewish myths”
refers to legalistic error. It was a very specific situation.
As for being rebuked openly in front of others, the only
place where Scripture instructs such a thing has to do with ‘Elders’ who
sin. “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought
by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so
that the others may take warning.” (1 Tim 5:19-20)
The NAS translates verse 20 as, “Those who continue in sin,
rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of
sinning.” Still, it says nothing about rebuking in anger or in a demeaning
fashion. To do so violates Scripture.
On a side note, the Chicago church elder, Isaiah Pickett,
was disfellowshipped and ‘marked’ by leadership without ever once being rebuked
“in the presence of all”. In fact, during a meeting of the church that
the leadership called for to inform the church of their actions, several
members brought up the fact that they, as the church, should be informed of the
reason for Isaiah being disfellowshipped and were bullied into silence by
leadership. The actions of the Chicago leadership constitute a flagrant disregard
for Scripture as well as an un-Biblical brandishing of authority.
The question is now raised: Is the leadership of the
International Churches of Christ (a.k.a. Boston Movement), as a whole, guilty
of abusing Scripture and Biblical authority?
Is the leadership also guilty of attempting to control individuals by
manipulating and pressuring them into discipling relationships that are not
Biblical and to adhere to advice given by those in leadership roles?
(comments by former members)
“We were discipled HARD about personal
visitors, but don't forget the leaders also got discipled about EACH PERSON in
the house church and/or Bible Talk that they led. Every time someone in my HC
wasn't giving contribution or bringing visitors, I was responsible and got
the rebuke for it. I was always expected to ‘pass it on’ to the
disciple, but to be honest, I did not always do so. And I can honestly say that
NOBODY in my house church ever got a tenth of the rebuke that I got for ‘
“That singing was great, but you can't believe (well, yes
you can) the REBUKES and DISCIPLING the music leaders were subjected to in
order to get everyone fired up. I
have never known such intense pressure in my life. We were scrutinized for
every gesture and expression. Sometimes I would get angry inside because I
would be up there sweating and singing till my throat hurt, but the
congregation wasn't ‘fired up’
enough. Guess who got rebuked for that? Of course, it was my sin that kept
God's people from singing joyfully.”
“My girlfriend was harshly rebuked for missing a Wednesday service in order
to study for finals.”
“Our evangelist T---- R----- had a midweek and harped on all the
‘fat’ sisters. He said that he did not care who he offended
because sin is sin!!!! So as an off shoot this group formed. He had this
woman who was an intern named C---- (who was as skinny as a bean pole and never
had a weight problem in her life!!!) lead this group.
We were forced to go….She basically sat around and told us how we
were in sin because we were overweight and that sin could keep us out of heaven
if we did not change it. I have a
history of eating disorders and I told her that this was very unhealthy for me
to be in this group. She told me that
there were no such things as eating disorders and that it was a lack of self-control.”
“I don’t know if this was a thing in NYC only but there was a group here called
Food Group…. Most of the time we talked about how we ‘used food’ in our lives instead
of depending on God. The problem was that the church felt that we overweight ones were not
being treated ‘tough enough’ -we weren’t losing weight fast enough. It was just
another place to get rebuked and ridiculed…. The d-sessions were degrading and
cruel. Usually we were yelled at, rebuked, verbally laid out for our lazy,
debaucherous lives. I usually left every week feeling like I was
ugly, disgusting and no way could anyone, including God truly love my fat
butt…. We were told over and over again, the reason why you don’t have dates, are
not getting married and won’t in the kingdom is because your sin is obvious and
why would brothers want to be with such a weak sinful sister?”
“I bummed a ride for the first week at the new job, then, with
financial help from my parents, bought a new car…. I was rebuked quite harshly,
I might add, for going out and buying a new car without getting advice (permission)
from my discipler, BT leader, evangelist, etc.”
“I was already in hot water with my roommate/discipler. I
wasn't getting up early and having quiet time, rather, I was doing it on
the bus in the morning, or, if I biked into work, I was using my breaks. Mostly
it was because I was out the door by six am.
I was living with my discipler and had no money of my own.
I had been directed by the hierarchy to
move in, she'd take out money for room, board, and of course, my contributions
to the kingdom. I cannot believe to this day how odd this was, and that I went
along with it. I came home from work
one afternoon and I made myself dinner. I had a salad and broiled a pork chop
that I found in the freezer. I thought this was what room and board meant.
Well the next afternoon she confronted me with the wrapper she'd found in the trash.
She was livid. Apparently room and board didn't include meat products, and I was
‘totally in sin’ for eating a pork chop when I was clearly overweight
by church and Los Angeles standards. Especially *HER* pork chop.
She frantically called HER discipler and required me to confess to her, and she was
also yelling ‘tell her you're not doing your quiet times, either!’. Oi, the tirade
went on and on. That evening I was invited to a ‘ladies’
gathering, or so I thought. It was more of one of those ‘interventions’, where they were
there to make me confess my sin and agree to go to weight watchers. Also
they made allusions that it was probably because of my ‘eating disorder’ that I
was not bearing fruit. They
actually got me to call a nearby friend and invite her over to this strange
gathering, to prove my faith or some
“I was rebuked for missing a wedding that was for someone I
didn’t even know, because I had another wedding to go to that my husband (who
was not a member) and I were IN!!!…. I got rebuked again the next day for
staying so long and not rushing home early enough to go to the movies with my
“After Bible Talk one evening I was ushered into a room in
the apartment away from the sisters and any visitors.
Practically surrounded by five brothers, my discipler and the
sector leader, I was rebuked for a sin that I had already confessed to God and
was sure that I had been forgiven of. I had mentioned it to one other brother. He was the only one I told so I guess he went to leadership and told
them. So much for confidentiality. I was pretty much raked over the coals
because I had not confessed my sin to my discipler.
That was one of the things we were supposed to do, confess all of
our sins to our discipler. I tried to
convince them that I had repented and confessed to God and asked for His
forgiveness. That didn’t seem to be good enough. I was told that I did not
appear broken over my sin. I guess that was because I had not come to them in
tears or something, and because I wasn’t in tears now. I told them that it had
occurred more than a month prior and I had already confessed to God.
According to Scripture, God forgives me and casts my sin into the sea of forgetfulness.
So why was it being brought up again. I was told that they were to judge whether or
not I was truly broken over my sin. I was told that if I committed that sin again I could
be kicked out of the Kingdom of God. This went on for almost two hours.
I was also labeled a womanizer because I spent more time with sisters than I did with brothers.
It was like a tribunal and it was very intimidating. I was told that I needed
to learn how to have better relationships with the brothers and that I would
learn this through serving them. I was instructed to become a “servant” to my discipler.
Every day I was to make his bed, clean up his room, do his laundry when needed, and any other
daily chores that he normally had to do. I was to do this for a month.
I didn’t understand how that was supposed to help me have better relationships with the brothers,
but I agreed to it just to get the heck out of that room. I remember
agreeing to several things just to get out of that room.
I remember thinking as I left, ‘this is not of God.’ But I didn’t have the strength to fight against it. ”
Show me one Scriptural support for any of the harsh rebuking
mentioned above, or any reference in Scripture to the controlling, domineering
type of discipling relationships that appear to be practiced in the ICOC.
[statements by leadership]
“When you say, when you recognize, ‘Hey, my opinion, I
believe it’s the right opinion. But that’s not what my discipleship partner wants to do.
Ok, his opinion is what we’re gonna do. Philippians, chapter 2, I’m going to consider him
to be better than me.’, you will take down a lot of walls right there.”
(Gary Herrell, Destroying Negative Thinking, Asian
Missions Conference, 1989, sd 1)
Yes like walls of intuition and better judgment.
From what he is saying I would think that a better title for the speech
would be Destroying Critical Thinking As a Tool for Gaining Conformity.
“If I don’t have a vision for my discipling relationship,
they’re not going to grow and become a dynamic man or woman of God. They aren’t!
You’ve got to have vision for them…. It’s your vision that’s going to
change their lives.” (Henry Kriete, Discipleship: Passing the
Torch! Part 1, Toronto COC)
“You, know, someone who’s radically changed my life in this regard is
Marty Fuqua…. He has really just radically changed my whole character and nature.”
(Byron Parson, Discipleship: Passing the Torch!
Part 2, Toronto COC)
“When I looked at John I said, ‘Brother, we’re gonna be best
friends and brother I’m gonna make your marriage great.
Brother, I’m gonna make you a great father.’ I said, ‘Brother,
I’m gonna make you a great discipler of men.”
(John McGuirk, Gaining and Baptizing Disciples, DPI)
I was under the impression, from what Scripture states, that
it is Christ in you, by the Holy Spirit, that changes your life,
not the physical efforts of another human being. Even Paul said, ‘I no longer live,
but Christ lives in me.’(Gal 2:20)
We can do our part to teach, set a right example, pray for people, etc., but ultimately we
cannot change people or make them do anything. Nor should we try. That we must leave to
the Holy Spirit working within them and their yielding to Him.
It is very boastful for Mr. McGuirk to assume that it is he, himself, who
is going to do anything to change this brother. But that seems to be the attitude of
many people in ICOC leadership.
“Whenever it talks about specific disciples being with
Jesus, who’s mentioned? Peter. But, you know, he’s got one up on the other
disciples cause he was there one time when nobody else was around.
Do you know when that was? In the courtyard.
In the courtyard when Jesus was being molested, spat upon, hit
with a staff, he got to see how Jesus reacted.
Let me ask you, brothers, how do you think Peter’s martyrdom went?
I’ll bet you he acted just like Christ. Because he was there when Christ was about
to be crucified…. What in the world was Peter doing in the courtyard?…. He
wanted to be with Jesus. He was ‘aggressively available’. Brothers, we
are going to have to fight for time with the people discipling us.”
(Ken Guidroz, Discipling: Passing theTorch! Part 2, Toronto COC)
It is difficult to read these quotes without commenting. They are in such gross
error. And it makes one wonder if these people in Leadership have trouble reading.
To begin with John had one up on Peter. John was actually AT the
crucifixion. And Peter was not watching while Jesus was beaten and molested.
Scripture states that Peter went only as far as the courtyard of the
high priest, not inside where the trial was being held.
And he was warming himself at a fire with the guards. Mark states that during the
trial before the Sanhedrin, Peter was “below
in the courtyard”. (Mk 14:66)
All four Gospels state that Peter followed “at a distance”
and Matthew states that the reason Peter was in the courtyard was “to
see the outcome” of the trial. And it wasn’t until after Peter left the courtyard
to weep bitterly that the guards began to beat Jesus. Peter never witnessed it.
Finally, at the very time Peter was being “aggressively available”, as Mr. Guidroz puts it, he was
actively disowning Jesus three
times! Peter was not being so noble, fighting for time to be with Jesus, he was
following at a distance and denying Jesus out of fear for himself.
But the truth doesn’t help to support what Mr. Guidroz is trying to feed his audience.
“First point, we need to have inspiring imitation.
Look at Acts 4, verse 13. ‘When they saw the courage of Peter and
John, they realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men.
They were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus.’ What is
the ultimate compliment? Is somebody to look at you and your life and your ministry and
to say, ‘Man, that guy is like Jesus’…. And that’s what they said about Peter…. When they
saw Peter’s courage, they thought of Jesus…. I believe Peter was an imitator.
He was an imitator. And, uh, because of that, because of what he
had seen in Jesus, he became just like Jesus.”
(Ken Guidroz, ibid)
“Paul says, ‘I want you to imitate my life. Well, how you gonna do that?
I’m gonna send Timothy. Timothy is such a carbon copy of me.
His attitude is so much like mine, his heart
is so much like mine, his teaching, his way of life, how he responds to
persecution is so exactly like me, I’m going to send you Timothy.
And if you look at Timothy, you’re seeing the apostle Paul’… Now that needs to be the
goal of our discipling relationships.(Henry Kriete, Discipling:
Passing the Torch! Part 1, Toronto COC)
Talk about adding to
what is written. Imitation is not what changed Peter.
Imitation is not what brought him from being afraid and disowning
Jesus three times to having a courage that surpassed his natural ability.
It was being filled with the Holy Spirit. It was not his strength, but
that of the Holy Spirit. If he was like
Jesus, it was not because of what he had seen in Jesus, but because Jesus was
living in him through the Holy Spirit.
And all that Paul actually said was that he wanted the people to imitate
his way of life and that he would send Timothy who would remind them of his way
of life. He never suggested anywhere
that it was because Timothy was a “carbon copy” of himself, or that if people
looked at Timothy they would be seeing the apostle Paul.
This is conjecture by the leadership of the
ICOC because it helps to support what they teach about discipling.
“And you know this guy has blown it as bad as he could possibly do it.
And you rebuke his socks off! And he finally breaks.
And he’s in tears and he, ‘Man I blew it [sic] Can I be saved?’ ‘Yes you can be saved.’
And the grace of God covers over all this stuff. But then you decide for about the next week
or two you are going to ‘cold shoulder’ him and keep him understanding just how
bad his sin was. That’s a ‘doghouse’. There were no doghouses in Jesus’ ministry.
Brothers, we cannot afford to have ‘dog houses’ in our ministry. There’s too
much to do. We cannot afford to have anybody sitting around in the dog house.”
(Byron Parson, Discipling: Passing the Torch Part 2, Toronto COC)
I think what alarms me the most is not that people participated in this
practice of “doghouse”, but that enough people were doing so that they actually
gave it a name. And the only reason Mr. Parson states for
ending this practice is because of a statistical matter, not because the
practice is pure, gross SIN. On top of that, he seems to support rebuking
peoples “socks off” to the point that they are “in tears”.
None of this is Scriptural.
“Here in Acts, Chapter 9, verse 18, after Ananias has
taught him, it says, ‘immediately, something like scales fell from
Saul’s eyes and he could see again…” (Al Baird, Go and Baptize Disciples,
1987, sd 1)
Again, leadership is adding to Scripture to push their teaching and
practice of the one on one studies. Acts 9:18 says nothing about
Ananias ever ‘teaching’ Saul (Paul)
anything, especially not 8 or 9 studies on how to become a disciple of
Jesus. Paul even stated in the first chapter of Galatians that he was not taught the
gospel by any man, but received it by revelation straight from Jesus.
But this truth has no place in the ICOC mentality where it is taught
that the only way to Jesus is through the initial one on one studies of the ICOC.
Most of these quotes were made by people in high levels of leadership, people
that should not be making these kinds of errors and should know Scripture better than it
appears that they do. It makes one wonder if they are not doing so
“But I don’t ever, sisters, just don’t ever come and say to
me, ‘Isn’t that legalistic?’ Just don’t say it to me, all right? It would be a
bad move. [Dave: ‘Bad move.’] All right? It would be a bad move.
I’m not much of a rebuker, I mean, every once in a while I’ll level out a good rebuke,
but over all I’m not much of a rebuker. But THAT one, I will rebuke.”
(Cathy Eastman, Christian Dating, 1991, sd 2)
(1995 to present)
“I don’t care how many years you’ve been in preaching,
let people see your progress. Well, what’s progress?
Number one is depth in your preaching, insight in your preaching, the ability to inspire even when you’re
rebuking the TAR outta them!” (Kip McKean,
Preach the Word, Johannesburg World Leadership Conference, Aug 95)
“Peter was real. He messed up a bunch. But he felt the freedom to do it, with
God. And when it was all said and done, he was one of the two main leaders in the whole
kingdom…. A most awesome, awesome man. How’d he become awesome?
He just felt free with Jesus to mess up and
Jesus discipled the tar out of him.
They had a great relationship.”
(Gordon Ferguson, Discipleship, 1997, tape 4, sd 1)
“If you don’t have discipling in your life, you don’t have somebody speaking the
truth to you in your life, you cannot remain in the vine. God will cut you off.”
(John Hafer, Getting Tied In, Oahu COC, Aug 30, 1998, sd 1)
“We’ve done that by the way, we got our tails
discipled. [Gary: ‘Oh yes.] Like that’s the discipling time that stands out most in my life.
[Gary: ‘Yep’] When we blew it. [Gary: ‘I got laid out!’]
We were laid out. [Gary: ‘Dan’s hair was flopping up and down. He was so mad at me. Whoo!] We’ve been there.”
(Gary and Jody Vermass, Dating Workshop, NYC, April
6, 2001, sd 1)
“Without discipling partners a number of these verses will never be carried out.
For example, you stop and think about churches generally, ‘confess therefore your sins
to one another and pray for one another.’ Now, how many people in
churches confess their sins? They don’t do it!
You know they don’t do it! Uh, if you don’t have some set up where you’ve got an intimate enough
setting to do it, you’re not going to do it. Oh you may respond in a public service occasionally
and confess that you have sinned, but I mean confessing
sins specifically is what James says. And you don’t do that without the intimate settings.”
(Gordon Ferguson, Discipleship, 1997, tape 1, sd 1)
The following quote was from a sermon on relationships and dating using the
book of Ruth as support. After drawing parallels between Naomi and discipling partners, the speaker,
Kiesha Williams, reads Ruth 1:14-19 and then states,
“But you know, the point is it says that Ruth
clung to her. Does that describe your discipling relationships? That the
thought of being torn apart from this person or separated would break your
heart?…. I mean, what really is your heart, your attitude toward discipling?….
Do we have that kind of loyalty to the people God has put in our lives because
we believe that this is the person that God thinks I need to be with in order
to become the woman that God wants me to be right now?”
(Keisha Williams, Relationships and Dating,
NYC, Jan 5, 1997, sd 1)
Ms. Williams is pushing the idea that members should feel the same way about a
person that they might not even have known very long (very common with
discipling relationships in the ICOC) as Ruth felt about Naomi, a woman that
had been her family for 10 years. She also pushes the idea that members should believe
that it is God who selected their discipler for them, and that they should have the same
loyalty toward their discipler that Ruth had toward Naomi.
“And her attitude in verse five [of chapter 3] was, ‘I will do whatever you say.’
Is that our hearts when we’re given advice?
How do you see advice?…. We’ve gotta just decide, ‘You know what?
Everything that somebody tells me, I’m going
to pray to believe that it is directly from the mouth of God.”
(Keisha Williams, ibid)
Here is a classic example of the manipulation by leadership.
Ms. Williams is using this Scripture to teach that the correct attitude
ICOC members should have is “I will do whatever you say” concerning matters of
advice (opinion areas not addressed by Scripture) given by their ‘discipling
partners’ as if it were directly from the mouth of God.
But that is not what the Bible teaches. In fact, such teachings contradict
Scripture. (read: Led By Men Or Led By God?
for a more detailed discussion on this subject) When Ruth told Naomi, “I will do whatever
you say”, she was referring to a very specific issue the two had just discussed
concerning a particular situation. She was not referring to every word that would come out
of Naomi’s mouth. Previously Ruth had disagreed with what
Naomi had told her to do, adamantly refusing to do it.
If Ruth had followed Naomi’s advice she would never have been in the land of Israel taking care
of her mother-in-law, worshipping the one true God (the God of Israel), with the
opportunity to marry Boaz. She would have been back in her homeland worshipping the false gods of
the Moabites instead. (Ruth 1:15)
Ruth certainly did not believe that every word spoken by Naomi was “directly from the mouth of God”
and therefore should be unquestioningly obeyed. Neither should we believe such about ‘discipling
partners’ or church leaders. With that kind of mind set it is easy to see
how even relationships can be manipulated.
“There came a point in Kendal and I’s relationship, um, you know,
he was having to wrestle with going into the ministry full time, and the timing of it
and working with it. And he needed to be able to take
the advice of the spiritual men around him and step out on faith.
And I’ll never forget Rhonda and I having a talk and she said, ‘You need to pray because
whether or not he’s willing to take this advice is going to show
you whether or not he’s the man for you, whether or not he’s the man that’s
going to get you to heaven.’”(Dian Knight, Couples
Facing One Another, Singles Retreat: “Face Off”, 1998, sd 2)
So Dian was being told that Kendal’s acceptance of other’s
“advice” to go into full time ministry was going to dictate whether or not he was the
right man for her to marry. The future of their relationship rested on
Kendal’s ministry status and his obedience
to other’s “advice”. This is the kind of counseling Dian was receiving
from her discipler. Was this perhaps because Dian was in leadership
(or being groomed for it) and they couldn’t have her marrying a man who was not
going to be in full time ministry, as many of the accusations concerning
relationship manipulation have declared?
And from Dian’s response, this was an idea that not only had not even
occurred to her until it was introduced by her discipler, but an idea that she
was initially opposed to.
“Excuse me?! Now?! After I’ve given my heart away?!.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no! No, don’t tell me that, now! Don’t tell me that, now!
No! No!” (Dian Knight, ibid)
But like a good disciple with the attitude of “I will do
whatever you say”, believing that what she was being told was
“directly from the mouth of God.”, she “listened”, and prayed that he would
take the advice. Fortunately for her he did and today, according to her, they have
“an awesome marriage”. This, of course, begs the question, “If Kendal had not accepted the
advice to go into full time ministry, would Dian have been advised not to marry him?”
Having the attitude, as members are taught to have of believing that
everything they are told when given advice is “directly from the mouth of God”,
would she have listened?
“One night he said, ‘Okay, you gotta learn how to do this.
Now, next Sunday when we do the workshop, you do the night sermon, the
PM sermon’. Fine. That’ll be good. With him in the audience I got up and preached
HIS sermon exactly; intonations, gestures, the whole nine yards.
I had to change a couple of illustrations, but, even then, I strained to
find some just like his.” (Gordon Ferguson, Discipling,
1997, tape 2, sd 2)
The Bible speaks about imitating the faith
of your leaders, not their personalities or their intonations or their
gestures. What makes a good preacher is not how well he imitates another preacher,
but the leading of the Holy Spirit at work in him.
“Guys. Weak Christians, those who are falling away; too many of us, too many of us
‘doghouse’ them. ‘Are you falling way? He needs to fall away and fall on his face and then, amen, I’ll get him back.’”
(Kendal Knight, Goin Fishing, 1999 Brooklyn Leaders Retreat, Aug 12, 1999, sd 2)
I don’t know what is more alarming, the fact that this
practice continues to occur or the fact that it occurs so much so that it
warrants a label. And again, these are people in leadership being addressed.
At least the speaker is calling for them to curb the practice.
“Judas even went and tried to repent, tried to give the
money back, although it was too late. But see, Peter had relationships.
He had relationships that were going to keep him within the
promise. ‘Hold on, Pete. He said he’d come back. He told us He would resurrect’.…
‘I mean, I fell asleep on him in the garden, too. Listen, Peter, you are not alone.’
‘Man, I was the one that out ran you when the crowd came.’
‘At least you turned around and went back to follow Jesus into the courtyard.
Man, I hid for my life here. Listen, we’re all in the same boat.
STAY FAITHFUL!’ See, Judas didn’t have that.
Judas was cut off from the relationships.” (Bill Moulden,
Changing Colors, Oct 25, 1998, sd 2)
It amazes me how little ‘fact’ some of these leaders hold to
in their attempts to push their teachings. The above quote is almost all conjecture,
fantasy created to push their version of discipling relationships, suggesting that
without these discipling relationships a person is doomed to fail as a Christian.
One of the many abusive practices within these discipling relationships is the
expectation of confessing all of one’s sins to the person assigned to be their
“Some of us have never dealt with sin in our lives.
You’ve never sat down and been completely honest with another human
being. Maybe you’ve been religious and gone to church and said, ‘Well I confessed my sins to God.’
Well that’s wonderful and all, but you’re never gonna change and you’re never gonna be able to
really deal with yourself until you get open with another human being… And that’s what it
takes if we’re going to get in to the true vine.” John Hafer,
Getting Tied In, Oahu COC, Aug 30, 1998, sd 1)
According to Mr. Hafer,
one cannot get into the “true vine”, which is Jesus, unless people confess their
sins to another human being, their discipling partner.
“This is not the church for you if you don’t confess your sin.
Look at James 5…. This is not the church for you if you don’t confess your sin.
[reads James 5:13-16] There’s many things about this passage that I don’t understand
how they work. But what I do understand is that if I confess my sins to people I’ll be healed.
I’ll get better…. But if we don’t want to let people into our lives and
be open and confess our sin, this is not the church for you.”
(Jon Morales, This Is Not the Church For You If…, June
3, 2001, sd 1)
Given the ICOC view of kingdom exclusivity, Mr. Morales is actually saying
that the kingdom of God, thus being saved, is not for you unless you are willing to
confess all your sins to another human being. This is totally unfounded in Scripture.
Your place in the kingdom of God, thus your salvation, has nothing to do with
whether or not you confess sins to another human being.
This is a clear-cut fear tactic to get people to conform.
James 5:16 is used in the church a lot to seek to justify the ICOC practice of mandatory confession
of all sins to a ‘discipling partner’, especially when someone challenges this practice.
But James 5:16 does not support this practice of expecting members to confess all their sins
to their discipling partners. It certainly does not support their discipling partner expecting them to
call and give a list of the sins committed or struggled with.
Nor does it support the practice of a discipling partner flat out asking what sins they have
committed on any given day when they do call to report.
“We have to be open about the sin that’s in our lives cause
the Bible says in, uh, First John that when we confess our sins to one another, that God will purify us
from all unrighteousness.” (Ronnie Ross,
Forceful Advancement, Feb 25, 2001, sd 1)
This statement made by Mr. Ross is in violation of
Scripture. Either he made a mistake, which I warrant is possible, or he took liberty
with Scripture. That passage, 1 John 1:9, says that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” There is no mention at all of
confessing to “one another” as Mr. Ross suggests. It is easy, given the teaching of the ICOC,
to understand his suggesting that, but it implies something that just isn’t there.
It implies that the confessing of sins, which is needed in order to be purified from unrighteousness,
is confession to someone other than God. In fact, the Disciple’s Handbook teaches
that King David, in order to keep purity of heart, confessed his sins
not to God, but to the people of Israel. It is established by the
writers of the Disciple’s Handbook that part of the process needed to “come to
purity of heart” and to “keep the heart pure” is the practice of confessing
sins. The question then asked is, “Who did David confess to?” Immediately
after the question, in parentheses, is the statement,
“If you said ‘God’, think again. He wrote this Psalm
of confession to be read and heard by all Israel.” (The
Disciple’s Handbook, Discipleship Publications International, 1997, p 66)
It must be noted here that the phrase “purity of heart” and
other similar phrases are used in Scripture in connection with forgiveness of
sins and coming to right standing in front of God. The implication, therefore, is that God
will forgive our sins only if we confess our sins to another person. Sounds
a lot like the Catholic church. For an in-depth study of just how grossly in error this ICOC
teaching is, and the deceptive lengths to which Kip Mckean went in order to propagate it, read
Confess Your Sins.
“Number six. This is not the church for you if you don’t want to come to
ALL the services, midweek, Bible talks, retreats, prayer meetings
and when you go on vacation. This is not the church for you if you don’t want to come to
all the services…. You see Jesus says that we must seek His kingdom
first and His righteousness in Matthew 6. If you know your Bible somewhat you will know that
the kingdom and the church are the same thing. Those who belong to God’s kingdom on earth,
the church, will belong to His kingdom in heaven. And you see we have some people that
think that it’s optional to come to a Bible talk or to midweek services or to the retreats or
when we do events for the poor through HOPE or something else.”
(Jon Morales, This Is Not the Church For You If…, June
3, 2001, sd 1)
How can someone in leadership decide that mandatory attendance to all church
functions is a requirement for being in the church (a.k.a. the kingdom of God),
especially when there is a monetary fee associated with attending some of those
church functions? And making something a requirement for being in the church
(a.k.a. the kingdom of God) is actually implying that it is a requirement for being
saved. I defy anyone to show me anywhere in Scripture mandatory attendance
to anything as a requirement for being in the kingdom of God, for being saved.
Tithing/ Special Contribution
“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a
sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections
will have to be made.”(1 Cor 16:2)
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not
reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
(2 Cor 9:7)
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men.
I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”
“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is
doing. So that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what
is done in secret, will reward you.”(Mt 6:3-4)
Many Christian churches practice tithing, a giving of 10% of one’s income to God.
In Scripture it is referred to as the “first fruits” of the harvest. In the Old Testament, these
first fruits were given to support the priests and Levites, the ones who ministered in the temple.
Today, the tithe is given to support the ministry of the church.
This includes the salaries of those in the leadership as well as any position where someone is
actually employed by the church. It is taught in many churches that tithing is Biblical and
expected by God. Other churches teach that we are not bound by certain Old Testament
practices such as tithing. They teach that we are free to give what we choose and can afford
to give. They cite 1 Corinthians 16:2 where Paul makes instruction about the collection of God’s
people. Paul tells them that each one should set aside “a sum of money in keeping with his income…”.
He never mentions how much or that it should be 10%. Other churches teach that we are not bound
by Mosaic Law, but that tithing is a faith response to God following the example of Abraham giving a
tenth of everything to Melchezadech, as did Isaac and Jacob, previous to the existence of the Law.
In any case, all camps agree that giving should not be done reluctantly or under compulsion as Scripture
But is it Biblical for church leadership, of churches that teach tithing, to police
a congregation to insure that every member gives at least 10% of what they make
every week? Is it Biblical that church leadership has the authority to ask for full
disclosure of a person’s salary and assets so as to monitor that person’s giving every week?
Is it Biblical for church leadership to teach and expect 10% of someone’s “gross” income rather
than their “net” income? Is it Biblical for church leadership to harshly rebuke people for not
giving a full 10% every week or exactly on time, while openly praising and lifting up those who
give more than 10%? And is it Biblical for church leadership to expect or demand a tithe from
someone that has lost his or her job, or is a student with no current income who is being supported
by his or her parents?
And what about the subject of “contributions”? Is it Biblical for church leadership to set
an amount of money for a contribution and expect each member of the congregation to give
that specified amount? Is it Biblical for church leadership to manipulate people through guilt
tactics in an attempt to get them to give the specified amount? Is it Biblical for church leadership to
set up a system for giving contributions that gives them power to monitor each person’s contribution
amount for any other reason than to provide, for those who want it, receipts for tax
And finally, is it Biblical or ethical for church leadership to expect sacrificial
living on the part of the members of the congregation (preaching adamantly to
them on the subject) to insure higher tithing and contribution amounts, while
they, themselves, live just the opposite? The answer to these questions is
a resounding NO! Anyone in church leadership who is a party to any of this
is not only abusing their Biblical authority; they are flagrantly violating Scripture.
They need to be called to repent.
NOTE: Given the subject matter, and the overwhelming response
concerning it, a larger number of excerpts from former member testimonials have
been included under this topic. I, the author, have chosen to provide only the first
letter of names appearing in these testimonials, both of former members and current
members, out of respect for all persons involved. Also special contribution is referred
to at times as ‘special’, ‘Spec Cont’ and ‘special contro’.
(comments by former members)
“It really bothered me that I worked so hard to give the church 10%
every week as well as special missions, when I was making less than $20K a year in NYC,
and the sector leader and his wife (J-- and T----- B----) had a beautiful two-bedroom
apartment on the upper west side with a spacious kitchen, living room, fireplace and
“Credit Cards, I hate them. That’s where all my debt came from. I used to have
to pay for my food with a credit card because it was the only way I could afford to eat,
yet I some how gave my contribution every week. When I talked to my discipler about
it at one point she felt it was fine that I was doing what I needed to do. Sick!”
“The $800.00 was only about two-thirds of the amount I was supposed to give,
and I just didn't have the rest. I remember my zone leader was
just appalled. I was in ‘leadership’ and needed to ‘set the example’. Oh
geez. Sometimes even just remembering and talking about this stuff makes that
suffocating feeling of bondage come back.... I know that last year they told us
as a church that once all the churches for 2000 had been planted that the
multiplier was definitely going to take a downturn. I know there was a lot of
relief in people’s minds and to think now they have been let down again. In
Nashville last year, SMC was a big bust. It was the first year they didn't make
the goal when the money was collected. It turned really ugly. They made
everyone stay and wait for the money to be counted, and then when it came up
short, they had all the region leaders come up and basically rebuke their
group. They asked people to write more checks and everybody started scrambling. They finally
came up with the right amounts and sent everyone home. The whole thing was just horrible.”
“I went to a financial workshop about one year ago. We were basically told
that we were to give our ten percent plus, and many times over that amount, regardless of our
financial situation. We were highly implored to live on rice and beans if that
is what it would take for us to get to the point where we were living
sacrificially, according to their standards of course. A story about a couple
who had struggled to give their ten percent was told at the workshop. The
speaker mentioned how proud the couple felt to be able to finally contribute 10
percent. I felt happy for them as they had succeeded at accomplishing one of
their financial goals. At the following Wednesday midweek service, our local
region leader spoke about the workshop. He brought up the story of the couple
that had been referred to at the workshop, berated them because it had taken
them years to get to the point where they were able to give a tithe of ten
percent, and blasted them for having bought a house in the mean time. Of course
his speech was directed at all of those who were not currently giving a tithe
of ten percent. It was a guilt tactic. Even though I had no idea who the couple
was that he was blasting, I felt very bad for them as anyone could have known
their identity by the circumstances of their lives that were mentioned. His
berating of them was totally uncalled for.”
“Another thing was that if you were getting married around the time of
special contribution, you had to pay all of your special BEFORE you paid any of the
expenses for the Wedding. They would hold people’s weddings off because they did not
pay special! Unbelievable. Even hearing about the scripture about Ananias and
whoever who died on the spot for holding money that they vowed to give, that
made my body quiver! They would use any scare tactic possible to get us to
“God forgive me, I remember being charged with rebuking a single Mom in my
sector who couldn't meet her weekly contribution. She was giving something like $15
a week. My heart told me she was doing her best. My heart told me that I should NOT put
even MORE pressure on her difficult situation by rebuking, etc. But my DISCIPLER,
S----- L-----, told me to rebuke her. I don't think my rebukes were
as stinging as some that others gave (I'm a pretty gentle soul) but I did
rebuke P-----. I'll never forget how wrong it felt. FORGIVE ME P-----. If
you're out there somewhere, I was wrong....so wrong.”
“I was responsible for Special Contribution and regular
contribution as a BT leader. I knew exactly at all times what everyone was
supposed to contribute. This information was updated as often as once a month,
especially when BTs were changed around.... When my women did not give, I had
to find out why and report it to the Sector leader in detail. I sometimes put
the money in for them.... I knew of one woman who had a child (her husband left
her cold). She was unable to give anything for special contribution. They came
down on her for some reason. Everyone kept going up to her and asking her why
she didn't save or sell something valuable from her home. She came to me at one
point and said she couldn't take much more, she was feeling like a bad mother
but also a horrible disciple. Many said she wasn't being a good example for her
“Even as a teen, I was 'persuaded' to give generously...as much as 10
times monthly allowance...I had seen fellow teens giving up all their savings to the
ICOC...they fail to realize most of teens are not working and should never be forced to
contribute... I remember a circumstance when a fellow bro could not afford to
contribute...he was rebuked in front of everyone.”
“We all had to write down a pledge amount and turn it into our bible talk leaders.
Each week, as the contribution date neared, we had to update the amount we had on
hand. If you were not close to it, then you were ‘chatted with’ and suggestions were given
on how to meet it. It wasn't mandatory, but it was. Anchorage usually ‘blew it
out’ because of the ‘PFD’. The state of Alaska pays all its residents a PFD
each year for living here. This year it was about $1586.00 per person. Special
Missions was always scheduled about PFD time so that everyone had money
“I remember that in Morgantown, and presumably the entire
Commonwealth World Sector, we had two additional HOPE campaigns each year where
we were each given a flat goal of $120. The Pressure was on! I was required
to phone my discipler each evening before 10pm to let them know how much closer
I was to my goal each day this sort of accountability was true for special
contribution as well.…. Also a note on
weekly tithing. In DC, Morgantown and
Tampa, I was required to keep a running tab when my funds were low (and even
during times when I was unemployed and hence, no income).
If I missed a week or was short a bit, I would end up ‘owing’ the church. When I
lost my job this past summer, I had quite a bill running.”
“Well in Dallas, we had to do I think it was 18x your
regular tithe and I remember one year we were in an apartment and I was
pregnant with our 3rd child and we couldn’t give what they wanted us
to, I think we ended up giving like $150 and I remember that they told us if we
could afford to have another baby then we could afford to come up with the
money somehow…Even if we sold furniture or things we had…. The special contribution form
you turned in was like everyone said your tithe, then your tithe x the 18x then the amt you
pledge and if you didn’t pledge the full amt you got questioned as to what was
wrong, why couldn’t you, where was your money going? …. We had the HOPE for
kids drive every year and you had to reach the goal of $125 per person.
If you didn’t they would say you’re not reaching out or trying to get money from people for
HOPE, etc. Basically you were wrong with God and even if you had to come up
with it out of your pocket then so be it. You can live without other things.”
“One thing that really stands out to me about the special
contribution is how subtly manipulative the pledge card is for one…. The pledge
card looked much like a tax form. You
entered your regular contribution amount in the top line, the second line to
multiply it by X amount and put the result here.
Right next to the last line was the statement, ‘This is your
pledge’. Pretty clever, right? If you really can’t afford to give the
amount, your only other options are to add up the pledge wrong or drop your
weekly amount, which by the way is monitored by your family group when the
collection is taken…. On a weekly basis, people are urged to give 10% of their
gross income or more.”
“D----- had been out of work for 7 weeks (the only time in
his adult life that he was out of work for more than a few days), and we had 2
toddlers and a newborn. We lived in a 2 bedroom, 900 s.f. apartment, and we had always
joyfully given 10% of our gross salary…. As soon as D----- started
working, his discipler wanted to know when we were going to ‘make up’ our 7
weeks of tithe and how were we going to collect 8x Spec Cont coming up.
So now we were supposed to have 15 weeks of tithe after what we had gone through?….
We joyfully gave 4x for Spec Cont and were asked how could we feel any
joy over not meeting ‘our’ goal.”
“The first contribution, the BIGGIE, 18x or more, is usually
taken sometime between March and June. That is a special contribution for HOPE, etc.
Then the church generally asks each sector to have their sector
‘retreat’…. Well all the disciples are expected to go there….
Then the following month, (the same month they campaign for HOPE) they have an 8x
contribution that they generally say is used for church plantings and what we have
been told to pay debt that our church owed to other churches. They
have said that the other churches have covered us in special contributions (the
Biggie). Interestingly enough there is a lot of money shelled out between March
and October!!! Paying for both contributions and then the
retreat, not to mention we were supposed to donate to HOPE.”
“G----- and I were Bible talk leaders and he was a sector
administrator (responsible for collecting and depositing tithes).
The summer of 1996 (May and June) we were having church in the park. This was ok
once or twice but this went on for 2 months and I was 8 months pregnant.
It was very difficult to be in the sun the end of June and also not have restrooms.
I was asking what the deal was because this was such a bummer for me and
of course I was told, 'Sister, where is your heart? Don’t you love Jesus?’….
I did have a friend in Oklahoma who was the church administrator there
and she was a good friend of mine. I told her what was going on and she said, ‘Oh, you
all are meeting in the park because you did not achieve you special contribution goal
as a church.' I said, ‘So, what did that have to do with
us meeting in the park?’ She said, ‘The church is responsible to give that
money so we were meeting in the parks to save the rent money to use as special
“There was a tremendous amount of pressure regarding ‘special’
and it was discussed during EVERY mid-week.
A friend of mine brought a visitor to mid-week and J-- K---- (City
Sector Leader) admonished him for it because the visitor wasn’t ‘ready’ to hear
about special and J-had to tailor his message around the visitor.
He wasn’t happy about it at all…. Two weeks before Special, J-wanted a ‘mock
run through’ to see how much ‘cash on hand’ there was.
So another pledge sheet was distributed and people had to list that if special was collected
tonight, how much money would be given. After the sheets were turned in, we had to meet as a
d-group and discuss what we wrote. Each d-group was responsible for coming up
with their pledge and those who made their goal needed to help those who
hadn’t…. In San Diego my friend had gotten lifted up because she sold her engagement ring.
We were told to sell family heirlooms, our car (if we had more than one), sacrifice lunches,
coffee, soda, whatever…. If you sold something of value (sentimental
and/or monetary) you were then lifted up and held in high esteem because you
were so sacrificial and ‘godly’. During the Reconstruction of 1997 J-- and I were not
put back on the membership list because we hadn’t met our ‘special contribution’ goal.
We were told that we had bad hearts and we had to give a chunk of money in order to be put
back on the list…. In January 98 the Seattle leaders had a
financial devo and disciples were to get together with disciplers and go over
their budget. It was to ‘help’ people
get on track and be good stewards, but the first thing our disciplers filled in
was our weekly tithe and how to plan for special. It also gave the church way too much
information since our disciplers kept our budget sheets.”
“In Houston, the evangelist (taking orders form the Sector
leader) would tell us that special contribution would be 18 or 20 or 22 times
the weekly contribution. Meaning that if a member gave $10/week, then their special
would be 20 x $10 = $200. They would add up all the expected special
contribution for the zone, and if the zone did not meet its goal, the zone
leaders were expected to make up the difference.”
“Special contribution was 18 times your regular
contribution; but the students were encouraged to give 20 times to show how
fired up they were. The pressure for special normally starts around 2 months before it is due.
Your Bible talk leader encourages you to find a way to raise the money and it is talked about
over and over again until the due date. You are reminded of the
church in the book of Acts how they sold everything for the Kingdom and how
Ananias and Sapphria held back some of what they had sold. Basically, not giving to special
contribution is deemed as evil and an act that could send you to hell.
People who do not meet their goal are told that they are not seeking first the kingdom….
The tithe is 10% (before taxes). There was constant pressure to pay this.
Leaders will hunt you down if you do not pay this. It can be harassing.
I remember my scholarship check being late a couple of times. As a result, I missed
my contribution a couple of weeks. The leaders were constantly on my case. I
felt so guilty and unspiritual. People who paid more than 10% were praised.
10% is the bare minimum.”
“The sector leader usually informed us what special would
be. My last pledge was 20x (about $600). EVERYONE was expected to
give. If not, you were considered unspiritual, selfish and a lover of
money not God by leaders and other members…. I wanted to please God but if
I did not give the full amount then I was made to feel I was cheating
God…. So naturally my heart was BAD and I had to get right, which meant hours of
prayer trying to cleanse myself of the guilt I was made to feel and begging God to forgive
my ‘Selfish Heart’. That is the kind of pressure that was put on everyone….
The pledge card system works this way: whatever you write, you give, case closed.
If you wanted to change it you had to meet with a leader and he
would basically DIG into your life and try to find out why you would not want
to ‘Give it all to God’. Then make you ‘See your Sin (Selfishness, withholding
from God, etc.)’ and tell you to ‘Repent’…. The 10% is gross income.
You could give 10% to get by but we were constantly challenged to give more. If
you gave more you could be praised among the group as being a ‘devoted’ person
who loves God with ALL that he has. So
if you gave more you were accepted as spiritual.”
“We had a church-wide meeting where we were told that the
churches in Africa are hurting badly financially, so next year’s special
contribution for all will be 20 times our weekly contro instead of the usual
17. The church-wide speech was given by D-- C-----, evangelist who leads the
Manhattan Super Region…. At the meeting held on Sunday, December 6th
we were told that the 20x special contro was expected of EVERYONE, no
exceptions. The few disciples I’ve talked to about it haven’t expressed much of anything.
They’ve pretty much resigned themselves to it. Their attitude is sort of like, ‘Oh
well, whatever it takes to meet the need’.”
“We had to give 17 times our weekly contribution. Push, push, push….
Anyway, the WC told me, ‘people have gone to hell over the
special contribution’. I guess because their heart wasn’t ‘right’.”
Before listing quotes from leadership speeches and ICOC literature, I would
like to take a moment to address a flagrant misuse of Scripture on the ‘apparent’ part
of the ICOC. In addition to two excerpts used in this article, I have heard from many former
members about the leadership’s use of the Ananias and Sapphira incident in the book of Acts
to motivate members to give the amounts of money that the leadership specifies.
It is clearly a scare tactic that works quite well, especially on people who do not have
a healthy knowledge of Scripture. If you read the entire account located in the
fifth chapter of Acts (verses 1 - 11), it is quite clear that the couple’s
demise (punishment) was due to lying. They had sold property and claimed falsely
that the amount given to the Apostles was the full amount of the transaction. In reality they had kept
some of the money for themselves. They had tried to deceive the Apostles. Peter even asks Ananias,
“Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?”
There is nothing to suggest that they were punished for not giving all of the money. It was at their
disposal to do with it what they wanted. Their punishment was for lying
about the amount of the transaction, obviously attempting to put forth an image
of themselves that wasn’t true. Peter even states to Ananias, “You have not
lied to men but to God.” And he later asks Sapphira,
“Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” To which her
answer was, “yes”.
There is no Biblical support WHATSOEVER for using this event in attempting to
persuade people to give the full amount of a pledge or goal that, according to former
member’s claims, they were manipulated into making in the first place.
And if someone makes a pledge, but then cannot accumulate the full amount for whatever reason,
and states as much to the church, then that person is not guilty of lying or attempting to deceive
the church. Therefore the Ananias and Sapphira incident does not apply. Using it in such a manner
is outright extortion. In fact the Webster Handy College Dictionary definition of “extort” is:
OBTAIN BY FORCE OR COMPULSION; WRESTLE FROM ANOTHER BY
INTIMIDATION. And to extort money from someone is
not only a sin, it is against the law.
The following are quotes taken from speeches given by those in the leadership of the ICOC,
and from ICOC literature, which I believe sheds a light of credibility on the
stories of former members contained in this article.
“Counting Team Leader Responsibilities: 1) Select and Train counting team,
2) Alert contribution coordinator regarding needed supplies or other issues,
3) Ensure that the contribution budget is met or exceeded.”
(Meeting breakdown sheet, Financial Meeting, South Florida Church of Christ, April 24,
The “contribution budget” is the amount of money expected if every member
tithes. How is it that a person in charge of counting money is going to “Ensure”
that a certain amount is met or “exceeded”? What control does that person have over
what other people actually contribute?
In an article published by the American Commonwealth Region of the ICOC entitled
1998 ACR Special Missions Contribution, under the sub heading of 22 Practical
Ideas, a list of suggestions for raising funds for special contribution is
provided. Among the 22 suggestions listed are:
“4. Participate in a study at NIH, or another reputable agency.
6. Fast from a meal each day (lunch for example) and set aside the savings.
7. Take out a loan.
10. Liquidate stocks or bonds.
11. Dip into your savings account.
18. Save away expense reimbursements, refunds, etc.
20. If your birthday is near, suggest ‘cash’ as a great gift!
22. Give plasma.”
In a newsletter entitled, Broward Newsletter,
published by the South Florida Church of Christ, dated June 3, 1998, another
list of suggestions for raising money for special contribution is
provided. Among these suggestions listed are:
“3. Work another job while taking a vacation from your present one.
6. Visit you local blood bank to give blood or plasma.
8. Fast from meals.
9. Avoid making any long distance phone calls.
10. Open the windows, turn on the fan and go without Air Conditioning.
15. Save $40 a month by canceling cable TV.
18. Don’t buy groceries, use what you already have in the pantry and refrigerator.”
I, for one, find it shocking that a church would suggest that its members give blood (or plasma)
to raise money for contributions. But then again, here is a church that suggests its members go without air
conditioning in South Florida in June. The first question that comes to mind is, “Are those in leadership
(Kip Mckean, for example) going without air conditioning in the summer, cable TV, groceries, meals, etc?”
“God uses the special contribution to test our hearts - to see how sincere we are.
Talk is cheap.” (Quiet Time Schedule Part I, Special Contribution Preparation, Oahu Church of Christ,
May 29-June 1)
“II. Prepare Your Contribution: 2Corinthians 8:10-15
Paul urged the Corinthians to fulfill what they had already
decided to give. Hopefully by now you have saved all the amount you are planning to give.
Be sure that you finish the work so that you will be able to give the full amount of
June 21st. Perhaps you need to do a little part time work this week or skip some
meals to make your goal. If you have already made your goal, consider what you can do
between now and June 21st to give even more than what you have
already decided to give.” (Quiet Time Schedule Part II, Special Contribution Preparation,
Oahu Church of Christ, June 17-19)
“Realize that your sacrifice will mean someone’s salvation! Seriously consider raising
your contribution.” (Quiet Time Schedule Part II, Special Contribution
Preparation, Oahu Church of Christ, June 17-19)
“I’ve heard Christians say, ‘Nope, no thanks, I just prefer to live alone.’ You know, you
can do what you want. Seems to me it makes more sense to live with a Christian, though.
You save money, so you can give more money to Africa, amen, and the rest of the
missions. Uh, and you get discipled 24/7.” (Randy Tinnin, God’s
Dream for the Single Man, Singles Seminar: “What Dreams May Come”, 1999 sd 2)
“In our discipling with your little church, your Bible talk,
you gotta disciple finances. As a Bible talk leader you should never say, ‘I don’t know why this
guy’s not here.’ You know, if you know he’s not going to be there, get his check in advance for
the contribution. GET THE MONEY. Show God the money.” (Kindal Knight,
A Leader Is…, New York City Church, Aug 21, 1999, sd 2)
“How important are material possessions to you? How important is comfort and ease of
life-style? Do you have the same attitude toward these things as God does?
How willing would you be to sacrifice your present life-style if doing
so would further the spread of the kingdom? How sensitive are you to
appeals for increased contributions in the church?
Do you need help with your heart in these matters?
Will you ask for it?” (Gordon Ferguson,
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, Discipleship Publications
International, 1996, p 140)
Ironically, the questions in the above quote are from a man who purchased a
home back in 1996 for $235,000. He is also a part of a level of leadership that are living
in homes, some of which had price tags of over $350,000 and some of which were actually purchased
by the church. (see: Leadership
Lifestyles)The following quotes and comments appear in the article
I have chosen to repeat them here because of the support that they give to the validity
of the former member’s comments.
“The first year we got there we wanted to be self
supporting. January, with 154 disciples, I had to go to the church and say, ‘Let’s give a
25 times contribution’. We wanted to start a Latin ministry that May. We had to give
a 3 times contribution. That fall we had to give a 20 times contribution to Manila. The
people that were there January one of 1990, that year in special contributions
alone had to give a FORTY-EIGHT TIMES CONTRIBUTION!!!
(Kip McKean, Malachi: God’s Radical Demand for Remaining Radical,
Manila World Leadership Conference, 1994)
“I want to challenge you, challenge you with the example of
LA, challenge you with the example of Russia, challenge you with the example of
my life and say, ‘listen, I’m not gonna give this minimum 20-times.
I’m going to go way beyond the minimum...”
(Kip McKean, Glory, Australia Evangelism
Conference, May 5th, 1996)
“When the first special contribution came, Al, wanting God
to know his heart, and with the need for world missions, sold his house.
Just like in the Bible, Acts 2, Acts 4. But today we’re not selling houses,
we’re buying them. Now if you’re buying a house, how you going
to ask someone to sell theirs for a special missions contribution?”
(Kip McKean, Malachi: God’s Radical Demand for Remaining
Radical, Manila World Leadership Conference, 1994)
And in reference to his view of giving (and living)
sacrificially, Kip stated, in this very same speech,
“Our problem is, we don’t want to demand it of ourselves
and so we don’t want to demand it of the people.”
(Kip McKean, ibid)
Where does Scripture teach that the leaders of a church have
the right or the authority to set “minimums”
or demand specified amounts, in reference to contributions, from it’s members?
Where does Scripture teach that leaders of a church have the right to be asking anyone to “sell”
their house for a special contribution?
“Secondly, we give the contribution in the discipleship
group. You say, ‘Well, won’t everybody see what’s happening?’ Mmmhmm.
Mmmhmm! And we make sure they give their tithe. You say, ‘Why do
you do that?’ Because the Bible says in Malachi 3, if you don’t tithe you’re robbing God.
And we don’t want anybody to go to hell cause they didn’t, they robbed God. You say, ‘That’s awful
hard-line.’ You bet your booties it’s hard-line. Someone doesn’t give, we ask why.
We know who didn’t give by the end of the discipleship group. Questions are asked. We
have almost a hundred percent giving in our church. Someone doesn’t give, they’ve
got some attitudes.” (Kip McKean, The Super
Church, Boston Leadership Conference, Aug 92)
First of all, you cannot keep someone from going to hell because you
“make (force) them do something. If their heart is not there it won’t
matter. God judges the heart of a person. (1Ch 28:9, Jer 17:10,
Pv 17:3, Mt 5:28, Lk 16:15, 1Thess 2:4, Rev 2:23)
Secondly, if you are making sure people tithe, by whatever methods being used,
then of course you will have almost 100% giving. But what does it matter if it
is being done under compulsion. As Jesus stated, “Woe to you, teachers of the
law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spice-mint, dill
and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice,
mercy and faithfulness. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”
It is no secret to former members that the long standing view of the leadership of
the ICOC has been that the current version of this movement, begun by Kip
McKean in 1979 in Lexington, MA, has an exclusivity on being the kingdom of God.
“This is the true movement of God. There’s no other
group, no other church, that can touch this.”
(Kip McKean, Boston Congregational Meeting, 5/6/90)
“You think this is a church among churches, you can’t be a
disciple. If you think there’s other churches out there you can go and
be a part of and be just as good and just as saved...you can’t be a disciple.”
(Nick Young, Friday Evening Message, Tulsa Reconstruction Weekend, Sept 1992)
In fact it is taught in the Kingdom Study of the ICOC that the church and the
kingdom are one in the same entity, and taught through other studies that the
uniqueness of ICOC teachings makes the ICOC the “one true church”. (For more
quotes read, 3 Questions,
and "Additional Quotes")
Yet, when asked by media or people who are not members, the official speak of the
ICOC allows for the possibility of being outside the membership of the ICOC
while still being a part of the kingdom of God. Even in the introduction Who
We Are, on the ICOC web page, it states,
“The International Churches of Christ are a family of Christian Churches whose
members are committed to living their lives in accordance with teachings of Jesus Christ as found in
“A family of Christian Churches…”. This sounds wonderful at first glance, yet
a bit deceptive given the true teaching and view of the ICOC. I guess that’s because in the ICOC view, as
Kip McKean once stated to others in leadership,
“When you say we’re the only true church...that’s
gonna tick the religious people off.”(Kip McKean,
Preach the Word, Johannesberg Leadership Conference, Aug. 1995)
The presentation to the public is well orchestrated, as are the answers to the
media. Yet when pressed during an e-mail correspondence in Aug of 1999, Al Baird, the official spokesperson for
the ICOC, wrote,
“You seem to focus on what happens to a person who chooses to leave the ICOC.
Obviously, God will decide that. But you want to know what I think and what I teach. If the ICOC is
not the Kingdom of God (or a part of it), then a person had better leave it for
their own salvation. If it is just a part of the Kingdom and there are any
number of other choices locally, then I have totally missed what the Bible
teaches about unity. If the ICOC is the Kingdom of God (which I believe it is),
then a person who leaves it, leaves God.”
(Al Baird, e-mail response: Teaching on dating / kingdom, Aug 17, 1999)
So, what is the truth concerning the teachings and leadership of the ICOC? One thing is
for sure, it warrants deeper investigation by those involved and those who are
being drawn to the facade of the ICOC.
As in my other articles published on this web site I challenge everyone, especially current
members of the ICOC, to do their homework to verify for themselves the accuracy of these quotes
and to study in Scripture the points brought out in this article. Paul said,
“We are not looking for praise from men....We are not trying to please men but God who tests our hearts.”
(1Th 2:4-6) I also urge every believer to follow Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians.
“ Test everything. Hold on to the good.”(1Th 5:21)
Pray continually so that you will not be deceived, and seek the Lord thy God with
all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, with all of
your strength. Only there will He be found. (Jer 29:13-14, Dt 4:29)
Final Note: I also make this request: that people,
regardless of how well meaning their intentions may be, refrain from copying
the quotes contained in this article and tossing them around the Internet.
Many hours were spent listening to tapes of sermons and speeches to obtain these quotes made by
leadership. This article was written to deal with these statements, to help shed light on the error of
ICOC practices and teachings. Because of the manipulation practiced by leadership, many of the members
of the ICOC are unaware that these statements and teachings are in error of Scripture.
Just listing the quotes or tossing them around the Internet won’t be of much impact to those members.
Explaining the Scriptural error of these statements by leadership, the contradictions, and appealing to common sense is
what will be of greatest value.
If there is a strong desire to make people aware of these quotes then please make mention of
this article and link to it. They will get much more out of the article than they will by just reading a
list of quotes. If, however, the desire is to merely enhance your own web site, I would ask you to sincerely
pray about the motivation behind creating your web site in the first place. If anyone chooses not
to respect this request, at least do your own research to make sure that the quotes are copied
correctly and make sure that each has the correct bibliography attached to it. (The use of “ibid”
after a quote means that it was taken from the same speech or article as the quote appearing just previous to it)
“…we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort
the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience
in the sight of God.”(2 Cor 4:2)
(All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.
The use of bold type and underlining in Scripture references are for emphasis and do not appear within the
Scriptural text of the NIV)
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