International Church of Christ
Divisive Beginnings of the I.C.C.
In the 70s, Chuck Lucas was involved in a campus ministry in Gainesville, Florida (the 14th St. Church of Christ) for the Church of Christ denomination and later renamed it the Crossroads Church. The mainline Churches of Christ were very happy because of the increase in baptisms and sent ministers to the Crossroads Church for training.
In time, however, their own churches were being targeted for recruitment. Chuck was teaching strong standards of commitment and strict requirements, such as that one must become a disciple prior to baptism and aggressive evangelism.
Lucas was influenced by the original restoration methods of the Campbell’s (who founded the Church of Christ denomination), and Robert Coleman’s Master Plan of Evangelism, which is still being used today as the leading standard in the International Churches of Christ.
Kip McKean was converted and discipled through Lucas and the Crossroads Movement in 1972. McKean states: “Here I was taught to give up everything for Christ and be baptized for the remission of my sins to become a Christian.” (UpsideDown, issue 2, pg. 6)
McKean adopted and enhanced the discipleship techniques that he had learned and started discipling ministers in other Church of Christ congregations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Charleston, Illinois, created conflict and discord and was asked to leave. He then moved to Lexington, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, in 1979. McKean’s ministry was accepted by the congregation of the Lexington Church of Christ and he was able to put into practice his improved version of “Crossroadism”.
McKean gathered from the Lexington Church of Christ those who would practice his interpretation of Scripture and began another sect. McKean says, “The Lord allowed me to begin the restoration of the New Testament Church from a small group of 30 would-be disciples in the Gempel’s living room in June, 1979 in Boston.” In 6 months, there were 68 baptisms, many of which were the original group that were re-baptized into a new commitment. In the first year – 170 baptisms; second year – 250 baptisms; third year – 365 baptisms; forth year – 402 baptisms; fifth year – 594 baptisms; sixth year – 703 baptisms; and the seventh year – 818 baptisms. This began what has come to be known as “the shot heard ’round the world” from Boston, according to McKean.
In 1980, McKean introduced reconstructionism and gave a call of repentance to the mainline Churches of Christ. He advised them to commit to his discipleship program and be re-baptized. In response to this, the Churches of Christ labeled McKean as an apostate. It is then that McKean pronounced the Boston Movement to be the family of God, God’s true church, and God’s only modern-day movement. In 1993, the name International Churches of Christ arose. This title was suggested by John Vaughn, who is the founder and editor of Church Growth Today, and the president of the North American Society for Church Growth.
It is interesting to note that while Kip McKean enforced the belief that those who were not baptized with a strong commitment and giving full submission to Christ must be re-baptized, he himself was never re-baptized.
From the beginning, this movement has been monitored by cult awareness ministries, which are in agreement with each other concerning the International Church of Christ’s aberrant and divisive doctrines, and their damaging social structure. The Cult Awareness Network, over the last few years, had this movement listed as the number one source of complaint over all other cults.
We have had more calls on this group than the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Despite what they are told from the leaders, nothing has changed, they are still unwilling to adjust their stance towards others. The ICC are separatists and elitist in their approach to practicing Christianity. They are also divisive in doctrine and practice. I recommend for one to try to think rationally and not emotionally before they join. It may be easier to think before your in, then afterwards.
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