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The International Church of Christ (ICOC)

The International Church of Christ
Kip McKean’s International Church of Christ

Copyright © Cultwatch 1997 – 2013. Written by Mark Vrankovich.

Overview  Discipling  Branch Names  What Do I Do If I Know Someone Involved  Related Articles  Recommended Links

 

Note: The information on the ICC has not been updated since 2001. We will add additional information soon. Otherwise the following article appears as it did in 2001.

 

NEWS FLASH: Kip McKean Resigns!

The very foundations of the International Church of Christ have been rocked by the resignation of its founder and leader Kip McKean. McKean has resigned as supreme ICC leader because “my leadership in recent years has damaged both the Kingdom [ICC] and my family”, and “I take full responsibility for how my sins have spiritually weakened and embittered many in our churches”. Many suspect, of course, that the reasons given are probably a smoke screen designed to hide the primary shortcoming which has forced McKean to resign.

Kip McKean was the person on which the ICC was modelled on. Everybody wanted to be like Kip (see quotes below). He is the originator of many of the foundation ICC practices and doctrines. Therefore it is difficult to see how any ICC member can avoid asking himself or herself the hard question; if Kip was flawed all this time, and the ICC was based on Kip McKean, then doesn’t it follow that the ICC must be seriously flawed too?

“You can tell the spirit of a church the moment you walk in. I walk into a church, I know all I need to know about that minister. I walk into that church, and I know this is either a total reflection of this man’s life, or he has lived such an atrocious life before the Lord, that this is a rejection of his life. Let me tell you something, your church is going to be just like you. ” —Kip McKean, August, 1992: BOSTON LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE, “THE SUPER CHURCH”

Current ICC members need to realize that the ICC is NOT the “Kingdom of God” as the ICC claims. ICC members can leave the ICC and still be saved. Current members need to seriously revaluate their involvement in the man made edifice that is called the International Church of Christ. They should not be fooled by the cosmetic damage controlling reorganizing of ICC leadership, the ICC in essence has not changed.

At Cultwatch we recommend that ICC members take a couple of months holiday from the ICC. During their time away they should diligently research the other side of the story, the side the ICC leadership do not want you to know. The links at the bottom of this page are a great place to start your research. Also you should read www.HowCultsWork.com

Leaving the ICC means you are no longer guilty of being a partner in it’s destructive practices. It means you can follow God instead of men. It means coming to understand that your salvation is not based on membership of a church, but rather on your status before God.

Don’t let yourself be fooled, the ICC is not a reflection of God’s character, rather it is the reflection of a flawed man. Follow God, not man!

Overview

  • Founded in 1979 in Boston, Mass., U.S.A.
  • Founded and currently led (in Los Angeles) by Kip McKean.
  • Recognised worldwide for its harmful discipling practices and mind control techniques.
  • Leaders in Auckland have included John Hancell and Dean Carlton (past leaders).

The International Church of Christ (ICC) is a Christian based mind control cult. It has all the traits necessary to classify it as a mind control cult, including the teaching that it is the one true church, love bombing, deceptive recruiting, time control, relationship control, and the rest.

It was founded in Boston in the United States in 1979 by the cult’s present day leader Kip McKean. McKean is, according to the cult, the “greatest living treasure that God has given the Kingdom on the face of the earth today”.

Wanting to get a branch in every major city (with more than 100,000 people) by the year 2000, the group is very evangelistic, using church plantings to start new branches. As an example of how this works, the original Boston branch planted the London, England branch, who started the Sydney, Australia branch, who planted the Auckland, New Zealand branch (which resulted in Cultwatch being started). The Central Auckland Church of Christ then planted the Christchurch branch. However this rapid expansion leads to members burning out – sometimes after just a few months.

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Discipling

  • One-over-one discipling, rather than one-on-one discipling.
  • The discipler has the right to tell the disciple to do anything, including what to wear, where to work, and who to marry.
Kip McKean (pictured) is at the top of the cult’s pyramid control structure called “discipling”. Each person has a discipler – someone who has authority over them, who has the right to tell his or her disciple what to do. Ultimately everyone is being discipled by McKean, and hence following him. Here’s what one of the cult leaders said about McKean:


“And again to those who believe that I, like countless others in a ‘manmade movement’ am blindly following Kip McKean, then know this. With eyes wide open I’m following Kip McKean: Consciously, intentionally, thankfully. I guess I’m just not as strong as some folks and I need help in following Jesus. And so far, I’ve found no better help, no better leader, no more righteous a man – no better friend than Kip.”

Those in the cult are instructed to imitate their discipler who is above them – which they do, even in voice inflection and facial hair. (At one stage almost all of the men in the Central Auckland Church of Christ were wearing goatees because the then leader of that branch had a goatee.) Of course, this means that ultimately they are imitating Kip McKean. This is especially noticeable in preaching style. This is what two other ICC leaders said on this subject:

“The person who discipled me in the Lord is Kip McKean, the evangelist of the Boston Church. I want to be just like him. When he tells me things to do, you better believe I listen. And as I think back on the course of my relationships with Kip, I can tell you honestly, there are few times that I bucked Kip. And I can tell you honestly that I did wrong every time. It was not right to be arrogant, to be proud, to be rebellious… I want the guys who I am discipling to want to be like me.”

“It would suit me just fine if I could leave this place and say you know – I just want to be exactly like Kip. I just want to be exactly like Kip. That would be enough.”

“I want to be able to imitate Kip McKean. I want to preach like him. I want to think like him. I want to talk like him.”

Scary stuff. The average ICC member is convinced they are trying to follow Jesus, but the reality is that they are following McKean. The ICC also claims to be the only church really following the Bible, however its practices such as ICC discipling and their method of taking “contribution” are not found in the Bible. There are also many other areas where its practices and beliefs violate scripture.

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Branch Names

  • Central Auckland Church of Christ lead by Rob Ferry.
  • Christchurch Church of Christ lead by Angus McFarlane.

Branches of the ICC exist in many cities around the world. They often take the name of the city for the local ICC branches name. For example, in New Zealand they are called the “Central Auckland Church of Christ” and the “Christchurch Church of Christ”.

One of the cult’s aims is to get a branch in every city of over 100,000 people by the end of the millenium.

This former leader of the Central Auckland Church of Christ (with supporter in background) in the process of making an ad-hominim attack on a reporter on national television news instead of answering a question about the group’s practices. Update: This former leader has left and rejected the teachings of the International Churches of Christ, and is now following Jesus directly.


It should be noted that not all churches that use the words “Church of Christ” in their names are part of the ICC.

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What Do I Do If I Know Someone Involved?

First of all, Don't Panic!

Second, don’t tell them that they are in a cult. The ICC warns them early on in the recruitment process that Satan will use people around them to attack their conversion into the ICC by telling them that the ICC is a cult. By telling them that you are walking into the ICC’s trap.

Third, research mind control and the ICC. The links on this page will help you do that. While you are doing that, put effort into keeping strong the relationship you have with the ICC member.

Fourth, see if you can arrange an exit counselling session with the ICC member. Often ICC members can be very open to talking about their involvement and examining the other side of the story, but beware – if the ICC leaders find out they will try to stop any intervention. Cultwatch has an ICC expert who can help exit counsel an ICC member. Also, there are many ex-members and other people around the world who are able to do this sort of thing. If you cannot arrange something like this then search the Internet and make up a package of material which shows the other side of the story. Give it to the member and encourage them to read it, but warn them that their leaders will not be too happy about it!

Please note that exit counselling is a voluntary action. We at Cultwatch will have nothing to do with kidnapping and deprogramming, so don’t ask, because a referral to the police often offends.

The most important thing to remember is that we want the ICC member to have a time when they can examine their involvement and be presented with the other side of the story – the side the ICC would rather not have them hear. Your average ICC member is a person who wants, more than anything else, to follow God. When they realise how the ICC disobeys scripture and how their practices damage people they will seriously reconsider their involvement. It is important to note that it is the practices of the ICC which are wrong, not Christianity itself. There is no point “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. Contrary to what the ICC will tell its members, they can leave the ICC and still be a Christian.

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Related Articles

Informative articles revealing the beliefs and practices of the International Church of Christ in greater depth.

Quotes. An article containing numerous quotes by ICC leaders and evangelists and rebuttals of those quotes.

More quotes. More quotes and rebuttals.

Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation? Are we saved at the point of baptism, or at the point when we believe?

 

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Recommended Links

Here are some of the best places on the Internet to begin your research into the ICC.

 

Reveal
This is an American based group of ex-members who collect stories about ICC involvement and other items of news about the ICC. They have an excellent links page. A very good site.

 

Triumphing Over London Cults
This is a counter-ICC group based in London. Excellent information including lots of stories of ICC involvement and copies of the many news stories about the ICC.