View Full Version : Is the International Church of Christ (ICOC) a Cult?

10-23-01, 10:52 AM
What do you guys think of the International Church of Christ? Is it a cult?

Here is a link to there page for more info. (www.icoc.org)

I'm anxious to hear what you guys have to say!

10-23-01, 11:20 AM
From carm.org...


The International Church of Christ (ICC) is a break-off of the Church of Christ denomination. The ICC is Christian in its basic theology but has some aberrant practices.

The ICC was influenced by the discipling movement on the 1950's. Its roots can be traced back to 1967 to the Crossroads Church of Christ, in Gainesville Florida. The crossroads Church had a program on discipling which became known as the Crossroads Movement. It is out of this Crossroads connection that the present leader of the ICC, Kip McKeen, received his start. He and Roger Lamb were fired from the Houston, Texas, Church of Christ. Kip McKeen then found a Church in Boston MA, was asked to come on board and began what has come to be known as the Boston movement. The Boston Church grew by leaps and bounds due to its heavy discipling program. Soon other churches were being planted in the United States and then in England.

The ICC did not become known as the "International Church of Christ" until 1993 and its headquarters became Los Angeles, California. The ICC considers Christian denominations to be sinful. They will cite biblical passages that speak of the apostles establishing one Church per city, and claim that there should only be one Church in each city. Of course, the one Church should be an ICC Church. As of the year 2001, the ICC claims to have over 400 churches with a membership of 130,000 worldwide in over 150 countries.

The international Church of Christ considers itself to be "a family of Christian churches whose members are committed to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible." This commitment to biblical living includes a very strong emphasis on discipling. In fact, it is this overly strong emphasis on discipling that has drawn much criticism from outside the church as inside from those who were once were members.

The ICC is Orthodox affirms the Trinity, salvation by grace, Jesus' virgin birth and physical resurrection, His deity, the personhood of the Holy Spirit, heaven and hell, and much more. But, it deviates from orthodoxy in both its requirement of baptism as a necessary element for salvation and its heavy requirement of discipleship.

According to the ICC, baptism must be done in their church with the person being baptized having an understand that baptism saves. Combined with this, the ICC method of discipleship includes strong accountability to other members of the church as a necessary element to be considered a Christian. According to the ICC, one cannot be a Christian if he is not a true disciple, and being a disciple must precede baptism. Therefore, the International Church of Christ tends to be very legalistic and controlling. Many of its former members attest to requirements that they confess their sins to their disciple leaders, that they submit to the decisions of their disciple "leaders" regarding dating, frequency of sexual relations for married couples, jobs to take, places to move, and so on.

This discipling operation with in the ICC has drawn much criticism for its intrusive practices and has been labeled as a form of the brainwashing and psychological and emotional manipulation. There are numerous web sites on the Internet devoted to ex-members of the International Church of Christ who warn people not to be involved with the movement. There are also support groups to help those who have left to find healing and, hopefully, true Grace in Christ instead of legalism and bondage.

10-23-01, 11:20 AM

The answer to the question, "Is the International Church of Christ a cult?" depends on the definition of what makes a group a cult. The definition of a cult that CARM uses is a group that may or may not include the Bible in its set of authoritative scriptures. If it does include the Bible and it deviates from biblical doctrines sufficient to make salvation of no effect, then it is a cult. However, it is possible to have a truly Christian group that has cult like tendencies, such as the exercise of an abnormal amount of control over its people. This control may be centered around theological or social particulars. It is this issue of excessive control that to the international Church of Christ is known for. Add to this an exclusive attitude that it is the only true Church, it is no one wonder that the ICC has been labeled a cult by many people. Therefore, it is possible to have a Christian Church with cultic practices and still have it be, technically, Christian and aberrant.

Additionally, the doctrines that make Christianity "Christian" are the Trinity, the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, the physical resurrection of Jesus, and salvation by grace. There can be deviations within Christianity on other issues such as the mode of baptism, frequency of communion, when the rapture will happen, etc. Usually, it is these sorts of non-essential issues which cause denominational splits.

The International Church of Christ (ICC), does not deny any of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Aside from its requirements on baptism as a necessary part of salvation, it is Orthodox. Therefore, I do not categorize the ICC as a non-Christian cult. Rather, I see the ICC as a Christian Church with some serious problems; namely, legalistic and excessive control over its members.

I recommend that people avoid this group.

10-23-01, 12:32 PM
Hmm. Thanks Kermie, I would pretty much agree with you. A well respected musician friend(who remains anonymous) has come to know CHrist in the past couple of years, through the ICC. It seems somewhat like Catholicism or Mormanism in the dedication required by the church, and the fact that he doesn't seem to know what the leadership believes on key issues.
I believe his salvation to be sincere, but it seems his devotion is becoming more and more towards the ICC instead of Jesus.

Anyone else offer some thoughts?

Word Walker
10-26-01, 04:17 PM
The Cult Awareness & Information Centre is probably one of the largest and most complete site I've seen for information on different cult movements. In it's listings of cults you'll find The International Church of Christ. You can go here for more information:


Hope this helps.