Thursday, February 10, 2011

Same Patterns of Salvation Past in the ICOC

Disciples Today, one of the official media front ends for the ICOC, posted an article on Friday, February 4 entitled Couple Wrestles through "Praying Jesus into Your Heart". In it, a married couple named Peter and Cindy Van Dyk describe their experience of coming to Christ in Fargo, North Dakota, moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and encountering the ICOC church there - the Fort Wayne Church of Christ. Instead of finding a church where they "could feel connected to a community of believers", they got a lot more than they bargained for.

"So, as a result, we were baptized again on October 11th, 2007. This time knowing God's full plan for salvation. With fully repentant hearts, with a pledge of a good conscience, and an understanding of the importance of all that God requires of his disciples."

Note what they're saying here. Their initial baptism was invalid. Why? Because they did not "[know] God's full plan for salvation." What this this include? "[F]ully repentant hearts... and an understanding of the importance of all that God requires of his disciples."

This should immediately raise red flags for those who are familiar with the traditional salvation theology of the ICOC. They not only require that people know that their sins are being forgiven at the point of baptism (like in the theology of the conservative Churches of Christ where both the ICOC and "sold-out" ICC came from), but they require converts to understand God's requirements for being a disciple. Even though those requirements aren't listed in this article, it's clear that this can only mean one thing: the list of requirements is the list presented in the First Principles (link is to the audio form taught by Kip McKean himself) bible study called Discipleship. These include - but aren't limited to - the following as requirements to receive salvation:
  • Go to all nations and make disciples.
  • Deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Christ.
  • Lose their lives by put Jesus above all possessions and relationships.
  • Be persecuted.
  • Have daily quiet times and prayer times.
  • Have a discipling partner and learn from them.
Since converts must start doing these things to the satisfaction to the ICOC leaders "studying the Bible" with them, this is clearly works-salvation with men playing the role of God. What's more disturbing is that this occurred in 2007, years after the release of the Henry Kriete Letter and calls for reform.

This is another significant sign that things really haven't changed in the International Churches of Christ. This also explains why those in the ICOC don't have a clear, concise, and consistent theology to explain that they're not the "One True Church" - that there are "true disciples" in every other Christian denomination and fellowship, even the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics. Those in the Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and other healthy denominations and fellowships should be on guard against this yeast that has poisoned the Van Dyks and will continue to poison more as time goes on.