Sunday, April 22, 2012

Declaration of War

In an article on the City of Angels (Los Angeles) International Christian Church's web site posted on April 15, 2012 entitled Degrees of Lukewarmness, ICC founder and top leader Kip McKean concludes the article with this paragraph:
My heartfelt plea is for disciples anywhere and everywhere - whether in the Mainline Churches of Christ, conservative Christian Churches, the International Churches of Christ, those who have drifted into denominational churches, or even fall-aways: Let the Spirit gather us together as one in God's new movement. Let us be unified by being "consumed with [a fiery, hot] zeal for our Father's house" (John 2:17) and "loving one another deeply from the heart." (1 Peter 1:22) Then and only then, will we become "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God" distinct from the world and worldly churches with various degrees of lukewarmness. (1 Peter 2:9) And to God be all the glory!
It's obvious that McKean himself is the locus of unity for this call to those outside of his current movement. It's his false gospel, his methods, and submission to his leadership or nothing at all, even to those who may be "true disciples" in his view in these other churches. McKean has called out the "remnant" before in the 1980's and does so again with not only the mainline Churches of Christ, (Independent) Christian Churches in the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, and other "denominational" churches, but also his former fellowship - the International Churches of Christ. With his new movement at 1,500 members as of early 2012 and with plans to plant (or replant) congregations in San Francisco, Orlando, Paris, Mexico City, and Boston late this summer, nothing is in McKean's way to impede his progress. Kip has declared war on not only the churches that have clearly rejected him (namely the Churches of Christ and the ICOC), but has resumed a full-scale assault against historic, healthy, mainstream Christianity.

The United States wasn't fully prepared for war when Pearl Harbor was attacked in December of 1941. In a similar fashion, the groups Kip has specifically targeted don't appear to be ready either - and some of them are in some sort of weakened state:
  • The International Churches of Christ, almost a decade after removing McKean from leadership, is still attempting to take his false gospel (see the previous blog post) and methodologies and re-brand it as their very own without McKean. In the various factions, the same doctrines are still taught, but almost none of them require the same call of commitment as McKean requires. The ICOC remains in serious danger of being run down and run over by McKean's new movement, particularly with those who have grown up and have been brought into the movement in the past decade.
  • The Churches of Christ are having a growth and identity crisis of their own. The Churches of Christ are shrinking numerically, especially those bent towards legalism. (Remember that the ICOC arose from these legalistic congregations and the ICC split from the ICOC.) As conservative and progressive elements continue to determine the future of that wing of the Stone-Campbell Movement, few are paying attention to both the ICC and ICOC.
  • The Christian Churches, at most a very minor player in the history of the Boston Movement and ICOC up until McKean's departure in 2003, may be blindsided by both the ICC and the ICOC because of their contemporary styles of worship and outward evangelical stances on certain positions. In fact, on the surface, one may not be able to distinguish a Christian Church congregation from an ICOC or ICC congregation.
  • The other Protestant denominations and fellowships, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox have largely ignored the problems the Discipling Movement have created the past four decades because of its negligible impact on overall mainstream Christianity. The only Christian and para-church organizations that have even paid attention are those working in apologetic and anti-cult ministries and campus ministries.
In the International Christian Churches Good News E-mail from April 15, 2012, one person from the mainline Churches of Christ has been baptized into the new movement, one was "restored" into the new movement, and several others have joined from the ICOC - the former fellowship. Kip McKean's intentions to pull as many followers as he can into his new movement from churched backgrounds (if you can call an ICOC member "churched") are clear and are currently paying off. My hope is that these other healthy denominations and fellowships warn their members of this new menace and continue to preach and teach the true gospel of grace to Christians within their ranks and let the Holy Spirit do His work to convert the lost in addition to the Church doing their part as the hands and feet of Jesus.