The International Church of Christ – From Man or God?

By Larry Rouse

 

I.         Introduction: The term religious cult is one that generates much emotion, but often is not defined. One said it is the church down the street.

            A.        Even if we disagree with the term, I want to examine the teachings and practices of a religious movement that began in churches of Christ.

                        1.         The group was once known as the Crossroads Movement, later as the Boston Movement and now as The International Churches of Christ

                        2.         This group has been in and out of Birmingham. Presently there is a group within the city.

            B.        Our focus of this study will be the scriptures.

                        1.         However in the course of the study we will examine several tragic examples of the fruits of human control and authority in the place of God.

                        2.         If your child goes to college in he next few years, they will likely be approached by this group.

II.        What is the fundamental difference between this group and the Bible?

            A.        The issue is one of control. Is Jesus our Lord or is a group of humans. (Col 2:18-23)

                        1.         Appearances can be deceptive. Someone may seem strong, but in truth are in slavery to men.

                        2.         Please never stop thinking and let your emotions cause you to judge what is right and wrong.

            B.        The Boston Movement is directed by one man -- Kip McKean.

                        1.         Mr. McKean was baptized into the Crossroads Movement in Gainsville, Florida and trained by Chuck Lucas.

                        2.         What was informal control under Crossroads, became official policy under the Boston Movement. Now there is a pyramid structure leading up to Kip McKean. He presently is in Los Angeles.

                        3.         What is wrong with this structure? (Matt 16:18; 1 Peter 5:1-3; Acts 14:23)

                        4.         This desire for control permeates this movement.

                        5.         This movement, as in all human movements, is constantly migrating in their doctrine. In time there will be less and less similarity.

            C.        The Boston Movement requires a complete transparency on the part of their members.

                        1.         When I speak of transparency, I mean that a members must tell all things about their selves to members over them. This includes past, present thoughts and dreams, and all decisions.

                        2.         During their uniform conversion classes, the prospect goes through the light and darkness study.

                        3.         During the course of this study the prospect hears emotional confessions on the part of the two members in the class with them. then it becomes their turn. This study will last for hours.

                        4.         They try to justify this practice from James 5:16.

                        5.         This view does not harmonize with Matt 18:15-17 and 1 Peter 4:15.

                        6.         Here you begin to see a pattern in this movement that will show up time and again: Man is put in the place of God!

                        7.         When you tell all you give others great power. It will be used later.

            D.        The Boston Movement requires everyone to submit to others beyond what the Bible teaches.

                        1.         In the first study you are taught that in order to be a disciples you must have a discipler.

                        2.         We are to be disciples, but of who? (Matt 28:19-20)

                        3.         These disciplers are given complete control of the disciple. Eph 5:21 is used as proof. Note the reciprocal pronoun one another (Eph 5:19)

                        4.         Only elders are given limited authority in the scriptures. (Heb 13:17; Acts 20:28-30)

                        5.         It is sad to see a novice given complete authority over another.

            E.        The Boston Movement uses deceptive tactics to gain and keep converts.

                        1.          Love bombing is used at social events to interest people. Members
must be friendly and act happy, even when they are unhappy!

                        2.         Personal information is passes up the chain of command and used in conversations and sermons without the knowledge of the prospect.

                        3.         People are constantly praising you in unnatural ways and conversely praise can be uniformly withdrawn when the leadership gives the word.

                        4.         This is fake love. (1 Thess 2:3-4; Gal 4:16-18; Jude 16)

                        5.         Those who leave this movement feel deeply violated. They are often very angry.

                        6.         They will lie and mislead you as to their beliefs. They have an outer doctrine and an inner doctrine.

            F.        The Boston Movement practices known elements of mind control.

III.       What are the Fruits of this Movement?

            A.        They are a spiritual meat-grinder.

                        1.         Most people leave within two years.

                        2.         Sadly, most of these will not seek God again.

            B.        They seek to divide family and friends in sinful ways.

                        1.         There is a place where we put God first over parents. (Matt 10:37-38)

                        2.         Still I am not to cast them off

                        3.         When a parent of friend ceases to be a prospect, they are forgotten.

                        4.         When one first comes into the movement they must have one from the movement go home with them on holidays.

                        5.         One mother in Lincoln paid a high price..

                        6.         Here is where they use the sin list.

            C.        They destroy careers, families and lives.

                        1.         Their schedule is overwhelming. Sleep is deprived.

                        2.         Jobs are lost, and sometimes lives.

            D.        They create hurt that requires much help to heal

                        1.         Note the Discipling Dilemma.

                        2.         Ex. My experience with Mark Larson.

IV.      How to confront the Boston Movement.

            A.        Know their doctrine.

            B.        Establish the completeness of the scriptures.

            C.        Show the fallacies of discipleship as they teach it. (1 Cor 7:25-28)