International Church of Christ
Revolution Through Restoration
Kip McKean, in his article, Revolution Through Restoration, in the magazine UpsideDown issue 2, said, "Only by studying the Bible and then by trial and error implementation of these rediscovered teachings can a movement be forged like the original". Unfortunately trial and error involves people and many have been devastated by the implementation of these so called teachings. He goes on to say, "Enemies and critics, Pilate's and Judass will abound, for with each restoration of Scripture a more clear, yet narrowing and convicting path appears."
Al Baird, who is the public spokesman for this movement, was asked in an interview by Newsnight of the BBC (London 1/5/1993), "What mistakes do you believe your movement's made?" "Always, it was an attempt to become more and more like Jesus. That's all we're trying to do. Now do people in that whole process get hurt? Unfortunately, yes."
Mr. McKean states that restoration is needed since we no longer understand or live out Gods Word. Distortions of Scripture are common. For example Luke 5:37, "the new wine must be poured in new wine skins," interpreted as wine being the ministers, and the wine skins being the church. This is clearly a personal opinion of a passage normally interpreted to show the new covenant.People converted at the Crossroads, who were former friends, resented McKeans effort to pull them into the Boston Movement. Rejecting his restoration from the Scriptures that he and Al Baird taught, they became some of the most verbal opponents. McKean stated that, "Those who came along later turned back in bitterness because of the hard teachings they could not accept". McKean claims the Boston church is the Jerusalem for Gods modern day movement. He describes this modern revolution as the shot fired from Boston and heard around the world in the Revolutionary War.
Although McKean has apologized for some of his initial teachings on biblical authority, he continues with his trial and error experiments of rediscovered truths, in pursuit of making a perfect church.
Kip McKean states in UpsideDown magazine, Issue 11, pg. 13, August 1994: "Revolution was and is in each step and breath of those who dare to embrace the true church of Jesus". He goes on to say, "Recognizing that the present denominational systems are in scriptural error, missionless, spiritless, and thus, unable to accomplish the purposes of God". .
This is a perfect example of the downgrading being taught from their pulpits. They do not hold back from engaging in demeaning words and phrases to put down anyone elses work of and for God. Since one needs to be part of their church to be in Christ, it is not surprising to hear statements such as, "We will continue to seek other isolated disciples who may be members of false churches" (pg. 14). Who is the false church? Anyone who is not baptized into their church.
What if one were to disagree later? Well, there is even a stronger word for those going out then coming in. "Certainly to leave the family of God, the true church, is to leave God" (pg. 18). "Many who depart are deceived by Satan into believing they can be part of a church that has false doctrine, unholy lives, and still be saved" (pg. 18).
Although there might be some areas of differing opinions in churches, on the essentials we all agree and recognize each other as part of the body of Christ. The International Churches of Christ do not recognize this greater unity. This is why McKean says, "Today we are calling out of the world, calling out of denominations, out of mainline churches, out of campus ministries, all of the people who desire to be part of Gods restored true church and movement" (pg. 18).
"Listen, I think we're afraid of the name Christian because we've heard so much out of the denominational world. Listen they can't spell it, let alone live it out." (Phil Lamb, We Are Family, audio tape, 1990 West Coast Conf.)
"The Lord allowed me to begin the restoration of the New Testament Church from a small group of thirty would-be disciples in Gempels living room in June of 1979 in Boston" (pg. 18). So, according to McKean, there would be no true church today. Not recognizing that God is able and is working with denominations and other churches is divisive in itself. In my opinion, I believe we are seeing a birth of a group faction of Christianity much like the Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses started.
If God did not use diversity, why did He divide Israel into twelve tribes and give each a different function for the tabernacle? Would this not be considered denominationalism by their own standards?Some of the reasons they are not the true church or Gods movement are because they do not teach the whole counsel of
God which Paul stated in Acts 20:27. This would be a consistent, systematic teaching from Genesis to Revelation not just teaching on baptismal salvation or practices that relate only to discipleship.
Statistics are continually released of how quickly they grow. Most of the people inside the movement do not hear of the record numbers of people leaving. There is something wrong with a revolution that has thousands regularly leaving with
total disillusionment in God and Christianity. Many speak of the same stories of authoritarian abuses and manipulation, their loyalty to human leaders over one's loyalty to Christ. These enormous numbers of people leaving can't be explained away as fall-aways, those who could not continue being disciples and endure to the end.
What kind of revolution is this? Is it biblical or man centered? Does Kip McKean's dream of evangelizing the whole world in a few years become everyone else's dream? Is God on his time clock, in a rush to make this happen before the year 2000? What is God really concerned with, the amount of people in a church or the quality of life that they live?
What is really being restored here? If we look at the overall picture of the New Testament we don't see any of these unbiblical practices used in this movement. No one is watching over how people give their money and time. There are no quotas to be filled. The only set criteria for those who follow Jesus is to live a life of holiness, being set apart to the Lord, to be led by His Spirit as an individual, ready to do His will when opportunities occur.
Consider the story of Daniel Eng. He was baptized in 1976 in a mainline Church of Christ denomination in Malaysia. In 1984 he joined the Central London Church of Christ (Boston Movement) and was sent off in 1987 to Singapore to plant a new church. When the church grew to 400 members the leadership then sent him to start a new church in Central Jakarta, Indonesia in February, 1990. He was then asked to move to Bombay, India in April, 1991. After a few months he met with the Boston leadership in London, England to discuss his concerns about certain authoritarian abuses. In June, 1991 he made the decision to leave the movement. He was ostracized and marked, just as everyone else is who leaves the movement. Daniel, as a leader, noticed the control others had over his life, moving from place to place by the dictation of his leaders. In any case, this revolution of McKeans left him empty, unhappy, depressed and confused. Many other people have been affected in this same manner from this revolution. It can hardly be considered a spiritual revolution.
Articles are taken from the spiral bound book International Church of Christ Birth of a Cult. (click> on books)