Disciples =learners or Saints =saved
The international church of Christ has made it an issue to for one to be a disciple just like the bible teaches. That they must give up everything to be baptized for their salvation.That the true church consists of only disciples.
Kip McKean said, "I taught what was clear in Acts 11:26, SAVED=CHRISTIAN=DISCIPLE, simply meaning that you cannot be saved and you cannot be a true Christian without being a disciple also . . . (UpsideDown, issue 2, pp. 7, 8)
All Christians are disciples, but not all disciples are Christians. Jesus had many disciples who left Him in John 6:64-71 because of His teaching being hard to understand. Why? Because it was spiritual sayings about himself. What it was not about is things they must practice. Whenever people were stumbled over his words 9 out of 10 times it was about his person. Many speak of the same stories of authoritarian abuses and manipulation inside the working mechanism of this movement. Their loyalty to human leaders over one's loyalty to Christ. These enormous numbers of people leaving can't be explained away as all fall-aways, those who could not continue being disciples and endure to the end. When they left Jesus it was because they did not understand spiritually who he was. When they leave this Church they can't keep up or cope with the strain of living on the edge of being discipled by another.
The word "disciple" appears at least 250 times. We find that disciples were involved in being taught and following a person. That person was Jesus, not another. He shaped their lives, and it was their relationship to Him that made them disciples. Discipleship does not imply one's relationship with another Christian. It is related to their relationship to Jesus. (Mark 2:18, Jn. 9:28 they are called disciples of Jesus.)
John 16:7, Jesus told the disciples it was to their advantage that He goes away so that the Helper (the Holy Spirit) will come. "If I go I will send Him to you." In John 7:39, Jesus, speaking of the Spirit, stated those who believe in Him would receive the Spirit when He was glorified. This event happened when He ascended to heaven and then sent the Spirit. Peter, in Acts 2:14-16, "This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel (His Spirit being poured out from on high). This was a totally separate event from water baptism and continues to be that way today. The spirit was to lead them into all truth, he was to be the one they learn through as he replaced Jesus who was there teacher while in the flesh. But today their whole movement ignores the one Jesus sent to be our teacher (1 Jn.2) and replace him with other sinful men to learn from by imitation.
"You must be 100% committed or you might as well go on and get involved in something else . . . we are disciples of that movement." (Randy Haragan, Go and Baptize Disciples Only, audio tape, 1991 SW. Conf.) They may be disciples of this movement, but more importantly are they disciples of Christ?
Mckean has said "No one can do it on their own. Everybody needs ongoing discipleship. You are a disciple of God until you die you are a disciple of someone else until you die." ("Why do you resist the Spirit ?" Mckean 1987)
Theres something revealing in the concept of imitating. It means to copy or have a reproduction of something. But the word imitation means to to resemble something superior; not genuine.
Dave Weger ". . . I've never been discipled by Kip. I just love him. I want to be his disciple because I'll be discipled by God, I'll be discipled by anybody, it don't make any difference. Just disciple me. Just give me a family to imitate. I'll imitate them wherever they are in the body. I'm always looking. I'm always searching, because I'm imitating. "(He Must Manage His Family Well, audio tape, 1990 West. Coast Conf. LA Church #1025)
It doesn't matter who you learn from just as long as you imitate someone. Its all in the method and not found in the person. Anyone with logic can realize that if one is taught by a bad teacher they will in the process pass on what is wrong to others. This is how the whole movement began, and it eventually be why it ends. To be imitative is to reproduce the original or not genuine, spurious. Who are they asked to imitate? Another person. They are not pointing to Jesus as the originator they are to pattern themselves after. The reason is obvious, they have another person other than the Holy Spirit for their own mediator.
John 5:18 "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." The fruit he is speaking of is not numbers but the spirits work in ones life. Jesus tells us in Jn.15 to remain in Him to produce fruit. We can't produce fruit on our own. You've never seen a tree struggle to bring forth fruit. It's a natural process by the inner working of the spirit. But they measure it by the outward working for the kingdom!
There are no Bible verses that show that a person's spiritual life is measured according to how many disciples they produce. This is how they look at their disciples' life by their outward obedience. Activity is considered to assure one of their salvation. This interpretation is unique to this movement, and is used to increase productivity and bring in the people so that their numbers will increase. This increase is then falsely presented as the evidence that the I.C.C. is doing God's work. The similarities to other work based salvation cults should not be overlooked because there are many.
The I.C.C. clings to the persecution as proof that they are doing something right as disciples. It can actually bring a smile to their face. If one is going to take the name disciple so literally, and make it dictate how to they are to conduct their Christian living, why stop there? Jesus also said in Mt.28 you will be my witnesses, (in Greek Martyrs), one who bears witness by his death. Why not use this interpretation and go all the way in enlisting sold out soldiers for Christ. Certainly if one performed this type of Christianity it would empty out the Church, (even theirs) having only the serious ones left. I hope this will not be the next step in their journey to truth.
Are they living only by the book of Acts and ignoring the rest of the Bible? Hardly, the apostles did not preach for one to become a disciple. They preached the Gospel. All one has to do is look in the book of Acts to see what transpired when they preached. In Acts 2, they immediately believed and were saved. The same in Acts 3:18, 4:4, Acts 8,10, etc. There was no process of discipleship. It was an immediate conversion. Then they were taught the things of God. Why? They needed the Holy Spirit to understand.
In the synoptic gospels the term disciples is used 160 times, John 78, Book of Acts after the church began 28 times. We can see the number of times it is being used is slowly dwinding, the question is why? Not once is it used in the rest of the New Testament after the book of Acts. That is extremely peculiar, why is that? Instead the Church members are called saints, brethren. As the Church developed they had what is called the body of Christ. This meant membership in Christ himself 1 Cor.12:13 . You can follow Christ and be a disciple and not be saved, or, you can be saved and follow which makes you a saint or one of the brethren. This term "Saint" was first used in the NT when Annaias said Paul did many things evil things to the Saints in Jerusalem Acts 9:13(as when he put the saints in prison and put many to death Acts 26:10) The word Saint shows ones position in Christ, the word disciple shows one is a learner. Which would you rather be known as?
In this pyramid structure of imitating the person above as every one becomes carbon copies of their leaders, we can trace this to the source who is Kip McKean, the capstone of the pyramid. One's personality can either be lost or at best covered over with their disciple's personality.God made us as individuals and sent the Holy Spirit to conform into his son not into another sinful persons personality. We should disciple people vertically, not horizontally. In discipling we are to bring people to Jesus and not under us. We are not their mediator, Jesus is.
Until this movement realizes this, they will continue to mass produce ICC assembly line disciples that need constant recalls. They will continue to make disciples, when they really should be made into saints.
Articles are taken from the spiral bound book International Church of Christ Birth of a Cult. (click> on books