This paper reviews five philosophical differences between the International Christian Churches (ICC) and the International Churches of Christ (ICOC). It utilizes a combination of Scripture, history, personal experiences, and lessons learned. Who is my audience? Anyone inside the ICOC, the ICC, or with any connection to our past who is curious as to where the two movements differ. The paper is also written as an informational bridge aiding those in the ICC considering a transition to the ICOC.
A mistake is made in comparing most movements. One is not necessarily this and the other that. The ICC is broadly uniform because the culture, methods and styles are determined by one man. Even the websites largely use all the same articles. The ICOC is consistent on core doctrine but varied on cultures, styles, and methodologies. And the vast majority of our churches cooperate and our leaders are increasingly collaborating within their flocks. In this way the ICOC possesses an uncontrived unity along with sometimes messy diversity, similar to what can be observed in the New Testament churches. Fortunately, it appears that both the ICC and the ICOC share the same core doctrines based on Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:36- 41, Ephesians 4:3-6 and other substantive doctrinal passages.
I am increasingly convinced that it is easy to lose touch with the state of a flock or movement until something comes along and gets its attention. Usually it is membership losses, crisis, conflict, widespread immaturity, low morale and tapered growth. The ancient Corinthian congregation had some of those things, prompting the apostle Paul to deliver assessments, directions and follow up.
Paul called upon members in Corinth to do three smart things: examine themselves to see if they were “in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5), ensure that they are learning from the past troubles that served “as warnings” (1 Corinthians 10:1-11), and confirm that “each one should build with care” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). In other words, Christians should be really in, always learning, and mindful of their steps.
In the spirit of seeking sincere faith, learning and self-reflection, I’ve provided a historical backdrop that preceded the two movements and a breakdown of five philosophies of the ICC, contrasting them from the Bible and the ICOC.