Tag: ICC

The ICC and ICOC – An In Depth Distinction

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.

The ICC and ICOC – A Concise Distinction

I was recently asked by two non-US evangelists in the International Churches of Christ about my answer to the question: “What are the main differences between the ICC and the ICOC?” No two people would answer this question the exact same way because we each have personal experiences. This paper was shaped by my: 1) 35 years as a Christian, 26 years of fulltime ministry, which includes the roles of elder, evangelists and teacher, 2) graduate education in New Testament, and in conflict management, and 3) my vocation as an organizational health and risk management consultant.

The ICOC has not published new positions concerning Kip McKean and his breakoff that led to the ICC since late 2005, when about eighty ministers affirmed a disciplinary position against Kip. Since that time the leading indicators of where the ICOC stands with the ICC has come from the writings of respected individuals such as Mike Taliaferro and Justin Renton. Like those papers, I am not inclined to write a paper that is merely us-versus-them, but to provide clarification.

One of the main ICC evangelists, Luis J. Martinez, aka “LuJack” posted the areas “the ICOC and the ICC agree on”:

1) that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; 2) that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day; 3) that Jesus Christ called us to be his disciples; 4) that Jesus Christ called us to be born again, born of water and the Spirit;
5) that Jesus Christ called us to “go and make disciples of ALL nations, baptizing them–for the forgiveness of sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit–in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”;
6) that we must teach ALL disciples to OBEY EVERYTHING Jesus commanded us;
7) that the Bible contains the very Words of God;
8) that the church is the body of Christ and the kingdom of God;
9) that the acts of the sinful nature are obvious;
10) that we must confess our sins to each other and pray for each so that we may be healed;
11) that we must seek FIRST God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and he will provide us everything we need for life and godliness;
12) that we must strive to evangelize the whole wide world while God gives us life to do so;

LuJack’s list of agreements are much appreciated. As readers will probably concur, the distinctions are not about core orthodox theology at the time of conversion to Christ, they fall under the category of philosophy and paradigms. These differences have a significant influence on the health of an individual and congregation, even after a short time.

I considered Kip McKean’s paper on the five differences between the ICC and the ICOC. I don’t think his explanations with the distinctions will satisfy a informed member of the ICOC. The following five statements more accurately contrast the two movements, in my mind, but not necessarily in any particular order.