History of the International Church of Christ - The Boston Movement
The church Kip McKean
moved to in Boston grew rapidly, and by 1982 had planted churches in cities such as London
The "planting" process involved a team of Boston trained people, usually an evangelist and several interns. Near the beginning these were volunteers, but later team members were chosen by church leaders. This was not officially mandatory, but refusal was heavily discouraged. By 1982, churches planted by the Boston church had begun planting churches themselves. Their goal, urged by McKean, was to "evangelize the world in this generation".
In the mid 1980s, two leaders of the mainline Church of Christ joined the Boston movement. They were Jerry Jones
and Gordon Ferguson
. Jones left about a year later, and went on to write several books containing mainly statements by leadership of the Boston church. There was a rather frightening adulation of McKean, with some leaders even comparing him to the Apostles.
Gordon Ferguson followed a very different path from Jerry Jones. Joining in 1986, he is still a member of the church today, and designed the "church reconstruction" methods used by the ICC, most notably in 1987. This reconstruction process has been compared to a corporate reorganization
in the business world.
was fired by the Crossroads Church of Christ
in 1985, for reasons of public and ongoing sexual improprieties. At the time a power struggle was suspected, but later information showed the accusations as being true. However, these behaviors had been known to leadership for quite a while, and had been covered up extensively. More, similar behaviors have been tolerated in other leaders of the discipling movement. The whole atmosphere is one of members being held to a more stringent standard than the leadership.
In the mid 1980s, the Boston Movement and the mainline Churches of Christ grew farther apart. Even churches within the Boston Movement
began to be divided, some approving entirely of Kip McKean
, and others growing worried due to the number of members who were burning out, some with severe mental and spiritual damage.
In 1986, a church growth researcher named Dr. Flavil Yeakley
ran a Meyers-Briggs
test on a large group of Boston Church of Christ members, as well as a control group consisting of members of mainline Churches of Christ. Dr. Yeakley was a supporter of the Boston Church of Christ
, and was trying to defend the church against mounting charges that it was a cult. His data pointed in the opposite direction, however. Many of the members of the Boston Church exhibited a personality shift
from their normal personality type to that of Kip McKean
, the leader of the church. This personality shift is often a good indicator of whether a group is using mind control techniques, one of the signs of a cult. He published his results, and was quickly "marked
" by the Boston Church of Christ. They declared that he was an enemy of the church, and forbid all members from contact with him or his work.
In 1987, the Boston Church of Christ begain a "reconstruction" process. They demanded that all discipling movement churches that hadn't been directly planted by the Boston church have their leaders step down and allow a team sent by Boston to take control. Any churches not complying would no longer be considered part of the Boston Movement
. Most of the churches agreed to this, but not all, including the Crossroads Church of Christ
, where the movement had been begun. Many people also left churches where reconstruction had taken place.
During the reconstruction period, Kip McKean promulgated the doctrine of "Baptism as a Disciple
", which is a theme of the ICC to this day. This doctrine says that one must fully understand the purpose of baptism
and also be fully committed to following Christ and obeying the leaders of the Church (these were seen as being the same thing). By this doctrine, anyone not baptized in accordance with it was no longer considered Christian
by the Boston Movement. Many members of Movement churches were rebaptized, including top leaders. During this period, the ICC and the mainline Churches of Christ separated entirely, and considered themselves independent churches.
International Church of Christ
--- History of the International Church of Christ - ICC Era