Blog Statement

It is time to expose the corruption of Kip McKean’s “International Christian Church” (ICC); “Have nothing to do with the worthless deeds of evil and darkness but instead expose them.” –Ephesians 5:11

This organization is guilty of abusive policies, exploiting members, coercion, and even extortion.

All this in the name of “putting the Kingdom first”? They have forgotten what the Kingdom of God really is.

This is abuse against the people of God.

This can no longer be called a church; it is now a corrupt organization pretending to be a church. For those in the lower levels of leadership who are offended by my words, it is time for you to step back and take a good look at what this organization has become.

Their actions against those who attempt to speak up against this abuse border on psychological terrorism. It is time for the ICC to give an account for what it has done.

Kip McKean baselessly character assassinates anyone who criticizes him as being “bitter” and it is time to put an end to that. This is indignation; an anger aroused against abuse and corruption.

These are articles of indignation against the abuse of God’s people.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

[Article 10] How Kip McKean's Old Movement Fell (and what this says about the fate of the ICC)

This article is available for download in PDF format here

A file with all the articles is available for download here
[The Articles of Indignation: Article 10]
By Daniel Berg          

This article was retracted earlier (it was the former article 9 but then I switched the order when this article was temporarily retracted) because some believed that I had neglectfully portrayed controversial concepts in an absolute manner when it should have been made clear that this is theory (actually I did mention in the original document that this was a theory but I guess I needed to make it more clear to some of these ICC “critics”). A theory is of course a hypothesis based on a careful and rational explanation of facts; you will find such rationality lacking in the propaganda that Kip McKean attempts to pass off on his congregation about these past events as I’m about to show. Another reason for retracting it was that some people told me that they needed “more convincing” that the corruption written about in the Apology Letters was related to Kip’s regime since they actually came out a short time after he was forced to step down as Lead Evangelist so now I present additional evidence.  It may seem that my effort of pushing back this article’s release to include additional evidence may have been for naught at the moment since the ICC has been intimidating their members into not looking at this material as I predicted they would do in my 8th article, but eventually some may come to their senses and actually start to do some research for themselves rather than believing whatever these ICC leaders tell them.

Many articles can be found that discuss reasons for why Kip McKean’s “Old Movement” fell. The “Old Movement” is of course the ICC’s name for the ICOC during the time that Kip was in leadership. The ICC’s version of the events that happened in the ICOC leading up to 2003 is significantly different from that told by those who left during this time as well as the side of the story told by some of the ICOC leaders.

The ICC leaders who previously came from the ICOC claim that the failure of their first movement was due to the “ungodliness” and "bitterness" of their previous congregation. On the other side, many previous ICOC members claim that the leadership was abusive and arrogant and in 2003 the ICOC leaders even wrote letters of apology asking for forgiveness for their past practices of coercing money out of the congregation. I will compare these witness accounts side by side with the ICC’s claims of what happened in order to come up with a viable theory for why the Old Movement failed.

Whenever I would ask someone in the ICC what happened to Kip’s Old Movement, they would tell either that they didn’t know or would obscurely refer to the events that led to Kip McKean being taken out of leadership as “the great confusion”. Other people I asked to give me reasons for why Kip had to resign would put the blame solely on the congregation saying that they were all “bitter”. This is not a godly accusation because according to James 3:1 aren’t the teachers and leaders supposed to be held in higher accountability? Why was the blame almost entirely being shoved on the congregation? Why were these people “bitter”? It seemed unbelievable to me that even after asking around for six years in the ICC, no one seemed capable of giving me a coherent answer to these events and any explanations that they did attempt to give were either nonsensical or obviously biased.

Back when the Henry Kriete letter came out many ICOC leaders apologized for the abusive behavior that was unveiled, while others wanted to put the blame on Kriete as if he were the one responsible for the damage caused. It was truly a chaotic time for the ICOC and Kip McKean tries to take advantage of this chaos by spinning his own interpretation to the events that followed in his letter “From Babylon Onto Zion”.

When the content of the Henry Kriete letter and the Apology Letters is brought to light many of those in the ICC argue that this system of corruption had been the result of Steve Johnson’s leadership since these letters came out in March 2003 but this was only 4 months after Kip had resigned in November 2002.
Such an effective system of abusive control and manipulative coercion could not have been created in such a short amount of time, it had to have been put into effect since Kip McKean’s time of leadership. My assertion that the ICOC’s abusive system of control existed long before Kip resigned is not without evidence. Henry Kriete’s second letter states:
“I want to set the record straight because I take exception to being used as a scapegoat for the present chaos which developed over the past 25 years, and I detest being used as a tool to somehow bolster and justify the plans of these men with their bold visions of the future. Henry ruined London! Henry caused all of this chaos and made most of you bitter! How desperate is that? Even absurd?”

In “Honest to God” Henry Kriete states that he had begun to write his first letter 18 months before it actually came out on February 2, 2003. Therefore this means that he began writing about the corruption in the ICOC in early August 2001 which was almost 4 months before Kip McKean stepped down from leading the L.A. church and a year and 4 months before Kip had to resign as World Mission’s Evangelist and leader of the World Sector Leaders and he asserts that this corruption had been in constant development for the past 25 years.

Many of the ICOC Apology Letters reference Kriete’s letter directly as a basis for their apologies such as the Dallas Ft Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Orlando, S Florida and Toronto ICOC Apology Letters.

These letters from 2003 mention Henry Kriete are in agreement with what he wrote about the coercion in giving, the manipulation, and the abusive methods of control. Many of the other letters are also in agreement with this although they did not mention Kriete specifically. This gives credibility to the content of Henry Kriete’s letter and to the fact that this corruption had spread throughout the churches and existed before Kip stepped down. Add to this the voices of 250,000 people who left the ICOC before this time telling accounts of abuse that match the abuses of the ICC that are described in my previous articles. The ICC’s excuse that Kip was not involved in this corruption because these letters did not come out until 2003 is an invalid argument, especially when Kip is now using these very tactics on his new congregation. It wasn’t until Kip lost his grip of power on the leaders that some became bold enough to write these letters which exposed their faults and abuses. Below I show how the content of these letters parallel what is currently happening in the ICC.

The Apology Letters
After much coercion, exploitation, and abusive control of the membership was revealed by Henry Kriete's Letter many ICOC leaders wrote letters of apology to their congregation for this abuse of power; these all mirror what is currently happening in the ICC.

The Bible commands that each person should decide what they want to give to God and then do it cheerfully and not under compulsion. Often times in the past this passage has been sinfully ignored and people have been compelled to give. This has caused many people heartache and sorrow and caused some to leave the church. These practices are being strongly condemned and will never be repeated. This kind of compulsion has taken the form of excessive accountability during the special contribution. –Minneapolis Apology Letter, March 12, 2003

Another significant part of this letter is when they admitted to “following up” with people for a special contribution even after a special contribution was already over:
There have been times in the past where the special contribution was given and then a second effort was made to try and meet the goal. This should never have been done and amounted to forcing people to give.     
-Minneapolis Apology Letter, March 12, 2003

This “follow up” behavior matches what I wrote in my article, The ICC’s Corrupt Policies for Money Part 2:

I know of church members who were in financial trouble yet still gave as much as they could for the special contribution, though it was not the full amount that they asked for.  Rather than being grateful for the gift that these members had given sacrificially, instead the ICC leaders would sit down with them in a private meeting then subject them to character assassination methods; calling them “selfish” and that they should be “ashamed of their negligence” in not being able to come up with the full contribution that they imposed on them.  Then once they have the member/victim feeling bad about themselves they tell them to pay the rest of their special contribution at a later time, as if it was some kind of debt that they owe.

Once again we see the exact same abusive tactics that were practiced during Kip’s old regime being carried over to his new organization. These “special contributions” are supposed to be equivalent to donations that are given willingly; this kind of behavior is obscene and ungodly.

The Minneapolis apology letter also confirms the manipulative nature of dictating the amounts to be given for the special contributions:
Each year we were given a special contribution goal by Seattle and were not involved in deciding for ourselves what we should give. This won’t ever be repeated. All of the above practices were manipulative and controlling. They caused people to stumble and feel compelled to give. We are very sorry that they ever happened and hope you will forgive us for our involvement in them. –Minneapolis Apology Letter, March 12, 2003

We see that the exact same deceitful tactics for wrestling money out of members rather than righteous voluntary giving. Some of the apology letters even admit that these tactics amounted to coercion, such as the Houston apology letter:

At a meeting on Sunday, February 22, 2003, many sins and areas of concern were identified and discussed. Among the key areas that we believe need to be explored and changed are:
Issues of financial giving such as coercion in giving, improper mandate of the
Special Contribution, and feelings of failure caused by humanistic goals and expectations.
Abusive leadership and discipleship practices such as impure motivation caused by an undue emphasis on image and statistics, giving “permission” instead of advice, and a lack of approachability and humility on the part of some members of our leadership and staff –Houston ICOC Apology Letter, March 2003

If you read the Seeking Advice for a Means of Control section of my article; The ICC’s Psychological Control System, I described how a system of “seeking advice” was being used to control people. Was this system used in the ICOC as well? Yes it was, as is proven in the apology letters written by the Orland and Guillermo Adame ICOC leadership:

We have fostered a culture of control through harsh “one over another” relationships. Though we deeply believe in the plan of Jesus for maturing the body, we have allowed that plan to degenerate into relationships that are intolerant, judgmental, harsh, and abusive. Advice has been viewed as law, leading to untold interference in many personal areas of your lives, from dating to finances to living situations and much, much more. –Orlando Apology Letter

People were made to feel sinful and horrible if they didn't take advice. For example, many were pressured not to move from San Diego even though there were good reasons to move. Others were driven out of the church if they didn't agree with how things were done or with the structure of leadership. That's over. I'm truly sorry. I ask that you visit us again and give the church and myself a chance to prove our repentance to you. –Guillermo Adame ICOC Apology Letter, April 14, 2003

We have assumed, wrongly, that the sheep are stupid. We have trained them to depend on men, on us in fact, and not on Christ. ‘Did you get advice’ for the most part means ‘Did you get permission.’ Yes of course, they are vulnerable and open to attack, but they are not stupid. –Henry Kriete

We also see the ICOC Apology Letters commenting on the shallow and repetitive preaching that caused people to feel “starved spiritually:
We have failed to teach the Scriptures responsibly. Over the years, we have conducted our midweek services as pep rallies, and our Sunday services have at times been shallow and non-worshipful. Though we are very excited about 2003 being “the year of digging deeper,” and about the renewed emphasis on worshipping God in our Lord’s day meetings, these changes came about far too late, and we know that many of you have been starved spiritually. –Orlando ICOC Apology Letter

I have noticed this same trend in the ICC, however, when this issue is brought up the response of the ICC leadership is that the reason these people are not learning from their lessons is because they are not “spiritual enough”, and therefore everyone refers to every lesson as “awesome” no matter how dull or propagandistic because they desire to be seen as “spiritual” in the eyes of the upper leadership. This is a flat-out refusal to see history repeating itself and is the damage caused by the leadership’s intentional use of psychological influence through repetition which I described in my articles concerning psychological concepts around the leadership’s decisions.

During my time with the ICC I would bring up the apparent abuse of leadership and always receive the same answer “the leadership is not perfect, we all make mistakes”. So they mean to tell me that the same “mistakes” have been replicated twice? Sure Steve Johnson did apologize for some of this some time after he took over for Kip as Lead Evangelist but this abuse was due to the system that Kip had left in place and Steve had failed to completely eradicate it. These aren’t “mistakes”, this came about by design and there was absolutely no effort made to change these “mistakes” as the behavior of the leadership began to get progressively worse. It is no coincidence that these “mistakes” are all centered around money, control and psychological manipulation.

The same kind of abusive tactics that were described in these letters are the same tactics being currently used in the ICC. Kip McKean tries to blame the other leaders for this and the fact that these letters did not come out until 2003 enabled Kip to hide from this blame somewhat, but it is now apparent who really invented this abusive system since Kip has resurrected it once again in the ICC.

Kip McKean’s Propaganda against Henry Kriete and others in “From Babylon Onto Zion”

In Kip McKean’s letter From Babylon onto Zion he tries to spin his own interpretation on the past events that transpired that led up to the Henry Kriete letter:

Autonomy is not a Biblical doctrine, nor is the word found in all Scripture. It is a spirit of unbridled independence. In some cases autonomy has fostered a spirit of nationalism separating the fathers of faith who had built these churches from their spiritual children. It should be noted that we falsely “gloried” in our movement’s unity. Disunity was sown for years into the hearts of many leaders and followers. This was evidenced in their feelings of suppression that led to the then silent sins of criticalness, envy, bitterness and anger. It was in this atmosphere that Henry Kreite wrote his letter, Honest to God. With the central leadership of the kingdom now being nonexistent, there was no “church leadership” to answer. Since the letter contained many elements of truth mixed with misinformation and bitterness, there was an outcry in many parts of our fellowship for a need to change “the system” and many of the ways we do things.

Kip acted as if their feelings of suppression were only imagined, that it was something that came about from “disunity” that was sown in their hearts. Notice once again the tactical obscurity in his statement. What was this “disunity” he spoke of? Where did it come from? Was it not the abusive policies that were being enforced on the congregation for the sake of money? But once again we see that Kip tries to steer clear of this subject.

Kip further writes:
Since the letter contained many elements of truth mixed with misinformation and bitterness, there was an outcry in many parts of our fellowship for a need to change “the system” and many of the ways we do things.

This is a reference to Henry Kriete’s letter, once again we see obscure statements that the information “was not accurate” (misinformation) as well as throwing in that Kriete was “bitter” without any specific reference as to what was misrepresented or what statements that Henry Kriete made that would designate him as being “bitter”. Once again we see the usual obscure character assassination in action which I talked about in my article; “Character Assassination: The Bitter Card and The Prideful Card. For Kip this is business as usual. After reading Henry Kriete’s letter, I saw nothing to indicate that his man was bitter at all, in fact, he seemed hopeful that the churches would repent and that they would all move on to a brighter future. It is interesting to note the hypocrisy of Kip complaining that people were character assassinating him even though he was character assassinating others in the very same letter.

It gets worse as Kip then writes:
Henry advocated “a time for anger and the overthrowing of temples. I believe that time is now.”
He urged churches to have “open forums” which further poisoned the membership towards the leaders as a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. In my opinion, a license to sin was handed to bitter disciples who, under the guise of “freedom in Christ,” often spoke publicly with malice and slander towards the ministry leaders and those who led them.

Before we draw any conclusions, let’s see what Henry Kriete said in his letters:
A backlash from years of ‘not listening’, insensitivity, abuse, coercion and legalism –as well as cowardice from the full-time ministry leaders to stand up for the truth- is now under way. We are in the midst of excruciating openness and pain right now. The credibility of much of the ministry staff is now being questioned .We are having open forums - and years of suffering, questions and concerns are pouring out. Some of it is hostile; some of it, unspeakably sad; and to be sure, some of it unfair. However, every last word is useful. –1st HK Letter

I never intended to burn the house down. I never invented open forums, and I certainly never advocated bitterness-but these things did happen. Open forums were recommended by me, certainly, but only peaceful and respectful open forums. This should be obvious to anyone who bothers to sincerely read my letter to completion, and not falsely accuse me of calling for violence and widespread bitterness. –2nd HK Letter

It seems that Kip is trying to blame the mess in the open forums on Kriete here; that it was his fault by suggesting open forums that these members were “poisoned”, however, it is clear that Kriete did not encourage the hostile behavior on the part of those on the forums. Kip further character assassinates his former congregation by calling them “bitter” while dismissing the accounts of those who were abused calling it “slander”.

Kip McKean then further adds:
Even sadder, few disciples stood up in loving boldness to confront these ungodly outbursts.

Kip’s statement suggests that to oppose and denounce these victims’ accounts was the “godly” thing to do, but when you look at the beginning of Kriete’s account it is obvious why he felt that it had to be done this way, these victims were being completely ignored. The reason why so few people tried to go against these accounts was because they knew full well the abuse that was going on and knew that the leaders had been culprits in this along with years of ignoring all these problems. Everyone knew that there had to be a change, and the leadership was unwilling to make this change on their own without a strong enough outcry.

Kip again writes words to bring the “accuracy” of Henry Kriete’s letter into question:
My emotional, but dear, son in the faith Henry raised several issues that had varying degrees of validity. However, I believe some were simply not accurate. Many members went too far, and instead of having brotherly dialogue, they began to bite and devour each other, destroying whole congregations in the name of freedom. (Galatians 5:1–15) –Kip McKean
He also once again brings up the things written in the forums (but only focusing on the hostile comments rather than the valid accounts of the abused) and once again tries to insinuate that Kriete was at fault. These people were abused due to these abusive policies, and yet he shows no sign of wanting to admit this and instead tries to suggest that the blame should be put on Kriete for giving these people the chance to speak out who would have probably been completely ignored otherwise. This ignorance of the victims of abuse is apparent in the Orlando Apology letter:

We have dismissed as irrelevant the valid observations of our critics. Many people have left the church because they were hurt and devastated by many of the above-mentioned abuses. People have been labeled “fall-aways” because they have not agreed with us on all aspects of our terminology and practices. We request your help in contacting many of these people so that we can humbly apologize and request their forgiveness. –Orlando Apology Letter

Now the rest of the staff, who have also suffered from abuses of authority, are having to own up to their own misguided pressures and practices over the years, the whole process falling like dominoes all around the UK. Whether from commission, omission, cowardice, bad theology or irresponsibility -our sins needed to be exposed and acknowledged for repentance and healing to take place, and for the crucial restoration of trust. –Henry Kriete, Honest to God

Henry Kriete wanted repentance and healing, and yet Kip tries to make this man out to be a sower of destruction and later in the letter he even gloats about negative events that happen in Kriete’s home church, as if all of these things were attributed to him. He opens this part of the letter with; “It should be noted, and I find this sad, that few asked, ‘What happened to the church where Henry served?’” First of all why would we find this sad? Second of all; if these people wanted to know what happened to London why would they want to ask Kip rather than asking Henry Kriete or the London church directly? The fact that very few people would come to Kip with such questions should have come as no surprise to him given the alarming concerns about his leadership. This is quite the cheesy lead-in to begin slandering Kriete’s London church here for losing members as though it had been Kriete’s fault for sending his letter (even though there have been many cases in his “New Movement” where his churches have dwindled or completely disappeared from the map, which he calls “pruning”; his bias is certainly evident); he was just biting at the bit to spread whatever dirt he could find on those who assisted in throwing a wrench in his plans.
            Here is what Henry had to say about the London church (you don’t see Kip asking him what happened):
And may I permanently remind you and everyone else, the London church had already unraveled and was going through a leadership crisis before my letter was sent to a single person. Thanks for taking note of this)

 The true destruction, however, was the abuse and coercion against the members who were being exploited. Either Kip refused to see this or he just didn’t care, the latter is probably more likely since he has once again instituted the exact same abusive policies into the ICC for his own profit. Many of the ICOC apology letters showed that many leaders sided with Kriete that there had to be a change to these abusive policies:

Many of you have read Henry Kriete’s open letter documenting very significant systemic sins that have plagued our congregations around the world. Throughout the church’s history here in Orlando, we have been guilty of many of these same sins. Late in 2002, we began giving serious consideration to the writings of some who had left the International Church Of Christ because of these abusive practices. Those thoughts, as well as the more recent ones in Henry’s letter, your sharing in our open forums, and the prodding of God’s Spirit in our hearts, have led us to some very deep convictions about the ways that we and other leaders spanning a 15 year period – from the reconstruction of 1988 to the present – have sinned against many individuals here, and indeed, against Christ’s church itself. –Orlando Apology Letter

Unfortunately not all of the ICOC leadership was humble enough to admit there needed to be a change, some from Kip’s loyal camp lashed out at Kriete, saying that it was his letter that caused the congregation to be “bitter” as is evident in Henry Kriete’s second letter where he addresses these accusations:

According to a couple of these letters I should be blamed for the bulk, if not all, of the problems facing the ICOC right now. I want to offer a humble defense. I care very little about being humiliated in public. That’s a cost I counted before I wrote H2G. (And probably the only thing Kip and I share in common these days.) I want to set the record straight because I take exception to being used as a scapegoat for the present chaos which developed over the past 25 years, and I detest being used as a tool to somehow bolster and justify the plans of these men with their bold visions of the future. Henry ruined London! Henry caused all of this chaos and made most of you bitter! How desperate is that? Even absurd?

I believe the ICOC has passed through the fire of God's judgment and its foundation has been revealed for the wood and straw it was. Period. It was not built on the word of Christ alone, as we boasted all along, or it would not be in such a mess today.

Then Henry Kriete addresses where this bitterness originated:

The intensity of feelings shocked me as well. But wasn't that just a further verification of the points of my letter and another indictment against us -the ICOC and our leadership sins? Wasn't it a blow to the hubris and high walls of our ordered and compliant relationships? Wasn't it simply the first floods from the undamming of our control mechanisms? Where did so much pent up anger and frustration and lack of trust come from all of a sudden? Did my letter create it, or was it already there? I think DJ said it like this:’ Henry whistled while walking through the Alps and the avalanche started.’ I like that. The snow was already there, waiting to crash down. It was immanent and inevitable. We were so out of touch!

It's true, unfortunately, that sometimes the open forums were abused and even hijacked by a few false brothers or deeply embittered souls. But for the most part they were simply the outcry of pain and disappointment and sincere questionings. Some Christians had great quantities of pain hidden in their hearts and could finally speak out without fear of repercussion. Now look out!

Basically what Henry Kriete is saying here is that the ICOC leadership abused their members for so long under a system of control that the moment that they lost control of this system after years of abuses and exploitation it’s no wonder that there was such a strong outcry. All that “bitterness” didn’t just come out of nowhere; these frustrations and grievances had been pent up for years under an oppressive leadership and then came down like an avalanche.

What Kriete did was expose the damage that had already been done after years of abuse, and then Kip and company tried to blame the damage of Kriete, the man who exposed them.

I am appalled when people say I wrote my letter in bitterness and not from my love for Christ and the church. I poured out my life for our fellowship. I too made sacrifices, I too fought the wars, I too had many wonderful friendships-and no one can deny me that! –2nd Henry Kriete Letter

Now what happened to Henry Kriete after this? From his second letter it shows that the opposition against Kriete became strong enough that he felt he had to leave; it is unfortunate that many leaders were still too stubborn to want to repent. If Kriete hadn’t played his part in stopping the abuse then the ICOC would have certainly faced even worse destruction further down the road and this is evident from the fake apologies of Kip McKean’s letters afterward which show that he had no intention of releasing the congregation from abusive oppression (this especially evident since Kip has instituted the exact same abusive oppression in his new organization).

Now going back to Kip McKean’s letter; From Babylon onto Zion, Kip also points out other leaders who had their families fall apart with an almost hidden glee as these leaders were the same ones who leveled accusations at Kip due to the fall-out of his own family.

Then just before you thought that Kip McKean’s propaganda couldn’t get much worse he writes:

With the questioning of the “one-over-one” discipling and the elimination of the lead evangelist’s role in larger congregations came the erosion of the Biblical role of an evangelist being “over in the Lord” the churches in his geographic charge, even when those congregations had elders. This paradigm shift caused the evangelists who worked in these fields to lose their personal dreams to do great things because they were now limited to a smaller group in a single city. Another mitigating factor in the erosion of this role came from Henry Kriete’s questioning of the way that money was spent, i.e. the lifestyles and the salaries of the evangelists. He also charged that there was deceit surrounding our missions contributions and the way the funds were spent. This charge was in spite of the fact that our administrators have diligently practiced the highest ethical standards of accounting and all of our large churches are audited annually by the most reputable accounting firms. –Kip McKean, From Babylon Onto Zion

This is a contradiction to some of the ICOC apology letters:
The past has been one of pressure and control from outside individuals. Often decisions have been made which were not in the best interests of the church in Minneapolis. People have been asked to move even though it wasn’t in their best interest and it weakened the local church. Although this has not happened during our time in the China/Northwest world sector it has happened in the past and needs to be clearly condemned.
Over the years the Minneapolis church has not had true control over its own finances. Large sums of money have been required each year in the special contribution with no accountability regarding how it was spent.      –Minneapolis Apology Letter

And here is what that same Minneapolis apology letter had to say about the discipling relationships:
In an attempt to be unified, to accomplish the great commission, and to genuinely help people on a deeper ‘heart’ level, the church adopted a practice of establishing discipleship partners FOR people. We’ve allowed this system of discipleship to overstep the bounds of authority that God gives the church. What started out with good intentions has become a vehicle for control and invasiveness into member’s lives. In these church-chosen relationships, people have been put, at times, in artificial relationships. Also, a necessary part of this system became establishing a culture where one wasover another in the Lord”. This practice became uncomfortable at best. It was especially awkward in instances where there was not a person with clear spiritual maturity. At it’s worst, this practice often became oppressive and at times, even abusive.

I dare say that this goes beyond a mere “questioning of discipling relationships” as Kip tried to downplay the seriousness of this in his letter. These are admissions of abusing behavior that was done using this system of “discipling”.

As an aside, this Minneapolis letter also disproves the claim by some ICC leaders that they never taught that they were the “one true church” in which a person could be saved, this letter shows that this is indeed what they tried to impose on people:

The Bible clearly teaches that there is one church (Col 1:18, 1 Cor 12:12-13, Eph 4:4-6). For some time, however, we (ICOC) have held the belief that we are the one true church and that only members of the ICOC are saved. We have allowed for the concept that other disciples may exist elsewhere. We’ve asserted, however, that they would need to join our fellowship upon finding the ICOC, in order to be “right” with God. This teaching is wrong and arrogant. It is wrong and arrogant to assume that anyone who is not a part of the ICOC fellowship is not saved. It is wrong because there is no way for us to know another person’s heart. It is arrogant because only God knows who is and who is not a part of His church: “The Lord knows those who are his” (2 Timothy 2:19).

When you try to trap people like this it gives the leadership an overwhelming amount of power over the minds of others and this power was abused.

More Observations from Kip McKean’s Letter: “From Babylon Onto Zion”

What once was a joyous sacrifice for missions became a burdensome missions contribution multiple given under compulsion.

This is the only time in his article that Kip McKean admits to any kind of error involving pressuring the congregation for money, however, his tactful wording that the missions contribution “became burdensome” has the effect of implying that this error somehow came about by mistake rather than by design. There is a complete lack of personal responsibility of the leadership with Kip’s tone here which suggests that it just somehow happened when it was the upper leadership that put pressure on the congregation for giving increasing amounts of money.

“Ultimately, my most devastating sin was claiming God’s victory as mine. In pride, I boasted in “my” accomplishments. I allowed people to give me glory; I did not refocus them to God. Though some have charged “growth was god,” this was never true. My goal was, and still is, simply “to win as many as possible.” (1 Corinthians 9:19) However, people developed wrong motivations and stumbled because of my overemphasis on numeric goals and accountability. (Though I still believe in accountability if it is used wisely as Jesus did. Mark 6:30) In retrospect, I see that many leaders did not imitate Christ in me, but my ungodly leadership traits, and they are now being hurt by those they hurt.”

Once again he tries to avoid the issue of coercing money out of the congregation by obscurely using the word “accountability” without any indication to what this actually refers to. By this time we know very well the things that were done in the name of “accountability” such as telling leaders that they need to hold their members “accountable” to giving whatever amount of money that was demanded for the special contributions as well as using other “accountability” arguments for issues with money which many of the ICOC leaders would later admit to be acts of coercion. Also to be noted; even though he claims to be confessing sin on this part he still throws in comments to defend his actions such as that he was just trying to “win as many as possible”, and in his last comment here Kip even tries to suggest that the reason people were hurt was because the leaders under him had failed to imitate his Christ-like qualities and had instead imitated his negative traits, thus attempting to shift some of the blame off himself.

Also, the Gempels and Bairds felt that over the next few months the bitterness would dissipate if the bitter World Sector Leaders would just speak freely without Elena and me saying anything in response to free them from their attitudes.

The combination of independently run World Sectors, the lack of opportunity for the confronted leader to respond, and an underlying bitterness produced by sins within the World Sector
Leaders’ leadership proved to have catastrophic consequences. Over the next year, to the shock of each of the World Sector Leaders, many of the same criticisms they directed towards me became directed towards their leadership. There was an incredible amount of bitterness and dissension among the Geographic Sector Leaders, Geographic HOPE Leaders, Kingdom Teachers and World Sector Elders towards them. For the most part, the World Sector Leaders have responded in humility and with repentance. However, with no higher authority ready to reinforce the credibility and authority of each of the World Sector Leaders, their influence in their groups began to crumble. Their influence was further eroded when some in our fellowship, most of whom had mainline church influences, denounced as unbiblical one-over-one discipling as well as the title and role of World Sector Leader. –Kip McKean

Kip accuses the World Sector leaders of “bitterness” and then says that their leadership failed because they didn’t answer to a “higher authority” to reinforce the credibility of their leadership.

Our brothers put before the kingdom a “team approach,” suggesting in the introduction that this
would give us more growth in our churches. Later, others took this team approach to an extreme,
which has now evolved into having no point person, no “quarterback,” no lead evangelist as a
role on the leadership team with the elders. –Kip McKean

This is Kip’s response to a certain book titled Golden Rule Leadership which was written by Gordon Ferguson and Wyndham Shaw. He criticizes the leadership for not having a “point man” to lead them, however, it is all too obvious who Kip truly thought this point man position should belong to as can be seen in a letter written to Kip by the ICOC leadership on October 3, 2005:

Brother, we are glad you have acknowledged these sins, but we do not see change in you beyond mere surface changes to satisfy people for the moment. We would also add that you not only allow people to give you the glory, you encourage it and reward them for it as in the most recent Portland Jubilee.

You have said publicly that you repented of your arrogance. At the Portland Church Builder
Conference, shortly after you said you had repented of your arrogance and pride, you said, "I can fix any church." When you were recently asked privately if you were willing to be a team player with other brothers in cooperative leadership, your response was, "You don't understand. I am the star."

Your writing, your sermons and your website consistently contain unseemly, immature and unwholesome self-promotion and propaganda. It took multiple conversations from many of us before you ever commended any church but your own. You say publicly that you have repented of lifting yourself up, yet almost every bulletin article is about you and your ministry. Your entire view of our fellowship centers around who is with you and who is against you. This is unrighteous, unspiritual, immature and even irrational. –Addressed to Kip McKean by the ICOC churches.

I will include a link to the entire letter on my blog, as well as the Apology Letters. If you look at the bottom of the letter, you will notice that among the leaders who signed it, you will find Blaise Feumba’s signature. Blaise came over to the ICC in 2008 after he was caught red-handed by the ICOC for embezzling money from the Abidjan church and then asked to resign. Instead of owning up to his sin, however, he fled to the ICC where he is now part of Kip McKean’s inner circle. It is apparent that Kip pays no intention to the personal integrity of the people he hires and in fact having leaders with unrepented corrupt pasts allows Kip to better control them via blackmail, which is why he keeps Victor Gonzalez Sr. as part of his inner circle as well.

Since there was so much distrust revealed at the LA Unity Meeting, it was not surprising that when some of the Geographic Sector Leaders returned to their home congregations, they found the same mistrust, anger and hurt in their own staffs and memberships as well. As with the World Sector Leaders before them, this level of leadership, also, was totally surprised by the response that surfaced. In retrospect, it is easily understood that they simply reaped from their own people what they, in many cases unconsciously, had sown: the attitude of mistrust of those who led and discipled them. (Matthew 7:1-5) –Kip McKean

Kip suggests here that the hurt and anger felt by congregations around the world was due to their mistrust of the system that he had built, rather than admitting that it had been his system of psychological and financial abuse that had hurt the members. After this meeting Kip McKean had left to go on his “sabbatical” for a year and a half, in this letter he blames the sector leaders for the anger and distrust felt toward them; saying that they were reaping what they had sown as if this hurt and anger hadn’t been his fault at all. He leaves the Church that has been damaged by his abusive leadership and then blames these leaders for the very mess that he himself created.

Many have concluded the reason for all of this sin, disorder and bitterness was “the system” –
World Sector Leaders, discipleship partners, Bible Talks, megachurches, the “Study Series,” etc.
(Some have even gone so far as to call it the “evil” system.) A system is simply applying Biblical principles to create methods. Some churches in the name of “freedom in Christ” have abandoned all methodologies such as Bible Talks, discipleship partners, etc. We must have a system that uses Biblical principles in order to evangelize the world. –Kip McKean

It is interesting to note here that Kip criticizes the ICOC on the basis that some of their Churches had done away with discipleship partners and bible talks, and yet once again he avoids the issue of abusive money policies as being part of the system and instead obscurely alludes to “sin, disorder, and bitterness” instead of addressing the main concerns that people had with his organization (such as the coercive tactics used to obtain money). The real issue here was not the existence of World Sector Leaders and disciplers but rather how these leadership positions were being used to exploit the congregation (although for some ICOC Churches the existence of these titles did end up becoming an issue, a fact that Kip likes to pounce on whenever this subject is brought up). Kip tries to hint here that the system he created was merely the result of “applying Biblical principles”, as if there were no fault to his methods even though this is contradictory to his earlier admission of sin.

Though our fellowship has been persecuted for years for our Biblical convictions, we are now disgraced in the eyes of the world – in newspapers, magazines and especially on the internet – for the shocking truth of our disunity, rebellion and confusion. –Kip McKean, “From Babylon Onto Zion”

Once again we see Kip McKean’s blatant attempt at diverting attention away from the abusive control and coercion for money by an obscure statement that this was merely “disunity, rebellion and confusion”. I don’t think there is any “confusion” here, it is all too clear now what Kip was doing to the congregation, this is nothing but a smokescreen. This “rebellion” was an indignation against constant abuse and unwillingness to repent on the part of the upper leadership, until the Apology Letters finally came out. The “disunity” here is the result of some leaders wanting to make the decision to repent while others stubbornly did not want to change (part of this initial unwillingness to repent had to do with the arrogance that Kip had allowed to take root in the upper leadership), this type of division could not have been avoided and yet Kip still tries to make this out as sinful “disunity” on their part, taking advantage of the chaos to point blame. Even the ICC teaches today that “good division” is necessary for repentance (Matthew 10:34-39), but I guess Kip thinks that such division is only “good division” when it results in him being in charge and making the decisions that he wants.


In this letter Kip McKean’s letter “From Babylon onto Zion” his manipulative nature becomes evident; at one moment he is spewing half-hearted apologies for his sins which are painted with significant obscurity, and then the next he is accusing the congregation and the World Sector leaders of being “bitter” against him and lashing out, thus trying to make himself look like the victim. The reader is shaken back and forth as Kip makes a show of apologizing for his sin and then at the same time attempts to defend his actions with words that are tactfully placed as well as making obscure statements that the leaders who asked him to resign were “in sin” as well as spreading additional propaganda that the ICOC was throwing away their direction and authority by getting rid of a central leadership. In the end Kip’s letter was just a poor acting job on his part to pretend that he had repented from his past sins, and then turning around and trying to shift the blame onto the other ICOC leaders for the mess that he caused. He uses the ensuing chaos to his advantage; hinting to them that this wouldn’t have happened if they had just continued to trust in his leadership and the system which he created rather than admitting to how abusive and damaging this system was.

When I hear people in the ICC speaking about the aftermath of the ICOC in getting rid of a central leader form of church government they say that the church began to “stink of ungodliness”, as if this ungodliness came from the ICOC leaders forcing Kip to resign and choosing for churches to be self-governing. The truth is, this ungodliness had been around long before the Henry Kriete letter came out and had always existed in the form of abusive control and coercion of the members. People were promoted to leadership positions who were willing to go along with this manipulation; with this system of control in place this ungodliness was controlled and focused only on the aspects of controlling and coercing for money. These people were allowed to rise into the upper leadership who were of questionable intentions and who respected the word of Kip and his followers over the Word of God. With Kip gone and the system falling apart, this ungodliness was allowed to manifest itself in other ways. Kip’s policies had allowed ungodly men to assume positions of power, and without Kip and company around to hold onto their leashes they were allowed to run rampant. This is why such chaos ensued during this time, some good-hearted ICOC leaders truly wanted repentance and change for the better while others had no idea what godly leadership even meant or even how to follow the Bible. Some of the current ICC members who saw this chaos tell harrowing tales of ICOC leaderships allowing their members to date non-Christians; this was to be expected since many of the people who occupied these positions of leadership had no idea how to teach out of the scriptures without someone else spoon-feeding them what to believe (and they had seen their previous leaders twisting so many scriptures around that at this point they probably had no idea what to believe). Some of the more corrupt ICOC leaders even used their power to further swindle the congregation. This was the aftermath of what Kip McKean’s controlling leadership had caused which only allowed people to be leaders if they unquestioningly complied with his coercive policies rather than people who had convictions in following the scriptures and a true heart for God.

Looking back at Kip’s letter and considering the things that Kip has done with the ICC. It is now obvious why Kip chose to be obscure toward certain aspects of his sin and his deliberate failure to address the methods that were used to coerce money from the congregation; he intended to use these abusive tactics once again as can be shown from my previous articles which show how he deceptively sneaked them into his new church. In his letter Kip tries desperately to avoid bringing up anything which could bring scrutiny to the system he created and deliberately attempts to deflect the attention of the reader to other issues. Kip wanted to protect the system, to keep it intact so that it could be used again for his own profit. For Kip, this kind of intentional manipulation with the goal of reinstating an abusive system after pretending to apologize along with distorted accounts of past events and deceitful propaganda he spread to try to achieve this goal; this amounts to sociopathic behavior (

The ICOC Apology Letters made it clear that there was much abuse of power and coercion for money as well as manipulative systems of “advice” set up to control members. In the six years I was with the ICC, whenever I asked what happened to Kip’s “Old Movement” they would say that there were a few problems prior to Henry Kriete writing his letter, but then they would say that Kriete then caused the damage that followed; this could not be further from the truth. Kriete’s letter had caused an oppressive control system to falter by exposing it for what it was, and then the outcries of the abused were released. Kip tries to denounce this letter as “overemotional” and “bitter” (even in his new organization I would hear some talking about Kriete with a hint of scorn), but after reading it all I see is a man with a heart for God’s people and a zeal for righteousness and godly repentance. With so much propaganda and misinformation being spread by Kip and those who serve under him much of the information on these past events has been mired with darkness and obscurities within the ICC congregations. At the beginning of the ICC Kip claimed that he had repented of his past abusive behavior, but this was nothing but a fake repentance as he has intentionally built the exact same abusive system again. A kingdom that is not built on God will not last (Matthew 7:24-29). Kip McKean’s “Old Movement” had become a den of robbers and the spirit of Jesus came down on the Church with a fury against the abuse of His people. With the same abusive policies in place as before, the same fate now awaits the ICC.  

We love the revolutionary, but not if it is to overthrow us.
We commend the Bereans for questioning Paul, but not if they question us.
We love the radical spirit of Josiah, unless he digs up our bones for exposure.
We want opinion leaders, but not if there opinion is against us.
We love to denounce the blind Pharisees, but refuse to see the Pharisee in us.

–Henry Kriete, Honest to God


  1. From an anonymous email:

    From - "Concerning “the evangelization of the nations in this generation,” some have asked, “What is going to be different this ‘second time’ around?” This presupposes the question, “Can it be different this second time?” The answer in the Scriptures is a resounding yes! The first time the Israelites approached the Promised Land, their lack of faith led them to the dreadful desires to choose a different leader than the one God had chosen and to return to their lives of slavery in Egypt. This unbelief ultimately resulted in their death in the desert. The second time the Spirit led the Israelites to the border of the Promised Land, the Hebrew people – having learned to rely on God in their wanderings in the desert – now succeeded to make God’s dream and promise a reality."

    So Kip blames a lack of faith and the "dreadful desires to choose a different leader than the one God had chosen" as the reasons for the first failure. Wow, if that's not arrogance, I don't know what is - comparing himself to Moses. He accepts zero responsibility.

  2. Doug, I was a member of the ICOC Atlanta church for a year and a half in 1997-98. My experience was not nearly as traumatic as a lot of former members. That being said, the church was doing some of the same unbiblical practices and abuses that Kip Mckean is doing now. The Atlanta church was a large congregation (about 5000) . My brother is still in the ICOC in Atlanta, although it reformed after kip got fired. The Atlanta church split into about 12 different separate congregations. I was never shunned by my friends in the church after I left, which I know is unusual. I left because of doctrinal issues. I am a Christian. Iwas a Christian before the ICOC and I will always be. Contrary to what the Church of Christ (from which the ICOC and ICC came from) you cant lose your salvation. Kip twisted Scripture, misinterpreted Scripture, and justified his doctrines by employing eisegesus, which means inserting your own agenda into the Word of God. Your experience in the ICC tell me that kip and his cronies have gotten even more fanatical and cultic. Their love of money and power is much worse than in the ICOC. There are many, many unscriptual and unbiblical practices that I wont list here. The ICC is a dangerous cult. Anyone that wants more info from me need only ask

  3. Sorry, Daniel. Got your name wrong.

  4. Kip McKean has a long history of twisting Scripture to advance his agenda. He also has lied about his beginnings. Back in the days of the icoc he claimed that his doctrinal views came as revelations from God. The truth is that so called discipling ministry churches already existed. He was trained by Chuck Lucas, the pastor of the Crossroads Church of Christ in Gainesville, Florida in the late 60's. I didnt learn any of this until after I left the icoc in 1998. Every scripture that Kip uses in his doctrine is either twisted, taken out of context, or misintrepeted, either deliberately or accidentally. Some ICC doctrine is taken directly from the mainline Church of Christ. My dad's family has for a long time been members of this church. My mom's family is Baptist. The ICOC/ICC has always denounced denominational churches. The term "denomination" in regards to churches is to unite a group of churches. So, both of these groups started by Kip are denominational churches. To me, this is just one instance of hypocrisy and manipulation of many. Every biblical passage used here is used wrongly. There are two main issues of doctrine of the Church of Christ that I strongly disagree with, the teachings on baptism and the teachings on losing your salvation. I can back up everything with Scripture. (I include the ICOC and ICC with the Church of Christ here since Kip got his start in the Cof C.) I am not bringing this up just for kicks. On the salvation issue alone I think it is sad that some people live in fear of losing their salvation. People dont have to feel this way.

    1. First of all, no offense, but I find this very ironic. Loosing salvation and baptism for the forgiveness of sins are actually one of the only things that the ICC teaches that is actually Biblical. When I talk about the ICC’s “unbiblical practices”; I am talking about their coercion for money, deceptive tactics, slander against critics, outright lies, and their demand for blind obedience to their “central leadership” (and of course their teachings on “central leadership” itself).

      Now they do abuse the concept of losing salvation, such as telling their Bible talk leaders to make sure all the people in their bible talk have their “special contribution” ready in order to “protect the salvation” of the members of their bible talks. The ICC has found it to be a useful intimidation tool for control, and this control is used as a means for profit. It is a very disgusting practice, however, the teaching itself of losing salvation is actually biblical. John 15:5-6, Ezekiel3:18-21, Ezekiel 18:24-26, and Romans 11:17-23 are just a few scriptures that show that loosing salvation is a biblical concept and remember that Philippians 2:12 says to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

      There are also many scriptures to support baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and if you study Christian history this was also the belief held by the early Christians. I already mentioned in article 4 how teachings contrary to this belief did not significantly arise in Christianity until the 14th century and did not become popular until the 1500’s.

      The ICC’s tactic of deception is to mix lies in with the truth. When I was recruited, losing salvation and baptism for the forgiveness of sins were presented to me during their “first principles” studies, then after I became a member they then tried to feed me their beliefs about “one-man central” leadership and the other propaganda that I mentioned throughout my articles.

      For people who leave the ICC, however, many are tempted to criticize the teachings of losing salvation and baptism for the forgiveness of sins because they cannot bring themselves to believe that these scammers could actually teach anything that is true. Such is the effect of self-biasing. It is also very tempting to cast off these beliefs because a lot of seemingly “good-hearted” churches do not teach this. People want to seek new places to socialize and therefore adapt their belief systems accordingly.