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 2] The ICC's Corrupt Policies for Money (Part 2)

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 2]
Corrupt Policies of the International Christian Church: Part 2
By Daniel Berg           June 25, 2015

In my previous article I wrote about psychological concepts involved in the ICC's abusive actions. So as not to appear arrogant; I write not as an expert on psychology but as an engineering graduate who has also taken up the study of psychology and group psychology on the side. The key behind manipulating a person or a group of people is to keep them from realizing that they are actually being manipulated, therefore the manipulation needs to either be disguised as something else or psychological tactics must be used to keep the victim from thinking about the possibility of manipulation altogether. Many of these manipulative policies appear seemingly innocent at first as these leaders claim that they are just trying to make sure that their members are “spiritual”, but they serve as components in a larger system. I now try to write further about the nature of the psychological manipulation in the ICC that is behind more questionable policies involving money. Hopefully the logic and truth behind my words will hold more sway than what credentials I may or may not have as I once again tackle more aspects of this corrupt system that the ICC has created.

Pledge Cards

Another questionable practice about these contribution raises were the contribution cards, or what are now known as “pledge cards” which were issued to the congregation twice a year.  At first, we were told once again that “all corporations do this sort of thing”, that these cards were being introduced simply for financial planning purposes.  When these cards were passed around to the members they were told to write down their name and contribution.  Even though these cards were supposed to be only for “planning purposes” the members were pressured to write down their new raised contribution that the leadership had asked for, there were even times when the members were required to put down both their old and new contribution along with their name so that everyone who saw their card in the plate could tell whether or not they had raised it, thus subjecting the members to social pressure.

Then came the day when an “odd” Bible verse was printed on the contribution cards; Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 – When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?”  At first I simply thought that this was a bible verse that was in “bad taste” to put on a contribution card, after all, we were told that these cards were solely for “financial planning purposes” up to this point.  I signed the card, wondering who in the leadership had decided to put such a misleading Bible verse; “even leaders make mistakes sometimes” I told myself.  I never suspected what was about to happen. 
My belief that this was a “simple mistake” was soon shattered during a congregational service when an ICC leader began preaching about the subject of contributions.  At a certain point during the sermon the leader that was preaching spoke these chilling words: “We need to have the conviction that what you put on that ‘pledge card’ was a vow to God”. I remember sitting among the congregation in shock as I heard this.  There were a few “amens” from the front row but as I looked around I saw a lot of people whose gazes no longer seemed to be trained on the preacher. Instead they were staring off into space with facial expressions that were a mix between concern and confusion; trying to recall when such a decision was made on behalf of the entire congregation. I do not know whether anyone was as alarmed as I was on that day, all I know is that my mind instantly recalled the pledge card that had been given to me months before, and the verse that was written on it.  I had made only one pledge to God my entire life, and that was on the day that I was baptized.  After realizing that many of the beliefs that I had been taught in the past were not in line with the beliefs of the early disciples I had pledged to God to never accept a belief that I had not verified for myself.  Of all my convictions, those who baptized me can certainly testify that this was my strongest (although it seems that one of my  fathers in the faith has turned against me now).  If there ever had been some kind of good reason or agreement between the leadership and the congregation that what was written on these cards would be considered a “pledge to God” I would have remembered it. Also, I was on my guard since the events from 2010 behind the establishment for the policy of contribution raises (see my first article) where the ICC leaders were telling the congregation “we have always been doing this”, as if trying to trick me into forgetting what really happened.
I was not about to let any more of the central leadership’s “honest mistakes” sneak by me unnoticed. There was no official announcement, instead it was casually slipped to the congregation during a sermon as though saying: “by the way, those pledge cards you filled out…that was a vow to God so you can’t go back on it”.    It was at this point that the leadership began to overwhelmingly refer to the contribution cards as “pledge cards” in reference to Numbers 30:2 – “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”

When I inquired the leadership about the issue with these “pledge cards” the response I got back from the leaders was: “Didn’t you see the Bible verse on the pledge cards”?  This is deceitful; the congregation filled out the cards like they always did twice a year because they were told it was for “financial planning”. It is manipulative to put a certain Bible verse on the subject on vows on the new contribution cards and then suddenly say that these cards (which the congregation was REQUIRED to fill out, under the guise of “financial planning”) are synonymous with being “vows to God” after the fact, without announcing it to the congregation beforehand.  Now they merely feign ignorance after this deceit; telling their members that they “should have known”.  It is now apparent why the leadership tactfully “slipped” this new policy to the congregation in the middle of a sermon; they did it this way to avoid any kind of panic.  They knew that the trust that the congregation had in the leadership would cause them to not want to doubt the decisions behind what was being announced.

Can you imagine what would have happened if these leaders had set up a congregational meeting and announced honestly that they were making a new policy that dictated that from then on whatever they wrote on these contribution cards (which were mandatory for them to fill out) would be considered a “pledge to God”? 
Then what do you think would have been the response if they had announced that because these would be “pledges to God” that in the case that their work hours get cut or even if they lose their jobs; that giving anything less than what they wrote on these contribution cards would be considered to be a sin on their part?
Then to make matters worse, they would be required to fill out a new pledge card twice a year during which they will be pressured to raise the amount of money that they are required to give and thus raising their “pledge” that they cannot break on the basis that it would be a sin to do so. 
It is obvious why the leadership chose to deceitfully “sneak” this new policy into the Church.  Like a fast-talking scammer that will pull people into his rapid pace in order to prevent them from considering the financial consequences of the scammer’s proposal; in their sermons the ICC leaders would preach: “as disciples we need to have strong convictions that our contribution “pledge” is a vow to God”, thus trying to suggest to their members that these were “convictions” that “strong” disciples had.  Everyone became so caught up in the pace of wanting to be seen as a “strong” disciple in the eyes of the leadership that the congregation failed to pause and consider if these were “convictions” that disciples should have based on the teachings of the Bible.  Not to mention this also kept them from considering who the heck thought it was a good idea to make a weekly given and set amount of money into a “vow to God” which would then be increased twice a year.

From this point on, whenever the leadership would raise the congregations contribution, they would claim that it was a “vow to God” that they could not go back on.  This is contradictory to the viewpoint of the Bible; in the very verse that the leadership used to get this policy started, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6, it says “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay”, and its parallel verse in Deuteronomy 23:21-23 says “But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin.”  The advice from the Bible is to be very careful before making a vow and that it is better not to vow.  The ICC leadership pressuring its members to raise the amount of their tithe twice a year, and calling it a “vow to God”, is the very opposite of being careful before making a vow, and contradictory to the advice of the Bible. If not vowing is the wisest option according to the Bible, then why would the leaders deliberately try to cut them off from this option?
Of course there were people who did not accept this new policy, but they were too afraid of the leadership to speak up because those who did were accused of being “bitter”.  Even though these people did not publicly speak against the new policy, their opposition was still apparent because they would still change their tithe in accordance with their income. 
Therefore, once the leaders had successfully “sneaked” this new policy into the Church, next came the “conditioning”.  People who had lowered their contribution due to financial struggles or other reasons were brought up to speak to the congregation during the “contribution speech” about how ashamed they were that they had lowered their contribution and had therefore “gone back on their vow to God”.  Then people who had not lowered their contribution even during times of financial difficulty were praised and called “spiritual” because they had kept their “vow to God”.  Thus, over a period of time, the congregation was “conditioned” into accepting this new policy; that lowering their contribution was a “sin”, even in situations of decreased income.
This is a policy that serves to further maximize the flow of money into the hands of the paid leaders at the expense of the congregation.  ICC members get pressured to make bad financial decisions and then if they come to realize that their finances are unbalanced because of this decision that they were pressured into making then the leaders try to prevent them from readjusting their contribution according to their income with this new policy on vows. They have done everything in their power to increase the money that they take from the congregation and to make sure that this increase is maintained. With the policies of raising contributions and "vows to God" combined, these serve to increase the money going into the leaders pockets and then keeping it there.

Steadily Increasing Involuntary Special Contributions

Every year, the ICC has these “special contributions” which are supposedly for raising money for mission teams.  I remember my first special contribution was the day that I was baptized; June 29, 2008.  Back then special contribution was 10 times your regular weekly contribution, but then it was raised to 15 times due to a “particular need”, yet after that money was given the following special contribution a year later was again 15 times without any explanation.  When I asked leaders why this amount had increased they would just tilt their heads quizzically and say “I’m sure there is a good reason”, but no such reason was ever given. 
In May 2014 we were told to give 20 times because we were combining the 15 times with the 4 times contribution that was supposed to be held half a year later (the 4 times contribution became known as the “5 times” because it was 4 times plus the current contribution, so this should actually be a 19 times contribution plus the current contribution for that Sunday).  From this we were led to believe that this would be a single contribution that would account for the special contributions of the entire year, yet half a year later we had another 3 times special contribution anyway.  When I inquired to the leaders why we were having another special contribution when the 20 times contribution was supposed to account for both special contributions for that year the answer I received was “we combined the 15 times and the four times (plus the contribution for that Sunday), but this is a 3 times contribution so we are not technically having the 4 times contribution again”.  This is deceitful since when the leaders initially said that they were combining the 15 times and the 4 times contributions; they knew that the congregation would interpret this to be the total contribution for that year, and yet they squeezed in another 3x profit through some fabricated “technicality loophole”. 
Then in May 2014 another 20 times contribution was held and then it was followed by a 6 times contribution, with no valid explanation they increased the amount once again. Now the latest special missions contribution (on June 14, 2015) has been increased once again to 25 times the weekly contribution; I am not sure how they did this since this time I was not present. Did they claim that they were combining the 20x with the 5x even though the 20x was already supposed to be a combination of the 15x and 5x that was supposed to be held only once a year? Or was the fact that they had pushed the special contribution back a month used as an excuse to collect more money from the congregation? Whatever the reason; it is apparent that they have been very aggressive in their agenda of increasing the money they take from the congregation.

            It became obvious that deceptive mathematical incrementation was being used to steadily increase the special contributions. To put this in a more simple form, here is the timeline:

●June 2008 –> 10x special contribution on June 29. (this was 10x the weekly contribution, keep this in mind when also considering the weekly contribution increases).
●2008-2010 –> Foul play with establishing the policy to continually raise the weekly contributions of the members (see my first article for this). Once established the congregation was pressured to increase the amount of their contribution twice a year.
●2010 –> Kip purchases $850,000 condo for $650,000 (a pretty good deal, but this is still an excessive amount of money to be spending on himself).
●2011 –> 15x Special Contribution with a 4x contribution about 6 months later (on November 13).
●April 2012 –> 15x Special Contribution on April 8, with a 5x contribution about six months later.
●2013 – Kip establishes policy which dictates that members who did not give contribution for two weeks in a row would be “warned” that they would be disfellowshipped. This is regardless of whether that member is actually receiving any income and therefore has led to coercion and extortion of money (as can be seen in my next article).
●May 2013 –> 20 times contribution with 3x contribution about six months later. Even after being led to believe that the 20 times would be a “combination of both 15x and 5x contributions” (and therefore they were led to believe that this would be a single special contribution for the entire year), they took the opportunity to add another “special contribution” a few months later.
●May 2014 –> 20 times contribution with a 6x contribution later in November, close to November 9. Some individual leaders who spoke in front of the Church actually tried convincing us once again that this would be a combination of the 15x and 5x, but there was no official announcement of this because at this point everyone would know that this was a deception. The definition of “official announcement” is left to some ambiguity here, it seemed as though the ICC allowed the leaders to say whatever they wanted and even allowed misconceptions if it would help to sway the minds of the congregation.  Then they even added another 3x to the new special that was introduced the previous year (thus resulting in the added 6x contribution).
●June 2015 –> 25 times contribution on June 14 (and if they told you that this would be a combination of the 20x and 5x contributions, well, look above and you can probably guess what will happen next).
(Added commentary 11/11/2015; the ICC is having another "special contribution" this year for November 2015. This once again raises the total yearly money they take from the members through "special contributions". So true to my predictions the ICC has continued to escalate their financial pressuring on their members)

The ICC leaders refer to a member’s assigned amount for the special contribution as their contribution “goal”, as if this was an amount that they themselves have set. I remember when a leader once asked me “do you have enough money to reach your 20 times special contribution goal?” Perplexed at this statement I answered; “What do you mean by goal? If you mean an amount that I agreed to, I willingly said that I would give 10 times my normal contribution when I first got baptized, so I can consider this as my minimum goal.” The previous year I had actually given a 15 times special contribution just like everyone else, thus exceeding my minimum goal by 5 times. I didn’t mind giving the extra money because I too believed in sacrificing for the Lord, but I was becoming uneasy about the pressure being put on the congregation as well as the mathematical misconceptions being used to increase the special contribution amounts. If I was to consider a certain dollar amount of the special contribution as my personal “goal”, then this would actually be 10 times the normal contribution since this was the amount that I personally agreed to when I first joined the Church as I was told that this was an amount that everyone willingly gave. The leader in question still seemed disturbed by my statement, however, and then he said to me “everyone’s goal this year is 20 times their weekly contribution”; as if he were insisting that this was something that everyone had decided on rather than being imposed on them by the upper leadership. It was the same “everybody is doing it” group psychological influence that I had seen the ICC leadership use countless times before.

As an attempt to validate their activities, the ICC leadership likes to point out that the first century church also had special contributions.  Yes indeed, the early Church did have something similar to a special contribution in Acts 11:27-30 which states that the disciples gave as they were able in order to help out the rest of the disciples who were suffering because of the famine in Judea.  This gift, as the verse describes, was sent to the elders via Barnabas and Saul, for the purpose of helping these disciples who were suffering.  The thing about gifts is that they should be happily received; when you get a gift for Christmas or your birthday you may not get everything on your list you wanted, but you are still happy for what you received and show gratitude toward those from which you received.  In the Old Testament, the people of God also had “special contributions”, such as the event in 1 Chronicles chapter 29 where they were helping to build the temple of the Lord.  In verse nine of this passage it says: “Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly.  We see that according to the Bible, special contributions should be offered willingly and accepted with gratitude.
The attitude that the ICC exhibits toward receiving special contributions from its members, however, is very different from this.  In the ICC, church members are criticized and told that they should be “ashamed of themselves” if they cannot come up with the full special contribution that the leadership asked for, even as they keep raising this amount.  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.  These same kind of shakedown tactics were also used during the time that Kip McKean was leading the ICOC. 
Rather than allowing their congregation to give willingly they demand a certain amount of money that they “call” the members to give, and they show little gratitude when they receive it, only a sense of entitlement as if the congregation owes it to them. Aren’t these special contributions supposed to be the same as donations which are to be given willingly? How come the ICC leadership thinks they can dictate the amount that each member needs to give while using such aggressive methods to put pressure on their members?  To make matters worse, Bible Talk leaders were being told to “look after the salvation” of their Bible talks by making sure that everyone had their “assigned” amount for the special contribution (this disturbing kind reasoning was also used during the contribution raises).

When I brought up these issues concerning the special contribution to the leaders in the past I only got the following contradictory response; “As disciples they need to obey their leaders and therefore need to give the amount that is asked, and they need to give it willingly and have a cheerful heart about it”.  So in other words these members were being forced to give “willingly” and had to have a “cheerful heart” while they were giving under this compulsion?  This is hypocritical and manipulative and shows that the ICC leaders were just using the influence of the Bible as a tool to further their own agendas. 
But once again the leaders would bring up their favorite go-to verse in Acts 4:32-37 where the disciples sold everything they had and that their members needed to have “the same heart as these first disciples”.  Yet there is a major difference between the special contributions of the first century church and those of the ICC, not only a difference in how it was conducted (which was discussed earlier), but in the reason the special contributions were held.  The special contribution in Acts 4 was to support all the new converts that were currently in Jerusalem (many came from outside of Jerusalem and needed financial support since they initially only planned to stay for the duration of the Pentecost), and the special contribution in Acts 11 was to help support the disciples in Judea who were suffering due to famine. Also the “special contribution” in 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 was a benevolent offering for the poor and famished disciples in Jerusalem (as shown in Romans 15:26-27 for the Macedonian church).  All these special contributions were for benevolence; if the ICC is really imitating the first century church as it claims then why has it not once ever had a benevolent special contribution? Many people on the mission teams are asked to sell their belongings and ask their families for money in order to pay their own way, why didn’t the SMC money go to them? Not only that but many mission teams were cut off from funding prematurely after being told that they had “budgeting problems”; where had this money gone? If they are going to demand such heavy sacrifices from their congregation then the least they can do is not have such defective budgeting where large amounts of the money that was supposed to go to the mission team mysteriously disappears.

 It is heartbreaking to see the ICC leaders quoting these verses that describe the loving sacrifices of the first century disciples giving to each other and then using them to pillage resources away from their own congregation, even from those who barely have anything; telling them that they need to put “The Kingdom God” first and failing to recognize that it is all the people of God who make up the real “Kingdom” and not just the upper leadership or paid staff.

Now many of the new converts are told; “look at how sacrificial our congregation is. They give a 25 times contribution. Look at how devoted our church is!” This is not simply some matter of the congregation “having the heart to be sacrificial”; these exorbitant contributions are not something that the congregation collectively “agreed” to like the leaders want these new converts to believe. These contributions were imposed upon the congregation using deceitful and manipulative methods. These are not sacrifices that have been willingly given, and therefore the act of the leadership collecting such a contribution is an abomination to our God.

For members who are financially struggling or who do not have jobs the ICC introduced something they call "tagging" where the members go out on the street corner with signs and ask for money.  Now if an organization wishes to go to a street corner or an intersection to raise money for a cause then they need to obtain a license to do so in the area in which they are operating; then the city recognizes that they have legal rights to go “tagging” in that area. When tagging was first introduced in the Church they had announced that they had obtained such a license, however, that was only for a limited time at one area and since then they have generally never bothered to legally obtain a license. 
Now prior to the special contributions, members who are jobless or in financial trouble are told that they need to go “tagging” in order to come up with their portion of the special contribution.  The problem here is that this cannot be called “tagging” anymore. Since the ICC does not even provide their members with the dignity of being licensed; this is little more than sending them to go begging on the street corner.  The ICC’s insistence on using the term “tagging” is just a poor attempt to sugar coat that they are really sending their members to go begging on the streets and for those who have no other way of paying; making it mandatory for them to do so. When asked about this, they will openly admit that what they are doing could very well be classified as begging, however, they still stubbornly call it “tagging” when convincing their members to do it as this is a more psychologically pleasing term.
Moreover, in many areas they have been warned multiple times by law enforcement officers that what they are doing is illegal, and yet they continue to go “tagging” in these areas until they are threatened with a citation. At this point they just move to another city and do the same thing over again as they tell their members that they need to bring them more money in order to be as sacrificial as the first century disciples in Acts chapter 4; to sacrifice their time and energy to “advance the Kingdom of God”. The contradiction here is that in Titus chapter 3 it says that we must be submissive to obey the legal authorities over us, as long as the established authority is not ordering us to do something against the teachings of the apostles. Special contributions are to be given willingly, and are thus not mandatory; however, obeying the authorities IS mandatory. Proverbs 21:3 says “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” The right thing to do in this situation is to obey the Bible and therefore comply with the law established by the authorities (Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-17, Romans 13:1). Even after bringing this concern to the leadership I was completely ignored as the leaders continued to tell the members to go “tagging” to obtain more money for their special contributions regardless of the fact that they already knew that this was an illegal activity in their areas. 

The things that I have just written about I have explained to other people in the past and I always received the same excuse; “nobody is perfect, even Church leaders make mistakes”. I was quickly becoming uneasy about the direction that the Church was going, but this situation brought with it a whole new fear. The Church had been pressuring people to give more money even though it was in contradiction with 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; any time they were criticized for crossing the line with their coercion they would always tell any concerned person to “stop being bitter over an honest mistake”, the same thing had happened with any situations concerning the “vows to God” as well as the deceitful mathematical tactics behind the contribution increases. But now they were directly disobeying scriptures from the Bible and showed no hint that they were at all concerned about this. There was no longer any way to differentiate ourselves from the modern day evangelical Churches who ignore Acts 2:38 for the sake of their popular beliefs and then our Church that was now disregarding scriptures for the sake of making money. How could we claim that we are a Church that obeys the Bible if we are going to ignore scripture? No longer did we have any right to call ourselves a “Bible-based Church”. Scriptures that promoted profit for the upper leadership were being over-emphasized while scriptures that were inconvenient for these goals were being blatantly ignored.  In the words of Gustave Le Bon on group psychology: “We have shown that crowds do not reason”, he writes; “that they accept or reject ideas as a whole, that they tolerate neither discussion nor contradiction, and that the suggestions brought to bear on them invade the entire field of their understanding and tend at once to transform themselves into acts.” He goes on to talk about how being part of a psychological group causes the members of that group to have a sense of invincibility, as if they are above reproach.  These Church leaders were exhibiting these exact qualities; disregarding anyone who attempted to bring to their attention the ICC’s breach of the scriptures and labeling them as “bitter” or even “divisive” if they continued to voice their objections. To question the leadership became tantamount to sin. 

Conclusion to Part 2

For any of you who are still doubting me when I say that the ICC is corrupt, let me ask you this; what is the source of corruption? In other words, what motivates corrupt people to do corrupt things?  The answer is money.  Do you really think it is a coincidence that this self-proclaimed “Bible based Church” has proceeded to make a series of increasingly complex “mistakes” all around the issues of money and all of which have always had the effect of increasing the amount of money that flows into the leadership’s hands?

Let’s look at a brief summary of the events that I have written about so far:

●The Church established a policy which would continuously put pressure on the congregation to increase the money that they were giving the Church twice a year. People who didn’t raise their contributions when asked were called “unspiritual”. Then “financial workshops” were used to put additional pressure on the congregation as well as to introduce this policy to the new members and subject them to social pressure.
●“Pledge Cards” were introduced into the Church, which were originally supposed to be for “financial planning”, now they are introduced during each contribution raise as “vows to God” that they cannot go back on as doing so would be considered to be a “sin”.
● The special contributions were steadily increased through “technicality loopholes”, deliberate mathematical misconceptions and deceptive incrementation.

Then we take into consideration how these things were presented to the congregation:
●The congregation was “called” to raise their contribution, thus implying that if they didn’t do so that they were going back on some kind of commitment and subjecting them to psychological pressure.
●These new beliefs were called “convictions”, and these “convictions” were used to describe what it means to be a “strong” disciple according to the ICC leaders.
●The amounts for these increasing special contributions were called “goals” as if this was something that every individual had decided on rather than being imposed on them.
●These new policies were established in such a way as to prevent the congregation from thinking about the changes that were being made; trying to make them feel like what was happening was “no big deal”.

We see very tactful use of wording by the ICC leaders so as to have a psychological influence on the congregation and this psychological manipulation was used always with money as the end goal. This manipulation continued even when it became apparent that they were in violation of the scriptures of the Bible, and anyone who criticized them was character assassinated.  These policies were also established in such a way as to keep the congregation from thinking about what was being done to them. Most people are familiar with the lesson of 1 Timothy 6:10; that money is the root of all evil, and evil has definitely taken root in the ICC. It is no coincidence that these red flags were all popping up over issues that involved money. Yet even though these policies contradicted the Bible they were still being closely protected by the ICC leadership through logical (or not-so-logical) and “Biblical” loopholes that they themselves kept fabricating (I address these additional arguments that these ICC leaders try to make in the other articles). My conclusion that the ICC is corrupt comes not out of bitterness but from careful observation and study and I have provided the evidence to prove it.

On the contrary, I am sure the ICC leadership will be all too eager to throw my own accusations back at me after reading this article and seeing how many times I use the words “corrupt” to describe the ICC.
If you want to say that my using the word “corrupt” was somehow inaccurate, I believe I presented the definition of this word quite thoroughly and showed how it related to the ICC’s activities.  If anyone can present sufficient evidence to suggest the ICC’s actions do not meet up to this definition, I would be willing to give it my full attention.  I believe that I clearly explain the reasoning behind the things I choose to write about in my articles and I don’t baselessly throw around psychologically tactful words or phrases.  The same goes for the other words I chose to use such as “manipulative” and “deceitful” since I proved why the actions taken by the ICC deserved to be described by such wording.

When someone comes into the church I want to see them grow in their love for God and continue to build great relationships. I don’t want to see them being shaken down by the leaders to give more money; telling them that they are “unspiritual” unless they do so until they finally leave the church in disgust.

In my next article I will show how the ICC extorts money from their members and then in another article I reveal the methods they use to character assassinate people in order to silence them.


  1. I once worked for the administrative office of the ICOC in Berlin, Germany. I kept a database with the names of every member of the church and the amount that they had pledged to give every week. The church started having the members put their contributions into personalized envelopes with their names on them every week. These envelopes were collected and given to the church treasurer. The church was then able to keep track of whether people gave what they had promised every week. I then recorded in the database who had given what, then provided lists to all the Bible Talk leaders of those who had missed their weekly contribution or given only a part. The BT leaders then spoke with these people, pressuring them into giving what they had "promised." This was back in the late 90's, so, you see, nothing has change. Kip is up to his old tricks. It saddens me that your journey in this cult started as mine was ending, my eyes having been opened by the Kriete letter. I wish I had been able to talk to you before you had to go through this.

    1. Below is an excerpt from an e-mail dated March 15, 2015 that Evan Bartholomew, ICC evangelist, had sent to the members of his church regarding their tithe and special missions:

      "...our collection of contribution these past few weeks has been unusually low, I've asked each one of the Bible Talk Leaders to speak directly to each member within the Bible Talks about their weekly contribution and the upcoming Special Missions contribution. Please be prepared to speak with your Bible Talk leader about these two things..."

      The practice of BT leaders pressuring "their people" for money is indeed alive and well in Kip's new church.

  2. The light-bulb finally came on for me when I listened to a lesson that Tim Kernan gave at a Toronto staff meeting where he unabashedly claimed that he would "disciple anyone who brought something BIG to the MONEY." I remember thinking, "This guy isn't any different than Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, or Benny Hinn."

    1. I had the unfortunate experience of being “discipled” by Tim Kernan once. He is one of those who goes around the congregations while raising the bar on what it means to give the minimally acceptable amount of money that a “sold-out disciple” should give while ignoring income levels entirely.

      I remember back when I was in college and worked a campus job. My dad was helping me out with my rent but he wanted me to be somewhat independent so it was up to me to pay for my food and bills. At my campus job I made about $80 a week during the fall and spring semesters, but during the summer and winter breaks my hours went down significantly and my weekly pay would drop to around $30. So during the summer and winter breaks I lived off of nothing but top ramen and local church food bank donations (these local church food banks were not affiliated with the ICC, the ICC does not offer this service to their members).

      Tim Kernan would go around saying things like “unless you give this set amount of money then you are not a sold-out disciple”. Needless to say I could not meet Tim’s standards without jeopardizing my own financial situation and I did not share his shallow views on the subject. As a matter of reference Tim’s “sold-out scale” for campus students began at $20 (so at $20 you are only just “beginning” to be “sold-out”, if you wanted them to have a higher opinion of you then of course they would hint that you should give them more), then twice a year you would be asked to raise your contribution or else they would tell you that you were no longer “sold-out” (so to meet Tim’s minimum expectations for a “sold-out disciple” I would have been required to give him 25% of my fall/spring paycheck and 66% of my summer/winter paycheck as a start, and then raise this amount twice a year by whatever amount the leadership dictated).

      My major in college was electrical engineering, one of the hardest majors on campus. My ADHD gave me somewhat of a learning disability so I had to study longer hours than my fellow students, and my time was also being taken by many of the ICC’s mandatory meetings. From my campus paychecks I was spending money on food and bills as well as parts and electrical components for my engineering projects. I couldn’t afford to work longer hours to keep up with the ICC’s demands (and I was also taking condensed and fast-paced classes in the summer to speed up my graduation, so I couldn’t get a summer job); so instead I kept true to 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 and gave what I was able to give. This did not sit well with the leadership and eventually I began to notice people slandering me behind my back about not being a “sacrificial” giver and that I was “unspiritual” or not “sold-out”. I suspect that the source of much of this slander came from Tim Kernan himself.

      When I released my articles one member of the ICC ridiculed me saying “we all know how you were” (the truth is this member and I barely conversed with one another during the time that we were in the same church region, so I found this statement interesting) and then he proceeded to slander me about the amount of money that I gave. It hurt to have this person ignorantly saying such disparaging things about me in the open, but also it confirmed what I already knew about what these people were saying about me in secret. The source of this animosity was of course the deceitful “standards” that were being spread around by Tim Kernan and the rest of the ICC leadership and I saw that many others were also being hurt by the ICC leadership’s antics. Despite knowing that I was going to be slandered, I knew that someone had to stand up against their coercion (I was still thinking that I could change the ICC from the inside back then). When the corruption of the ICC leadership became more apparent I realized that I had to leave.

    2. The Kernans are accustomed to being "taken care of" and have no shame living off the backs of financially struggling college students, single moms and poor families. Tim loves to brag about how he and Leanne lived off the benevolence of the CAICC when they initially moved to Los Angeles. And how Elena McKean accused him of being a "false brother" and taking advantage of the church because of how often he would go to Kip asking for more money.

    3. Ugh...The Kernans. They always struck me as a couple who were preoccupied with power and money. Leann had once posted a meme on her Facebook of Batman slapping Robin and the caption read something like-YOU BETTER NOT FORGET YOUR CONTRIBUTION NEXT SUNDAY!!!

  3. First of all a word of thanks for your blog. It's great to see more people coming forward to share their stories and experiences in the ICC.

    Speaking of the Kernans, I had attended a singles retreat out in Palm Desert where Lianne was one of the guest speakers. In her lesson Lianne stated that "As women of God, we need to feel honored and proud to work secular jobs so that we could financially support the brothers who are about God's business." This didn't sit very well with me especially given the number of UNEMPLOYED and UNDER-EMPLOYED single and married men in the ICC. Many of these men are referred to as "unpaid interns" because they spend the majority of their day trying to recruit people into the group. While the women work 8-10 hour days at their secular jobs and then are expected to "serve" the church in the same capacity as the men after work. The combined hours of regular work and church work easily averages over 80 hours a week.

    If working a secular job to financially support the men in the church is such a great honor and worthy of pride, why aren't PAID staff women, like Lianne, rushing out to get a day job?

  4. What I found most disturbing during my involvement in the International Christian Church is the number of campus students who, at church leader's encouragement, were dropping out of college to recruit for the group full time. Several of these students were forgoing and/or forfeiting scholarships to "advance" Kip's organization. These former students would spend up to 10 hours a day on college campuses soliciting for the ICC. Not to mention the number of hours they were required to tag (essentially "begging") on street corners/mediums for donations to financially support the group's staff members.

    I was disgusted to learn that while Kip and Elena's "spiritual kids" (the group refers to the McKeans as their father and mother of faith) were sacrificing their education and future, all three of Kip's biological children not only graduated from ivy league colleges but as children also attended one of Los Angeles' most prestigious and expensive K-12 private schools, Brentwood School.

    I could no longer support an organization that manipulated and exploited their most vulnerable members in such an egregious way.

    1. To October 18 Commenter:

      Proof that ICC leaders encourage and condone students dropping out of school. Joe Willis, the ICC's World Sector Leader for Australia and China, called members to sacrifice their education in order to advance McKean's religious franchise overseas. Joe writes in the ICC's Good News propaganda newsletter, "I personally want to call all disciples from China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan to contact me in the next month at work out a plan to move to Sydney to be part the Hong Kong Mission Team...even if it means...give up their university plans or go against their parents’ wishes."

    2. I agree. On top of that during the contribution raises they will ask people to work more hours in order to give the church more money even if it means sacrificing education. At one time my “discipler” had even “advised” me to quit school in order to free up more time for “tagging” and more work hours because they were doing a push for another contribution raise. It is sad to see these ICC leaders taking away the bright futures of these youths for the sake of profit.

      Back when Kip was still a part of the ICOC he had the audacity to write the following about Henry Kriete in his letter titled R&R3; “He (Henry Kriete) 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.

      This claim by Kip about the honesty regarding their finances is a bold-faced lie. There were ICOC apology letters that admitted that issues regarding the church finances had been handled in a shady way, such as the Minneapolis apology letter which stated; “Large sums of money have been required each year in the special contribution with no accountability regarding how it was spent.”

      Not only that, but there was also the scandal that happened in the London Church that Henry Kriete was a part of when a man named Ayman Akshar discovered some serious discrepancies in the finances of the London church in 1993;
      “In early 1990, Ayman was put in charge of the finances of the London Church of Christ, and as such had been present for a number of private meetings. He found a number of financial improprieties, about which he notified the leaders, thinking they would be as horrified as he was and fix the problem. When he was told to keep quiet, he agonized for a few months and then left, concluding that the ICC was not what it claimed to be if it would not even respect the laws of the country in which it was operating.” REVEAL.ORG, 1987-present – The ICC/ICOC era

      When Ayman Akshar voiced his alarm about the deceit of Kip’s leaders he was then marked by the church and members were told not to have any contact with him.

      It comes as no surprise that today in Kip’s new organization they claim to keep close account of their finances, and yet there is shady stuff going on such as mission teams being mysteriously told that their funds had run out prematurely due to “unforeseen budgeting problems” and so forth. It is not hard to imagine what is really going on behind the scenes. Kip has always fallen back on lies to protect his system of profit and ruining the lives and educational futures of promising youths for the sake of money.

    3. Dear Dan and 10/18 Commenter:

      I recently read a New York Times article about the Word of Life Church where a young man was beaten to death by church leadership because they believed he had unconfessed sin and was considering leaving the group (

      Aside from the physical violence which I never witnessed during my time in the International Christian Church, I did observe and shamefully experience much of the psychological trauma (as discussed in the article) that is all too common in authoritarian religious sects like the ICC and Word of Life organizations.

      As I read through the article, the similarities between these two groups made my stomach churn:

      *Both groups started in a living room and claim all they wanted is to get back to "biblical basics" without the religious traditions
      *The practice of "one man leadership" (Kip now refers to it as "central leadership" to give it a more softer and acceptable appeal. Yet the reality is that the leadership still CENTERS around him and his interpretation of the bible)
      *Coerced labor and service to the organization and church leaders (tagging, baby sitting, house keeping, auto repairs, etc.)
      *Arranged marriages (In the International Christian Church people are not permitted to date and/or marry unless it is sanctioned by church leaders)
      *Complete submission to church leaders
      *Expelling/marking members that question church authority
      *Intrusion of members personal lives and relationships (ICC members are taught that the church comes before any other relationship even that of a husband and wife. Please note: Kip McKean claims that his group does not condone divorce, yet, ironically many of the men he has tapped as evangelists are DIVORCED men. One of his right hand leaders has been married 3 times as a so called "disciple")
      *Church leaders slander ex-members and question their spiritual standing amongst the remaining congregants calling them "weak, bitter, on the fringe, succumbing to Satan's lie, etc."
      *Like the Word of Life parishioners who refer to their leaders as mother and father, Kip and Elena McKean are also known as the "mother and father of faith" by their members
      *Former members of both sects have used variations of a "culture of silence, shame, spiritual abuse and paranoia" to describe their experience in these groups

    4. I left right after Kip started handing out "degrees" (bachelors, masters and doctorates). This is when I realized that he, his wife and everyone else who believed his school was legit had officially crossed over to C.R.A.Z.Y.

    5. As a one time member of the International Christian Church, I grew tired of all the outlandish claims and declarations preached from the pulpit that I started to fact check many of the ICC sermons and found that not only were scriptures taken out of context but also historical facts, scientific studies and quotes from well known authors and academics were often misused and/or misappropriated to support whatever topic the evangelist(s) were preaching on. This practice extended to the church's monthly news letter where claims about growth, Sunday attendance, etc. were often highly exaggerated.

    6. To November 25th-
      Yes!!! It amazes me how comfortable ICC leaders are with exaggerating/lying. It's so embedded in the group's culture that they don't even think twice about it. It even bleeds over to communion. Instead of communion being a time of contemplation, the ICC has turned it into yet another propaganda tool/opportunity for people to exaggerate about their past, what they "gave up" to be a part of the "church" and how being a member of the ICC has changed their lives. Jesus is just a foot note (if that).

  5. This just has not been my experience. I have been a member of ICC for over two years now. The focus and where I may have felt some pressure is in the strength of my relationship with God. We are called to unity as a church but having quiet times is a priority. I once had extra money that I could give to the church and was advised to keep it as savings to build up my own account since I have a family. In addition, I have helped other brothers and sisters financially and it has been appreciated by leadership. I really can't relate to this, and I've been taught never to give under compulsion. I've also been taught by my leaders that my relationship with God is what will ultimately help me run this race until the end. This church has taught me to worship in spirit and in truth and I am so grateful for that. I am wondering what you're motives are and why are you spending so much time writing these articles that you could spend spreading the gospel and saving souls. God definitely gave you the talent of being a great writer. I would love to read bible based articles geared towards helping people find God or strengthen their relationship work Him. Perhaps you can share your quiet times and spur others on towards good deeds. Also, if you feel this strongly about Kip, I hope you are putting twice the effort in praying for him as the Bible calls you to do. Remember, God's power can change and soften anyone's heart. I love you and you will definitely be in my prayers. Don't hey distracted, remember the great commission. Matthew 28:18

    1. I was a member of the ICC for six years; between 2008 and 2014. Most of the people who joined the ICC between 2008 and 2010 have left and that is no surprise given how they witnessed how deceptively the ICC leadership snuck in their policy to raise contributions during this time period. I also noticed this corruption as it happened and prayed for the leadership to repent, but with no repentance in sight and the members continuing to be abused; it is time to rebuke these abusers of God’s people.

      My articles also outlined the other manipulative things the ICC leadership did to raise the special collections in article 2, establishing a policy that ultimately resulted in extorting money from the members (article 3), and their “one-man central leadership” propaganda doctrine (which I proved to be a false doctrine with ulterior motives in article 5).

      The way that Kip McKean started the ICC while pretending to repent of his past abusive behavior, and then slowly sneaking these same abusive policies that he used before can be likened to Hitler’s gradual takeover of Austria (I am not trying to compare Hitler’s atrocities to Kip McKean here, but the tactics that were used are very similar). When Austria was absorbed into Hitler’s empire the people thought that life would be better from them, but Hitler made slow changes which gradually took away their rights. The full story can be found here:
      To sum up the article, here is a significant quote:
      “Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.”
      This article shows that by making gradual changes over a time span of five years, the people’s rights were taken away and they were reduced to what was basically slavery. If Hitler tried to make these changes overnight then the people would have resisted, but by doing so gradually the people were slowly subjected to increasingly oppressive measures with little resistance.

      Similarly, if Kip McKean had tried to institute all corrupt policies that the ICC now has all at once back in 2008 then there would have been an uproar. The majority would not have agreed to a 25X contribution in June with another special in November, it should be up to each member what in their hearts they want to give as I already made Biblically clear in articles 1 and 2. The majority would not put up with a policy that resulted in extorting money from their own members and Kip’s policy on “one-man central leadership” which gives Kip unparalleled power to dictate all the ICC’s decisions without opposition would not have been accepted. That is why Kip instituted these policies gradually between 2008 and 2013; a time span of 5 years. Sound familiar?

      The majority of the people who were baptized five years ago and witnessed these events have already left in disgust. When the newer members are brought into the church they are told that these special collections quotas are something that “the church” decided to do, which is a lie since the Church is the membership and they certainly did not have any say in the matter. The same thing can be said with the contribution raises. Many of the members that are in your generation of new recruits have been lied to before you even joined.

    2. Dear ICC Recruit (November 16th @ 6:11 AM),

      Please confront your own cognitive dissonance by contemplating the following questions:

      Why are Kip and Elena often referred to as "mother and father of the faith" when the bible clearly says not to call anyone "father" -Matthew 23:9

      Why does the church aggressively prey on college students and call them to sacrifice their education to expand the ICC, yet this was never the expectation of Kip and Elena's three children all of whom graduated from Ivy League colleges? Do you expect your children to forgo a college education and/or scholarship to advance Kip's church?

      Please explain why there are so many divorced men and women serving as evangelists and women's ministry leaders when the bible, again, clearly states that leaders should be above REPROACH and the husband of one wife Titus 1:6; Also read 1 Corinthians 7:11.
      *Please note that one of your "World Sector Leaders", Corey Blackwell, has been married 3 times as a disciple.

      Other than the vague explanation that Michael Kirchner and Ryan Keenan give during the ICC's financial presentation, do you exactly know where the hundreds of thousands of dollars collected for the church's bi-annual fund drives actually go?

      Why do many of the leaders (including Kip and Elena) fly first class, stay at 5 star hotels and dine at fancy restaurants when they are on their supposed "missionary trips"? Couldn't the money saved by flying economy, staying with and dining in the home of church members, etc. be used more wisely?

      Is it necessary for Kip and Elena to live in a luxury high rise condominium in one of the most affluent communities of Los Angeles (Marina Del Rey)?

      You write, "In addition, I have helped other brothers and sisters financially and it has been appreciated by leadership." Well of course it would be appreciated because it's not coming out of the church's and ultimately Kip's paycheck. Please note that according to one former member:

      "I have the records from 2011. Kip McKean's weekly tithe at this time was $370 a week. Kip McKean also claimed that he was giving 15% of his income. So this corresponds to Kip making $2467 a week, $9867 a month, and $118,400 a year. Of course this does not include all the four-five star hotels he stays in and fancy restaurants he eats at while traveling around the world since he bills these expenses directly to the church account.

      Of course Kip McKean's 15% claim was not announced until later in that year, so this may actually be a 10% tithe which corresponds to $3700 a week, $14,800 a month, and $177,600 a year. This stat sheet was posted on August 15, 2011."

      If these 2011 figures are indeed accurate, Kip's paycheck may even be more now.

      For the sake of your own spiritual health and that of your family's, many of us are praying that God leads you (like he has many others) out of the ICC and into a church that is Jesus centered, not man centered. A church focused on true spiritual growth not financial prosperity. A church led by the spirit, not by ego and manipulation. A church whose membership is comprised equally of wise, mature and discerning disciples as well as those new to the faith.

    3. To Anonymous November 17.
      You made a good point when you said; “Other than the vague explanation that Michael Kirchner and Ryan Keenan give during the ICC's financial presentation, do you exactly know where the hundreds of thousands of dollars collected for the church's bi-annual fund drives actually go?”

      Back before I was marked by Kip’s organization, I remember before the June 2015 special contribution a few of the members were posting about the ICC’s financial presentations to brag about how “open with their finances” the ICC was. When I inquired further it turns out that these presentations were purely theoretical, the special contribution had not been given yet after all. These presentations were merely telling the members where the upper leadership was CLAIMING where the money would go, not where it ACTUALLY went after the money was given.

      This was also during the time that the ICC leadership had once again involuntarily raised the special contribution amount on the congregation once again. These presentations were merely the ICC leadership trying to convince the members to give the amount of money that they were aggressively “calling” them to give. But after the money is given, in all my six years in the ICC I have never witnessed them to show anyone where all the money actually went. Then you have mission teams who are mysteriously told that their budgets had been cut prematurely, so where did the money go?

      After Kip was kicked out of leadership in the ICOC, there were many leaders who came forward and admitted that there had been many cases where the church funds had been misspent (and I already mentioned previously that one leader, Ayman Akshar, who attempted to speak out about this before Kip was taken out of power was actually marked, so it was obvious why they were too scared to come forward until after Kip was gone), and yet Kip still tried to come up with excuses afterward in his letter R&R3 which I talked about in Article 10. Kip has not repented of his abusive behavior, so how are we supposed to believe these so-called theoretical “financial presentations” when Kip has a past history of misappropriating funds?

      Also the ICC has leaders like Blaise Feumba who had a history of giving fraudulent financial reports and embezzling money from the church funds during his leadership in the ICOC, and leaders like Vic Gonzalez Sr. who was very abusive with issues concerning the member’s contributions and at one point caused all the shepherds and many members to flee his region.