Monday, April 25, 2016

Living in the Book of Acts pt. 2

Living in The Book of Acts
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:1-5
            I wasn’t going to write anything until later on down the road. On our way out, my wife and I really just wanted to focus on moving forward with my God and with our lives. But the day we left our email was flooded with people who said they were feeling like they wanted to leave as well. Even still, I didn’t want to persuade anyone one way or another. But then I remembered the Scripture above. This was the Scripture that my father in the faith read to me when he appointed me as an Evangelist at the 2014 Global Leadership Conference.
In front of 2,000 witnesses I made a declaration to uphold this Scripture. To preach the word. To correct, rebuke, and encourage. Because the day will come, and I believe has come, when men will not put up with sound doctrine but instead gather around a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. And then I remembered that by that oath I am obligated to speak up, speak out, and speak against any doctrine that is not sound. I do not claim to be a Bible scholar but that word in the Greek is hygiano, which means “to be sound, to be well, to be in good health”.

            If you want to save yourself to time of reading through this rather long document, then know that essentially we left the International Christian Churches/SoldOut Discipling Movement because we found the doctrine to not be sound or healthy for true Christians. You can be saved there but I believe eventually you have to leave because the foundation of the movement is broken. We went all the way back to when we first studied the First Principles and decided to be noble Bereans (Acts 17:10-12) and check up on what our religious leaders have told us to see if what they were saying was true. Most of us in the movement, if we have checked up on what is being taught, have checked through roses colored lens and preconceived notions. We check with the intent of reaffirming what we currently hold to be true. For the first time since we were baptized, my wife and I looked at the Scriptures as if we didn't already know what we would find. We studied with the intent to let the word teach us what is true, instead of using the Scriptures to reinforce what we already held to be true. When we did this, we found more deviations from the Scriptures than we expected and so we made the decision that God was calling us to come out of the ICC.

Who This Address To
            Before we get into we the what, when, why, and how I want to first start by defining who this is addressed to.

Kip McKean
            Brother, the reality is that if it was not for your faith, vision, and drive to see the world won many of us would not have come to know Christ the way we have. For that we say thank you. With that being said, I believe there are some serious flaws in your teaching that need your careful consideration immediately. I understand you have been doing this for nearly 40 years now so this may come across as a personal attack. Please know this is not personal attack on you or what you have built. At this point in my life, I’m no longer a part of your organization, so how you respond will not directly impact the decisions of my life. This is not intended to be a rebuke but an exhortation (1 Timothy 5:1)

The International Christian Churches’ World Sector Leaders and Central Leadership Council
            I understand that for many of you, that our brother Kip helped you in a moment when the prior movement had crashed and many of you were hurting and confused about what was happening. He has helped you renew your faith, marriages, vision, and love for God. He was able to answer and explain so many questions you had at a time when others had no answers for you. All I ask is that you do not allow sentiment to cloud your judgement as you read this document. I am not trying to destroy what you are building, however, I believe you guys have a responsibility to brother Kip and to the people underneath your care. If our brother Kip starts to go astray in doctrine and theology you have a responsibility to pull him back into sound doctrine because he is the leader of your movement. You also have a responsibility to the people underneath your care, to ensure they are being properly instructed in the word of God (1 Peter 5:2-4). Again this is not a rebuke but rather an exhortation.

Every Evangelist and Women’s Ministry in the ICC
            We are not free from the guilt of our leaders if we comply with their decisions. Many of you are aware of the things that I am going to bring up. We’ve talked about them when our World Sector Leaders were not around. As you will see in this document, I believe there are only so many “Amens” you can give before you’re just being a people pleaser. You all took an oath of the same Scripture we did (2 Timothy 4:1-5) You guys learned the same First Principles we did. I’m not saying you need to revolt, but you do need to do whatever is necessary to fulfill your oath to this Scripture.

Every Remnant Disciple in The ICC
You will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Every Other Disciple Currently In The ICC
            Again, I am not calling for anyone purposely do anything rebellious. However, you must understand no leader in or outside the movement died on the cross for your sins, only Jesus did. You will have to give an account for your life on the Day of Judgement. You have a personal responsibility to the Lord to test the spirits (1 John 4:1) My hope is this will inspire you to dig deeper into the Scriptures and develop a deeper relationship with the Lord.

What the Document Is and Is Not
            I know I will be talking about very sensitive things in this document so let me explain up front what this is and is not:

What this is not:
·      This is not another Henry Kriette Letter –I’m am not trying to implode the movement. I am simply answering the questions that we have received
·      This is not a personal attack toward any leader in the ICC – I have no interest in painting anyone in a negative light
·      This is not my attempt to be divisive (as the Bible defines divisiveness) – I am not trying to start a new group (on the contrary, my wife and I are looking for an established fellowship to become a part of) and I am not trying to pull people away from the Biblical teachings of gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God.
·      I am not the final authority – Ultimately, Jesus is the final authority and we all must work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13)

What this is:
·      This is an explanation of our actions – people want to know why we left and the reasons behind them
·      This is our experience in the leadership of the ICC, not everyone else – Just because the things I’m about to explain happened to us does not mean they are happening to everyone in leadership. But I have my suspicions that they are.
·      This is the conviction we came to after personal prayer, fasting, and bible study – Again, building our own convictions based on the word of God about the doctrine and practices of the ICC. This does not mean that everyone needs to believe what we believe to be saved. This is just what we believe from the word of God is best.
·      This is a call to pay more careful attention of the way all my brothers and sisters conduct themselves in Christ

Now ultimately from this point on you can decide how you want to receive and react to the following information. I believe though that there will be two kinds of disciples who will read this article: mature disciples and immature disciples. An immature disciple will do one of two things 1) take this document and use it as a platform to fight and rebel against the leadership in the ICC and ultimately will begin to draw people away after themselves. This is the immature approach. Don’t rebel. If you don’t believe it can be changed from within just leave like we did. 2) the immature disciple may also just dismiss this document without even considering whether or not some, most, or all of the points I bring up could be right. Sadly, in my experience this is what I’ve seen in our leadership. Instead of considering and addressing the Scriptures that are presented, they have made up in their minds they are right, and proceed to dismiss the speaker without even addressing the things that are being said. They will say things like he’s “hurt”, “bitter”, “out there”, “doesn’t even know what he’s talking about”, “not a disciple”, “divisive”, “contemptuous”, “Satan has got to him”, “he deserted us”. All things that will not address the concerns that I will bring up. This is just old ministry technique used to discredit the speaker rather than address the speech. It will end in a marking or disfellowshipment because it’s “hurtful to the flock”. You can respond that way if you want but that gets you nowhere except one less friend on Facebook

However, the mature disciple will actually give consideration to the thoughts and Scriptures I present here. And even though they may not change their current belief about the topics I present, they will nonetheless learn what they can about their own personal walk and the structure and policies of the movement and seek to improve what needs improvement. They will reform the areas that need reformation and continue trying to build up the kingdom. Or things said here may actually resonate with them and after their personal prayer and Bible study it will give them the courage to make similar decisions as my wife and I have.

Why Did We Leave?
            Anyone and everyone in the ICC would agree that from time to time decisions are made that just don’t sit well with you. A pledge drive, an extra push for Special Missions, a young leader in your church being sent somewhere, you being ask/told to do something that you don’t really want to do, etc. I’m sure we could come up with a laundry list of things. Most of the time we say “Amen” and get behind whatever is being done and just move forward chalking it up to “that’s just how things are in the kingdom”, “this is the need of the hour”, “the movement is moving” whatever expression gets you through it. After seven of half year of saying “Amen” I finally decided to investigate and search the Scriptures as to why we do what we do. I felt obligated to do so because of the oath I made as an Evangelist, to ensure that the doctrine is sound.
Also, I noticed things happening differently than when I first got baptized. Things were changing and something inside me said it wasn’t for the right. The reality is that I came to the conviction to leave the ICC because I studied the doctrine of the ICC and found it not to be sound doctrine. I did not consult someone from the ICOC. I did not talk to someone who was mark or disfellowshipped until after I made the decision to leave. I read our official church documents: First Principles Bible Study Series, Revolution Through Restoration I,II,II, The Biblical Differences Between The ICOC and the ICC, A Concern For All The Churches, &

After reading our official documents I came to the conclusion that the reason why we from time to time feel like something is off is because something is off. It’s the foundation on which the movement is built upon. Today in the ICC, there are at least three things wrong with it’s foundation (I believe you can find many more, but four was enough for me to make the decision to leave):

1.     The Heretical Implementation of the Five Core Conviction
2.     The Corporate structure of the Movement leadership that makes sinful leadership normal
3.     A Movement Built on Money

The Heretical Implementation of the Movement’s Five Core Conviction

Let me start by saying that I absolutely agree with 3 of the 5 Core Convictions. One of them is an opinion and nice goal so I agree with that one too and one is just down right heretical. However, what I firmly disagree with is how we implement all five of these convictions.

A Bible Church v. New Testament Church Taken from your writing from the article “The Biblical Differences Between the The International Church of Christ And The International Christian Churches” Kip wrote:
“The Mainline Church of Christ is an off-shoot of the Restoration Movement begun in the United States in the early 1800’s by Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone to name a few. Their plea was to “restore the New Testament Church.” Therefore, they believed that though the Old Testament was divinely inspired and historically accurate, only the New Testament would be their sole rule of faith and practice in deciding matters of doctrine including ecclesiastical structure. This is now the conviction of the most influential leaders in the ICOC.
However, we in the ICC believe like Paul who wrote in late 66 AD – some 35 years after the beginning of the church, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Technically speaking, the word “Scripture” in this passage refers to only the Old Testament. Now, through the inspiration of the Spirit, we believe that it applies as well to the New Testament. Though we believe “the Law” is no longer binding (Colossians 2:13-14), the Scriptural concepts in the Old Testament such as “calling out the remnant,” “dating and marrying only disciples,” and “a central leader and leadership for God’s movement” are in the New Testament, yet the Old Testament is much richer in its depth on these vital issues. Also, the “Jethro Principle” of leadership in Exodus18 allows us to lead and take care of thousands of God’s precious people. Therefore, we believe we are commanded by God to build congregations based on both the Old and New Testaments – a “Bible Church,” not simply a “New Testament Church.”
As I read through this again and again, initially in an effort to defend our cause, I couldn’t help but ask what did Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, and Barton Stone mean when their plea was to “restore the New Testament Church”? Are they not just trying to get back to the church of the Bible? Kip preaches all the time in regards to the evangelization of nations in this generation, “that if they did it in the first century, we can do it in the 21st century!” Is that not trying to restore the New Testament church? Even in Kip’s own Revolution Through Restoration (which every ICCM student is required to read) the article said:

“During my years at Charleston and Memphis, I devoted myself to studying the Old Testament. At this major turning point in my life, I came to a deep conviction that, unlike the traditional Church of Christ which claimed only to be a "New Testament church," a better understanding of God's eternal plan would cause us to be a Bible church.”
Revolution Through Restoration I

The Lord allowed me to begin the restoration of the New Testament church from a small group of 30 would-be disciples in the Gempel's living room in June of 1979 in Boston.”
Revolution Through Restoration II

So here we have three articles written by the same person in three different time periods. In the first (RtRI), it is better to be a Bible church rather than a New Testament church. In the second (RtR2) the boast seems to be the restoration of the New Testament church. And in the third (Biblical Differences) the ICOC is condemned for being just a New Testament church. It seemed to me like whichever one was convenient to our brother Kip at the time was the right way.
In the article on the Biblical Differences Between the ICOC and ICC it was said that their fault was that they used only the New Testament for “deciding matters of doctrine including ecclesiastical structure.” And then 2 Timothy 3:16-17 was quoted. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 has nothing to do with deciding matters of doctrine as it pertains to ecclesiastical structure. It has to do with teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training, primarily through the means of preaching because people will turn to false doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:1-3). Why aren’t we letting the Bible interpret the Bible instead of using the Bible to support our views? How can we say that we are no longer bound by the Law but then we threaten church discipline on anyone who doesn’t give a tithe? Tithing is an Old Testament commandment. How can we say we aren’t bound by the law but then use Scriptures like Deuteronomy 17:12-13 to disfellowship anyone who shows contempt? It seems to me that we are binding people to the law. The reason we rely so heavily on the Old Testament is because without it we cannot implement the false doctrine that there must be a Centralized Leadership with a Central Leader inside of Christianity. I have no problem with using the Old Testament for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training of men and women’s characters like 2 Timothy 3:16-17 instructs us but to use the Old Testament to establish ecclesiastical structure is just not healthy doctrine. Yes, I believe in being a Bible church, but not the way the ICC interprets a Bible church.
In the Movement this “Core Conviction” is implemented in such a way that all you do is bind God’s people to manmade traditions of discipleship partners (taken from Exodus 18), a central leader (taken from Number 27:15-17), and financial sacrifice (Malachi 3:6-12). I do not think that discipleship partners, a central leader, and giving a weekly contribution are wrong of themselves. But when we don’t give people an option to decide for themselves in these matters the degree to which they will implement these manmade traditions in their own lives, I believe we take liberties that the Scriptures do not give us. When we tell God’s people who is going to disciple them and they must have a discipler because that is the way we practice discipleship in our fellowship, and that they must submit to the Central Leadership, and they are required to give a contribution, and all these other things prior to them getting baptized in our fellowship we are no better than the Pharisees. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Matthew 23:13-14 There is no way before God we can tell people that they must believe in a Bible Church the way we believe in a Bible Church before they can get baptized in our fellowship and think we doing a service to the lost or to God.

Interpretation of Scripture

Another quote from your Restoration Through Revolution article:
“Along with this, I came to differ with the Churches of Christ whose
creed is "to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible
is silent." This creed dictated that one must have specific authorization
by command, example or necessary inference from the Bible to do
anything. It developed a legalistic, pharisaic mind set that sowed the
seed for much dissension and division producing the factions of the
Churches of Christ.

            For example, the whole mandate to only "call Bible things by Bible names" is
contradictory because the word "Bible" is not even in the Bible! From the
Scriptures I came to believe the opposite. I believe that we should be silent
where the Bible speaks and speak where the Bible is silent. In other words, a
Christian should simply obey where the Bible speaks and only speak (have
opinions) where the Bible is silent.

In building a life, a church or a "system" for a movement, we are "free" to do
anything the Scriptures do not specifically, by command, by example or by
necessary inference prohibit (Colossians 2:6-23). The truth seeker will always
strive to be faithful to the direction and the spirit of the Scriptures.”

Again, I fully believe in this conviction but the implementation of this conviction is why we are leaving. What is actually being done is that WE are not free to choose anything, Kip and those Kip appoints hold all the authority to speak where the Bible is silent. Whenever Kip or Kip’s personally appointed leaders form an opinion on something, the rest of us are bound to it. For instance, it was decided that we would have 3x Missions contribution in February. I’m pretty sure the Bible is silent on how, when, and how much we are to collect for planting churches yet someone spoke where the Bible was silent and now we are all bound to it. Last year someone decided how much the Global Leadership Conference would be. No problem. But then every evangelist was hounded with weekly sometimes daily emails asking for an update on how many people were registered so that we would break even in the budget. Again, someone spoke where the Bible was silent and then made US obey it and carry it out as if it is actual church doctrine. When do I get to speak where the Bible is silent? In the movement, I don’t.

Another quote from the Bible Differences article on Biblical Interpretation:

“Though the ICOC is mixed in these practices, at the 2002 Long Beach Unity Meeting, there was a call to eliminate World Sector Leaders, Lead Evangelists, and Women’s Ministry Leaders, because these “titles” could not be found in the New Testament. Thus they were deemed “unbiblical.”

I did some research to see what the ICOC actually believes and I found this written by Mike Taliaferro in 2014 in responds to an article written by Raul Moreno (that appears to have been taken down from our archives…)

“Another statement that caught our attention was, “The mainline Churches of Christ and the ICOC of today in general believe that the principles and methodologies that can be applied to the church are found only in the New Testament. They embrace the teachings of the American restoration movement of the 1800’s. Thomas Campbell, one of the early restoration movement leaders, coined the phrase, 'Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.' In other words, if there was not an explicit command or pattern in the New Testament, then any other practice would be viewed 'unscriptural.' For example, it became sin in the eyes of the mainline Church of Christ to use musical instruments in the worship service, because it does not occur in the churches in the New Testament, except in heaven in Revelation."
This statement is a complete misrepresentation of the ICOC. First of all, church buildings, pews, song books, Bible Talks, discipleship partners, Bring Your Neighbor Day, sound amplification, communion trays, and printed invitations are not found in the pages of the New Testament. We have no problem with them. They are obviously expedient and useful in carrying out the commands found in the Bible. I know of no evangelist or elder in the ICOC who believes that any practice not mentioned in the Bible is “unscriptural.” And you must know, Raul, that most of our congregations use musical instruments in their worship services. Why do you accuse us of something we simply do not believe? Most of us believe that we are able to do things that are not explicitly commanded or patterned in the New Testament, as long as they are helpful. We just don’t agree with YOUR practices recently.
Another statement you make is, “This clash of Biblical interpretation and application ignited the events of 2002-2003. Concepts such as World Sector Leaders, Geographic Sector Leaders, Lead Evangelists, discipling, Bible Talks, central leadership and a “leader of the movement” were abandoned by most ICOC churches and called “unbiblical.”
You must be joking, Raul!  While doctrinal concepts were certainly a part of the discussion, it was not the main problem. What ignited the events of 2003 is that our leader lost the confidence of those he led. The abuse of statistics, the overbearing style of leadership that was harming disciples in many of our churches, and the constant pillaging of US churches to build up the LA church led to many of the problems of 2003. In most people’s opinion, leadership needed to be changed. Our leadership structure never matured to meet the demands of a growing, maturing international family of churches. We had submitted ourselves to a Catholic type system for two decades where all power rested with one man. It became evident that that man needed to sit down for a while and recover himself spiritually. Kip, to his credit, apologized for his sins in various public settings. Change was needed and it began to happen. Shortly after Kip stepped down, Henry Kriete’s letter ignited the anger of many disciples around the world who had been harmed by certain practices within the church. The next two years were quite painful indeed. As I lived through it all, “Biblical interpretation” was not at the center of the storm. Failed, unbiblical leadership and unresolved conflicts were the cause of the firestorm. It appears that you are trying to rewrite history.
Please note as well that many of the examples of “unbiblical” practices you list are still practiced today in the ICOC. I personally am a “Lead Evangelist”. While no one is using the title of Geographic Sector Leader, we still have many men who carry out similar responsibilities just like Titus did in the New Testament. Obviously, most of our churches have Bible Talks and Discipleship Partners. You need to go back and get your facts straight.”

Someone is lying. I’ve always been taught that the ICOC believes in a different interpretation of Scripture. But yet a “Lead Evangelist” from the ICOC says differently. It seems to me that we were told that ICOC believed something different so that all the remnant disciples would stay in our movement and not go to the ICOC. I’ve never set foot in the ICOC since I’ve became a disciple, but I know many in the movement who have. Not one of them have ever came back and said that they believe in a different mode of interpretation of Scripture

Referring to the Scripture you quoted from your Revolution Through Restoration Article:
 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” Colossians 2:8-10
This Scripture says in Christ, I’ve been brought to completeness. It says He is the head over every power and authority. So why do I need a middle man in between me and Christ speaking for me where Jesus did not speak? Shouldn’t I through prayer, fasting, Bible study, and advice come to my own conclusion about how I should live my life? If I don’t do that, I may run the danger of someone taking me captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy (like the ICOC’s Biblical interpretations), which depends on human traditions such as World Sector Leaders, Overseeing Evangelist, Discipleship Partners. All which are good and healthy if implemented in the right way, but we do not implement them in a healthy way and this is why so many are leaving the movement even as I write this letter.
My second issue with this is that when you build an entire movement based on speaking where the Bible is silent, you end up speaking where the Bible is speaking. For example:
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

According to the Bible, I have the right to decide what I want to give. However, in my near 8 years in the movement, not once have I ever been given an option as to how much I could give in regards to Special Missions. I’m always told that we are giving a 20x or a 9x or a 5x, etc. I’m a little confused at when “we” decided this. According to the Bible, I get to decide how much I’m going to give or if I’m going to give at all. Again, Kip speaks where the Bible is silent and implement Special Missions and then say we all need to give it and get behind the plan of God. I’m sorry but it seems that the plan of God is directly opposed to the Word of God. Therefore, I must conclude that this is not God’s plan, not God’s movement. God’s leader would not purposely contradict God’s Word over and over again, even after many from this movement and prior have warned him about this type of behavior.

Discipling is A Command, Not Optional

100% I agree with this. We all need the fellowship of brothers and sisters who help us stay on the straight and narrow. But the implementation of this is nothing more than a way to control the flock. From your Biblical Differences article:

In our modern world with such busy schedules in such an individualistic and highly structured society, we have found that the only way to guarantee that every member in our congregations is being discipled is to have structured discipling – discipleship partners.
From this I understand that Kip looked at the structure of today’s modern world and concluded that the only way to guarantee every member in our congregation is being discipled is to have structure discipling. So instead of looking at the Scriptures and finding what the culture is like in God’s kingdom and imitating what we see in the Bible, he looked at the world and said, “the world is highly structured, therefore the kingdom needs to be highly structured.” I don’t think I need to go into details as to why this is bad theology (but I will later).
The problem is that it creates an us vs. them mentality with other disciples around the world. We automatically say that if a group does not have a structured discipling plan then that group does not believe in discipling. It is a shallow way to judge whether or not somebody is a disciple. Somebody could just agree to have a discipler and not really be a disciple. Also it doesn’t get to the root of the issue. If someone is not seeking advice, input, direction, correction, teaching, training, and rebuking perhaps this person cares nothing about holiness or actually being a Christian.
If looking at the Bible is not good enough, let’s just look at the facts, discipleship partners has failed and is failing. Look at the fall away rate around the movement. It is close to 80% now. Even in LA there’s a near 90% fall away rate. (369 people were baptized in and 337 people fell away in LA in 2015) So if it clearly is not working and it did not work in the prior movement (because according to Kip, this was one of the first things that was done away with with when the movement fell apart) then why do we keep doing it? It is simple: it is the best way for leadership to get indoctrination through the fellowship.
How many times are we told as leaders we need to be people talking about the 5 Core Convictions, or the Crown of Thorns Project, or Special Missions, or the GLC or who we need to delete social media because they were marked or disfellowshipped in d times? Is this really what needs to be talked about in our personal d times? Not holiness or righteousness or faith or hope or love or other things that Christ actually talked about? We don’t do discipleship partners because they work at keeping people faithful, they work because we can keep the people indoctrinated with our unique theology.
A Central Leadership with a Central Leader vs. Autonomous congregations
“Throughout the Bible, the Israelites were at their strongest with the Lord when they had a central leader: Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David. As a matter of fact, the book of Judges says of those days when they did not, “Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 21:25) In the New Testament, Jesus is the leader of “the Movement!” Uniquely, when He ascends to Heaven, Peter takes on this responsibility as “the apostle to the Jews” since for the first seven years of Christianity only Jews became Christians. Interestingly, after Paul became “the apostle to the Gentiles,” the leadership of the movement by Acts 15 had passed to Jesus’ oldest half brother James. At the Jerusalem Council, James, after listening to both sides of the circumcision issue, gives his singular authoritative “judgment” which is then bound on all the churches. (Acts 15:19-24) Even Paul after his missionary journeys reports to James and submits to his direction. (Acts 21:24) The Mainline Church of Christ and the ICOC do not believe in an authoritative central leader or leadership. Sadly, autonomous churches only produce autonomous disciples. In fact, in 2005, some of the most influential ICOC leaders came to me and begged me to be on a “team of leaders” if I would only say that autonomy was “a matter of opinion.” I said, “No. It is sin.” Since I disagreed with them, I was labeled “divisive” which is what Jesus understood would happen if you preach the truth. (Luke 12:51-53)”
As you said earlier in this article, the Old Testament is richer in examples of the teaching of Centralized Leadership with a Central Leader than the New Testament. That’s because the Old Testament deals with the physical nation of Israel. The Israelites weren’t just the people of God, they were an independent state. The centralized leadership of the Old Testament was not just to help the Israelites stay close to God, but also to enforce the laws of their nation. There are many things that distinguishes the Old Covenant from the New Covenant, but I just want to talk about one: The Holy Spirit.
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:25-27

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you.” John 14:16-17

“Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit.” John 3:5-6

 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39

Underneath the old covenant, every Israelite did not have access to the Holy Spirit as Christians do today. In most instances, though not all, it was only the leaders and the prophets who had this personal access to the Holy Spirit. However, God does not deal with his people today the way he dealt with his people in the Old Testament. God spoke mainly through the leaders He appointed but today he speaks to us through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2) Today every Christian has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit upon repentance and baptism. If every repented baptized disciple has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit why MUST we have a centralized leadership with a central leader to tell us what to do? To tell us where we should plant churches. Who tell us how much money we are to give for church plantings. Why do we need a leader’s permission do make decisions in our lives? It seems as if we are putting a middle man between the people and Jesus, between the people and the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying that centralized leadership and a central leader is an inherently evil thing but our emphasis on a centralized leadership and a central leader deemphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Also contrary to what we teach, after reading through the book of Acts and the entire New Testament, I cannot come to the same conclusion, as the movement does, that James was the leader of the first century movement. James made one decision that impacted all the churches in the 30-year history of the book of Acts and somehow that makes him the sole leader of the movement? I also cannot find any Scripture in the New Testament where anyone in the New testament proclaim themselves as the leader of the movement, not even Peter or Paul. So if no one ever claimed to be the leader of the movement and Jesus left the Holy Spirit to guide us individually as Christians then why do we have a leader that proclaims himself to this position? In actuality I find more Scripture that no one should ever exalt themselves to the leader of all the churches.

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45

Jesus strictly says that we are not to lord authority over one another and care about position and titles (Mark 10:35-41). Yet in our movement, all we do is talk about the need for a centralized leader system in order for Christianity to work. Wouldn’t Jesus (if anybody) give very specific instructions on who, what, how, the church should be structured? He spoke on so many things and yet he leaves out specific instruction on centralized leadership and a central leader. We say we worship Jesus and not man, yet most of our doctrine does not come Jesus' mouth.

In our own article we say in one part that central leadership is a matter of speaking where the Bible is silent and then later on in the same article we that it is sin to be autonomous and not have centralized leadership. Which is it?

“As for the interpretation of Scripture, I and the ICC believe the opposite of Campbell: “Be silent where the Bible speaks and speak where the Bible is silent.” In other words, we are free to practice or name something as long as it does not contradict the Scriptures. (Genesis 2:19; 1 Corinthians 10:23) We are more than comfortable with the terms and practices of Lead Evangelists, Women’s Ministry Leaders, and the authority of our Central Leadership Council over all of the SoldOut Movement churches. Let us not forget, the word “Bible” is not in the Bible, but we believe it is of God!”
“In fact, in 2005, some of the most influential ICOC leaders came to me and begged me to be on a “team of leaders” if I would only say that autonomy was “a matter of opinion.” I said, “No. It is sin.” Since I disagreed with them, I was labeled “divisive” which is what Jesus understood would happen if you preach the truth. (Luke 12:51-53)”
On one hand the Central Leadership Council is a matter of speaking where the Bible the is silent, yet on the other hand it is sin if we don’t have it.
It’s said that “Israel was at its strongest with the Lord when they had a central leader: Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David” But if we follow that parallel then that would make Kip the absolute leader of God’s people just like Moses, Joshua, Samuel, & David with no one able to take him out but God. Therefore, like David, that would make Kip our king. The big problem with that is that we already have a king, his name is Jesus. There is only one other man on earth that has supreme spiritual authority over his people like Kip does, and that’s the Pope. And even the Pope gets elected! This is absurd! Not even Jesus exalted himself over God’s people (Philippians 2:6-8; Mark 10:45)

Perhaps you could make a case for a Centralized Leadership but even our modern day centralized leadership does not operate like the one we see in the book of Acts. These guys got together once in Acts 15 to make a decision on doctrinal matters. Our current centralized leadership meets a couple times a year in an expensive hotel to make decisions about where to plant churches, who to send, and how much money everyone else is to raise to support these church plantings. All opinion matters. None to do with Biblical church issues. If the World Sector Leaders and Crown of Thorns Council wanted to be like the centralized leadership of the Bible theses guys would get together and discuss the erroneous doctrinal issues in the movement such as Speaking where the Bible is Silent for a whole group of people, the nature of compulsive giving in contribution and Special Missions, and Divorce and Remarriage (Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18). But then again if they did that some of our leaders would be disqualified from leadership. So does our current centralized leadership serve itself or serve the people? Do they not trust us enough to actually pull together and see the world evangelized in this generation? Are they so afraid that someone will actually point out a flaw in them or the system that has implemented doctrines and techniques to keep this from happening any longer?

The reality is that we do not need a centralized leadership to tell us where to plant churches, how much money to raise, and who to send to evangelize the world in this generation. “But there has to be leadership right? Without leadership how can we be unified?” We can certainly be unified in Christ. As we say, “If I gave everything up for Jesus and you gave everything up for Jesus then we have everything in common.” See we can be unified. The only reason we enforced centralized leadership so heavily though is because we’re trying to make everyone uniform. We want every disciple to go through the same studies before and after baptism. We want every church to have the same methodology of discipleship. We want every disciple to look, act, and talk the same. There can be no divergent here. The centralize leadership that we say is of God is not for the sake of unity but for the sake of uniformity.

The Evangelization of the Nations in this Generation

This is our favorite one. Matthew 28:18-20. This is our vision. This is our plan. This is what we are all about. This is what separates us from every other church in the world. But does it really?
From the Biblical Differences article:

“The dream of the evangelization of the nations in THIS generation. This vision to change the world was rejected, because many ICOC teachers wrongly concluded that this was one of the primary reasons for bitterness in the ICOC.”

From Mike Taliferro’s article:

“For instance, in defense of his departure, he says that, “I became convinced that the ICOC, for the most part, that I was affiliated with was no longer a movement, whose dream was to evangelize the world in our generation.” I’d like to state for the record that I do not know a single evangelist or elder in the ICOC who has renounced this dream. In fact, we are still taking up millions of dollars for mission work around the world. We are still actively building up our churches in over 150 countries. Africa, for instance, has a 30 year plan that begins with the cities and ends with the villages. ICOC churches have planted nearly 100 churches in the last four years. Yes, we hit a very difficult patch in 2003. It was very challenging. But most of us did not cut and run during the direst time in our history. While some ran off and started “new movements” simply so that they could be in charge once again, most of us stayed with the churches that we began and did not desert “the army of God” that was still fighting in the field. We are still giving our lives to evangelize the world, and we want to do it in our generation. If it takes longer, so be it. The Holy Spirit is in charge. But we all want to see it happen in our generation.
Of course, this begs a question. Since the Portland Movement so often talks about winning the world in one generation, well, hasn’t Kip had one generation already to do it? Didn’t he start trying in 1979 in Boston? It seems to me that after 30 years he is back to square one. Since you guys are so set on World evangelization taking only one generation, then why is it taking Kip so long? It appears that Kip will need to try a second time to accomplish his goal, and it will take Kip himself at least two generations to do the job. So, why are you so critical of us? We in the ICOC have no idea how long it will take to evangelize the world, but we are committed to doing it in our generation. Please understand that the dream is very much alive in the ICOC. In fact, we are the ones who stood faithful during the tough times in order to see that dream come true.”

Someone is lying again. What the ICOC claims and what we say the ICOC claims are two different things. Again, I’ve never stepped foot inside an ICOC but I do know that the church that got planted by the ICOC in Eugene already has a plan to plant a church in Corvallis. I’m not seeing what we are saying about them.

So why the press for accomplishing this in one generation? It’s simple: By saying this generation it creates a sense of urgency. Urgency can be used to motivate people to give as much money as they can, and even sometimes more than they can, to meet the need of the hour. By saying this generation, we put a deadline on Jesus’ word. It’s like having a due date for your homework. You better get it done on time or else.

Also by stressing a deadline for the Great Commission, it gives us a timeless excuse to have as many Special Missions Contributions as the leadership would see fit. In regards to Special Missions, most of the money doesn’t even go to the missionaries. I’ve sent several missionaries out from Eugene and in each case they were responsible for making their 20x Special Missions Contribution plus come up with an extra $1,000 to support themselves once they arrived to their mission field. Now if we, back home, are raising money to support our missionaries, then why are they raising money for themselves? And that begs the question, where do these millions of dollars go anyway?

Secondly, let’s be real clear about what this “Core Conviction” really means. It doesn’t mean the goal is to evangelize the world in this generation, it means WE want to evangelize the world in this generation. Do not be confused. This is not about fulfilling Jesus’ dream; this is about fulfilling Kip’s dream to be the hero. If this was about Jesus’ dream then we would gladly do whatever it took to work with other disciples outside the movement to see the world won. But that’s not what we do. In Kip’s own words, he believes there are thousands of faithful disciples still in the ICOC. Why do we never hear about them in the good news email? I've never seen a CAICC bulletin that had any good news from those thousands of faithful disciples in the ICOC. It's because Kip has to be in charge. ICOC and other disciples have offered to work with Kip time and time again but he always backs out because he has to be in charge.

We could care less what other disciples around the world are doing. If they are not with us in the movement then they just are not getting the job done right? Wrong! This “Core Conviction” creates in every disciple in the movement a sense of self-righteousness. We say that this is what makes a different. We boast about worldly things like our plan for world evangelism. “We have a plan for World Evangelism,” we say. “Look at OUR Crown of Thorns Project and look at how much WE accomplished in such a short time!” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:16 and “So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours,” 1 Corinthians 3:21 As disciples in the movement we boast more about our leaders than anyone else. Just because we try to put a “Holy Spirit” or “To God be the glory” doesn’t mean we’re actually giving God glory.

Do not be deceived. Just look at the stats. In 2012 the movement boast 40 churches.

“Globally, in five years, the SoldOut Movement is not merely adding but multiplying daily, as the Lord has established through plantings and the gathering of remnant groups some 40 churches in 19 nations! Excitingly, this summer new SoldOut Discipling Movement churches will be planted in Boston, Mexico City, Orlando, Paris and San Francisco!”

Now look at where we are in 2016

“We now mark the beginning of God’s new movement with the planting of the City of Angels Church in May 2007 by the 42 sold-out disciples from Portland. Therefore, in the SoldOut Movement’s short eight year history, God has spread His new movement to build 61 churches with 4,000 disciples with almost 6,000 in attendance on Sundays in 31 nations on all six populated continents of the world!”

From year 1 to year 5 we went from “1” church to 40 churches and then from year 5 to year 8 we went from 40 churches to 61 churches. It appears the movement is slowing down. That’s the problem with inflating your stats to make a big deal about what you are doing. You have to keep inflating your stats, otherwise someone will come along, analyze the number and actually find the truth. Doesn’t it seem odd that we have more churches in the movement today than seven years ago but today we give more money for special missions than we did seven years ago? The fact is the numbers are telling us that we are not evangelizing the nations in this generation. The numbers are telling us that the ICOC is doing a better job at evangelizing the nations in this generation.

The Bottom Line About The “Five Core Convictions”

Early on in the new movement, there were no five core convictions. These were implemented when people who came to the new movement from the ICOC started going back to the ICOC. Once the ICOC got back on its feet from all the damage the Kip caused, they started to grow and be vibrant again so people could not tell the difference. We needed to stop the bleeding. So we began to stress differences, however small they were (or has the research shows, doesn’t even exist).

The five core convictions are not necessarily wrong but they also aren’t necessary. The fact is that the ICC does not preach a gospel-centered message. We preach the gospel + the five core convictions. The gospel + first principles. The gospel + [insert any doctrine that makes the ICC different than other churches]. When did the gospel stop being good enough to take to the lost world? Here’s how we know the Five Core Convictions aren’t necessary: Read through the book acts and find the top five themes in book. I’m sure we all would come up with five different things but none of us (except Kip) would come up with the Five Core Convictions. That’s because it’s not necessary for salvation or to evangelize the world. The five core convictions serve one purpose: to make our church seem better than every other church, so as to keep as many people in the movement as possible.

The Corporate structure of the Movement that makes sinful leadership normal

The second major foundational error I see, is our movement’s definition of Centralized Leadership. In our movement the Central Leadership, the World Sector Leaders and Crown of Thorns Council, make all decisions for the movement. No church gets planted without them knowing. No money gets raised for missions without their approval. All major decisions come back to the Central Leadership and mainly back to Kip McKean. Again I start with a statement so no one is confused about what I believe. This is the statement: I believe in Central Leadership. It can be useful but currently our model of Central Leadership does not represent the the first century church nor does it portray a good exegesis of Old Testament theology. Unfortunately, our form of Central Leadership structure more closely resembles the Catholic Church. (I say resembles because I do not believe we are modeled exactly like the Catholic Church, yet)
            The reasoning for our movement’s structure of Centralized leadership comes mostly from Old Testament examples. Moses was God’s appointed leader for the Israelites during the Exodus. When Moses was about to die, he asks God to appoint a leader so the people will not be like sheep without a shepherd (Numbers 27:15-17) Joshua is selected and leads God’s people to conquer the Promised Land. After Joshua dies, the Israelites go through some dark periods during the time of the judges. The best way to sum up the book of Judges is the final verse of the book. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” Judges 21:25. Saul is selected as king and after him Israel has its most prosperous time under King David. King Solomon led the kingdom through more prosperous times but after him the nation splits into two kingdoms until eventually the entire nation is taken into captivity.
            Now we have been taught that we are “a Bible church and not just a New Testament church”. Therefore, since we are a Bible church, while we are no longer bound by “the law” we can still look to the Old Testament for Biblical principles to live by. Which is true and what I believe. The problem comes when we begin to structure the movement like the Old Testament nation of Israel. The church and the nation of Israel are not the same thing. We begin, and have already begun, to go down a slippery slope which will lead to legalism and placing man before Jesus. When we structure our movement by improperly placing the church as the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, Kip McKean, in effect, becomes our king. The obvious problem with this is Jesus is our king, not Kip. You of course are saying that this is outrageous and Kip is not our king. And I have said that and preached that as well. But let’s investigate a few questions. Have you ever intentionally baptized someone that doesn’t believe everything we believe as outline in the First Principles bible studies which is written by Kip? “Well of course not! That would be dissentious” Would it? Who would you be dissenting against, Jesus or against Kip’s theology? Is it really necessary to believe in world evangelism in a generation to receive salvation? If so, then Kip would have to get rebaptized because he has gone on record as saying that they weren’t even thinking about world evangelism in a generation until after a few years in Boston in the 80’s. 10 years after he got baptized. Does counting the cost to make sure someone believes in world evangelism helps them stay faithful to Jesus or stay faithful to the movement? What do you think about someone who says they are not giving the full 20x for Special Missions? Do feel like they are in sin? Why? Because they’re greedy? Are you really greedy because you can’t pay two weeks of your salary that you are mandated to give to be a part of the church? Can a church leader intentionally not do what central leadership directed them do and still lead a church in our movement? (The answer is no) Why not? Why can’t I make an informed decision that sending 25x to LA for Special Missions is not right especially considering that we here in Eugene can’t afford a place to meet for our own worship services? Why do we use Scriptures like Deuteronomy 17:12-13 “Anyone who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the Lord your God is to be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel. 13 All the people will hear and be afraid, and will not be contemptuous disfellowship people from the church? To bring this Scripture into the New Testament church, which is bad exegesis, is to intentionally kill them spiritually so that the rest of the church will be afraid and never disagree with leadership again.  (i.e. withhold Salvation from them. Which brings up a whole host of issues such as to can the church even withhold salvation from someone if we believe it is God who saves and not us?) So again, I bring up the point that a bad exegesis of the Old Testament makes Kip our king and not Jesus. The church is not the nation of Israel, we are spiritual Israel. And our spiritual king (and actual king) is Jesus. We do not need a human king anymore. But in our current model Kip, and his teachings, are our king whether we realize it or not.
Another problem with Kip being our king is that we run into a deep theological issue. Because Moses was the leader for all of God’s people. David was the leader of all God’s people. Are we saying that Kip is supposedly to be the leader of all Christians everywhere? And if we say that then we are essentially saying that everyone outside our movement is not saved because in the Old Testament God’s people were commanded to live as one nation together. We cannot say he’s the leader of God’s movement without saying that he’s the leader for all God’s people. And if we are saying that he not is the leader of all God’s people then we have to acknowledge and behave as if there are other Christians out there besides those in “God’s movement”. If you think we already do that, try telling your church leader you’re going to worship with the ICOC for the next month just because you want to and see his response. We publicly acknowledge Christian in other fellowships but when was the last time we actually cooperated with anybody outside of the movement? We don’t because we don’t really think people are as spiritual as us.
One reason why our central leadership is structured like the Catholic Church is because they don’t just make decisions for us, they also make definitions for us. Take for instance: world evangelism and autonomy. Our movement’s tagline is “the Evangelization of the Nations in this Generation”. But let’s be clear: We don’t want world evangelism in this generation. We want to evangelize the world in this generation. Meaning, it’s not important to us that the world is evangelized in this generation, it is important to us that we are the ones who evangelize the world. How do we know this? We acknowledge baptisms in the ICOC (so as long as they eventually join us) but we don’t acknowledge ICOC church plantings in the ICOC. Why not? Because we don’t really know that they are making disciples right? No. It’s because it is not our central leadership’s joy that the world gets evangelized, it is the central leaderships joy that we are the ones who evangelize the world. We are ambitious to see the world won, so as long as we are the ones doing the winning. We automatically assume that if we aren’t doing it then it’s not being done, which is the reason for a growing multiple of Special Missions every year.
Autonomy is sin according to our beliefs. But that interpretation of Scriptures is based off of experience in the ministry rather than an actual Bible teaching. In the 70s, our brother Kip was a part of an American movement within the Churches of Christ called Campus Advance. When Kip and his contemporaries were just a campus ministers they would get hired at a Churches of Christ and build dynamic campus ministries. The norm in those churches were to have fired up Campus ministries and, at best, a lukewarm older ministry. This was all led by a guy named Chuck Lucas. From Chuck, Kip learned the practice of counting the cost before someone was baptized, accountability through prayer partners (which we now know as discipling partners) amongst other good tools for ministry. Kip was hired at the Lexington Church of Christ in 1979 where for the first time, he called the entire congregation to be totally committed (which we now call Sold Out). Amazing growth happened in Boston and Boston was able to plant other churches with the same model of building churches with only totally committed disciples. This became known as the Boston Movement and later the ICOC (International Church of Christ). A lot of us look back at the ICOC and think that it was just by building churches of sold out disciples that the ICOC grew from 1 church to over 400 churches in under 25 years. But two things had a major impact on the dramatic growth that Kip often downplays. Number one was in the mid 80s when Chuck Lucas stepped out of leadership because of sin. This led to nearly 3000 trained disciples orphaned that found their way into the ICOC. Having 3000 trained leaders all of sudden would definitely lead to great growth. Secondly, many of the churches in the ICOC were reconstructed instead of planted. A reconstruction happened when a church wanted to join the the ICOC. The Boston church would send their trained minister to lead the church that wanted to join. In return that church would send its current leader to Boston to be trained and sent back out. This was in stark contrast to the Churches of Christ which were closing many of its doors due to lack of church growth. Kip attributed this dramatic expansion to the influence of being an overseeing evangelist. This is when autonomy became sin. Autonomy was not sin when Kip first got baptized because autonomy was all he knew. Autonomy as defined by our central leadership means self governing. That is actually good definition for autonomy. The problem becomes when we start attributing selfishness with autonomy. When we start saying leaders just want to be autonomous because they don’t support world missions and just want to run their own kingdom. That is a problem. Just because someone is self governing doesn’t mean they are selfish. In some sense, we need to be autonomous because if we are always dependent upon some else to take care of us we will always be a burden to the body. But our central leadership has told us that autonomy is sin and we can’t be a movement if we are autonomous. The Scriptures and history tell us otherwise.
In the first century church, there was local autonomy and all the churches still worked together. For instance, Jerusalem had no part in Paul and Barnabas being sent out on a missionary journey from Antioch. Paul did not go to Iconium, Lystra, Cyprus, and Derbe at the direction direction of the apostles in Jerusalem. As a matter of fact, the first time that Jerusalem even finds out about the churches in these church plantings was at the council in Acts 15:4.
At this point I digress a minute to show another huge difference the Jerusalem of our movement and the Jerusalem of the book of Acts. In our movement LA is our “Jerusalem” based on the Scripture of Acts 1:8. LA has the most members, it has the biggest staff, and the largest contribution. Eventually all of our most talented young and veteran disciples will go to LA to be trained because Jerusalem is to be a model for the other churches. Also in our movement, our Jerusalem makes all the decisions for the rest of the churches. This is far from the Jerusalem of Scriptures. The Jerusalem of the Scriptures is a poor church, not the church with the biggest payroll. Jerusalem was so poor that the disciples were not even eating let alone have enough money to pay all its leaders (Acts 6:1) In Jerusalem, the apostles did not even make all the decision for Jerusalem. When the Hellenistic were being overlooked in the distribution of food, we are told that the apostles chose 7 men to delegate this responsibility to. But this is not true. The apostles did not choose anybody. The disciples chose the 7 and presented them to the apostles, not the other way around. (Acts 6:1-6) This may seem minute but when the Scriptures are retold to us as they are not written, our modern day apostles (Central Leadership) gets to hold all the power within their hands. The church in Jerusalem did not oversee the planting of every church in the Book of Acts like our modern day Jerusalem does. Read the Scriptures carefully and you’ll find that many times the apostles did not know a church had been started else. Look at Phillip in Samaria (Acts 8:14) Barnabas explaining to the apostles all the work Paul did in Damascus (Acts 9:26-28) Paul explaining to the apostles about the churches that were planted among the Gentiles (Acts 15:4) Often times, the apostles had no idea that these things were happening.
We often are told that Jerusalem was the center of the movement because of the big council that took place in Acts 15. But the reason why the council took place at Jerusalem was because the false doctrine had gone out from Jerusalem (Acts 15:1) This was a not a meeting of every church leader in the movement, this was council of the apostles and elders from Jerusalem and Antioch, that’s it. The reason the letter was sent throughout the rest of the churches was because of Antioch’s influence of those churches, not Jerusalem’s. Paul takes the letter back to the churches he planted. Churches that Jerusalem did not plant. If we were to live in the Book of Acts then we would not be under the direction of the leadership of our modern day Jerusalem 24/7. But I digress..
Another example of local autonomy is the diversity of the disciples. In Jerusalem the disciples were taught to keep the law as Christians while Paul taught people that they did not need to keep the law Acts 21:20-22. We’ve taught improperly that all the disciples were taught the same thing everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:17) But this Scriptures indicates what Paul taught the same thing everywhere in every church. This is does not mean that every preacher taught the same thing everywhere. There were disciples of John preaching about the Messiah but who knew nothing about the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-5). There were preachers who preached about Jesus but knew nothing of Paul’s teachings (Acts 18:24-28) It’s clear that the Holy Spirt, not the apostles in Jerusalem sent Phillip to preach the word in Azotus (Acts 8:39-40). Peter at the direction of the Holy Spirit was sent to Joppa to convert the first Gentile convert (Acts 10:9-48). All these are examples of people preaching in places not at the direction of a central leadership. We would call this autonomy. But this is not sin. This is what it is: Preaching the word. Just because an overseeing evangelist doesn’t tell you do it, doesn’t mean your selfish or want to build your own kingdom. I understand at this point I've lost many of you. Autonomy is a huge no-no in the movement. We never entertain the idea of autonomy even if Jesus himself came down and told us we don't Centralized Leadership. I didn't want believe it at first as well, but I was at a crossroads because the practices of church I saw in the book of Acts was different than the practices I saw in the our movement. I had a dilemma. I could continue to search the Scripture to reinforce what I already believed or just let the Bible speak.
But how can we expect to succeed as a movement if we don’t have Centralized Leadership? The same way every other movement has survived from the beginning of time: through respect and cooperation. The First Century church did not have a Central Leader. (Our Central Leadership can make a case for James as the leader but he was not making decisions for every church throughout the world because he did not know about every church throughout the world) The Civil Rights Movement did not have a Centralized Leadership with a Central Leader making decisions for every minority across America. Neither did the Women’s Suffrage Movement, nor the Reformation Movement, nor the American Revolution and the list goes on. All these movements have key contributors but not one defined leader making decisions for every member of their movement. This is why we look like the Catholic Church. In the Catholic Church, the Pope does make all decisions for the Church. He decides the doctrine and interprets the Scriptures for them. His Central Leadership is responsible for advising him and the execution of the decisions he makes. All with the goal of keeping Catholics, Catholic. All of the decisions our Central Leader makes is made with the goal of keeping the members of the movement in the movement. Sadly though, the our movement is a church that became a business, but is now just a business that it trying to retains its properties of a church.
One Scripture that was said to me when I left was Ephesians 4:3 "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." "Stay in the movement and stay unified. Leaving will not produce unity." But movements are not the agent of unity. The Holy Spirt is the agent of unity. It is our job to keep peace. Keep the relationship even if we have fundamental differences so as long as the differences are not salvation issues. And every issue in this article is not. We can have differing views of church governance and still be unified.
Let me reiterate: I do believe in Centralized Leadership and even like the idea of having a Central Leader but I do not want to be Catholic. Why can’t we have freedom in our movement to do as what we believe as, disciples and leaders, are the best for our cities? Do we not all have the Holy Spirit. This is just not the case. The event that sparked this journey for me was caused when a decision was made for one of our sisters to move to LA to be our World Sector Leader’s nanny before it was discussed with us or her. I know it was decided because my overseeing evangelist accidentally told me it was happening because he assumed that was the issue I was calling for on that particular evening. Now mind you, this sister was currently leading a house church in Corvallis and was scheduled to move closer to Eugene at the end of year to help my wife and I at the University of Oregon. My wife had just given birth to our second daughter in October and needed help managing the ministry and taking care of our two daughters under two years of age. All of sudden we were expected to send this sister to LA at the drop of hat. When we were first asked about it, I asked if she could move down in February or March after my wife had fully recovered from having the second baby. This was met with objection and I was told that this would be best for the sister moving, as in the World Sector Leader’s own words said “this is the best sister we have in all our churches.” I spoke with my wife about it and she was very upset about this. She had already sent out three of her female Bible Talk Leaders earlier in the year, including our administrator, and was already feeling stretched pretty thin between the two kids, working on the graduate program for ICCM, and discipling 9 women in the church. This sister was going to help offload some of this work.
When I called our World Sector Leader a second time to discuss the possibility of her coming down in February or March again, this time I got a 30-minute lecture about how I don’t enjoy making leaders and that if I enjoyed making leaders then I wouldn’t need this sister because I would just make more. (It’s ironic to me how we helped this sister become the “best sister we have in all the churches” in one phone conversation, to the couple that doesn’t enjoy making leaders in the next). I reluctantly gave in because I did not want to keep going in circles and I could barely get a word in either way. So we got our hearts behind the plan. But we thought she was going to move at the end of December. However, I found out in the pre-service huddle of our November 29th worship service that this sister would be leaving by December 10th to get to LA by 13th to place membership at LA’s Christmas Service. No one communicated the plan with us. So we had to scramble to find someone to replace her in her apartment so that the sisters could pay rent for December and January.
That’s not right. Shouldn’t we have cooperated together to find a plan that was mutually beneficial for all parties involved? Why do the sisters here in Eugene need to scramble to donate plasma for rent because their roommate was asked/told to go move to LA to be the nanny of a World Sector Leader who’s kids are 7 years old and 3 years old? Shouldn’t the woman with two daughters under two years old get help with childcare before the woman with older children? Does LA really not have one person in their entire 900-person congregation who can fill this role? But according to our model of Central Leadership I’m the one who needs to get on board with what Central Leadership has decided. Because our Central Leadership is essentially our kings whose decrees cannot be overrun. Our current Corporate structure make situations like this common.
But this is what our Corporate Leadership structure does, it makes sinful leadership so normal that we think evil is good and good is evil (Isaiah 5:20) When I brought this case up even to my disciple, he said it happens to him to and that’s just the way it has to be. No it is not the way it has to be. We could actually be Christian and use the whole Bible in our relationships and not just Hebrews 13:17. If you want to continue to subject yourself to it then be my guest. But I actually care about a life beyond this world and will trust in Jesus’ words and not man’s interpretation of Jesus’ words.
The problem is not the World Sector Leader call and demanded a person to be sent to him . The problem is that a situation like this is normal. This is the culture of the movement. And the culture is produced by its foundation. When I was in ICCM, my graduate thesis was going to be on the effects of culture and conviction. The reality is that culture shapes our behavior more than what we believe. The culture of the movement needs to change if it is to continue. And the only way the change the culture is to change the foundation
Let’s cooperate together. Let’s let the evangelist and local leadership have some say in major decision that happen in their congregation. Unlike the Catholics we don’t have a 1700 year cultural history that will keep people Catholic through a few isolated mess ups. We have 35 year history full of division and drama. We need to reform our ways otherwise this is not going to sustain itself. Kip as king, is already on his second generation of evangelizing the world in a generation. I would like to work with my Central Leadership not work for my Central Leadership. I want to be a part of the Movement, not pawn on Central Leadership’s chess board

The fact of the matter is, how the culture of the movement is the exact culture Jesus did not want in the church. Consider Matthew 23:5-12 about Jesus warning his disciples not to be like the Pharisees.

Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a]wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Jesus tell the disciples plainly do not be like the Pharisees. Everything they do is for people to see (Good News Email, CAICC bulletin, Livestream GLC events, etc.) Verse 5-6 sounds exactly like a GLC event to me. How many of the ICCM students have impossible prayers to be appointed as an Evangelist or Women’s Ministry Leader by the GLC? But this doesn’t even hit at the root of the issue.
            Verse 8-10 Jesus tells his apostles, not to be called Rabbi, father, and instructor. We know he is not talking about literally because Paul said he was a father in the faith. (1 Corinthians 4:15) Jesus interprets his words in the passage. They do not need another authoritative Teacher because Jesus is their teacher. Jesus has all authority (Matthew 28:18) All authority has been given to Jesus. Therefore, the apostles could not exert absolute spiritual authority over one another. They were brothers. No one of them have authority over the rest. Peter could not tell John what he had to do. Thaddeus was not obligated to get advice/permission from Matthew. Jesus commands them not to have these kinds of relationships where one person is “over the other in the Lord”. He admonishes them that if any of them tried to exalt themselves over the others that they will be humbled. Yet in the movement, every point of every lesson is about getting into a position of authority and leadership. We live our daily lives in direct opposition to the Scriptures.  
            We left because we saw that we were becoming Pharisees as well. Of the movement can be said the exact same things of the Pharisees of Matthew 15:6-9:

“Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[c]

Our traditions about the Bible are just as important as the Bible itself. This is the danger of Centralized Leadership. The people no longer know where the Scripture end and leadership’s opinions begin. The traditions of discipleship partners is linked synonymously with dsicipling itself, so much so that if discipleship partners were done away with today in the ICC, no one would know how to practice discipling. The tradition of Special Missions is linked synonymously with sacrificial giving that most disciples don’t even know that the majority of the giving by the disciples in the Bible were given to the poor. The tradition of Central Leadership is linked with unity that no one really knows how to be unified without it.
Our central leadership is directly against what Jesus teaches in his gospel. We place one man over another man and still another. “If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.” Ecclesiastes 5:8. The leadership is not righteous because it cannot be righteous. It does not have a righteous foundation. Our model for leadership is structured exactly like corporation, equipped with a CEO and everything.
Just compare our leadership with Jesus’ leadership. What happened when people left Jesus’ ministry:
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.” John 6:66-67

When people left Jesus’ ministry he let them walk away. What happens when someone leaves the movement. First we get desperate and try to appeal to their sentiments. “We’re family. We just love you and care about you.” If that doesn’t work, and the person is resistant then we find every ounce of sin and character deficiency of the person and use it as means to discredit anything that comes out of the person’s mouth. Then if that doesn’t work, here comes the disfellwoshipment and marking. At what point is our Central Leadership going to stop and ask themselves, “Maybe people get divisive and contemptuous because they are a product of our culture? Maybe Jesus was right when he said that a tree is recognized by its fruit? Maybe we have to mark or disfellowship people so much is because of a problem in our foundation?” They will never come to that conclusion though. They cannot come to that conclusion. That would be to admit that they got some things wrong in the beginning. Why would I, an evangelist all of sudden leave the ministry? Why would I rather be jobless than in the ministry? Why would I rather be poor than with my comfortable ministry job? LA was ready to bend over backwards for us. They were ready to pay us full time and let me still commute to Oregon to finish my Psychology Degree here at the University of Oregon. Why would my wife choose not live close to her parents who would have help her with our children? Oh that’s right, because I don’t have deep convictions. Because many have told the disciples here in Eugene in the church I was leading that I’m not a disciple. It’s always been odd to me that the leadership exposes all the sin of someone after they leave the movement. Didn’t you know about these things before I walked away. Why are they just coming to the light now, if it was so damaging? Because as long as I was in the movement I would make the movement look bad. The very sin that was used to discredit me here in Eugene was the same sin the my discipler told me not to let out into the church. Now he will be one of the one telling it to the church. Manipulation at its finest.
Do not be deceived disciples of the SoldOut Discipling Movement. Your central leadership does not serve you, you serve them. That’s how it is designed to work. Exactly like a corporation. They even teach it. Disciple= Christian= Saved =Worker. When you got baptized you became an employee of the church. That’s why you tag every weekend. That’s why you attend so many meetings. That’s why you give so much of your money. Just like a Corporation owns its employees, so the movement owns the disciples. You will never make another decision again in your life without getting advice/permission.
Sadly, the problem is not even the people. It is the system itself. It is greatly flawed. You can only operate like this for so long until people start to catch on and walk away.

The Bottom Line About The Leadership Structure of the Movement

            The ICC is a church that became a business and is now just a business trying to retain the properties of a church. The movement structured like a corporation with the disciples being the employees. Unfortunately, this corporate like structure comes complete with its corporate like sins. Greed, self ambition, slander, gossip, manipulation, deceit, dishonesty, pride and dissention. Eventually everyone leaves this structure. The problem with using the world as a model to structure the church is that you cannot mix the two. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?” 2 Corinthians 6:14. The advantage of the corporate model is that it is easily replicable. You can take it all over the world if you. Make a disciple of the corporation who makes a disciple of the corporation, and so on. The problem with it though is that it is worldly and never going to sustain itself in God’s Kingdom. “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1 Corinthians 1:20 When you incorporate Christianity, you end up making people loyal to the Corporation not Jesus Christ.

A Movement Built on Money
I first want to start by making a statement so there is no confusion in what I believe and what I stand for. The statement is this: I believe in Special Missions and I believe we should take up a Special Missions every year. Now with that being said, my issue is this: My issue is not that we give Special Missions, my issue is how we give Special Missions. Under our current model we do not give Special Missions, we pay Special Missions.
            This is currently how Special Missions work: The Crown of Thorn Council, which includes our World Sector Leaders, our movement’s Shepherds, our movement administrators, and few other selected evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leaders, come together assess where our movement is at and makes plans for the future. Based on their judgment, the multiple for our Special Missions is decided and how many times we will have Special Missions in a year is decided. As a church leader, I have no say in this decision. I usually find out a few days before it’s public knowledge. In the twenty two months I have led a church, we have had 3 Special Missions and another 3 Special Missions scheduled for 2016. I have no say in this decision. The amount each church is expected to give in the Spring is usually the multiple of you October weekly contribution average of the previous year. The Fall Missions is usually based off your June contribution average. (This is also why we usually have pledge drives in the movement around January and after the GLC. This way we will give our Special Missions based on our new pledges to ensure we “blow out” our Special Missions goal) The only flexibility I have as a church leader is the ability to correct any incorrect reporting of our average’s during the months our averages are based off of. (We are required to send monthly reporting to LA every month) I have no say in the total multiple we raise or the multiple we send. And we always send everything except a 1x to meet out weekly needs. There is a Biblical issue with this model.
            The Biblical issue with this is threefold. First, our current model is not how the first century church did things. Secondly, to say we are imitating the the first century church is not true. Thirdly, the model only leads people pay Special Missions under compulsion and not giving generously no matter how good hearted they are and how we as leaders try to spin it.
To the first point, this is just as simple as it sounds. I think we all know this, that Special Missions is not in the Bible. And this is usually where we point to Old Testament examples of taking up a collection for the building of the temple or tabernacle, or we hang on to one of our core convictions. Mainly, “speaking where the Bible is silent”. This would be all well and good if that is what the first century church did. The problem with using the Old Testament examples of building up the temple or tabernacle is that these were one time collections only, not annual collections. The apostles did not seem to use David’s example of providing money for the building of the temple for the collecting of money for missions, so why do we use David’s and other Old Testament examples every year to raise Special Missions? Because we have to hit the goal. So we look for examples are great financial sacrifice and say, “This is what they did in the Bible, so this is what we need to do.” Which sounds great, but The Israelites were not being told what they were expected to give year after year. When David collected money for the building of the temple, the people gave willingly without someone telling them what they were going to give (2 Chronicles 29:6) But the point is even if they were commanded to give a certain amount every year in the Old Testament, this is not what the apostles underneath the New Covenant did in the book of Acts.
Here’s the truth: The Movement has no money. LA operates on line of credit. The money you give to Special Missions does not go completely to Special Missions, it goes to pay off the line of credit the LA church has ran up. Just look at the Bulletin that CAICC puts out. We raised 2.6 million dollars in 2015 to plant six churches. I know that the Sacramento church only cost $23,000 to get started. So where did the $2,577,000? It doesn’t take $500,000 to start a church. We didn’t send all that money to other churches around the world. The LA church has run up it’s credit limit and our Special Missions goes to pay down that credit. It’s shocking the kind of deceit that happens in the movement.
Why did we have an impromptu 3x Missions Contribution in February? Because LA was about run completely out of money. The LA administrator sat down with Kip and explained to him that the LA church would be completely out of money by January 15th. Luckily, someone who I will keep anonymous, made a six figure donation in January to keep the LA church going. Then a “generosity drive” in January in LA and 3x Missions Contribution in February. That’s why we give Special Missions. Because we have to hit the goal. Because there is no money in the movement, in particularly LA.

Now anyone who’s knows their Bible and is a movement minded leader has automatically thought of a few Scriptures that show the apostles taking a collection and sending the money back to Jerusalem. This speaks the second issue. These Scriptures, to them, makes it clear that our model of Special Missions absolutely is modeled after the Scriptures. I know these Scriptures because I have also mistakenly preached these Scriptures in the wrong context as well. Some of these Scriptures are: Acts 4:32-36; Romans 15:25-28; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Acts 11:27-30. All these Scriptures, show Paul taking up a collection from the churches and bringing the money back to Jerusalem to give to the apostles to distribute. From that we can draw the conclusion that it is Biblical for us to collect a Special Missions contribution and send to LA for our central leadership to distribute. The one major flaw with this teaching is that the money Paul was collecting was for benevolence not missions work. In fact, in the first century, the apostles never took up any collections for the work of missions.
Contrary to what we have been taught and have been teaching, the apostles were not concerned with raising money for planting churches. They were too busy trying to meet the needs of the local congregation, mainly in the distribution of food (Acts 6:1-7, 11:27-30). The church in Jerusalem went through a famine, so many of the disciples did not have food. Paul wrote letters and went from church to church to collect money for the church in Jerusalem. The church in Jerusalem was a poor church. Quite different than the “Jerusalem” of our movement, which by far has the biggest weekly contribution. (LA’s weekly contribution is 25x the weekly contribution of Eugene) The church is Jerusalem in the book of Acts was not the hub for the financial decision making for the the other churches. In fact, the church in the Bible Jerusalem was at the mercy of the other churches. In all the Scriptures mentioned above, money was being collected for benevolent purposes not for planting churches. You may say, as I have preached before, that “we are materially rich here in America and we need to support the spiritually poor all over the world through raising missions.” Granted. And I believe that, but we can’t use those Scriptures above to support that.
It is vitally important we understand that the Scriptures and the practice in the first century church was that nearly all the money being collected was for benevolent purposes not for planting churches. Why is this so important? Because that means if a preacher, like myself or any other movement minded leader, uses the Scriptures to say we must give certain multiple of our weekly contribution for Missions then we are no longer imitating the Scriptures. Paul says in multiple occasions that the disciples gave what they decided to give, not what someone else told them to give (Acts 11:29, 2 Corinthians 9:7)
So why did the disciples raise so much money for helping the poor and not to planting churches? One reason is that Jesus taught that if you don’t take care of the poor and needy, especially amongst the believers, then you would go to hell! (Matthew 25:31-46). Being benevolent is a important aspect of maintaining your salvation. When Paul talks about testing the sincerity of your faith by comparing it with eagerness of others, he is not talking about how willing we are to give to support missions but how willing we are to give to support other brothers and sisters in need. Now some may say, like I have, that the disciples that are risking their lives in third world countries need our support through Special Missions and if you can do something to support them but you don’t then you’re being greedy. And again, I believe that. But then the support would be a benevolent offering not a mandatory payment of the multiple of my weekly contribution through Missions giving. We need to make sure we are differentiating between the two so as to make sure we are not misappropriating funds. (Because that’s illegal).  And it’s sad to say, but in this way, we are not that different from most false doctrine churches. Most churches the religious community give about 5-10% of their donations to local benevolence, and in our our movement of churches, most of our churches give right around 10% to local benevolence. (I exclude MERCY Worldwide payments from these numbers, because we are required as a local church to give to MERCY Worldwide therefore not making benevolent)
Anther reason why the disciples could focus on giving benevolence is because, in the first century they did not need money to plant churches. I know this doesn’t seem possible but if you read the book of Acts that’s exactly what happened. So how were churches planted? Well usually through persecution. The starting of new churches in other cities came as the result of having to relocate due to persecution. (Acts 8:1; 14:1-6) Another way of planting churches I discovered in the Book of Acts was that the people planting churches went out on their own dime. Often times, when Paul got to a city he had to work (1 Corinthians 18:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-10) Wouldn’t this be a cheaper solution then raising millions of to plant a few churches a year? In 2015, according to bulletin published by the City of Angels church, we raised 2.6 million dollars and we planted 6 churches. Now I know for fact that, it doesn’t cost $433,000 to start a church. The Eugene church, and many other churches in the movement, won’t even take up that much money in over the next two years. So we know that part of that 2.6 million dollars, and apparently an extremely large part, was used to support churches that have already been planted. Which means that even though we took up 20x and a 5x Special Missions contribution for let’s say Sydney, Australia in 2014 we continued to raise money to support them in 2015. But we aren’t just supporting Sydney year after year, we’re supporting churches in North America, South America, Africa, and Europe year after year. So even though we’re planting more churches, we, the people, are sacrificing more and more money to support the the money we’ve already supported. (I know, it sounds confusing. That’s how Central Leadership is able to get away with it every year and that’s why we keep paying more and more every year). You’ve probably heard it preached that to evangelize the world “we need people and money” I know I’ve heard it. And I know I’ve preached it because I heard it. But the first century church, which evangelize the world in their generation (Colossians 3:6;23), did not seem to need money to evangelize the world. Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” Proverbs 11:28 I have come to believe that if we need money to evangelize the world, that we will never evangelize the world because the world has already evangelized us. And in our movement, sadly we are dependent upon money to bring salvation to the world!
            The final issue I have with Missions, is that we don’t give Special Missions, we pay Special Missions. To be clear, Central Leadership is not suggesting we do 20x Missions in May, they are expecting us to do 20x Missions in May. So much so that usually, Missions money is spent before Missions money is finished being collected. Typically, if a person is giving something it is unexpected and freely given. Meaning that the person has a say in what their gift will be. This is what we see in the Book of Acts (Acts 11:29-30) But if I have no say in what I am giving, then it’s not really my gift is it? If you tell me what to give, then that becomes instruction. And if I’m just following instructions then I am not giving anything, I am simply obeying what I was told to do. With Special Missions, we are told what we are giving, and when we are giving. And if we are being told we have to give, then we are giving under compulsion (2 Corinthians 9:7). The way Central Leadership gets away with this is because they don’t tell individual members how much they are to give, Central Leadership only instructs the entire church how much is expected of them to give. Essentially our “Jerusalem” doesn’t care who gives what, but only that we reach the overall goal assigned to us as a church by them. So if one person gives 3x but another person gives 37x, it doesn’t matter so as long as we reach our overall goal. Biblically a man can’t tell another man that he must give a certain amount to World Missions, but in keeping with “speaking where the Bible is silent” it doesn’t say anything about telling a whole church. Because if you tell the whole church and just put the pressure on the church through a combination of inspirational sermons and stories and showing the impact through Good News Email then you never “technically” make a single person give. You only admonish churches to help evangelize the world. But if the Bible prohibits telling individuals how much they are to give, how can one church tell another church how much they need to give? My movement minded leaders know that Paul went around and instructing the churches to give money and send it to Jerusalem, but that speaks to the second issue which is that Paul instructed churches to give a benevolence to the church in Jerusalem. The fact is, if we want to live in the Book of Acts, then the Central Leadership of the movement cannot tell us as church leaders or individual members how much we need to support Missions. It’s their job to take our collection and decide how to spend the money, not to decide how to spend the money and then take a collection to support their decision. The first way is responsible and allows the members to freely give. The second way forces us to do a Special Missions Contribution every 3 months like we are currently doing. (9x in November, 3x in February, and 20x in May). As the saying goes, we shouldn’t put the cart before the horse.
            Also let’s not forget that LA doesn’t just get your Special Missions Contribution, they also get your Central Administration payment and Mercy Payment. 16% of your weekly contribution goes to Central Administration and 3% goes to MERCY Worldwide. So to those disciples outside of LA, you don’t give your contribution to support the work going on in your church. You give money to support your church AND the LA church. Also 90% of money the is paid to MERCY Worldwide, does not go to MERCY Projects. They go to salaries. Including a World Sector Leader. So basically, only 81% of your contribution is going to support your ministry and that number has been shrinking. Now you understand why we must plant more churches. And let’s remember, these are payments, these are not gifts. In Eugene we reached a place where we could not make the payments anymore. So I had to write an email to Kip and Michael Kirchner asking if we cannot pay into Central Administration for 6 months. So basically I had to ask if I could not send them money. That makes no literal or Biblical sense. Why should one church be obligated to send another church money? This year alone LA will receive over $700,000 in Central Administration and MERCY Payments!
            To close out I want to reiterate my opening statement: I believe in Special Missions and I believe we should take up a Special Missions every year. If you are looking for support for why we should not take Special Missions, this is not the article. We absolutely need to support World Missions and be fired up about it. I think it is very beneficial for us “rich” American disciples to sacrifice for those who are on the Mission field in less fortunate mission fields. But our current model is totally unbiblical and is clearly not being blessed by God if you actually analyze the number instead of getting hyped up about raw data. (2.6 million and only planting 6 churches is hardly being blessed by God) Every church in the world believes that every good thing that happens in their church is a blessing from God. But so often these religious communities are just as blinded and misguided as their leaders are on doctrines of salvation. We need to test the Spirit, consider our ways if we really want to evangelize the world in this generation. I’m a firm believer in not just throwing out a bunch of problems but rather coming up with solutions. So I thought of a few solutions rather than just griping about how messed up our system is. One solution could be the Local Evangelist coming up a Special Missions goal for his own church and deciding how much stays in the local church and how much is sent out. Right now our Evangelist are pretty much just glorified supervisors. Until you are recognized in the Crown Thorn Council, you really have no say into what churches get planted or how much money you are to raise. Let’s let our Evangelist and Shepherds be Evangelist and Shepherds instead of just Fundraising Coordinators. Why can’t I decide, based on the needs of my church and the needs of the movement as a whole, what our own Special Missions goal should be? Shouldn’t our Bible Talk Leaders have at least a voice (not meaning that we have to take everything they say) in what they are going to responsible for making sure we collect? Are we as evangelist not capable to do that? If our own Evangelist aren’t capable of making a spiritually informed decision like that, then we have a bigger problem than not being able raise enough money this year. A second solution, is stop having churches that are not growing, plant churches that are not growing. According to the City of Angels own financial presentation our fifth fastest growing church of 2015 was only growing at 41%. (these figures range from January -October 2015). That means the other 56 churches are growing at less than 40% a year and some even negatively. (including my church here in Eugene which saw a -18% growth in 2015) Wouldn’t it be wiser to invest in growing what we do have instead of pounding struggling churches to sacrifice more? (In 2015 the Eugene church went from 56 disciples to 46 disciples. This was after we sent out 8 Bible Talk Leaders during to support other churches in 2015) What if we sustained what we had before expanding? Because despite how amazing the workshops and GLC’s feel, the top leaders know that our churches are not growing even though we make it sound amazing. All that happens is that we end up planting churches with Special Missions money we raise one year, but then these churches we plant do not become self-supporting in their first year and we end up having to take up more Special Missions for them year after year, all the while sacrificing our top leaders to go to LA for training. Let’s invest in the numeric expansion of the churches we currently have before investing in the geographic expansion in the churches we don’t yet have. Another solution is to plant more American churches. Why? Cheaper plantings and more people helping to raise Special Missions. Why not come up with a 5 year 50 City Plan for the United States. If we listed the top 50 cities in America, I’m sure we will find that we are already in about half of them. Instead of planting churches in expensive cities like Dubai or third world countries in South America or Africa, where we will have to support forever, why not plant cheaper cities here in the United States. Not that we are more important than other nations, but let’s maximize our resources before we exhaust them. What we are doing now is exhausting the resources before they come in. (You only need a Special Missions in February because you’re going to run out of money in March). American churches are cheaper by far to plant than international churches.  We’re going to spend more than $15,000 just in buying plane tickets for missionaries to go to foreign mission team planting. Increase the number of people giving so that the number of times we have to give isn’t as taxing on the church. Here’s another solution that is a bit radical but I don’t mind being the first do it. Live in the Book of Acts: Stop paying our Church Leaders full time. In the book of Acts the majority of church planting was done without pay. In our movement though, our push is to get as many people as possible in the fulltime ministry, which cost more money. I’ve already documented times where Paul preach full time without pay. Let’s lead churches without a full time salary. Yes Paul says, those who “preach the gospel for a living, should receive their living from the gospel.”(1 Corinthians 9:14), but we can conveniently forget that this in the middle of him saying that he doesn’t want to be paid for preaching. Why? Because it may hinder the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:12) If we are having to force members to give 28x their weekly giving to the church, which ends up being nearly 3 weeks’ salary if you’re giving a tithe of 10%, or over a whole’s month’s salary for someone like myself who gives at 16%, I believe we are hindering the gospel. Hindering, not in the geographic expansion but hindering in spiritual growth, which may be a factor as to why our movement has over a 80% fall away rate. Let’s just plant churches like they did in the book of Acts, with no money. Let’s all just go get jobs, stop renting exorbitant conference centers and hotels for workshops, conferences, and retreats and just start meeting in houses like they did in the Book of Acts. Who are we trying to impress? It’s hard for me to come expensive conferences two or three times a year when my disciples back home can barely pay their rent. Yes let’s live in the book of Acts!

To Kip
Brother I don’t think you’re naïve. You’ve been doing this for 40 years. I believe you know exactly what you are doing. Again this may seem like a personal attack, but that's only because you attribute everything back to yourself. So I have to take it back to you. I love you but you are not being honest with God’s people. You have them believing a beautiful lie. I pray you do not do what you are accustomed to doing. If my hunch is correct you will try to bury this by slandering my name and discredit anything I have to say. I know you’re ticked off right now. But more than that you’re scared. This is why you’ve sent 4 evangelist to Eugene just because one stepped out. You’re scared that what you have build will be found out for what it is. I beg you to come into the light. We actually are rooting for you. I would follow you to the day you die if you actually were a just honest truthful disciple. If you would just throw off competing with the ICOC and the selfish ambition it would not take you 2 generations of what you said would happen in one. Please before its too late. You know this thing will not last to much longer but you can’t let anyone know.

To the World Sector Leaders
You have an opportunity here. You can keep going down the path you are going in the name of “Family Til The End” or you can be courageous and call out the things you’ve been seeing for years. Some of you have been expressing these things to Kip and the Shepherds for years now. You owe it to God’s people.

To Every Evangelists in the ICC
Don’t be deceived you cannot change it from within like you guys have been saying since we were back in LA together. The foundation is broken. The sad part is many of you know and choose to remain silent for all the obvious reasons. I’m not saying rebel against everything, I’m calling you to take a stand or leave. Otherwise you will be just as guilty as your leaders.

To the Remnant
It is happening again. The thing you fear the most is happening again. Our movement is crashing. There is no money and people are leaving faster than are being baptized. You have influence. Do something. You know you felt it when that 3x was announced. You felt it when you read all the boasting of stats. It is happening. Please do something to save God’s people.

To Every Other Disciple in the ICC
Study these things out. Ask the questions. If it feels weird, it is because it is weird. You have the Holy Spirit, learn to trust it. The fact is the leaders need you more than you need the leaders. They need your money, your evangelism, your friends, your family, and your time. They only they have the authority you give them.

Remember, I am not from the Old Movement. I was trained by the LA church. I was appointed by the LA church. And I was sent out by the LA church. Since I’ve left they’ve done exactly what I said they would. They’ve already began to soil my name with sin that they helped cover up. They are using manipulation and deceit to win the disciples after themselves. Soon will come a letter about marking and disfellowshipment (again) In reality, that’s all they can do. They cannot answer anything I am saying because they know its true. All they can say is that I’m evil and to control who talks to me on Facebook. They fear the people thinking for themselves. It’s too dangerous. They must protect themselves at any cost. 

This is what they do. They show up and you show up guarded and with questions. They tell you how awful it was that someone left the church. I've been on the phone with TK, "When I disfellowship a guy, I make the church feel like I'm sad. That's the most important thing bro. The church must believe that you're actually sad" This is what he said to me when other people left the church in Eugene. They tell you how sad it is that Satan got to that person. Then before you realize it, they're giving you an inspirational lesson about how we need to save the world. You laugh and get excited and by the end of it you're more fired up to give them more of your time and money than you ever had. And then you treat the person who left as if they had a disease. A week ago, this person was your best friend in The Kingdom. You were going to leave the Lord and they helped you keep your faith. And now they may or may not be a disciple. Then you with the leaders. They hang out with you, buy you lunch and you feel so loved. You're so enamored with their spirituality. This person could never have an evil bone in their body. After all the other guy left. (By the way, can someone explain the least hurtful way to leave the ICC? There isn't one because it's the only true church out there right?) And just like that all the questions and suspicions you have are gone. This is how we're trained in LA.

But the reality is the ICC will cease to exist in less than 10 years. It’s crashing. It has no money and all the older mature disciples are leaving. Leaving only naïve, young campus students who they will dangle leadership in front of their faces so long that that’s all the young people care about anymore.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the test: Read the book Acts and tell me what Five Core Convictions you come up with.