The Churches of Christ: A Comparative Essay
Over the past ten years there has been much controversy in the Christian and secular media about the International Churches of Christ (ICC), and the United (or mainline) Church of Christ (CoC). This controversy has stemmed from the ICC's misuse of funds, doctrinal problems, member abuse, and mind-control. The differences between the CoC and the ICC are important for Christians know and understand.
The CoC began in 1957 when these four groups merged The Congregational Churches, The Christian Church, The Evangelical Synod of North America, and The Reformed Church in the United States. These churches had firm Protestant roots in England, Germany, Sweden, and the United States, totaling over 49 years in their own traditions and fellowship. On June 25, of 1957, the four churches held a synod meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, to commit more fully to unity, liberty, freedom in Christ, and the evangelism of the world.
These groups, under the head of the Uniting General Synod, became the United Churches of Christ. Today the CoC has over two thousand registered churches in the world.
By 1979, the roots of the CoC were firmly in place. It was then that Chuck Lucas, a pastor at the Gainesville Church of Christ (mainline), met a young college student, Kip McKean, and began discipling him. Kip was a bright student and showed great potential for leadership in the church. However, something in the discipling process went wrong. Kip was expelled from the Gainesville church later that year for reasons dealing with departure from the CoC doctrine, manipulative attitude, unclear motivation, and controlling of other's lives. Kip and his wife Elena moved to Boston and started a small church that grew rapidly from thirty to over three hundred disciples in two months. Kip (who, by...