English | Deutsch

Cult Alert! The International Church of Christ



There is a new and almost unknown cult in America, and it's growing at a tremendous rate. This cult demands the serious attention of any Christian college group because their rapid growth is taking effect solely as a result of their campus ministries. Unlike most cults, this one believes only in the Bible. Their evangelists are very knowledgeable of the Bible, making it very easy for the Christian to be taken in. And they are very tricky about revealing their true theology, drawing one in a step at a time.

Their US national headquarters is located in Boston, Massachusetts [since 1993 in Los Angeles, California], where the US movement began. It's called the "Boston Church of Christ," part of the International Church of Christ movement. This is not the traditional Church of Christ denomination. Affiliated regional churches across the nation begin with the name of their respective city. Examples include the "Chicago Church of Christ" and the "Detroit Church of Christ."

Their name is so deceptive because it sounds like a legitimate Christian church. With their strong non-denominational claim, added that there's many other non-affiliated Churches of Christ who are also non-denominational, early detection is difficult. But one way of detection is to take advantage of their desire for a low profile: they hold their Sunday services in rented church buildings, often moving from time to time. Also, the preface page of their hymn book has "Boston Church of Christ" as the publisher.

Return to Table of Contents


Their theology is false about the requirements of salvation. They believe one must believe in Jesus, repent, bear all the fruits of a disciple, and experience water baptism (in that order) to be saved. The Christian theology, however, is that you only have to believe. Since this cult considers a Christian who commits a sin to be unsaved in the first place, they separate from Christian theology concerning repentance. So the only agreement that can be made is belief in our Lord Jesus Christ. But unlike the thinking of this cult, the Christian belief is not just in the existence of Jesus as even the demons believe, but rather a belief that leads to repentance and obedience. For the Christian, all works, except believing, are done after salvation. And the conditions for remaining saved are the same as for getting saved.

Return to Table of Contents


Furthermore, they're cultish in something even worse and they would hide this until well after initiations. It first seeps in unconsciously during the intermediate stages of membership. They demand absolute submission without question to someone higher ranked in the church. They have a pyramid power structure headed by their church evangelist. Not only that, but they believe their sins are "covered" by their leader if their leader should order them to do anything sinful. To them, it's not sin as long as they were submissive.

Anyone inside who questions them is branded as weak spiritually and threatened with eternal damnation. After getting the person to confess their sins during initiations, they would use whatever personal information to brainwash and manipulate the person into obedience. They also make heavy use of scare tactics to ensure obedience. They will often give orders that have nothing to do with spiritual matters. They tell them what classes to take, what to major in, what career to enter, whom to date, and whom to marry. [For details about verses, please read part two.]

Return to Table of Contents

What to Do about the ICC

Our job is to inform Christians about this dangerous cult and stop their campus movement. People in this cult are not afraid to tell you the name of their "church." So if you ever encounter someone, make sure you memorize who he/she is. Then warn the one he/she is trying to disciple, later when that person is away from the discipler.

Whenever you see the ICofC member and often with an accomplice talking to someone, you should be able to discern the one they're talking to. Especially if you know that person is a student. Even if it's just a casual conversation or a simple greeting. Inform that person and warn him/her about it. (It would be wise to ask how involved that person is before you inform.) This cult goes after Christians! Most phone numbers on that evangelist's list are Christians. Don't give your number and don't study with them unless you're prepared. Spread this news to everyone in your Christian college group to be spread everywhere.

Also, if your campus group has a mailing list or a phone list, it's recommended that you give or show it only to reliable people.

Return to Table of Contents

How They Evangelize
(my personal experience with them)

I was involved with a member of the Detroit Church of Christ for almost two months. He was 20 years old and a student at my university. A total stranger, he walked up to me and asked if I wanted to study the Bible with him. I agreed, after I asked what church he attended. (Later, I discovered he was their campus minister from Chicago assigned to take classes at my university -- a commuter campus 300 miles from Chicago.)

We met almost twice a week alone on campus with a friend of his. (He was later to be identified as his superior and he lead the study; he came in unexpected in the second meeting.) After about two weeks of studies, they suggested that I join their church. They really pushed that their church was evangelizing far more than my church and that every member of their church lives like a disciple as the Bible commands us to.

They really pressured me into going, asking me a lot of questions about my church. (I really like my church. It's evangelical and they do evangelize.) I honestly felt that no matter what I would say, they would come up with something better about their church. They even put the people in my church down, especially the pastor, because my church wasn't experiencing their enormous growth. So I decided to go with them the next Sunday, just to visit.

I was skeptical of them the whole time during the two months. I was educated in the area of the cults and decided at the first meeting that if this was a cult, I was in a no-lose situation: either go to a better church or witness to a cult member and get further pumped up.

The second half of the two months was spent having a good time with more of their people, even with other new people like myself. Activities included going to a movie, playing basketball, and just hanging out. The Bible studies continued at the same pace. Keep in mind also that I had a lot of homework -- no free time left -- and they knew it.

This was when the Bible studies started to reflect more of their real salvation theology. They made it all sound so biblical, basing it on many verses of the Bible. They pressed their argument and hurried on to the next supportive verse. I was still skeptical, but I believed what they said and started to tell other people about it. I actually believed that I was still skeptical, but I really was not. I had changed without realizing it.

At the end of the two months, I had free time in the gap between classes and exams to really think it through and to truly study the Bible on my own. (They wrote notes for me at each Bible study.) I visited their church a second time, listening very attentively to the evangelist's sermon. That night I could not sleep at all! I had known the Bible very well and had been a dedicated Christian for most of my life. The Holy Spirit kept revealing all kinds of verses to me that contradict what the ICofC had taught me. These were all verses I had known before -- I really know my Bible. Verses they had used wrongfully were revealed in their true context. Even verses they hadn't used kept coming to me. I finally had to write them all down.

Earlier, when I had time to think more clearly and study them, I had only stumbled across some of their false assumptions and logical errors. Nothing like the immense flood of truth that was now surging from the life within me.

Two days later I met with all my friends from that church and expressed how they were wrong in their thinking. The leader sternly argued against me, but I defeated him at every turn. Even made him admit fallacies that utterly destroyed his position. He became infuriated and stood up and told me I was arrogant, closed-minded, being sinful, and he wasn't going to listen to me anymore. He said he didn't want to study with me again. They cast me out for being skeptical. This should be ample proof that their friendship was only to proselytize me into their church.

Return to Table of Contents


At that time, I was the Bible Study Coordinator for my campus Christian group and had led a Bible study four times. Later, I discovered the evangelist knew this before he ever met me; he wanted me to influence the group for him. I'm familiar with the cults and have been knowledgeable of the Bible for most of my life and I'm respected in my group for that. If they can pull me into their cult, I don't think it's arrogant of me to assume they're capable of leading many others astray. I was saved only by an act of God!

While I was in the evangelist's apartment, I saw all the phone lists with names of other people contacted. There were over twelve names (just one person's list!) Half of them were people I recognized -- from my church and from my campus group! These people were all Christians and I think it reasonable the other half were too.

People in this cult like to put down their former churches, which they negatively call "religious." Most of them used to be Christian. When I visited their church, almost everyone was college-age and I saw no complete families. This shows me that their campus ministries are their primary source of new people.

Return to Table of Contents

©1993, 1994 by Steven E. Rausch <srausch4321@aol.com>. All commercial rights reserved. Please duplicate and redistribute this unaltered work freely for noncommercial purposes.

Home Page | REVEAL Autoresponder | REVEAL Webmaster