Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Henry Kriete, Is the ICOC a cult?

Henry Kriete stated his current belief to that question this past weekend in NYC. Following is a transcription of his belief, with some introduction, from the Saturday afternoon meeting with the New York Christian church.



I'm not a spokesperson. I know a little bit of what’s going on. I’m just trying to get my own life together and get help where I can. Trying to work my salvation with fear & trembling. And I’ll do the best I can here. I may change my answers a week from now (laughter), no I’m serious – I am in major transition right now.

I’m getting emails like, do you think the ICOC is a cult? I’m getting all of them. And you know it’s some things like “I waver,” some are like “yeah,” some are “I don’t think so,” some are “I don’t want to have anything to do with it anymore because I fear I would be endorsing,” I don’t believe with all my heart and feel that they are trying.” I’m just in one of those places. So I’m going to go ahead and start with the most emotionally loaded question, Do you believe the ICOC is a cult?


Let me explain – well I wrote a little letter to Heather. I don’t know who Heather is. Is she here yet? Maybe she isn’t. But she asked me that question. And I’ll tell you where I’m at right now, okay. Not to be evasive, number 1 – if you were a cult leader, it’s very hard to see you say - like saying to a fish in the water, do you swim in the water? No? Agree, yeah! It’s a word you don’t find in the NT. But a word you do find is “sect,” false prophet, arrogance, leaders losing connection with the head, douse, God is putting out the church, you find that stuff.

Here’s how I would answer that. I think – you got a big meeting to help me out here – I think [there are in the ICC?], these are systemic sins. And they’re a struggling group. But I also believe that it did affect the different churches and leaders to various degrees. Everybody was affected. There are some leaders I would now say, man they are Cult Leaders. And [in contrast] there are some places I’ve been like in India, some places in Africa, Harrisburg, Virginia, and more, but not a lot. We’ve never been told this is what you have to preach, but there’s a controlling nature, which you know, there’s a culture of deceit, which you know about, there’s abuse, totalitarianism, to different degrees.

I would say that the ICOC is a sect with a lot of very cult-like tendencies, especially some places. I would never be commanded, “This is what you’ve got to preach and teach.” I can’t ever remember ever being given that – “this is what you have to preach and teach,” in terms of theology, in terms of [prejudice?]. But the culture of control that you know about –invasiveness, money, bad theology – that’s prevalent as all of us know. But I think the ICOC was infested, infected, with abberational theology.

The one I am burdened with, that I struggle with all the time is, “Are there any brothers and sisters there?” Sure. You guys became Christians in the ICOC. And I go, no matter how lukewarm in [Thessalonica?] or worldly they were in Corinth or legalistic in Galatia, the converts themselves must be going “well, Amen, through all this junk – I’ve found Christ. Why it’s so difficult for me ( and you don’t think it should be difficult) is,
I truly believe with all my heart that there is only one true church. Not like “we’re the true church” not that way, but there is one body, one church. And, like it or not, accept it or not, admit or not, if you’re a Christian, you’re a part of it. Among that family there’s aberrations, there’s wickedness. It’s like you have a family with 13 kids. One becomes a murderer, one’s a teacher, one’s a banker, one’s this, one’s a cult leader. These are your kids!

And this is my struggle right now, it really is. Because people want me to just absolutely, “you cannot associate with the ICOC anymore, in any way, shape or form.” I’m just not there yet. I know some of you are - “I am done, period!” But I feel like there are Christians.

And I think there are leaders that are completely unrepented. I think New York is a fiasco, and I support your decision, I respect it. In other places, I feel there are Christians…. There are some churches I think still guilty that have renounced the ICOC. You know what I mean? But it’s like, let’s say in Vancouver – we didn’t sign an affiliation agreement. In fact, if we did, I would have been gone. I will no longer be a part of that. The leader has declared his intents to the ICOC to go to Dallas. No one is over us, the money is not going nowhere.

Some people don’t think that’s enough. I mean that’s – now what they should they do in Vancouver, what if the whole church is really trying to change? I think some are doing it. I think Salt Lake. Others, no. I wouldn’t go to San Francisco and I certainly done with that. I think the ICOC is abberational, is just severely lacking repentance. Those who have light and don’t act on them, you’re under the curse of God. But I do think people have to work out their own salvation in fear and trembling.

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