Thursday, May 29, 2003

UPDATE: Click for LA Leadership's Response to Marty Wooten Charges.



This time, by HOPE (a "non-profit" benevolent organization formed by the ICC). On this thread, HOPE has been promoting some volunteer projects that are really feel-good Vacations for the kiddies through "" Watch HOPE lie!

This HOPE "volunteer project"/vacation is run by FunintheSon.ORG (FITS). You would be able to find the same announcement under through the "Jammin' In Jamaica" link -- but it's now under construction. Hmmm...

FunintheSon.ORG Introduction:
(Relevant sections underlined for clarity)

Welcome to Fun in the Son! Our goal is to help Christians experience the kind of faith building, joy generating, and memory making events that will encourage us in our relationships with each other and with God. All of our events are designed for and organized by members of the International Church of Christ.

However, HOPE's Tom Briscoe denies the connection!

To: "Ground Hogfly"
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2003 4:43 PM
Subject: Re:

Dear Mr. Fly,

Thank you for your recent inquiry. On behalf of HOPE worldwide, please be advised that there is no affiliation between our organization and

Tom Briscoe

GHS asks for clarification...

From: Groundhogfly
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2003 6:23 PM
Subject: Re:

Mr. Briscoe,
Thank you for your prompt response. Just so that I'm sure I understand, please answer the following for me:

1. Are you saying that HOPE Worldwide does NOT refer HOPE Worldwide Volunteer Corps participants to this travel agency?
2. Are you aware that this appears to be a not-for-profit organization run by the following?

Phone: 703-748-3105
Douglas Arthur
1201 Old Stable Rd
Mc Lean, VA 22102

3. To whom do you refer your Volunteer Corps participants for travel arrangements?

G. Fly

...and asks and I-centric, the web hosting company (turns out it's affiliated with an ICC member) for clarification as well.

From: Groundhogfly
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 9:08 PM
Subject: Affiliation with HOPE Worldwide

To whom it may concern:

I am researching your company, and wrote to HOPE Worldwide to be sure you were affiliated with them. They have denied it. (See below.)
But when I contacted you web space provider, they informed me that you are affiliated with both HOPE Worldwide, and the ICC.
Would you please comment for the record on whether you are affiliated with HOPE Worldwide, or with the International Churches of Christ?

G. Fly
From: Groundhogfly
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 7:11 AM

You have recently posted a website a It is my understanding that this company is NOT a not-for-profit organization, and therefore, does not merit a .org designation.

If you have proof that is IS an NPO, would you please forward to me the same by Wednesday, May 28? Else I will assume that you have no proof of this, and will report the violation accordingly.

A reply from I-centric -- yes, IS RUN BY ICC !

From: Mike Bristol
To: Groundhogfly
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 7:51 PM
Subject: RE: is a run by a church organization (International Church of Christ) and is affiliated with Hope World Wide (which is also a non-profit).


So what's the story, Al?

From: Groundhogfly
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2003 8:58 PM
Subject: ICC/HOPE/ Affiliation

Mr. Baird:

I am contacting you, as I believe you to be the spokesman for the ICC. Would you please comment for the record on whether is affiliated with the ICC?

1. From the appearance of this website (, it would appear that it is affiliated with the ICC and/or HOPE Worldwide.
2. HOPE has denied any affiliation with FITS. (See below.)
3. I-Centric Marketing, the company whose server hosts the site, says that FITS is afilliated with BOTH the ICC and HOPE. (See below.)

So I am contacting you on behalf of thousands who are suspicious about this affiliation, for your official comment.

G. Fly

Stay with the news... check out the thread at the URL below. "HOPE Denies Affiliation w/FunInTheSon"

Leadership Lifestyles

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Thursday, May 22, 2003

Marty and Cathy Wooten of the LA COC have posted an open letter concerning the events of their wrongful termination from the fulltime ministry. This letter reveals much about the inner workings of the upper leadership. Read background on the letter first. 'Catherine' is the Wootens' daughter.


I was fired last Sept. for my alleged unspiritual behavior, which meant I opposed the "group" hypocrisy, dishonesty, abuse, and favortism I saw in the leadership here. Several leaders had been involved in the "shaming" of a teen who was desperately trying to deal with having been physically attacked and fell into drugs for a few months to deal with post-traumatic emotions she did not know how to deal with. When she did get open, the information was not kept confidential which left her too ashamed to come to church and they called her a fallaway. I opposed how she was treated strongly and later found out that one of the leaders/elder who participated in her shaming had recently been involved in more serious drug abuse and sexual addiction, lied about it, and yet was not dealt with. When I stood my ground, I was fired for my anger and lack of humility. At least I can sleep at night.

Marty "Marty Wooten: Issues of Contribution"

The Letter:

From: Marty & Cathy Wooten
To: Brothers and sisters in Christ, especially to the membership of the Central Region of the Los Angeles International Church and the Northern Federation World Sector
Subject: The Termination of Marty and Cathy Wooten

A series of events began to unfold in the Northern Federation World Sector which culminated in what I consider our wrongful and unscriptural termination in September 2002. I have tried to the best of my ability to follow Matthew 18:15-17 to resolve this matter since May 2002.

Matthew 18:15 states, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.” Jesus directs the person sinned against to take the initiative in resolving the offense. As his final effort (third step) to resolve the offense, this individual is to “tell it to the church.” (Matthew 18:17) Since my wrongful and unscriptural termination has not been resolved after following the first two steps of this passage, I have decided to “tell it to the church”.

I reviewed how such issues were communicated and dealt with in the first century in order to determine how best to proceed. Paul’s letters to the Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians were all directed to the individual members of the church, to those in Christ, called saints. The only mention of leaders in Paul’s salutations is found in Philippians 1:1, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons”. Clearly, the pattern established in the first century by Paul and the other inspired writers, was to communicate church issues directly to the membership for their consideration and not necessarily through a leadership structure first, and then to the individual member. Paul believed that Christians have the ability to discern the truth in settling disputes. He wrote in 1Cor 6:4, “Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church. I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?” It is my hope that the church can help us resolve this matter. The balance of this letter provides the details of our termination for your evaluation and consideration.

Reese Neyland and I were appointed WS elders for the Northern Federation World Sector in August 2001. In March 2002, Reese and I drafted and sent out an email to other WS elders and teachers voicing our concerns and to solicit input about the failure of the WSLs to disciple one another and how they seemed reluctant to relinquish control in the decision-making process at the top (see attachment 1). This email upset Marty Fuqua and resulted in his angry outburst. Reese Neyland, Marty Fuqua, and I met in our living room to talk through this conflict. Cathy and I mistakenly thought the matter was resolved.

As an elder, I also attempted to address various dynamics in the Northern Federation discipleship group that I felt were wrong and hurtful. Some of those issues involved the type of leadership dynamic that existed in our fellowship around the world and how I believed the Fuquas had been trained to lead. In my opinion, how the Fuquas viewed people, talked about them, and treated them were serious issues. Also, the Fuquas had a habit of not talking to people face to face about their true feelings, avoiding conflict, then gossiping about them. Cathy and I discussed these things with the Fuquas several times. Reese Neyland and Gregg Marutzky told me on several occasions how afraid they were of Marty Fuqua. They said it was difficult for them to be open with Marty Fuqua because of the threat of losing their jobs. I had personally witnessed how Marty Fuqua dealt with leaders with whom he had trust issues and understood that job loss was a real possibility. I had often felt the same thing. For example, because of fear, I agreed to a meeting I did not feel good about.

In April 1999, soon after Catherine became a Christian, she confessed sin to her discipler. Catherine agreed to speak to Chris Fuqua, but before she was able to get with Chris, Mary Kay Neyland initiated a talk with Catherine about her sin. Chris Fuqua and Catherine’s discipler got with Catherine the following day to discuss her sin again. After these talks had already taken place, Marty Fuqua called me and insisted that Catherine meet with him. Cathy and I expressed our reservations about such a meeting, but were given no choice and reluctantly “consented” to the meeting. During the meeting, Marty Fuqua asked Catherine very specific and inappropriate questions about her body. He made other very inappropriate statements to Catherine to “sober” her about her sin. Marty Fuqua shamed and frightened a fourteen-year-old girl. Catherine felt humiliated. Cathy and I deeply regret that we “allowed” this to happen to Catherine. Foolishly, we had no idea how this affected Catherine until three years later.

Click here for remainder of the letter. "Wooten Letter"

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Monday, May 19, 2003

One way to look at it...
Kip generated some Great PR for himself in the Boston Globe article. How is this possible? Is he just a clever -- no, ingenious -- charismatic leader? Actually Kip uses a persuasive technique called NLP in his preaching, and specifically, in the Boston Globe article. Don't believe it? Read on.

The following is from a discussion on Kip's use of NLP techniques. The article is modified, but can be found on ICC DF.

In the Globe article, the reporter asks Kip:

REPORTER: "Kip, are you staging a comeback?"
KIP: "We're praying that God will lead us to a new ministry. You might say, 'What is that?' I don't know."

The reporter directly asks Kip if he is making a "comeback." A simple "Yes" or "No" question. Right? So why can't Kip simply offer a simple "Yes" or "No" answer?

On hearing the question, you might think, "Ha ha, yeah, Kip wants a coup," or "Kip wants his money back," etc.

Kip's response, however stops that thought process. With one sentence, he gets the reporter -- and the reader -- to think that the "comeback" = "new ministry." He then buries that sidetrack by having the reader ask himself: "What is that?"

By then you've forgotten all about your own thoughts. Very tricky. Further, Kip also quickly answers the question himself. "I don't know!" Making your amnesia complete. "I don't know" -- a great, mysterious phrase to use, so you'll think the force behind everything is God -- not KIP! -- whose intention no one, not even Kip, knows.

As Kip always has, he implies it is the unseen, unknown God inspiring the events and history of the ICC, not him, just a humble preacher from Indianapolis.

This is an NLP technique, called an "embedded command." You lead -- or "plant" as others might more cynically say -- a certain thought, emotion, or way of thinking into the mind of another person. It is so subtle, that the opinion becomes fact, beneath the person’s conscious awareness.

NLP is short for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a technique that uses language patterns, repitions, phrasing, etc. to manipulate the way a person thinks about an issue, idea, etc. being discussed. It is used again and again by Kip in his quotes from the Boston Globe article.

Much of NLP codifies techniques that salesmen have been using for centuries. In the article, Kip uses some of these techniques to lead the conversation. This is done through implying certain assumptions. For example, in the ICC we often command people to come to church without seeming to do so, by not allowing them the room to say "No."

Typical example: "When you come to church on Sunday...." vs. "Would you like to come?"

The purpose of using embedded commands is to move your target’s mind in the direction you want it to go without seeming to be intruding or ordering in any way.

Another Globe example.

REPORTER: "Kip, are you staging a comeback?"
KIP: "We're praying that God will lead us to a new ministry... "

Here Kip is indirectly talking to ICC members. You can easily replace "we" with "you", making this an embedded command for ICC members, if not the reporter.

Notice how Kip answers the reporter's question in a way so that both now and later on, people will view the events of Kip's coming coup as not being generated by the man Kip, but by God himself. The article itself is helping lay the groundwork for the Kip-engineered coup that is to follow. Why else would Kip break his long-standing unwillingness to talk to reporters?

One anti-ICC minister and exit counselor Kyle Degge spoke at a L.A. ex-ICC support group and reported that Kip has secretly studied, mastered, and employed --and has secretly had his leaders also master and employ NLP techniques to "advance the ministry" -- without ever informing the rank 'n file members that he/his staff was actually doing so.

Indeed, Kip's First Principles, Kip's past speeches, Kip's past writings, etc. are chock full of NLP. Anyone who wants to do the work to identify and ferret them out, has their work cut out for them!

The idea that Kip "doesn't know" what he is doing is absurd.

Spread the word.

More Background on NLP

NLP first emerged in the early '70's as the brainchild of Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Cult expert Steve Hassan makes reference to NLP in his book COMBATTING CULT MIND CONTROL, but does not believe the NLP organization itself to be a cult. While studying under Bandler and Grinder, Hassan became alarmed as he saw that that NLP techniques--- codified and made available by Grinder/Bandler---were being misused by various cult leaders to control the minds of their followers.

Tony Robbins' PERSONAL POWER infomercials and seminars are all based on NLP. After studying NLP, Robbins crafted his own mass market version of NLP. (NLP purists deride Robbins' version as a fast-food version of NLP.) Ross Jeffries applies NLP to the task of "getting laid".

Tens of thousands of companies have sent their sales staff through NLP training, resulting in millions of slick-talking, highly-successfull salesman hawking their wares around the country while using these phenomenally potent techniques---ICC Evangelists were among those trained in NLP.

Responsible NLP practitioners will say the following:

To employ these techniques without the informed consent of the people you use them on---as Kip & the ICC does---is monumentally unethical, and psychologically destructive.

The ICC has employed NLP in the following areas:

1) one-on-one persuasion (hypnosis)
2) group persuasion (4-on-1, etc.)
3) mass meetings (mass hypnosis)
4) self-hypnosis.

For example, NLP teaches laughter creates a "blank slate" and a relaxed state in the person's mind. That's why the ICC sermons all start with a stand-up comic-like schtick, so the audience's mind is "blanked", their mental defenses are put down, and their critical thinking is suspended.

Repetitive singing also creates the same effect.

NLP is the "dirty secret", and the the missing piece of the ICC puzzle, the one that none of the sites----REVEAL, TOLC, RIGHT-CYBER-UP, this forum---has ever dealt with in detail. It's a huge reason for the ICC's phenomenal success and growth.

Interesting side note: NLP is also used by Landmark/est, Scientology, and the motivational speaker guy on Mr. Personality. "Kip's uses of NLP in the B.Globe Article"


I ran your thoughts by an expert in NLP who trains others in using these techniques. This is what he had to say.

"The writer is correct in that NLP codifies everyday communication patterns. The purpose of codifying is so that communication can be broken down to the smallest component for analysis. There are many reasons why analysis might be desired.

The point is, NLP simply codifies what people do/say. I am immediately concerned that the writer does not understand NLP by way of the explanantion of a mind control trick or manipulation. NLP just codifies -or puts labels on - what people do naturally. This allows the analysis of conversation as has been done with Kip. Having said that, people who are aware of the techniques can purposefully structure communication to be persuasive. Much of that last sentence actually uses hypnotic language patterns. A naturally persuasive person would use the same techniques even if they were unaware of NLP. In fact, we all do unconsciously all the time.

I wonder what might be said of Jesus/ the Bible if we were to analyse his communication the same way? Eg. John1:1, Mk 4:11-12, Most of the parables, The entire book of Revelation.

The inference the writer makes is that NLP is sinister and Kip is aware of it and using it. NLP is not sinister - it just allows the analysis of what sinister people say or do. Whether Kip is NLP trained, I don't know. His analysis is correct, though. But remember, we do all use this stuff unconsciously (and sometimes on purpose) ourselves, too, you know. Just think of a time you have argued to get your own way. Everything we all say is "choked full of NLP" if we want to scrutinise.

For what its worth, Kip is naturally very persuasive. I am not surprised he said what he said. I personally wonder if he is not a little....deluded...loony. As if God only works through him. Remember all the "I am a prophet of God" stuff? Didn't Joseph Smith say similar stuff? Wasn't the Morman church founded on this stuff?" "Kip's uses of NLP in the B.Globe Article"

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Saturday, May 17, 2003

The Boston Globe article on Kip and the ICC is up on the web and in the paper!!

A Christian community falters
Loss of leader, governing body hurts group formed in Boston

By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff, 5/17/2003

It was one of the fastest-growing and most controversial churches in America, banned as a cult from dozens of college campuses while boasting 135,000 members worldwide. Its followers were known for spending their free time recruiting new members and waiting on doorsteps at 4 in the morning, hoping to persuade those who had ''fallen away'' to come back to the fold. But now the central organization of the International Churches of Christ, a strict religious body founded in Boston, is collapsing.

Thomas ''Kip'' McKean, its charismatic founder, has stepped down. Its world governing body has dissolved and dozens of local church leaders have resigned or been fired, in part because churches can no longer afford to pay their salaries.

Behind the story of a teetering church empire is the tale of the autocratic visionary who built it and his independent-minded daughter, now a Harvard senior, whose decision to leave the church sparked turmoil in the already troubled group.

''It caused her father to have to step aside and it caused the group to reexamine itself,'' said Michelle Campbell, executive director of REVEAL, a nonprofit organization that provides information and support to former members of the church. ''It was sort of inevitable that Kip would fall. The standards he set, no one could meet. Not his children, not even himself. The very thing that he created came back and bit him.''

McKean, who was forced to resign his post because of his own rule that church leaders must step down if their children leave the church, said in a telephone interview that he participated in his own demise.

''I think I hurt people's feelings in some areas,'' said McKean, who still belongs to the church. ''I do think there is some bitterness and some hurt.''

Years ago, few could have imagined the church without McKean, a wiry, gregarious self-described ''prophet'' whose followers filled the Boston Garden -- or without his daughter, Olivia, a straight-A student, a promising junior tennis player and beauty pageant contestant whose life successes filled the pages of the church's many publications.

''They are like celebrities,'' said Jim Procanik, a former church leader, of McKean's three children, Olivia, Sean, and Eric. ''It would be like the president's kids. They had to be the best at everything.''

The son of a strict Navy admiral, McKean began preaching in the 1970s as a chemistry major at Florida State University. At a time when other students were partying, he led Bible studies in fraternity houses and gave inspiring religious speeches to crowds. McKean went on to study at a Baptist seminary, but grew disillusioned and dropped out after ministers criticized his strict interpretation of the Bible.

In 1976 he married a fellow Florida University student and took a job as a campus minister at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill., working with one of a network of 15,000 autonomous Churches of Christ. Hundreds of college students flocked to his congregation, but he quickly became controversial. In 1979, months after a local newspaper explored accusations that he used coercive tactics to pressure people to join and donate money to the church, McKean moved to a church in Lexington.

There, McKean constructed a new kind of church based on a hierarchy some have likened to an Amway sales pyramid and others have compared to the military. Every church member has a superior called a ''discipler'' to hold him or her accountable for sins. Known as the Boston Church of Christ or the ''Boston Movement,'' the church attracted tens of thousands of members from all backgrounds, who later moved on to form the Manhattan Church of Christ, the Chicago Church of Christ, and hundreds of other churches, spreading to London, Sydney, Moscow, Nairobi, and other cities. Wildly ambitious, McKean's goal was a church in every sizable US city and in every country within a few decades. But the system had a dark side: Those who failed to give 10 percent of their income or who couldn't recruit enough new members were publicly humiliated, according to former members. Those who questioned authority were shunned or kicked out.

''Any major life decisions would have to be run through your discipler,'' said Procanik, who led churches in Boston and Los Angeles before quitting the church three years ago. ''Vacations, going home. . . . If you are spending too much time with old friends, that would be frowned upon, unless you are recruiting them. All your free time is accounted for. Dating has to be pretty much approved. You can only date people in the group.''

Some say McKean grew more uncompromising over time. In the late 1980s, he officially broke with the mainline Churches of Christ, preaching that his church was the only true church. Thousands of his members were rebaptized and all were told that outsiders, even other mainline Church of Christ members, were destined for hell.

As dynamic as a rock star and as hard-driving as a drill sergeant, he required meticulous record-keeping of baptisms, attendance records, and money tithed, and he erupted into anger when the numbers failed to grow, according to former and current leaders.

''It was not just like a church; it was like a corporation,'' said Rick Torres , a former leader at the Manhattan Church of Christ. ''If your numbers were going negative, they would come up with a reason that God is not with you.'' McKean could be generous, buying expensive clocks, artwork, and dinners for his closest followers. He knew how to lavish praise from a pulpit. He knew how to make you feel you were the only person in a room. But he also knew how to humiliate you. Former leaders describe him as a man who would throw things and yell if he lost a Ping-Pong game, a preacher who might ask you to repent if you failed to work your way through a crowd to greet him.

Thousands left the church, going on to seek out support groups or contribute to the half-dozen websites that post negative information about the group. Still, others stayed, hoping for reform or unable to leave.

''A lot of the upper-level leaders who I was friends with had tons of doubts about the group, and would even joke about it being a cult,'' said Procanik. ''They knew there were serious problems, but they felt trapped financially. They had kids, and a house. . . . They had no other job skills. No other church would hire them.''

In the early 1990s, McKean moved his family to Los Angeles to build the church there and enrolled his three children in Brentwood School, which currently costs $19,500 a year. There, they became academic achievers constantly spotlighted on Kingdom Network News, the church's official media arm.

In church literature, the date of Olivia's baptism is listed as a milestone, alongside the opening of the first church in Moscow and the first urban ministry:

''First second-generation disciple born, raised, and baptized in the Movement,'' it reads.

''I coached Eric's basketball team, and the Lord blessed us with the championship,'' McKean wrote in the KNN newsletter. ''All three have made straight A's this year and have been active in a tennis academy where they have reached out to and baptized their coach.''

Teased as ''cult kids'' by the same peers they were forced to invite to church, they spent their Friday nights -- known as teen nights at the church -- in another spotlight. They received special treatment and were envied for their lofty positions.

McKean let his children know that their successes were ammunition in his war for the Lord.

''I'm convinced,'' McKean told followers in Washington, D.C., in 2000, ''that when a teen falls away [from the church] . . . there are some sinful dynamics in that family, and that family, that mom and dad, need to repent.''

But Olivia had just left for Harvard University, and she was already tasting the freedom of life away from home. For a while, she attended the Boston Church of Christ and even gave dynamic speeches to crowds of hundreds. Although the church paid for her discipler, a young woman from Los Angeles, to move to Cambridge with her to guide her spiritual growth, by January 2001, Olivia stopped coming to church and told her friends she no longer wanted to be a member.

''She finally just stood up and said, `I'm sick of the whole thing; I'm leaving,' '' said one former church leader who knew her personally. Her father ''was pretty brokenhearted.''

Olivia McKean declined to comment for this article. But her father acknowledged that mistakes he made as a leader and a father led to his departure in November from the church's leadership.

''I am very, very sorry,'' he wrote in a resignation letter posted on the church website. ''My most significant sin is arrogance -- thinking I am always right. . . . I take full responsibility for how my sins have spiritually weakened and embittered many in our churches. I also take full responsibility for the spiritual condition of my family.''

In a recent interview, he said he and his daughter have overcome their differences.

''She's doing awesome,'' he said. ''We're very well-connected. She has no bad feelings toward the church. . . . We're cranking on as a family.''

McKean's resignation, pushed by some who had long resented his leadership style, opened the floodgates of demands for reform, including a widely circulated letter from one leader who charged the church with ''coercive giving,'' violating individual liberties, and inflating its growth rates. Dozens of leaders apologized for their sins, and the central body that governed the church dissolved, leaving churches across the country to declare autonomy. Financial problems due to reduced donations prompted massive firings, and missions abroad are declaring that lack of funds might shut them down.

''We are going through a challenging time,'' said Gordon Ferguson, an elder in the Boston Church of Christ. ''Some of the critiques we have received are valid. We are trying to reexamine things we have done and not lose the good things.''

Now the future of the International Churches of Christ is as uncertain as the future of its founder, who is planning to release a new letter to the world congregation in the coming weeks and who has been attending whirlwind meetings with church officials and old friends.

Asked if he is staging a come-back, McKean said, ''We're praying that God will lead us to a new ministry. You might say, `What is that?' I don't know.''

Farah Stockman can be reached at

This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 5/17/2003.

© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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Thursday, May 15, 2003


You can now submit comments to the web site. Click on "submit comments" in upper left hand corner of the screen. In case it seems the blog has been cut off at the bottom, that's because last week's posts have been archived. Just click on the "Archive" link above, then "5/4/03 - 5/11/03" for the rest of it.

From April 27, here are some ICC DF posts on how abusers communicate ("MeMe" is a language of many leaders) and the specific ways the ICC perpetuates a "culture of control."


Abusers speak a different language than their partner. (Let's call it "MeMe.") That is an easy way to sum up the many different statements they use to control, frighten, confuse, or intimidate their partners. Normal mentally healthy persons in a relationship use language to consciously convey their thoughts to their partner. Abusers however use language to manipulate their partners into giving them what they want. Sometimes consciously, sometimes not. In fact, I believe that abusers learn to use manipulation so well, that it actually becomes a language to them, and they eventually lose conscious control of their responses.
Their language is actually a tool to protect themselves from emotional exposure. Even when their relationships appear to be even-keeled, they are often setting themselves up for future verbal victories. I say that since having studied this matter intricately, I can accurately predict my partners response to given circumstances - which would have resulted in emotional exposure nearly every time. This makes it very clear to me that there has never been any communication nor can there ever be without intense professional therapy. Yes. And even then, its an "if." Abusers are so afraid to expose themselves and so bent on control that they know know other way. They can't speak our language. They have no idea how to speak a language that would require considering the needs and wants of others.

I believe that after food and shelter, the most basic human need is to be understood and accepted. That's why I also believe that the lack of communication is by far the most frustrating and destructive part of the abusive relationship. You can't even solve minor issues involving children or finance without being attacked or accused of attacking. That is what really wears the partner down. Not their rage and anger, but your daily frustration and loneliness . Yes!

One of the most frustrating and common habits of abusers is to constantly "butt in" and cut off their partner while talking. This is frequently the most aggravating habit many abusers have. They can't give it up because it serves some very important purposes. It blocks any possibility of communication, it allows them to say whatever they want, and most importantly it gives them total control of the conversation.

Usually partners try reasoning with them about all sides being given a fair chance to talk. What they don't realize is that abusers don't really care what their partners are saying so it serves them no purpose to listen. In fact, the abuser would prefer that the partner not talk and simply accept their assertions as Gospel. When the partner learns this, they can truly have an understanding of the hopelessness of fixing an abusive relationship without professional counseling. Their is no possibility of communication if one of the parties is determined not to communicate.

Another very destructive habit which I have identified in my relationship I refer to as "echoing". This abusive habit is extremely destructive to a relationship, yet is a very effective tool which the abuser uses to in conversation. This habit takes two distinct forms. The object is to feel whatever the partner feels whenever an "attack" is detected by the abuser. The scenario goes something like this:
Partner: I don't like what you said to me this morning

Abuser: I don't like what you say to me either

This is an easy way for the abuser to avoid addressing your concerns, remain in control, change the subject, and launch a counter attack. You may also notice that this avoids answering a question. Abusers DO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS!!! That is perceived by them as giving up control. They generally answer a question with a question in attempt to through the partner off balance and regain control. They will do this repeatedly until you capitulate or until they provoke an argument. This also has the added benefit of teaching the partner not to bring any complaints to the attention of the abuser. The second form is to accuse the partner of whatever the partner accuses them of. Scenario 2:
Partner: Please don't raise your voice at me

Abuser (Screaming): You're the one that's yelling
Partner: Please stop cutting me off and let me finish my sentence

Abuser (angrily): You're the one who cuts me off all of the time

When the conversation is discussed later, the abuser quickly takes the opportunity to first accuse the partner of the infraction and seize the high ground. The abuser will then take every opportunity in the future to accuse the partner of doing what they do saying "see, you do it too". This is generally viewed by the abuser as a way out. Anytime they accuse you of an action similar to one of their destructive actions, that is viewed by them as a license to do it at will and a "win".

There are many other "tricks used by abusers to avoid communication," but these are two of the most common which I've encountered. I think the key is to understand that the abuser's language is not the same as a normal person. That their "language" does not convey their thoughts and is in fact designed to do just the opposite. Once we understand this we also learn that we can't, and shouldn't want to, speak their language. However, if we have to deal with them, for whatever reason, we can learn to interpret their words and phrases enough to decipher the true meanings. Unfortunately, learning this "language" also seems to more clearly show the hopelessness of establishing a normal relationship with a person of this mentality.

From "How Abusers Communicate"

ICC CULTURE OF CONTROL In other words, how it actually works on otherwise intelligent people.

Someone asked me a very good question about control in the ICC:
"When you got involved with the ICOC and they were telling you to give them money, date a certain way, act a certain way, etc. did you think it was strange? Or were you just wrapped up in their beliefs? In other words, why didn't you leave....were you ok with their restrictions? Do you think it was a form of mind control?

Here was my answer:

There are several things they [my converters] did so that it was easier for me to accept these unreasonable restrictions on my life: first, the people who converted and studied the bible with me portrayed the church, and your new life as a "true" Christian (vs. the cheesy stereotypical goody-two-shoes type) as this revolutionary thing. So in that light, it became exciting to become part of something different, idealistic - almost like being in a Spiritual Olympics, where you'll go to the extreme to become super-spiritual. They were smart-they could see right away I was the type to be attracted to controversial, radical things. One of the first things I learned was that people were "persecuting" the church as being a cult. I thought that was cool (doh!!). Ministers would even say in sermons, jokingly, “Brainwashed? Yeah, our brains need a good washing!”

There were certain things we learned in our bible studies during conversion, things I accepted as truth which kept me in the church for years. Those things were:
-Deny yourself. Based on a scripture in John. In the scripture, they say that if you “deny yourself” you can find “truth” (beliefs, feelings, etc.) – yes, in that order, as it is in the scripture.
-Your heart is deceitful – based on another scripture. Basically, you can never trust your feelings, because they are wrong.
-Do not be yoked with unbelievers—because they will drag you down spiritually. Includes non-ICC boyfriend, family, friends – but especially boyfriend. When I was in campus ministry, I couldn’t even be alone in a room with a male (they relaxed that after a while).
-You will be rewarded for sacrifice. I was shown a scripture about the man who finds a great “pearl,” a treasure they searched their whole life for, who was overjoyed. The people who converted me interpreted it for me as: if you give up everything in your life for
God, eventually you’ll get them all back, plus the “pearl” (God, heaven, peace, love, joy, yadda yadda)
-Obey your leaders—Giving up your control, becoming “humble” is part of your sacrifice to God. And boy did those leaders they take full advantage of it!! The lifestyles they lived off these poor people’s tithes, people who were willing to give up everything. L Ron Hubbard of Scientology (another cult) said, if you want to get rich, start a religion. Well, Kip McKean (the man who started this church) hit upon a very lucrative scheme (the leaders live in very nice, luxe upper class homes. One of the NYC leaders who I knew personally was living in Trump Towers).

You can now get a picture of how people were taught to get THEMSELVES to follow, obey , give over their control for something they were seeking – whether it was spiritual revelation, peace, love, etc. If you were very idealistic (like I was) it’s very easy for people to take advantage of you. I was also very disciplined growing up – strict, catholic upbringing, discipline in dance and music (I played piano and auditioned for conservatories). So it was not very hard for me to see these things as good for me, especially with the troubles I was having w/my drug- and alcohol-addicted boyfriend, as well as my depression.

After some time you stop questioning things - for one, because you're too tired! The schedule of the church was so heavy, it was fatiguing. Also there were many very unhealthy people, not eating well, messy homes, sickly, depressed, etc. – people who may have once been very healthy and sharp.

The result of these teachings was a culture of control in the church that is based on guilt and fear (though no one would ever admit it – the control is supposedly based on “God’s plan” to make our church and its members the One and Only “true” church.) I would say it's this "culture of control" that is key to understanding why people submitted to these things. Mind control? Trance-like states? I don't think so - at least not on a high level. I've heard someone speculate that Kip McKean (who was forced to quit his position only a few months ago), studied a technique called Neurolinguistic programming. It is a method that teaches leaders how to speak in certain rhythms and repetitions to help people change by teaching them to program their own brains. He thought Kip put together these studies and trained ministers using NLP because it follows the techniques so well. If so, it worked - people are definitely “inspired” to program themselves!

Even a few years before I left, I was starting to catch on to the game. Right before I left the church, I was leading the "Emotional Recovery" ministry with an evangelist who specialized in mental health and substance abuse issues. Our group's goal was not only to help members diagnosed with depression, PTSD, OCD, etc. - but also, even more important, to teach their discipling partners (a mentor who is assigned to you) how they need to change their leadership style: instead of telling their "mentee" what to do, then needed to learn to listen with empathy – to try to step into the depressed person’s perspective - and respond in kind. It was actually very successful, and the groups became so huge, sometimes 100+ in a room.

The “ER” ministry was eventually ended by the top leadership in NYC (Steve Johnson) – they knew it was starting to threatened their credibility in members’ eyes. Mike Leatherwood (the evangilst) was not afraid – he had been pushing for something like this for years. The reason the ministry was even able to get off the ground was
because the leaders were getting overwhelmed by the needs of “depressed disciples” – but would never admit that somehow the hierarchical structure and verbal/emotional abuse might be causing this. The leaders are so used to be trained to be mean/abusive -- it was rewarded in action though discouraged in words, sermons, etc. Mike ended up leaving the church this year, the 2nd huge event of this whole chain of events. It caused such a ruckus since there were many members who were going to him for private therapy and counseling.

The interesting thing is that CURRENT members in the church are catching on. There is presently an uproar in the church – members are starting to see the abuse and corruption, and are demanding change. A major London leader wrote a letter detailing the abuses (I can send it to you) of the leaders, and it’s being sent around to all the members, ex-members who were “marked” (like being ex-communicated or forced out of the church for challenging the leadership) or who left on their own volition. The church is desperately trying to hold on to its control.

After this experience, I see leaders very differently and more keenly sense subtle uses and abuses of power. I think that people in all types of groups, including educational institutions, political groups and corporations, often use the same methods (more or less). Understanding the church’s dynamics opened my eyes to how people in general - no matter who you are (very intelligent, popular, charismatic and idealistic people get recruited to these types of groups) - and not just people in cults, can be made feel they have their own will, yet are very controlled. "ICC Culture of Control"


I was reading this article and thought it was a brilliant description of many ICC leaders. Not just the big ones, but anyone: from DPs to Bible Talk leaders to Zone leaders.
Modified from Dr. Irene On Sociopathy:

Antisocial Personality Traits:
A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
(1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
(2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
(3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
(4) irritability and aggressiveness, an indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
(5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others
(6) consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
(7) lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

Antisocial Personalities are sometimes are the "good guys." Many antisocial types are very successful and productive citizens. They are CEOs, Presidents, famous people, etc. Antisocial types accomplish lots of good stuff.

Antisocial type who are very, very smart are often very, very good at what they do. The really, really, really smart ones never get caught! They seamlessly manipulate their way to whatever, and no one is the wiser. The pretty good ones may get to where they aspire, but they eventually slip up and are found out.

Remember, abuse occurs behind closed doors. You know your spouse, Roger or Sally, is Satan in disguise - but everyone else thinks they're The Best. While these people are not necessarily "bad guys" to the world, they make your life Hell. That's because they "love" you.

What About My Abuser?
In general, the "sicker" the individual, the worse the prognosis. The same is true with any disorder. This generalization is heavily qualified by the individual's motivation for recovery

Abusive individuals typically have antisocial qualities. Antisocial qualities detract from motivation to fix the underlying problem. There is no reason to change when one is getting the stuff they think they want - like the frustration-reducing "satisfaction" of blaming/beating up their victim; the "satisfaction" of an affair, substance abuse, gambling, etc. The victim's withdrawal and insistence that they recover may be the only motivation they have.

Unlike the victim who spends so much time in a place of guilt, questioning the self, the abusive-antisocial doesn't. This person blames the other. The antisocial person's problems are perceived as originating from outside the self, often from the "withholding" other who should give them X, Y, and Z. Funny thing, the victim-codependent doesn't give X, Y, and Z because they don't want to, but because they can't! What is being asked for can only be given by the self.

The antisocial variable, in my opinion, is the key that separates the "true" victim from the "true" abuser. I'm speaking broadly. The antisocial variable is certainly a factor in sociopathy, but it is also found in narcissism, in BPD, and elsewhere. It's the part of the individual that simply does not care...

Even though both victims and abusers have suffered childhood abuse and both can appear abusive, only the truly abusive (i.e., antisocial) person expects that which can't be given. This individual, deep down, thinks the problem is with YOU (That the problem is outside the self is what essentially defines "personality disorder.") The victim, deep down, thinks the problem is with THEMSELVES.

****does that sound familiar or what? eg, Blaming yourself because you're Selfish and Prideful! "ICC Leaders: Charismatic Sociopaths"

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

On April 28, Marty Wooten posted an article on tithing. Interesting in light of Sam Powell and others' "Tithe, or you're out" divide and conquer strategies of late. In case you're wondering, MW is against ICC-style 10% forced tithing.
Warning: Marty's a bit academic. It's a good article though. You'll see the article at the bottom of this page under April 28th. Also, check out the thread on ICC DF and you'll see some interesting responses.

Also, FYI, an update (as of 4/28/03) to those of you writing complaints to the New York State Attorney General's office (Eliot Spitzer). This is from the NYCOC/ICC Discussion Forum, which focuses on NYC church issues. Or tries to. If you're from NYC -- or not -- why don't you start a post or two... don't be shy.

To All,
I met with Todd Holt today of the State Attorney General Office. He has received a stack of the complaint forms. As of now, no official investigation is in the works. Currently, the SAG is reviewing and assessing all the documents submitted. Afterwards, they will make a determination if a thorough investigation is warrant. If an investigation is launched, they will not be able to reveal anything to the public until the investigation is closed with their office (this means that no information will be given via phone, letters, etc.). Once the investigation is closed, then all their findings will become public records for ANYONE to view.

Note: Mr. Holt needs documents of the financial spending for ACES and NYCCoC for the last year or so. Also, if anyone has any documents that actually records purchase of properties, and non-charitable spending, please submit it to him. This could be done anonymously. "Letters to NYS Attorney General"

Info for writing NY State Attorney General is repeated below.

If you want information on ACES or the NYCoC and they are not willing to share it, the State Attorney General wants to hear from you. You can fill out a form and fax it to them. Everything will be confidential. I was told by an aide at SAG that some members have contacted the office, but unfortunately have not filled out the necessary form. There are not enough people coming forward and filling out the form. Calling them is NOT enough.

You can fill out a Complaint/Inquiry Form or The Freedom of Information Law Request Form. Both of these forms are located at the web address below.

Forms are at
Web site

Filling out these forms does not mean someone will get into trouble. It will give you answers to unanswered questions.

New York State Office of the Attorney General
Eliot Spitzer
Charities Bureau
120 Broadway, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10271
212-416-8400 (phone)
212-416-8393 (fax)

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Monday, May 12, 2003

I don't know how I missed this... Letter on Chuck & Kip's relationship.

Below is an email sent to me in April: (anonymous source, but a very knowledgeable anonymous source, and a very trustworthy anonymous know who you are if you want to step forward....)

"Kip McKean was actually one of the people who engaged in homosexual activity with Chuck Lucas in Gainesville in the 70's. I believe this information needs to come out, in light of the fact that Kip has so rigorously demanded openness of others for so many years, and in light of the fact that, through slander and other methods, he has damaged the lives and reputation of so many men better than himself. I also know that Kip is trying to rally some leaders to his support in an attempt at some kind of comeback.

Again, the double standards that McKean has allowed to exist for so long must be exposed, so that further similar abuses may not happen in the future.
Right at this point, I can tell you that besides Sam, a number of the former WSL's are now also aware of the nature of Kip's relationship with Chuck, and that this information has played a part in Kip's current downfall/resignation.

Sam played a part in this information coming to the WSL's attention, as well Sam knows all the details, as he made many calls to leaders after Chuck was terminated in 1985 to find out "what they knew" about who was involved. Chuck had homosexual encounters as a young man in Miami, even before he came to Gainesville. When he came to Gainesville, the elders knew about his history in Miami, but believed his repentence.

But throughout his time in Gainesville, Chuck was involved in encounters with a number of men, some of whom were Tom Bogle, Adrian Carr, Andy Lindo, Bruce Simer, and Kip McKean. Bogle is still in the movement. Carr, Lindo, and Simer are not. Bogle later took his own liberties with some of his disciples while he was a campus minister in Huntsville, Alabama. Sam got Kip to confess to the WSL's, and
this played a part in Kip's recent downfall. Adrian Carr was a masseur, he brought people to his massage parlor where sexual contact occurred, women worked there also, so both genders were involved in this one.

I'm not concerned about the other men mentioned above, but Kip McKean is a different story. You asked why I thought it needed to be made public. Well, what does it say if it is not made public? To me, it says that the pattern of deceit and duplicity that has predominated ICC leadership is still continuing. Kip McKean has been THE leader of the movement. He has ridiculed and slandered many men (both member and ex-member) in an attempt to discredit them. Thousands have had their faith and relationships broken by this man who has preached "total openness".

I believe these people have a right to know "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" about Kip. I consider myself a Christian, and although this whole business is very sordid and I take no relish in even talking about it, I really believe God wants the truth to come out. My only conflict at this time is about the way it should come out. I contacted you because I believe that if Sam is truly a man of honor and conscience, he should be the one to bring this out. Of course, the most ideal situation would be for Chuck or Kip to actually be the one to bring this out, as neither has ever been publicly open (Chuck not even with his own congregation), but I believe that realistically there's a snowball-in-hell's chance of that ever happening." "Extra! Extra! Kip's Comeback"

ICC DF: "Chuck Lucas' Homosexual Partners"
Reveal: "History Repeats Itself: The Rise and Fall of Kip McKean & Chuck Lucas"
Reveal: "Responding to the Boston Movement / International Churches of Christ by Rick Bauer" (RB, a former leader, published about his experience including Chuck Lucas' homosexual affairs)
TOLC: Sue Condon's Diary (SC, a former leader, published her experience with Kip's "discipling")

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Leslie's reaction to the letter distribution. Leslie Clemmons is an ICC member. It is clear that she is afraid of committing slander, despite the leaders' dubious financial track record. How is it actually "sin"? If anything, sounds like another case of ICC guilt.

Proper term would be "libel," since it's written communication. Libel a: a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt

In this case, there IS "just cause" because leaders were giving only watered down financial info (See below, March 27) and there have been several written complaints about the NYC COC finances sent to the NY State Attorney General.

Anyway, the ones in the darkness are the ones who really should be ashamed and afraid. Let the light shine -- "May God's wrath speak fiercely."

May 12, 2003

Aces churches and NYCOC and to whomever else it may concern:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I am writing this letter to confess sin on my part, possibly confront sin on the part of other people, and set the record straight. As some of you may know a letter that I wrote has been posted on the Internet for all to read. This mass display of this letter was by no means my intention and was done so without my knowledge or permission. In fact, the site where this letter has been posted requires membership (a username & password) and I have never been a member of this website. This letter was exclusively given to the sister who told me of the information found in the letter for her review, one brother who was trustworthy in order to let me know his thoughts on the letter, and one sister in a congregation far, far away whom I trusted for her review and thoughts and expressed that I wanted to make sure the information was accurate before I sent it to the church. I was later told that the letter was full of inaccuracies. I never brought it before the church and realized that I did not need to be the one to bring these issues before the church. If anyone should, it should be the person who gave me the information.

Some two weeks ago a sister invited me to come up to her area and spend time with her. She wanted to tell me some things that she had discovered about the church finances and wished to tell me of her recent meeting with Henry Kriete. She expressed to me that she had already talked to the people involved and that they were not admitting to any wrongdoing and that she was now ready to bring it to the church. She encouraged me to bring a bus load of people with me if I wanted. I remember this quote distinctly, because I immediately thought, WORD (pardon the Hip Hop vernacular). I was unable to get anyone to come with me.

After hearing what she had to say, taking in the extraordinary intensity of this information, I asked her repeatedly if she was sure of what she was saying. I even asked her if the information was documented. And she said that what she was telling me was fact. And because of the fact that she tearfully told me that this information involved one of her best friends, I believed her story all the more.

Now is the time to confess my sin. After digesting this information, I grew very alarmed, afraid for the church and the leaders mentioned, and also very angry. And in my anger I sinned for mans anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Let me clarify. In the Bible, God provides for sin offerings even for sins that are unintentional as is the case here. If the unintentional sin is committed by an individual, the guilty person must bring a one-year-old female goat for a sin offering(Numbers 15:27, NLT) I, however, am not the one-year-old female goat in question. But, I am guilty and I must take the responsibility (Leviticus 4:22, Leviticus 5:17) and apologize to everyone mentioned in the letter and anyone else that this has affected. Had I intended the letter to go out to the public, I believe I would have practiced the directives in Matthew 18. Yet, due to the current climate in the church, it was unwise for me to send it to anyone at all. For this I take full responsibility and I profusely apologize to all in concern. I now understand how many of the leaders in the ICOC must feel. We are all guilty of unintentional sins but, that does not prevent us from taking on the responsibility. Probably my greatest sin in this was even listening and getting involved in the first place. However, if all of the leaders in the New York church and surrounding areas would be as transparent as they have always called us to be, then, I am sure that this scenario would not even exist. I never intended to slander anyone but now I find myself involved in what seems to be slander, even though, I dont know what the truth in this situation really is. I have been hurt myself in all of this mostly because I have hurt so many people whom I love. This is the truth. Please forgive me.

Leslie Clemmons
Member, NYCOC since 1991 "3 MILLION from ACES to ATHENS"

ICC DF: "Suing the ICC / NYC COC"

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An example of current ICC leadership tactics to deal with "dissidents" (deceit, divide/conquer, labeling, theatrics, etc.): Sam Powell et al in the Bronx, NYC

First after meeting with some of the concerned vocal members, Sam Powell deceived them that he was open to meeting with these members and discuss the issues if they first provided an agenda for the meeting. The members of the "group" (the term used by the leaders to describe them) complied and furnished the agenda to the Bronx staff and the meeting was set for Friday May 2 at 7:30PM.
In reality the meeting was a set up by Sam Powell and Marcos Mercado to identify who were the dissident members and how many there might be.

The meeting was conducted in a small classroom rather than the auditorium. This was to gain a tactical advantage over the "group" members. Sam Powell and the Bronx Staff agreed that both sides of the issues would be allowed to bring support people to the meeting. Sam and Company brought a cadre of loyalist hecklers to the meeting. Two former members who had been in the Bronx for many years also came to support members of the "group" at their invitation since one of the agenda topics was to deal with ex-members.

Upon seeing the ex-members Sam and Marcos immediately went into conference and after a few minutes. They called one of them into the hallway any ask him to leave stating that this was a private meeting between the BX staff and the Men of the NYCCOC. The ex-members are currently members of the Manhattan Church of Christ. The ex-member told Sam that he had been invited by a current member as an observer and not as a participant. Nevertheless, Sam and Marcos ejected both members from the meeting. Next to be ejected were the women members until these men had the complete upper hand in the meeting.

Needless to say none of the issues were allow to be discussed. Sam refused to answer any questions that were on the agreed to agenda. The loyalist faction stirred up so much discontent that a fistfight nearly broke out bet a Brother (Curtis Escalera) and Marcos the South BX Evangelist. The meeting ended with only the reformers being identified or "trouble Makers" as the leadership has labeled them.

The next day Sat May 3rd, the Bronx Staff and the loyalist faction met in the Bronx for a barbeque at a loyalist's (who's initials are KF) home. Steve J and Sam and some of the BX staff got together an informal D-group and had a Powwow to discuss tactic's to contain and eradicate the "group". The coward Steve offered up his opinions to Sam his co-worker in destruction.

Sunday May 4th, as discussed by others the "final Solution" was put into play. Marcos Mercado stood with Lehman security and identified to them members of the "group" to be watched as "trouble makers" who were to be ejected from the service if they attempted to disrupt it.

In his opening remarks Marcos warned the audience that no interruption of the service would be tolerated by the Lehman security and that charges of disorderly conduct would be leveled against anyone who did. He stated that this was not initiated by the Bronx staff but by the Lehman security. This was a complete and utter lie by Marcos! Marcos informed the Lehman security and instructed them to to take action not the other way around. In fact when a Brother and his wife walked onto the stage to speak without permission. It was Sam who sprinted to the rear of the auditorium to get security and have them removed. When the brother who ran up to the front at yelled at Sam "Sam your a crook and a liar" during Sam's tirade of a message. It was Marcos who pleaded with security to have them removed, arrested and charged. Marcos's request was denied and the security told him that they only could remove him from the service. Sam then proceeded to use the pulpit to attack a brother of trying to destroy the Spanish Ministry and also drew the line of either support the leaders or get out. He attack the brother because he had made available the Henry Krite letter available translated in Spanish and preached a message that was Godly. He was attacked for speaking the truth!

The purge has begun. Sam Powell after preaching his get out message and calling on the membership to achieve unity by idenitfiying and asking anyone who was not with "us" to leave, then proceeded to remove the "trouble makers from the membership". Andre Cooper and his wife were the ones who shouted to Sam at the service who Marcos attempted to get arrested was told by Sam that he was no longer a member of the church and therefore not welcome here. Marcos Mercado waited for Curtis Escalera to arrive at midweek with security guard at his side. Upon seeing Curtis he told the guard "that's one of the trouble makers don't let him in" He then block his path and told him "your not welcome here" " your are a part of the group". He also asked him if he had gone to meet with a particular Brother. Curtis responded "since when is it a crime to spend some time with my Brother in Christ?". The Brother who Curtis was asked about is a primary vocalist for reform and repentance. Curtis was shocked by all of this because had thought everything had been resolved on Sunday between he and Marcos because they had both apologized to each other. Marcos nevertheless stated "Yeah I know we apologized but fifteen of the members have met and don't want you here", "Your not welcome here". Upon hearing these words the security guard told Curtis with disbelief " I can't believe that guy is your Evangelist? "Is he suppose to be a man of God?" Sam also put out another Brother of long and faithful standing after being grilled and accused of being a "group" supporter.

All these removals are contrary to Matt 18. These men were not brought before the church or put out by the church. They have done nothing but seek answers from the leadership and called for their repentance. The leaders have refused to answer any financial questions and have refused to allow the membership to remove them from power and chose new leaders as is there right. Sam continues to act in an ungodly, unbiblical way. He in fact by his actions is guilty of heresy because he has denied the Holy Spirit to lead the church. He is preaching another Gospel and is corrupting the weak minded Christians who remain to attack their own brothers. He has preached the (false) Gospel in order to receive monetary gain. He is guilty of dividing the church to remain in power and has caused many hundreds of the flock to stray away from the church. The entire NYCCOC is fractured and is in a complete shambles because of his leadership.

Yesterday, in order to consolidate his power base he asked Will Pena to resign his position as Evangelist because he was sympathetic to some of the "group " members. Will was forced to say it was because of other reasons because he was treatened.

On the horizon in the Bronx. Mike Patterson will announce his resignation from the Bronx Staff within the next two weeks. He will be moving to Florida to wrk in the private sector. His wife already has gotten a job. I don't know what reason that he will give but I speculate that his wife was nearly at a point of having a nervous breakdown because of the high levels of pressure they have been feeling from the negative reactions of the membership and for other family issues. Look for Sam and Marcos to recruit a replacement to take Mike's place because you can't have two bad cops and not one good cop. It will probably be a blast from the past leader with former Bronx glory who was highly respected and loved. I have an idea who it is but it has not been confirmed. Most Probabaly Frank Davis or some one like him. A very attractive package has been offered so lets see who bites! Look for more "group" members to be approached by the leaders and their loyal leg breakers to be put out of the church for knowing too much and asking the wrong questions.

Bronx members rise up against these slavemasters. Don't leave unless you want to leave! Don't let these Ministers of Satan put you out. They do not have the power to remove you! They are only using fear and lies against you just like Satan does. Don't be intimidated! Don't give your money until you know where it has gone! The time of victory is coming and these men will be brought down! They will be disgraced before all to see for their actions. "Bronx Ministers of Evil are in control!"

ICC DF: NYC Possible Disfellowship Tonight
ICC DF: NYC ICOC starting a NEW Church (corporate structure issues)
ICC DF: Sam Powell "Apology"
ICC DF: NYC: Sam Powell's BS Apology (actual text of apology)
ICC DF: young Manhattan leader resignations
ICC DF: NYC Daytime Midweek 3/6
ICC DF: WHY NYC Elders Still in Charge?
ICC DF: NYC WS Region midweek 3-4-2003 (Timmygee's confrontation)
ICC DF: NYC Discussion With Steve J. Garry V.
ICC DF: Steve Johnson Booed out of the Bronx?
ICC DF: Asleep In Brooklyn

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Sunday, May 11, 2003

About article in Boston Globe and Kip's letter -- has been postponed til next Sunday. We got pushed back... for a Catholic Church article (?!!)


I just received this email from a friend who was interviewed by the Globe--"FYI, just talked to the Boston Globe reporter and the ICoC article will not run this Sunday because it was preempted by an article on the Catholic Church. Hopefully, the ICoC article will run next week.I'll notify you when I know for sure."

Sorry, I'm sure the suspense is killing a lot of you. I actually think this is better, as I know the reporter is getting a ton of information and this will give her more time to process it. Perhaps Kip will make his move or his letter will surface before the newspaper article comes out. "Extra! Extra! Kip's Comeback"

from Keith Bonner (an ICC member)

Hello All!
FYI The supposed BG article has been postponed, and more info. is being gathered before it is published. Still no concrete evidence of Kip's letter. I must admit that the ICC forum has been very informative, although the bulk of the info. should be no surprise to anyone who has been around for awhile. Still, be careful with the info. There is so much of it that is speculation. If there is no back up, ie, published confirmed letters, direct source instead of secondary, tertiary, etc., I would wait for something solid. I am concerned about Harlem and the Bronx. Their ignorance will truly hurt them. Still, if we are not strong, we cannot help anyone else. I have been focusing on my relationship with God, digging deeper into my Bible, and trying to encourage others to do the same. If we all stick together, and put God first, none of this madness will affect us one way or another. It's the body of Christ that I am in love with, not the organization. With or without the church's cooperation, we will follow God's format, and they will just have to look for some other suckers to pay their salaries. God will hook us up. He always has. Let's keep our eyes and ears open.
Take Care!

Yes, the writer got MUCH more than she bargained for. I know of another major publication writing an article about the ICC, that was also pushed back.

...Anyway, the reporter reports being happy about this because unbeknownst to her, she got way more than she bargained for and is now chasing down leads on latest developments. Its supposed to be out next Sunday. "Where is the article"

ICC DF: Extra! Extra! Kip's Comeback

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Saturday, May 10, 2003

Important Note: Leslie Clemmons is aware of the errors in her letter (see below by Greg Garcia). The letter in its present form was not supposed to be generally distributed. The story continues to unfold, and the question remains: $3 million, supposed to be used for a college fund for ICC members, was used for benefits and compensation. That money was sent somewhere: but where?

I just wanted to clear up a couple of things. Dan and Cinnamon Conner have moved to Atlanta, not Athens. They did receive a severance package of several months and will live off of that until Dan finds a job. They have an apartment they own in Manhattan which they are trying to sell. It was not bought with church money, but with money my mother Kayren gave them to invest in the stock market. They used that money to buy their apartment in Manhattan, which since then has over doubled in value.

My mom will be moving to Atlanta as well once her apartment here sells. She cannot afford to live in NYC anymore due to her financial situation. I wouldn't call her "incredibly wealthy" anymore, though she hopefully will recoup enough with her apt. sale to live in Atlanta reasonably well.

None of them are getting a penny from Athens or Atlanta. Are they running from NY? You bet. Do I agree with this? Not necessarily as I believe that maturity only comes with "facing the music" so to speak. I make sure my kids clean up their messes. It helps them grow up. You can take the analogy from there.

BUT the implications here that they will receive money from Athens is untrue. I don't know about the other people on the list, but I know about them.

Did you see the email from Greg Garcia? He denies that the 3 million was sent to Athens. It was certainly sent somewhere, perhaps divided out among a number of churches?

That still leaves 3 million unaccounted for. Who is getting that? I've heard that SJ wants it to go for compensation packages, but that the original intent of that money was for a college tuition fund for the needy. There's a big fight about this going on right now.

Wonder who will win?

I'm pulling for the needy...

Grace and peace
Elizabeth Alvarez (sister of Cinnamon; daughter of Kayren) "3 MILLION from ACES to ATHENS"

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Friday, May 09, 2003

Following are many clues to the upcoming "full story of ICC corruption" that is supposed to be revealed to the congregation at some point. After all this, what story is left to tell?

May 9, 2003

Comments from Greg Garcia, the tax administrator mentioned in the letter. Many twists and turns ... this story is not finished yet. I've just added a letter from a repenting leader, who describes the financial privileges of the ICC ministry, among other things (May 7: "Why Leaders Must Get Out" below). Keep checking here for updates.

I would love to know where that alleged $3 million is. Certainly, Athens did not receive it. In fact, the Atlanta church is not giving us one penny with which to "seed" our autonomous church.

What I understand from Bob Keen, the ACOC administrator, is that Atlanta (not Athens) received some $850,000 late last year from the $6 million which ACES had in reserves. I understand from Steve Johnson that NYCOC got $3 million of it and that the balance was distributed pro-rata to the other churches which were part of ACES.

I don't understand the sister's report about all those people moving to Athens. With the exception of the Laing's and the Jacoby's I believe all of the other people named are moving to Atlanta. I would appreciate it if someone would contact that sister and have her correct the information she is erroneously spreading. It is potentially injurious to the "new" Athens Church of Christ" and its members as it is false. I'm sure she believed it to be true but knowing now that it is not, she has a duty to correct it and republish.

Thank you for the heads up.
Greg "3 MILLION from ACES to ATHENS"

May 9, 2003

A letter from Leslie Clemmons about the $3 Million college fund that was used by the ICC leaders for compensation and benefits instead. Is this THE story? Nope -- there's more to come.

The Church Finance Structure (ACES, NYCOC)
I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving the Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. Romans 16: 17-20

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

On Sunday, April 27th, 2003, I went to Rockland County to visit our sister Rachel Hirshfeld. I went because she is my trustworthy friend and sister in Christ and because I wanted to speak to her further on answers she had gotten about the church,s financial structure from people in charge who would know. The following information, which we discussed for about 3 hours, is the reason for my use of the strong scripture preceding this letter. I have tried my best to keep away from anything that is not fact or is hearsay. I also want you to know that according to Rachel Matthew 18 has already been applied to those in concern but they have not listened and now our wish is to bring it to the church, to reliable brothers who will handle the information wisely.

At the end of March, Rachel went to visit Henry Kriete in London. She wanted to discuss the things in the letter, find out any more info and to basically hear it from the horse's mouth and to encourage him. His advice to her was to come back and find out about the finances. Since Rachel has always been discipled by top leadership, was a HOPE Worldwide Ambassador and is now a lawyer with her own practice, she was the perfect person to do it. She first made an appointment with Vivian Hanes, one of her best friends, who is responsible for the corporate structure of the church. Then she went with Bob Shaheen to talk to Steve Johnson and then made an appointment to see Pat Gimpel. Yes, She went straight to the top. She used the following scriptures in challenging these leaders, 1 Corinthians 6:12, Ezekiel 33: 7-9 & 18-20, & Acts 9: 9-19. Please read these before continuing. The Lord will give you insight.

The structure of our church finances and its affiliates is as follows: There are 3 Corporations involved 1) NYCOC, 2) ACES World Sector 3) ACES Private not for profit corporation. Both 1 & 2 have members, and a board and by laws. When they told us that we could look at the books to see the finances, the NYCOC and the ACES world sector are the Corporations that they mean. We will not ever be allowed to see the books for ACES private, not for profit Corporation. This is what is so upsetting. ACES Private, not for profit Corporation has no members, and no affiliation with the International churches of Christ. In fact, its by laws state that 1) it has no members, 2) no one can see the books but the board of directors and 3) that the board of directors can do anything they want to with the money! Where does the money come from for this Corporation? The weekly contributions of 1& 2. That is right. Every time we give contribution it is deposited into the ACES private, not for profit Corporation of which we who give the money have no control! Who is on the board? Kitty Chiles (to her credit she has already resigned), Sam Powell, Joe Furstace, Madeline Evans (I don't remember her married name), Connie Been, and Vivian Hanes. This board sometimes mirrors the board of the NYCOC and ACES. Any money that is then deposited into our church or any of the Aces world sector churches is done so at the sole discretion of a board that has no checks and balance system and one that we who give the money had no idea even existed. Another thing that Rachel mentioned outside of this structure was that even our contribution to the poor goes directly to HOPE and they dole out the local benevolence. Therefore, we again have no control over this money nor do our local leaders within this structure; at the most they only have influence.

This structure while completely legal by the world's standard is far from what God intended for His church and knowledge of this structure has been deceitfully withheld from the average lay person of the church and I dare say (my hope is) most of the ministry staff. The sins that Rachel confronted Vivian Hanes, Steve Johnson, and Pat Gimpel with are Fraud, deceit, stealing, lying, betrayal of trust, not shepherding the church with the money with which they had been entrusted, and not fulfilling the needs of the church with the money they had been given. Rachel told each of them that they are blind like Saul was when the light of Jesus struck him, and that they need to be led by the hand through the darkness by their brothers and sisters until they can see their sin clearly and repent. She told them that she was being like the watchman Ezekiel was called to be for their benefit and hers. They were collectively defensive and did not admit to doing anything wrong and in fact said things such as I haven't done anything that is against the law, nothing illegal and everything you are saying is a matter of opinion. She corrected them by asking, when did we start following the world's standards and not God's standard? She also said, even if it was a matter of opinion then everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. They continue to persist in their denial of any wrongdoing.

Wait, there is more. Another piece of the puzzle (maybe when we get all of the pieces then we will be able to see the true picture of the sin and where it came from; boy, this is almost as confusing as the kingdom study) is that when all of this started (Henry's letter came out to the churches) and up until early March there was $6.3 million in the ACES private, not for profit corporate account. They sent almost half of that to Athens, GA and most of the other half to NYCOC. The tax attorney for the church, Greg Garcia, lives in Athens, GA. Several ex-ministry leaders are planning to move to Athens, GA including Dan & Cinnamon Connor, Karen Carter, The Bogels, Sam & Geri Laing (who have just been hired by the church to lead them), Paul & Summer Sherobeem (not sure how to spell it), and John and Anna Morales. I'm not sure what all of this means, but I know I don't think it is right and that something looks very premeditated about all of this. Rachel also pointed out that if you wanted to start a new business then $3 million would do just fine. I'm sure God will continue to expose the pieces of the puzzle.

Where does this leave the New York church? It gives us a lot of good questions to ask. One of the first ones that I would like to know is why if we have almost $3million somewhere, then why can't we afford meeting places? Surely the interest alone could carry us for quite some time or at least until we get leadership that we can trust appointed.

On a personal note it leaves me very sad, since I have believed in and trusted these leaders for many years. But, we are all human and possess a sinful nature that is capable of bringing us all to the point of sin. All I desire is that these people repent so that we can enjoy heaven together. And when it discourages me to look at all of this I try to remember what Paul said in scripture But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Love and Grace to you in Christ,
Leslie Clemmons
NYC church of Christ "3 MILLION from ACES to ATHENS"

Leadership Lifestyles
ICC DF: "Suing the ICC / NYC COC"

May 9, 2003

Kip McKean has written an approximately 40 page letter which rebuts Henry Kreite's point of view and the issues Kreite raises. Kip also believes that the membership has been too harsh towards himself and the other ICC leadership. Kip sees that the movement is in disarray and directionless, and he now wants to step in to save it. He thinks that the move toward autonomy is wrong. Kip is now in the process of gathering leaders who will be loyal to him and help him call people back to being "true disciples."

What is even more amazing is that Kip himself told much of this information to the woman writing the upcoming article for the Boston Globe! I've been in contact with someone who was interviewed for this article, and the reporter called this person back and told him that Kip spoke freely and willingly to her about his plan to save the floundering movement. Apparently, Kip has gotten over his past resistance to reporters. (Can we say "desperate for the limelight"?)

My own personal theory about what's happening right now is that all the clamping down about "pay contribution or get out" is no accident. I believe Kip is working through certain leaders and pruning out the "unfaithful" and "divisive" elements in the ICC. Once that is done, it will be much easier to have "talks" with people about getting with Kip's new program. Basically, Kip will "reconstruct" ICC churches the same way he did with mainline COC congregations during the 80's.

I would recommend emailing as many people as you know and giving people the heads up so they can be prepared to deal with this situation. I think that the leadership is often successful because they are sneaky and do things incrementally, and the membership doesn't know what is happening until it is too late. I believe if people are informed from the get-go, they have a much better chance of resisting such a scheme.

The article is supposed to come out on Sunday. Here is a website for the Boston Globe: . I don't know if the article will appear on the website or not. For the most part, I don't know which leaders are loyal to Kip and part of his new plan. I know Russ Ewell is one leader who is. I assume many leaders haven't even decided yet. Even if for some reason the reporter doesn't print the info I posted above, I still stand by it as being accurate. Information was also given to the reporter (though not by Kip) that Kip, for a number of years, has had a "slush fund" of a million dollars a year. I believe that a "slush fund" is an account where the money is not for any particular purpose and its use is entirely up to Kip's own discretion. I don't know when this fund began. Time to face the facts, folks. Kip ain't going away any time soon. He wants his church back and he wants it now. "Extra! Extra! Kip's Comeback"

Kip fired from Church of Christ for Divisiveness

May 8, 2003

Title of thread: "Steve Johnson and the Kip McKean Coup." Hmm.

The leaked story says that Sam Laing forced Kip to confess covered-up sins he had committed with Chuck Lucas. This was "confessed" last November (2002) to the WSLs at the time of McKean's resignation, although several, including Douglas Jacoby knew about it in advance.

This is the official unofficial reason for McKean's resignation. However, it is not published, but rather it is leaked so as to have an air of credibility, while at the same time, protecting the church from public scandal beyond the published McKean confessions of "harshness" and such. The reader will notice the great vagueness of McKeans published resignation letter. ( Further, it is quite noticeable that the elders suggest that all of Kip's pertinent sins have been confessed by Kip in his letter. (

This is the same tactic that McKean, Bentley, et al. used in the coup against Chuck Lucas in 1985. Again, no public announcement of the issues, but plenty of leaked information so as to undermine Lucas's authority in the "movement" forever.

But publicly, Lucas is said to be a "hero", and even "the real father of the movement". It is said that "his salvation is not in question". But privately, it is widely known that he was a homosexual predator. (To this day, that fox is back in the henhouse at the Cornerstone Church of Christ in Thomasville, GA--though his elders have been warned about him. Further, as recently as 2001, none other than Sam Laing is found speaking in Lucas' church, reminiscing about how great things were back at Crossroads!)

And now with Kip McKean, he has been removed from the spotlight, but is said to be "doing well", and to be leading a small campus ministry in Southern California. Still on the payroll of the ICC. Still not renounced as a heretic. Still not publicly exposed for the concealed sins.

Lucas also received financial support from the ICC after his dismissal.

Sam Laing refuses to testify as to his knowledge about the covered-up sins of Kip McKean, claiming the status of "spiritual advisor".

So was it a unilateral move on Laing's part to force the resignation of McKean? Or was he acting under the orders of his superior, Steve Johnson? Is Laing really the reluctant hero that the leak makes him out to be, or is he acting under orders?

It is leaked that the WSLs knew nothing of McKean's previous sin and the coverup thereof, but this is not true. The whole "resignation" was a coup, and not only of Sam Laing, but of the WSLs and various others including Douglas Jacoby.

If it were really a unilateral move on Laing's part---if he did it out of concern for righteousness, then why did he not do it in 1985 when he learned of McKean's involvement with Lucas? And this same question, of course, will apply to all these men who have known; why did they not start singing as soon as they found out?

Laing was ordered to do it so that Steve Johnson would not appear to be usurping McKean's position. And Laing, who had previously complied with McKean's humiliating insistance that Laing leave Atlanta to come to Boston for "further training" (Summer, 1987) again complied with the orders of his superior in the movement (Johnson). (Laing had met and baptized McKean, and was then forced to be his subordinate.)

On the very week of the McKean resignation, before the resignation was commonly known, Johnson was in Atlanta, distancing himself from McKean by preaching that it is sinful to teach Matthew 28 if we are not also teaching the Sermon on the Mount. He is clearly positioning himself as being wiser and more mature than McKean, as Mt 28:18-19 is the hallmark McKean passage.

This sermon clearly hits the Atlanta congregation squarely in the nose, as they realize that they have been guilty of neglecting the rudimentary teachings of Jesus in favor of recruiting more members, yet Johnson backs off from his point at the end of his sermon by calling Atlanta a "model" church for the entire movement. And he called it a "mature" church. This was Johnson currying favor by dishonestly flattering the Atlanta church. Also, he was subtly pointing out that the great "kinder, gentler" Atlanta church was in HIS world sector, and not in Kip's domain.

So what's in it for Johnson? Freedom from the tyranny? Power, maybe? And if he gave the orders, how long had HE known about the McKean scandal? How are we to interpret his frequent statements throughout the years that the reason he followed Kip was that "so far, I've found no better help, no better leader, no more righteous a man - no better friend than Kip." (Discipleship Magazine: Spring Quarter, 1989)

And Laing, who thoroughly researched this entire coverup as early as 1985, is the same one who has said of McKean, ""Kip McKean is the greatest living treasure that God has given the kingdom on the face of the earth today…" (Discipleship Magazine:Summer Quarter, 1988.)

And how's all this working out for Johnson? He's completely lost his grip on his own church. Scandals abound and mistrust is at an all-time high. Yet he has not come clean on his collusion in all this. Don't be surprised if he moves elsewhere sometime soon.

And Laing leaves Triangle for Athens. He incorporates the congregation under a new name, and under new bylaws. And ACES transfers 3 million dollars to Athens?

Anybody know Oliver Stone's telephone number? "Steve Johnson and the Kip McKean Coup"

Reveal: "History Repeats Itself: The Rise and Fall of Kip McKean & Chuck Lucas"
ICC DF: "Chuck Lucas' Homosexual Partners"
Reveal: "Responding to the Boston Movement / International Churches of Christ by Rick Bauer" (RB, a former leader, published about his experience including Chuck Lucas' homosexual affairs)

May 7, 2003

I received a poignant and annonymous letter written by a former staff couple that I wanted to post some excerpts from and invite discussion of. It makes it abundantly clear while some of the old time leaders need to resign. What are your thoughts on this?

Letter from long-time annonymous former staff person:

As background in case you don't know me - I was baptized in XXX in l9XX, moved to XXX on the mission team in XX, worked as a XXXX for XXX, then went into the ministry at XX years old. My husband and I married in XX, and we moved wherever we were asked (more times than I can count), and sold everything to move Overseas for XX years before returning to the U.S. and coming to back to U.S.

We resigned from the ministry after over many years. I felt so much pressure to produce numbers, look a certain way, dress a certain way, have a beautiful home, make the stage at church beautiful, have beautiful people singing on stage, etc. - in short, a lot of emphasis on all the wrong things, but I didn't realize it at the time.

Having been in the ministry for a long time, and now having worked in secular jobs for over XX years, I feel I have a unique perspective. I had no idea while I was in the ministry how out of touch I was with what "real" or "normal" (for lack of a better word) lives were.

I don't think anyone who has been in the ministry for years, especially if they went into the ministry straight out of college and never worked, can really grasp this until you've experienced it. I cannot emphasize enough to not underestimate how difficult it is to change the way you have thought when you have been in the ministry for years & years.

I hadn't taught in the Sunday school program since l983, although I had counselled (and corrected and rebuked) people on their attitudes about teaching. I had no idea what it was like when Wednesday night classes ran late, and what it was like to try to pick up the pieces of 2 tired children on Thursday morning at 6:45 trying to get them to school.

After only my first week working at the Medical Center as a XX for 12 hour shifts, the realization hit me how demanding I had thought my schedule was when I was on staff - now every day was much more intense than that staff meeting Tuesday as I went to work, tried to cook dinner before I left in the morning, arranged childcare for my children, etc. I was used to always being right, always having my opinion be the right one, telling people what to do all day long, and thinking I always knew better.

After resigning, it was the best thing that ever happened to us to stay where we had led (not go somewhere else, and certainly not to go somewhere else and accept another ministry job! that certainly wouldn't fit the definition of resignation) and learn the MANY lessons that we needed to learn. It was humbling and difficult to be on the other side of the pulpit, but you get a different, and very valuable view from there.

It's hard to explain the mindset that occurs when you have been in the ministry for a long time. I really thought that being in the ministry was the only thing worth doing, that only the "best" people could do it, and so I looked down on everyone else for not being "sharp" enough to be in the ministry.

I was used to always being right, making judgements about big, little and totally unimportant things and expecting the people around me to do things my way, always having people help me with my responsibilities in life, being able to delegate anything I didn't want to do, having babysitters always readily available, using people to get my goals accomplished and make me look good (although at the time I thought it was sincere and best for them), etc. The pride and arrogance were overwhelming.

It has taken years to understand that no one else in the church has this carte blanche lifestyle. (We could sure use some of those babysitters now!!)

Recently, a couple we are close to came to us asking for a short term loan to be able to buy their child glasses. The husband has a full time job and a masters degree and the wife works part time. It hit me this is how most of the middle class in the United States lives - one thing goes wrong (a broken transmission, needing new glasses, an unexpected medical bill) and you are unable to meet your financial obligations. When you're in the ministry, all of your needs are met: medical insurance (even co-pays), mileage allowances for travel, expense account allowances for housing and entertainment, and so you are shielded from this kind of financial pressure.

So we asked people to be sacrificial, when really we weren't experiencing any real kind of financial sacrifice ourselves, as all of our needs were always met.

Myself, as well as all of the "old-timers" who have been in the ministry for years, have built a crumbling mess. It has not been easy to "fix" me (especially my thinking) and even after 4 years out of the ministry, I'm still not "fixed" because I have been trained in elitism, arrogance, harshness, judgementalism, and pride.

I am extremely concerned about the rushing stampede to hire Sam Laing to come to Athens. It is obvious the many strengths that Sam and Geri have to offer - their marriage, family, counselling ability, etc. But, from my viewpoint after having been in the ministry for over 1/3 of my life, having had 32 years in the ministry is not a plus, but a serious minus.

I have nothing against Sam & Geri Laing, but I have seen the mindset, priviledges, lifestyle and thought process that a leader on his "level" or "tier" in the ICOC system has been steeped in. I also believe many of these mindsets will not even be obvious to Sam for a long time, because we have been thoroughly indoctrinated in that way of thinking.

I believe that Sam is sincere in wanting to repent and that the Triangle church in many ways wasn't as oppressive or controlling as some of the ICOC churches have been, yet it will take time, and many painful conversations, to learn a new way of thinking and dealing with people. Leaving a church after resigning to come somewhere else without staying and learning the lessons there is a red flag to me too. I don't even think it is possible to know what those lessons might even be except with the passing of time.

I haven't seen any evidence of repentance, or even openness, about finances or leaders lifestyles. And although it hasn't been said, I wonder if this rush to hire the Laings has a lot to do with when their severance package expires. I don't want the church to make any huge decisions rashly and without everyone feeling great about the decisions, especially because of money issues. "Why Leaders Must Get Out"

Leadership Lifestyles

May 6, 2003

The "upsetting news to come": ICC Inc.
Following is a post from the ICC DF that hints at the "upsetting news to come." I believe that this is the core of the news, though there could be more to it -- definitely much more exposure of corruption than we've seen thus far.

Many leaders are now up and going to Atlanta and Florida, and that $3m was transferred from NYC to Atlanta. The clues are coming together, and I hardly think it is hard to guess that the "news" will be. There will be no real surprise with the little we've seen. The tip of the iceberg.

The urgency here is to warn people, and to get this out to the media so that ALL know about the ICC, and that Kip McKean's name and organizations will become
synonymous with L Ron Hubbard/Scientology, the Rev Moon/Unification Church or "Moonies", David Koresh, Jim Jones, and the Landmark Forum.

There are still too little people who know about these money-making cults manufactured by Kip Mckean, Sam Powell, Steve Johnson et al.

Understand that this is not an official statement from the church, only a statement from someone who was with the church a long time and knows a lot of the old
guard. I agree with the poster: "May God's wrath speak fiercely."
[Post from ICC DF]
I found out the church was never a church but a corporation. I have been in communication with informants from all over the world in all icoc churches who are very close to what is going on with the powers that be or part of transitional teams.

these crooks in the icoc knew 24 years ago that somethin like this may eventually happen so they prepared themselves and devised schemes to keep their wallets fattened. why do you think they went after "sharp" people? they became corrupted along the way to a point of no return.

the reason why they still dont "get it" as steve johnson maintains, is because these men and women are not godly. they never had the mind of christ. nor do they FEAR God. so you guys are basically callin them to a standard that they no longer embrace. the bible is clear about these matters but their brains are dulled, their consciences are seared.

and we were the ones who were robbed financially, emotionally, physically,spiritually, mentally, psychologically. we were the ones whose dreams of marriage, education, careeer, vacations, freedoms, choices, peace of mind, etc were STOLEN.

why is it that people are all of a sudden finding love? or doin better financially since they are not titheing or listenin to stupid advice to not move here or there b/c there is no church there? or simply more at peace b/c all their feelings and doubts are now being validated from all the scandality that has been exposed?

them times we sat in our living rooms with one another and questioned how is that so many people in a church could remain SINGLE when they have so many good things to give to another person and NEVER had a problem finding love before icoc---was the spirit moving.

them times we CRINGED in the kingdom study and felt uncomfortable tellin a person that we are the only ones with the cornerstone of truth and all others are
condemned to hell b/c they are part of a denominational chruch-the spirit was once was moving.

them times we felt strongly about moving here or there and we were told if we do so we would be rebellin against God b/c we would not be surrounded by
"disciples" and our hearts told us otherwise--the spirit was once again stirring.

them times we did not feel that we could trust the person sittin across the table from us in our d-times b/c we do not a friendship built with them over time ..once again the spirit was SCREAMING to STOP VIOLATING OUR CONSCIENCE.

but we I-C-O-C "surrendered" and "humbled out" b/c we were friggin brainwashed to beleive we have BAD HEARTS to listen to that voice within and we bought into the
lies that we must do all of the above b/c of UNITY. OBEDIENCE to GOD. HUMILITY.

now how stupid do we feel? to learn that the CHURCH, the KRYPTDOMMM never operated as anything but a FORTUNE 500 CORPORATION whose #1 goal was to recruit many so as to turn out a profit.

oh, and to all those who are sending me personal emails some of you are lurkers and have never posted but visit regularly, some have posted here (which is
fine with me) the answer to your questions are: YES! yu will ALL hear the news of these recent revelations in open forums SOON. I cannot say more due to my
friendship with the person. the flock will hear of it and those with any sense in their heads will get the hell outta that dangerous and corrupt place.

but yu wanna know what will happen? the crooks will shut down all the doors. which as yu can see they are doing already. and they are operating under a new name
"Mcfaith" ---all the saints who are speakin out they have said to them if yu dont like it, then leave.

so these folks will leave and the ones that remain will keep the money flowing and a new generation of people will be enslaved perhaps under harsher "biblical truths", a generation of people of truth seekers, wide-eyed and quite innocent and unaware of the history of Mcfaith since they will be operating under this new name. those who remain in the church and who to this day refuses to read henry letter or talk to anyone outside the church will help the leaders to perpetuate this vicious cycle of puttin a choke hold on one another again. May God's wrath speak fiercely. "Why NYC Leaders Do Not Have to Resign"

Leadership Lifestyles
A Psychological Study of the ICC (MBTI)
Reveal: "Control Mechanisms in the ICC"
The Discipling Dilemma

May 6, 2003

This is one of a few issues that allegedly happened, in the NYC COC.

A generous ICC member had set up a college fund for the church, spending $35,000 of his own money to set up a $3,000,000.00 fund for students who couldn't afford to pay for college.

The evangelist wanted to use this $3Mill for pensions and compensation packages for those "leaders" who have left/stepped down.

When the evangelist was confronted about NOT using the money for those purposes the evangelist told this generous man that he didn't remember having that discussion with him. He thought it was set up for the church to use at its discretion.

On top of this, $3 million dollars was sent to Athens, GA recently. Wonder why half the resigned staff is moving to Georgia?

If anyone can double confirm on this story, would be much appreciated. This was heard a reliable source, but these are only allegations. This is one of many stories you will hear when the church gets sued, probably in addition to the big "upsetting" news that is to come.

[ 5/9/03 This story has been double, and triple, confirmed. ] "Suing the ICC / NYC COC"

Leadership Lifestyles

April 28, 2003



In the present upheaval over the decentralization of the International Churches of Christ, a chief concern is the issue of church contribution. It is difficult, if not impossible, to isolate a single concern within the complex web of related issues that has produced such turmoil. Therefore, though the focus of this paper is “tithing” or church contribution, discussion of related matters is unavoidable and, even necessary. This paper is the first of several articles, which hopefully will contribute to a better understanding of this and other issues, and the consideration and application of biblical principles for practical solutions.

It is always important to discuss an issue within its historical context. Up until the early 1990’s the teaching on church contribution within the fellowship of the International Churches of Christ emphasized primarily the need for sacrificial giving. The amount was left to the discretion of each Christian, though 10% was considered a reasonable guideline. However, as movements institutionalize, rigidity develops. After a time “true” disciples were expected to commit 10% of their income to the weekly contribution and a set multiple of their weekly contribution to the annual special missions contribution.

Transitions in ministry practices are often the result of changes in biblical interpretations, either through the discovery of new scriptures, fresh insight into familiar scriptures, or by ignoring certain teaching altogether. Though this is to be expected in the growth cycle of any church, there are potential dangers. Our tendency to “canonize” certain interpretations, particularly when they reinforce our agendas and contribute to the church’s “success,” can lead to the assumption of the biblicism of our conclusions. The emotional celebration from the achievement of certain goals is often responsible for a lack of biblical precision and the unnecessary confusion over clear biblical teaching. In the midst of these emotions, the reevaluation of “success” producing interpretations poses the threat of invasion to our theological borders.

This is not to say that a defense of traditional interpretations is always negative. The Gospel message must be defended. However, confidence in the integrity of our defense must come only after a thorough, knowledgeable, and proper study of the Scriptures. Our strong propensity towards theological rigidity and legalistic righteousness can tragically blind leaders of institutionalized religion to the need for the reexamination of traditional interpretations and “group” thought processes.

Biblical Issues Concerning “Tithing”

In light of the above discussion, I have two main points: 1) The practice of tithing is not consistent with the teaching of Jesus and the rest of the New Testament and, 2) the misuse of Scripture in support of tithing nullifies important universal spiritual principles which govern and empower disciples to live sacrificially.

Any implementation of “law” results in legalism, which by nature, is a preoccupation with the minimum, or what one has to do, and a blindness to the benefits of the maximum, or what one is privileged to do. An understanding of the latter is crucial to the understanding of the heart of Jesus. Understanding Jesus’ willingness to sacrifice is pivotal to any true assessment of the meaning of the cross. Therefore, it is imperative that we protect our freedom of choice to experience the power of a willing sacrifice.

For tithing to be an expectation for disciples in today’s church, the authority of the old covenant must be established. This use of the Old Testament ignores vital distinctions between the old and new covenants; distinctions which are foun­dational teachings in both Testaments, i.e. Paul's arguments in Romans and Galatians, the argumentation in the book of Hebrews, and Jeremiah's prophecy of the coming of a new covenant in Jeremiah 31. My concern over the misunderstanding and misapplication of such basic biblical teaching is as strong as my concern over the issue of tithing itself.

There are two important points in this regard. 1) Under the covenant given to Moses at Mt Sinai, the Jews were the only nation commanded to tithe (Leviticus 27:30-34), and 2) the tithes were to support the Levites only, as they maintained the Tent of Meeting. (Numbers 18:21-32) The other tribes received the land as their inheritance, while the Levites received a tenth of the land’s produce for their support.

When the need for the services of the priesthood ended, so did the need for the tithes, thus, no mention of the continuation of tithing by Jesus, the Apostles, or the writers of the New Testament. According to Heb 8:13, the covenant given to the Jews at Sinai is obsolete implying the Israelites no longer to be God's chosen people. The writer, in chapter 7, also argues that the Levitical priesthood now stands in ineffectual contrast to the superiority of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Notice the wording of Leviticus 27:30; “A tithe of everything from the land . . . belongs to the Lord.” The act of giving under the new cove­nant sharply contrasts the expectation of the old. Jesus taught; “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33) The idea that only our tithe belongs to the Lord is nonsensical under the teaching of the new covenant. A tenth has been superseded by everything; heart, soul, mind, and strength. Young Christians are often taught that a personal budget should first include what belongs to the Lord. However, the categorization of what is God’s and what is ours is not “new covenant thinking,” and prevents the experience of sacrificial living. As followers of Christ, God now allows us to determine how we will administer what already belongs to him. (cf. Acts 5:1-4)

The transition from guideline to command, from an expedient to law is common to all churches and religious movements. In Judaism, for example, some of the early guidelines concerning appropriate behavior on the Sabbath later became codified as law, exemplified by the intense interaction be­tween the religious leaders and Jesus. It should not shock us, therefore, when we experience the same intense dynamic when we challenge our traditions on tithing.

2 Corinthians 8 & 9

2 Corinthians 8 & 9 is the most comprehensive text in the New Testament on giving, making it vital to this discussion. Paul uses two examples to illustrate his thoughts, the Macedonian churches and Jesus Christ. The Macedonian churches gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability in the midst of what Paul describes as the most severe trial and extreme poverty. Jesus' willingness to become poor for our sake speaks for itself.

In the context of such powerful examples of sacrifice, the phrase, I am not commanding you, in 8:8 is significant, as well as problematic to the interpretation that someone has authority from God to determine whether and how much each disciple must give. There are two reasons for Paul’s position. First, each person must give in accor­dance to what he has. The key phrase here is; “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” (8:12)

What a disciple has is dependent on several factors. For example, how many children are in the family? What are the needs of each child? Are there elderly parents that need support? All of us recognize the legitimacy of these needs. Therefore, meeting these needs is as valid as giving to the “church” contribution. Equating “giving to God” primarily to the weekly “church” contribution shows an inconsistency, certainly with Paul, but also with the rest of the New Testament.

Recently, it came to my attention that an evangelist in a large church taught that not to give to the weekly church contribution or the special contribution was a sin before God. The reasons one has for not giving to any worthy cause always need spiritual evaluation. However, the conclusion that the act of not giving to the church contribution is a sin, is without biblical authority and reflective of methods of “command,” rather than a proper use of the biblical text.

The second reason why Paul refused to command the Corinthians is found in 2 Corinthians 9:7; “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Paul intended for each disciple to determine the amount to be given. When this right is prohibited through commands, or “shaming” disciples by conveying doubt about the sincerity of their discipleship, then reluctance and compulsion are the result. Motivation through guilt and shame, and the denial of personal decision eliminates cheerful giving. Paul believed in the need to inspire others to give sacrificially which, to him, meant the preservation of the important relationship between freedom of choice and motivation. A giver under compulsion is unable to experience the joy exemplified in the Macedonians and Jesus. A reluctant person holds back, while a cheerful giver is consumed with the joy of giving.

Church leaders in denial of these principles, often set the amount for the members and then find themselves frantic and frustrated in their efforts to create a joy about giving. The failure by members to achieve personal faith or joy, or the attempt to express reluctance about the amount is then often considered an indication of a spiritual problem. However, a teaching or its application which contradicts God’s Word is indicative of the real problem, false teaching

Mark 7:9-13

Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees over the tradition of “Corban,” recorded in Mark 7:9-13, is relevant here.

You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, "Honor your father and your mother," and, "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death." But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: "Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban" (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."

Most of us have used this passage to deal with many of the false doctrines and traditions of the religious world. It is also extremely applicable to our lives concerning the present tradition of tithing. In the context of Mark 7, the nullification of God’s Word is a result of the insensitive and arrogant defense of traditions which are in contradiction to the clear intent of God. The challenge of repenting from traditions which nullify the Scripture is the threat it poses to our ecclesiastical structures. There is no historical evidence that the Pharisees explicitly taught that parents should be neglected. However, the fear of the collapse of their means of support led to the birth and passionate defense of the ungodly tradition of “Corban” and the blind insensitivity to the real needs of people.

With the normal financial pressures surrounding the maintenance of the temple, i.e. budgets to be keep, people to support, and work to be carried out, it is understandable how the doctrine of “Corban” developed. The relevance to our situation could not be more obvious. The blinding preoccupation with our “institutional success” has wreaked havoc on the God-given rights of the individual disciple. Therefore, great damage has occurred to the many hearts of the “once-willing.” In order to remain in good standing, many disciples have sought refuge in an infantile spiritual maturity level by developing an unhealthy codependency on leadership for approval, and consequently have lost faith in their personal decision making capabilities. Just as it was hard in the first century to question or say no to the powerful and intimidating religious structure of the Pharisees, so it is concerning our own structures. However, our real refuge is Jesus who was bold enough to say no in his day and stands with us when we do the same in ours.

Just Say No

I am often asked, “How should I feel about giving to the church contribution, especially when I have lost so much trust.” Above everything else, you should feel that God grants you the absolute right to decide whether to give and how much to give. Also, we must ask ourselves whether we are good stewards over what God has given us when we give to that which we no longer trust. Those in this type of quandary are often challenged to give and simply trust God. Yet, is it not also the case that in many circumstances we should not give because God trusts us?

In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira were disciplined not because of a refusal to give, but for their deceit. Peter told Ananias regarding the land he sold; “Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?” (vs 4) As mentioned above, as disciples, everything we have belongs to God and is left to our discretion for its use. There are many ways to give money. For example, if we have lost trust in the church contribution, why not give directly to other disciples in need? Would that not be more effective in helping the needy remain faithful? Is that not the same as giving to the “church,” and, perhaps even a more efficient use of “God’s money”? How about giving directly to the many benevolent organizations in our cities which care for the sick and needy? Would that not help to build bridges between the church and the community? Another suggestion would be to give our “contribution” consistently to single mothers to help with their daily expenses, or to help with their child care issues. Many homes of the elderly are in serious need of repair. It is refreshing to think outside of our institutional religious “boxes,” often defended by guilt and shame, and let the Spirit move freely in our hearts.

One of the most powerful and overlooked strengths of Jesus was his unrelenting ability to say no. He said no when he was asked to be king, no when the children were kept from him, no when tempted by Satan, no when accused of breaking the law, no when accused of blasphemy, no when he attacked the unbiblical practice of “Corban”, no when commanded to speak before Pilate, and no to sin. There is much power in the word no. When we say no to legalism, self-righteousness and hypocrisy, we are at the same time saying yes to joy, freedom, and confidence. Saying no does need to be loud, brash, disobedient, or unruly. It just needs to be firm, resolute, and confident. Setting your boundaries by affirming your right to say no in one area is not necessarily a reflection of a negative spirit, but rather, an important means to be led by the Spirit to the many other opportunities God needs us to fulfill.

Part of our dilemma as disciples is feeling torn over many leaders who have been guilty of harshness, insensitivity, deceit, and emotional abuse, and yet still expect our financial support. We all need to decide how we want to live for God, either in fear, and in the constant attempt to win the approval of others, or by making the decision to grow up and experience the freedom of Christian living within God’s boundaries for our personal lives. One of the sad realities of institutional religion is that it leaves most disciples numb over the years of being told how to think, how to feel, and what to believe. While there is some comfort in numbness, it can lead to spiritual death.


It is clear from the New Testament that sacrificial living holds much promise for all of our lives (Romans 12:1). This concerns not just our money, but every­thing we own and are, now belongs to the Lord. In the terminology of the New Testament there is no such thing as giving back to the Lord, because “giving back” indicates a transfer of ownership. The act of giving in the New Testament is towards a particular work or to meet a particular need and therefore, is referred to as the collection for God's people, or service to the saints (1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 8:4).

God has replaced the system of prede­termined percentages with a covenant in which the needs of others are written on the hearts of all disciples. As Paul trusted the adequacy of the example of Jesus to stimulate and inspire the brothers and sisters to give entirely on their own and beyond their ability so we must also trust the power of the Gospel message. This trust activates a life of joyful sac­rifice.

Much of the present turmoil over the salaries of the ministry staff reflects a justified concern over the violation of biblical teaching and spiritual principles. Years of giving “under compulsion” has finally born fruit. Ministers trained to “make it happen,” have missed Paul’s determination to “inspire it to happen,” and are therefore, facing intense scrutiny. Rightly so, God will not be mocked. We have and will continue to reap what we sow. (Gal 6:7) The emphasis on the “letter” does indeed kill; it kills unity, trust, sacrifice, and inevitably, the church’s identity as belonging to Christ. (Gal 5:4) The alternative is to live by the “Spirit,” which is God’s way to infuse life back into the church. Paul words to the Corinthians are appropriate, “. . . for the letter kills and the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor 3:6)

Because of our disobedience to the Scriptures and the creation of a legalistic approach to giving and other areas of ministry, we have witnessed the fulfillment of Paul’s warnings in the spiritual death of thousands who have given up on God. Those who have not left God, have felt the necessity to leave the fellowship of many churches, in order to preserve their faith and joy in God. Unfortunately, hindsight is not always 20/20. The legalist sees “. . . but a poor reflection as in a mirror;” (1 Cor 13:12). The lessons are there, but the pain of the honest admission of failure obscures the narrow pathway to a fuller understanding of the message. Therefore, the saying, “history always repeats itself” is a foundational truism for those led by the “letter.”

It is never too late to change. However, the same issues responsible for the problems still stand as obstacles to its revitalization; deceit, pride, concern over support and position, “old covenant” training methods, and “group think.” With humility and obedience to the truth, each of us can move from the old to the new. From disciples who courageously refuse to follow the path of legalistic traditions and expectations, God can instill within a new generation the passion of “new covenant” dreams.

Let us all give the Spirit a chance. We have quenched him for too long. Just say no to the traditions of men and unhealthy codependency, and witness the fulfillment of God’s promises in your life. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor 9:7-8) "Marty Wooten: Issues of Contribution"

April 19, 2003

Why was it never made public that Chuck Lucas' "recurring sin" was, at least in part, homosexual in nature? (Yes, I know it's the worst-kept secret in Crossroads history, but why was it not announced?)

Why were the names of his homosexual partners never announced? Were any of his interns (Kip McKean, Sam Laing, Tom Brown, Tom Bogle, et al.) involved with him in this sin? Did any of these interns KNOW ABOUT this sin? If they did, why have THEY never made it public?

Why was Chuck Lucas the only man in the world outside the ICOC that Kip McKean would publicly claim was a Christian? Why did Kip and Martin Bentley wait so long to have Chuck removed from office on account of this sin?

As fiercely as Kip has exposed and opposed the sexual sins of others, why did he give Chuck Lucas such latitude?

How is it that Chuck ended up being an evangelist in his own church of Christ in Thomasville, GA, with these sins never having been exposed publicly? How is it that there has been (informal, at least) cooperation between Chuck, Chuck's kids, and the Atlanta Church's summer teen camps?

Are any of Chuck's former homosexual partners currently leading ICOC churches? Are any of these former interns on record as having made assertions one way or the other about their involvement? Have any of them even been asked about these things in a public forum?

How is it that folks are afraid to talk about these issues for fear of "hurting the children", when the children need to know the truth just like all the rest of us who are healing from this mess?

Why does it seem that Sam Laing as enjoyed far more latitude at Triangle than have other evangelists in the movement? Is this related to the fact that he obviously knows more the Chuck Lucas scandal than the public knows?

Did the WSLs discuss these matters during the Sabbatical/Resignation negotiations?

Is it only a coincidence that the stereotypical homosexual characteristics of being deceitful, being controlling, being obsessed with sexual matters, and being overly-interested in the personal affairs of others, are also well-established characteristics of ICOC leadership?

Is it proper for God's people to espouse the same kind of blind pragmatism that kept the immoral Bill Clinton's approval rates high as long as the economy was good? Do you even want to know if your current/former heroes practiced homosexuality and covered it up?

These are all important questions and I believe that many of the early evangelists in the Boston movement were partners of Chuck's.
The sin in the movement from the beginning has really doomed this group due to the hypocrisy of demanding absolute openness while they continue to hide their sins (it is the hypocrisy rather than the sexual sin that is the issue for me, for most struggle in one way or another with sexual issues).

Some info has been made available through an email over the several weeks that I keep hearing will be coming out soon. But so far, it's been pretty quiet. "Chuck Lucas' Homosexual Partners"

Reveal: "History Repeats Itself: The Rise and Fall of Kip McKean & Chuck Lucas"

April 16, 2003

If you want information on ACES or the NYCoC and they are not willing to share it, the State Attorney General wants to hear from you. You can fill out a form and fax it to them. Everything will be confidential.

I was told by an aide at SAG that some members have contacted the office, but unfortunately have not filled out the necessary form. There are not enough
people coming forward and filling out the form. Calling them is NOT enough.

You can fill out a Complaint/Inquiry Form or The Freedom of Information Law Request Form. Both of these forms are located at the web address below.

Forms are at

Web site

Filling out these forms does not mean someone will get into trouble. It will give you answers to unanswered questions.

New York State Office of the Attorney General
Eliot Spitzer
Charities Bureau
120 Broadway, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10271
212-416-8400 (phone)
212-416-8393 (fax)

March 27, 2003

[ Link here to Financial Statements ]

To Sam Powell and others,

After reviewing the Financial Statements given out yesterday, I might say that was the most watered down financial report I have seen yet from an organization that is trying to clear its name.

It does not contain substantial information about the real financials of the church. It does not include a Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statements that will help determine if money is being covered up or not. It does not describe what various expenses mean and what it was used for. Where is the income tax form that is submitted to the government that will shed more light on the church's financials than the information that was released? That would have been a lot better to see then what was released. What about 2001, 2000 and especially 1999?

Well for me, it opens a lot more questions then I originally had because of the fact it was extremely watered down.

The only concrete information that is interesting to note is the fact that Steve's and Lisa's Johnson released their personal income information. According to them, their total compensation package was $145,000 which included their housing allowance of $3,300/mo while working for ACES and NYCOC. This is not including their three areas of benefits: Health and disability insurance, TSA (retirement payments which commence at age 35), and professional reimbursements (any legitimate expense for the ministry or when traveling). Steve's share stated that last year’s professional reimbursements totaled about $16,000.00.

So this means the following: $145,000/yr minus (3,300/mo * 12 = $39,600) = $105,400 for their gross pay before housing allowance, $16,000 for professional reimbursements before taxes (40%) equals $27,428.57, $39,600 for housing allowance before taxes (40%) equals $67,885.71 (a minister who receives a housing allowance may exclude the allowance from gross income to the extent it is used to pay expenses in providing a home) for a grand total of $200,714.29 of gross income.

THIS does NOT INCLUDE Benefits (medical, disability, dental and life insurance) and other methods of income for the position they hold. It also does not include other income or benefits in the financial statements. The financial sheet information released does not point out or illustrate any additional benefits that employees get. Why not? What are the numbers? Those benefits can push Steve and Lisa Johnson’s income beyond what was already released. Retirement payments that start at the age of 35? That is a very early age to start retiring. Can you please clear that up?

NOW I AM NOT SAYING that the CHURCH should release the personal information of people's salary but knowing that Steve and Lisa make that much is disturbing. Furthermore, not releasing information about the church's financials does not help me determine if that is the extent of corruption of money and power in the church's financials. What accounting tricks were used in order to cover up where the church's money was used?

Also I want to see more information about the ACES financials where $2,246,400 was sent from NYCOC to ACES Corporation. How ACES used that money is not shown in those financial statements. Are they going to be released? If so, when?

I would like the church to REALLY come clean and release information that will help us determine if the money was used wisely or not. I am not talking about individual people's salary, though that I was nice of Steve and Lisa, but a detailed financial information including cash flow and balance sheet statements that will help us to determine what is going on.

My personal feeling is that they are probably one of the lowest paid leaders. According to your report it was stated that the highest range is $84,714 for married men and $70,279 for married women, which is $154,993 before benefits, housing allowance, and professional expenses.

And what is up with putting on the first page that we are in a deficit of -14,279 for the period of January 1 to February 28, 2003 for the Brooklyn Region?

If this information was more accurate and detailed then I will feel fine to give... now I have lost even the little confidence that I had that money was used and will be used wisely and justly with a Christ-like attitude.

Putting that -14,279 in the first page... for what? To make me feel guilty or worried about the church is losing money because of the lack of people's faith in the church? Why take so long to issue such a watered down report? When is the real report coming out? The times of pushing around people using guilt is over. Do not turn the tables.

Take your time and I am sure that negative value will get worse.

As for the rest of us, let's pressure the leadership to release some real answers for once, instead of hearing a watered down excuse for information. How you do it, is up to you.

Axxxxx Gxxxxx

P.S. The saddest part is that less then 1% of total revenue is used for local benevolence. The people that need it the most are within our own church. So the stories that single moms had a hard time collecting from the church, and will use outside help including the Catholic church because it was easier... what will Jesus think? "NYC Financials - Rebuttal"

Leadership Lifestyles

February 7, 2003

Shortly after Mike Leatherwood's letter, November 2002, Kip McKean resigned after being on sabbatical. His children had all left the church. He confessed his "sins" before the congregations in a resignation letter and special service. (See Reveal)

Henry Kreite's letter was released around today, February 7. (See also "HK Letter" link on menu bar)

After the release of this letter in London, it was rapidly circulated around the world via Internet, including the ICC Discussion Forum.

The rest of this blog is essentially the various reactions to alleged corruption detailed in Kreite's letter.

New Covenant: Individual Church Reactions to HK Letter

ICC DF: Kip's letter of resignation

October 18, 2002

Mike Leatherwood was a very loved and trusted evangelist who led the Chemical Recovery ministry (substance abuse issues) and other special needs ministries around the world. He is also suspected of improper behavior. However, despite this, his letter speaks truth in volumes.

This is the long version of Mike's letter sent to the ICC leadership in the NYC church. Posted with permission.
Dear Steve and Lisa, the Elders, D-Group and Staff,

After 25 years in the Movement and 17 years on staff with the NYC Church of Christ, I have decided to leave the ICOC. It has been a difficult decision and one that cost me a great deal. It has divided my immediate family and I am paying a very high price both personally and professionally. I say this because I want you to know that this is not a selfish decision or a matter of simply having my ego or feelings hurt. It is a matter of conscience!

Over the past 17 years a number of things have occurred with which I did not agree but I know that no one or no church is perfect and for the sake of unity I decided to resolve or simply overlook what I considered to be non-essential matters. I hope my track record shows that I am not a divisive person. Why then would I choose to leave now?

In the past two years I have seen scores of disciples in individual counseling sessions. The majority of these clients have suffered various types of abuse in their past. What has been disturbing however is the majority of these people have been exposed to more trauma at the hands of many leaders in this church. I realize that most people do not feel what I feel and I do not expect them to. Most people will not agree with my decision to leave and I understand that too. If I had only seen what most disciples have, I would probably remain as well. As a matter of fact, I want to be on record as having encouraged all of my clients to stay. I am only leaving because I have to and I wouldn't expect anyone else to leave unless they felt the same. My vantage point, however, has given me a unique perspective. Seeing 30-40 disciples each week has allowed me to see a pattern of trauma, abuse, and oppression that is appalling. Last Thursday brought all of this into a very sharp focus. I had been praying about my concerns and asking God to make what I needed to do clear. Thursday I received my answer, a moment of clarity when all doubts and confusion suddenly just vanished. A young man whom I have known for several years came into my office that day. Although he has a number of problems, I believe that he loves God and is a disciple. He suffers from a severe panic disorder, agoraphobia, which makes it extremely difficult for him to leave his house and attend all of the church services. He told me in tears that he had been called into an appointment with his sector leader the previous Thursday and confronted regarding his lack of attendance at the services. He was informed at that time that he had actually been taken off the church role the previous November but had never been notified. He was told at that time that he was not considered a disciple because of his lack of commitment. In order to be restored to the church role he would have to redo the studies that the church does with non-Christians and that he would not be allowed to date during this time. He left the meeting so traumatized that he suffered a severe panic attack. He described how his thoughts began to race and how he began to feel totally out of control. He stated that he knew that it was wrong and that he shouldn't have done it and then he raised his sleeve to reveal self-inflicted wounds, gashes cut into the entire length of his arm with a pocketknife. He stated that cutting his arm was the only way he knew to relieve the pain that he was suffering in his mind and heart. In my opinion it's probably the only thing that kept him from committing suicide. I felt a wave of sadness and rage crash over me. I felt physically sick. It was all that I could do to stay in the session. My first thoughts were, "What a tragedy, this didn't have to happen." What was done to him was not only unethical but also criminal. What kind of system fosters such abuse? How can we stand in judgement on the Catholic Church and the abuse of their priest? How self-righteous! Although this may be seen as an extreme example, this is not an isolated instance. It is merely the tip of the iceberg. This happened in spite of the fact that I have offered, been prepared, and been promised on numerous occasions, to help train the staff in order to prevent what I feared would happen. I don't blame the sector leader for this. I understand that he is a young leader, but I do hold Steve Johnson, the Elders, and Steve and Lisa's discipleship group, responsible. You could have prevented this from happening.

Brothers you know my life. I am far from perfect, as my children and my wife can attest, but you know the ways that I have faithfully serviced Christ and His Church for many, many years. From my perspective, and again I realize that it is a unique one, what came into focus for me is a Church that in its heart has absolutely lost Jesus. Although I know that there are many faithful Christians in the NYCC of C, I do believe that it is, or is in grave danger of becoming, a body severed from the Head, that is Christ. I see very little resemblance ot Jesus in the leadership. What I do see is an emphasis on works and a legal system created by Kip and fostered by you as leaders. Legalism breeds religious pride, cruelty and oppression. I don't think that this was or is your intent, but intended or not, it is the fruit of 20+ years of works righteousness.

My intent is not to pull people away from the NYCC of C. Again, I don't expect people to agree with my perception or decision. I expect you to be angry and defensive. I don't expect you to take a hard look at yourselves. For some reason that seems almost impossible for Steve. Maybe this will help you to change, although I must say that I am not extremely hopeful. Instead, I expect you to attack me and my family for our obvious faults. This allows the focus to remain on someone else. After all, if we can use such loaded terms as "fall away" or "divisive" then you can avoid the pain of the radical humility that it will take to turn this around. I know that some of you just don't see what I've seen, but how much do you want to see it?

Those of you who have been Steve and Lisa's closest advisors ergarding the emotional needs and the spiritual health of the Church have done an absolutely horrendous job. I hold you especially responsible. Your religious pride and arrogance coated by a thin veneer of false humility makes it hard to detect the hatefulness and harshness that only the weak will ever be subjected to. You have missed the heart, the compassion, and the empathy of Jesus. In closing the door on the emotional recovery ministry and not aggressively training the staff to empathically relate to others, you have denied nurturing and healing to those placed in your care. David and Coleen Graham came to New York with a lot of hurt, but with a fresh and vibrant perspective that clearly resonated with the members in the North NJ sector. It is a shame that they did not receive the support that they needed, but only resistance and criticism. I think it shows a lack of connection with the needs of the members. The way that they were treated reflects the fear of losing of control that is so pervasive in your leadership. What exactly is it that makes controlling people so important?

I have decided not to meet with Steve although he has made repeated attempts to meet with me. It has been my experience in my many meetings over the last 17 years that they are not productive. It is extremely difficult to be heard. I have felt either overpowered, manipulated or patronized. This is not a personal matter. It is a systemic one. I applaud the efforts of the Boston Church in making sincere efforts to dismantle a legalistic system that breeds oppression and denies freedom. I think you as leaders often wonder why you have so much trouble getting the members to read their Bibles, pray, tithe, etc. What do you expect when you infantalize people in order to control them because they are not to be trusted with their freedom? Again it sounds like the reasoning of the Catholic Church. When you strip people of their freedom you create a spiritual nursery which allows you to control people in order to make yourselves feel more powerful, or get more done (after all, you can get more done in the short run by getting people to follow orders). But then we turn around and get mad at them and humiliate them in "D" times because they aren't growing up and taking responsibility for themselves. No wonder people are confused and frustrated. You can't have it both ways. Legalism and control fosters oppression and immaturity. You cannot continue to control and manipulate people and expect them to be mature and responsible. Can't you see that the spiritual immaturity of the church is simply the result of the lack of grace and freedom you have denied people in order to control them, even if it was with the best of intentions? The end does not justify the means. The real end is a weak and immature church in which you have to shout louder or get more "fired up" to get results. Grace and freedom are central to the teaching about Jesus and without it we will only seem to grow.

I am not interested in the least in strting a new church. I will not solicit people to leave the NYCC of C. However, I will continue to love God andcare, and I am very grateful for that.f be a part of his Church. I will continue to advocate for the oppressed. I am committed to offering a place of shelter and safety, a place of freedom, compassion and dignity for those who are weary and burdened. This is the Great Commission that I'm convinced that the NYCC of C has lost sight of. I will pray for you that you will have the humility and courage to look deeply within yourselves as leaders. This could be the defining moment for the church, your opportunity to step up, as the leaders have in Boston, and to lead the church out of the darkness of legalism, oppression and immaturity. It is only to that Church, a Church committed to the heart of Jesus, that I will ever again belong.

In Him,

Mike "Mike Letterwood's letter - long version"

A Psychological Study of the ICC (MBTI)
Reveal: "Control Mechanisms in the ICC"

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