What now


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The Persecuted Church



What now? Steps forward or Backward

On November 11, 2001 Kip and Elena Mckean announced to the Los Angeles Church of Christ they were leading that they are stepping down. Calling it a “sabbatical” for an unspecified amount of time so they can focus on “marriage and family issues.” Kip and Elena emphasized discipleship and that the people do not need to question or bring judgment upon the Mckeans, but look at their own actions and realize that they were not above being discipled.

They also wrote in an official letter “it is God's will for us to take a sabbatical and to delegate, for a time, our day-to-day ministry responsibilities so that we can focus on our marriage and family.”

Others who have stepped down from leadership have lost their position, however the McKeans will still retain their positions as leaders and stay involved in the decision making for the church. In Al Baird and Bob Gempel ‘s letter written Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2001 they used the term sabbatical and explain what it meant. In the official letters from the Mckean's and Al Baird and Bob Gempel the leaders have admitted that they failed to keep tabs on the Mckean's, especially Kip. In a letter they wrote they mentioned that they had to address some serious shortcomings in their marriage and family.

To use the term sabbatical shows the leadership is still not willing to deal with the seriousness that even the McKean's may see it as. A sabbatical is a leave of absence that an individual takes for rest, or to pursue another recourse. It becomes obvious that the McKean's are treated differently than anyone else that this would happen to. After all he is called the prophet and apostle of the movement. He can’t be subjected to the same reprimand as everyone else.

The reason I see this has taken place is because they have been blinded by mans personality and position, so that he did not need to keep the same requirements that everyone else was to keep. He was above it and statements of McKean being the leader of God's movement show this from the beginning “ It is so obvious that it is of God. Kip McKean has been raised up by God to lead this ministry and its world-wide impact .” (Woods, in the Dec. 27, 1987, and July 17, 1988, bulletins)

Obedience has always been the major factor and it really doesn't matter whose in the drivers seat when the machine is running. McKean has said “ to have a kingdom Amen! And the man that will lead this work, though not perfect, but he is of God, is Preston. And you need to obey in the Lord. The only times you don't obey him is, if it violates Scripture or your conscience. But other than that, in all opinion areas, you obey. Amen? I think we got to understand that Preston may say, 'I want you in Aurora;' 'I want you in Langley;' 'I want you over here;' 'I want you in Boulder,' ... And, you know , when he assigns you to a House Church, when he assigns you to a Zone, when he assigns you to a Bible Talk, you will go , because that's part of the plan. Amen? Even if it's the Dung Gate. Now it's okay to want to be at the Fountain Gate. But you've got to obey. Amen ? (Kip McKean, Reconstruction of the Denver Church of Christ, May 1988.)

McKean being called the ultimate disciple the closest to Jesus shows this human idolatry in the movement. Statements like "How are you ever going to be like Jesus if you don't think you can be like Kip?" Statements like these have come back to haunt them. So really it was matter of time for someone in leadership to have problems when they abide to double standards like this.

As far as having sympathy on this happening, I do, but I cannot forget all the people who have been shipwrecked and destroyed by what McKean has started. I can only hope this humbles him enough to reconsider what he has done. I’m sure the leadership is doing everything they can to not have this movement fall apart, as growth has stagnated and the word has gotten out about their cultic teachings and practices.

Kip McKean has said prior: “ We need to make it abundantly clear is that every brother in the congregation needs to have a discipleship partner. To not have a discipleship partner is to be rebellious to God and to the leadership of this congregation… “No one can do it on their own. Everybody needs ongoing discipleship. You are a disciple of God .” Did he fail to do what he told everyone else to, apparently so. Now he is saying the same, this is what is needed, discipleship.

They now claim the leaders at the top telling the members at the bottom what to do will no longer be appropriated. They will adopt a consensus form of leadership in the event of what happened to the McKeans. Charge of the 10,000 disciples in the LA church that McKean headed up, will mainly be given to Marty and Chris Fuqua and Peter and Laura Garcia.

Its either going to get better or worse, I personally do not see it getting better. ICC has been known all along for beating the sheep with their strong shepherding. So if a leader fails would it not be prudent to see why it happened? If the ICOC does not see that they themself have been part of the problem nothing will change, it is the system set up by McKean that is auto running and not any single person who is removed no matter how illustrious, that will change that. By telling the members that they need more discipling in their lives is not the answer. They fail to see clearly-- it is their own system of discipleship that puts strain on everything and it has finally shown its fruit. What they fail to understand is that in order for any change to happen, they will have to reshape the system such as the discipling partners and their unbiblical church government through the hierarchal leadership. This of course would make them more like other churches, which has never been their intent in the first place.

We can only wait and see the outcome of these new circumstances. By looking at what they have done in the past it does seem they will repeat themselves.


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