Boston Movement: Church or cult?
Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 27 December 1997.
By John Blake, Staff Writer.
That is the question hovering over one of the most dynamic and talked-about movements within Christianity. Open http://www.unc.edu/~elliott/iccbib.htm and you be the judge.
The site is a comprehensive guide to the controversial “Boston Movement,” formally known as the International Churches of Christ (ICC).
ICC is a movement with about 85,000 members in more than 100 major American cities and on six continents. It is known for its aggressive evangelism, closely knit congregations, habit of meeting every Sunday in rented halls or convention centers and for being constantly embroiled in controversy.
Members say the Boston Movement offers undiluted Biblical Christianity. They say the movement practices racial diversity, is focused on youth and provides a strong support system for new members. But some ex- members and critics say the ICC is a cult because it believes in controlling, not loving, its members.
As the Web site points out, some practices by the Boston Movement make some people uncomfortable. One section includes a psychological study of the movement that concludes many of its members were victims of mind control. Another section identifies the controversial origins and growth of the movement.
Much of the online site deals with the controversial practices of the ICC.
New members are required to meet with older members daily. New members who disagree with older members are told they are rebelling against God. Submission to church leaders is demanded. New members are told whom to date, how to spend their money and how to spend their free time.
The Cult Awareness Network, a national anti-cult group, reports on the site it has collected numerous complaints about the ICC.
- [Editor’s Note: WARNING! The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was recently bankrupted and bought up by Scientology. We strongly recommend you do not contact them for assistance.]
Chief among the complaints is the relentless pressure placed on members to recruit new members.
The site also points out some of the positive aspects of the group. In addition to its diversity, the ICC’s worship services are devoid of pretense and filled with vigor. Preachers are addressed by their first name. Many members dress in jeans or shorts.