Don’t Trust ICC’s Claims of Reform
The Tech (MIT), September 14, 1993
An letter from Seth Gordon
Recently, Amy Courtney G and James P. Ryan described their experiences with members of the International Church of Christ [ “Do Not Dismiss Church of Christ Outright,” Courtney, and “Cult Is a Four-Letter Word,” Ryan, both Sept. 10]. (There are many other churches with “Church of Christ” in their names that are not affiliated with the ICC, and practice a very different kind of Christianity). Permit me, an unredeemed sinner, to share mine.
In 1989, I spent five months researching the Boston Church of Christ for The Tech. I compiled over twenty hours of taped interviews and over a thousand pages of documents, including four years of back issues from the BCC’s official bulletin. The result, a four-part series, appeared in October of 1989. (Back issues are available in The Tech’s office and in the MIT libraries).
All the BCC disciples that I met glowed with friendliness, enthusiasm, and idealism. Ryan mentions the integrated Johannesburg Church of Christ; I suspect that the BCC itself is one of Boston’s most racially diverse congregations. I heard no claims of financial fraud or physical violence against disciples or ex-disciples. My impression is that everyone up to the top of the organization believes in what they are doing.
However, whenever I heard disciples talk to one another, they used the noun “Christian” to mean “a member of the BCC, or of one of its affiliates.” All the ex-disciples that I talked to agreed that these were not isolated incidents, but examples of the BCC’s doctrine.
Perhaps the ICC’s members would claim that their church has reformed over the past four years, and that critiques of their practices are based on out-of-date information. I wouldn’t trust such a claim, since Al Baird, the leader of the BCC, said the same thing back in 1989, and it wasn’t true then.
Seth Gordon ’91