A Letter From Yun Kim
April 22, 1996
To the leadership and the members of the International Churches of Christ:
Two years ago, God led me through various circumstances in my life in order to help me make a decision to turn my life over to our Almighty Father in heaven and to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It was after I made this decision that I started attending services of the Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ. Over the past two years, God has taught me many spiritual truths and has guided me into wisdom, knowledge and understanding regarding spiritual matters through my own Bible study, prayer, and meditation, as well as learning from others. I am grateful for the experiences that have been afforded me through this congregation as well as the entire movement of the International Churches of Christ (ICC). I am above all thankful to God for the ways He has led me into his eternal truths and has guided me and taught me to discern good from evil through his Word and through His Holy Spirit.
Throughout the past two years, I have seen many people converted to Christ in the ICC and have also seem many people walk away from the movement of the ICC. I have seen many lives changed for the better and I have also seen many lives remain unchanged. I believe that each individual has his/her responsibility before God to remain righteous and to obey His precepts and to seek Him in spirit and in truth. As part of the body of Christ, we have a certain responsibility to help our brothers and sisters to adhere to biblical teachings but we do not have the right to judge, condemn, or to manipulate other people’s behaviors because the Bible clearly states that judgment belongs to the Lord. I understand that the body of Christ is made up of imperfect people and it is only through participation in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ that we are able to receive the forgiveness of our sins. I has seen the ICC convert true disciples of the Lord Jesus; however, I have also seen many evil practices that remain unchanged and are actually condoned by the leadership of the movement.
Through many personal experiences as well as my interactions and discussions with current and former members, I have been compelled to collect data regarding the ICC. After studying the interlinear Bible in Hebrew and Greek text, in depth discussions with current and former members of the ICC, research into the questionable and unbiblical practices of the ICC, and much prayer and petitioning God for wisdom and guidance, I believe that the Holy Spirit has guided me into the decision that I must resign my position as a member of the ICC because I can no longer violate my conscience regarding the knowledge and the wisdom that God has revealed to me. I believe that there are many brothers and sisters in the movement who are truly striving to serve God. However, the Bible states that “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way” (Prov 19:2). Unfortunately, I believe this scripture applies to the entire movement of the ICC.
The following is a list of practices and heretical teachings of the ICC that I do not consider tolerable:
1. False teachings on the concept of one church doctrine.
The Greek term “ekklesia” refers to the called out ones. Those who are called to be holy and a part of the God’s Kingdom are only known to God Himself. The Bible even states that the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21) and is therefore invisible. All individuals on the face of this planet who have devoted their lives to Christ are a part of the body (the church) of Christ. Whatever has been written in the Bible has been made clear to anyone who chooses to read the Bible and obey what is written in it. ( Jer 31:31-34, Rom 1:18-20, 2 Tim 3:16). I, and many others do not believe that the ICC has the “goods” on the Bible and are the only people on the face of this planet who can understand and obey what is written in it. Therefore, proclaiming the ICC as THE one church and THE body of Christ is HERESY!
2.False teachings on Matt 28:19-20
The Greek translation states, ” Going then, disciple all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you ”
The Greek work for “disciple” as used in the above phrase is “matheteuo” which means to instruct or teach. Unfortunately, the NIV has translated the verb “disciple” from the original Greek text into the noun “disiciples” in the translated text thus changing the meaning of the phrase.
The word “observe” as highlighted in the phrase above or “tereo” in the Greek is mistranslated in the NIV as “obey”once again changing the meaning of the phrase.
3. The NIV, like all translations, is only a translation and should not be taken as THE offical word of God.
All members and non-members studying the Bible should be made aware to read the preface of the NIV which states, ” like all translations of the Bible, made as they are by imperfect man, this one undoubtedly falls short of is goals.”
To this, I add the warning from the Bible: Eccl 12:12 and Rev 22:18-19.
4. The concept of “discipling” is not biblical.
Consider the following Scriptures:
- Jn 16:13-15
- 1 Jn 2:26-27
- Jer 31:33-34
- Rom 2:14-15
- Rom 1:18-20
- Jer 33:1-3
- Gal 1:21
All individuals who desire to know God and His will for their lives should be taught to turn to the Bible, to prayer and to meditation for an answer from God and for the Holy Spirit to guide them into God’s truths. 2 Tim 3:16 clearly states that it is the Scriptures that teach us to be well-equipped for all good works.
In the area of ” getting advice”, it is good to obtain advice in many matters. However, when the concept of getting advice is misused and misapplied, many people become reliant on the advice of others and not on God. It would be best to teach each person to turn to the Bible and to prayer for spiritual guidance because of the Word of God and His Holy Spirit are able to teach us all spiritual things and make us wise for salvation. (Jer 17:5,7).
Misuse and abuse of authority and lording over people.
Heb 13:17 has been used out of context in numerous situations by leaders and used as a point of Scripture to lord authority over people. In the Greek text, the word “peitho” which is translated as “obey” in the NIV actually means ” to persuade”. The whole verse in the original text is “obey (peitho) those taking the lead of you and submit, for they watch for your souls…” Notice that the word “authority” was never used in the original Greek text! It was inserted in the English text when it was translated in the NIV.
- Matt 20:24-27
- 1 Peter 5:5
- 1 Tim 4:12
- Mk 9:35
- Num 6:13
- Eze 34:4
- Eccl 8:9
- 2 Cor 1:24
- Prov 2:1-11
- Matt 20: 25-28
5. The concept of ” personal fruitfulness” is not biblical.
Gal 5:22-23 clearly defines what “fruit” is in the spiritual sense. Again, Jn 15:5-8 describes the concept of fruitfulness. Even if we did try to place a “works” orientation to the concept of fruitfulness, 1 Cor 3:5-9 clearly refutes the concept of personal fruitfulness!
In 1 Cor 1:17, Paul states that he has been sent to preach, not to baptize!!!!!
6. Malpractice of baptism!!!!!
Man does not hold the right to withhold baptism from any persons requesting baptism nor does man posses the right to determine who is worthy of baptism and who is not. Consider the Ethiopian enunuch. He was baptized at the point at which he believed. In the first century church in the book of Acts, thousands of people were added to the church in one day! If the apostles waited to see the fruits of repentance of these people before they were baptized, I wonder how many of the three thousand( Acts 2:41) would have been added to the number.
The pressure to invite “sharp” people to church and to baptize them clearly goes against Scripture in James 2: 1-13!!!!!!!
7. Works versus Faith mind set.
We all agree that faith without deeds is dead. If one has faith, he/she will act based on that faith. However, deeds without faith is hyprocrisy. There have been many instances where people were told by leadership to “go and do” and the faith will come later. I agree that sometimes we need to obey first and the faith will come later; however, many are still waiting for the faith
- Rom 4:5, 13, 16
- Rom 5: 18-19
- Rom 9: 32
- Rom 11: 2b-8
- Gal 3:11-14
- Gal 5: 4,5,6
8. A lack of in-depth teaching from the Bible and a lack of fully trained ministers.
- Isaiah 32:6
In the past two years, I have heard a handful of sermons being recycled from the pulpit. Bible Talks have failed to be Bible discussion groups since it’s function is the ” visitors.”
I am thoroughly bored with the elementary teachings of this church and the sermons coming from untrained ministers and young interns who do not have a grasp of the Bible themselves! (I Tim 3:6)
9. Lack of confidentiality in discipling relationships and in confession of sin.
Mt 18:15 has been violated numerous time in leadership and has actually been condoned in certain instances. The sins and names of disciples who are “struggling” and in need of help should not be openly addressed in leadership meetings. Any person not sure about how to handle the sins of a disciple should pray and point the person toward Scriptures!!!!!!! ( James 5:16)
If one feels strongly the advice must be sought out from other sources, permission from the one who has confessed the sin should be obtained!
10. The praising of men and their works from the pulpit.
The Bible states that accepting praise from men takes away our reward in Heaven. When people are praised from the pulpit or when people get up on stage to baptize other people, this can create and air of, ” this person being better than another person”, or people can become motivated to do good on the basis of obtaining the praise of men and recognition in front of the congregation.
- Jn 12:43
- Jn 5:41-44
- Matt 6:1
11. A lack of gentleness and humility on the part of the leaders
- Heb 5:2
- Prov 16:24
- 1 Thess 2:7
- Prov 15:1
- 2 Tim 2:24-25
- Prov 22:11
- Eph 4:
- Eccl 10:12
- Gal 6:1
- 1 Cor 4:21
12. Tithing 10% is from the Old Testament!
2 Cor 8:11b — Giving is according to one’s means available to him/her.
- Luke 21: 1-3
- Mt 6:1-4
Leaders should imitate the apostle Paul who worked for a living and not depend on the tithing of the congregation for their salaries!
There are many other points that I could expound upon. However, the points made so far are sufficient to provide an explanation for why I feel compelled to extricated myself from this organization. I believe that this movement has been harmful to many individuals, has destroyed the faith of many, and has driven ex-members to suicide and to suicidal ideations. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free ( Gal 5:1). It is with much prayer and with concern for the souls of the people in this movement that I point towards the following warnings from the Bible:
- Gal 1:6-9 — I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospelwhich is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
- Gal 2:13
- Mt 5:19
- Mt 7:15 — “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
- Mt 23:15 — ” Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hyprocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”
- Mt 23:13 — “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hyprocrites. You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
- Mt 13:13-15
- Mt 23:33
- 1 Cor 3:18
- Zec 10: 2-3 — The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.
- Zec 11:7-8
- Isa 40: 29
- I Tim 6:3-5 — If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
- I Tim 4:1-2 — The spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teaching come through hyprocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
- 2 Tim 3:12-13 — In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
- 2 Tim 3: 1-5 — But mark this: there will be terrible time in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive Have nothing to do with them.
- Luke 12:1-2 — Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hyprocrisy.
- Luke 21:8
- John 9:41 — Jesus said, ” If you were blind you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”
- 2 Cor 11:13-20 — Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve
You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face.
- Jer 5:31, 7:27, 8:6, 8:10c-13, 9:4-6, 9: 13-14, 10:21, 12:13. 14:14
- Jer 23
- John 8:47 — ” He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
I do not wish to be contacted by anyone in the ICC in any form or manner ( by phone, in person, or through mail) regarding my decision to leave this organization. Any attempt by any persons in the ICC to contact me will be seen as harassment and will not be tolerated. The contents of this letter shall be made public domain and should be made available to anyone who wishes to read this letter. Any attempt on the part of leadership or the membership of the ICC to misrepresent, cover-up, or cover over the reason for my actual leaving the organization will be construed as slander.
I will continually pray that the Holy Spirit will lead you into God’s truths and to His throne of mercy and grace.
©1996 by Yun Kim <firstname.lastname@example.org>. All rights reserved.
Make sure to also read Yun Kim’s Story: “Quest for Truth”.
Back to other articles about the International Churches of Christ.