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REVEAL: About the ICC

A History of the International Churches of Christ (ICC) (ICOC)

The International Church of Christ didn't come from nowhere, although it sometimes looks that way to unsuspecting people when a new ICC church is planted in their city or community. The ICC itself largely ignores its roots -- current members rarely hear anything about the group's history prior to the early 1990s, and earlier periods are almost never discussed publicly by the leaders.

This can strike an observer as odd, because the story is worth telling, and hearing. The International Church of Christ has grown from a single congregation with a few hundred members in 1967 to a worldwide organization with over 300 local churches spread across six continents and a membership of around 85,000 as of earlier this year. This is a record most churches would be glad to point to.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't stop there. In its growth, the ICC has also left behind a lot of people and churches on the way -- during a series of reconstructions, exposure and disgrace of its founder for sexual improprieties, rejection by the church which founded it, and (according to former members) sheer burnout from impossibly high expectations and abusive treatment at the hands of the leaders. In 1995 at a conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, one current ICC leader estimated that there were two former members for each current member, which (if correct) would mean that there are around 300,000 former members.

Since the ICC at present does not consider anyone who left it prior to around 1987 to be a former member, the actual number is probably much higher.

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