ICOC/International Churches of Christ/City of Angels

Hello!

I am brand new to the faith and to the website:) Was wondering if anyone has converted from or experienced anything to do with ICOC (International Church of Christ) or City of Angels…anything of the sort? Or perhaps is familiar with these particular churches?

I spent 3 and half years in the campus ministries in the ICOC and began my profound conversion journey about a year ago (was confirmed this Easter Vigil) just wondering if anyone can relate/connect share experiences or ideas in regard to this. Thank you:)

Welcome! Both to this site and the Catholic faith!
I entered the Catholic Church 3 years ago and used to go to the ICOC. There aren’t too many of us from our background, at least not that I’ve met. I came across one ICOC to Catholic convert who has a blog. And I know a small handful who’ve gone Orthodox. I had joined the ICOC in the fall of 1998 in college and left December 2003- justa few months after the Henry Kriete letter. I still have many friends who still go though and have popped in occasionally over the years just to see if and how things have progressed.

Were you a more recent member?

Hello! and thank you for responding!

It is great to hear from someone sharing a similar experience. My fiance’ and I left the church over a year ago and got confirmed together and will be getting married soon (Thank God we get to have a sacramental marriage!!!) Anyway…I was met in the campus ministry in 2009 and literally ate, breathed, lived ICOC…you know? It’s hard for anyone to understand what it’s like unless you have been in this church…Another friend of mine out of campus ministry in ICOC was confirmed right before I was…but beside that pretty much all my friends (including my best friend) stopped being friends with me when I left the church and started my journey into the Catholic Faith…

Much of my time in ICOC, I was disenchanted…and could not find connections between many theological questions and doctrine issues…I feel God has taken me deeper places in my faith and shown me things I didn’t know existed. I love the Catholic Church…Anyway there is much more to say but please tell me your experiences? or anything you’d like to share of your conversion?

Thank you!

Praise God you and your fiance are on the same page and you both are in the Church! It’s too bad your friends are not your friends anymore but I think it’s revealing on many of the friendships there. In my city almost everyone in my age bracket left within 2 years after the Henry Kriete letter.

A little bit of my story… I had a very hard life growing up. By the time I had come across the ICOC, I had pretty much believed good people were just naive to the atrocities of this world. And there was no real hope for it, the only things which kept people in line were guilt, shame, consequences, and manipulation. I felt I needed to start networking with “good people” and thought my best chance was to pretend I was at someone I wasn’t.

I didn’t have a sincere belief when I joined but I was desperate to find something to make me happy so I followed their program to the T. I found acceptance and encouragement by doing what they wanted me to- whichi had never experienced before in my life. But what really started to speak to me internally was secular psychology and what the Catholic Church would call “natural law”. So I started using psychology to work on my insides and religion to build up my “networking” but felt I had a hard time reconciling those 2 aspects of my life.

Anyway, my local church fell apart after HKL in 2003 so since the networking aspect dissipated I felt no reason to go there anymore. After that I wrestled with Christianity, philosophy, but went after counseling a lot more. I tried to find a spirituality by going after a number of things like Buddhism and Taoism. What really got me back into the idea of Christianity though was reading Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Then I discovered Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton. After that I wanted to start learning about the saints and sacramental theology. It kind of snowballed after that and all of it seemed to click then. I couldn’t imagine not being in the Catholic Church after that point.

By the way, I’m surprised to hear how quickly you were able to move from the ICOC. The Holy Spirit works on us in His own time but so many people I know have gotten so hurt by them the idea of an authoritative church scares them. Plus the ICOC tends to dominate so much of their member’s lives it’s hard to discover things outside of their group without experiencing shaming by the leaders.

A lot of ICOC beliefs and doctrines seemed to paint the picture of a God who is capricious and after a while I could tell we really didn’t have answers for a lot of things. It still took time for me to consider and trust another group’s teachings, not because of what they taught but because of what I thought they taught. The ICOC definitely butchers the theology of other groups and gave me the impression that every other group had to be incredibly stupid (a reason I’ve heard from many others on why they wouldn’t consider going to a different church). What was it about the Catholic Church that made you open to it in the first place and make it past any possible initial misconceptions?

Yeah, i was involved with the ICOC for a year. It was the first step I took away from atheism, and who knows where I’d be if one of their street proselytizing “campus ministers” didn’t talk to me out of the blue one night. However after I found the website reveal.org I could no longer be a part of this community. Unfortunately I didn’t find this site until they had pressured me into getting re-baptized (I had been baptized as an infant). But I guess that was just taking a cold bath in front of a bunch of strangers. They also were very keen on pressuring me to evangelize even though I didn’t know much about the faith, and on getting me to cut off ties with my friends and family if they didn’t show interest in their One True Church™ founded in the 1970s by a guy whom they had to boot out in 2003.

I met some people who were very nice to me, but they weren’t actually my friends, and have not contacted me since I left and avoid me. I do not have a high opinion of this ecclesial community. I guess since the 2003 debacle and the softening of the evangelical zeal described above, it would be a stretch to call them a cult, but it wouldn’t be that hard for them to fall back to that point.

One idea of theirs I like however is how they rent out the building for worship on Sunday. A good way to save money.

I have had two experiences with them.
First, when I lived in Jamaica. A member befriended me when I was in college and asked me to church. I went once even though I was an active member of another church. She basically began harassing me to come back and I had to get other people involved.

Second experience: When I came to the US to live. I was in grad school and since I was new to the country I was looking for a church to attend. They have since changed their names to International Christian Church so I was unaware that it was the same church. I had to leave because they demanded all of my time and would harass you if you did not go to church a lot. They also tried to tell me that my baptism was invalid and I had to rebaptise.
Luckily I found a church I feel comfortable in.

I have had two experiences with them.
First, when I lived in Jamaica. A member befriended me when I was in college and asked me to church. I went once even though I was an active member of another church. She basically began harassing me to come back and I had to get other people involved.

Second experience: When I came to the US to live. I was in grad school and since I was new to the country I was looking for a church to attend. They have since changed their names to International Christian Church. I had to leave because thay demanded all of my time and would harass you if you did not go to church a lot.
Luckily I found a church I feel comfortable in.

I spent 6.5 years 1991 to 1997. They all but ruined my self esteem (long story) It is a mystery to me personally how God lead me to the Catholic Church and so many of them are still there. So many people are missing God in the sacraments.

My 6.5 years experience in the ICOC can be summed up as extreme social pressure that eventually led me to the Truth. I think I would still be there had I not been so abused. Every social group is not perfect and there will always be relationship challenges but the ICOC for me was like a horrible abusive marriage. One memory was when one of the elders assigned me a roommate in my apartment without my consent and I was kicked out of the family group meeting and literally given a “time out” like a child when I objected. Later one other 'disciple", a dentist, privately commended me on my moxie since it was taboo to challenge a leader. Unfortunately, he is still in the ICOC. Sheep looking to be led. I was one and would still be there but I had a limit of how much abuse I was willing to put up with. I had a breaking point. I have yet to receive a single apology from any leaders. ICOC members talk about being challenged in their faith as though that in itself is a good thing. I was challenged and it wasn’t good. Fidel Castro challenged Che Guevara so what. The assumption is that because this “church” is growing then it must be good. The other assumption here is that the ICOC member is clearly following God because he is reading and following the scriptures. Each person has the liberty to believe what they think is true and follow whatever path they think God wants them to trod. That doesn’t mean good intentions will always mean you are in the right place. I can tell you as a Catholic that ICOC members are not following the scriptures. Just like most Protestants that focus on a few 'proof texts" such as Matt 28:18-20 they totally ignore others like John 6:53 that clearly points to the Eucharist. A important point though is that my experience in the ICOC not only totally cleansed me of “Sola Scriptura” theology but also prepped me to accept Catholic theology. One thing they do have more right than other Protestants is the idea of a one visible church. Unfortunately the origin of that one visible church get foggy before Boston 1979. The Catholic Church has a clear history all the way back to Calvary. It was not easy leaving the ICOC since I was totally sold out and all in. When I left I was a spiritual wreck. Actually I was a spiritual wreck for most of my time in the ICOC after the first six month honeymoon was over. I am convinced that I would have never entertained an objective investigation of the Catholic Church had I not been so burned by the ICOC. God works in mysterious ways, but that fact that God used this group to direct me to the Catholic Church does not dismiss that they crossed many many personal liberty lines which is criminal. Many of my old friends are still die hard members of this social group or “church” that they believe is the movement of God. I will accept any and all challengers to theology debate but that is not how most ICOC members roll. They are too busy looking for “open” people who won’t challenge them. Most good people will remain faithful to a marriage for the long haul even if they did not marry their soulmate. It was a blessing that my experience was so bad forcing my hand to divorce the ICOC and ultimately find my soulmate the Holy Catholic Church Established 33AD. Just an analogy since Catholics and God don’t believe in divorce. My poor friends still in the ICOC.

Feel free to understand what deems you worthy of your faith. I am sure you are thoroughly welcome here.

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