Monday, September 29, 2008

Chris Broom comes forward with questions that have taken place in Portland

Chris Broom, an evangelist of the Chicago International Christian Church (pro-McKean faction) stated in his Portland Report According to My Convictions that Steve was EVER in the new movement because of shared convictions, but rather because of his friendship with Kip.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Remembering Rod Fick

Rod's family has started a web page dedicated to Rod's memory.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dear Steve – Think On These Things

I’m certain. I’m absolutely 100% sure. I know Steve Johnson has made that commitment! Steve thinks on these things.

August 10th 2008 was a start. Here a fresh Portland Story is in the making. Steve’s undertaking will spur on a new form of dedication, to be totally dedicated, not to a man, not to a movement, not to an organization, not to a sect, but Jesus Christ and His church!

Steve in my mind has become elastic. Here, elasticity will prove its worth where people become the opposition rather than being forced on the same team. Indeed, few movements have survived those defining moments when they should have been more elastic, and that because they were not, did not live to see the next day. Now is the time for Steve Johnson to go against probability in seeking unexpected outcomes.

Bottom-line. Steve I ask you. What would our lives, our spiritual underpinnings be like if Kip McKean like Bob Mumford (co-founder of the Shepherding movement) would come forward and unceremoniously apologize: Discipleship was wrong. I repent. I ask forgiveness?

Yes, other proven ICOC church builders said it, but succumbed to the groups chosen methods. Mike Taliaferro stated during the 2004 Faithful Conversations: We are a fellowship right now of independent, Bible-believing churches. Yes, we are going to have a man lead the movement, and that is going to be Jesus Christ. Kip McKean said something similar in Portland 2006: I will be with disciples agreeing to build a movement centred on one personality. And His name is Jesus.

But it was not to be.

ICOC Discipleship methodologies did waver in 2003. Kip reacted with disgust in the year 2004. Today many churches in the ICOC fellowship have either abandoned discipling relationships or compromised them by teaching there is no such thing as teacher-student (one-over-one discipling) relationships in the Scriptures. This is a devastating false teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Mike Taliaferro said the ICOC had a Discipleship Crisis late in 2005. His solution. To embrace all over again the Biblical pattern of discipleship relationships… Here in the San Antonio church we have made certain that every disciple has a discipleship partner with whom they can meet on a regular basis. It was late last year when we decided to once again become involve in close personal relationships in the congregation. Mike thought people have over-corrected the principle of closer friendship with a few as seen with Jesus and the apostles’ friendships. Antonio ready itself for close, dedicated, specific relationships in order to monitor people spiritual wellbeing to confess their sins, receive encouragement, or give an admonishment. Thus avoiding turning into a sort of impersonal spiritual experience now based on one another passages.

Steve Johnson you openly supported this mousetrap in 2005, while many in the fellowship waited for an outcome of a steering committee pending on February 1st 2006. I want to do exactly what I did in Boston in 1979 or in New York in 1983 – in regards to teaching people how to teach people how to teach people to become disciples. I’ve not come up, and I haven’t seen anyone else that has come up with a better mousetrap. And I assure you that when I see one, I’ll adopt it just like I did when I moved to Boston to be trained by Kip back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. The following year in 2006 you become an Associate Lead Evangelist of Kip’s congregation.

Finally, a proposal document arrived in March 11th 2006 stating in page two the way forward learning from past mistakes without over-reacting to them and, at the same time, maintaining faithfulness to biblical principles. Here “biblical principles” become a mix bag of theological conclusions paralleling from Jude 3 along with teachings developed in the campus ministry days of the early 1970s. Consider the following quote in page four. In order to best communicate our beliefs, we are striving both to articulate the theological framework of “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3) and to reaffirm those truths and emphases that have particularly shaped our branch of God’s movement, from the campus ministry days until now.

There is this bench near Mount St Helens. Steve, you have your mountain in front of you and your bench. Yes, much of the destruction seems to be well covered by nature, but under it all lays the memories, the history, the facts, the path of destruction. Look at her, her face is scarred. Perhaps the photograph of St Helen on your church website makes a pretty picture, but it is up to you now to come up with a better mousetrap.

Bottom-line. Steve I ask you. What would our lives, our spiritual underpinnings be like if you like Bob Mumford (co-founder of the Shepherding movement) would come forward and unceremoniously apologize: Discipleship was wrong. I repent. I ask forgiveness?

Why don’t you travel back there, and take with you these few pages of history. Written by man. Relate if you can to them and then try to adopt it.

If you please:
Errors of Hierarchical Discipleship
1988 Letter to Boston Elders

In Him is Brotherly Kindness

Sarel de Wet

Sunday, September 21, 2008

God’s faulty men.

The sad truth for those affiliated with the International Churches of Christ is members differentiate and practise Jesus by certain labels. In fact the reality cannot be missed. The ICOC has denominated.

How did it happen? The sharp disagreement between Kip and his contemporaries has divided the ICOC. Instead of Kip McKean taking one man and evangelize the world he took who ever wants to go with him. His contemporaries did the same.

Today, the pro-McKean faction (Sold-Out Discipling movement/ICC) maintains a central leadership style with Kip McKean in the position as World Missions Evangelist. The anti-McKean faction (ICOC Co-op Churches/ICOC) has no central church government but co-operate as a union while still resorting to Lead Evangelists overseeing churches.

An article entitled Autonomy? No way! Glorious co-operation between the churches by Justin Renton tries to teach his group of disciples the importance of co-operation. If members of this group act selfishly they’ve proven to be cancerous. Here the anti-McKean faction will not tolerate members breaking-away from each other as the Johnsons have done recently. Doing so would harm the body as cancer is a disease where certain cells in the body stop co-operating and start acting selfishly. They encourage other cells to do the same and very soon a tumor is formed. If that tumor is allowed to grow big enough it can kill the whole body.

Perhaps Renton’s article is designed to make a broad sweep skilfully sidestepping Kip McKean’s autonomy finger pointing issues aimed at the anti-McKean churches. Renton reminds the pro-McKean faction they have no autonomy but a glorious co-operation between the churches. They don’t act selfishly!

Arthur was convinced Kip showed some signs of improvement with the encouragement of Steve and Lisa Johnson but only for a little while before he reverted back to slandering other churches not under his direction. In this light, Douglas Arthur identifies McKean as a dangerous cancer cell. Was it solely Kip’s selfish actions that led to the Johnsons radical decision to depart?

Surely Kip is at fault, but not entirely by himself.

A steady stream of well-wishers from the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) are crossing over the previously impregnable threshold of the Portland International Church of Christ. This all made possible since Steve Johnson and a few elders broke-away in August 2008 from the Sold-Out Discipling movement. Now the majority so-called sold-out baptised disciples of Portland, Oregon have slip back by giving up their unique status being led under the guidance of Kip McKean’s central leadership structure.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this extraordinary event is Kip McKean’s inactive response compare to drastic measures taken in the past. McKean Clearing Up The Confusion article stated: Recently, Steve Johnson and the remaining elders in Portland, Oregon, stated their autonomy and desire to, “Have no man as a leader over them.” Sadly, with these decisions, they have separated themselves from the Sold-out Discipling Movement. Yet, we wish them well.

The Portland leadership actions were not compared to Korah, being filled with bitterness and selfish ambition, deceived the entire congregation and caused many to lose their faith and turn away from God.

Surely in the former era the Johnson’s rebellious behaviour typifies those who oppose and grumble against God’s leaders and divide God’s church. Why is McKean not accusing them of being lost because they do not have a true faith or at least opposing God?

Now, for the moment, it seems McKean is letting no unwholesome talk come out of his mouth, while the anti-McKean movement blames McKean for being responsible for this time of extraordinary pain.

What brought on this new controversy?

In a nutshell – again Kip’s contemporaries blame his divisive leadership style and his inability to work as a team player in a brotherhood of churches.

The impressions given by Douglas Arthur’s first report, Pray for Peace in Portland portrays the conduct of the World Missions Evangelist of the Sold-Out Discipling movement in a very negative light. Almost comparing the McKeans of thief-like behaviour! Here outsiders can read in his report an inventory of pillage rather than pilgrimage to Los Angeles as the McKeans took with them when they left: A Mission contribution of over $120,000. 10 of the 12 full & part time ministry staff 42 Leaders and members of the Portland church 40 more members moved in the next 15 months to LA

McKean has commandeered many to Los Angeles and continues to do so thus robbing the Portland International Church of Christ from its best and brightest for the sake of the mission since establishing a new important beachhead in Los Angeles, since March of 2007.

Strange from this report by Arthur, Kip McKean is portrayed as a heartless missionary out of touch with his once beloved Portland church that always resembled for him a beacon of light and hope for disciples around the world. Not only did the McKeans seem to empty the pockets of the Portland church but they have stolen the joy of the struggling Portland disciples. The Portland church according to Arthur struggle to maintain the same level of faith and zeal that they had established prior to the loss of so many to Los Angeles. Rather than feel appreciation for their sacrifice, they began to receive calls from Los Angeles expressing concern about the church. Accusations of “lukewarmness” and a constant barrage of appeals to “leave Portland and move to LA” became common for members of the congregation. The elders and the Johnsons confronted Kip on this divisive behavior but it continued to escalate.

What is the reason behind McKean’s concerns and ultimately calling out a remnant from the Portland Church?

The goal of the newly found Sold-Out Discipling Movement is two fold. Firstly to remain unified and secondly to continue gathering a remnant of sold-out disciples reaching the world for Christ in a single generation.

The Johnsons and some elders of the Portland church developed a different reality. Arthur writes about the Portland leadership maintains a conviction that local congregations should be open to outside influence but ultimately the final decision making authority rests in the hands of the local leadership. Secondly, the Portland leadership insisted on extending the right hand of fellowship to anyone that they considered a brother or sister in Christ not just those in the “New Movement.” Obviously, Arthur’s conclusion is pretty insightful. These positions were unacceptable to Kip and on August 3, 2008 he announced to his closest advisors that he had decided to “Call out a Remnant” from the Portland church and that all those who have relationships with brothers and sisters in Portland should begin calling to encourage them to leave the church immediately and move to a church in the “New Movement”.

Let us notice that the ICOC Co-operational Churches or ICOC put great emphasis on McKean starting a “New Movement” whereas they maintain keeping the status quo. Arthur reports: In September 2006 Kip made a decision to break all ties with his former fellowship, the International Churches of Christ, and start his new “Sold out Disciples Movement” with its headquarters in Portland. In reality, the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) is dead since decentralising in November 2002. The former ICOC has divided into two main factions since September 2005.

What was the mandate of the Portland leadership with the McKeans?

Not so long ago, early 2006, Bob Bertalot and Tony Untalan were appointed as the first elders in the history of the Portland International Church of Christ. On that historic day, the Johnsons were welcomed and were made responsible for the West region. Steve served as an Associate Lead Evangelist.

The day the McKeans left for Los Angeles the elders of the Portland congregation had nothing but praiseworthy remarks for our dear brother and sister, Kip and Elena. In their opinion from an article, McKeans To Los Angeles – April 2007 the McKeans have humbly served the Portland International Church of Christ with hard work, tears and selfless lifestyle.

Leadership in the Portland congregation knew their policy differ from the anti-McKean faction. Nonetheless, leadership and the congregation shared a conviction God has begun a new movement of sold-out disciples whose motivating vision is the envangelization of the nations in this generation!

Here the elders and more noteworthy the Bertalots dispels all doubt others may share today about the McKeans mandate.

Firstly. As elders we want to commend Kip for all his tireless efforts to revive God’s worldwide discipling movement. Kip’s continual pursuit to fulfil Jesus’ dream to plant churches of sold-out disciples in every nation in the face of tremendous opposition and criticism is inspiring!

Secondly. We believe that it is God who raises up those in leadership. A person is simply recognized for what one is already doing. Therefore because the scope of Kip’s mission work is worldwide, it is our conviction, as well as Steve Johnson’s and the other leaders in the Portland Family of Churches, that God’s Spirit has raised Kip up to be the World Missions Evangelist for our new movement. The inaugural article, Welcome Home by Kip McKean implicate Steve Johnson by name for encouraging Kip to start again! Then this past year after most ICOC leaders rejected and opposed our efforts to call out a remnant to revive the ICOC, God put on the hearts of my dear brother Steve Johnson and many others to urge me to begin again. So last fall we officially initiated the new Portland Discipling Movement or as some would call us, the “Sold-out Movement.”

Thirdly. Through much discussion and prayer we believe the Spirit has chosen this time to send the McKeans to Los Angeles, California. In April, the McKeans along with a 40-member mission team will join the now 23 Christians of the Los Angeles International Christian Church.

Fourthly. During these early years of God’s new movement, all of the Portland Family of Churches will work together pooling our resources of disciples, money and prayers to send mission teams to the major metropolitan cities of the world.

Finally. Steve and Lisa have also been instrumental in helping to guide the McKeans and the other ministers in the Portland Family of Churches to “take the high road” and not strike back at those who criticize our planting of new churches and starting a new movement.

The impressions given by Douglas Arthur second report From Chaos to Clarity: My Trip to Portland strongly indicate God is dealing with faulty men who have repented. Here Arthur thinks Bob Bertalot and the remaining Portland church elders are men of clear convictions and a strong faith in God’s sovereignty. They have guided the congregation through a storm and have emerged stronger for the experience. They are resolute about their vision for the future and their convictions about God’s church.

These elders have rallied behind a united front – a new type of fellowship according to Mike Taliaferro – We are a fellowship right now of independent, Bible-believing churches. Yes, we are going to have a man lead the movement, and that is going to be Jesus Christ. (April 1st 2004 Faithful Conversations, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas.)

But then there is this one guy who made a similar statement – I will be with disciples agreeing to build a movement centred on one personality. And His name is Jesus. (2006, Kip McKean, Partners in the Gospel II, Portland International Church of Christ)

And this is how God’s faulty men carry out Jesus by certain labels.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Clearing up the confusion - thanks to the Taliaferros

The Portland International Church of Christ break-away congregation from the Sold-Out Discipling movement were given the right hand of fellowship by Mike and Anne-Brigitte Taliaferro, thus officiate them part of the "original" ICOC clan who had broken away from the Church of Christ in 1988.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kip promise a new church - if you double cross his new movement

Clearing up the confusion - The Portland International Church of Christ originally from the Portland Movement now known as the Sold-Out Discipling Movement has become the first church to break away from Kip McKean's new movement (SODM). Steve Johnson defected - he desert a cause in order to join the opposing forces. Here we have to ask: Is the opposing forces cause better? I think not! Or do they look after people better? I think so!

Kip responded promptly by planting a new church - The Portland International Christian Church. Recently, Steve Johnson and the remaining elders in Portland, Oregon, stated their autonomy and desire to, “Have no man as a leader over them.” Sadly, with these decisions, they have separated themselves from the Sold-out Discipling Movement. Yet, we wish them well.

Does it mean the Kathmandu-embrace between Kip and Steve is still intact? Nonetheless it is church business as usual. Out of this confusion, a small remnant group was formed in Portland. It is overseen by Jeremy Ciaramella of Eugene, Oregon, and is called the Portland International Christian Church.

Surely the next leader who dream to defect from McKean's movement may not receive a we-wish-you-well-Kathmandu-treatment. And that's a promise!

A promise is made to be broken? (ironic)

Steve's response in the context of staying faithful to a Promise.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Kathmandu-embrace

Steve and Lisa Johnson new adventure in the new movement has finally come to an abrupt end due to disagreement concerning church polity with the McKean’s. The Johnson’s want no man as a leader over them.

Douglas Arthur broke the news (August 29, 2008) about the Johnson’s turnaround and it was widely publicised by other websites hosting anti-McKean sentiment. Surely the Johnson’s decision to embrace the ICOC will greatly contribute towards church growth within the ranks of the anti-McKean faction. An official report has come forth from the Sold-Out Discipling Movement.

The Johnson’s heroically sided with the McKeans early in 2006 while on the same day the Portland Church appointed their first elders, Bob Bertalot and Tony Untalan. McKean praised the Johnson’s loyalty - Steve and Lisa, truly your “colours are clear!” Welcome home!

The Johnson’s decided to join the Portland movement better known today as the Sold-Out Discipling Movement after making an announcement in the Savannah Church of Christ on December 22, 2005. Lisa and I are moving our family to Portland, Oregon to work with the church there for a while. This news has stunned many at the time due to the massive anti-McKean reaction derived from the Portland Story.

Prior to that, Steve’s Kathmandu-embrace with Kip McKean started in a period where he was personally trained by Kip back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. The friendship endured and suffered little ill-effects despite being tested by enormous outside pressures such as the decentralisation of the ICOC in 2002 at the Long Beach Unity Meeting and the anti-McKean September 2005 Seattle Conference response. Here both men have stepped in and supported one another.

Let us consider the decentralisation of the ICOC in 2002. McKean offered the Johnson’s financial support.

The Johnson’s according to Kip’s view had to resign their position as World Sector Leaders during the 2002 Unity Meeting in an article entitled, The Portland Family Welcomes Steve and Lisa Johnson! Here McKean exert his viewpoint that many “Kingdom teachers and elders” falsely believed a central Kingdom leadership (World Sector Leaders), lead evangelists and overseeing evangelists were unscriptural. They also introduced “autonomy” into each congregation of the International Churches of Christ, thus the elders began leading the local ministries without the direction of an overseeing and/or lead evangelist. Therefore, Steve and Lisa, similar to Elena and me, resigned as World Sector Leaders. It seems that the Johnson’s never questioned the McKean’s position on unbearable doctrine.

The New York City Church declined the Johnson’s a pulpit position and they returned to the fulltime ministry a year later – 2004 - serving the Savannah Church of Christ in Georgia. The call for Steve to serve as an Associate Lead Evangelist in the Portland International Church of Christ followed 23 months later. Steve gladly accepted. The McKean’s elders made special arrangement for the Portland congregation Missions Contribution on March 12, 2006 to sacrifice at least ten times their weekly contribution to aid the Johnson’s salary.

Roles reversed. The Johnson’s offered the McKean’s emotional support.

The Portland Story article released on August 21st 2005 (some think as early as August 19th, 2005) has divided the ICOC for good. Perhaps some today will be surprised who were responsible for the content. Steve Johnson was little conflicted during his address to the ICOC leadership gathered at the September 2005 Seattle Conference. Here Johnson was shielding McKean from many angry stares during the Conference. Clearly Kip had few sympathisers during the Seattle Conference due to the August 21st release of the Portland Story. Some speakers were prepared to boycott the Conference if McKean would preach. The organisers barred McKean from any contribution other than being an observer and he was not allowed to participate with any decision-making processes.

Johnson called Kip my friend. He never hesitated to affirm his loyalty to Kip and some ownership regarding the controversial article, which now has split the ICOC. Johnson also implicated Douglas Arthur contribution to this notorious article saying the fact of the matter is, Doug Arthur and I worked on that article with him [Kip] for four hours before it was released. A transcript from McKean’s Friday night, August 19th sermon of the Portland Jubilee, God Became a Dying Man mentions McKean’s annoyance with Douglas and Steve’s involvement. Now that may tick them off… well, that’s OK. Y’know, people who changed my life ticked me off the most. I mean, Doug and Steve did it last night for four hours. I had my whole bulletin article [The Portland Story] written exactly the way I wanted it, and they made me go change it.

Perhaps the most controversial dilemma the neutral ICOC had to face was their apathy concerning discipleship. Johnson assured his audience in Seattle that in Savannah Church of Christ people will once more embrace discipleship exactly in the manner Kip is doing it. In Savannah, I want to do exactly what I did in Boston in 1979 or in New York in 1983 – in regards to teaching people how to teach people to become disciples. I’ve not come up, and I haven’t seen anyone else that has come up with a better mousetrap. And I assure you that when I see one, I’ll adopt it just like I did when I moved to Boston to be trained by Kip back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Johnson further affirmed at the Conference his logic in pursuing a friendship with McKean right or wrong. …wherever Kip goes, I go. And that’s not because Kip is ever always right or sometimes even close to right – Kip’s my friend. Doug’s my friend too. And I believe if your friend takes you in the wrong direction, you’ve got to straighten him out, but you can’t do that if you’re not together. I needed Kip for the first few years of ministry… but I feel like he needs me now, simply as a friend. And whatever he does, I will support it as best I can and continue to keep a clear conscience.

Johnson made in 2006 an emphatic statement of loyalty to the Portland group which one blogger suggests it is nothing more than schizophrenic babble when reading the article entitled The Portland Family Welcomes Steve and Lisa Johnson!. Here Steve almost sacrificed his soul on the altar of human friendship. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

Needless to say, the true colours of Steve Johnson’s loyalty towards Kip McKean’s belief system have been severely tested. In 2006, McKean made a decision to break all ties with his former fellowship, the International Churches of Christ, and start his new “Sold-Out Discipling Movement” with its headquarters in Portland. Surely McKean’s isolation and that of Steve Johnson bobbing conscience were driven to breaking point as the aggressive church policies of the Portland Story ensued throughout 2006 and 2008.

Near the end of 2006, November 19th McKean lost his friendship with Douglas Arthur. Perhaps others have hoped the Johnson’s might contribute to a positive change keeping Kip in check, but they clearly have failed.

Is it really the end of the Kathmandu-embrace?

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