Aug 31, 2014

Victor M. Gonzalez, Jr. - Why I Left the ICC!

WHY I LEFT THE ICC!

Guest contributor: Former ICC evangelist, Victor M. Gonzalez, Jr. 

Proverbs 18:17 "In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines."

Many of you have asked very valid questions recently. Where do I start?

I was fired on August 1, 2014 for my convictions. This was after Thomas (Kip) apologized for every single accusation that he had brought against me. Kyle Bartholomew was there; so was Joan Bartholomew, his wife, as were Elena (Kip's wife) and Aurora (my wife). You see, I don't agree with double standards: applying scriptures to some and then not to others. I don't agree with manipulation.

Thomas (Kip) has asked and lied about asking people to write letters against me (amongst the latest confirmed are Jared McGee and Rachel McGee who lead the Mexico City ICC). When Thomas (Kip) presented these letters to me, he simply said, "These are totally unsolicited. I didn't ask for them - they just sent them to me - look at what they are saying about you." At the GLC, when asked about his letter, Jared answered, "Yes. Thomas (Kip) asked for our input and wanted us to write a letter about you guys."

This is manipulation at its best.

I don't believe in the control that the leadership asserts or tries to assert on people. Opinions are opinions and advice is advice. All of you who know me, my courageous wife and sacrificial kids, you know our love for people. I have been fasting, praying and allowing God to guide me.

I told Thomas (Kip) on August 1, the day he fired me, "The ministry is not a job - it's a calling. You didn't call me - God did, and I will be faithful to His calling." I am not interested in slandering my brothers in the ICOC or anyone; I don't want to focus on slandering people. I want to focus on loving people. I want to be known for my love. I want to surround myself with people that want to love other people into the Kingdom.

I moved to Portland in the spring of 2004 because I saw there a new direction, no longer the overbearing focus on numbers, money, people and the manipulation thereof. Thomas (Kip) apologized for this type of behavior in the early Portland days.

Did he lie to us? Or is he falling back to his old sinful pattern?

Then on Tuesday, August 12, after the conference (GLC) I told Thomas (Kip) that I was grateful for the conference and that this was my last service with the group. I told him I was starting a new Church, a new Hope - a Church built on true righteousness.

He then said, "You will be marked and disfellowshipped."

To which I said, "Do what you need to do, my brother."

Besides my wife, father, and one other person, I had not made this decision public to anyone as I had not wanted to cause peoples' hearts to question. My wife and I have been attempting to bring up concerns and work out issues we have seen within the leadership for many years now. Going into the GLC, we had both felt hopeful, but after witnessing various alarming situations, we prayed and decided we could no longer continue worshiping with the ICC.

Out of respect to Thomas (Kip), I waited till the end of the conference to inform him of this. The VIOLENCE that was shown towards me was unacceptable. Thomas (Kip) grabbed my arm and tried to pull me and after he continued to do so, I asked him to please let me go.

He was yanking my arm as he said, "You're getting outta here." I told him I had paid for the conference and I had just as much right to be there as him. Then Cory Blackwell grabbed me and I advised him to let me go because I felt threatened and attacked. He let me go and said, "I'm calling security" to which I said "I'm going to call the police, you and Kip have attacked me."

My father then started hitting my chest and shoving me as he tauntingly said, "Call the cops! Go ahead, call them!" This kind of behavior is absolutely ridiculous and ungodly. Yet sadly, this is the "Leader of the Movement" and a "World Sector Leader" and a "Church Leader."

I don't understand why Kip is behaving in this way towards me and my family when this is what he did twice already in his own life; it truly is hypocritical. He started the ICOC out of the mainline Churches of Christ. Then, the ICC out of the ICOC because he had a belief and conviction that things were wrong. This is exactly what I'm doing.

I do not condemn nor look down on any disciple of Jesus no matter where they worship, but for conscience-sake can no longer personally be a part of the ICC. This marking and disfellowshippment of myself and my wife is not Biblical at all - it's POLITICAL. I have been disfellowshipped and marked for being decisive not "divisive" - Thomas (Kip) is the one dividing me from my brothers and sisters.

This last week he tried to prohibit my mother from watching her own grandchildren. This is so sad. It is pathetic and controlling. It is not Biblical, but tactical. Do I not have the right to choose where to worship God with my family? Is this not what we did when we joined from the ICOC? Thomas (Kip) has always said that people have a right to choose where to worship; that it was not a matter of salvation, but proclamation.

I am not teaching false doctrine; I am not drawing people away from God. I am encouraging people to draw near to God and away from man-made religion. I trust that God will provide for all my family's needs.

It truly would have been a lot easier to stay put and get a paycheck with a lavish lifestyle. But I chose God and his truth. Even now, I'm so grateful for all who have helped us thus far on our spiritual journey.

I know there are many unanswered questions. Please feel free to contact me for clarification on anything you desire.

 "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," Matthew 5:44

I love everyone. I have no anger or bitterness in my heart, only a sadness for the lack of love and lack of true righteousness. I am fervently praying for us all.

Reprinted with permission.


Connect with Victor M. Gonzalez, Jr. at: https://www.facebook.com/demonpunisher

Read about my run-in with Kip McKean and Victor M. Gonzalez Jr's dad here: Kip McKean & Friends Lie, Steal, and Threaten - Why I Left City of Angels Church

Jul 11, 2014

Kip McKean Covers Up More Teen Ministry Rapes?

Note: The following information is RUMOR. I and/or my sources may be mistaken or otherwise incorrect on any or all of the information contained herein. Any and all statements should be understood with the context of "allegedly." 

"Today, “churches” ... cover-up the sexual abuse of children by their [leaders]." (Taken from ICC propaganda email).

This is another story that has been given to me by a then-member of the CAICC who was made aware of the following situations at the time they occurred.

According to this source, there were recent cases of statutory rape in the City of Angels International Christian Church teen ministry. Cases in which the rapists were protected and the victim was not. A 21-year old woman, a teen worker in the CAICC teen ministry, allegedly seduced and had sex (statutory rape) with a 15-year-old boy, a member of the CAICC teen ministry. Around the same time, another woman of approximately the same age as the first also committed statutory rape with the same boy. Both women were "disciples," members in good standing in the City of Angels International Christian Church.

Jun 6, 2014

Why Predators and Psychopaths Are Drawn to Religious Leadership

Check out this article about why narcissists, sociopaths (synonym for psychopath) and predators are drawn to careers in religious leadership.

I read this thinking of Kip McKean (and Victor Gonzalez, Sr) and found them to meet basically every characteristic.

Psychology Today: Why Predators Are Attracted to Careers in the Clergy

May 28, 2014

Crosswalk.com: 10 Signs Of An Abusive Church

Would you believe that Kip McKean's International Christian Churches meet ALL TEN qualifications for an abusive church?

Crosswalk: 10 Signs of an Abusive Church >>

Every single sign applies to the ICC. However, I'd like to slightly reword "Unrealistic Promises" to make the concept more specific to the "Kipdom."

In the ICC, only leaders are guaranteed material comfort, with the guarantees increasing with the level of leadership. All "rank-and-file" members are expected to give, and give, and give, until it hurts. And then give some more.

Rank-and-file members are, however, promised that being "faithful to God" (which in practice is synonymous with doing whatever the ICC leadership requests or demands) means that God will bless them in unrealistic, magical ways. For example, "faithful disciples" are basically guaranteed a great spouse, "awesome" marriage, and abundant spiritual blessings from God. ICC leadership constantly preaches the message of how people's lives were terrible before finding "God" (again, saying "God" but meaning "the ICC") and how much their sad, empty, terrible lives were transformed because as a consequence of joining the church and doing whatever ICC leaders asked of them.

What do you think? Is the ICC an abusive church?

Someone on Facebook (a current ICC member) suggested that some of the abusive characteristics mentioned in the above-linked article are acceptable, since they are based on passages from the Bible. My response to that is 1. that's great that you are able to recognize that your church is exhibiting a majority of the abusive characteristics listed and 2. please remember that you can pretty much support anything you want with passages from the Bible, including murder and slavery, so that argument doesn't hold much water with me.

Thoughts?

May 7, 2014

A Letter To Jeremy of the Phoenix ICC

Letter to Jeremy Ciaramella, Lead Evangelist of the Phoenix International Christian Church.

Jeremy, I am disappointed.

I was disappointed with your “help” when you and I met with Kip McKean to discuss how Victor Gonzalez, Sr. had lied to me, abused me, stolen money from me, and threatened me.

I was disappointed because you kept your mouth shut as I was told that I was mistaken, when you had heard the full confession of my abuser. You lied to try to make me look bad and then lied to try to make others look good (ICC leaders, of course). You tricked me into meeting with you by telling me that you "loved me" (God, that sounds weirder than hell.) And then, in a final, vain and twisted attempt to try to silence my story, you used your position to separate me from my friends, all with the goal of protecting the abusers, who continue in their positions and abusing people to this day.

Apr 19, 2014

International Christian Church - Former Cult Member Speaks Out

There is another site that has popped up (icccult.com) that sheds light on the "true" experience of a member of Kip McKean's International Christian Church cult.

The writer describes his experience (lightly edited by me):

"...it became very obvious I had been part of a destructive, mind-control cult. I felt very depressed and traumatized that these supposedly nice people could transform into demon-like monsters so quickly...

"Looking back, all they wanted was people to be their slaves, making more converts and giving all they could to the cult leaders, who lived in luxury...

"The power of peer pressure in these groups should not be underestimated... It can overwhelm most people. Remember, most members don’t think it is a cult. Those sincere people lure you into what they think is a good thing, even while the leaders are taking all they can."

Is this just one more "bitter" and "ungrateful" ex-member, as Kip and co. would like you to believe? According to Kip, the only reason anyone leaves the church is because they are "in sin" or have a "bad heart." But does that make sense? Was Jesus in the business of recruiting mass followers so that he could live in luxury off of their donations?

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Apr 16, 2014

Anti-ICC YouTube Channel

There have been some new YouTube videos popping up which target the International Christian Church.

One channel, called ICC Cult Information, features short anti-cult messages about the church. Here is a one-minute video from there: