The Portland, Oregon, USA church has formally broken away from McKean's "new movement," (SODM) or Sold-out Discipling Movement, and is extending the hand of fellowship to the International Church of Christ (and any disciple of Jesus). One Portland elder told IcocHotNews that they would like to work together with us, attend our conferences, and support HOPEww efforts to help the poor.
Doug Arthur writes at the Boston ICOC website, in his article entitled "Pray for Peace in Portland"...
Pray for Peace in Portland
By Doug Arthur, from the Boston ICOC website
I received a call a few days ago from one of the elders of the Portland church of Christ. It was an invitation to visit the church and meet with the leadership to discuss formulating a plan for the future. I was delighted to accept the invitation and be with my brothers and sisters from whom I have been separated for a few years now. As much as I was encouraged to receive this invitation to visit I was deeply saddened by the circumstances that the congregation has endured in the last several months.
As many may know the Portland church was led for several years, beginning in 2003, by Kip McKean. Both the McKeans and the congregation in Portland had been through a time of crisis, and they found encouragement in one another and the church began to grow. Meanwhile, the conflicts between Kip and virtually all of his contemporaries continued to mount. The issue that was identified and documented repeatedly was his divisive leadership style and his inability to work as a team player in a brotherhood of churches. A variety of personal meetings and public letters were written attempting to confront Kip on his sinful behavior. I personally traveled to Portland in May of 2006 to admonish my friend Kip and the Elders in Portland about “letting no unwholesome talk come out of their mouths” Eph 4:29.
With the encouragement of Steve and Lisa Johnson, Kip showed some signs of changing, but in time quickly reverted back to slandering other churches not under his direction. 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. The strategy was quite simple. Someone who was dissatisfied with their current congregation would contact Kip and he would invite them to visit Portland and persuade them to start a new church in their city and encourage them to “Call out a remnant” from their old congregation. People would be contacted and told that their church was now dead and if they had any hope of doing their best for God they should come join the new “Sold Out” congregation. This pattern was repeated in a several cities around the world.
March of 2007 marked a significant change in the life of the Portland church. The McKeans left and planted the “City of Angeles” church in Los Angeles, leaving the Johnsons in the role of evangelist and women’s ministry leader. The Portland church was a congregation of roughly 340 people at that time. The McKeans took with them when they left:
A Missions 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
The Portland church had given many of its best and brightest for the sake of the mission and they began to 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.
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. They also 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.” 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 or sisters in Portland should begin calling to encourage them to leave the church immediately and move to a church in the “New Movement.” This past Sunday an evangelist from another city in Oregon came to Portland and announced that he was in charge of the new “Sold Out” congregation in Portland.
Clearly these are troubled times for the brothers and sisters in Portland. Many great hearted Christians are hurt and confused by the events of recent weeks. I would simply ask that you pray for peace in Portland and that the leadership of the church make faithful decisions during this time of extraordinary pain. Please also pray that our time together in the days ahead will be encouraging, healing, and inspiring as we look forward to the next chapter together.
Read Doug's article at the Boston website by clicking here. We will indeed be praying for the Portland congregation.