I received a text from my college son last night. “good grief….ICOC is on campuses in Nashville. Just had a random student come up and invite me to a “nondenominational” Bible study……..so thankful I was the person to run into him.” (I left out the middle of the conversation…..some of this is just my son’s story to tell and not mine.)
Doesn’t sound like much does it? Not a text you would consider “words that keep you awake,” but there’s a back story to this that will get us to the story today.
Backtrack to Fall of 2012. Our son had taken his wings and flown off to Boston University. One of our desires for him was for him to get plugged in to a great student ministry so that he could have a circle around him on those days/hours/minutes life is throwing grenades. Staying grounded in his faith. We, as his parents, were so happy for him when he said he had been approached by a group of students about a “nondenominational” study. Looking back, all the signs were there he was slowly beginning to struggle (not academically-he excelled!). About six weeks in, the phone call came from Josh. You want to bring a Momma to her knees in record speed-let the sound on the other side be your son in such a broken, hurt, angry place that all you want to do is get the next ticket on Delta and get there. It was on this night….the night of his call…that he told us that tonight’s “Bible” study was what we now know was a “breaking session.” My heart is melting as I type just recalling those conversations the next few days, the pain I felt for my son…..and the thankfulness that I gave to God for protecting him in that moment. Josh is strong…but he has a heart of gold. He knows the truth. He has been grounded in that truth. It was on that night, in those moments, that truth brought him out.
Now came where he knew who this group really was….we were in the loop as well. ICOC. International Church of Christ. We quickly all learned this group had been banned on Boston college campuses for years and had found a loop-hole in that ban. Meet just off campus. If you know anything about BU, you know that it is on Commonwealth and one side will be campus and across the street can be businesses. Police reports filed…..Campus Ministries involved…..my son had been almost proselytized into this cult/heretical religious group and the TRUTH and God’s love for Him is why he was not.
My heart grows heavy when I think of the kids that don’t have that armor…the armor of truth. Josh still bears the scars from that semester and I know that semester played a role in his decision to transfer for his sophomore year to Nashville. Those scars have led him to be very untrusting when he hears the word “nondenominational.” We, as parents, should teach our children to question that word…because it has to believe in something….what are those beliefs and who does that “study” or “church” most align themselves with?
So, we are at last night, and the words that keep you awake. ICOC is in Nashville. Won’t be called ICOC on the door, and it is NOT the same as other Church of Christ denominations! What we learned two years ago, is they will just rebrand as they are brought into the light for who they are. ICOC is a cult. A cult pretending to be a Bible preaching church. In Nashville, in the Bible belt….approaching my son. I am an angry Mom today. Angry that this old wound is having to be dealt with. Thankful that my son knew what to do. Grateful for his protection, once again.
We hear of kids getting pulled into things like this and I think as a Christian family, we want to dismiss the chances it could be our kid…..but it can be our kid most of all….they are the ones out there seeking groups to share the Bible with…to study with…to fellowship with…and groups like ICOC…that’s exactly what they sell those first couple of weeks…and then it slowly begins….the breaking of a child…my child, your child. I will never fully understand what that last night in Boston was like for my son….but I do know this….ICOC of Nashville….you approached the wrong kid last night. You approached the wrong son-you approached my son…and this Momma Hen…well, she has an army of prayer partners who she’s calling up to duty today.
I will not go into the details of ICOC on this blog. I don’t want to give them the audience. Google/You-Tube…it’s instantly available. Barbara Walters exposed them all the way back in 1993. FOX news just last year. They are on “cult-watch.” All of the information is readily available.
An angry, hurt, thankful Momma Hen today……