Inside The Controversial City Of Angels International Christian Church

The City of Angels International Christian Church, also known as the LA Church of Christ or ICOC LA, is a controversial religious movement that emerged from the mainline Church of Christ.

If you’re looking into this church, here’s a quick overview: It’s an authoritarian, hierarchical church known for its intense discipling, stringent tithing requirements, and criticism of mainstream churches. Former members have accused it of being a cult.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the history, beliefs, structure, and controversies surrounding the City of Angels International Christian Church.

Background and History

The City of Angels International Christian Church (CAICC) is a religious organization that has gained significant attention and caused controversy in recent years. To understand the origins of the CAICC, it is important to look at its roots in the mainline Churches of Christ.

Origins in the mainline Churches of Christ

The CAICC can trace its beginnings to the mainline Churches of Christ, a religious movement that emerged in the early 19th century. The Churches of Christ emphasize the restoration of the New Testament church and are known for their conservative beliefs and practices.

The CAICC, however, has diverged from the traditional teachings of the Churches of Christ and has faced criticism for its controversial practices.

One of the key figures in the establishment of the CAICC is Kip McKean, a former minister in the Churches of Christ. McKean played a pivotal role in the early development and rapid growth of the CAICC.

Early development and rapid growth

Under the leadership of Kip McKean, the CAICC experienced rapid growth in the 1980s and 1990s. The organization focused on aggressive evangelism and recruitment strategies, which led to a significant increase in membership.

During this period, the CAICC expanded its reach to different cities and countries, establishing numerous branches across the globe.

Despite its growth, the CAICC has been a subject of controversy and criticism. The organization has been accused of using manipulative tactics to recruit and retain members, including exerting undue influence on individuals and promoting a strict and authoritarian leadership style.

Kip McKean’s authoritarian leadership

Kip McKean’s leadership style has been a subject of debate and controversy. Critics argue that his authoritarian approach and demand for absolute loyalty have created a culture of fear and control within the organization.

Former members have come forward with allegations of emotional manipulation, coercive control, and abuse of power.

It is important to note that these allegations are based on individual experiences and may not reflect the experiences of all members. However, the controversy surrounding the CAICC and Kip McKean’s leadership has raised concerns about the organization’s practices and the potential impact on its members.

To learn more about the controversies surrounding the City of Angels International Christian Church, you can visit the following websites:

Beliefs and Practices

Baptism, a cappella worship, and other doctrines

The City of Angels International Christian Church holds various unique beliefs and practices that set it apart from mainstream Christianity. One of the key doctrines emphasized by the church is baptism.

They believe in the necessity of baptism for salvation and follow the biblical example of full immersion baptism. This practice is seen as a public declaration of one’s faith and commitment to follow Jesus.

Another distinctive aspect of the City of Angels International Christian Church is its dedication to a cappella worship. They believe that singing without instrumental accompaniment aligns with the early church’s practice and allows for a more genuine and intimate worship experience.

This a cappella tradition is deeply embedded in their worship services, creating a unique atmosphere during their gatherings.

Additionally, the church places great importance on other biblical doctrines such as the priesthood of all believers, the centrality of the Bible in teaching and preaching, and the concept of discipleship.

These beliefs shape the church’s approach to ministry and guide their interactions within the community.

Discipleship structure and stringent tithing

The City of Angels International Christian Church follows a structured discipleship model that is central to its operation. The church emphasizes the importance of having spiritual mentors, or disciplers, who guide and support individuals in their faith journey.

This discipleship structure allows for accountability, growth, and the development of strong relationships within the community.

Another significant aspect of the church’s practices is its approach to tithing. The City of Angels International Christian Church adheres to a strict interpretation of the biblical principle of tithing, where members are expected to contribute a specific percentage of their income to the church.

This practice is believed to support the church’s mission and provide for the needs of the community.

Criticism of mainstream Christianity

The City of Angels International Christian Church has faced criticism from some within mainstream Christianity. Critics argue that the church’s strict adherence to certain doctrines and practices may be exclusionary and divisive.

They also raise concerns about the church’s discipleship structure, questioning whether it may create a hierarchical system that could potentially be manipulative or controlling.

It is important to note that while some individuals have voiced their concerns, others have found great fulfillment and spiritual growth within the City of Angels International Christian Church. The church’s commitment to biblical teachings and its emphasis on discipleship have resonated with many of its members, leading to a strong sense of community and personal transformation.

Church Structure and Leadership

The City of Angels International Christian Church follows a top-down hierarchical model in its structure and leadership. This means that decision-making and authority flow from the top leadership down to the congregation.

The church is headed by Kip McKean, who holds near-absolute authority over the church’s operations and decisions.

Top-down hierarchical model

The top-down hierarchical model is a common structure in many religious organizations. In this model, the highest authority is held by a select few individuals at the top of the hierarchy, who then delegate responsibilities and decision-making power to lower levels of leadership.

This allows for a clear chain of command and centralized decision-making.

Within the City of Angels International Christian Church, Kip McKean holds the highest position of authority. As the founder and lead evangelist, his decisions and teachings are followed by the congregation. This top-down structure ensures unity and consistency in the church’s beliefs and practices.

Kip McKean’s near-absolute authority

Kip McKean’s near-absolute authority has been a subject of controversy and debate. Critics argue that his level of control over the church stifles dissent and limits the involvement of other leaders and members in decision-making processes.

However, supporters of McKean argue that his strong leadership is necessary for maintaining the church’s unity and adherence to its core principles.

The authority of McKean extends to areas such as financial decisions, staffing appointments, and even personal matters of church members. This level of control has led to concerns about potential abuses of power and the lack of checks and balances within the church’s leadership structure.

Strict membership requirements

The City of Angels International Christian Church has strict membership requirements that must be met in order to become a member. These requirements typically include a commitment to adhering to the teachings and beliefs of the church, regular attendance of services, participation in small group activities, and financial contributions to the church.

While some argue that these requirements ensure a committed and dedicated congregation, others criticize them as being exclusionary and limiting the diversity of perspectives within the church. It is important to note that the church’s leadership justifies these requirements as necessary for maintaining the unity and focus of the congregation.

Controversies and Criticisms

Accusations of being a cult

The City of Angels International Christian Church has faced numerous accusations of being a cult. Some former members and critics argue that the church exhibits characteristics commonly associated with cults, such as controlling behavior, isolation from the outside world, and manipulation of its members.

However, the church strongly denies these claims and emphasizes its focus on biblical teachings and the importance of personal spiritual growth.

Disfellowship and shunning of former members

One of the controversial practices of the City of Angels International Christian Church is the disfellowship and shunning of former members. This means that if a member decides to leave the church or is expelled, they are often cut off from contact with current members, including friends and even family members who are still part of the church.

Critics argue that this practice can be emotionally and psychologically damaging, while the church argues that it is a necessary step to maintain the purity of their community.

Financial exploitation accusations

Another controversy surrounding the City of Angels International Christian Church involves accusations of financial exploitation. Some former members claim that they were pressured to give large sums of money to the church, often beyond their means, and that their financial well-being was negatively impacted as a result.

The church, however, states that it relies on the voluntary donations of its members to support its activities and denies any wrongdoing.

It is important to note that these controversies and criticisms are based on the experiences and perspectives of individuals who have had negative encounters with the City of Angels International Christian Church.

While they should not be dismissed, it is also important to consider different viewpoints and conduct further research before arriving at a conclusion.

The Church Today

Membership numbers and global reach

The City of Angels International Christian Church has seen a remarkable growth in its membership numbers over the years. With a congregation spanning across different countries, the church has become a global community of believers.

According to recent statistics, the church currently boasts a membership of over 10,000 individuals worldwide. This impressive growth can be attributed to the church’s strong emphasis on community, spiritual growth, and evangelism.

Rebranding efforts and renewed growth

In recent years, the City of Angels International Christian Church has undergone rebranding efforts to further its mission and expand its reach. The church’s leadership recognized the need to adapt to the changing times and engage with a wider audience.

As part of these efforts, the church has revamped its online presence, utilizing social media platforms to spread its message and connect with individuals seeking spiritual guidance.

The rebranding efforts have yielded positive results, with a renewed growth in membership and an increase in attendance at church events. The church’s commitment to innovation and embracing modern technology has allowed it to reach a larger audience and attract new members who resonate with its message.

Ongoing controversies and criticisms

Like any organization, the City of Angels International Christian Church has not been without its fair share of controversies and criticisms. Some critics argue that the church’s hierarchical structure and strict adherence to doctrine can be perceived as controlling.

Others raise concerns about the church’s financial practices and the influence of its leadership.

It is important to note that these controversies should be viewed in the context of differing beliefs and interpretations within the broader Christian community. While some individuals may have had negative experiences, there are many others who have found solace, guidance, and a sense of belonging within the church.

For a more in-depth understanding of the controversies surrounding the City of Angels International Christian Church, it is recommended to visit credible sources such as Christianity Today or Religion News, where multiple perspectives are presented.


The City of Angels International Christian Church has faced no shortage of controversy over its practices and authoritarian structure. While supporters tout its enthusiastic evangelism and tight-knit community, critics argue it exhibits many traits of an abusive cult.

If you or a loved one is considering joining this church, be sure to research it thoroughly first and enter with eyes wide open. Listen to the stories and testimonies of former members who felt spiritually harmed.

Make an informed decision about whether this church promotes true Christian love, freedom and community.

This article provides an extensive, well-rounded look at the origins, beliefs, structure, and major controversies of this religious movement. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge needed to make the best choice for your personal spiritual path.

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