Campus ministers warn against new movement

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, February 21, 1999
By Kara Altenbaumer

Twelve campus ministers have joined together to try to keep the International Churches of Christ off the Texas Tech campus because of the church's "track record at over 30 universities."

"Our goal is to limit their effectiveness on the campus," said Adam Looney of Christ in Action Student Ministries. "I know that sounds terrible, but they are potentially harmful to (students') emotional, social and spiritual well-being. It's a basic Christian message on the outside, but it's what happens once you get inside."

ICOC's local affiliation, the Lubbock Christian Church, began meeting late last month at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. ICOC is considered America's most dangerous cult, ministers say.

That's why the 12 have signed their name to an advertisement warning Tech students about the group. The ad, headlined "You Have a Right to Know," is expected to appear in this week's University Daily campus newspaper.

It reads, "We, as established campus ministry organizations ... cannot endorse or support the activities of the ICOC on the Tech campus or in our community. People should use caution and sound judgment if approached by a member of the Lubbock Christian Church."

In response to the ministers' comments about ICOC, Lubbock Christian Church Minister Brian Akins said only: "I'm not interested in starting a little editorial war. Thanks anyway."

Sister Diana of Catholic Student Ministries said, "That kind of religion isn't accepted in Christian churches. There seems to be brainwashing. I don't know much about it; all I know is that it is a cult.

"You build people up emotionally for three or four minutes, then you brainwash them. That's not accepted in any Christian church."

Grear Howard of Baptist Student Ministries said that brainwashing includes telling the students to cut off communication with their parents, sever relationships with anyone not involved with ICOC and to give large amounts of money to the group.

"This is not so much religious as it is a mind game under the guise of a Christian Church," Howard said. "They're telling untruths under the guise of truth."

Looney wouldn't go so far as to call the Lubbock Christian Church a cult, but said, "They use the same techniques.

"I have known people who come out, and they're destroyed," he said.


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