Church Seeks Club Status

Broadside, George Mason University/April 15, 2002
By Greg Guenthner

A student group affiliated with the Washington, D.C. branch of the International Church of Christ (ICOC) is currently applying to become a club at George Mason University. According to REVEAL, an organization and support group for those formerly associated with the ICOC, the organization baptizes members as disciples and expects these members to actively participate in evangelism and recruitment.

The ICOC has also been accused of "psychological manipulation, abuse of member finances, overwhelming time commitments and the restriction of personal relationships" by Harvard's United Ministry according to an April 5, 2002 in the Harvard Crimson. However, the petitioning students of the ICOC at Mason believe that this is an inaccurate interpretation of their purpose and beliefs. "We just share what the Bible says," explained church member Nathan Austin, a Mason sophomore and Resident Advisor.

Austin and 13 other Mason students affiliated with the ICOC encourage students to attend their Tuesday night Bible talks, where they share their different experiences and study Christian scripture. Many students have been recruited by this organization and have attended the Bible talks. "I never got into it to become a Christian, because I felt that I already was one," said freshman Shakira Mack. Mack attended Bible talks and devotionals at the beginning of the fall semester but never became a member of the ICOC.

She also participated in what the organization calls a "one-on-one," where she would meet with a member of the church and learn their interpretation of the Bible. Mack claims that she felt pressured by the group to make a decision to join and accept their teachings. "If someone wants to study, we show them scriptures to answer their questions," said Austin when asked about the private study sessions. "I think they have good intentions with a bad outcome," Mack said.

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