It was a painful parting of the ways many church members remember well, when in 1994 the directory Churches of Christ in the United States did not list those churches associated with the group then-widely known as the Boston Movement, headed by charismatic leader Kip McKean.
The omission was but a reflection of a schism several years old between the mainstream fellowship and discipling churches, often accused of overly-agressive discipling techniques and of being, or bordering on being, a cult.
Another chapter in the story unfolded in November, when a letter of resignation by McKean appeared on the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) web site.
In his resignation McKean said, God through His Word, through circumstances and through true brothers has made it clear that my leadership in recent years has damaged both the Kingdom and my family. My most significant sin is arrogance thinking I am always right, not listening to the counsel of my brothers, and not seeking discipling for my life, ministry and family. ... I also take full responsibility for the spiritual condition of my family. I have pleaded to God to forgive my many sins, and I deeply desire your forgiveness ... .
The resignation did not stem from sexual misconduct, said Al Baird, ICOC elder and spokesman. Baird, an Abilene Christian graduate, has roots in mainstream churches of Christ and was part of an early exodus movement.