Regarding ICC Sin Lists


The following documentation will show an accurate, chronological display of televised and written material regarding the International Church of Christ's compilation and distribution of members' confidentially confessed sins and will document the ICC organization's entire public response.


During one-on-one Bible studies, persons joining the International Church of Christ (ICC) confess their most embarrassing and intimate sins to members, who then use knowledge of the person's weaknesses to better "suit the study's needs." Upon joining the group, new "disciples" begin a life-style of regular confession to their leaders and other "disciples" in the church (James 5:16). Subsequently, very personal information becomes the primary focus of cell "discipling groups" in the church.

For several years, allegations of confidentiality violations were a common denominator among a large number of ex-members. Former members often claimed leaders had used knowledge of their sins to pressure them coercively or to predict imminent failure should they decide to leave the church. The sheer weight and wide-spread nature of these allegations were more than enough to prompt consideration of their validity and consequences. However, leaders simply attributed these allegations to "bitter ex-members"; rigid, convincing proof was nowhere to be found.

In Spring 1993, however, a former zone leader of the Boston Church of Christ (BCC) revealed a lengthy computer print-out containing all the names of BCC members, and - more importantly - disclosing many personal details of their sexual sins, failures, past relationships, racial differences, or perceived mental stability - all assembled into a single document: a congregational "Sin List". Equally shocking was the list's origin. The former zone leader stated he had personally received it from Boston Church of Christ "Elder/Teacher" Gordon Ferguson.

The months following the document's revelation contain multiple exposures of the ICC's blatant violation of its members' confidentiality. The reader is encouraged to develop a full understanding of the circumstances and personalities surrounding the Sin Lists' exposure.


"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is the light that makes everything visible" (Ephesians 5:11-14).



NewsCenter 5 (WCVB/ABC TV) Investigative Reports
May 19, 1993


Gordon Ferguson served as Elder/Teacher of the ICC's Boston Church of Christ, at the time of this interview.


"Are their [members'] confessions confidential?"


Gordon Ferguson:




"Former members say that the confidentiality of their confessions was broken routinely."


Gordon Ferguson:

"Well, that's not the way we normally do business. I mean,

I don't know the specifics you're talking about

or if there are some, I would not say that things like that have not occurred, but I do know that our emphasis is on confidentiality because we are talking about close relationships."



ABC Television's "20/20" Program
October 15, 1993


Al Baird once served as lead evangelist of the ICC's Boston Church of Christ. At the time of this interview, Baird was an ICC Elder/World Sector Leader in Los Angeles.


"Do you keep these confessions confidential?"


Al Baird:

"I absolutely keep them confidential, and I teach that they should be kept confidential."



"Then what about this 'Sin List' that's passed around?


Al Baird:

"I don't know of a sin list. Show me a sin list that gets passed around by leaders of the church."

[interviewer shows list to Baird]



"You haven't seen this?"


Al Baird:

"I'm not familiar with this. If this exists, this is totally wrong, and if I found out that someone did this, this could even be grounds for their dismissal."


Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "5th Estate" Program
December, 1993


[Interviewer holds up sin list.]



"This is dirt on people. How they're performing, recruiting people, what their sexual peccadilloes may have been."


Al Baird:

"I don't know what you want me to say. I said I don't approve of that."



"Scott Deal [former top-echelon leader from Toronto, Canada] said that this information wasn't always written down, but that it was passed around, talked about. . . "


Al Baird:

"We do not keep lists like that.

I have never seen a list like that."