San Diego Church of Christ


Church Review
Scriptural View: 2/5 (They do hold to scripture, but legalistically so.)
Beliefs: 1/5
Community: 1/5 (If you leave, you are told you lose your salvation.)

Website Review
Site Usabilility: 3/5
Site Design: 2/5
Site Content: 3/5

Summary: The site has a plain but simple design. It has a focus on the community, with events and a calendar of activities. They have sermons online in mp3 format. They also have studies and articles online. One of my biggest concerns, is that they do not have what they believe displayed!!!! I know I could listen to 10’s of sermons to try to figure this out, but I don’t really care to do this. Also, they are also known as the ‘International Church of Christ’. This is a cult has had problems on a number of college campus. (read article) I have a friend who did come to Christ through the Church of Christ, but quickly left when he saw the manipulation that occured. They said things like if you don’t stay at their church you are not a Christian, or that you can only be baptized by their Church.

A great site that investigates cults summarizes the following: “The International Church of Christ (ICC), does not deny any of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Aside from its requirements on baptism as a necessary part of salvation, it is Orthodox. Therefore, I do not categorize the ICC as a non-Christian cult. Rather, I see the ICC as a Christian Church with some serious problems; namely, legalistic and excessive control over its members.” For more on this click here.

I recommend that people avoid this group.


  1. As a Master of Divinity graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, former member of the Boston Church of Christ, and REVEAL Director, I have to admit that there are a lot of good and bad things to the ICC. The “litmus test” for me is whether I should refer people to it, and I have to say there are FAR MORE HEALTHY CHURCHES outside this church and unless there’s no other reasonable reason, then go, but it is far better to find a better church.

    This church is serious about its convictions and its zeal; this is certainly very compelling. They take studying the Bible for themselves and with others rather seriously. As far as being ‘orthodox’, they would, if shown the Nicene Creed, accept it on all points. However, there are many bad points, such as a high controlling and manipulative church, bad eisegesis (bad biblical interpretation). For their beliefs, you can look at; however, they would claim they have ‘no creed but the Bible’ (which merely means that the Bible is being used to substantiate whatever they claim = bad interpretation). They deviate in practice in many ways (especially legalistically) from Fundamentalism, and are much more similar to that. While they may “verbally” affirm salvation through grace, their practices belie their true beliefs that salvation is ‘Maintained’ through works and good deeds (translation: church-related activities and church sanction events).

  2. In disagreement with the reviewer’s assessment, I would rate the San Diego Church of Christ (SDCC) as a definite cult, as do most major cult-watch groups and news reports. I would also differ slightly with Chris Lee above in that the only circumstance in which I would refer somebody to attend its services would be if the person was doing a research project about cults for a college class or seminary course. Only then would it be beneficial to see what a model of perverted Christianity is all about; knowing what is wrong could be almost as beneficial as knowing what is right if such knowledge is used wisely.

    Ten years ago I had the opportunity to attend the SDCC for several services and take part in its systematic studies leading to conversion. I personally sat under Steve Shoff’s (a top echelon leader) sermons and “Bible” studies (I put “Bible” in quotation marks since it really was a “Kip’s-false-doctrine” study). I can speak from experience in saying that this cult’s doctrine–a different gospel–is the exact heresy leading to the damnation which Paul warned about in Galatians 1:6-9.

    Simply put, anybody who believes that water baptism is part of the gospel can not be a true Christian. The apostle Paul clearly distinguished baptism from the gospel in 1 Corinthians 1:14-17. He did not include it in his list of points when defining the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. This group distorts the plain meaning of Scripture in verses like Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16 to teach that baptism is part of the gospel. They contradict the clear statements of Jesus in John 5:24 to teach salvation by works. This is where the poison of their teaching sets in and kills the soul, and it is why I do not believe one can be a true Christian and a member of the SDCC.

    • Do you remember about Jesus Christ water baptism?
      Did you read Matthew 28:19 and many other verses about water baptism?
      Water baptism is part of the Gospel!

    • In response to the above writers commentary I would simply clarify.

      The Bible both by example and teaching clearly and repeatedly speaks of the vital role of
      baptism in the conversion process. Members of churches of Christ and all other “Bible believing”
      Christians who have not taken the extremely biased Protestant theology to its dead end
      recognize that truth. This extremism originates, as many protestant errors in trying to correct an equally extreme and therefore incorrect practice of baptism and sacramentalism that placed the transfer of grace in sacramental bread, in the actual water of baptism, the bones of the saints, or a holy place. No such practice or doctrine exists among these churches.

      The teachings of the churches of Christ and Christian churches as a movement, which includes the division that called itself the ICOC, for all I have understood, has been that the Bible teaches water baptism to be an integral part (inseparable) of the conversion experience. That in teaching and general practice baptism precedes the reception of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, and that it has in view an appeal for a clear conscience through the forgiveness of sins It is pictured with the metaphors of washing from sin, being clothed with God’s righteousness in Christ, separation from the flesh as in spiritual circumcision, new birth, immersion into the death of Jesus and resurrection out of this immersion into a full participation in the life of Christ, and on and on. The great preponderance of examples of conversion stories in Acts is explicit in involving baptism in water. Three thousand in one day were added to the number of the saved through, among other things, baptism, Jesus commanded disciples to be made baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

      It truly amazes us as sincere and humble students of the Bible when theologians, church denominational leaders, and those of influence in the Christian community rail against us for simply insisting that the Bible is crystal clear on this point. It is. Those that would label as a cult or heretics, Bible believing followers of Jesus, who take His words seriously, because what they say doesn’t square with their teaching and practices, should examine their hearts. If this is what defines us as a cult, so be it, such was the accusation of the Jewish teachers of Paul and Jesus’ day. But be warned, that it is you who will fall short of the glory of God. Salvation IS by grace through faith, not of yourselves, nor of your sinners prayers or of your acts of repentance. Salvation belongs to our God who sits above and who has said through His Son, “If you are not born again of the water and of the Spirit, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” Try quoting to Him some of your other pious phrases. We know of no other in whom we can be saved than Jesus Christ and him crucified. It is His righteousness alone that is our hope, and His instructions we will obey. It is the new birth that adds us to the body of Christ, it is the indwelling Spirit of righteousness that teaches to say no to sin, it is the blood of Jesus that has cleansed our consciences from the guilt of sin, it is the water of baptism that separates us from the world, and it’s corrupting influences. Save yourselves from this corrupt generation were Peter’s strong words of warning just before baptizing 3,000 Jews on Pentecost. Israel was baptized into Moses and the Covenant in the Red Sea crossing, we are “baptized into Christ” in the waters of our immersion in His precious name. If this be “heresy”, then so be it. It is written.

      • Please, then, tell me, what happened to the thief on the cross? Jesus lied to him when He told him [paraphrased] “today you will be with me in paradise.” The thief was not baptized in water, therefore, I guess he did not “enter the Kingdom of heaven” as he was not “born of water.” How sad for him to have believed Jesus’ words, then :(.

        • The “Thief on the cross” did not, could not, believe in the resurrection. Obviously, his is a very different circumstance. Further, the thief did not believe in the ministry of the Spirit. New Testament faith did not begin in the gospels, which are still a part of OT theology, but began in Acts.

  3. I was a member of the church for better than 12 years, heavily involved in leadership both in the US and abroad. I’m no longer involved because of matters of conscience about correct interpretation. However, in response to Keith Saare, ICOC is not the only group who expect water baptism. In making a correct interpretation of the original Greek, baptism has always meant water immersion. I am a native Greek speaker. The Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches both believe that baptism with some water or full water immersion is necessary. The way you condemn groups who expect water immersion is no different than a judgemental ICOC member. Only God has the corner on the market for perfection and perfect interpretation. Let’s leave the judging up to Him, live according to our consciences and not judge others. Wasn’t it Jesus that said, “Who is he that condemns…not even Christ condemns. Best wishes to you on your spiritual journey,

    • I was a member of the church back in the 1985-1989 as a youth and then for a little while in the collage group. I was even baptized in the church in a deacons Hot tub (1985). I remember meeting Tom brown and Kip McKean shortly after my conversion knew many of the leaders including Jeff Gordon, Ron Brumley, Tony Chuks, Jeff Chacon and many others I have since forgotten. I remember the reconstruction of the church in 1988 I also visited the Boston church of Christ and the San Francisco church of Christ I remember feeling as if I were not saved. I left the church in 1989 when I joined the Army to get away from the church and the feeling of its control. I am now retiring. I remember how the church used control over its members, there were many times I was lead to believe that this was the only right church, I remember the discipleship which was conducted and let me tell you I do believe in discipleship and accountability but not the way it was conducted back then (vary controlling) so I challenge any one to tell me that because I don’t attend this church I am LOST that is what was taught at that time (DO YOU STILL TEACH THIS?)I now know buy the grace of God that this is not true. I loved the Lord then and I love the Lord now I am not saved by baptism nor can I loose my salvation it is a gift of God threw Jesus Christ it is not anything I can do It’s all about his Love His Grace his Faithfulness.

      I hope and pray that the San Diego Church is not practicing mind control like it did such AT LEAST the time attended there….

  4. Please update the website address for the San Diego Church of Christ. The correct address is Thank you.

  5. Prayer team please: please pray for Peace, Prosperity and Spiritual Strength and Protection for our Lord and his Prayer Teams and Warriors in Heaven. Thank You so very much.

  6. i attended this church today, and felt very confused to what they were teaching. as a new believer, I am aware that i dont know all there is to know about God. But today, it was apparent that what they were doing today was not in any way correct. they taught that salvation was not free, and it must be earned. upon first meeting them, they did not give me a name to what their church was called. they also pressured me into almsgiving. saying that in order to be blessed by God, i must give them money. saying that i reap what i sow, therefore if i dont give them money, i will have consequences. how crazy is that?!?! im a college student with no income and student debt. how am i supposed to believe that God isnt gonna bless me cause im not in a place to give them money? i feel violated in so many ways.

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