DUBLIN CHURCH OF CHRIST
Also known as the International Church of Christ and the Boston Church of Christ, this Bible-based group has been particularly active on the campus' of the capital's universities. Former members testify to the extraordinary pressure put on members to gain new recruits as well as funding. Failure to perform results in ritual humiliation within the group.
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1998 Dialogue Ireland Newsletter Article
The DCC moved to the ATGWU Hall on Middle Abbey Street at the end of last year. Even though the union was briefed on the cult like nature of the group, they still persisted in providing them with legitimacy. People assume that if a Union is allowing them use their premises that the Church must be OK. Many parents have implored the union to stop enabling them, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. In February I attended their service with the intention of challenging their leader Nick Izaaks to a public debate. Two years previously I had spoken to the leader privately about a debate and he later left a message on my answering machine saying no. So this time I wanted to be sure the whole congregation heard the challenge. After the service had ended I stood up and challenged Nick to a debate. They then tried to remove me from the building, and on the way out Nick rejected the invitation to debate.
In May a number of families contacted me following a series of articles in the Irish Mirror. This also led to coverage on local and national radio. The families began to network. I stressed the need for them to claim their children back. Often the members of this church do not go home for the weekend, because they must be at the Sunday service. If they do go home they are on the phone all the time, look like skeletons and always seem short of money. It is therefore important for families not to wait for the return of their children, but to go up to Dublin to engage them. In June during the World Cup many of the members took holidays and spent the time evangelising. They were trying to double their membership. They plan to restart a ministry in Belfast in the near future.
The DCC claims to be a charity, but repeated requests for a copy of its accounts have been refused. Ayman Akshar who runs a group in London dedicated to helping former members stated that he was thrown out of the church when he started questioning the leaders about finances. They ask each member to pay a tenth of their gross income, including social welfare.
1999 Dialogue Ireland Newsletter Article
The DCC has attracted much media attention in Ireland in the past year - and all for the wrong reasons. Disgruntled ex-members, distraught parents and concerned friends have gone public to warn about the actual beliefs and practices of the DCC. BBC 2 produced a documentary about the INTERNATIONAL CHURCH OF CHRIST (ICC) last autumn. Reporter Damian Thompson lived in an ICC flat for a week for the 'Living with the Enemy' programme. This was followed by the UTV 'Insight Programme' in December entitled, The Road to Hell. They talked to former members and exit-counsellors about the group. The group is covered quite frequently by various newspapers and occasionally on local and national radio.
To diffuse such media scrutiny, Dublin leader Nick Isaacs promoted the 80 to 90 member group in an interview in the Dublin Underground as a normal church, not much different than others, except that they are more committed. As any member or ex-member knows, the differences between the ICC and other 'denominations' are so accentuated that members come to believe that they are the only 'saved' people in Ireland. The DCC replanted the Belfast church in September 1998 after the failed attempt of 1994. The Belfast church is currently led by Roy and Valerie Mulcahy.
The DCC continue to meet at the ATGWU Hall on Middle Abbey Street. The DCC operates a revolving door system, with as many people leaving as joining. lf the church is really so great as they boast and the people so happy, why do so many people leave, many with the belief they are going to hell? Hell seems preferable to them than continued membership in the DCC! Many parents have intervened successfully, with the help of exit-counsellors, in presenting information about the ICC which would be inaccessible from the group itself as they label any material critical of it as 'spiritual pornography'. Exit counselling is very different to deprogramming which conjures up images of locked rooms, discarded Bibles, torture and emotional breakdown. Exit counselling is simply a process of presenting and discussing information, with no applied pressure to the member to make a decision either way.
The DCC's favoured recruiting technique is a bland invitation to a Christian service or bible study, usually without mentioning which religion they represent. When quizzed, members respond 'just a Christian non-denominational group'. They also hold 'Women's Day' and 'Men's Forum' functions, which are typically portrayed as secular events to lure people along. One may also be invited along to a party. A cinema may be hired to entice people not otherwise interested in Christianity. The DCC target UCD and Trinity students and 'sharp' business people and leaders often infiltrate student common rooms to befriend students, without stating their covert purpose of converting them to the 'one true church' so that the member will be 'fruitful'. The ICC member must teach the same formulaic series of scripture to any potential convert. The series is replete with dubious analogies and twists scripture out of context. They also completely confuse evangelism with discipleship. Leaders Nick and Sara Isaacs have moved to a plush city centre apartment on Castle Street since last November. Their lifestyle is in sharp contrast to the young people who have to give 10% of their gross income, including student grants and meagre social welfare payments.
2001 Dialogue Ireland Newsletter Article
Have kept a low profile this year. We did contact the TGWU in London concerning Mick O'Reilly who has refused any dialogue concerning the use of the ATGWU Hall in Middle Abbey Street for the churches recruiting efforts! One of their members Peter Devin appeared on Boomtown on RTE 1, a series about twentysomethings in contemporary Dublin.
Triumphing Over London Cults - comprehensive website on the International Churches of Christ