The story of the International Churches of Christ (ICOC) is an important story in American religious history. In truth, every story of every religious movement is important, but this tradition is unique. The stunning growth it achieved through what many viewed as unorthodox techniques catapulted this movement into headlines around the country, especially in the early 1990s.
TIME magazine, for example, ran a full-page story on the ICOC -- at that time known as the Boston Movement -- in 1992. TIME called this movement "one of the world's fastest-growing and most innovative bands of Bible thumpers" that had grown into "a global empire of 103 congregations from California to Cairo with total Sunday attendance of 50,000."
Three years later, by 1995, the ICOC boasted nineteen congregations around the world with a membership of over 1000 per congregation. The church in Los Angeles, California, had an average Sunday attendance of 10,000.
In this text, Foster Stanback provides the first book-length, historical study of this movement. Though a member of the ICOC, Stanback has sought to write with detachment and objectivity, insofar as detachment and objectivity are possible. The result is a stunningly good analysis of this tradition, its historical roots, its cultural milieu, its activities, its organization, its theology, and its phenomenal growth.
Members of the ICOC will find this book an indispensable guide to the roads they have traveled since 1967 when the ICOC had its earliest beginnings in Gainesville, Florida. Historians and sociologists of American religion, not to mention those who work with church growth theory and strategy, will also find this book of great interest. Foster Stanback combines commitment to the Christian faith and loyalty to the ICOC with the instincts of a serious student of Christian history. There is no one who might have told the story of the ICOC better than he, and I am delighted to commend this volume to those who seek to understand one of the most vibrant movements in American religious history.
-Richard T. Hughes, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
This hardback, complete with photographs can be ordered at http://www.ipibooks.com.