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First Principles

Sep 16th, 2010 | By | Category: Kip McKean, Teachings

The First Principles studies are taught around the world addressing the challenges to faith and doctrine in each culture. Kip McKean prepared this study series in 1979 with two purposes in mind: (1) to bring non-believers into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and (2) to provide a basis for the new Christian to fulfill the Great Commission by “making disciples.  First Principles on the Web circa 1994

Early on I developed a series consisting of nine Bible studies on the “first principles” (Hebrews 6:1-3). The members of the church were called to memorize these studies and then teach others to become Christians. The most impacting was called “Discipleship” where, from my study of Scripture, I taught what was clear in Acts 11:26: SAVED = CHRISTIAN = DISCIPLE, simply meaning that you cannot be saved and you cannot be a true Christian without being a disciple also. I purposely developed this study to draw a sharp biblical distinction between the Lexington (later renamed Boston) Church of Christ and all other groups. I taught that to be baptized, you must first make the decision to be a disciple and then be baptized. I saw that people in and outside of our fellowship had been baptized without this understanding and then, in time, developed a disciple’s commitment to make Jesus Lord of their entire life.   RtR 1, Kip McKean 1992

First Principles were used by all members of the ICOC/ICC.  Any visitor to the church would be set up immediately to begin studying the bible.  The studies were to be done so as to show the visitor that they were not a Christian as defined by the ICOC/ICC.

In order for the study series to be taught consistently throughout all churches, all members were required to learn the series and memorize the outline points and verses.   First Principle classes were held several times a year and typically during the midweek service, when most visitors were not present.  Each study was discussed and versus memorized and quizzes given, all to make sure members knew the studies inside and out. As new people were baptized and joined the church they would be required to attend the next offering of First Principles classes.  Even older members who had gone through First Principles numerous times, were still required to attend each class, memorize the verses and take the quizzes.

Any visitor that attended any function of the church would be asked to study, and this series was presented.  Typically one topic per study session would be held with one disciple teaching the lesson with the visitor and another disciple taking notes.  The person taking notes would write down the outline with the points being made during the study and all the scriptures.  These notes were given to the visitor so they would know exactly what they were expected to learn from that study and not be dependent on their own notes.

It was also expected that when studying with a visitor, you would invite your bible talk members along for two reasons.  Having more people in the study would give the visitor more people to begin a relationship with and secondly it would re-confirm the study series in the lives of the members as a constant reminder of our purpose and way of life.

Early version of First Principles

2003 – First Principles – Used when McKean was leading the Portland ICC



The Cincinnati Church releases a “new” study series, which sure looks a whole lot like the old First Principles and amazingly similar to what McKean still teaches.  Read this new study with commentary added.

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