Article ID: DA005 | By:
Abbott-Loop Christian Center (ALCC) in Anchorage, Alaska, was founded in 1959. Since then it has founded dozens of churches in half the states in the U.S. and in at least two foreign countries. We are still in the process of gathering information about ALCC but are able to make a tentative assessment based on what we already know.
The ALCC is a Pentecostal church which is rooted in the “Latter-Rain” or “Restoration” movement which swept Pentecostalism in the late 1940s and the 1950s and which is continuing to grow rapidly today. According to the booklet, An Introduction To Abbott-Loop Christian Center (ALCC, 1979), ALCC “has a strong heritage in Bethel Temple in Seattle, Washington” (p. 11), which is a Restoration church. ALCC has become so independent and eclectic that they do not consider themselves strictly a part of the Latter-Rain movement; however, their theological and historical roots are for the most part in that movement.
In its statement of belief ALCC affirms that, “there is one God, externally existent in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost” (Introduction, p. 25). This would appear to be a sound affirmation of the Trinity and, in a paper entitled “Frequently Asked Questions About What Goes On at Abbott-Loop Chapel,” Wayne Coggin (a pastor there) says, “We believe in the trinity all the way.” However, they also baptize in the name of “the Lord Jesus Christ, a distinctive practice of the Oneness Pentecostals or “Jesus Only” sects. More over, this is understood to be an expression of their belief that “the Lord Jesus Christ” is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is a classic Oneness belief. They go further and explain that the name of the Father is “the Lord,” the name of the Son is “Jesus,” and the name of the Holy Spirit is “Christ” (Jay Zinn, Water Baptism, 1982, pp.3-4).
This teaching is both unbiblical and contradictory. An examination of the salutations, or greetings, at the beginning of the New Testament epistles will demonstrate that “the Lord Jesus Christ” is a name for the Son alone, not for all three Persons (Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 1:3, 2Cor. 1:3; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2,3; Phil. 1:2; Philem. 3; 1 Pet. 1:3; 2 John 3; see also 2 Cor. 13:14). It is also contradictory to say that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons and then go on to say that they are all titles of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At best, the teaching at ALCC on the Trinity is extremely confused and contradictory to Scripture. At worst, it could be interpreted as a heretical misinterpretation of the Trinity However, we have been in contact with John Owen, one of ALCC’s leading teachers, and have talked with other members of ALCC and, based on what they told us, it appears that ALCC does believe in the Trinity as taught in orthodox Christianity. Owen stated that what they believe is that the Father and the Holy Spirit dwell in Jesus the Son but that Jesus is not the Father nor is He the Holy Spirit. On this basis we would conclude that their teaching is confused and aberrant but not heretical.
Other aspects of the teaching and ministry of ALCC to which CRI has objections are the following: modern-day apostles; shepherding (a la Bob Mumford, whom ALCC apostle Dick Benjamin credits with having shaped their views on shepherding); and the teaching that “not all Christians will be included in the bride.” If you need information on any of these subjects, please let us know.
In conclusion, we do not consider ALCC heretical or a cult. In our opinion, ALCC is in some respects an aberrational movement which Christians who wish to be faithful to God’s Word should not support.