Home > COGIC, Pastor Erik M. Cooper, policy, sexual immorality > COGIC removes Pastor Erik Cooper for sexual immorality

COGIC removes Pastor Erik Cooper for sexual immorality

In a surprising break from its previous struggles with sexually immoral pastors in the ranks, the nation’s largest black pentecostal denomination today issued a strongly worded statement about the removal of one its Arizona pastors while reiterating its sometimes nebulous sexual abuse policies.

The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) said that reports to its national office prompted them to investigate the “…alleged lewd conduct and inappropriate sexual acts alleged to have been committed by Pastor Erik M. Cooper, of Phoenix, Arizona, with an adult female church member. “

Since this was no crime, the church in essence must bear the burden of following biblical truth and holding leaders accountable with consequences.

Pastor DL Foster, who has monitored and reported on issues of sexual immorality and crimes committed by denominational clergy members since 2010,  praised the church for what he called a “strong and biblical response”.

“The statement really is commendable for two reasons. It shows that COGIC leadership is rethinking its previously self-wounding policy of silence and it sends a signal to other hidden offenders to change their ways voluntarily or get confronted. “, he said.  “RCA definitely has worked hard to bring more openness and a more biblically defined approach to dealing with the unrepentant sexual sins of leaders.”

Its comforting to legitimate victims for the church to acknowledge them in its public discourse about clergy sexual misconduct. The Cooper statement did just that. “Ultimately, this policy outlines ways in which to address the specific needs of the victim(s) and the perpetrator(s) in such a way that the good of all will be met.”

Cooper, pastor of Dominion Harvest Christian Church in Phoenix, had resigned after being confronted about the accusations.

“Upon presentation of these accusations to Pastor Cooper, he submitted his resignation and official separation from all responsibilities within the Church of God in Christ (“COGIC”).  This includes his local church, district, the Arizona jurisdiction, and the National Church.

The Church of God in Christ has accepted Pastor Cooper’s resignation and has taken steps to cancel and nullify his COGIC credentials, of every kind and description, including his ministerial license, his ordination, his appointment as pastor, and his membership in the Church of God in Christ.”

Cooper appears to have been a somewhat well known “evangelist” which might have prompted the public statement by COGIC.

Interestingly, the COGIC statement didn’t say if Cooper admitted guilt or that  he repented  then resigned, just that he resigned. That could explain why the church took a slightly harsher approach to removing him from office and nullifying his membership. Gal 6:1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

If a person refuses to acknowledge their sin through repentance which could lead to restoration,  the church should take the necessary steps to ensure such a person can no longer represent the organization.

Read the full statement

  1. May 6, 2012 at 5:58 am

    I have a few problems with this statement and COGIC statement and actions.

    1- There is NO POLICY in place that addresses victims or victims issues and the 2002 policy advising leaders on how to avoid sexual sins and hypocrisy is only that…a “how to” guide against sexual abuse and misconduct aka: SINS.

    To try to link a supposed “victims advocacy” to that policy is simply incredulous, not to mention false. If I am wrong, PLEASE correct me openly and place the policy front and center that addresses victims in any manner…I would like to be embarrassed regarding this issue and be proven wrong. I would like to think that in a church such as COGIC that we would have a VICTIMS ADVOCACY program clearly outlined whose ONLY focus is to minister to victims and their needs, NOT an advocacy co-mingling their duties with pastoral discipline, but I guess that may be asking too much.

    2- COGIC goes from one extreme to the next. It’s either go into complete silence on issues or throw everyone out and call them anathema…this is not BIBLICAL NOR IS IT GODLY. Certainly this man should have been removed from office, but to dis-fellowship him??? What is that??? Does he NOT have a soul? Does he NOT need to be saved and restored as well???

    There is no mention of his repentance, but he did however resign, evidently without incident. This displays that he at least acknowledged his actions. I have no inside information on the situation, but I don’t believe that the bible teaches dis-fellowship of those who have failed. Isn’t there a call for repentance and restoration? Isn’t that or shouldn’t that be the priority in anyone’s failure?

    3- This statement reaks of politically correct IMAGE management. To jump in, in such an imbalanced manner ONLY after phone calls or inquiry regarding his supposed sexual relationship with “an adult female church member”…PLEASE! There are men RIGHT NOW, whom COGIC has been silent regarding that have been with CHILDREN, and MULTIPLE individuals, some yet in office, and yet COGIC has NOT said a word and even refuses to acknowledge their actions or the subsequent fallout and spiritual condition of the victims…Why has this man and his affair been singled out? This is certainly egregious, but why now, when since 2002, we can place our hands on over 10 cases where there is nothing but ABJECT silence???

    The statute of limitations DID NOT absolve bishop Brown from the SINS that he committed and perpetrated upon those CHILDREN, his wife’s family members from what I understand, years ago. COGIC remained and has been silent only to say that they fully reinstate him.

    Bishop Westbrook’s Jurisdiction in Washington may appear to be operating as normal, but we KNOW the financial duty and strain as a result of the sexual misconduct and the potential loss of that building at any time.

    Further, a good man, Bishop McCarthy’s legacy was tarnished and his jurisdiction is no more, split into a East and West because of a SILENT COGIC in dealing with sexual misconduct and absolutely NOTHING geared towards victims from this supposed 2002 policy.

    What may have an appearance of right here is vastly wrong. COGIC has thrown out a sinner, casting him to the dogs, pretended that something adopted in 2002 that dealt with pastors and leaders also dealt with victims,(which is certainly not true) and skirted past other equally if not more horrific situations to focus on this one and hail it as some type of “poster child” for COGIC actions against such behavior.

    Sorry…I’m not impressed and I further contend that our leaders have yet failed in this area once again.

    Supt. Harvey Burnett
    T,.T. Rose Dist.
    Peoria, IL.
    Illinois Third Jurisdiction
    Bishop Robert Sanders
    (so now noone will have to say “that preacher from illinois”, you know EXACTLY where I am and where I’m from)

    • May 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      Well COGIC said it had no further comment, so we can only guess as to what transpired to cause them to take these rather harsh steps. They should clear that up, but other than that we can only go by what they said. Perhaps Pastor Erik Cooper will tell his side of the story.

      They should also open up their commenting section on the official site so that church members can discuss the issue since they have no further comments.

    • May 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      THANK YOU, THANK YOU and I stand enlightened and apologetic regarding this particular incident with Pastor Cooper. I was TOTALLY wrong, there was more than a phone call presented to COGIC officials to deal with this man’s sins. I suppose whoever released the information wanted to simply soften the blow for whatever reason.

      In addition, it would seem that Pastor Cooper is unrepentant regarding his sins. It also seems that specific proof was brought to the attention of certain COGIC leaders and officials regarding Pastor Cooper’s indiscressions (SINS) and he refused to acknowledge the information and rebelled against calls for him to submit himself. Evidently he has a history of sexual improprieties dating back to a time when he served under Bishop LeRoy Anderson. According to sources, Pastor Cooper was UNREPENTANT in issues at that time and although there seems to be a mounting trail of women, he remains unrepentant regarding any of it.

      It also seems that COGIC did NOT simply kick this preacher out as I had feared earlier. This particular preacher RAN as not to face the music of being sat down due to his sins and for a period of restoration.

      THANK my sources for CLARIFYING the situation and bringing this information to light. I am repentant for speaking prematurely assuming that this man was presenting himself for godly and spiritual correction. It doesn’t seem as if that is the case at all.

      When a preacher refuses to repent and simply wants to skirt on to the next skirt, what can be done and what can we do? Stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. It seems that is the thread of this particular ministry unfortunately.

      Now, another problem is the “covergirls”. The song was sung, “Stand By Your Man”. That is an acceptable thought. However, our first priority if God and a man that is a habitual adulterer MUST be made to repent for his actions and simply facilitating his unrighteousness won’t work, even if you are the spouse. It seems that until this minister gets help and deals with his apparent sexual addiction, he will continue to do this with a wife (not necessarily the same wife) in tow. The problem also seems that the church will be in tow as well, which is even just as tragic.

      To my fellow COGIC bretheren, this still does not address the victims advocacy that we desperately need. As I previously stated, it does not need to be mixed with pastoral discipline. It needs to be solely about engaging, healing and restoring victims. Evidently there is a trail of victims in this case. It seems that they may have all been adult age. Evidently they also need a certain amount of healing and restoration no matter their level of involvement in this fiasco.

      Due to the information I have received, I am highly confident that this preacher was dealt with in an appropriate manner. From all sources, he is unrepentant and it seems that he has chosen to withdraw from COGIC and the church simply says If you don’t want our discipline, then proceed. I agree with that sentiment 100%

      Supt. Harvey Burnett
      T.T. Rose District
      New Bethel COGIC
      Peoria, IL.
      http://www.bethelburnett.blogspot.com
      Illinois Third Jurisdiction
      Bishop Robert Sanders

    • jerk945
      June 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      COGIC NEEDS TO CHECK BACKGROUNDS! This is the results of putting a novice in power! The bible states do not do this or they will bring shame on you! This guy is a real embarrassment to the COGIC church. Mr. Cooper went for a younger mistress and ticked the older mistresses off! He drug his previous spouse to the state within months he was screwing multiple women in the same church who could move him forward. He has four children and refuse to take care of them without a COURT forcing him to do so; this same church never address him about this behavior. Mr. Cooper was arrested for non payment after lying to the court claiming he was indigent. The church believed this con man blaming the spouse! Spouse didn’t make these babies alone!SHAME ON COGIC!

      Does George Zimmerman come to mind? Zimmerman had over $135,000 in the bank after killing Trayvon Martin (over Skittles and Arizona Ice Tea) but he claimed he was indigent. Lying to the court now re-arrested!

      Back to the so called Pastor Cooper. He married someone in the church to push him forward so he could gain more money while driving expensive cars hiding his money leaving his four children penniless; refusing to take care of them. How can any man (his case boy) look at his children and refuse to care for them or even take them to get some cotton candy? Heartless creep! Now he is cheating on the second wife who stole him from the first. I met this jerk back in 1996 and knew he was a wanna be looking for and easy ticket to the top. CHECK COURT RECORDS ON THIS CON ARTIST ARREST! MUG PHOTO available.

  2. standandbe
    May 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Well Supt. Burnett I’m glad someone told you the real deal regarding this situation! We all have sinned of course, but we are all suppose to strive to not continue in sin. This situation is a longgggggg-time coming, and I hope that this will be the change that will deliver this pastor; while continuing to expose a lot of others in leadership that have been doing the same thing for years (and the covers haven’t been pulled off yet). But we all can rest assure that God got away, and it is in His own timing when he does pull the covers off… Saints (not the Aints) pray for this man’s soul, he really needs the prayers, in a real way!

  3. July 17, 2012 at 3:06 am

    You know I am going to say this. I was once in the world and I am now saved. And no matter what if he did or did not do it. This posting is wrong how can we focus on saving souls when we are bashing each other. That is why people do not want to attend church because that is where some of the worst people are. Man has it all wrong you wanted him to make a statement so you can be in his business that is all.Did you tell your church that you are sinning for posting things online. Because if he went to GOD and repented it is under the blood and he does not have to answer to man. Let’s spend more time saving souls then letting the devil use us to post things like this because this right here is UNGODLY and it was people like you that keep me away from the church. And furthermore if all his members left his church they left because they was either lead away by God or they allowed the Devil to win just like you are doing so keep up the Good work. Remember that judgement day is coming and would you be ready because we all sin and no one is perfect. Oh and yeah did I tell you that I attend Pastor Coopers church and he preachers the word really good every Sunday maybe you should try his church sometime.

    Ephesians 4:29 ESV
    Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Or did you repent and this is under the blood and you have not deleted because you feel that it has been washed away. No matter how you look at it people go through test and if they do not past it the first time they get the same test again. This is going to be something to make him go deeper in the lord because Job went through somethings and he did not turn away from God so MY Pastor is JOB and he is going to come out in the end because he did not walk away from God. May God bless you and keep you walking with him.

    • July 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      Mrstbass2007,

      I’m sorry that the post incites harsh feelings for you, but noone can overlook the damage that this has done and is doing to the body of Christ, the members of his church and to himself.

      It is without question that this man is guilty. I have seen the evidence in at least one situation that he continues to deny. I don;t know him other than that and certainly have no ax to grind.

      Aside from the fact of uprooting the families and the children’s lives in your church with his sins, an additional problem is Pastor Cooper’s failure and refusal to repent. When one can deal with and help someone, anyone, who has failed, when there is no open repentance then one certainly does not have the favor of and with God. he owes you and every member much more than that, but from what I have seen…EVIDENCE…he plays the playboy.

      Now think for a minute. What does God say of such behavior? Are we to simply go on and say it’s all well? He destroys lives, uproots families, creates his own private harem and comes back and lies to you about it…what are we to say?

      1 Tim. 5:22 ~ Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

      The scripture says, to not exalt or place someone in position prematurely, neither should we be “partaker” of someone else’s sins. Understand that defending evil is laying hands “suddenly” and allowing someone to go unrepentant and to endorse them no matter what they do IS being a partaker of their sins.

      Your defense in this case is ungodly my Sister. God is not pleased with defending sin. The best thing you can do is either leave that church without incident or confront him and demand the truth so that you can better pray for him and get him the help he needs. Don’t make God your enemy over this man. None of us like it or like to see anything like this, but we can’t pretend it’s not real or doesn’t have a serious impact on the body of Christ.

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