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General Board 2012: Special election coverage series

Over the next 30 days Report COGIC Abuse will undertake an unprecedented goal. As a service to our readers, we will examine in detail the published platforms of each and every candidate for the General Board of the Church of God in Christ.  We believe it is time for a mature, issue-oriented discussion about the men who seek to stand at the helm of the nation’s largest black pentecostal denomination. Our examinations will include polls allowing you to voice popular opinion about the issue each candidate does –or does not–  endorse.  At the end of our research and examination, we will produce a comprehensive online voters’ guide which will allow delegates to see side by side where the candidates stand on important emerging issues facing the 21st century church community as well as critical internal denominational concerns.

Biblical Precedent

Jesus chose 12 men who formed his apostolic inner circle. These 12 were given special spiritual insight via a continued relationship with Jesus. But after the suicide of Judas, the 12 were left numerically incomplete. Acts 1 records that Peter cited Psalms as justification for the his replacement.

“For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms:

“‘May his place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in it,’

and,

“‘May another take his place of leadership.’

 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles (vss 20-26).

Election History

The Church of God in Christ emerged from a dark and turbulent period in its history a changed organization. One in which politics, voting, vying for offices and back room deals replaced the one man apostolic leadership model previously held by founder Bishop Charles H. Mason. Mason’s death in Sept 1961 set off a firestorm of infighting and court battles lasting almost 8 years until finally Mason’s son-in-law Bishop J.O. Patterson emerged as its most recognized beneficiary.

In a court ordered constitutional convention in February 1968, COGIC drafted and approved a new constitution that dissolved the office of the Senior Bishop and the Executive Board and created the office of the Presiding Bishop and a General Board who would be elected every four years to preside over the church. The General Assembly would have the supreme authority over the church to decide matters of faith and practice. On November 14, 1968, the General Assembly of COGIC elected the first General Board and Presiding Bishop of the church.

What is a platform?

A candidate’s platform comprises a series of positions or documents stating the aims and principles of the particular person running for office. A candidate’s platform may include a carefully worded political document which appeals to specific demographic of delegates by touching on a number of issues important to them. COGIC general board candidates generally do not offer a platform which presents a distinct disadvantage to voting delegates. Voting delegates should know what a candidate’s position’s are on emerging issues, what distinguishes them from other candidates and what they intend to accomplish while in office. Failure to state one’s platform allows a person to run on name only basis without a commitment to any substantial corporate improvements while in office. In essence, the candidate without a platform is asking the voting delegate to sign a blank check.

Why examine?

All elections should be run on honest endeavors to improve the lives and well being of the individuals from whom a candidate is seeking votes. If elected the candidate becomes their representative, championing the issues the electorate deems important. Thus, an examination of the candidate’s publicly stated platform, beliefs, lifestyle, associations and other related helps the voting delegate make the most informed decision possible.

Who stands at the helm of 6.5 million people should not be based solely on an individual’s popularity,  financial status or back room promises.  When the apostles cast lots to determine who would replace Judas in their ranks, they did so with a holy sobriety, knowing full well the impact of their decisions. In the same way, we seek to provide you with a sober assessment of the General Board candidates so that when you cast your vote, it will be with prayerful sobriety, knowing full well the impact of your choice.

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Categories: General Board
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