The Church of God in Christ, Inc (COGIC) is concluding its 104th Annual Convention in St Louis, but charges of title misappropriations by senior leaders have surfaced in the form of a letter to the denomination’s official newspaper.
In a detailed 24 page commentary released on the eve of the COGIC’s meeting, Bishop Samuel Nesbitt, 87, of Jacksonville, FL charges that Bishop Charles Blake is using the title “Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle, 7th in Succession against the church’s constitution.
The letter is addressed to the John Daniels the Chairman of the COGIC Publishing Board and takes to task the church’s leadership for inventing pompous titles that are in contradiction to the very constitution they claim to uphold.
Page 3 of the 105th Edition of the Whole Truth appears to present a picture of the leadership of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc. that is inconsistent with what our Constitution provides. It seems to show Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. lifted above the other 10 members of the General Board. He is given the title Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle Seventh In Succession with the ten (10) men below him as The Presidium Of The Church Of God In Christ . The record shows that only five (5) men have been elected to the office of Presiding Bishop, but neither of them has been given the title “Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle Seventh In Succession”. WHY? Because there was no PREDECESSOR for either of them to succeed that would qualify him to claim the position of Seventh in Succession. Beginning with Bishop C.H. Mason, only seven (7) men have been titular head of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc. SENIOR BISHOP AND CHIEF APOSTLE C. H. MASON WAS THE FIRST. We are told that in the “First General Assembly of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc., 1907, whose faith was founded upon the doctrine of the Apostles as recorded on the day of Pentecost, the Lord gave Elder C. H. Mason to be the CHIEF APOSTLE, to which the whole assembly accepted”. OFFICIAL MANUAL, COGIC, SIXTH EDITION, REVISED 1957, PAGE 9, PAR. 2. SENIOR BISHOP OZRO T. JONES, SR., IS THE SECOND AND LAST Senior Bishop of COGIC, and the FIRST and ONLY SUCCESSOR to BISHOP C.H. MASON, OUR FOUNDER.
Nesbitt, no stranger to holding fast to the original dictates of COGIC’s leadership structure, says calling the twelve man General Board “The Presidium” is also a stark detour from what the church’s constitution stipulates. In its leadership titles and descriptors Blake’s administration seems to be intent on instituting a type of Pentecostal Catholic hierarchy model without the mary worship.
The term PRESIDIUM appears to be inappropriately used when describing the ex-officio directors of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc. When one considers the connotative and denotative definitions of the word PRESIDIUM, and reviews the historical record of some of the ruthless practices that people living under such authoritarian systems have been made to suffer, I THANK God that there is nothing in the record to corroborate the fact that the General Assembly of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc., of which I have been a participating member for many years, ever intended that the General Board, the Ex-Officio Directors of the Corporation, would be classified or function as the PRESIDIUM OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST, INC.
PRESIDIUM DEFINED: The supreme policy making committee of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R.
Webster’s Illustrated Contemporary Dictionary Encyclopedic Edition
PRESIDIUM DEFINED: >In certain Communist countries, a standing committee empowered to act for a larger body, as a legislature.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Fourth Edition
The aforestated definition of Presidium should make it clear that the General Assembly never intended that the General Board’s function would be patterned after that of Presidiums. The General Board is not the supreme policy making committee of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc., nor is it a standing committee empowered to act for the General Assembly as a legislature. The Holy Scriptures, as contained in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, are our rule of faith and practice; and the General Assembly is the only doctrine expressing and law making authority of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc.
If Nesbitt is correct, the overtures of title misuse is indicative of a deeper symptom of abuse and self indulgent privilege by COGIC’s leadership.
Daniels has not responded to the letter, nor is it clear whether he will allow it to be publised in the Whole Truth. Read the entire Whole Truth Letter.
ATLANTA – Ignoring an impassioned letter for reform in the nation’s largest black pentecostal denomination, Bishop Charles Blake, Sr and his cadre of fellow Church of God in Christ (COGIC) bishops are preparing to consecrate [Superintendent] Joseph E. Hogan, Sr. as a bishop. In November, Hogan will be promoted and has been selected to allegedly head the “North Central Jurisdiction” comprised of about 30 odd churches siphoned off the Central Georgia jurisdiction after the death of Bishop Chandler Owens.
Sources (whom we cannot identify for fear of retribution) very close to this story told COGIC Abuse Watch the selection of Hogan was a “travesty”.
The right choice?
Billing himself as the “right choice”, Hogan used this video to promote his candidacy for bishop of the church’s Central Georgia Jurisdiction, But after much politicking, legendary COGIC infighting and a vote, he did not win. To pacify him, Hogan was given approximately 30 churches out of the 100 to start a new jurisdiction. In the end, politics and bad judgment won.
If the bible says that among believers there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people, what of the widespread sexual immorality among leaders?
Who is this man?
Hogan, pastor of New Life Tabernacle COGIC located in SE Atlanta, is a superintendent in COGIC, a midlevel administrative position generally supervising five or more churches. In the video, Hogan says he has been serving in the Central Georgia Jurisdiction for some 52 years and pastoring 32 years. He has been married 39 years.
A deadbeat gone wild
In 2005, Hogan (then serving as a ranking official under Bishop Chandler Owens (d. 2011), impregnated Sherry Adams, the wife of his assistant pastor, a man who had served with him for some twenty years.
Public records from Clayton County (GA) Superior Court shows that Hogan initially denied the child was his, but after a paternity test, he was ordered to pay child support. In 2011, Hogan stopped child support payments and was subsequently sued and arrested. The case was dismissed “without prejudice” which in legal terms means that he could be sued and/or arrested again in the future for the same offense.
An elder who has served for a number of years in the Central Georgia jurisdiction told Report COGIC Abuse that the child Sherry Adams sued Hogan for child support is only one of several illegitimate children. He suggested that Hogan’s sexual wild cards are a result of the lack of discipline by the his two former supervising bishops. In his campaign video, posted just five months ago, Hogan only acknowledges 4 children by his current wife. But according to the court documents, the statement is intentional deception.
What does the bible say about men who desire the office of a bishop?
If a man desires the office of a bishop in the Lord’s church, the scriptures are clear and direct in its qualifying stipulations for that man.
The Apostle Paul wrote that if a man desires the office of bishop, he desires a good work. Its important to understand that the office of a bishop while spiritual, is also equally administrative. Thus, “desiring” to administrate (oversee others in organization, supervision) is a good thing. However, because it has serious spiritual ramifications for those under such a person’s supervision and for the body of Christ at large, the prerequisites are intended to prevent unqualified individuals from accessing the office.
Those 16 qualifications are found in 1 Timothy 3rd chapter:
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt at teaching; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for filthy lucre, but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one who ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all dignity. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) He must not be a novice in the faith, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good reputation with those who are outsiders, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Just by the adultery, lying, covetousness and deception alone, Hogan fails to meet a minimum 4 of the 16 qualifications. Sources also charge that Hogan does not reside with his current wife due to his repeated cases of sexual immorality. Sound familiar?
Does Bishop Charles Blake know this? If he does, why would he go against the scripture to elevate a man who clearly is unqualified for the office of bishop? If Hogan’s life is out of control now, what excesses will he be able to indulge in once he is given the power of a bishop’s office? For context, Hogan was a faithful disciple of one of COGIC’s most notorious homosexual sex offenders, Bishop John Husband (d. 1991). Incidentally, the church’s current presiding bishop also served as a “youth pastor” under Husband. Have the errors of the past about to resurrect themselves for another Georgia “jurisdiction”?
Warning before a great fall?
COGIC’s stunning disregard of biblical directives in its leadership selection processes has produced numerous high profile embarrassments for the denomination. Additionally, COGIC’s former Chief Justice, Bishop Samuel Nesbitt of Jacksonville, FL wrote Bishop Charles Blake a sweeping and detailed letter warning him that the denomination’s habit of allowing sexually immoral men (among other things) into leadership would be its undoing. Strongly suggesting that COGIC was being intentionally deceitful —and hypocritical— against its public proclamations of holiness, Nesbitt wrote:
“Based on my study of (the etymology of the word lying, and relating it to die meaning of the words hypocrite, deceiver and pretender, I conclude that whether the deceit is uttered (orally) or by an overt act, it is a lie. A hypocrite, a deceiver or a pretender may be classified as “a liar in action.” For this reason, we should be careful what we do and what we say. We are also obligated to place persons in nasttions of leadership who meet the moral standards, as prescribed in the WORD, and the standards which the title represents. A person should not be made to think that he is what he is not In Galatians 5:3, St Paul says: “If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” It is not difficult to see how a deceived person may cause harm to others who may rely upon him to produce that which he is not qualified to perform. As leaders of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc., we are obligated to take every reasonable precaution to see that we don’t place persons in positions who lack the qualifications to produce what the title is known to represent When we knowingly place persons in positions, for which they are not qualified, we may be guilty of making a person think that he is what he is not: That is deceit”
And reminded him (which is quite obvious Blake is aware because he was involved with many of the proceedings) that COGIC has tolerated homosexuals in its leadership ranks
“As you will recall, in the past we allowed certain persons, who were reported to be homosexuals, to remain in office. The late Bishop Husband was on the General Board, the highest executive office in the Church, for 20 years. They put him up to preach in every convocation, and he would always sing: “I’m bound for Mt.
Zion away out on the Hill, and if anybody makes it, surely I will.” Well, he might have made it to Mount Zion, away out on the hill, but many persons were misled by his conduct. There are other cases that I could cite, and how we worked together to save them and to protect their names and the name of the Church, but I find that unnecessary at this time.”
Others, you ask? There are others? Yes there most certainly are others. But Blake never responded to nor acknowledged the April 13, 2011 letter. Read and download the entire letter.
Hogan specifically thanks Blake and the COGIC “board” for a “unanimous” decision.