Here is a post I found, you can see the complete article at http://truthandtheway.com/featured-articles/
128 West Hamilton Street, Lincolnville, S.C. 29485
Ministry Line 843-871-6848 Fax 843-821-6148 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Edward Lee Johnson, Sr.-Pastor
To: COGIC constituents
From: Edward Lee Johnson, Sr.
Re: New Vision Cathedral Inc. COGIC withdrawal and South Carolina certificate of incorporation
It is with much spiritual conviction that I submit this letter to you. I cannot continue to support an organization that I truly believe that its leadership is not following basic biblical ethics and spiritual values. I left home at the age of 17 in 1972 for the military as a backslidden teenager who grew up in my parent’s church. A year and a half later I got arrested by the Holy Spirit at a party while smoking pot and drinking with my friends. I was actually in El Paso Texas at the time when God saved and called me into ministry in 1974. I was transferred to Germany that same year after preaching my first sermon at Calvary in the month of July. When I got to Germany, I couldn’t find a COGIC church so I attended the Church of God Serviceman Center in Nuremberg, Germany.
For an entire year I cut my spiritual teeth in a ministry with a White pastor and predominately White congregation. I develop such a great relationship with my pastor—when he took his family vacation with his wife and two small children for an entire week in England, he took me along and I spent the week with them. When I returned home in1975, I became extremely active with my dad at Calvary. The greatest struggle I had early on was the cultural differences between what I experienced in Germany versus being back home in a COGIC church. In fact, when I would preach, people told me I sounded White. I shared that with the late Bishop H. J. Bell who became our Bishop in 1976; and he said to me, “Well brother Ed you have to blacken up your preaching a little.” What he really meant was that I needed to learn how to whoop like Black preachers. He obviously saw something in me that I couldn’t see at the moment because he appointed me to be the Jurisdictional Secretary around 1977, and Associate Pastor of Friendship in 1981. Although I objected to a lot of things that Bishop Bell did—I was too naïve to confront him. That was then—but I’m not that novice in ministry anymore. I believe that the course that I have taken in my ministry over the past 20 years is that “good fight of faith” that the Apostle Paul taught about, “follow peace with all men…”. The foundation that I received from my father’s ministry has kept me on the straight and narrow through the worst of my spiritual test.
I said all of that in order to help you understand my reasoning for relinquishing my ties with the current COGIC structure. I honestly believe that the leaders have taken the church completely away from the principles in which Bishop Charles H. Mason built it. The corruption didn’t start with Bishop Blake—but he has taken things off the rails just like President Obama did by glorifying immorality in a way that no other president in my lifetime has done. For the past 40 years I struggled in my heart about the cultural differences as well as trying to make sense of the denominational division among churches. I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t some kind of working relationship with like minded Christian organizations for the benefit of our communities; and especially White and Black Pentecostal. As the Holy Spirit began to teach me how all the division got started among denominational churches within the body of Christ —He also gave me a real passion to work with churches outside of the COGIC box.
We use scriptures out of context to justify ourselves like, “touch not my anointed” and “let the wheat and the tare grow together”. If you know anything about the anointing, you would know that a man with the practices and culture like Charles Blake is NOT anointed. And, as for the wheat and the tare parable—go back and read (Matthew 13:36-43) the explanation of the text. Jesus said that the field is the “world” and not the church. If you say that you cannot touch the tare in the church in an attempt to justify openly corrupt and vile people serving in God’s church—then any application to spiritual discipline taught by Jesus and the apostles will not be applicable in any church setting. Of course homosexuals, whoremongers, liars, backbiters, people who are full of hate etc practicing a vile lifestyle, should be allowed to exist in the field “world,” but not in the church. That’s the whole meaning of going into the highways and hedges to preach to sinners. If our gospel be hid—it is hidden from those that are blinded by sin. The purpose of the gospel is to transform the sinner into a saint. If our gospel be compromised—we will all be punished by God as wicked servants in the judgment. And, some weak pastors will have their works burned up even though he or she may scarcely make it into the kingdom.
For the complete letter click the Read More button
In a letter found on the Church of God in Christ web site, General Counsel Uleses Henderson gives what I believe to be a fictional account of the events which have occurred at Pacific Mount Olive Church of God in Christ. The letter ,titled “Statement On Pacific Mount Olive Church of God in Christ” has many discrepancies not supported by facts.
Paragraph 1: FALSE
On January 6, 2016 Bishop Blake sent a letter in which he stated;
“I, Bishop Charles E. Blake Senior, am the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ Inc., with the International Headquarters located in the City of Memphis, Shelby County Tennessee.
Pursuant to Article III, Part 2 Section A (1)(a) of the constitution of the Church of God in Christ as set forth in the Official Manual 1, you are ordered to cease all operations of Pacific Mount Olive Church of God in Christ, located 1385 East 21st Street in Los Angeles, California, by Saturday, January 9, 2016. You are further ordered at that time to turn over to Bishop J. Bernard Hackworth and the Metropolitan Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, or his representative, all keys, papers, bank accounts and all property of any kind belonging to Pacific Mount Olive Church of God in Christ.
This order in addition is being made by the express approval of the General Board of the Church of God in Christ.”
In a January 16, 2016 Ex- Parte Application for Preliminary Injunction and TRO, General Counsel Uleses Henderson submitted a declaration to the under penalty of perjury. On page 2, paragraph 8 of that declaration he states; (Declaration)
“All members of the General Board voted that Defendant Joyner and his agents and affiliates must vacate and turn over all real property held by Pacific Mount Olive Church of God in Christ to Bishop Hackworth. There were no objections.”
RESPONSE TO THE BULLET POINTS
Bullet Point 1: FALSE
Pastor Joyner appointed to Mt. Olive by Bishop Murphy, Prelate of California Southwest Jurisdiction (Letter from Bishop Murphy)
Bullet Point 2: TRUE
Stated in a deceitful manner, Pacific Mt. Olive had been without a Pastor or Bishop for approximately two years, members voted on a Pastor because they had no Bishop at that time. In a letter dated July 17, 2012 Bishop Ealy put them out, for two years they had no Bishop, no jurisdiction and no Pastor. No COGIC official took any action until the letter from the ousted trustees.
Bullet Point 3: FALSE
Bishop Murphy appointed Elder Joyner as Pastor of Mt. Olive in January 2014. (Letter from Bishop Murphy)
Bullet Point 4: FALSE
Five Trustees, three of whom had been voted out of office sent Bishop Hackworth a letter claiming they represented the membership after they were voted out of office. These five people were not authorized to speak for the congregation. The Constitution calls for a vote of two thirds of the members to take this action. (Trustees Ousted) (Invalid Request)
Bullet Point 5: MISLEADING
If points 1, 3 and 4 were true this would be true. However, to make this statement knowing points 1, 3 and 4 are false, makes it appear as if the General Counsel is attempting to be deceitful.
To read the chronology of the struggle for Pacific Mount Olive, click the button below
One of the attorneys for Bishop Rufus Kyles has sent a request to Bishop Sheard for the reinstatement of their client. It seems the primary reason is the difference in treatment of Bishop Kyles and Bishop Jones. Bishop Kyles has been suspended for almost two years for his conduct, Bishop Jones has been given a pass.
This is a question that is being asked across the country in the Church of God in Christ. Bishops seem to believe the National Church owns the property and because they are the National Church’s representative, they manage these so called ownership rights.
“Local churches and, pastors are leaving the Church of God in Christ. They are leaving because they see no benefit in laboring to develop a strong congregation whose assets are vulnerable to the intrusion of those who have contributed nothing to its well being, or establishment. Can we validly insist on authority without any investment, withdrawals without any deposits?” (Why I Stood For The Defense In Orlando; Bishop Charles E Blake)
In the Church of God in Christ, many of the local members believe ownership of the local church rest with them. They believe, they purchased, repair, and pay all the bills means ownership. That is not what the leaders of COGIC believe. We are still asking the question; “Can we validly insist on authority without any investment, withdrawals without any deposits?”
Here is a list of churches where the people are in civil court because the National Officials believe (in the words of Bishop Blake) the trust creates ownership rights for COGIC, Inc. which they can exert and manage [Read Letter].
In the April 2014 General Assembly meeting the Constitution Committee presented and read an amendment which would end all of this madness. The amendment which is included in Attachment H, calls for the local church to have exclusive control and ownership of the local church. It does not change or modify in any way the appointment of the Pastor. For whatever reason, this amendment has not been allowed to come forward anymore. It is not known if that is because Bishop David A. Hall is now the chairman of that committee or not. This amendment would eliminate most of the lawsuits such as the ones listed above. If the local people build it, pay for it, maintain it, it is only logical that they should own it. Again this amendment has been read once, do not allow it to be weakened.
Greater First Church of God in Christ, Knoxville, Tennessee is a church at the center of a firestorm. Bishop Thomas Holsey requested an interpretation of the Article III, Section D of the COGIC Constitution which controls the transfer of churches from one jurisdiction to another. Now the Judiciary Board has ruled and the Church leadership is not pleased. Here is an excerpt from his request;
“It is requested the Judiciary Branch of the Church of God in Christ, render an interpretation of the constitution:
SECTION D TRANSFER OF CHURCH
CONSTITUTIONAL PROCEDURE FOR LOCAL CHURCHES”
Does Article state geographical guidelines?
Click here to read Bishop Holsey’s request
Article III, Part 2, Section D, ¶ 17, 18, 19, of the Constitution of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. governs the transfer of churches between jurisdictions. A careful review of said provision reveals that the Constitution is silent on the issue of geographic location as it relates to transfers.
Therefore, it is the finding of this Court that the Constitution does not prohibit nor restrict local churches from transferring their jurisdictional affiliation regardless of geographical location(s).
Just this past November in the General Assembly, Bishop Blake spoke of a meeting between the three branches of Church government, (excerpt from page 2 of the November 2015 General Assembly minutes);
“Bishop Blake continued informing the delegates of a meeting he convened between the leaders of the three branches of the church’s government. The goal of the meeting was to work out any division or differences among these bodies for the unity and future of the Church. A special resolution (see Attachment C) was prepared as a result of their collaboration and read to the Assembly for acceptance. A motion was made to adopt the resolution. After a proper second, the MOTION CARRIED and Joint Resolution #112015 was ADOPTED.”
Paragraph 5 of the Joint resolution stated;
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the rulings of the Judiciary Board are final and not subject to scrutiny or review; and”
As I stated before there is now a huge uproar over this ruling.
More on this subject at a later date.
The Judiciary Board of the Church of God in Christ, has taken a stand for justice that is unprecedented. This week they have released two rulings in which they looked at what the document says (what is written) and made these rulings.
In the case against Bishop Kyles of Texas, because of errors by the Board of Bishops, Bishop Kyles won his appeal. The Judiciary Board did not address his guilt or innocence, they only looked to see if errors claimed by Bishop Kyles occurred in his trial.. These are their findings of errors made by the trial court (Board of Bishops). Judiciary Board Order
Here are excerpts of the Judiciary Boards Order which only consist of the reason their decision was rendered as it was. The purpose of these excerpts is so the average person can understand their decision. Links will be provided for the complete documents. Links will be provided for the Board of Bishops rules which are mentioned.
Certification, Function and Deliberation of Jurors
The first issue the court will consider pertains to the certification, function and deliberation of the jurors in this case. The Constitution of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. as recorded in Section D, paragraph (i) of the Official Manual and the Board of Bishops Rule 10(r) govern the trial of a Bishop. For a Bishop to be convicted of misconduct, the majority of bishops present and voting must so vote. (See Board of Bishops Rule 10(5) (r)).* Likewise, the sentence for said wrongdoing must be agreed upon by the majority of bishops present and voting. (See Board of Bishops Rule 10(q))….
…The record is silent as to the number of bishops that voted for conviction. That deafening silence renders a review impossible. In the absence of numbers, there is no way that this court can accurately calculate the existence or absence of a majority. If this court is unable to confirm the existence of a majority, it cannot affirm a conviction predicated thereupon. As for the penalty phase, the record reflects that 46 (+5) voted for removal from office.
Simple arithmetic clearly indicates that the sentence cannot stand as is does not reflect a majority of the certified number of bishops present. It is largely irrelevant, however, because without a valid conviction, the sentence cannot stand. As a result, both the conviction and the sentence must be vacated.
This court is at a loss as to why the specific voting results were not recorded and incorporated into the official record of these proceedings. The failure to do so denies the respondent fundamental fairness and impugns the integrity of our church’s adjudicative process.
[(from Official Manual Article VIII, Section D, paragraph 2(i))]
(i) It will take a vote of the majority of the members of the Board of Bishops, present and voting, to sustain the charges or charge. If less than a majority, present and voting, fail to vote to sustain the charges, the accused Bishop shall stand acquitted.
Grievance Committee Members as Jurors
It appears from the record that bishops who served as grievance committee members also served as jurors. (See transcript of Day 2, Page 7, Line 6). For bishops to serve in this dual capacity denies the respondent due process and fundamental fairness.
First, the Grievance Committee members serve in an investigative capacity. As such, they are privy to information pertaining to the allegations that may or may not ultimately be admitted at trial. Additionally, their function is not merely to collect data, but they must evaluate that data. They not only determine whether charges should be brought, but they actually issue the charges. (See transcript of Day 1, Page 3, Lines 22-24; Page 4, Lines 1-5).
…Additionally, as investigators, they may be called upon to testify as to some portion of their investigation, in much the same way that a police officer is subject to be called upon to testify during the course of a criminal trial where he conducted some portion of the investigation.
In summary, not only does such a circumstance deny the respondent due process by tainting the jury pool, but it also compromises the legal process as it allows for the potentiality of grievance committee members to serve both as jurors and as witnesses in the same proceeding.
Arguing in Opening Statement/Standard of Proof
The next allegation to be addressed is whether allowing the plaintiff/prosecutor to argue during his opening statement was reversible error. It is fundamental that arguing during opening statements is improper. It is also fundamental that arguing during opening statements is generally not a basis for reversible error. However, in this case, the prosecutor did not merely argue in his opening but he effectively charged the jury which, of course, is improper. (See transcript of Day 1, Pages 17-19)….
Given that multiple standards of proof were provided to the jury, there is no way to ascertain if the jurors utilized the applicable standard of Clear and Convincing Evidence or the lesser standard of Preponderance of the Evidence. As a result, the conviction cannot stand.
Removal as Pastor
The respondent also argued that he was illegally removed from his post as pastor. Pursuant to the Board of Bishops Rule No. 3, paragraph (b) “[I]f the Complaint is being brought against the Bishop for his conduct in his capacity as a pastor of a local congregation, the Complainant must certify in writing that the Complaint is being brought by a majority of the members of the local congregation. (Emphasis added).” A review of the record from the proceedings below reflects that no such certification was ever referenced, presented or made part of the record. Furthermore, the order entered by the Board of Bishops does not include any language that pertains to restrictions or reprimands pertaining to the Respondent’s role as Pastor. Accordingly, no action taken against him as Pastor can stand, as no charge was levied against him in that capacity and no order has been entered against him infringing upon his functioning in that role. Furthermore, any action taken against the respondent in his capacity as Pastor is void ab initio.
Admission of Evidence of 20 year old trial
The final issue considered for review by this court is the admission of evidence of a charge from twenty years ago where the respondent was accused of similar offenses, but was ultimately exonerated. This court is unable to see the probative value of such evidence. Moreover, any probative value that it may have had was substantially outweighed by its prejudicial impact.
We find that such is the case here; it was plain error to allow the jurors to hear and consider that the respondent had been similarly charged over two decades ago.
For the foregoing reasons, the “Final Order and Judgment” of the lower
court is vacated and the matter is remanded for a new trial.
Here is a link to a PDF of that article.
This booklet details the qualifications and the duties of all the elected officials. It also details the areas of authority each official and Branch or Department has.
The Federal lawsuit filed by Pastor Andre Johnson and others was recently dismissed without prejudice, (it can be filed again). I have been informed, the technical items the Federal Judge stated were the cause of the dismissal are in the process of being corrected. It is possible it will be refiled in October 2015.
The three branches of government of the Church of God in Christ, are in a power struggle. In my opinion and for reasons unknown, it appears the Legislative Branch (General Assembly) desires to undermine the authority of the Judicial Branch (Judiciary Board), this only benefits the remaining branch, the Executive Branch.
Prior to April 1991, the General Assembly was the highest Judicial authority in the Church of God in Christ, there was no appeal from the decisions of the General Assembly.
On April 11, 1991 at 8:15 P.M., the General Assembly transferred all of its Judicial Authority to the newly created Third Branch of Government The Judiciary Board, with the exception of the three following instances each with right to appeal to the Judiciary Board (the Supreme Court):
(Found in Article VIII-The Judiciary Board)
The Judiciary Board was created on April 11, 1991 at 8:15 p.m. and the Judicial Code was passed November 15, 1994.
Click these links to view excerpts of the minutes when this transfer of authority was discussed and PASSED.
When one branch of government attempts to infringe upon the Constitutionally granted rights of another, a crisis is created. We then descend into rule by the powerful elite rather than the rule of law, where the rights of the ordinary members are subject to the desires of those who hold power. In an attempt to end this crisis, the heads of the three Branches of COGIC Government met in Memphis on April 16, 2015. According to a “Memorandum” of the meeting by Chief Justice Jackson the following individuals were present,
|Executive Branch||Legislative Branch||Judicial Branch|
Charles E. Blake, Sr.
|General Assembly Chairman Bishop James W. Hunt, Sr.||Chief Justice
Thomas Jackson, Jr.
|1st Asst. Presiding Bishop
P. A. Brooks
Bishop Lemuel F. Thuston
|2nd Asst. Presiding Bishop
|General Assembly Delegate Pastor Melvin Smith||General Assembly Delegate
|General Board Member
Bishop George McKinney
|General Assembly Delegate
Click here to read the Memorandum by Chief Justice Jackson
For copies of the complete minutes send a request through the contact form.