Evolving?: Bishop Blake's provocative 1974 article on homosexuality

wt0574 GCM Watch has obtained an original copy of an article written 35 years ago by then Elder Charles Blake,  now COGIC’s highest episcopal officer. Entitled “Is there hope and help for the homosexual? 1 Cor 6:9-11”, Blake authored the piece for the denomination’s  “official organ”, The Whole Truth (Volume VII, No IV, May 1974). The mere fact that he was willing to write and publish such an article during this time suggests that he was deeply concerned about men and women who struggle to overcome homosexuality, and in most cases, without the assistance of the church they were born into. But does the article reveal anything about the Presiding Bishop’s personal perspectives on homosexuality? You might be very surprised reading it. The May issue contained part one, but its not clear whether a “part two” was published in the June issue as indicated.

Unfortunately, due to copyright restrictions we can’t cite the whole article. Here are some interesting statements made in the article. Please don’t complain about “context” quotes.

“Hope and help” was written when Blake was 34 years old and just five years after he was appointed pastor of West Angeles in 1969.  As pastor of the growing church, Blake saw homosexuality as a  rising controversy which the church had been negligent in addressing. In his article, Blake is very adamant about speaking out and educating the COGIC and its leadership.

“…because it [homosexuality] seems to be on the increase, I feel we make the problem more severe and pressing when we ignore it. It does not go away. And by our silence we would appear to condone it or advocate it. If we fail to deal with it then many who might otherwise escape, will find themselves entangled in the midst of its antagonizing complexities.The people perish for lack of knowledge.”

I agree completely that silence about deliverance from homosexuality helps to keep struggling people in bondage. As an example, although I was born in COGIC, I can only remember once my formative 19 years hearing about anyone being delivered from homosexuality. That person was a female evangelist named Charlotte Reynolds from Ohio. If Im not mistaken, she had a testimony in one of COGIC’s  “souvenir journals” published for a Women’s Convention in Houston. The lack of role models led me to believe that there was no one who had been delivered and thus in my mind, not a real possibility for me.  We can only hope that now that Bishop Blake is at the apex of power in COGIC, he would remember what he wrote and challenge the church and many of his fellow pastors and bishops to openly share their testimony of deliverance from homosexuality.

Apparently anticipating that clergy members in his denomination would reject his bold assertions, Blake  rebuked them and challenged them to openly deal with homosexuality “from the pulpit”. There was a broad misapplication of Ephesians 5:3 which caused people to believe such things should never be talked about openly.

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness let it not be once named among you as becometh saints.

In its literal interpretation, these sins should not have been “named” (or mentioned), but only because they should have never have been part of the lifestyle practices of God’s people, not because Paul attempted to standardize some code of silence. In essence, he was demanding a zero tolerance policy. Instead it was said that sexual issues among the saints should never be discussed openly. This is a tragic example of not dividing the Word rightly and its clear what this has led us into.

Most likely, Bishop Blake accurately saw the pulpit as a place of authority in the black church and unless homosexuality was addressed from a place of authority by a person in authority, it would continue to remain taboo.

And to those who would feel that this subject should not be dealt with from the pulpit, I would say that the Bible deals with it, God  has revealed his mind regarding it and Jesus Christ has provided a means of dealing with it. And thus the preacher who ignores it is either blind of forgetful of his mission.”

Amen! In other words, there remains no excuse for any preacher not to speak out on this issue.  Any preacher who ignores the serious and pervasive issue of homosexuality is blind and has forgotten the mission of the preacher of the gospel.

There were more strong words of rebuke for leaders who fail to openly minister truth to homosexuals (caps his):

Jesus’ death on the cross was for the whole world. And thus the Church of God in Christ must be an extention [sic] of the love of God and the redeeming concern of Christ Jesus to all who need, including the homosexual. And if God has conveyed to us a good word to those involved in sexual variances, then we are guilty of EXTORTION if we keep silent and fail to pass it on.”

Extortion is a strong word,but it is what it is.  And unfortunately it appears COGIC leadership did not heed these words. Blake himself may have become discouraged fighting against a system so ingrained with ignorance and at some point became complicit. Its no secret in COGIC that ascendancy to the upper levels of leadership comes with a price. In fact, seventeen years later, Blake found himself in the center of one of COGIC’s most infamous homosexual church trials when allegations of widespread homosexual conduct and sexual abuse came to light concerning fellow General Board member John D. Husbands (deceased 1991).

The article also contains  a rather controversial section of  Blake’s research and commentary on homosexuality and gender issues where he quotes Sigmund Freud as an authority on the subject.

This is the Bishop Blake the church needs now. Thirty-five years have passed since he wrote this and things have only gotten much worse. Homosexuality is running rampant in the church (including the one he presides over), threatens to completely obliterate the social landscape of our nation (including the state he resides in) and has birthed an illegitimate movement of “gay christians”. But Bishop Blake is now silent. Instead of living by what he once openly preached and advocated, he now refers to “official positions” when questioned about the issue.

Although unconfirmed, several individuals have attested that Blake was delivered from homosexuality, even testifying to it at his father’s San Diego church. But in 2003, he denied that saying “Homosexuality has never been and will never be my temptation.”  If the witness of those who heard him testify is true, it would be such an awesome inspiration for the thousands of young people in COGIC who struggle to overcome homosexuality to know their Bishop is an overcomer and  not ashamed of what God has done in his life. Interestingly, the scripture he cited in his article title is the only one which specifically acknowledges not only the reality of freedom from homosexuality through the cleansing blood of Jesus but also those in the church who have been delivered from homosexuality.

Even as COGIC is set this week for $200 ticket, red carpet  inauguration of  its newest leader, a man who has based his administration on the hope of a brighter future for COGIC, now seems the best time for him go back to what he once believed.

If you’re interested in reading the entire article, The Whole Truth is published by COGIC Publishing House. Dr. David Hall, who was sent by Blake as an emissary to the signing of the Faith in Human Rights Statement, oversees the paper and its archives.  Although there’s no guarantee, the issue in which this article appeared may or may not be available but you can call @ (901) 744-0477  to inquire.

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