That’s the question some member churches are asking in the wake of a controversial appointment made by a COGIC bishop in Kansas City, MO.
With news of the Catholic church’s incredible dereliction of duty in the public eye almost daily, one wonders if the nation’s largest black pentecostal denomination is getting the message.
Frank Douglas, Jr. bishop of the Church of God in Christ’s Western Missouri jurisdiction has appointed and installed a registered sex offender as president of AIM (Auxillaries in Ministry) which, among other things, has oversight of youth and children.
According to a leading Kansas City newspaper, In 2001, Leland Ted Jones former deputy at Wyandotte County (KS) jail was sentenced to 41 months in prison plus three years’ probation after pleading no contest to two-year-old charges of attempted aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated sexual battery. His original charges were rape and aggravated criminal sodomy of a female prisoner [source].
The appointment came almost immediately after Jones’ roughly seven year prison and probation period finished.
Jones was installed as pastor this March by Douglas, who himself was just installed as bishop by Charles Blake in 2008.
Some members of the organization are livid about it. An unnamed source contacted GCM Watch and said there is trouble brewing over the decision. The source said a number of churches are planning to leave the already small jurisdiction.
“Our AIM president is a registered sex offender and our bishop, Frank Douglas Jr., was aware of it and wanted to give Eld Ted Leland Jones a second chance. Needless to say, the support for Bishop Douglas’ leadership is fastly eroding. We have at least 7 identified churches that are planning on leaving the jurisdiction.”
If churches are ready to disfellowship over this, it appears to be a serious matter. The source stated that Jones’ status was made public after “some of the saints pulled him up on family watchdog”.
As of posting time, Bishop Douglas did not respond to requests to comment on the situation. COGIC’s operating manual (commonly called the Black Book) doesn’t appear to offer any guidance on this situation, so perhaps its clergy are left to make decisions on their own. Is this the type of “second chance”, Rev. Jones needs?
Back when we launched ReportCOGICAbuse.com, a question came up dealing with the application of Galatians 6 which addressed restoring a brother who has been “overtaken in a fault”. Here’s our response which may well apply in this situation;
Galatians 6 which states that spiritual members of the Body are to restore a brother who is overtaken in a fault is certainly to be considered in these cases. And no one is beyond forgiveness and restoration. We do need to understand the connotation of “overtaken” as opposed to pursuit and maintenance of a sinful lifestyle. However, sexual crimes pose a legitimate caveat for Gal 6. To wit, a sexual crime and a sexual sin ( or fault) are not automatically interchangeable, thus consequences come to bear. If a brother committed a sexual sin, forgiving and restoring him or her would be the sole jurisdiction of the church or at least those who are spiritual. Galatians 6 is applicable. If a brother committed a sexual crime which is also sin, the church does not hold sole jurisdiction and Galatians 6 is only applicable in part. While such a one can be forgiven, restoration (and restitution) is in the hands of the state. When we unjustly use scripture to protect individuals from facing the consequences of their crime, we become partakers of their sin and instead of facilitating the intent of Gal 6, we thwart it.
What do you think? Should a person who is currently on a registered sex offender list, be restricted from holding certain types of church positions?
UPDATE 05.06.10 1343
This has taken another strange turn. Sources in Kansas City informed GCM Watch that Ted Jones has been replaced as AIM Chairman by Supt. Jackie Cortez Vaughn [video], another recent appointment by Bishop Frank Douglas. While Vaughn is not a sexual offender, the source provided public information showing that Vaughn was incarcerated as recently as March. The video was posted March 27, 2010 while documents show Vaughn being released from a Wyandotte County detention facility March 18th. The saga continues…
Writer’s note: The previous attribution of Wyandotte County to “MO” was a simple parenthetical error which has been corrected. It has zero bearing on the facts of the case at hand.