COGIC assistant pastor led "double lifestyle"; arrested for rape of teen boy

News reports from Chattanooga, TN said that Ronnie Powe, Jr., the assistant pastor of United Tabernacle COGIC was leading a double lifestyle which ended in his arrest. On Sundays, Powe preached to the faithful at the church, but through the week be prowled homosexual sex hookup sites looking for sexual partners. But when he found one in a 15 year old boy, his career came crashing down around him.;;playerWidth=430;playerHeight=335;isShowIcon=true;clipId=5579372;flvUri=;partnerclipid=;adTag=News;advertisingZone=;enableAds=true;landingPage=;islandingPageoverride=false;playerType=STANDARD_EMBEDDEDscript;controlsType=overlay;;playerWidth=430;playerHeight=355;isShowIcon=true;clipId=5579372;flvUri=;partnerclipid=;adTag=News;advertisingZone=;enableAds=true;landingPage=;islandingPageoverride=false;playerType=STANDARD_EMBEDDEDscript;controlsType=overlayPastor Ronnie Powe, Sr., says he never knew that his only son, his namesake, who’d helped him minister to Chattanooga’s United Tabernacle Church of God In Christ, had been leading a ‘double life.’
“My son lived the life of a straight young man with the family and with the congregation, and with those he knew in the church community,” Pastor Powe says. “Outside, he lived as a gay young man.”
Tuesday night, Chattanooga Police caught Ronnie Powe, Jr., in a car with a 15-year-old boy, behind the old East Lake Elementary school.
“The suspect first said that he was just speaking to a member of his church about some problems,” CPD spokeswoman Rebecca Royval says. “The officer observed some unusual things and investigated a little further.”
Police reports don’t indicate, nor will Ronnie Powe, Jr., say whether he knew the boy was underage; only that they had met through a gay web site. Had the teenager been of age, the charges Powe faces would have been lewd acts or indecent exposure.
“More than a ten year age difference brings a more serious charge,” Royval says.
The charges ring hollow in his parents neighborhood of Indian Hills/Hillsborough Heights.
Their closest neighbors won’t go on camera. But they describe Pastor Powe Sr., as warm, gentle, and no nonsense; his son as unfailingly polite, never inappropriate. Pastor Powe, Sr. sees his son as conflicted between his own truth, and A Pentecostal faith that condemns homosexuality. A homosexual lifestyle is not what God ordained for us, and we’re not gonna back off of that,” he says.
“But we believe all this has happened to help him come to terms with who and what he is.”
Ronnie Powe, Jr. has resigned as United Tabernacle’s youth pastor. He admitted his homosexuality, and that he had been charged with statutory rape, to a church prayer meeting Wednesday night, his father says.
Powe, Sr. is adamant in stating that his congregation’s teenagers and children never could have been in any danger.
“Because of the way we do things, our structure,it would have been hard for him to do anything without being discovered,” he says.
Powe, Jr., has declined to go on camera. But he tells Eyewitness News he’ll ask forgiveness from the 15-year-old, the boy’s family, his own family, and his church. First he must face the state of Tennessee. A conviction for aggravated statutory rape could put him in prison for five years.
“I want my son to know that he’s supported, and that no matter what style of life he was involved in, we love him,” Powe Sr. says.
“With counseling, with time, I believe that he will be one of the greatest preachers that ever lived.”

The father is to be commended for his stance regarding his son’s sins. Hopefully, he is being honest when he says he did not know what his son was doing. But what does that say about church leadership these days? Is discernment dead? Is the Spirit of the Lord not revealing anything anymore?  United Tabernacle held a reputation of being a strict, traditional COGIC but we see that is ineffective if the leader is not paying attention to the people, let alone his own son.

This type of case highlights why the denomination should step up its effort to educate its men on these issues. How to discern them, how to prevent them and how to report them to church leadership. Sadly, Ronnie Powe is most likely representative of hundreds (if not thousands) of young men in the church matriculating towards leadership with unresolved sexual issues. And they are being ignored. What if Elder Ronnie Powe were Bishop Ronnie Powe? Think of the  widespread negative impact. The COGIC should invest in wholistic programs to help these young men before they self destruct while carrying big, church-sanctioned titles. Ignoring it will only result in more Ronnie Powes.


17 thoughts on “COGIC assistant pastor led "double lifestyle"; arrested for rape of teen boy

  1. wow. my heart goes out to every one involved. My personal thought is….the 15 year old boy was on an adult gay site pretending to be 18 and above..when I was young and confused..pretty much in the same situation as Powe Jr…..often in my lust/flesh…i would seek gay sites….it was quick..confidential ….i would meet guys who said they were 18…but it was clear they were not….but many looked older than 21….could have been me in Powe Jr…..situation…now he has to deal with this in a public manner…

    The father seems very supportive..and also stands by the word of God. Powe Jr will have a hard way to go…just as I did…..and even as I now…but in time he too can be all God wants him to be..and still be in line with God’s word…..hopefully it will make him a better preacher as it has done for me…

    sad story all the way around…but in the end God will win..warning always comes before destruction…Powe Jr..just got his warning…God be with family.

  2. gbg111, you said something important. 1. God is merciful and he will warn prior to destruction or in this case arrest. Powe was playing the system and taking advantage of the grace of God Rom 6:1. So, there should be no surprise that God is not mocked. Play him and you get played times 100.

    There are more Ronnie Powes out there. Some of you are reading this right now. Dont be a fool and think that you will continue with your fig leafed lifestyle. God is not mocked. You can preach, pray and prophesy until people pop with pentecostal passion, but God will call your hand one day.

    And the people who love you will be drug into your messy life. Avoid that by repenting and turning away from this. Now.

    2. This is sad and tragic no matter how its sliced.

  3. It is very sad story. I have been in the church all of my life this story is nothing new GCMwatch i am fimilar with your story how do you propose pentecostal Churches not just COGIC address providing healing for those seeking help dealing with this life style. I am COGIC do you think my church would ever come up with a counseling department to deal with a wide spread silent sin.

  4. leroy, youre right this is not new. But whats sad about that is solutions which last are not being incorporated into the fabric of the church.

    This may come as a shock to the pentecostals but deliverance is just the beginning of a long journey for folks who come out of homosexuality.

    But in the pentecostal world deliverance is treated as an endgame. And thats where many of the problems (in terms of survival and spiritual growth) start for these people.

    And while I believe in deliverance 100%, discipleship is the missing element. Its where the disconnect is. You can get a 100 people delivered, but if you do not disciple them, you will most likely lose the majority unless they have a strong personal determination to make it. Often, they do not in the church environments that exist.

    So for the average pentecostal church:
    1. Change the atmosphere. Intentionally celebrate ALL deliverance and give those struggling certain hope that you are there with them in the struggle. Common ground builds bridges to trust.
    2. Look for leaders to train and disciple. Stand with them, hold them accountable and give them the tools they need to lift up the profile of the struggler.
    3. Pastoral authority must be used consistently to ensure people do not keep building up the walls that need to come down.
    4. Discipleship programs (consisting of both basic discipleship teaching and modeling AND issue specific modeling and teaching needs to be established and again with leadership promoting it and supporting it. Leaders will either make it or break it.

    Once you have raised up strong leaders out of those who claim deliverance, help them to reach and disciple others and make it a regular part of local church ministry.

    Having a “counseling ministry” is sidestepping the real issue.

    What do you think about what I have said?

  5. This sounds like a very good approach. Your way of dealing is a real way to expose a secret that many deal with in the church. God bless you my Brother I pray that you will move from city to city with your message of delivereance and a more practical approach after all we cant just shout the devil off.

  6. I do feel for Ronnie Powe Jr. As a pastor’s son, I did some of the same things(with men over 21) but never got caught. Sin can take us down a dark path but I’m glad his father is there for him. Even though I’m Baptist, I don’t look at this as a COGIC issue but a body of christ concern. I’m glad that I’m living on the straight and narrow now. A few porn issues but for the most part trying to live the true Christian life. I was like him but glad he had mercy on me because it could’ve been me.

  7. Lord have mercy. We have to pray for each other in the Body of Christ to be truthful to ourselves and God.

  8. Jysuper, youre right a lot of us have been in places doing things with people that could have took us down. As I said with the COGIC abuse issues, some sin is both a sin and a crime and some is not. When its a crime, the law will dole out the justice no matter how much the church forgives.

    The mercy of God is so mysterious. He shows mercy to whomever he wills.. Romans 9:18 He gives no criteria for receiving that mercy, therefore no one can hold him accountable in that regard. I dont know why he allows some to escape but others are taken down.

    Perhaps Powe Jr did receive mercy but took advantage of it. Who knows, but he will have to deal with it now.

    The father is different. Generally the pastors refuse to speak, refuse to acknowledge what has happened and go on like the world owes them something. He talked very frankly to the reporter about the situation and reaffirmed the bible’s position regardless of what his son did. For that he gets my respect.

  9. The father said with some counseling Powe Jr can become one of the greatest preachers that has ever lived. This seems to be very worldly and fleshly to me. Just preach the Word of God. Why seek fame? Who was great? Billy Graham the Freemason and Universalist? Oral Roberts the founder of the false SEED/FAITH theology? No one in the Bible wanted any titles and scorn being idolized or recognized as anything other than a sinner who needs Christ. Young jr Powe probably had a lot of expectations heaped on him by daddy.

  10. The biggest problem with many pentecostal churches is that they do not teach. All they do is preach, and make the crowd feel good but I do not see many of them teaching. Notice Jesus preached to the sinners, but taught those “in the church of that dispensation”. Teach folks how to live right by example and through pulpit ministry. People perish because of a lack of knowledge. There is a great lack of reverence of God in this end time. This young man is an example of a preacher without a clear understanding of who God is and what God has done for him through Jesus Christ. A sad indication that pentecostalism has turned into sensationalism and powerless. Which is why gay churches are emulating the same behavior to lure in the homosexual community with the seeker friendly comfortable gospel. YUCK

  11. Mr. Westmoreland, from me to you, you hit the bullseye on that!

    God didnt say be ye pentecostal for I am pentecostal he said be ye holy for I am holy. Gay churches ape pentecostalism because inherently it is powerless and performance oriented without holy living. It appeals to the religious flesh and keeps people in an emotional state of being without truth getting into their spirits.

    And yes the teaching/preaching thing is problematic. Preaching has it place, particularly to save the sinner, but the saints must be taught (discipled with word and modeling) to produce strong, mature ones able to reproduce. Pentecostalism alone is doing nothing but creating barren converts.

    That is a major factor in dealing with the homosexual issue in church. I have had people tell me “my pastor preaches hard against homosexuality”. But thats nothing to crow about. Generally that’s just punitive and without the redemptive and discipleship components, it will go no where real fast.

    Wake up church!

  12. I love the father’s attitude towards his son. He’s not “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Perhaps he knows all too well about the vulnerabilities of the flesh and how the Bible says to “keep yourself from your iniquity” (see 2nd Samuel 22:24; Psalm 18:22-23) He (pastor/father) may not have the “gay” issue, but as with all us humans, we have “some issue(s)” that God is working through in our becoming like Jesus; so perhaps that why I sense strong compassion in his words.

    In the past, I’ve had opportunity to compromise, but God helped me to make the right choice again and again. While I may never act on those desires ever again, I still fight the battle of the mind, though, and request prayer for that. God’s also been ministering to me about pornography, telling me, “don’t let it get a foothold in your life, for it will turn into a stronghold…” Personally, I find it brings your spirit down to where you can actually feel it. It should not be given the chance to dominate our thought life. Pornography is just not the way to go…but that’s another subject (although somehow relative to this matter).

    My prayers are extended to the parties involved in this matter, and to those like him whose situations are undocumented or undisclosed.

  13. This is a sad story. The father…how did he not discern his son’s struggle? Is it that he didn’t want to see it…acknowledge it? Also, was the young man groomed to understand the requirements for a leader? Not that knowing the requirements remove the desires, but it would strongly subject him to a biblical foundation for holiness and Christian living.

    Again, this is why it’s so important to talk and ACT concerning this issue. It’s on the forefront of every form of media, and instead of confronting it we keep finding leaders caught up in it on the low. Our children are being indoctrinated and taught on the ways of homosexuality and trained less in the ways of God.

  14. While looking up cogic I found a video with black women saying that 60 to 80 % of black men are on the DL. I have a daughter who’s mother is big in cogic. It says they don’t seem gay at all. I was very into sports wich breaks down alot of barriers. Surely these manly athletes that I call friend aren’t messing with each other? How accurate is this. I wouldn’t want my daughter with someone on the DL. Or is this kind of thing prevalent among all races and It’s just hidden that well. I’m starting to wonder about people in general?

  15. It’s sad, but a stunning reality. Those dating websites will have you tore all up, I am in the process of trying to wane myself off em and I about 90% there. Look there is no prefect person, and my heart goes out to Pastor Powe and the whole United Tabernacle COGIC family. At least this father is being “supportive” now when the cameras go off that’s a different story. Now here is one possibility maybe the family knew all a long but as in most black families didn’t accept it. So let’s not be quick to judge because the figs that we’re hiding behind are slowly slipping away. In Romans 1 and 2 it talks about the sins that people were committing and then it goes on to talk about the ones who are judging and they trying to do that to cover up they own mess.

    One more thing God is tired of us trying to play the role of God. You can’t force deliverance people. God will deliver on his time and not your time. And to be honest God is going to deliver the downlo men first. The dudes you all see on the street switching and getting they nails painted or the girls that look the dude they want to be, and have admitted that they are gay will be the last set of homosexuals to get delivered, because we get bashed the most. God works on the inward man first so the so called straight man sitting in the church, when he get up and give his testimony that I was once gay but I am delivered don’t be shocked. Just let me know, because my deliverance is coming soon praise God. But yeah let’s continue to pray for that family.

  16. Matt, I love that because FAITH is a powerful thing. If you can just believe, then it shall be done. I rejoice now, knowing that deliverance is on the way. Let us know!

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