COGIC Official “offended” by sexual abuse website

In a revealing interview published online by Charisma Magazine October 15th, an official with the Church of God in Christ said he was “offended” by portions of the clergy sexual abuse website which exposes sexual wolves in his denomination.

Apparently responding to the charges of cold silence and inaction directed at victims of clergy sexual abuse by COGIC leadership (which we have proven many times over), Elder Derrick Hutchins, Chairman of the General Counsel of Pastors and Elders told the magazine,

“That’s the part that I really find offensive,” Hutchins said. “Because sometimes it’s written like all we want to do is save ourselves from liability, we don’t really care about people—and that’s not true at all.”
“Our first concern is the parishioners, not just pastors,” he added. “We do not tolerate pastors in the pulpit who are found guilty of these improprieties.”

If COGIC doesn’t tolerate pastors in the pulpit found guilty of sexual malfeasance and more, why then is Larry Weems still pastor and holding all of the offices he held before he was instructed by GE Patterson to pay off the five women he sexually assaulted?

Hutchins offered no examples of COGIC’s alleged compassionate concern to refute the charges. Instead he defaulted into typical uninformed defense mode and said, “Anybody who can find where it’s not being carried out and can prove it, I’m sure that charges will be brought against that bishop who did not carry out his responsibility.”

Its not a question if there is proof, but the question is just how much proof does Rev. Hutchins need to file charges against bishops who have treated victims like dirt. In one case, even after convicted pedophile Leonard Smith admitted to his guilt, church officials lined up to testify in court that the convicted pedophile was a good man and the district “needed” him.

Members of the victims families said that the pastor Samuel Payne, Sr. (the administrative assistant of the jurisdiction), his wife Barbara Payne (vice chair of the International Assistant Supervisor Unit) and the district superintendent CW Johnson, Jr all passionately –and publicly– rooted for the pedophile. One member under oath said she informed the pastor of Smith’s actions as early as 2004. And the bishop ignored all the warnings, reports and everything. Such gross negligence, incompetence and evil from COGIC leaders is reprehensible at best.

GCM Watch spoke with several family members of the victims of convicted molester Leonard Smith. The families are suing COGIC, Inc, Greater North Carolina jurisdiction and Sycamore Temple COGIC in civil court for unspecified damages. The trial opens in a Asheville, NC district court on Monday.

Family members told me that during a district meeting at Sycamore Temple, Asheville District Missionary Gwendolyn Stokely singled out women in the church whose sons were victims, paraded them around and proclaimed “So what you had a dream [about Smith]?? Youre not the only one who’s had a child molested!”

Upon hearing that, the church’s pastor Samuel Payne, Sr jumped from his seat applauding while shouting, “that’s right, that’s right!”. Not one single member of any “pastor-led jurisdictional council” (if such a thing exists) so much as interviewed the families or the children affected. Instead, they were shunned, smeared and re-victimized by Hutchins’ fellow COGIC leaders.

Bishop Larry Shaw of Hinesville, GA furthered disparged and demeaned the victim’s families. On Easter Sunday 2008 during services at Garden of Prayer Church, Shaw openly accused the victim’s family of being con artists who made a living filing false claims. The implication was that the family was just filing another false claim. That’s called slander. The evidence was caught on tape, so Shaw couldn’t deny he said it. Confronted with the evidence, he submitted an affidavit saying he didn’t mean any harm by it.

Mrs. Gwen Fox, whose son was molested by General Board Member JD Husband in 1981 was treated with much disdain after she reported the situation to church authorities. She said her certified letters to General Board members (of which Bishop Blake was a member of) were ignored. Eventually she went and hand delivered a letter to Bishop Ford. She recalled that he snatched the letter from her hand and refused to speak with her. Instead she was told to talk to a secretary. More abuse and mistreatment from leaders.

Husband was not removed from office until allegations that he had embezzled 500k from jurisdictional churches surfaced. That was almost 10 years after the molestations (which COGIC officials knew about) occurred.

Based on the information we have documented, will Elder Hutchins initate charges against Bishop Leroy Woolard (NC), Bishop Larry Shaw (GA), late Bishop LT Walker (AR), Bishop Chandler Owens (GA), Bishop Samuel Iglehart (TX), Bishop Hollis Musgrove (MS), Bishop J. Harvey Lyles (MD) and Bishop James H. Bell. Sr (KY)? According to your own constitution these men should be brought up on charges because they did not carry out their “constitutional duties”.

Since you’re sure charges will be brought, Elder Hutchins, how much longer will these victims and their families have to wait before the Church of God in Christ even apologizes for what has been proven in a court of law? Since you asked for proof, why don’t you speak up and stand up or admit you’re as much a part of the problems as the pedophiles and rapists themselves?

Related: Pastor Harvey Burnett writes about serious ethical and moral violations in COGIC and why Derrick Hutchins remarks are beyond outrageous.

Are pentecostal leaders secretly questioning biblical view of homosexuality?

According to Anthony Venn-Brown, a certain mega church pastor now lurking in the shadows, is questioning  whether culture and history carry more authority than the Bible on the issue of homosexuality. And the unnamed pastor (location also withheld) says more evangelical/pentecostal leaders are “discussing” the same thing. If that’s true —and without any intervention— gay christian heresy may find eventually find a more welcome home among pentecostals than it currently does in the Episcopal church.

Venn-Brown, the ex-ex-gay turned life coach, whom we wrote about back in April 2008, posted a letter on his blog he alleges is from a “mega church pastor” who expresses an all too familiar line of heretical reasoning popularized by gay christian theology.

“We are very encouraged to find that there are a growing number of Evangelical/Pentecostal leaders who are willing to question firstly, if their attitude toward gay people has been Christlike and secondly if possibly our teachings about homosexuality have been more influenced by a cultural mindset and personal biases than a genuine reading of the scriptures in the light of historical/cultural contexts and with a sound knowledge of the original languages.”

Venn-Brown says the pastor will reveal his identity in his own time. Of course, instead of seeing God as the determinant of what defines sin, Venn-Brown conveniently blames the church for not affirming homosexual sin, and thus, he laughs it is “reaping what it has sown”. What’s more, Brown says that because the church rejected homosexual sin, the world is in turn rejecting the church.

Other than the word hate being used, Brown’s statement bears no resemblance to what Jesus said would cause the world to reject the church.

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18,19

Im not sure about you but when it comes down to believing the words of Jesus or the words of a confused Australian life coach, I choose Christ.

Nevertheless, the letter is somewhat of a confirmation to what we have been warning. The pentecostal church has double-agents in place and its only a matter of time before they use their considerable influence to sway those weak in the faith to accept abomination vis-a-vis ideological seduction.

Beware and let no man deceive you with vain words no matter who they are.

Bishop Charles Blake endorses gay marriage declaration

blake2 A Special GCM Watch Report. COGIC leader signs onto document affirming universal rights to homosexual marriage.

  • Bishop Charles Blake endorses gay marriage declaration
  • Humanism blackens Blake speech
  • Bishop Blake releases UDIHR defense
  • An unholy covenant: our response to Bishop Blake’s defense document
  • New UDIHR controversy developments
  • UN document advocates gay marriage; pedophile access
  •  Just over two months ago, Bishop Charles Blake appointed Dr. David Hall, a midlevel church official, as his “official emissary” to the signing of the Universal Declaration of International Human Rights The Faith in Human Rights Statement was issued in conjunction with the anniversary of the UDIHR.

    The Memphis-based Tri State Defender said Blake’s invitation came at the behest of The Netherlands Queen Beatrix whose nation in 2001  was the first to grant full marriage rights to homosexuals. Queen Beatrix assembled this diverse religious gathering on the 60th anniversary of the document’s signing. And everyone was giddy with ecumenical joy.  But peel away the feel good humanism and you are left with a bizarre collusion of world religions and political religionists whose goal is to enact universal law governing humanity and its “rights”. According to the Tri-State Defender:

    The meeting took place in the Peace Palace during the International Inter-religious Faith in Human Rights Conference. Sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation and the government of The Netherlands, the event attracted an entourage of 10 supreme authorities of various world religions, political leaders, heads of state, and high-level UN officials.

    Invitees were asked to sign the 2008 Faith in Human Rights Statement, which, in essence, pronounces and confirms that true religion, irrespective of religion, gender, race or other distinctions, defends the human rights and fundamental freedoms of every human. [source]

    Blake, in a video message  aired at the event, could barely conceal his excitement at this opportunity to prove his ecumenical credentials.

    “As Presiding Bishop of the Church Of God In Christ, International, it is my great honor and privilege to attach my signature to the 2008 Faith in Human Rights Statement. On behalf our 12,000 plus Church of God in Christ congregations in America and in 60 nations of the world, I endorse and encourage the great ideas and ideals of this document.”

    The gospel of inclusion, part II

    Im curious about this. Although lauded as a monumental occasion, a historic first, not one slither of it was noted on the COGIC’s main website nor any of its subsidary sites. The Tri-State Defender, an African American newspaper with a regional audience and small circulation, was the only publication to carry the story. Why did COGIC only release the information to this small newspaper? Why not the much larger Commercial Appeal which is arguably COGIC-friendly?

    Secondly, Im not that familiar with COGIC polity, but does the Presiding Bishop have that much authority to sign up his entire church up for something like this without approval from the General Assembly? After all this is an indirect endorsement of homosexual marriage. Does COGIC really want to reverse the work of GE Patterson? And incidentally, Patterson did need to approval of the GA to issue its historic marriage proclamation. Read it.

    Third, what’s in this  package of “great ideas and ideals” that would prompt Bishop Blake to shower it with such glowing praise?

    For one, the UDIHR  (and its accompanying faith statement) is a mark of achievement for homosexual rights advocates who have pressured the United Nations for years to enshrine gay rights into its official positions.  Read carefully. Gays want the UN to “afford same-sex partnerships full protection of the law, equal to marital and other legally recognized mixed-sex partnerships, with regard to pension, inheritance, taxation, social security, custody and adoption, donor insemination and other services, in which discriminatory policies and practices currently exist. Additionally homosexuals want to “stimulate the development of positive images of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people and lifestyles as role models for young people.”

    In short, homosexual activists have invested much into the declaration because it would give them broad international leverage against any nation who refused to legislate acceptance of homosexual rights. Armed with the Declaration they could pressure the UN to impose sanctions against such nations. Although the Declaration has no legal power, it nonetheless is a powerful weapon (particularly Article 16) against non-participatory nations.

    Calling the general assembly statement a “powerful victory for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, the Human Rights Watch gay and lesbian faction said the “statement confirm[s] that international human rights protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. It is the first time that a statement condemning rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people has been presented in the General Assembly.”

    The Faith Statement in essence is an extenstion of the UDIHR. What the UDIHR does not address about the religious aspects of human rights, the Faith Statement does. And it follows the same path of securing universal acceptance of homosexual marriage among religious entities.

    A snapshot of the antichrist and his false prophet’s world religion

    But much more than just an affirmation of basic human rights, the manifesto is a stunning snapshot of what a future one world government and one world religion would look like under the rule of the antichrist. In our opinion this is what characterizes the ecumenical ideology of Bishop Charles Blake. Its dangerous, unbiblical and works against the goals of the kingdom of God. 

    How could any minister endorse and promote a message of the right to  ___________ (fill in the blank)? Should we preach rights or should we preach the message of the kingdom of God? If youre unsure of what that is look here.  If you don’t agree with that, let’s try a rewording of the Great Commission to see the effect. Can you imagine Matthew 28: 19-20 rewritten to say this?:

    Go into all the world and preach the right to commit sin.  Teach them all things that the United Nations has deemed is of human value. Teach them to respect other religions and lifestyles. And most importantly, dont try to change the world, just live in peaceful coexistence with them.  Respecting human rights is greater than doctrine or biblical directives. And lo, in return, they’ll respect your religion too. Amen.

    You may consider that far fetched but that’s exactly the lie David Hall is pushing with Blake’s approval. “Peace is the way the Lord would want us to live and respect each other’s rights and dignity,” said Hall. “The Human Rights Accord speaks louder than our politics or our religious affiliations.  We embraced each other and talked about issues that face humanity.” (our bold) 

    As you can see the Faith in Human Rights Statement espouses a humanistic “gospel”, contrary to the kingdom of God and its righteousness. It reduces the glory and divinity of our Lord Jesus to the diaprax heresy. It encourages God-less solutions to the issues of humanity, and instead elevates man’s own solution as better than God’s. It arrogantly declares that “true religion” is one where no religion is superior, thus enpowering it to “defend” any ungodly definition of human rights.  This is what Charles Blake enthusiastically endorsed.

    hall2

    hall1hall3Above: (left) David Hall, Blake’s special emissary smoozing with “his holiness” Sri Swami Davananda Saraswati who teaches”vedana” a demonic belief that all humanity is divine, thus there is no need for God or Christ. The center picture is of Hall with Muslim Dr. Al-Shekih (center), a representative of Hawza Al-Najaf. Hawza is a Muslim political organization which has been criticized for religious tyranny inside Iraq. 

    The right picture is of Hall with “his holiness” Drikung Skyabgon, Chetsang Rinpoche, the supreme head of a variation of Tibetan buddhism. Adherents practice  what is termed “Phowa”. The practitioner learns how to expel his/her consciousness or mindstream through the fontanel at the top of the skull at the moment of death. This practice is said to aid the practitioner in remaining aware through the death experience, thus aiding one in attaining enlightenment in the Bardo (the state in between death and the next rebirth).

    We are supposed to respect these demonic beliefs and encourage people to remained enslaved to this insanity?

    And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:4,5).


    Clarification update 03.02.09:

    Wiley Henry, a senior staff writer at the Tri-State Defender said the text of the article was submitted by someone who represents COGIC and was edited by TSD staff.

    Update 7:45pm Links to faith statement and Bishop Blake’s video message added.

    GCM Watch calls for class action lawsuit against COGIC

    cogicpastor

    THIS POST WILL BE UPDATED FREQUENTLY WITH NEW INFORMATION AS IT BECOMES AVAILABLE. PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR MOST RECENT UPDATES.

    In the wake of a string of sexual molestation cases perpetrated by Church of God in Christ clergy, GCM Watch is openly calling for victims to unite and file a class action lawsuit. Less than two weeks after news surfaced about the sordid case of COGIC pastor James Bell of Kentucky who possibly infected a teen boy with HIV, another shocking story of sexual abuse by COGIC clergy is unleashed upon us.

    I groaned in my spirit when a reader of this blog alerted me to this case which just broke in Maryland Wednesday. The Southern Maryland News reported that police arrested Pastor Tony Ray Malbrough, 44  (pictured) after relatives of a 15 year old boy reported the ongoing sexual molestation to the police.  Like Bell, Malbrough is married.

    A former pastor at a Waldorf church is facing charges of molesting a child who was taking music lessons at his home, according to police.

    Charles County sheriff’s officers arrested Tony Ray Malbrough, 44, of Indian Head on Sunday after hearing about the alleged abuse earlier that day.

    At 10:20 a.m. Jan. 18, a 14-year-old boy called police to report being molested by Malbrough at the man’s Indian Head home, according to police. Detectives learned the abuse happened multiple times over several years and involved other children the victim knew, police reported. Those victims were contacted and confirmed they had been abused. Malbrough used to be an elder at the New Community Church of God in Christ in Waldorf, according to the church’s Web site, but he recently founded Safe Haven Ministries Church of God in Christ in Indian Head. [full story]

    Two days later, a subsequent story by the paper uncovered more facts about the abuse, some which are disturbing and point to a culture within COGIC which appears to more concerned with saving church name and reputation than justice or even concern for the victims of these predators. That must change.  Malbrough is accused of molesting 4 boys he met at the church while serving as an Elder there.

    Since the arrest, one more person has reported being molested by Malbrough, increasing the total number of victims to four, according to Richardson.

    The victim is now in his 20s, but the abuse happened several years ago when he was a sophomore in high school, Richardson said.

    Two of the four victims went to Malbrough’s home for music lessons, Richardson reported, while others visited the residence because the church leader played a mentoring role in their lives.

    In court documents, Malbrough reported that he had worked as a musician at New Community Church of God in Christ for 14 years. A woman who answered the phone at the Waldorf-based church said that Malbrough was no longer a minister there and that she couldn’t comment on the case.

    That’s right, Malbrough had been on staff at the New Community COGIC for 14 years as a minister and musician, but when the church was contacted by the media, they issued a tight-lipped “no comment”.  That’s all. The boy was a member of the church.

    The church bears full responsibility for this crime.  Due to COGIC’s calloused and arrogant non-response to these heinous acts committed by its clergy upon defenseless children,  GCM Watch is calling for a class action lawsuit against the denomination.

    If you or a family member have been sexually molested (or propositioned) within the last 10 years by a “credential holder” (licensed minister, ordained elder, bishop, et al)  in COGIC please contact gcmwatch@yahoo.com  GCM Watch immediately.

    Addendum: Myths and facts about prevention of sexual abuse using legal means (National Association to prevent sexual abuse of Children)

    UPDATE: o1/27/09

    According to one website, Bishop Blake issued this “official statement” after the Sherman Allen sexual abuse (TX) case:

    “The Church of God in Christ does not condone any inappropriate behavior from any of its representatives, and does not comment on pending litigation against the Church or its representatives until a case has been brought to trial and an official ruling has been made. Until then, Pastor Sherman Allen has been suspended from all national and local pastoral roles and activities within the Church of God in Christ. This is Church policy and we will honor this policy for the case against Allen.”

    Perhaps this is the reason he or any his lads in waiting will do or say nothing. You have to (1) take them to court (2) Get an official ruling. Then, they will magically start to talk and tell all. Victims of COGIC clergy sex crimes, please note. There will be no communication from Los Angeles or Memphis until you take them to court and win. But the convocations, midnight musicals and credential reports will continue without pause. If you want to talk to them about that, you’re in business. Oh, and for the record COGIC doesnt condone that “innappropriate behavior” that happened to you.

    UPDATE 02.03.09

    The last story link isnt the final one in the saga of COGIC Supt Roy Tate of Portland, OR. In the face of a lawsuit the local church declared bankruptcy (hows that for integrity) and the woman instead sued the national church for 10 million dollars. Before the case could come to trial, the national church settled out of court.  Credit goes to the jurisdictional Bishop who brought Tate up on charges for a church trial. Before that could happen Tate fled the COGIC. That’s right the degenerate predator was using the church as a cover and the only thing that stopped him was legal action.  This is why victims need the support of the church not further victimization by winking at the crimes of its representatives.

    Homosexual COGIC pastor murdered; new details surface

    BREAKING NEWS – MEMPHIS

    When will this madness end?

    We reported to you earlier this year that the presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), Bishop Charles Blake  promised he would make it a priority of his administration to deal with what appears to be numerous cases of clergy sexual abuse and criminal sexual activity. So far, nothing has been done.

    Meanwhile, the devastation caused by wolves pretending to be pastors continues. And their primary target: young boys who are seduced into their web of sexual terror.

    A Memphis CBS news today aired new revelations on the story of Pastor Ronald Paige who was murdered in his home in April. Now, the man’s 21 year old killer has confessed and told the reason why. The pastor was attempting to forcibly rape him. What’s more, the pastor has a long history of molesting teen boys at his church. Six other victims have already made statements to police.

    A neighbor of Paige said he always kept to himself. “He was a good person. He helped the homeless. We saw homeless men coming in and out and he helped them all out all the time. He’s very good with these people.” Paige was also married but not living with his wife. The 21 year old who murdered him was also homeless and had been “taken in” by Paige.

    One mother told the reporter that her 15 year old son was molested by Paige but when she complained to Bishop LT Walker, she and her family were driven out of the church. This is almost identical to the story of Gwendolyn Fox of Atlanta. Her 15 year old son Tobias was molested by COGIC General Board member the late Bishop JD Husband. But her attempts to get justice were rebuffed and rebuked by church officials. Mrs. Fox and Tobias gave me an  full, exclusive interview which I chronicled in my book 2002 book Touching A Dead Man.

    The clearly frustrated Memphis reporter said that after repeated attempts to contact COGIC officials at the headquarters and at Arkansas First Jurisdiction, there has been a virtual stone wall. Typical of COGIC officials who are more concerned with their “name, image and assets” than the lives of the innocent boys who will suffer the effects of their sexual trauma for years to come. Perhaps its time for a major Catholic church-style financial beating of COGIC before they will do something about this blight in their midst.

    Bishop Blake, who will be speaking at the upcoming Democratic National Convention “interfaith gathering”, needs to remember what he said less than one year ago:

    We now live in a litigious society. People file lawsuits for every conceivable grievance, whether real or imagined. To protect the name, image, and assets of the Church of God in Christ, we must take positive steps to seriously investigate very case of alleged sexual abuse by the clergy. We must stand behind and support those who are falsely accused of sexual improprieties and found innocent by the courts. We must also insure that the Church act quickly to take firm and positive action against those who violate the sanctity of their positions and are found guilty of sexual abuse and other sexual improprieties.” 

    But so far, even to the shock of secular news, COGIC has refused to act or even respond to the allegations about Pastor Ronald Paige.  Video and writeups of the shocking development here and here.

    Recent Related:

    COGIC Pastor arrested for sex with 15 year old boy
    Living in an immoral church

    Grappling with homosexuality in COGIC

    A church’s secret love and a Pastor’s open rebuke

    The two men in this story are in an unlikely scenario. Yet, somehow we all knew it was bound to happen. They are in a Pentecostal church (Church of God in Christ or COGIC) in Tacoma, Washington. They are in a service where speaking in tongues, dancing in the spirit and shouts of “hallelujah’ and “thank you Jesus” are much more likely to be seen and heard than the terms “gay” or “lesbian.”.

    Large, ostentatious millinery and precision designed suits mark the pentecostal high couture of the day. The alternate purring and growling of the worship workhorse –the hammond organ— are a far cry from any gay rights marches.. The men are at one of the most traditional events of the black church: The Pastor’s appreciation service. One man is a black Pastor who believes that homosexuals have no place in the leadership of the church. The other, is a black self identified “openly gay man” who is a talented organist.

    This highly inflammable mix of religion, sexuality; right and wrong have brought Pastor Danny Allen of Grace Pentecostal COCIC in Bremerton, WA and author K. Godfrey Easter face to face at the “celebration” of Easter’s pastor.

    The pastor at Evangelistic Center, Elder James Stanford is also a longtime ministerial associate of Pastor Allen. They both serve in the Washington Jurisdiction of the denomination.

    It was Allen’s public correction of Easter which prompted a press release by Easter claiming he had been “openly rebuked”. Easter’s press release wastes no time casting him as the victim.

    “What begin as a most joyous occasion for the guest packed church ended up, at least for Easter, a night of public ridicule and humiliation.”

    Did Pastor Allen “ridicule and humiliate” him? The release provides no evidence of this claim, but to the contrary sounds much like a father correcting a son he loves. Easter asserts he knows “little” of the Pastor, but again the stories dance around perspectives.

    “I’ve known Keith for several years and was also aware that his openness was a sore spot on the ones that he chose to be his pastors.”, said Allen.

    Uncomfortable alliances

    This public struggle with homosexuality in the nation’s largest black Pentecostal denomination is nothing new, but with a newly found strength in recent court rulings, stunning gay social and political victories and the election of an openly homosexual bishop in the Episcopal church, some are beginning to openly challenge the denomination’s longstanding beliefs.

    Other Washington area COGIC members have engaged the gay community, but in a culture war. Not in the sanctuary.Deacon Doug Delin, a member of the Roosevelt Heights COGIC, former Tacoma City Council member and a local business owner filed a petition on May 2002 in an attempt to overturn a gay rights ordinance passed by the city.

    It might be interesting to note that the black church itself, unlike its white counterparts are caught in a closeted tug of war. Many people know of homosexual leaders and members, but are hesitant, if not reluctant to openly correct them. The exception comes when a leader will lash out at the apparent rise in effeminate men seen at church conventions. It is a vicarious coexistence. Talented homosexuals in music ministry and others in the preaching field hold positions in churches that publicly repudiate their existence. In church after church the confusion is apparent. Some say it is because of the money and fame homosexuals can bring to a church.

    Allen bucked that trend when he decided to speak publicly to Easter regarding his homosexuality. He was the invited guest preacher for the 22nd Church anniversary of Evangelistic Center.

    “After accepting the invitation to speak, I began seeking the Lord on what to minister on, he said. “Their theme was mailed to me, which was ‘Due Honor’. Romans 13:7. As I sought the Lord, the Holy Ghost said to me, ‘Its time.’ My response was its time for what? He then instructed me to thoroughly search the scriptures which would reveal what the Holy Ghost was saying through Paul. HE told me to tell Keith to repent for writing that book which contained such wickedness. Also to commend Pastor Stanford for coming before the Elders. I didn’t try to analyze.”

    The book Allen is referring to is Easter’s, which is entitled Love Lifted Me in Spite of the Church. According to the backside synopsis the book “more than any other published book today on black, gay Christianity as it relates to the African American religious community, Easter exposes the religious ambiguity lodged deep within the roots of organized religion, as he’s experienced it.”

    It was the publication and promotion of that book that landed Easter’s Pastor before a cadre of his peers, after being confronted by several concerned pastors. According to reports, Stanford, whose wife died last year, steadfastly declared his loyalty to the church doctrine and confessed that he stood with these pastors and elders on the issue of homosexuality. Apparently, Stanford’s closed door confessions were quite sincere, so none of the pastors pressed him for a time line in dealing with Easter. Easter was the church’s music minister. Perhaps they automatically thought that Easter would be removed. After all, he himself said that he was a homosexual and that it was not a sin. But Stanford did nothing. That’s when, according to Allen, Easter’s openness became even more flagrant.

    When open homosexuals are allowed to remain in church positions, Pastor Allen believes the whole church body will suffer under the effects.

    “The message of compromise will be clearly seen and the effect will began with a seducing spirit and an unusual non biblical tolerance of what the Word speaks against. That spirit will manifest itself through effeminacy. [B]oys within the church will began to act “girlie”, becoming more timid and the girls will act more and more selfish. 2) The spirit of Jezebel is given free reign. 3) It limits a pastor’s success in terms of his reputation among his peers to stand against sin. His word begins to falter. 4) If left unchecked and in the long run it will allow the manifesting of Adultery and all of the fleshly sins and disembodied spirits mentioned in Galatians 5.”

    Not so says Easter. He offers a familiar emotional justification. His book and personal story are a “seed in the lives of others, like me, who have needlessly suffered spiritual agony at the hands of religious legalists.” Quoting Matthew 9:12, he says “They that are whole need not the physician, but they that are sick.”

    ‘I shall not be moved’

    In several Biblical passages such as Prov 27:5, Titus 1:13 and 1Tim 5:20, church leaders are strongly encouraged to use “open rebuke” as a tool of maintaining the sanctity and moral integrity of the local church. Allen was about to exercise that authority.

    The two men’s accounts of that night at the church anniversary are fairly similar, but their motives diverge drastically.

    Easter’s press release (posted October 4 on an internet forum for black, gay ministers) recalls the incident. After addressing the church with a “few, brief words” he claims Allen stepped behind the pulpit podium. And it was time for a talk. The following is quoted from Easter’s press release.

    “Not long after Rev Allen began speaking he began directly addressing Easter from the pulpit. Straying from the established theme for the night, during his message Rev Allen began scolding Easter, while visitors, members and the author listened on.”

    “I hope by now, Bro. Keith, you’ve repented for writing that book, Pastor Allen stated. “And I trust that you’ve realized that that type of lifestyle is not Godly living, and that nothing good can come of your life while you continue living that way.”

    But Bro Keith had not repented and he was ready to respond to Allen’s remarks.

    The release states Easter then replied, “Although the reverend might receive a pat on the back from most of his pastoral peers, his approach left little, spiritually or otherwise, to be desired. I doubt that he’s even seen a copy of my book, let alone picked up one to read.”

    Easter also accused Allen of “hiding behind the pulpit and not approaching him like a man.”

    “Since I’ve known of Rev. Allen, we have not once held a private conversation. All of our encounters in the past have been brief, public, and only cordial in nature. Had Rev. Allen requested a personal audience with me, I would have been more than excited to oblige. Instead, by his cruel and to me, indecent act, it is my contention that Rev. Allen only intended to deliberately humiliate me, publicly. I felt his remarks were nothing less than his attempts at destroying my spiritual character, and a direct attack against my God-ordained book – LOVE LIFTED ME: In Spite Of The Church. All I concluded from his rhetorical dialogue is that Rev. Allen opportunistically utilized my pastor’s celebratory event to stretch his legalistic muscle.”, added Easter.

    Allen remembers arriving at church and finding Stanford visibly stressed. This was his friend and so in the pastor’s office, Stanford, Allen and another Elder lapsed into a conversation about losing a spouse. Incredibly, all three men had suffered the death of their wives.

    He says after the song service Easter was allowed to have words, a tribute of sorts to his pastor. He chose to read several passages from 1 Cor 13. The choir sang. Then it was time for Danny Allen to mount the pulpit. He began singing an old church song “I shall not be moved.” Easter attempted to accompany him on the organ but was stopped. The congregation joined him in singing the song.

    Allen does not recall his exact words to Easter, but directly addressed him and then preached on the theme for about 35 to 40 minutes. After the service, Allen said he noticed people watching his movements so he decided to go to the organ and tell Easter, “I’ll be praying for you.”

    Shaking his head, Easter replied, ” I’ll be praying for you as well sir.”

    The method and the message

    A couple of decades ago pastors were dealing with rashes of teenage pregnancies. That situation is still a challenge. Now, unrepentant homosexuals are changing the face of Christian ministry. Some capitulate to emotional arguments, others sit stone faced as people’s pain lay bare before them. Ignoring the obvious seems only to invite the inevitable. Sexual sins and the persons who are trapped in them need clear guidance and strong direction if they are to see their way out.

    Some prominent churches are rising to the challenge and establishing overcoming ministries to help homosexuals live above sexuality challenges. Churches like Atlanta’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church under Bishop Eddie Long has started Spirit Controlled Sexuality. Without Walls International Church in Tampa (Pastor Paula White) offer Liberty Ministries and in Los Angeles, Faithful Central Bible Church’s Kevin Giles set up Original Intentions Ministry.

    While K. Godfrey Easter, may very well represent the proverbial tip of the controversial iceberg for many congregations, Pastor Allen is convinced pastoring in the 21st century is no easy job. We must learn to change the method without tampering with the message, he warns.

    For fellow pastors he advises, “Pastors must get sick and tired of being sick and tired. They must allow the Holy Ghost to speak to them about when to confront that particular spirit. And to be ready for the fall out. Perhaps the church goes without a musician or whatever position the person maintains. That’s just the way it is.”

    Article originally published 12.10.03