A Silent Faith Community in a Noisy Turbulent Nation

Leonard Lovett, Ph.D

Jesus once said in poignant language, “If these shall hold their peace, the rocks shall immediately cry out.”

A group of Evangelicals were noisy in their explicit support of the incumbent during the 2016 presidential election. I had the audacity to publicly debate a well known conservative theologian who resides on the West Coast on my blog, The Agora-Marketplace of ideas- about the viability of both candidates. Now that we are in the worse national political crisis in a half a century, where are the voices of those Evangelicals and others who were so determined to blot the memory of our first Black president, they decided to just settle.

It was quite a photo opt this week to see them gathered in the Oval Office praying for president. Currently there is political blood in the water and the sharks appear to be closing in for the kill with the release of damaging E-Mails concerning the behavior of the son of the president and his relationship to the Russians during the political campaign.

Why the silence of the Faith Community? Why has the conservatives been morphed into silence? I taught a Seminary course at Fuller Theological Seminary on Theology of Politics in an attem

pt to critically integrate ethics, theology and politics in one grid. I facilitated the same upgraded course at Oral Roberts University School of Theology and Missions titled Faith and Politics. The underlying assumption and premise of both courses is that theology and Faith must always be in critique of the political order. Caesar must be respected and given due honor, but must always come under prophetic critique. If the Faith Community is not fully engaged in the critique of politics then it is reduced to a social club opened for entertainment only.

Please do not be intimidated or confused by the harness placed on you by your 501 3C Non-Profit status and Separation of Church and State concerns. It does not mean you are supposed to be muffled and morphed into silence. You can and should speak up about the way things are going. If your right to speak is repressed, then we are living in a regime where tyranny is dominant and not a democracy where freedom reigns. According to Jesus Christ, you are to “r

ender unto Caesar the things that be Caesars, and unto God the things that belong to God.”  In the Faith Community, respect for leadership does not mean to be non-critical and bury you head in the sand at a time when you should be speaking. Fear of incrimination and isolation appear to be the reason we are afraid to engage in critique.  Edmund Burke was on point when he stated that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  Karl Barth, the Swiss theologian who changed the course of theology for centuries to come once stated: “One should read with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.” The Word of God does speak to culture.

To be silent when you should be speaking is a form of ethical criminality that has dire consequences in a disordered world. Jesus often spoke in revolutionary and caustic direct terms in his day when he ordered someone to “Go tell that Fox” (Herod) and “You generation of vipers who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come.” Rome was the dominant power when these words were spoken and could have easily been interpreted as an insult to the reigning Emperor if found out. If you plan to be silent when you should be speaking prophetically in challenging social and political evil, why not take your sign down and put the real sign up describing who you really are at the core of your being as a Faith Community.

I love our political leaders, but to honor them is a moral choice at this juncture. Whenever the behavior of a leader crosses the boundary and norms of sanity, we must in the name of God pray and muster up enough courage to speak “truth to power.”  I am not disappointed at the silence of the Faith Community during this critical juncture in our national history…I am livid!

Follow my commentary at www.theagor.net  the marketplace of ideas “where truth is spoken and never compromised.”   -Dr. Leonard Lovett, public theologian, ethicist and ecumenist


Will God Judge the Nation and Silent Religious Leaders?

Dr. Leonard Lovett, PhD.

Does God intervene in the affairs of a nation? Does God care when leaders go amuck? Recall this is the God who told a great King that “the sword shall never depart from your house.” A mighty king of a nation was consigned to dwell with animals in the field.

Isaiah 44:25 [LBV]“I am the One who shows what liars all false prophets are, by causing something else to happen than the things they say.” (for the Church) “I make wise men give opposite advice to what they should, and make them unto fools.” (for the nation) (26v) But what my prophets say I do” (for the Church and nation)

Where are the religious leaders who supported by voice and votes the leaders in the Oval Office…but are morphed into silence during the worse political crisis in America since Watergate? What forbids God from declaring that “trouble will not depart from the Oval Office until lies and deceit depart.”  EM Bounds stated that “trouble is neither moral or immoral, it is amoral.” He also contended that trouble is “a part of God’s moral government.”

Could it be that when a nation gets out of line, God summons trouble as his special agent to go and remain until respect for the sovereignty of God returns. Biblical history is replete with nations that forgot God. The rebellious arrogant Babylonians of ancient biblical times are prime examples. No I am not a conservative fundamentalist biblical theologian who interprets scripture literally, but I do take it seriously. In fact I defy theological labels such as liberal or conservative. I am eclectic…which means I borrow from the best in all traditions with a grounding in Holiness-Pentecostal tradition. I do not view God as a kind of Simon Legree who will “Bless you when you are good and raps you on your knuckles when you are bad.”  However, I unequivocally believe with conviction that when a leader of a nation flaunts bad behavior in God’s face as the nation plummets in a moral free fall while so-called religious leaders remain silent… there are serious moral consequences. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” Psalm 33:12 implies that if a nation ignores God, there are major consequences.

Somewhere I read that “the highest form of treason is to do the right thing for the wrong reason.” If the trust of a nation is betrayed by a fraudulent election, God will have the final say. The Black African-American slaves used to say in cryptic tones…”where there is smoke, there is fire somewhere.”


The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,

Moves on; nor all they Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it    

Omar Khayyam

Follow me at The Agora –www.theagora.net  (look for marketplace of ideas) “where truth is spoken and never compromised.”

Leonard Lovett, Ph.D., public theologian-ethicist, COGIC ecumenical officer, emeritus

Is Proprietary Affordable Health Care the New Genocide?

    Leonard Lovett, Ph.D

Prior to 1973 profiteering within the Health Care industry was illegal, a fact fairly known and dealt with in the arena of institutionalized public health. The 1973 Health Maintenance Organization Act under the administration of Richard Nixon changed the playing field. Many older physicians placed the care of their patients first until political and economic decision-making changed the medical landscape. New physicians graduate from medical school facing loans and the prospect of financing equipment and staff just to open a practice at an astronomical cost. Where is the middle ground?  As a trained ethicist I have spent a large segment of my life thinking about “what is…in light of what ought to be” which is the definition and defining task of an ethicist. The immorality of greed in the healthcare system will not only put at risk the lives of many vulnerable citizens of this land but will also result in the demise of many. Can you imagine how many persons will die because they cannot afford a MRI, CT Scan or thorough physical exam to pinpoint life-threatening diseases? This brief statement borders the realm of medical ethics.

Is affordable Health Care for profit the foundation for a new genocide in a nation that can afford to do better? If the British can take care of their populace through socialized medicine, so can we. My theological mentor, the late Bishop OT Jones, Jr., who was a Pentecostal Christian existentialist, once told me “that if there is a major crisis in a church, in most instances it can be traced back to leadership.” I have never forgotten that delicate wisdom from the past. The same holds true for a nation in crisis. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was right when he remarked, “the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small… though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.” Is it immoral to earn a reasonable salary? Of course not. Is it immoral to live in an upscale neighborhood?  Of course not. Is it immoral to formulate a marriage between major Health Care providers and the insurance industry for proprietary reasons so that the most vulnerable of the land will die prematurely because of the price tag on health care? With governmental involvement, it is not only immoral, it is irresponsibly sinful and reprehensible.

The revamping of the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) under a new name (Trump Care) is merely switching labels on the same reality. The late William Temple once remarked that the modern world reminded him of a department store where someone crept in overnight and switched all the labels. They placed cheap tags on expensive items, and expensive tags on cheap items. In our volatile political environment anyone can die, and especially our poor and less vulnerable without simple health coverage in a nation that boast of being the greatest in the world. My warning and admonition is to be cautious, this may be the foundation and makings of a new form of genocide.

Richard Exley, stated in his book, The Peril of Power: “if money is your motive for ministry, you are already corrupt even if you never steal one dime.” The same rationale transposed to the Health care industry achieves the same negative outcome. Where are the prophetic voices of mega-ministry leaders ? Who will speak on behalf of the poor and oppressed since God “hangs out” with them? Unfortunately, what we call “prophetic” has come to mean “pathetic.” It is no wonder that Amaziah complained of Amos the prophet in Amos 7: 10 that “the land cannot bear to hear his words.”

Many older physicians believed that they had an obligation to take care of patients and that the primary issue was not how am I going to get paid? Such a person was David Molina a California physician who started his health insurance company focusing on quality care for poor and disabled patients on Medicaid.  By attracting fewer doctors to Molina Healthcare network he was able to earn a modest profit during the first couple years of Obamacare.  It is known by Industry analysts that several big firms like Humana, Aetna and UnitedHealth, et.al. lost money initially under Obamacare. They sustained losses because they did not focus on a simple reality, i.e. it is much easier to work down from a higher-cost posture than it is to work down from a higher-cost position according to Josh Weisbrod, a health care consultant with Bain and Company. Because of the competitive nature of the insurance industry, more business regulations are needed to insure a level playing field.

However, what is common practice in the medical arena is that insurers boldly make it clear on an insurance application that they would rather insure healthy clients rather than those with pre-existing conditions. Insurers and politicians continually struggle with making sure people have basic insurance coverage and figuring out who should pay. In 1973 when the Health  Maintenance  Organization Act A73 was introduced to Congress by surrogates of President Richard Nixon, insurers were told to merely treat the symptoms and not the cause because it was less expensive. Mandated clauses encouraged providers to prolong illnesses because there is no money to be made in curing the sick. * Nixon was rewarding his campaign financier, Edgar Kaiser CEO of Kaiser Permanente, all with government subsidies. This law enacted by Congress made it possible for medical insurance agencies, hospitals, clinics and physicians to begin functioning as for-profit business entities instead of the service organizations they were intended to be. Have you ever wondered about the proliferation of referrals, tests and prescriptions from a primary physicians to specialists and the plethora of over-treatment schemes for a common illness.

From 2013 to 2015 the top five insurers of the Health Care industry doled out nearly $30 billion in stock buy backs and dividends. Most of us will not forget the Martin Shkreli,a former hedge fund manager with Turing Pharmaceutical fraud case where a much needed 62 year old drug Daraprin that increased from $13.50 a tablet to $750 overnight.** Greed caused the Industry to enact a business strategy of buying old neglected drugs and turning them into high-priced “specialty drugs.” During testimony before a Congressional hearing on the drug, Martin laughed and displayed an arrogance that earned him jail time.

Disease means dis-ease. There are some diseases that medicine cannot cure. They are diseases of the human spirit. Avarice is excessive or insatiable desire for gain, money and possessions…it is old fashion greed…It was listed as one of the “seven deadly sins” during the Middle Ages. I find it rather ironic that upon graduation physicians are required to recite the Hippocratic Oath as a symbolic entre into the arena of medicine. A substantive embrace of this oath is needed to offset the fangs of avarice in our culture. Sin is a misuse of one’s freedom. The church is not exempt from the charge of avarice.

“Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play God.” ***

During the mid-eighties I served as a Board Member for six years with Watts Health Foundation United Health Care, the largest HMO West of the Mississippi whose primary demographic was low income clients in Watts an adjacent community of Los Angeles. Dr. Clyde Oden was the consummate and most capable CEO of the Non-Profit aspect of the operation that employed a fee-for-service modality. United Health Care was the proprietary component of the operation. We had multiple retreats and the opportunity to lobby Congress on behalf of a vulnerable demographic.

During the mid 2000 I was recommended by Bishop Gerald Glenn, New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield County, to serve as a member of the Virginia Board of Medicine. Governor Mark Warner (currently member of the Senate Intelligence Committee) appointed me the last week of the year.  During my six years of service I was exposed to the worse kinds of abuse of the system by people who wanted to manipulate it for the purpose of excessive greed. The optics of the Oval Office under the leadership of 45 and his all white crew is focused on avarice for his friends and family. Dr. Ben Carson a retired brilliant pediatric neurosurgeon should come out of the basement and make the photograph with the Oval Office team, since he is over HUD. Unless he is too busy perusing dated books on poverty which was then defined as “a state of mind”(Wirth). Poverty as “lack of fate control” (Claerbaut) would be an improvement. These old “blame the victim” definitions exclude poverty as “lack of access and opportunity” for people born in ridiculous and incorrigible circumstances.


*https//thecriticalaye.com/2011/08/31 skyrocketing-health-cost-thanks-president-Nixon/


** see Andrew Pollack, Big Price Increase for Tuberculosis Drug Is Rescinded, NY Times 9/21/2015

*** Revised Hippocratic Oath in 1964 by Louis Lasagna. Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University

Dr. Leonard Lovett, Chief Editor, theologian-ethicist, author, ecumenical officer, emeritus, COGIC

When God Hooks a Brother Up

 Dr. Leonard Lovett, Ph.D

Micah 6:8 He hath showed thee O man what is good, and what is good and what doth the Lord require, but to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

I am led to simply challenge soul brothers to Maximize their Potential. My target audience is Black African-American brothers. I am radically following Jesus of Nazareth who according to the writer of John, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not, but as many as received Him to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” John 1:11-12.  

 In Christology it is called Jewish particularism. Jesus started with His own Jewish ethnic group. Then He went to the universal (“but as many as received Him”). Before we attempt to go universal, let’s begin with the particular…our house. As a race we have listened to too many voices attempting to define us and make us who they want us to be. It is a form of mental enslavement. When it comes to Brothers it appears that we are losing the war. One must engage in multiple battles in order to win the war. Whenever I can engage a brother in conversation, my goal is to make sure he knows and understand you do not have to become who the mass media has predicted you to become. Black men are denigrated and yet imitated. Others fear our strength… now let them fear our person-hood in God. In Part 11, I project seven (7) Manhood challenges.

Part I    Twenty-five (25) Important Manhood Challenging Questions

  1. Do you love God supremely?
  2. Do you love people?
  3. Do you genuinely love your family?
  4. Do you authentically love your church?
  5. Do you take an annual physical exam?
  6. Are you the leader in your family?
  7. Have you set short term and long range goals?
  8. Have you prioritized your goals? Educational and Career goals?
  9. Do you have family discussions at times other than a crisis? Prayer?
  1. Are you a good steward of money?
  2. Do you have money conflicts in your family?
  3. Do you understand what constitutes conflict?
  4. Are you too busy to demonstrate love to people who are near?
  5. Have you developed strategies and set boundaries for your personal life? Family?
  6. How do you handle resistance to your authority?
  7. Do you know the relationship between example and authority?
  8. How do you handle disunity and disloyalty in your circle?
  9. Have you ascertained why people do not cooperate when you expect?
  1. Are you a control person? Can one be in control without being controlling?
  1. Do you have daily private devotions?
  2. Are you willing to take risks to grow as a person?
  3. Can you handle criticism?
  4. Can others disagree with you without affecting their relationship with you?
  5. Do you have a potential Sampson in you? Judges 16: 18 f

Sitting in a church does not make a man a Christian any more than sitting in a hen house makes a man a hen.”   E. Stanley Jones in    Growing Spiritually

The Biblical Mandate:  1 Corinthians 4: 1-2– (JB) “People must think of us as Christ servants entrusted with the mysteries of God.  What is expected of stewards is that each one should be found worthy of this trust.”


  1. BROTHERS KNOW WHO YOU ARE (Identity) 1 John 3:2  CHRISTIAN 

▪   Self-knowledge is the key to empowerment    Proverbs 1: 7ff

▪   If you know who you are culturally no one can define you

▪   If you know who you are spiritually no one can destroy you

▪   Loving God supremely is the key to maximizing your potential

  1. BROTHERS BE A PRIEST IN YOUR HOME (Security) 1 Timothy 3:5

▪   As a leader, learn to submit to each other

▪   As a provider, make sure basic necessities are in place

▪   As a protector, provide a sense of security for household

  1. BROTHERS BE A PRIEST TO OTHERS (Covering) 1 Peter 2: 5

▪   Be willing to heal and restore broken relationships

▪   Be tolerant (Matt 7:1) the very person we judge may be favored by God

▪  Brothers must be willing to tell others what they do not want to hear in love

  1. BROTHERS PLEASE WALK IN INTEGRITY (Integrity) Proverbs 11:3

▪   Take charge of your feelings and be willing to admit mistakes

▪   Be resolute and refuse to be drawn into conflict by others

▪   Be honest, sowing and reaping is a part of divine order

  1. BROTHERS MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE (Responsible) Proverbs 8: 20

▪   Think of discipline as learning and not punishment

▪   Be willing to be accountable as you hold others accountable

▪   Submit to leadership

  1. BROTHERS MUST WALK IN MATURITY (Maturity) Hebrews 6:1

▪    Perfection is the biblical name for maturity

▪    Spiritual discipline leads to maturity

▪    Holiness and the Spirit-filled life is the goal Heb. 12:14 –  Eph. 5:18


▪    What does God require of us

▪    Be a living sacrifice to God Romans 12:1

▪    Acceptable to God

A Concluding Word:  It is time for us who perceive ourselves as Fathers in the faith to “pass the baton” to young future leaders so that they will go beyond our accomplishments. In oppressed communities of color throughout this land we cannot tolerate not even one more unlawful shooting of another brother. Brothers we can ill afford the tragedy of killing each other. There is no perfect Church on earth. Look for a Church that is Kingdom oriented and Christocentric and not people-centered. As radical followers of Jesus Christ we are called to “pierce the darkness” in a troubled world. It it past time for brothers to take their rightful place in this society, in this land that we labored to build. This is our time and this is our season.

“Have a funeral service and bury your old dead words and attitudes and put a no resurrection sign over them – E. Stanley Jones   in Growing Spiritually

 Follow me at the Agora-www.theagora.net (look for the marketplace of ideas) where truth is spoken and never compromised.”

Dr. Leonard Lovett, COGIC, theologian, ethicistEcumenical Officer, emeritus


Leonard Lovett, Ph. D

“Preaching is a vertical radical encounter between the living Lord and the bearer of the spoken word translated into meaning, charged with eternal destiny, borne by those who are willing to risk the scandal of the Gospel for those who have been brutalized by life’s uncertainties.” – Lovett

As an eventful process the message must remain under constant revision and never a finished product. That is why an authentic message develops as it is delivered and as new revelation and insights come. Preaching during the twenty-first century must always be vertical for God to encounter His creation through word and deed in a troubled world. In Mark 1: 14ff “Now after that John was put into prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”  After just over a half century of preaching I am convinced that the only Gospel that Jesus proclaimed was the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Gospel when radically preached will challenge and question systems, structures and values that oppress people and make for inhumane living.

The authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a sedative or pill for pain. It is not a mask to change one’s complexion or a sachet to improve one’s odor. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is dynamite…and at the same time life-saving and life-changing. In the tradition of Jesus may I strongly suggest that your preaching be Kingdom oriented. The Greek word for Kingdom is basilea = reign of God. We are preaching to people who are in captivity to  idols and values that oppose the Creator and make mockery of faith. A full orbed Gospel will bring under judgment systems, idols and values that oppose the reign of God. To be effective may I suggest a few ideas that will enable you to formulate a methodology for preaching.  What you do in your preaching workshop will be reflected in the pulpit. Give due diligence to preparation.

  1. Preaching is fundamentally story telling discursive discourse. Elie Wiesel, 1983 Nobel Prize winner once stated, “God created man because He loves stories.” Find a book on the art and theory of story telling. This will help you focus on the One Story, Jesus Christ in the midst of other stories.
  2. Develop the ability to read widely and selectively. This will prevent you from running on empty while delivering a message. Read poetry, science and anything that will widen your frame of reference.
  3. Discern the role of Scripture in preaching. It is important to take the Bible seriously but not literally in every instance. This will prevent you from allowing your opinion to dominate the discourse. Preaching is God’s word to humankind, handle it as such.
  4. Know the difference between a theme and a subject. A theme is the “big idea” of the entire discourse. It is a timeless truth worth remembering from beginning to end of your discourse. Always preach to a concern. A theme is the glue that holds everything together. g. “This leads to the warning, that no one can persistently flirt with evil and win.” From my sermon, titled “Sleeping with the Enemy.”  Make sure the sermon title is provocative. The sermon title or subject is “Sleeping with the Enemy” which is different from the warning which embodies the theme.
  5. A sermon should be contemporaneous. Focused study will enable you to translate the ancient language of scripture to twenty-first century economic, social and political problems facing us today.
  6. A Sermon should be a call to action. As you conclude your sermonic discourse you must query whether hearers are ready to act on the imperatives of the Gospel challenge? Listen and observe the challenges the people are experiencing so your message can “scratch where the listeners are itching.”
  7. A Sermon should be delivered under the unction of the Spirit and power. I suggest the dialectical approach to preaching as espoused by Dr. Samuel Proctor in his How Shall They Hear: Effective Preaching for Vital Faith. He suggests that you start the sermon with the 1. Antithesis (real) problem or concern Transition to the Thesis (Ideal) (Scripture as solution) 3. Synthesis –Conclusion – how the ideal connects with the real with two or three minor points and a conclusion.  This method is x-rayed in my small book Crockpot Preaching: Toward a Preaching Methodology, which is only available in e-Reader format on Amazon Kindle and will be available again in hard cover by August  at dr.lovett@theagora.net.

Conclusion: Discern your audience and know the occasion. Avoid preaching at a banquet. It is appropriate to give a dynamic address at a formal banquet, rather than a formal sermon. There are rules to observed for pulpit etiquette. Preaching is not grabbing a microphone, find your key and raving and ranting at the top of your voice as though the audience has a hearing problem. That is closer to singing. Preaching is not entertainment unless you intend to avoid challenging your audience. Preaching is not stringing together good sounding phrases and worn out cliché’s and platitudes from your favorite TV preacher all  by “tired touch your neighbor and high five two people near you.”. What about “leave your neighbor alone so your neighbor can hear.” Please do not listen to anyone attempting to teach preaching who is not trained.  Preaching at its best is designed to achieve maximum impact on the hearer.  Remember preaching is an act of worship and not a solo event. You should not replace Jesus Christ as the center of preaching discourse.

Follow me at www.theagora.net “where truth is spoken and never compromised.”

Dr. Leonard Lovett, Ecumenical Officer, emeritus

An Open letter to the President to…Make America Honorable Again

 Leonard Lovett, Ph.D


Dear Mr. President:

The executive order banning persons from seven Muslim dominant countries not only violates a 1965 anti-discrimination law but violates their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution, a matter to be fully litigated in the Federal courts. If this ban is enacted on the basis of religious discrimination even though you gave preference to Syrian Christians, it may be a prologue to you imposing the same limitations on the  Faith Communities in this nation on impulse.  I am categorically for inclusion in the “salad bowl” of pluralistic America which is no longer a “melting pot.” Any form of ignorance, discrimination and prejudice are the blood supply of racism. Dissent makes democracy necessary in any democratic republic.

Please pardon the format of this open letter to you as you experience your first ten (10) days in office. I am bound by conscience not to congratulate you on your ascendancy to the White House since most Americans did not vote for you. Your presidency is the consequence of a broken system that is badly in need of repair because it does not fairly represent the voice of the people in a republic with a democratic ideal.  Let’s get passed the banter to my real concern. I am writing as a preacher of the Gospel, a trained theologian-ethicist and leader within the largest Holiness-Pentecostal denomination in the nation. I spent close to two decades as a teacher of ethics with a focus on Faith and Politics for nearly two decades at several prominent seminaries. I studied at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary with a Ph. D  (1979) from Emory University Candler Graduate School of Theology in ethics and society

In the academies I was taught that  wisdom is the use of good judgment combined with the ability to raise the right questions, which derives from the Socratic approach to gaining knowledge. It appears that you have done the opposite throughout your campaign and into the presidency by providing the solution before the question.  Your promise to “Make America Great Again”  is based on a false premise. As a history major at Morehouse College I went back to make sure that the historical narrative was correct and tried to find a time-line to coincide with your theme.


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Right Church…Wrong Call…An Uncertain Sound

ichabodLeonard Lovett, Ph. D


Monday, October 31, 2016 has proven to be momentous in the life of the Church of God in Christ. The Chairman of the General Assembly, Bishop James Hunt transitioned to his eternal reward, an event that has left most of us numb. His unique spirit, voice and contribution will be greatly missed at a time when special leadership is urgently needed. In the meanwhile, an unrelated prayer tele-conference call scheduled by the Chairman of the Board of Bishops, John Sheard was initiated. It was reported that a strange interruption took place and the tele-conference had to be terminated. My tentative conclusion is that the call was made in the right church at a questionable moment.

  Mr. Chairman, I must ask a daunting question. Why did you call a general prayer meeting one week before the Convocation? It appears ironic that you have served three terms (12 years) and has never called a prayer meeting. Has it dawned on you that a general prayer call will not fix our situation. We need massive repentance. You are reputed to be a leader of a large number of Bishops, but guilty of making the wrong call at the right time. Should you be praying for forgiveness for committing malfeasance/misfeasance in the case of the Bishop from New Mexico who was given a pass and is bringing reproach to the name of God and His Church? God cannot be mocked. You have given an uncertain sound through your leadership style. Our church needs stability and trusted leadership.

“If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (KJV) “And if the army bugler doesn’t play the right notes, how will the soldiers know that they are being called to battle?” (LBV)

     Mr. Chairman, a call for repentance in a church where holiness has been de-railed would bring pleasure to God. Once repentance (Greek metanoia)- “change of heart, change of mind and change of direction” takes place, as leaders you will begin to demand justice. Throughout the Old Testament, the giving of sacrifices-burnt offerings was linked to the doing of justice. If you are praying without meting justice, it is possible that your prayer can become sin. Proverbs 28: 9– “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (KJV) –“God doesn’t listen to the prayers of those who flout the law.” (LBV)  You may not like the mail carrier, but please read the mail. If you indict some people in the Board of Bishops supported by cronies, and allow people who are guilty of flagrant sins that demean and destroy people to walk free for political reasons, you will not escape the wrath of God. Your title, prestige and money means nothing in the face of almighty God. Hear God address this kind of unlawful behavior. Amos 5:21 “I hate your show and pretense…your hypocrisy of honoring me with your religious feasts and solemn assemblies…I will not look at your offerings of peace…away with your hymns of praise, they are mere noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is…I want to see a mighty flood of justice…a torrent of doing good.”  Apart from justice, you can cancel the next prayer tele-conference.

           The shelf behind the door, The shelf behind the door,
           Tear it down and throw it out, Don’t use it anymore;
           For Jesus wants His Temple clean, From ceiling to the floor;
           He even wants that little shelf, That’s hid behind the door. –Author unknown

Remember, Anyone with charges pending regardless of title, name or rank should not be seeking a national office. We must follow our Constitution.!!!



                       ichabod2   Leonard Lovett, Ph.D

November 2016


I Samuel 3: 21  “And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh…for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.” The text implies that God had been away.

Moffatt translates this verse to read: “Once more the Eternal was to be seen at Shiloh.”

The very context of this passage pre-supposes that there had been gray days through which God had not been seen. The reality is that God was never absent. He was not seen because of the idols that blinded people from seeing the visible and invisible God. In our humanity we create so much stuff such as religiosity and symbolic inauthentic worship that God becomes to us as if He were distant or as if He were dead. The people said to Aaron, “up, make us gods which shall go before us; for as for this Moses….we know not what is become of him.” When Moses died, God withdrew because all they could see was in the personality of their great leader. Three centuries later, God returned. With the arrival of Samuel, the Lord “appeared again at Shiloh.”

  I see a parallel for COGIC. I am opposed to this divisive, Godless political system of campaigning, borrowed from other denominations that has prevented us from experiencing the fellowship with each other and the fullness of the Holy Ghost. Will the Lord appear again in COGIC?  Our feigned worship consisting of fake “praise breaks” and multiple fads will not bring God back. You can have so many meetings that you can meet yourself coming from meetings, but that will not bring God back. In fact meetings have become the perfect place to “avoid God.” Our meetings have become “fund raising and social gatherings” with little or no room to celebrate the God who created us. The text supports the premise that God walked out for three centuries after the death of Moses and gave the people what they asked for until they came to understand who they really needed.

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Why Bishop Blake Must Take His Own Medicine


Leonard Lovett, Ph.D

Dear COGIC Family:

In 1999, a General Board Member testified under oath in Orlando Florida, on behalf of Superintendent D. Hutchins, in a case against then presiding Bishop CD Owens. “I testified that the presiding bishop was not like the Pope, because the Pope is elected for life, and the presiding bishop is elected for four years… The one responsible for upholding the Constitution of the Church is the foremost transgressor thereof. The one responsible for providing protection of the various constitutional entities of the church is the greatest threat to their existence and well being.” That General Board Member in 1999 was our present Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake. In his diatribe against Bishop Owens, Bishop Blake mentioned the Constitution sixteen (16) times.  Has Bishop Blake changed his mind in seventeen (17) years or is this a case of selective amnesia? I radically believe with conviction that it is time for Bishop Blake to “take his own medicine.”  This is about the violation of our Constitution. Bishop Blake excoriated Bishop Owens for violating the Constitution and not administering the church according to guidelines.  He opted for a church where people will feel safe. This document provoked Bishop Owens to overreact and cost him the election of 2000. It  all started because of Bishop Blake’s feigned undying loyalty to upholding the Constitution of the Church of God in Christ.  We feel the same commitment and loyalty you demonstrated and are compelled to challenge current leadership to uphold our Constitution without a double standard. (excerpt from How Long this Madness/ aka Why I Stood?) Why are we afraid to hold leadership accountable?

Bishop Blake likened the return of JD Ellis recently to a prodigal coming back home. However, a son does not return and lead the household as an advisor to the leader.  Bishop Blake is the only Presiding Bishop beside Bishop JO Patterson to receive Ellis. The presence of JD Ellis holding dual membership as head of an Apostolic Church and COGIC should be an embarrassment to every credential holder in the General Assembly. Our founding Chief Apostle Bishop C.H. Mason encountered the “Jesus Only” controversy in his day and openly challenged it. Bishop Blake appears to be accommodating this heresy. JD Ellis should have never been appointed Chief of Chaplain and Vetting Officer for the Church with access to the Pentagon without proper vetting protocol. Currently, if JD Ellis is charged with impersonation of a military officer or any other offense, our leadership will also be held accountable.

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October 14, 2016
Leonard Lovett, Ph. D

man-in-bondage_edited-2-1“Be a member of this group or that denomination, but do not belong to it…belong to Christ. The group or denomination belongs to you; you do not belong to it.”  ESJ-  The Way. Brothers and Sisters in the faith the time has come to make this declaration clear without getting it twisted. We should belong to Jesus Christ, the Lord of the church as servants of a “Kingdom that not only will not be shaken, but cannot be shaken.” Hebrews 11: 28. A Bishop recently told me that a Minister from another denomination told him that “they used to look up to us for inspiration and guidance…unfortunately they are now looking at us on the internet with shame.”  The admonition quoted above are the words of the late Eli Stanley Jones, United Methodist Missionary to India for over a half century. Unfortunately, COGIC has become hostage to a leadership that has misled us  for quite sometime.  I am prepared to take the risk of exposing my own struggles and inadequacies in order to rescue us from a denomination that has become increasingly dictatorial and woefully authoritarian. Where are the so-called prophetic voices? They are either bought out, scared, silent or doing fundraisers called Revivals.

    By the way I have been warned to do an Elijah and go hide in a cave until the crisis pass over. In addition to being a child of the King I have too much of my father’s DNA with Cherokee Nation on my mother’s side. A relative told me that whatever my grandfather did to the slave-master they are still looking for him.  I buried cowardice decades ago. I learned from the best. Bishop Richard Eugene Ranger from Ft. Worth Texas was one of my mentors. I recently warned that Armageddon has come to COGIC. Some of our leaders not only have failed to protect us from scandal, but have brought “reproach” upon the name of our God who alone is holy.  Leadership is pre-occupied with getting re-elected for another term. I read somewhere that “we become whatever we worship.”  Idolatry is at the center of our Church. There have been no calls for prayer and fasting for God to intervene.  Traditional calls for prayer will not work at this time.

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