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.!!!

old-telephone

WHEN GOD WALKS OUT

                       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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Re- con- cilia –tion Less Metanoia (Repentance) Equals Zero

 

foundin-fathers-praying_edited-2Leonard Lovett, Ph. D

Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes: Let me commend you for having the courage to do “something” instead of “nothing” as a response to the escalating crisis on race in America. You have quite an array of names included in the one hundred and fifty (150) leaders from the Faith Community invited to the one day forum at your church on the 2015 King Holiday. I was startled to see that Pastor Frederick Haynes or Tony Evans were not in the line up since both have been most vocal in Dallas to challenge social evil and injustice while other leaders have lived under the cloud of stark silence except for media show time. Your partnering with Bishop Harry Jackson of the High Impact Leadership Coalition is of special interest. I wish Washington Post columnist Hamil R. Harris (January article) would have done a little more research to set the context for your interview. He would have discovered that what you are attempting is a dated simulated replay of what was optimistically called the “1994 Memphis Miracle.” A premature celebration took place on the eve of the1994 Conference after symbolic gestures took place such as white leaders washing the feet of black leaders with the love embrace of forgiveness. Many left on the high notion of celebration that racism among the Pentecostal- Charismatic Movement had suffered a fatal blow. I led in the drafting of a “Manifesto on Racial Reconciliation” which was to be sure evidence of our profound intent and gut level seriousness. Some twenty-one (21) years later, not only are many of the key participants deceased, but what was touted as a miracle was a mirage. The problem then was that repentance was not taken seriously. So, here we go again, same call, different players.

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C. H. Mason: A Man Sent From God

C.H. Mason: A Man Sent From God

                                                                     Dr. Leonard Lovett

Founder and Chief Apostle of the Church of God In Christ [1866 – 1961]

   One of the most monumental figures in American Christianity, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason, founding patriarch of the Church of God in Christ was born in 1866. Because of the impact of Bishop Mason, the face of American Christianity would never remain the same. He was born four years after Emancipation Proclamation to Jerry and Eliza Mason, former slaves and members of Missionary Baptist Church a few miles from Memphis. Indeed he was one sent from God. History was redemptive when little Charles Mason was stricken with a severe life threatening episode of fever and was miraculously healed by the power of God. One year after his fathers death (1879) he received Christ and was baptized into the Christian faith at the Mount Olive Baptist Church near Plummersville, Arkansas.

   After ordination and marriage in 1891, Elder Mason sought to educate himself by admission to Arkansas Baptist College. By 1894, the young Mason had completed his studies within the Institute of the college. By 1895 the influence of the Holiness Movement with its emphasis on sanctification had impacted the youthful Elder Mason. Under Wesleyan influence, their message had come to embrace perfection, characterized by “perfect love.” A division within the Methodist church in 1880 formed as a result of a controversy over John Wesley’s doctrine of sanctification. One group stressed “perfect love” while a separate group stressed a Spirit baptism separate and distinct from conversion.

     Sixty four years earlier (1816) Richard Allen had founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church as a direct result of racial divisions within the Body of Christ on earth. The emphasis on individualism tempered the spirit of the times and set the tone for the rise of black independent churches. Black worship and lifestyle proved to be problematic within mixed fellowships and resulted in the rise of independent black churches. In the midst of religious change and shifting loyalties, the youthful Elder Mason became attracted to the Holiness Movement  In 1895, he met Charles Price Jones, a newly elected pastor of the Mt Helms Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Jones influenced by the doctrine of sanctification as a Baptist pastor in Selma, Alabama. The united preaching of Jones and Mason created a crisis for conservative Black Baptist leaders. The preaching of sanctification became so offensive both preachers were excommunicated from the Baptist denominational.

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