128 West Hamilton Street, Lincolnville, S.C. 29485
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Dr. Edward Lee Johnson, Sr.-Pastor
To: COGIC constituents
From: Edward Lee Johnson, Sr.
Re: New Vision Cathedral Inc. COGIC withdrawal and South Carolina certificate of incorporation
It is with much spiritual conviction that I submit this letter to you. I cannot continue to support an organization that I truly believe that its leadership is not following basic biblical ethics and spiritual values. I left home at the age of 17 in 1972 for the military as a backslidden teenager who grew up in my parent’s church. A year and a half later I got arrested by the Holy Spirit at a party while smoking pot and drinking with my friends. I was actually in El Paso Texas at the time when God saved and called me into ministry in 1974. I was transferred to Germany that same year after preaching my first sermon at Calvary in the month of July. When I got to Germany, I couldn’t find a COGIC church so I attended the Church of God Serviceman Center in Nuremberg, Germany.
For an entire year I cut my spiritual teeth in a ministry with a White pastor and predominately White congregation. I develop such a great relationship with my pastor—when he took his family vacation with his wife and two small children for an entire week in England, he took me along and I spent the week with them. When I returned home in1975, I became extremely active with my dad at Calvary. The greatest struggle I had early on was the cultural differences between what I experienced in Germany versus being back home in a COGIC church. In fact, when I would preach, people told me I sounded White. I shared that with the late Bishop H. J. Bell who became our Bishop in 1976; and he said to me, “Well brother Ed you have to blacken up your preaching a little.” What he really meant was that I needed to learn how to whoop like Black preachers. He obviously saw something in me that I couldn’t see at the moment because he appointed me to be the Jurisdictional Secretary around 1977, and Associate Pastor of Friendship in 1981. Although I objected to a lot of things that Bishop Bell did—I was too naïve to confront him. That was then—but I’m not that novice in ministry anymore. I believe that the course that I have taken in my ministry over the past 20 years is that “good fight of faith” that the Apostle Paul taught about, “follow peace with all men…”. The foundation that I received from my father’s ministry has kept me on the straight and narrow through the worst of my spiritual test.
I said all of that in order to help you understand my reasoning for relinquishing my ties with the current COGIC structure. I honestly believe that the leaders have taken the church completely away from the principles in which Bishop Charles H. Mason built it. The corruption didn’t start with Bishop Blake—but he has taken things off the rails just like President Obama did by glorifying immorality in a way that no other president in my lifetime has done. For the past 40 years I struggled in my heart about the cultural differences as well as trying to make sense of the denominational division among churches. I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t some kind of working relationship with like minded Christian organizations for the benefit of our communities; and especially White and Black Pentecostal. As the Holy Spirit began to teach me how all the division got started among denominational churches within the body of Christ —He also gave me a real passion to work with churches outside of the COGIC box.
We use scriptures out of context to justify ourselves like, “touch not my anointed” and “let the wheat and the tare grow together”. If you know anything about the anointing, you would know that a man with the practices and culture like Charles Blake is NOT anointed. And, as for the wheat and the tare parable—go back and read (Matthew 13:36-43) the explanation of the text. Jesus said that the field is the “world” and not the church. If you say that you cannot touch the tare in the church in an attempt to justify openly corrupt and vile people serving in God’s church—then any application to spiritual discipline taught by Jesus and the apostles will not be applicable in any church setting. Of course homosexuals, whoremongers, liars, backbiters, people who are full of hate etc practicing a vile lifestyle, should be allowed to exist in the field “world,” but not in the church. That’s the whole meaning of going into the highways and hedges to preach to sinners. If our gospel be hid—it is hidden from those that are blinded by sin. The purpose of the gospel is to transform the sinner into a saint. If our gospel be compromised—we will all be punished by God as wicked servants in the judgment. And, some weak pastors will have their works burned up even though he or she may scarcely make it into the kingdom.
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