In Defense of Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake: Refuting Charles Carter’s Defamation of His Character!
Readers, I received the following email yesterday but have just now gotten around to reading and posting it. According to the email, it looks like Earl W. Carter is coming for Bishop Blakes reputation and legacy.
Church of God in Christ, Inc. World Headquarters Memphis, Tennessee USA Chambers of the General Board Bishop C. E. Blake, Sr. Presiding Bishop Chairman Bishop P. A. Brooks, II First Assistant Presiding Bishop First Vice Chairman Bishop J. W. Macklin Second Assistant Presiding Bishop Second Vice Chairman Bishop R. L. H. Winbush Secretary of Board Bishop F. O. White Assistant Secretary Bishop G. D. McKinney Bishop N. W. Wells Bishop S. Daniels Bishop J. D. Sheard Bishop B. B. Porter Bishop T. G. Thomas Bishop L. Wooten
September 8, 2015
Dear Members of the General Board and Board of Bishops, As First Assistant Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ it is my pastoral responsibility to unmask false allegations against men in positions of God-given authority. I am personally acquainted with Elder Eugene F. Rivers; III who was intimately involved in Presiding Bishop Charles Blake’s receiving the Harvard Humanitarian Award from the Harvard Foundation in 2003.
I present to the church his testimony of what actually transpired on that occasion. It is my considered opinion that the leaders of the church should repudiate the efforts of Earl W. Carter to dishonor and impugn the integrity of the occupant of the church’s highest office, Bishop Blake. The directive of the Word of God applies to Bishop Blake in this situation: "Give double honor to spiritual leaders who handle their duties well. This is especially true if they work hard at teaching God’s word" (I Timothy 5:17). Let us, as men of God, stand strong with our godly leader. In His service, Bishop P. A. Brooks Bishop P. A. Brooks First Assistant Presiding Bishop ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In Defense of Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake: Refuting Carter’s Defamation of His Character Elder Eugene F. Rivers, III A Special Advisor to the Presiding Bishop
I write this statement in response to Elder Earl W. Carter’s multiple attempts to blemish and stain the excellent character and reputation of our Presiding Bishop, Charles E. Blake Sr.
Though Elder Carter’s recent letter is filled with many groundless and irrelevant assertions, I must respond to one sinister and evil allegation that I know to be a lie. That is, his report of a claim by an Elder Thomas Cross that Harvard Professor Peter J. Gomes (now deceased) had claimed to have had an inappropriate encounter with Bishop Blake. As a board member of Save Africa’s Children and an active ex-student of Harvard University, I was personally involved when Bishop Blake received the Harvard Humanitarian Award in 2003.
It has been my privilege to host and accompany Bishop Blake on all of his visits to Harvard and Boston. It is the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations that selects the recipient each year, and that invited Bishop Blake to address the university at Memorial Church in 2003. As is their custom, the Foundation arranged for Bishop Blake, accompanied by his son, Charles E. Blake, II, and a group of COGIC pastors, to stay at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge.
As a part of the process of honoring award recipients the Foundation arranges for them to meet with several distinguished Harvard faculty members. During Bishop Blake’s very brief visit he met with Harvard Divinity School Dean William A. Graham, Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, Harvey Cox, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Divinity, Ben Wikler '03, founder of the Harvard AIDS Coalition, Robert M. Franklin, visiting professor of African American Religious Studies. As an honored guest Bishop Blake spoke at Harvard’s Memorial Church and was hosted for dinner along with his son, Charles, and several other COGIC ministers by the Minister of Memorial Church, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, the Reverend Peter J. Gomes. At a later time, Bishop and Lady Blake returned the professional courtesy by allowing Professor Gomes to speak at West Angeles.
This was the extent of Bishop Blake’s brief encounter with Professor Peter Gomes. It was only at a later time that Bishop Blake learned more about his reputation. Contrary to Carter’s allegations there was no friendship, not even a prior acquaintance, between Bishop Blake and Professor Gomes. Bishop Blake was never a "personal friend" of Professor Gomes. Bishop Blake NEVER stayed at Professor Gomes’ residence. Unfortunately, I am also, as a clergyman in the Boston area, acquainted with Thomas Cross. Carter quotes Cross’ allegations which are indisputably false. It is ludicrous to even imagine that Professor Peter J. Gomes of Harvard University even knew Thomas Cross.
It is an absolute lie that Bishop Blake had any kind of inappropriate physical relations with Professor Gomes. It is clearly just as untrue that Professor Gomes would confide any intimate details about any aspect of his life to Thomas Cross. Anyone remotely familiar with the world of Harvard or Peter J. Gomes would immediately recognize how completely mendacious any such claims are. I have confronted Thomas Cross and told him this to his face. And here an obvious question logically follows. If, as Cross has alleged, he had actually met with Professor Gomes in the presence of other COGIC clergy in a restaurant, why did he not produce the names of these individuals as corroborating evidence when directly challenged to do so?
How convenient to attribute this story to a person who is not alive to confirm or deny it, but not name those who could. Bishop Blake has been uncompromising both publicly and privately in maintaining the biblical position on all matters related to human sexuality. He is on record for having done so in a number of COGIC statements on marriage. His pastoral ministry to members of his congregation unwaveringly reflects the integrity of that position. I have dealt in detail with obvious lies and slander.
However, the allegations based on hearsay, gossip and guilt by association are too unworthy to be dignified by a response. In conclusion, this entire episode is part of a larger back story that few will articulate publicly. It must now be clearly outlined for the rising generation in the church. Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. has been the victim of jealousy, envy and hatred for the crime, in large measure, of excellence and success. The truth is that lesser men have resented him and are now conspiring to undermine his efforts to reform areas of the church’s spiritual life that have been ignored as the church played ecclesiastical politics.
As for Mr. Carter, it seems that he is nothing more than a political mercenary on retainer to the highest bidding enemy of the Church of God in Christ and her leader, Bishop Blake. Bishop Blake has burnished and enhanced the witness and image of the church before the larger world. I call upon all of the men and leaders of integrity and courage in COGIC to reject the morally disgraceful conduct of Carter and his co-conspirators and support the office of the Presiding Bishop.
September 8, 2015. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ *Whitehead Memorial* CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST 2069 Tyler Road, P. O. BOX 972240, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48198 * 734.484.0331 Bishop James L. Whitehead Jr., Pastor ______________________________________________________________________________
My Dear Fellow Workers in the Ministry, I have been blessed to serve you as Editor-and-chief of the YPWW topics for the past forty-three years. I have written, or caused to be published during that time a total of 6,240 bible lessons covering almost every area of ministry and doctrine. Never could I have imagined I would one day have to write a letter like this.
The disciples of Jesus were happy supporters until the crowd turned against him. Please be mindful of the ability of a few jealous men to turn public opinion so successfully against Jesus until many of the people who were blessed by him became a part of the crowd that shouted "crucify Him". What was worse was how the disciples abandoned their Savior for fear of their own safety. For this reason I write this letter.
I have watched people make evil insinuations about the moral character of Bishop Charles Blake too long for me to sit idly by and not speak about what I have been an eye witness to for the past fifty-two years. I met Charles Blake in September, 1962 at the Hensley Temple Church of God In Christ, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was twenty two and I was twenty. He was beginning his first year at the Interdenominational Theological Center( I. T. C.), and I was starting my first year at Morehouse. We became immediately very close friends and that friendship has lasted until this day. I was appointed by Bishop Hensley to be Youth Minister at his church in Atlanta, and Charles was appointed assistant pastor at his church in Marietta, Georgia. He was never Bishop Husbands Youth Pastor. During the 52 years he has uth minister to his Church in Atlanta and Charles Blake to take Charge of his Church in Marietta 52 years I have known Bishop Blake, I have never, never, never, seen the slightest indication that he had any inclinations other than being 100% male.
While we were students in Atlanta, we both tried to make full use of our single status and date the most beautiful young ladies we could meet. After he met in 1963 the love of his life, he would come to Detroit and stay at my parents home so he could more conveniently court Mae Lawrence.
I, too believe the homosexual agenda we are facing today is a problem for the future of our nation. And any inference that our Presiding Bishop is not equally concerned is a serious misrepresentation of his character. I have considered Bishop Charles Blake my best and most trusted friend for over fifty years. And what has been one of the bonds that has kept that friendship strong is both our mutual and firm belief that sin, in whatever form, has no place among the clergy of the COGIC.
We cannot always control who sits in the pew but we can try to control who stands behind the pulpit. It was Bishop Blake who instituted the new requirement that nobody will be given a credential without first passing a thorough background check. What more can a leader do? I have watched Bishop Blake prepare for this time in his life for fifty-two years. I observed him reading hundreds of books on management and administration as well as those books that prepared him theologically. We are blessed with the most productive leader this church has ever known.
I close with some of the words of the rich young ruler. If a man can build a church from 39 members to 26,000, lead his congregation in the purchase of 100 million dollars worth of property for kingdom work, successfully preside over 300 churches, sponsor and chair a ministry like Save Africa’s Children, preside over a denomination 6 million strong, and yet successfully raise three children and eight grandchildren with his wife, who respects him highly, to become outstanding servants of the gospel, "surely no man can do these things except God be with him".
It seems to be the price all great leaders pay is undue criticism and sometimes hatred. Moses missed out on the promise land because of the ingratitude of people. Let us pray that our Bishop doesn’t allow his critics to push him to a point of complete discouragement. Let us instead, stand by our leader like the disciples should have stood by Jesus during the time he needed them the most. Your servant in Christ, Bishop J. L. Whitehead, Jr. Editor- in- Chief of the YPWW Topics Chairman of the O. T. Jones Memorial Training Institute Jurisdictional Prelate Designee of the Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of Southwest Michigan.