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Friday, July 1, 2011

Gold Chains, Crosses, Rings & Missions. A Call To COGIC Bishops

In my recent post, "Calling Out To ALL COGIC Bishops" I challenged the Bishops of The Church Of God In Christ, Inc. Mem. TN. to take courage and stand up in effort to renew the church and the rich heritage that has made our communities better and souls and families enriched over the years. Thankfully, I am not alone in my call and prayer for this great organization. 

To my complete and utter joy, I received a copy of  a letter recently sent to the Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake. This letter was approximately 27 pages in length and was sent from a veteran and well seasoned  Bishop of the church. His name is Bishop Samuel P. Nesbitt, Pastor of Church Of God In Christ Temple in Jacksonville, FL. Bishop Nesbitt is an 87 years young son of COGIC pioneers Bishop & Mrs. W.R. Nesbitt Sr. He has served the church in administrative capacities since 1945  and endured the administrative transition of 1968 when power was taken from the Late Bishop O.T. Jones sole authority and given to a Presiding Bishop and General Board. Bishop Nesbitt is currently the retiring Chief Justice of the Church Of God In Christ Judiciary Board, which is one of the administrative arms of the Church Of God in Christ Inc.


In a missive that touched on most all administrative subjects from how different the post 1968 Church Of God in Christ has become, to how clergy must live the truth that they preach so that members will not be abused and misused, instead of preaching what men want to hear; Bishop Nesbitt, called upon his life's experience and observation as a son of COGIC to encourage the Presiding Bishop to action and open dialogue on issues concerning the life, health and vitality of the Church Of God In Christ. 

I'll share various facets of that letter over time, but one particular area feeds into my recent two posts, Falling Towers Coming Down Pt. 1 and Falling Towers Coming Down Pt. 2 on the "church". 

A Plan To Support Education & Missions Outreach 

In his letter Bishop Nesbitt outlined a plan centered around raising the necessary funds to support the work of education and missions which is essential to the gospel call, vital to organizational expansion and necessary for the equipping of church leadership. Currently the best plan is simply to solicit money from membership. Bishop Nesbitt challenges the church to make better use of what it already has in an effort to do what it seemingly cannot do. 

Give up the Gold for the cause of the organism of the church and souls. What do you think about this?      

Bishop Nesbitt
"MONEY FOR EDUCATION AND MISSIONS - IT'S IN THE GOLD CHAINS, THE GOLD CROSSES AND GOLD RINGS
As we approach the EASTER SEASON, we should call to remembrance Calvary, and the empty tomb before we rejoice at EASTER. Jesus laid down His life on the cross and was buried in a tomb (borrowed) so that GOD could raise HIM from the dead on EASTER. He had to lay down His life FIRST before God could raise Him from the dead. Because of His great sacrifice for us, we are who we are today. What are we willing to give to make life better for others?

We have more than 250 Bishops in the Church, and each one wears a GOLD cross, a GOLD chain and a GOLD ring. We are Church of God in Christ  BISHOPS, which suggests that we wear the best quality of GOLD. When our Bishops assemble, it is reasonable to conclude that, on today's market, they should be wearing gold that is valued at approximately 1 MILLION dollars. Because we love GOD, who is LOVE, and we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, we are willing to give OURSELVES and all that we have to the cause of the saving of souls. 
Based on what we preach and proclaim to others, I am sure that we, the CONSECRATED BISHOPS OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST, INC., will gladly give our GOLD for the purpose of financing EDUCATION AND MISSIONS. Jesus gave His life for EDUCATION AND MISSIONS so that we may be empowered to go and teach all nations. He gave us an example of what LOVE will do, and every BISHOP of the Church who understands the power of the Love of God, and who preaches Christ and Him crucified, will rise to the occasion and follow the PRESIDING BISHOP and GENERAL BOARD as they
all join in giving their CONSECRATED GOLD to the cause of EDUCATION AND MISSIONS. When Bishops die, they remove the chain, the cross, and the ring from their dead bodies, so why not give it to Education and Missions while you live. Your gift will help the Church, which you love, to carry out its mission.
When this sacrificial gift is made we will all be able to join with the PRESIDING BISHOP and say:
“I SEE YOU IN THE FUTURE AND YOU LOOK BETTER THAN YOU DO NOW.”

SUGGESTED CEREMONY FOR GIVING OF GOLD 
This ceremony should be conducted in the presence of the GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Led by the Presiding Bishop and General Board, they will all march forward and place their GOLD in a LARGE RECEPTACLE which has been prepared for them. The Presiding Bishop will pray over the gifts and then ask the congregation to stand and join in the singing of “PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW.” 
This one act of LOVE will cause REVIVALto break out in the CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST. INSTEAD OF SENDING OUT BAD NEWS, LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT WE ARE WORSHIPING GOD IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH. WHAT IF THE BISHOPS DON'T DESIRE TO GIVE UP THE GOLD? 
THE POETIC ANSWER FOR THE BISHOPS The breath that you breathe didn't cost you a dime, and the Sun gives you light and heat each day for free; the time that you call yours, is in My power to give, and it's by My grace and mercy that I allow you to live. I allowed you to use My GOLD, because I thought you loved Me; and I expected you to share it, and help to make others free. But I'm disappointed and grieved at how little you care for Me; for when you
withheld your GOLD from others, you withheld it from Me.When viewed from your vestments, Bishops you appear to be; but, that was determined by only what the eyes could see; but, I'm God, the Creator who looks at the Heart, and when you come to Me for help, I’ll say to you depart. In just a few days you, the Leader of the great people of the Church Of God In Christ, Inc., will meet with the saints in our Annual General Assembly in Memphis, Tennessee. Our Church has undergone multiple experiences that have challenged our very souls; but, God is still in control. When you stand to address the General Assembly, and look out over the thousands who will be gathered to hear you, if you will just be quiet and listen, you will hear
them ask: “Is there any word from the Lord?” What will your answer be?  
As I have been inspired to write the above, I trust that something contained therein will help with your answer. Get some rest, kiss Mae, and be ready to meet and greet the saints." ~ Bishop Nesbitt
Well, what will the church do to meet the need? Are the crosses and chains worn on the outside greater than the cost of the cross and the yoke forged on the inside by the work of Jesus in the heart? Let's see if we hear of this idea again. 

25 comments:

  1. Supt Burnett you are doing the work of the Lord, I have been telling everyone I encounter about your blogs and believe me your are on point. Continue to reveal,uncover,and inform the ignorant masses of Christendom.


    Elder DDHerring

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  2. Thank you Elder Herring, let's hope that our leadership have ears to hear because I believe the Lord is speaking!

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  3. Bishop Nesbitt said the bishops wear over $1 Million in jewelry...WOW! now that would be a start for missions wouldn't it?

    Problem, is a bishop a bishop because he can wear a gold ring and a cross?

    I guess some may think that, but the power is not in the vestment...it's in CHRIST!

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  4. WOW! That is a LOT of Gold! Will they give it up? I doubt it. Sad state the church is in when the jewelry the bishops wear alone will fund so much mission work!

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  5. Bless you Supt. Burnett for providing this heart touching letter. I'm extremely blessed to hear about Bishop Nesbitt. Pastor Foster shared with me some info about him but this letter shows me his real heart.

    It kind of reminded me of my Former Pastor Bishop T. D. Iglehart and his love he had for people. His great care he showed towards his church until it was taking away from him by the current leadership.

    I wrote an article about it. If you would like to read it you can view it here:

    http://touchyaneighbor.com/2011/06/03/letter-to-former-cogic-bishop-t-d-iglehart-if-you-only-knew/

    Keep on speaking the truth sir.
    God Bless!

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  6. Elder Davision,

    That was eye opening brother. The Bishop would be proud and I do rememebr hearing his name from Dr. Rose whom I spent about 10 years serving under. You asked:

    Why didn’t you announce your replacement? Why didn’t you train up someone who was like you in thought, action, and deed? Where was your child in the faith, like Timothy was to Paul?

    They just didn't and still don't do that. Why? because like in Bishop Owens case others come in with their own ideas of who should serve next and usually that is based on $$$$ and who will "support the church" the best ie: MORE $$$$$!

    So no matter who HE would have appointed, they (more than likely) would have removed. The Bishop was a great man, the ignorance of those that came insubsequently doesn't reflect on him...it reflects on them and their ability to handle what has been delivered to them healthy, yet they make it sick quickly...sad case, but all to normal as I see it.

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  7. "So no matter who HE would have appointed, they (more than likely) would have removed."

    That's probably true Supt. Burnett...

    And you're right the Bishop was a great man of God. Too bad his son who took over isn't.....

    Thanks for reading sir

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  8. PLEASE GET REAL!!! A jurisdictional bishop's ring and cross does not equal $1 million dollars. I am not a elder but a lay-member of the COGIC. It is essential to have a group of men along with a General Assembly to govern the church. Without this type of leadership and the elections associated with it, the church would be in a terrible shape. Yes COGIC has problems but it was under the leadership-style prior to 1968 we would have more problems. Alot of people are upset with the current church administration and transition that took place in 1968 because they did not acquire a major leadership position. Its amazing, how Pastors and Supts and Auxiliary Bishops have issues with COGIC but if they are elevated as Jurisdictional Bishop, watch and see that they will be put on a robe, ring and chain. We make a mole-hill out of a mountain. In closing, many people are bitter that they never made to it as a Jurisdictional Bishop. Those who have issues in COGIC especially its leadership style should resign as District Superintendents and Auxiliary Bishops. In fact why dont those you have problems go join the other break-away groups that bare COGIC in there name like the United Church of God in Christ...etc. I am quite sure they will give you a robe, chain, ring and made up jurisdiction of 5 churches.

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  9. Anon 7/11;11:01AM,

    OK, so I'm having a hard time understanding your complaint regarding with the Bishop's suggestion.

    Now, no one is talking about structure of authority prior or post 1968 so your commentary regarding that doesn't pertain to this article.

    Secondly, the bishop provides a good and solid basis for the estimated value of the vestments of a gold cross and chain. At the time I am writing this gold is valued at $1,546.98 USD per ounce.

    So is it that your contention that the Bishops gold is worthless??? Is the gold fake??? How many ounces do you suppose that their gold cross and chains are?

    Better yet and to the point that Bishop Nesbitt was affirming that NEITHER a gold cross or a chain makes a bishop. A Gold and Black cord does not make a Supt. Neither does a black cord make a pastor...a Purple cord does not make an Administrative Asst either....

    NONE of these things make any spiritual office complete, so why is it a symbol so valued that even though the church has a need, these things are somehow sacred and representative of our status in the world and cannot be sacrificed?

    So I reverberate your initial sentiment...GET REAL and look at the picture for what it is instead of trying to sell a bill of goods based on perceptions of "thin air" stardom.

    If the church has a need, then all of the leaders that have been deemed and yoked to take the lead in yielding their resource to support the need.

    Will any of the bishops loose their preaching ability because the gold is melted? Will any loose their anointing because the cross isn't suspended around his neck? Will any of them be so financially set back that they will never be able to acquire another one?

    Sorry Elder, but your reasoning regarding the issue leaves MUCH to be desired. Nesbitt proposes what he proposes because he LOVES and is COMMITTED to the church and its well being. I reverberate the sentiment because I LOVE the church, it's history and what it COULD be IF we would simply do and implement what we preach on this and many other levels...those with sentiments like yours either do not understand the real issues or are simply bandwagoners and cheerleaders that comply for sake of attention and outward appearance instead of speaking to power and making individuals accountable to both God and man.

    Sorry, but that type of leadership is no leadership AT ALL!

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  10. You need to understand chemistry before referring to the ounce of Gold. Its referring to pure Gold. Rings and Chains that contain Gold are mixed with other metals. Maybe you should give up your wedding ring and ask the ladies to do the same (all of there gold jewelry) if you think we are all wearing pure Gold and nothing more. I was also referring Bishop Nesbitt's opinion of the church organization. In which he said we should repent of the 1968 re-organization. If had problems with the re-organization why did he remain in COGIC after the re-organization in 1968. Maybe you ask Bishop Nesbitt, did he melt his bishop's cross for the worth of the gold if he wears a cross and ring. I do believe auxiliary bishops also have wear a ring and cross. I could be mistaken. Personally I can careless if a bishop has a chain or ring. He is my suggestion Supt. How about you give your black cassock and all your robes away to made into clothing for the needy. How about ask your choir to give up their robes and your missionaries give up there habits for making clothes. How about sell your cars for the need. In fact sale your church building for the needy and missions.

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  11. Bishop Nesbitt did not say each Bishop's gold was worth a million dollars. It was the sum total of all 300+ combined. 1 Cor 3:3 tells us what the real problem is. Also Is.9:16 "For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed".

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  12. Anon,

    In fact I am well aware of chemistry, and am well aware that the assumptions you make are false. If you believe that gold has no value, whether pure or not, then you're beyond help. If you further believe that pure gold can't be obtained by the high pure gold mix of the jewelry that would be presented, I can't help you there either. So your first logical fallacy is incredulity, simply because you can't figure it out, it ain't so...OK

    To the point, you make many additional absurd parallels and deliver your second logical fallacy of false analogy. To equate a cross and chain worn around the neck in essence for decoration and status, with clothing and or robes or even building in which worship is done is, to put it politely, one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard of.

    First, a building or place of worship is essential to the process of worship and gathering of the Saints even if it's in a home...a cross and chain isn't. Second, clothing, robes, shirts, hats, and pants, are essential for public decency, crosses and chains aren't. Third, even police have uniform by which they do their work, a cross and chain isn't essential as an identifier of a leader.

    So your suggestion to sell all of our clothing is a very ridiculous defense to the question at hand and suggests your third logical fallacy of false dichotomy. Selling all of our clothes has nothing to do with the issue and is not the only possible alternative to accomplish what the Bishop suggests.

    In short, you have no argument my friend, or at least do not have one that is logically coherent. So what is the REAL problem here?

    I think the REAL problem is IDOLATRY. When the Golden calf is kicked over only those who worship it, whatever it is, will holla! We see it plainly.

    Learn to Love GOD more than anything else, then come back and see me.

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  13. I thought auxiliary bishops got the gold chains and rings as well? Is that true?

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    1. Yes! 'tis true. Now where do Auxiliary Bishops come from? THAT, I don't know....

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  14. This is all very sad but at least its entertaining! This is partially the reason I left the COGIC (when I was 13 I had sense enough to see that they had turned my Father's house into a den of thieves) I agree with this article. I sometimes have to slap myself to make sure I am not dreaming. Elijah would more than likely mistake some of these individuals we call "Pastor, Bishop, Right Reverend etc" for prophets of Baal. ........ In 1sam 3 we see God's response for preachers who took more than their fair share from the offerings of the people. And today the Lord is doing the same.

    God is raising up a generation of Samuels who could care less who has what title. They only thing this generation will care about is restoring the broken relationship between God and creation. Right now we are seeing a mass Exodus of COGIC Youth/Young Adults either into more racially diverse churches or out of the Church altogether. In less than 6 years what used to be the largest Pentacostal Denomination Worldwide (COGIC) will be little more than many of its break off groups. This is sad. But if nothing changes this will be.

    Discipleship is "NON EXISTENT" Because most Pastors are more concerned with Job Security or Nepotism than the are with advancing the Kingdom of God.

    IF THE ELDERS AND ANGELS IN HEAVEN CAST OFF THEIR "GOLDEN CROWNS" in before the Lord we should certainly learn to do the same on Earth. That way "IF" we make it to Heaven we won't have such a culture shock.

    Mr. Burnett I cannot sign my name to this comment because I serve in yet another Religious institution who pretty much practices the same things just not as obvious. I and others like myself are working to change that. (I disciple) I would love to very much to contact you, I have followed your work and am inspired. My prayers are with you and your many endeavors. May God grant you all grace, favor and speed to do as He bids you.

    Mr. Anonymous I am glad you stopped commenting because almost everything you said made no logical or Biblical sense except "Please Get Real"

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    1. Dear Supt. Burnett, please do not waste your time trying to explain the good heart and intentions of those who clearly have the best interest of the people. You are an honorable man of God and your integrity must remain intact so that you may continue to be effective in the Kingdom. This ANONYMOUS individual is obviously disgruntled for some reason, and cleary has no regard whatsoever for the servant of God. Thus, he/she is not worth your time!!! Continue serving the Kingdom man of God. Grace and peace be unto you and the BISHOPS, and their rings, crosses and chains!! :-)

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    2. Greetings Again, I agree with Mye-Eva. I actually posted this article on my facebook account and it stirred quite the reaction. Mr. Burnett please keep up the good work!

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    3. Thanks and let's find some more to post on Facebook! They need to be stirred up to righteousness-LOL!!!!

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  15. FOR ANYONE'S INFO...I DO NOT SELL CROSSES AND CHAINS...IF I GET ONE MORE PHONE CALL-LOL!!!!!

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  16. I believe that the only people who are offended when you preach against fornication are fornicators. This article is not only enlightening truth it is also convicting. "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Holy Spirit would say to the Church"

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  17. Wow there are a lot of negativity on this Gold as well as judgement, now who is judging who, these self same elders of this great ole cogic, you guys better watch it because who you don't think see's you does

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  18. love the lord and not so much of self, Judge not that you would not be Judged and keep your mouth off of people, many have entertained angels unaware

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    1. Larry, we KNOW who we serve...as an ordained Elder in this church for over 20 years I KNOW who I serve and it ain't no bishop or man! Charlatans need to be exposed and God has told us to cry loud and show HIS people their sins (Is. 58:1) Have you forgotten the FIRST call to God and that is to love HIM? I haven;t and I won't...

      If folk intend to do right, they will...sometimes they have to be exposed and embarrassed into making the right decisions because some of them won't do so on their own.

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  19. District Supt Burnett- my Pastor and Spiritual Father will become a Bishop in June of 2015 and saw this ring on the blog. Can you give me information about it?

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    1. Ettaray,

      Please refer to the comment dated March 26, 2013 at 5:24PM...Thanks.

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