Saturday, August 18, 2018

"Rev. Bernice Hicks, founder of Christ Gospel Church, dies."


I have neither the time nor the energy to devote to a detailed rendering of the religious quackery embodied by Bernice Hicks, who died a few days ago. However, we all deserve an obituary, even if it avoids the controversial bits.

LEGACY OF LOVE: Rev. Bernice Hicks, founder of Christ Gospel Church, dies, by Chris Morris (Tom May Sidestepped This One)

 ... Rev. Hicks, who founded the Christ Gospel Churches International, which has its headquarters on 10th Street in Jeffersonville, died Sunday. She was 99 years old.

A letter dated Aug. 12 from the Rev. Allen Conway to members of the church confirmed her passing.

"It is with great sorrow to share that our mother, and our Beloved Pastor and Spiritual Guide, Rev. Bernice R. Hicks, has passed from this life to eternity. She went to her Heavenly Home earlier this afternoon."

Under her leadership, Christ Gospel Church has more than 2,000 members at its Jeffersonville church, and more than 1,000 congregations throughout the world. She also wrote more than 120 books during her ministry.

Andrew Takami, a longtime member of the church, called the religious leader a "mentor" and said the two had a deep friendship.

"She had a lot to do with my spiritual growth," Takami said. "We were very close."

It should be noted that for an inveterate skeptic like me, religion is quackery by definition, and so I'm not singling out the late Sister Hicks as an exemplar.

Far more importantly, it strikes me that younger readers might not even know that for almost as long as Christ Gospel Church has existed, it has battled accusations of being a cult. Can it be denied that Hicks herself was the object of a personality cult?

Gahan had to get the idea from somewhere, and Warren isn't Pentecostal.

Deep Study: Berniece Hicks, Christ Gospel Church International

Of all the sub-cults inspired by, affiliated with, or created by Rev. William Marrion Branham, the Christ Gospel Church International (CGC) followers of Rev. Berniece Hicks is most interesting by proximity. Its headquarters is also located in Jeffersonville, Indiana, less than three miles from the Branham Tabernacle. When asking the locals if they were familiar with the religious cult in Jeffersonville, it is not surprising that the answer given is often "which one?"

Of course to me, they're all cult-like to lesser or greater degrees, but specifically, the legendary Courier-Journal expose in 1979 served as a coming-out for Hicks' critics.


At a website called Seek the Truth, cult survivor John Collins elaborates.

Deep Study: Berniece Hicks, Christ Gospel Church International

Of all the sub-cults inspired by, affiliated with, or created by Rev. William Marrion Branham, the Christ Gospel Church International (CGC) followers of Rev. Berniece Hicks is most interesting by proximity. Its headquarters is also located in Jeffersonville, Indiana, less than three miles from the Branham Tabernacle. When asking the locals if they were familiar with the religious cult in Jeffersonville, it is not surprising that the answer given is often "which one?"

When new escapees of the CGC group first contact us, they are often surprised to learn how many of their "sacred teachings" were so similar to that of William Branham's teachings.

Collins quotes the 1979 C-J piece.

... Those who escape give similar testimonies of undue influence, further supporting the studies of mindcontrol in the "Message". But these stories are nothing new. Apparently, Christ Gospel Church International has been under examination for several years as members escape and give testimony.

The former members said that Mrs. Hicks controls the lives of her church members, that she delves into their sexual habits, that she tape-records conversation she has with members. They say that she is given large sums of money, that she has a valuable collection of antiques bought with church money, that she has an unlimited expense account.
Courier Journal, April 12, 1979

Investigative reporters have looked into the financial allegations of the CGC sect for years, concerned that donations to the church were being used for personal gain.

"There is so much money involved here ... We talked with people who gave their refrigerators, their TVs, even their houses, to the church. I think when you're talking about large amounts of money, it takes the subject out of the private sector and into the public sector."
Courier Journal, April 15, 1979


In recent years, it seems that a new generation of Christ Gospel adherents has made a conscious effort to main-stream-line the experience. However, dissidents remain.

The link to the featured website is broken in this NA Confidential post from September 18, 2016, making a point that these dissidents come and go, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that a "hot" propaganda war is being fought all of the time between the church and its recovering former members.

Whither Sister Hicks and the Christ Gospel Church?


Interestingly, the book Christ Gospel Church and Sister Hicks Revealed: A Critique of the Bride's Message, which is mentioned at the web site (below), was published only three months ago.

In turn, these critiques remain topical after 37 years. According to the math in the newspaper article from 1979, Sister Hicks now is somewhere around the age of 97.

Has her Main Street domicile ever been included on the Historic Home Tour?

Whoa.

Christ Gospel Church and Sister Hicks Revealed

This site was created for those who wish to know of or have ever been associated with Christ Gospel Church and Sister Hicks and provide them an in-depth review of her doctrinal teachings, specifically her own fabrication of the Bride's doctrine. In it, we will layout a clear and fair judgment of Hicks and her teachings. Bernice Hicks, better known as Sister Hicks, makes prolific claims for herself and the "message" she espouses. That message is called the "Bride's message." Hicks claims that God personally gave her this teaching. When Hicks states that Jesus Christ speaks to her, she does not mean it as most would say, allegorically, but as in the flesh. By analyzing her claims and weighing her teachings against the writings of the apostles this site will attempt to show that Hicks' doctrine has no support from the scriptures and should be considered an inferred fabrication. Her persistence to falsely proclaim and uphold a special prophet status with her congregation would eventually be her undoing.

Previously:

Praise the Lord and pass the Hoptimus, it's a miracle! Sister Hicks' sidewalk escapes Rosenbarger's (wrecking) Balls.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Look into the pedophile cover ups. The evidence is public record. I have documentation to prove it.

Unknown said...

There were arranged marriages as well