By: Angela Lee Price
When your spiritual gifts are teaching, administration and prophecy, it goes without saying that those gifts must be properly developed through rigorous study of the Word of God. Just as my spiritual gifts come in threes, so do the motivations that lead to the announcement of my call to the ministry. Those motivations were my mother’s lifelong battle with schizophrenia, my passion for polemics and apologetics, and the ministry of Rev. Dr. Kevin Cosby.
My mother, who celebrated her 72nd birthday this month, has suffered from schizophrenia most of my life. The illness was exacerbated by the stresses of poverty, her husband abandoning the family and never paying child support, and a so-called deacon-turned-pastor who preyed on her illness and her three children for more than thirty years. Life worsened to the point of my running away from home my senior year in high school to live with Dr. Cosby’s uncle and aunt, William and Beatrice Bush, and their family. I bless God for placing me with such a loving Christian family. Mrs. Bush helped me to understand that as the oldest child I could not abandon my mother because she would need me if she stood any hope of getting better.
My mother’s condition worsened while I was in college at the University of Louisville. Going through the ordeal of taking out three mental inquest warrants, and my brother taking out a fourth, against the woman I once knew as sole nurturer, role model and protector was not only agonizing, but became a source of depression until I began to rely on God. My mother was very non-compliant, became a recluse and was addicted to television. She watched a considerable amount of Christian programming, particularly late at night.
Mrs. Masie Griggs Lee, now a member of St. Stephen Church, was once a follower of Bennie Hinn Ministries. For years, Hinn kept telling her she was healed in the name of Jesus, and that all she needed to do was rebuke the devil and lay hands on the television to receive her miracle. Whenever she believed his lies, my family and me in particular as I was her sole social security disability income payee, limited guardian, and power of attorney, had to war against the spirit that possessed her mind and body.
As I began to study the Word of God and pray earnestly for the Lord’s help, He began providing resources, through trained doctors and nurses, and information, not only on mental illness, medications and nutrition, but also on dealing with the demonic through proper spiritual warfare techniques, cults and false doctrines within the pale of orthodoxy, and the occult. My
experiences have developed within me certain sensitivities for those suffering needlessly, and I want to do all necessary in accordance with Luke 4:18-19 to dispel myths that keep souls in bondage.
Internet discernment ministries have been another source of motivation for a public announcement of my call to the ministry on December 16, 2001. For several years prior to the announcement, I conducted independent research on the aforementioned subjects on literally two hundred or more discernment ministries websites. The information I learned, and continue to learn, has totally reshaped the way I view 21st century Christianity. Of all my years of web surfing, however, I have encountered only one African American site devoted to polemics and apologetics. Consequently, I hope to launch a website to address false trends in the church from an African American perspective.
Finally, my pastor Rev. Dr. Kevin Cosby has influenced my call to the ministry in countless ways. His knowledge of African American history and African American church history is unparalleled. His anointed teachings and sermons of the early 1990s not only helped St. Stephen Church grow exponentially, but also helped me to mature in the faith and be delivered from psychological torture and abuse at the hands of a white Jesus firmly rooted in racism, and deeply embedded in my mind. Whenever I am asked to preach, I am mindful, as the Lord leads, to encourage continued study of African American history and culture.
Dr. Kevin Cosby is the primary reason I am now attending Simmons College of Kentucky. I know that any degree obtained at Simmons with Dr. Cosby at the helm will be recognized nationally at accredited institutions as proof of diligent, legitimate study of the Word of God. I desire nothing less for my ministry.
(An abbreviated version of my autobiographical essay to Simmons College of Kentucky.)
From: Jesus Saves Ministries Newsletter - October, 2005.
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