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    Bishop Eddie Long Revisited

    MannaXPRESS Bishop-Eddie-Long-and-Wife-4 Bishop Eddie Long Revisited

    Eight Things I Think About Bishop Eddie Long

    [dropcap]A[/dropcap]tlanta’s Bishop Eddie Long, senior pastor of the 25,000-member megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist, made national news last year when three young men he’d mentored came forward with claims of sexual relationships with the revered pastor and community leader. Long categorically denied all of the allegations, even when another young man stepped forward with stories of sexual acts, rides in fast cars, trips on private planes to exotic locations, and even a kind of marriage ceremony between Long and the boys. Four of the men filed suit against Long and New Birth, claiming sexual misconduct. News reports say Long settled out of court earlier this year, but just last week new allegations against Long emerged when church members filed a lawsuit against the pastor accusing him of encouraging them to invest their money in a faith-based Ponzi scheme.

    We’ll likely never know what really happened, but as I’ve considered what we do know, there are a few things I can’t help but think about Eddie Long and his scandal.

    1. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I don’t know many pastors who would hold their smartphones up in a mirror and snap pictures of their reflection. I certainly don’t know any that would do this while wearing Spandex biker shorts, a muscle shirt, and a backward Kangol cap and then send it to a young man.

    MannaXPRESS bishop-eddie-long-bathroom-camera-phones1-4 Bishop Eddie Long Revisited
    Picture Bishop Long sent to one of his accusers

    Moreover, four men have come forward with eerily similar stories, and some have offered details of their experiences with Long that most young men would be too embarrassed to share with their closest confidants, much less the public. That’s a lot of smoke.

    2. Vulnerable young men are easy prey. Long’s accusers were alike in many ways. Most were from single-parent, low-income homes and lacked a father figure. A powerful man with gobs of money and fast cars is extremely alluring to a young man seeking validation and an opportunity to have access to money and material things he otherwise would never see.

    MannaXPRESS long-with-one-of-his-accusedrs1-4 Bishop Eddie Long Revisited
    Bishop Long with one of his accusers

    This is not rocket science. In drug-infested neighborhoods, neighbors know what’s up when a young man suddenly wears expensive sneakers and drives a new car. Doesn’t this raise a red flag in churches too?

    3. Church members turned a blind eye. But why? You wonder how all of this could take place under the noses of Long’s leadership team and thousands of congregation members, especially when people outside the church saw warning signs–and at least one, Stephen Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine, tried to confront him about rumors he’d heard that Long was involved in homosexuality. (Long rebuffed him, as Strang wrote in his May 31 column, “Randy White, Eddie Long and Matthew 18.”) It’s a case of don’t-ask, don’t-tell. Long is powerful and wealthy. He built a nationally recognized megaministry practically from the ground up. He was a part of influential church circles. He helped people. Who would have wanted to confront a Goliath like that? Ironically, when Long addressed his congregation about the allegations, he likened himself to David and his situation as his Goliath, cleverly casting himself as the victim in all of this. Young boys were allegedly victimized; Long was not.

    4. The First Lady will stand by her man—at least in public. I don’t know much about Eddie Long’s wife Vanessa or the state of their relationship, but the wife of a pastor as rich and powerful as Long would stand to lose quite a bit if she were to turn on him. The role of the first lady in the black church–especially large Charismatic churches such as New Life–is unlike that of any other pastor’s wife. Just like their husbands, many have an entourage of armor-bearers, or servers ,who are essentially personal assistants ready to make sure their leaders’ needs are met. Wealthy or not, the life of a first lady in the black church can be quite lavish. It’s not uncommon to see these servers running personal errands, carrying bags, getting water, and even fanning their charges if they get hot. And if the personal assistant isn’t enough, many first ladies seem to have a limitless shopping allowance. Custom-made suits and soaring hats are plentiful and not-so-subtly proclaim the first lady’s status. Any woman might think twice about giving all that up. But consider the attitude of the Apostle Paul: He was so upset with the people of Lystra when they tried to worship him that he ripped his clothes in despair. The book of James warns sternly against playing favorites in the body of Christ. Is our practice of elevating pastors and first ladies a healthy thing, or do some churches take “caring” for their leaders too far?

    5. Where was the accountability structure? I wonder if Long in his position as church leader ever had anyone in his life that he was transparent with. Was there anyone who would call him on the carpet about inappropriate behavior or questionable relationships? I’d venture to say no. How do so many clergy get away with having no checks in place to make sure they stay submitted to God? Or are they quite intentional about gradually slipping out of the reach of anyone willing to address sin?

    6. Money, greed, power, and sex are a deadly combination. The Word says the love of money is the root all of evil, and I believe it. Having money is not bad; loving money is the problem. Add lust and power to the mix and you have a combustible situation. Many men of God have fallen when they’ve given in to their vices, and the more deeply rooted the vices, the harder the fall. Ask Ted Haggard, the married pastor and father who led a large ministry for years while secretly indulging in drugs and gay sex. It happens when greed and control go unchecked. Abraham Lincoln said it best: Nearly all men can withstand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

    7. New Birth will go on with Long as the leader. The lawsuits were settled out of court, with confidentiality agreements on all sides. So what happens next? Nothing. Long wasn’t found guilty of anything, and although there are reports that many of the church’s members have left, he still has a significant following. For many complex historical and social reasons, black pastors and ministers are esteemed in their roles infinitely more than any other group of people in similar positions. It often takes much more than a little sexual indiscretion to get a black pastor ousted. Occasionally, if the heat turns up high enough, a pastor, if caught in some kind of public sin, will step down permanently or for a period of time, but most are well-loved by fiercely dedicated, loyal, and protective members.  Historically speaking, black pastors were often the ones in the communities who were educated and able to speak up on behalf of the people in political and social matters. Many were and are charismatic leaders and brilliant orators proclaiming a message of hope and change and a better life to mostly poor and uneducated communities. Black pastors are often seen as a beacon of light in dark circumstances. That, combined with an unshakable sense of family loyalty and protection that many African-Americans share with one another when a leader or esteemed individual is perceived as being attacked, make it very difficult for a pastor to be relieved of his pastoral duties even in the face of egregious sin. It’s certainly OK to be supportive of a leader you think has been falsely accused. It’s not OK to ignore red flags and open sin.

    8. What happens to his accusers? Perhaps someday they’ll write a tell-all. Maybe they’ll fade away and we’ll never hear from them again. Their lives will be changed forever. Eddie Long will continue to preach, though with a tarnished name. But what about other church leaders in compromising circumstances? I suspect many will become more comfortable in their ways. Sure, a few church members may quietly slip away, unwilling to raise a ruckus about what’s going on, but by and large, serious infractions will continue to go unchecked.

    MannaXPRESS bishop-eddie-long-accusers1-5 Bishop Eddie Long Revisited
    Bishop Eddie Long’s accusers

    And what about new or impressionable believers who become disillusioned after witnessing these things? They will surely question their faith and spiritual leaders or even face a serious crisis of belief. But reaching a clear understanding that God uses broken vessels–including willing but utterly fallen participants–to spread the gospel will go a long way in easing their angst.

    We all sin. As long as we’re on earth in our fallen state we’ll miss the mark, but Christ is the standard for Christian leadership. And through prayer, through accountability, and through the pursuit of holiness, pastors and leaders should be able to model Christ, leading lives and reflecting character that is beyond reproach.

    Stephanie Morris-Graves is a publicist, freelance writer, and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. She lives in the Dallas area with her husband and their two children. 

    Stephanie Graves
    Stephanie Graves
    is a publicist, freelance writer, and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. She lives in the Dallas area with her husband and their two children.

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    36 COMMENTS

    1. Nice one. We are all human but there are times we need to stop making excuses and hiding under the(I am only human)umbrella especially if you are engaged in something morally wrong.

    2. It’ a dog on shame! US Christians need to let our light shine so that sinners will see the lord through us!! I am not judging but why would this pastor long send his picture in spandex to these young men’s cell phones? we all have our so call demons , some more than others. mr. long should apologize to those he has violated and REPENT! THIS WHOLE CHRISTIAN THING IS NO JOKE!! if repentance is not what he really wants in his heart, then he need to step down!! now as far as the congregation looking the other way LORD HAVE MERCY ON THEM!!

    3. I don’t get it. Why is Bishop Long still behind the pulpit? What kind of slumber are members of his congregation in? My, my, my!

    4. Eddie Long has been stopped by his wrong doings in Jesus eyes . He has made enough money to live till he is called home. He should get his self respect and step down not because of guilt because it is the right thing to do as a family man and a man of God he knows the word and should follow by that word .He knows the truth and so does God who see’s it all I pray he will step down and move away and just pray at home with is family while he ask Jesus for forgiveness repent your sins and move on .

    5. Eddie Long foundation is not built on the foundation of Christ. Show me where Jesus applied for a not for profit status. When did he pass the basket begging people for money and prophetlying. The fastest growing business is a church. Many are erected by individuals who say they were called. Remember when Paul was called he was blinded and instructed to be carried to someone who prepared him to leave. The point is someone else validated that calling by Jesus also telling them.

    6. Stephanie, you have asked some crucial questions, and there are two questions that I have been asking since this thing happened. 1. Where was the accountability structure and 2. Who is praying and advocating for the victims? I am still waiting for the answers to those questions.

    7. If I wasn’t guilty I’d fight it all the way just to clear my name. But since he didn’t fight that says it all. My friend was a member there and she’s still dealing with it but she’s no longer active. This has damaged alot of people. Very sick & sad. One. Thing is sure that judgment is coming on the guilty it always does. But to be over people’s spiritual lives doing this is dishonorable to God. Guilty or not he should sit himself down.

    8. Sandra I could not have agreed with you more. Christianity is not a game, more than all it is not a joke. We can either be a christian or a non-christian. We should never sit on the fence of christianity and proclaim it to be what it is not. God will never be mocked. 🙁

    9. lisa,he has to face god one day ,so lets not judge him..who can case that stone,we all have sin and felt shore,so we all will be judge one day…keep prayin for him his day will ..so as mines..i hate to hear this but let god judge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    10. To whom much is given,much is required. When you are the head of a church you are held to a higher accountability level.The church is being scrutinized and being watched under a microscope as it is.Everyone is watching and waiting to see us faulter.I do not know what did or didn’t happen in this case what I do know is this;every single one of us ,from the Pulpit to the street corner will have to stand before GOD and give an account of our lives and what we we did with the time we were blessed with on this earth. It’s not anyones place to lay judgement but the LORDS.I do not condone sexual abuse or any other sin for that matter.This should make each of us search ourselves and ask ourselves this question “Am I where I should be in the sight of God and if not Lord help me to get on track and be more like Jesus.Pray and read the Bible to show yourself approved.

    11. i will never know the truth but who am I to judge him.That’s not our position in God’s eyes.When its all said and done we should pray for Bishop Long as well as the accusers.If and when he decide to step down he will.

    12. Bishop Long knows damn well he was trying to if not sleeping with those young men.It is a dang on shame and his wife is ignorant as hell for standing by him. There is no way any man would be sending another man or boy photos like he did, in fact.what BISHOP.PASTOR.CLERGY.WEARS THEM TIGHT ASS SHIRTS… on or off the pulpit. I am disgraced. My heart hearts for all the lost souls in that church. Worst part is this is Atlanta where homosexuality is very well received. If he wanted to excercise a homosexual lifestyle this is definately the state to do it in. Here, he could open a gay church and it would be just as mega as the one he has right now as Atlanta is infested with same sex unions. I am not judging what GROWN people do behind closed doors but when you are a public figure, a man of the cloth, you should be the one if anyone to be trusted. Question, would any of you allow your son to spend the night with Bishop Long or Michael J if he were still alive??? I’d really like 2 know

    13. Because I don’t have all the facts I will not venture to say what is truth and what isn’t, but what I will and say for certain is that everything done in the dark will come to light and vengeance is the Lord’s. Anyone who does anything against man/woman of God or the children of God will have to face His wrath.

    14. No matterr what we say or think God is the final judge in this matter, We are to judge angels and we cannot judge the least matter in the church today.It is not for the unrighteous to judge anyone but those of us who follow God and are called according to God’s purpose we may judge in God righteousness. Please if he is guilty of what he has done he needs to repent and do his first works over and that is getting back in God’s mercy and grace. If my brother falls he can fall seven times or more and get back up under repentence. Once he repents he is forgiven by God and can continue the walk of faith and forgiveness of God. We must forgive and forget and continue to follow Jesus. Amen? bishop Long if you have truly repented you are forgiven, now go and do your first works over by getting back to the alter and regain your status. Remember David, Salomon, Moses and others that fell and were able to come back. God Bless all and may God keep Bishop Long in his queat for salvation.
      🙂

    15. I don’t understand why there are post actually stating he should not be judged. We curl-up under denial as a toddler to its blanky. If we do not hold institutions like CHURCHES AND BANKS ACCOUNTABLE, then they will do as they please. How many people have lost their homes because there was no one held accountable. The church is for the people and the people better learn to stand up for God’s house. Atleast investigate if there is actually a fire if you see smoke. Don’t we care who is on the mic, not what’s in his pocket, but what’s in his heart? I bet if that was your brother or future husband you’d want an investigation. God is the truth and the light. So TURN THE LIGHTS ON PEOPLE!

    16. It is not our place to judge,though it is our place to act as a lawful society that governs and when a criminal act has been committed the accused must stand accountable.
      As a “Man of God” you are held to a higher standard as God says “When given much, much is required.” All of these new wave charismatic pastors and bigger then life churches all need to be investigated….If your on TV begging for money and preaching the prosperity message, you two need to be investigated…Talk about a Ponzi scheme.

    17. I use to set my tv to record bishop long service but I deleted all episodes it’s sad for someone to mislead others that is why it’s so hard to find a good trusting church.

    18. ‘A wolf in sheep’s clothing’. Preaching about God and Christ, but walking in the same pathways like a devil. Damn shame. Read the bible YOURSELF! Pray and ask God for understanding, and try studying the bible YOURSELF! Stop looking at ‘man’ like he is some ‘GOD’.
      :-*

    19. Many say – we should not judge. WE are not the judge but GOD IS THE JUDGE and he has already said immoral behavior is WRONG! We, as the followers of GOD and as his children only REPEAT what our Father says is wrong. What GOD says is sin is sin! God is the judge, His followers repeat it – so be it!!!!

    20. No one is that easily manipulated or vunerable. However it is not my place to judge but because of his name and status he gets more media play than the average. I say let go and let God. Pray for all of them and let that be that on that. If someone went into our closets and pulled out skeletons would we be able to handle the pressure this family has had to endure. I could handle it but I would not want to!

    21. I just remember what Jesus told the people that was getting ready to stone the adulteress woman, “He without sin cast the first stone” they couldn’t stone her, because of their sin as well, yes I assume he done wrong(wasn’t there)but God is a forgiving God of all,and we as Christian can’t throw a stone, we must forgive no matter how bad it hurts, we have to examine ourselves to see if there is anything we have done, and am very sure there is, so we want forgiveness from God, we must also forgive,and try to put the past behind, and go on with our lives

    22. “Let he without sin cast the first stone”. One thing I know “GOD” don’t play, look around you and see what’s happening in the world today. Pastor long is no different than you or me, we are all sinners. Stop looking up to a man as if he’s GOD (NOT). Look in the mirror at yourself to see your own faults you need to correct. Try to live like JESUS did, just try. Peace to you All and lets set an example so GOD can smile upon us again and again.

      • He that covereth his sins shall not prosper but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Prov.28:13. Yes, we must not judge but no man can hide anything from the omniscient God. If truly Eddie Long did all these things, it is required of him not to professionalize the pulpit by holding on to his position at the expense of his standing before his maker. Stern judgement awaits deceitful leaders therefore let all men turn away from sin.

    23. Bishop Long as a man of God that you say you are, be the bigger person and step down. When you settle you are hiding. Repent. To follow a leader that has been accused of such a crime is terrible. How can you preach to me and your life is not right. Step down get yours right and then maybe.

    24. My dear brothers and sisters,

      Please don’t misapply the Word especially when referencing judgement. As Christians, we have the right to stand up for the Lord and what is right, our dear sister is spot on and we should commend her and not condemn. Eddie Long brought this upon himself and needs to deal with the consequences. I can’t say it better than it’s already been said. I’m praying the Lord tear down this church and that the people will learn the Truth, whoe this false teachers and folks who support his foolishness

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