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Roland S. Martin
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Bishop Eddie L. Long Must Step Down

Comment

The power of any pastor over his or her parishioners is derived from their "calling" to minister the Gospel from God, or as some call it, the anointing by the Holy Spirit. But the role of a pastor — the Bible speaks to being a shepherd of a flock — also comes from the belief that it is their moral standing as the earthly representative of God to lead their congregations spiritually.

If you read the writings of Paul in 1 Timothy 3 (New International Version), he offers the following instructions: "Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) ... He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap."

As we witness the salacious and troubling sex allegations leveled this week against Atlanta mega-church pastor Bishop Eddie L. Long, it is clear that many are confused to hear four young men come forward and allege that the man of the cloth, the husband and father, sexually coerced them and used the power of his prophetic position to engage in sex with them. It is even more shocking considering Long has preached with conviction against homosexuality and gay marriage.

The details outlined in three lawsuits — a fourth man stepped forward on Friday — have rocked the Christian community. Bishop Long isn't just a preacher with a storefront church. He oversees a massive 240-acre complex in Lithonia, Ga., just outside of Atlanta, a congregation of 25,000 members; schools; and an international ministry that is seen on TBN, Daystar, The Word Network and online. He is widely respected as a strong man of God who ministers annually to fellow pastors, men, youth and a mega women's and marriage conference.

His influence is tremendous and far reaching, even in the areas of education and politics in Georgia.

With all that said, and I fully understand that he has vigorously denied the allegations, there is no doubt in my mind that for the sake of the church, Long and his family, he needs to remove himself from the pulpit as the leader of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in order for the issue to be resolved to its conclusion.

In an interview with me on Thursday on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Long's attorney, Craig Gillen, said his client would speak for the first time Sunday at 11 a.m.

and address the issue before his congregation.

While I disagree with waiting five days since the allegations were revealed — if someone accused me of doing this and I know in my heart I didn't do it, I would be screaming from the top of Georgia's Stone Mountain — Long first and foremost owes an explanation to his personal family, and then his church family.

If he does indeed stand before the New Birth family, Long should be honest and forthright, not mince words or engage in double talk, and after whatever he says, he should take it upon himself to "sit himself down."

In the Christian church, when a pastor is accused of wrongdoing, going through a divorce or violating the biblical call to be above "reproach," the senior pastor orders them to be "sat down." That means they don't carry out their ministerial duties. The point is to protect the integrity of the Word of God, as well as to allow that pastor to get his or her affairs in order.

As the leader of New Birth, there is no human authority above Long. But he has a heavenly father that he has to answer to, and he must not allow his personal travails to interfere with the good and expansive works of the church. Souls still need to be saved; people still need to be healed; the sick still must be cared for, and the naked clothed.

Yet I also hope that when Long speaks, he does one of two things: If in his mind and heart he has done no wrong, he will launch a vigorous defense of his name and integrity, and vow with every fiber in his body to fight the charges, even if that means spending every dime he has and not settle the lawsuits.

But if he is guilty of what is alleged, I pray that Long doesn't stand before his church as its spiritual father and continue the charade of saying "I didn't do it" and tear into his accusers. God, Long and those young men know what took place, and as someone who has listened to many of his sermons and read his books, Long has often talked about the need for Christians, especially men, to be accountable for their actions and confessing their sins.

If guilty, and he truly cares about his enormous flock, he will stand before them and admit to the error of his ways, and not put them through more pain and heartache. He is a charismatic pastor who has always been known to preach an uncompromising Word, unwilling to say what folks want to hear, but instead, what they need to hear.

Bishop Long, your congregation, and the world, doesn't want to hear excuses. They don't want ambiguity.

Your motto at New Birth for years has been "Taking Authority." This is the time for you to live that credo out before your flock, no matter what the outcome will be.

Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and the author of the forthcoming book "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin." Please visit his website at www.RolandSMartin.com. To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

14 Comments | Post Comment
I agree with this article wholeheartedly, what a travesty this is but to think God is so merciful to give him an opportunity to repent, I pray he takes advantage of it. My Mother always said, "You watch a minister whose conversation is always intense on specific topics, he/she is usally guilty." The fact that he had the nerve to bring God into his Sodom & Gomorrah mess-and set himself on high-like Lucifer, just really sets it off for me. Please if the what he did with these boys was right, God owes the people of Sodom & Gomorrah an apology!
Comment: #1
Posted by: Sophia
Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:06 AM
I agree that Bishop Eddie should take a leave while this issue is resolved. We must remember that these accusations do not mean that the Bishop is guilty of any of these acts. When there is a million dollars on the table all kinds of people will make claims true or false to get their pay day.

"The love of money is the root of all evil" 1 Timothy 6:10, KJV
Comment: #2
Posted by: Keith
Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:12 PM
God it's so sad that this life is so twisted....yes i believe he should step down....the rumor was all around b 4 the boys came forward.I too am consumed by a pastor...you think they are so true/honest but it's not always the case. :(
Comment: #3
Posted by: cynthia123456
Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:15 AM
First I want to say that,"He that is without sin cast the first stone" now that we got that settle, that brother Bishop Long, can do one of two things today and that is confess and repent, or bind those demons yes all four of them in Jesus Name.
Yes the word says out of the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be confrimed, so sense there are the two and three witnesses he has no choice but to prove that these people are trying too destroy his good name, and his family, we must be sure this is not a gay right lie to bring this brother down.
So as the church of Jesus Christ we must be in prayer for Bishop and The New Birth Family. Amen...
Comment: #4
Posted by: Ossie
Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:34 AM
Rather they are Man or Woman you forgive, but they still have to give in account of your wrong doing..If the allegations are true, this man of God can not be set a side as though nothing has happen, If that is the case all those who has eve...r done anything to children all over the world should not be punished.

These parents, followers that have put trust in this (Man of the cloth) to teach there kids (WWJD) to love, forgive, and the whole nine yards. What about the Children and what they have to go though. the shame, and the hurt, and there mental process (What if it was our child or a family members child?
If the allegation are true would we be saying he is just a (Man or Woman? God is faithful and just to forgive all of us, but is our faith really that strong when or if it hits (HOME?)See More
Thursday at 8:53pm ∑ LikeUnlike ∑ 1 personBenjamin Wilson likes this..
Comment: #5
Posted by: Lena
Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:36 PM
I think it is up to his congregation to decide...he is their leader not the general public. The Baptist Church has a trustee board and other auxiliaries that will take the appropriate actions. God Bless those church members and I hope they make the right decision.
Comment: #6
Posted by: joyce
Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:41 PM
I think this entire situation is heartbreaking. Only God knows the truth, and the truth will eventually surface. I think the Bishop should step down if found guilty. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and some people form those opinions based on limited information. Others form opinions with no information at all. If Bishop Long immediately told the media, "I Did Not Do It", would that convince others that he is innocent? Probably not. The fact is, no one knows how they would handle the situation, if it were them. He is probably still in a state of shock. I pray for both the Bishop and those kids, because whomever is lying has to live with themselves and be judged by God, and not us! Additionally, the pictures that are now floating around does not prove a thing. It was stated that the boys broke into his church office and stole an IPhone and Ipad, which of course, stores personal data. They could have easily sent data from his phone to theirs, since it was in their posession. I am just not convinced right now that the accusations are legit. Until there is legitimate evidence, I say innocent until proven guilty.
Comment: #7
Posted by: D Elba
Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:26 PM
I just heard a commentary by Rev. Al Sharpton on this very subject . I believe that pastors are human to, but we have to hold our leaders at a higher level. These leaders have to hold themselves at a higher level because the public is watching your every move. Yes, he needs to step down. He would ask any other member of his staff to do that, thereforehe needs to lead by example.

Comment: #8
Posted by: paula bomani
Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:44 AM
I agree that Bishop Long should step down. As a leader of many faithful church members, he should take the route of humility and spare his memebers all of the embarrasment that is coming along with all of this publicity, whether he is innocent or not; we're NOT there yet and until he is found not guilty, he should set his big ego aside and realize that he is not above reproach, because that type of mind-set is what got him in this mess in the first place. Additionally, after watching him speak to his congreation on Sunday, I didn't see NY HUMMILITY and he certainly wasn't as self-assured as he normally is.... some would say how could he when he is having to deal with this; I say if he is innocent, why can't he. He also left himself an out by saying, "I'm not a perfect man", that's not news to anyone but himself, as he has allowed his ego and the material gains, go to his head. He has continued to deceive his wife, children and church members and I say, pack it up in prayer, Bishop Long and stop living a double life and thinking only of yourself!!
Comment: #9
Posted by: Lawannah
Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:08 AM
This does not SHOCK me that this is coming to the light regarding the devil using people that SAY they are of God.Do as I say not as I do/thats the mindset of a lot of church goers/whether they are in the pulpit or an usher at the door/if you name/the name of Christ you must watch and pray WHO?/Ourselves lest we slip,stumble,and fall.Like anything else/ No one is above the LAW/the Law of this world or the LAW of God/you can Run but we can't hide(but for so long)/lives have been destroyed/His family,the church,the Young men who were fed lies to satisfy someones FLESH/Good will prevail/it may seem like it won't but i bet you your last REd cent!/Good will prevail/The pastor in question should leave his post/So as to save the heartache of his followers to put him OUT/just bow out gracefully/God still loves him if he will REPENT of his wrong doing/But if we will be haughty/we will fall, and GREAT will be the fall/Those young men are RUINED,BUt God will Restore them if they hang on in there/some folks feel it's about the MONEY//Let us not front if money is involved/they should be compensated for the therapy they will need,and believe me they need it! I am praying for all involved
Comment: #10
Posted by: Elsie Ray
Fri Oct 1, 2010 9:09 AM
I am a victim of molestation (same sex violation) and I thoroughly understand what each of these guys are processing in their minds even over the past several years or aftermath. Eddie Long had the opportunity to say to the world I am innocent, but said instead that the man he's being portrayed by the media is not the man that he really is. I agree, but all he is saying is that he is not the "molester/homo-sexual" that did and enjoyed those acts, deeds, encounters. No, he' would rather be known as a husband and father and not let the deeds done in darkness overrule his preference to be portrayed in a "positive light". The reality is that we can forgive the truth of being guilty, but to be guilty, have the opportunity to repent and not take it offers no remedy. Stop blaming the victims and deal harshly with the abusers. Blacks are the first people to defend their race when they feel they are being treated with injustice. This is injustice......ask the victims!!!
Comment: #11
Posted by: Mario
Tue Oct 5, 2010 7:16 PM
Re: Sophia
Your post has assumed that the bishop is guilty. Trust me, I'm no fan of his - or of any of the so-called prosperity/faith confession/word faith preachers, but it's wrong to simply suggest or imply that he's guilty even before a trial.
If he's guilty, then I agree with the article that he should step down. Even if he isn't, the allegations are so strong that I cannot see him functioning as a leader. This should serve as a lesson for those who treat "ministry" as a white-collar CEO job and travel all over the globe with teams of adoring "co-laborers". It's not hard for the devil to pull such men down - even when they've done nothing morally reprehensible. It's also a lesson for laymen and women in the church to quit putting their faith in these men. We should go back to the Bible, read it, and obey it. It's that simple.
Hear the Scriptures:
2Pet 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2Pet 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
2Pet 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2Pet 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
I leave with this conclusion: While we may never find out the truth, the good Lord knows it all, and He will judge more severely than any human ever can imagine. It's in His hands.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Dee
Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:14 AM
BISHOP EDDDIE L LONG IS AN AWSOME MAN OF GOD HE CAN ONLY OBEY WHAT THE VOICE OF GOD SAYS WHEN HE HERES FROM GOD WE WILL KNOW THAT MAN HERES CLEAR FROM GOD JESUS GETS THE LAST SAY THIS IS NOT AN PUBLIC DISCUSSION ITS PERSONAL, ASK JESUS WHILE YOU PEOPLE ARE YRYING TO DO GODS WORK YOU NEED TO BE FOCUSSING ON YOUR CHARACTER AND LIVING THE WORD INSTEAD OF BUMPING YOUR GUMS THATS ALL THE PHARISEES DID, A BUNCH OF TALK LIVE THE WORD KEEP BISHOP NAME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH BEFORE DEATH TAKE U OUT, GOD IS NOT PLAYING TOUCH NOT MY ANOINTED ONE AND DO MY PHROPHETS NO HARM SPALM IO5 15 READ IT BEFOR THE DEATH ANGEL COMES I LOVE U BISHOP IM PRAYING THE THE WARRING ANGEL WILL COME AND KILL UNTILL THESE PEOPLE COME TO A SORROWFUL REPENTANCE AKASHA 702- 517 -4596 I AINT NEVER SCARED JESUS GT MY BACK.
Comment: #13
Posted by: akasha
Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:30 AM
I've read that he's settled out of court. Like so many other once "great men of God" he'll go the route of King David, and never have great impact again. God have mercy on Eddie Long, his family, his church, and all who believe in Jesus. We do it to ourselves, and grieve the holy spirit, Christ and God.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Russell
Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:00 PM
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