Soap Opera in the “Church”
If you live in the Atlanta area you are probably becoming weary of the whole Eddie Long saga. Bishop Eddie Long is pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church which has a reported 25,000 members. Four young men have come forth recently to accuse the pastor of sexual improprieties. Long seemed to be preparing his followers for more revelation yet to come by saying that he is not a perfect man. But there may have been a streak of defiance in his tone when he compared himself to David, slayer of Goliath, “"I have five rocks and I haven't thrown one yet."
That should be enough “soap opera” drama to satisfy reporter from TMZ. But the drama just keeps giving and giving. Amos Dotson, 26, a rapper and producer of “rock alternative” music declared that he was a “son” of the Bishop in 2003. He was “sat down” by the Bishop and reprimanded for sleeping with several women in the church. What is troubling is that Dotson was told that his actions reflected poorly on Long and the church. Shouldn’t there have been some mention that his actions reflected poorly on the image of Christ whose name he claimed?
Enter another character in the saga. Reverend Dennis Meredith is pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta. He has strongly criticized Bishop Long and compares him to Goliath rather than David. Meredith urges Long to “come out with the truth”. One could easily question Meredith’s motives. Is he defending the truth of God’s word and Jesus Christ, the bearer of that truth or is he simply defending several young homosexual men in the church? Meredith, claims to be a messenger of God and a bearer of truth yet he lives a lifestyle that God’s word declares to be an abomination to God. (See Leviticus 18:22). Rev. Meredith is openly gay and bi-sexual and 85% of his church is gay, lesbian and bi-sexual. Can you say, “Sodom and Gomorrah?” Meredith makes an outrageous claim that he is trying to help the “body of Christ” while living in gross sin.
Someone who reads this post will peg me by saying I have no right to judge another. I would never trespass into that area that belongs to God alone. God is final judge of the actions of all men and he warns us not to presume that we can do his job better than he. But Christians and fellow ministers in our politically correct world have been neutered by their fear of lifting a voice to oppose those who do more harm to the gospel than good. If Bishop Long is guilty as accused then he should confess his sins and resign his position. Rather than throwing stones, Christians should rally around him in an attempt to restore a brother who has fallen.
A similar thing was happening in the church of Corinth when Paul gave them godly advise: “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” (1 Cor. 5:9-13.)
The sin in the Corinthian church was as shocking to the unbelievers as it was to those who were followers of Christ. How shocking that Reverend Meredith would throw stones at Bishop Long. What’s more amazing is that it seems those looking on are more shocked than those within the church.
Paul didn’t mince any words. We are to expel those in the church who are involved in sexual immorality. It’s not judging, it’s being obedient to God’s command to keep the church pure. Bishop Long says he is an imperfect man, if that means he has been involved in sexual immorality while preaching against such sin, then he needs to come clean and confess his hypocrisy and resign his church and seek restoration.
God’s heart is grieved when he sees the church polluted with such sinfulness. Be mindful that anyone can start an organization and call it a church. The true church of Christ is still “spotless and without blemish.”