(Photo: Changing A Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church / The Christian Post)
Bishop Paul S. Morton, founder of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship that ordained Eddie Long as Bishop, has openly rebuked the Atlanta megachurch pastor and called him to repent of any sins committed in sexual coercion lawsuits that were settled last month.
In a Sunday sermon that was posted online earlier this week, Morton called on Long to apologize to his church, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, and those who have stood with him.
"If you have repented, show me some signs. Show me some humility. You can't just come and tell me nothing. Tell me something. Those that have stood with you, tell us something. Tell your church something," Morton told his congregation, Changing A Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church, which is located just 28 miles away from Long's church, on June 19.
"We've all made mistakes and fallen short of the glory of God but if I mess up, I've got to tell you something. So that's what the Bible says ... We will pray that he will hear God's voice in this. "
Long reached an out-of-court settlement in the sexual misconduct case against him in May, after he vowed to his congregation that would fight the allegations. In September, four young men filed lawsuits against Long alleging that the pastor used his position and offered gifts as ways to coerce them into sexual relationships.
According to a statement from Art Franklin, Long's spokesman, the settlement "was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry."
Franklin also pointed to a gag order, adding that Long nor the church "cannot discuss any details regarding the resolution or the resolution process, as they are confidential."
Morton is the first black preacher to rebuke Long. Creflo Dollar, pastor of World Changers Church International in College Park, Ga., sternly rebuked any congregants who may have left Long's church in the wake of the scandal, calling them hypocrites for acting "flawless." Bishop T.D. Jakes said in a recent interview with The Christian Post that Christians have no other authority but to pray for New Birth and that their leadership issues should be internally resolved.
In his message to Long, Morton urged him to come clean with whatever happened in the sexual misconduct case.
"No matter what you have done, you have to trust God with the consequences. Now if the settlement has already been made, they can't sue you again but you can apologize," he said.
"Consequences: some people will stay with you, people are going to leave you, but you've got to leave that up to God. Those are the consequences for the sins that we do."
Morton then read from Luke 17:3-4: "If your brother trespass against you, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him."
"I'm rebuking him today," Morton stated. "That's what the Bible told me to do. … I've got the power to do that. Here's what the Bible says: If he repents, forgive him. I can't forgive somebody that does not repent."
"I love you my brother. You know I love you," he continued. "Repent! Don't worry about folks now. God can turn your situation around and give you a second chance. Just repent!"
Morton said Long can apologize "online" or by another means just as long as he doesn't "ignore the situation." He also added that the Bible calls on believers to forgive a man even if he commits the sin seven times and repents seven times.
The bishop said he would urge others to forgive Long if he repented.
"All I'm waiting for Bishop, is, if we are not fighting in the Body of Christ, is for you to repent. I'll talk to people on your behalf to say this man has repented. We've got to forgive him of his sin and let the church roll on," said Morton.
"I just need someone to wave at him and say, 'We love you Bishop Long. We love you.' That's what the body of Christ has to do."
On the Web: Watch the video of Bishop Paul Morton's message to Bishop Eddie Long.