Bishop T.D. Jakes recently responded to the Eddie Long's settlement in the sexual misconduct, saying that Christians should still pray for Long's church because they have no authority to say anything else.
In September, four young men filed lawsuits alleging Long using his position and gifts to coerce them into sexual relationships. Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in the Atlanta area, told his congregation a few days after the suits were filed that he would vigorously fight the charges.
When the allegations against Long became public, Jakes publicly addressed the case before his own congregation, The Potter's House in Dallas, saying, "Christians should just pray." He also told his flock during the Sunday service, "When all this is over, one thing is for sure – somebody, if not everybody in it, is going to need the blood [of Jesus Christ]."
Last month, both parties in the case reached a settlement out of court and the lawsuits against Long were dismissed. Long has since returned to preaching at the New Birth pulpit.
Speaking in a recent interview with The Christian Post, Jakes reiterated that "we should still pray" for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
"We have no other authority but to pray," said the prominent megachurch pastor before he took the stage at McDonald's Gospelfest event Saturday in Newark, N.J.
"The New Birth church is a church unto itself who has a board and it has a membership. How they choose to handle their leadership issues it's not something that we can control regardless of which side you stay on that issue. It is their church issue and their responsibility and their response," said Bishop Jakes.
"And I'm saying what I always said that we should just keep on praying for the New Birth church family."
Two weeks ago, Creflo Dollar, pastor of World Changers Church International in College Park, Ga., came out in Long's defense, rebuking those who might have left New Birth to join his congregation.
"I don't want you here," said Dollar, whose church is less than an hour's drive from Long's church in Lithonia. "If you ... from that church that you know I'm talking about, you trying to join here, I don't want you to join here. You need to go and join where you supposed to be."
He also pointed to the "hypocrisy" of those who left Long's church and acted like they were "flawless."
While Dollar never mentioned names in his sermon, it was clear he was talking about Long and New Birth.
"That preacher's still anointed to do what he was called to. He just had a wreck," said Dollar. "The blood (of Jesus Christ) will take care of his issue just like it will take care of yours. And I just can't believe that people would leave their preacher because he had a wreck, instead of praying for him!"
Both Dollar and Long are known to preach a controversial teaching known as the "Prosperity Gospel," the idea that God wants to bless His followers to be rich financially and that believers can obtain these blessings by sowing seeds through generous tithes and offerings to the church.