When the late Bishop Eddie Long’s named successor, Bishop Stephen A. Davis, announced his resignation from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, after 16 months on the job, he cited the need to attend to his family and church in Alabama.
Last Wednesday during an altar call at New Birth Birmingham — a church planted under the spiritual guidance of Long — Davis revealed he left his spiritual father’s congregation because of the politics of corrupt leaders he described as “fools.”
In a somewhat cryptic segue near the end of a Facebook Live broadcast Davis, who was not available to elaborate when his church was contacted by The Christian Post on Tuesday, explained how he worked free for the entire time he led the church after Long’s death and buoyed the church financially as well.
“They didn’t say anything over there in Georgia when I gave $180,000. I worked the entire 16 months for free. Didn’t take a dime. Paid for my own condo for six months. Kept the debt off the Long family, $3,500 a month that they didn’t have to pay on Bishop Long’s condo. I paid it. I took the car back that I had given him as a gift, taking the pressure off the Long family. I gave $85,000 personally. They allowed wicked men to lead them. They lost their God sent. Now they have to settle for hirelings,” Davis said.
“I tithed every month. They didn’t know I made their payroll, those who work for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Without my funding they wouldn’t have been paid. I want every one of them to know, they lost the best thing that could have ever happened to you,” he said as his congregation applauded.
“Tommy George, Mike Roberts, threatened me,” he continued. “Told me they could have gotten rid of me. I told them they never had me. So go back to your ‘hellatious’ leaders and tell them I’m still coming to Georgia.
“They never should have started something they couldn’t finish. And I decree every important investment they attempt to achieve, because you touched the anointing, it will not work. And even deals that they thought were sealed, will fall apart right in front of their faces,” Davis said, cursing the leaders.
After Davis left the church, controversial Pastor Jamal Bryant was selected to lead New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
Bryant was chosen from a pool of 138 candidates to take the reins of the church that once boasted 25,000 members in its heyday. Membership at the church had dropped to about 10,000 after Long was hit in 2010 by a series of sex scandals involving allegations from multiple young men that haunted him until his death in January 2017.
Thomas W. Dortch Jr., an Atlanta businessman and chairman of New Birth’s board, said part of the reason Bryant was chosen was because he had a plan to reduce the church’s $31 million debt.
“He didn’t come in talking off the cuff,” Dortch said. “This is one guy who’s an architect for religion.”
Davis, who was named in a succession plan that was drawn up by Long, said he should not have been insulted with a contract by the church leaders when he was already chosen by Long. He further hinted that he would still be returning to do ministry in Georgia.
“Met with the deacon board, tried to get some help from the deacons. The deacons went with the enemy of my father. Turned the church back over into the hands of people he had delivered it from. And the people are ignorant to what’s going on over there. They don’t know what’s going on over there at all. Pure manipulation. They never should have sent me another letter,” he said without explaining the context of the letter.
“And for all those who were told I abandoned them, I don’t work for fools. When you give a son a contract, after his father gave him his right hand, it’s an insult to the Kingdom of God. You pushed me into the hands of my grandfather, Bishop T.D. Jakes,” he said, hinting at a collaboration with the famous televangelist.
“The anointing is expensive but it’s worth it. And you think you’ve been taken advantage of and hurt. They didn’t want me to say anything, they never should have sent another letter. I would have stayed quiet if you would have stayed quiet,” he said, pointing into the cameras.
“I don’t talk about what I’m going through. I talk about where I’m going. And every one of you sitting over there, you need to ask them questions. Get some answers from upstairs. See how much I gave, it’s probably more than what I said,” he continued.
“Those who live Godly will suffer persecution, but you gotta keep on doing what you’re called to do. Now the world knows the real story and I’ve never been a quitter. You can’t be timid to walk out this walk. If my boldness had been overbearing it’s because I’m in a battle you don’t know nothing about, but the battle was won before it started,” he added.
An official at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church told CP Tuesday, that it was unlikely that leaders would respond to Davis’ allegations.
[Davis' segue begins at the 1:02 mark]