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A Big Miss

September 29, 2010

There are times when things need to be called what they are. Naming things is, after all, is one of our jobs. Sometimes, it is also appropriate to call things what they ain’t. Eddie Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga, has been accused of abusing young men, as you may have heard, and is now in a fight for his, well, everything. He stands to lose a seven-figure salary, access to powerful people, prestige among certain communities, and even his freedom if convicted of the charges against him. But these things are not the greatest of his problems.

Of course we can’t see what is in a man’s heart, but we do know that what comes out of a man is what is in him, and by their fruits, and all that. In reading a recent piece by NPR, I came across this quote that really put the man in context (and this has little to do with the current scandal – at least directly):

“We’re not just a church; we’re an international corporation,” he said. “We’re not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can’t talk and all we’re doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around the world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation.” (Emphasis added)

I thought to myself, “He’s missed it completely! He has actually completely missed the gospel!”

I’m not on a crusade against gab-it-and-grab it preaching (although it is abominable), but I think this is an excellent illustration of where one ends up. Missing the significance of bumbling preachers who can’t talk, and the profound meaning of baptizing babies, and embracing the wealthy and powerful, he has completely misread the Bible (this of course does make the assumption that he has read it).

So, did he abuse young men who trusted him? I have no clue. But is he a minister of the gospel? That much, I think, is clear. He is not.

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2 Comments
  1. “I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around the world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation.”

    The congregation must be very proud to have such an important man as their pastor (I speak as a fool).

  2. Enjoyed our conversation this afternoon. Shoot me your email sometime so we can keep up with each other.

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