Bishop Eddie Long rocks his curly lacefront on the November/December 2010 cover of faith-based Gospel Today magazine, but quite a few subscribers weren’t very pleased with seeing his smiling face in their mailbox.
Long, who faces a long legal battle after being accused of sexual coercion by four young men, is featured in the mag next to a headline that reads: “Bishop Eddie Long At The Center of The Scandal That Rocked The Church World.”
Gospel Today is being accused of downplaying the allegations against the pastor of the New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia, Georgia, whose controversial billboard is still displayed prominently near an Atlanta highway.
According to BV’s Jawn Murray, one reader pointed out that it was Long’s money and influence that granted him the cover, while others accuse Gospel Today of lacking objectivity as Long also serves as the chair of the magazine’s board.
One disgruntled subscriber wrote:
“I got my latest issue of Gospel Today; with [Bishop] Eddie Long on the cover. I read the article and said to myself hmmmm seem like some sugar coating going on.
Turned back to the 1st page and saw where the Bishop of his Church in NC is on your Board of Directors, I looked down and also saw that Eddie Long is on your Board of Advisors, I said all of that to say this. The best thing your magazine should have did was to not comment, but I do understand why you did.
God is not pleased with all of the hypocrisy going on with these leaders and the things people will say and print just for MONEY!!!!”
The publisher of Gospel Today, Teresa Hairston, posted the follwing response to the letter…
“The Word of God teaches us that God is love; and far too many times we have been unbalanced and unloving-all in the name of a God who not only loves, but loves unconditionally and restores sinners-us included. Whether Bishop Long is guilty or not; whether the young men are guilty or not, the BODY OF CHRIST must handle this situation according to the Word of God! The mainstream press has painted a hideous picture; some have even called for Bishop Long’s resignation! They’re not even members,” she replied.
Some believe that Hairston took a softball approach to Long by purposely omitting his legal woes from the story. She believes her stance was a spiritual one.
“Gospel Today did not explore the legalities or the issues; we presented a biblical perspective-something no other outlet gave,” she countered. “For those who don’t want to ‘deal’ with or look at this situation; I encourage you to read this story so that you can have a BIBLICAL perspective to help you ‘answer’ the mainstream perspective. Yes you should pray and speak about the ‘hope’ that you have that God will turn this situation into something that will be used for His glory! Yes, you should respond! You should ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.’ (1 Pet. 3:15).”
I don’t know about you, but until “The Bishop” responds to all those accusations, I don’t want to see him on any more magazine covers, billboards…or even in the pulpit! But that’s just me. I’m sure there are thousands of New Birth members who disagree.