In response to the recent lawsuit filed against Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop Paul Morton recently spoke out against Long, calling him to apologize and repent.
Long, pastor of Atlanta's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, in May quietly settled the sexual misconduct lawsuits filed against him, after he vowed to his congregation he would fight.
Four men—all former members of Long's church now in their early 20s—claim the pastor used gifts, trips and money to coerce them into engaging in sex acts with him beginning when they were 17 or 18. Because the men were over the age of consent in Georgia, which is 16, no criminal charges were filed.
In a message posted online on Tuesday, Morton publicly called out Long and said he should apologize to the men who sued him. "If the settlement has already been made they can't sue you again, but you can apologize," he said. "Some people will stay with you, some people gonna leave you, but you've got to leave that up to God. Those are the consequences for the sins that we do."
Long initially denied the allegations and promised he would fight the suit, telling his congregation of 25,000: "I want you to know, I am not a perfect man, but this thing I'm gonna fight."
While he has not publicly spoken about the settlement, Long's church released a statement: "After a series of discussions, all parties involved have decided to resolve the civil cases out of court. This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry."
Morton went on to talk about Luke 17:3-4: "If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him" (v. 3). "I'm rebuking him today," Morton proclaimed. "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 repent, forgive him. I can't forgive somebody that does not repent."
Morton explained the importance of repenting and said Long should not worry about what people will think of him. "God can turn your situation around and give you a second chance; just repent! Just let the body of Christ know. Don't just ignore the situation."
"All I'm waiting for 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," he said. "That's what the body of Christ has to do."
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