Scandal behind scandal

The news coming out of Atlanta last week that one of the most influential church leaders in the country, Bishop Eddie Long of Atlanta, had been accused by four young men of sexual impropriety is tragic and all-too-common. After the Ted Haggard scandal and scores of others before him, we grow calloused to such news. But hundreds of thousands of followers of Bishop Long are affected by this. His claim that he will “fight this thing” sounded good to his supporters, but did not amount to an actual denial of the specific accusations.

What I cannot understand is why we don’t see the scandal behind the scandal. Bishop Long’s opulent lifestyle included private jets, luxury surroundings, and–most tragically–a message to his people that material prosperity can be theirs too if they will trust in God. This twisted gospel is being proclaimed all over the world right now. The “prosperity gospel” grows like a cancer in parts of the world where people have nothing. Where people who do not know where their next meal will come from tie into a message of wishful thinking–and are manipulated to that position by false shepherds. Why don’t we see that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? By any sane reading of the Old Testament prophets we have to conclude: God will judge this false gospel, and is judging it already.

I truly hope the accusations against Bishop Long are false–although that would be a great tragedy for four young men who in that case would have trumped up scurrilous charges. In Long’s sermon yesterday he said that he was a David up against a Goliath, but that he hadn’t even started to throw any of his five stones. The picture of an immensely powerful and wealthy leader who can hire an army of attorneys as a small David is peculiar to say the least. Surely the four young men do not view themselves as Goliath, and must be fearful of the velocity of the five stones about to be hurled at them.

1 thought on “Scandal behind scandal”

  1. The same “prosperity gospel/message” has also been touted around the world in the last century through the gospel of Karl Marx. Whether adopted in the political landscape or the spiritual landscape the “prosperity gospel” is a failure for the poor souls that get sucked into it’s promises of euphoria (good health and good wealth, everlasting).

    Jesus, while starving during one of his prayer sessions, was tempted by Satin with this same promise of euphoria. Satins message to Jesus and us was clear about the contingency of becoming a slave unto Satin to get his needs met even though Satin didn’t use the word “slave” but instead used the word “worship” (to worship Satin). Now that’s an expensive can of worms if ever there was one but Jesus knew it. Satin knows quite well the flesh can be manipulated via guilt but Jesus knew that too. Jesus knew Satin would try to use Jesus’ own authority against himself via quilt (false guilt). It would have worked however Jesus’ self worth and self esteem were completely based on what God thought of him (and felt about him) no matter how destitute or impoverished he was. Jesus being a spokesman for Satin or Karl Marx? Never, but they aptly know how to maniacally twist and spin his words for theirs and only their benefit. That false guilt would ultimately deny trust and faith in God to meet His and our “needs” while we occupy this planet. Fortunately for us the story reiterates for the umpteenth time throughout the Bible that God knows our needs and will meet them if we worship him and know his words.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that deep down that young David the giant slayer knew the same love God had for him was later written in 1-Cor 13:4 – 8 ending with “Love never fails”. We as people occupying this planet need to get that into our own thick skulls for our own personal good and to remember that it will take all of eternity to comprehend the depth of wealth of the love and grace that God has for us (and for me too). That’s “The Armour”.

    How exactly will he meet the day in and day out needs of a troubled world? Through legitimate and honest practical methods and means not with chicanery, corruption, manipulation and deceit.

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