Bishop Eddie Long, the prominent Atlanta pastor accused of sexually abusing four former members of his congregation, told the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church family Sunday that he will fight allegations that he lured young men into sexual relationships.
He stressed that he'd be back to lead the church in worship the next week.
***CBN News wants to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the allegations facing Bishop Eddie Long? You may also add words of encouragement and/or prayers for the New Birth congregation. Go to the CBN News Facebook page to post your comments.
Long did not discuss the specifics of lawsuits filed against him - or flatly deny the accusations. However he told the congregation of thousands that he has been accused and is under attack.
"There have been allegations and attacks made on me," he told the audience. "I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man. But I am not the man that's being portrayed on the television. That's not me. That is not me," he said.
His statement was met by loud cheers and applause.
Long also said he felt like "David against Goliath." He told the crowd that he realized people had been waiting on him to speak since the lawsuits were filed.
The pastor walked up to the pulpit on the stage before the congregation holding his wife's hand as thousands cheered. Long told the crowd that his obligations were to his family and his church -- first and foremost. He addressed the entire world saying he knew they were watching, but he wanted to say a few words first.
Long went on to preach a sermon about the trials of life and how to weather the storm, quoting scriptures from Psalms. He reminded people to pray for the president and to vote in the upcoming election and pray for their enemies.
Long told the crowd that his lawyers had advised him not to "try this case in the media." While the remarks were short on details of the legal case, he spoke about enduring painful situations.
"We are all subject to face distasteful and painful sitauations. Bishop Long, Eddie Long - you can put your name in that blank - will have some bad situations," he said. "The righteous face painful situations with a determined expectancy. We are not exempt from pain, but He promises to deliver us out of our pain."
He told the congregation, "I'm not leaving you, if you don't leave me."