Fellow Atlanta-area megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar recently spoke out in defense of Bishop Eddie Long, urging prayer and forgiveness for Long rather than gossip and hypocrisy from his congregation.
Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., has slowly dwindled since he settled a lawsuit in May with four men who accused him of using his power to coerce them sexually.
Long's congregation supported him when the accusations first surfaced, but there have been recent reports of members leaving.
"That preacher's still anointed to do what he was called to. He just had a wreck," Dollar told his church June 5. "The blood (of Jesus) will take care of his issue just like it will take care of yours. And I just can't believe that people would leave their preacher because he had a wreck, instead of praying for him."
"So he had a wreck. You've had some wrecks. And I'm thinking, 'Man, the mercy of God showed on you, but you couldn't show it to the preacher?'" he continued. "He had a wreck, [but] here's the good news. He's got insurance."
Dollar and his wife Taffi lead more than 30,000 members of World Changers Church in Atlanta, Ga. He calls Long his "friend" and "brother in the Lord."
"If you're from that church that you know I'm talking about, you trying to join here, I don't want you to join here. You need to go and join where you're supposed to be," Dollar said last Sunday.
He went on to say that he's not dismissing the pain or disappointment some people may feel towards Long, but that, "At the end of it, you've got to act like Jesus."
Dollar has preached before on "honoring" those with spiritual authority. Earlier this year, he told his church that people who question God's called leaders risk being "damned."
"Those who honor appointed authority will walk in great authority themselves and respect will follow them," he said, using the story of Noah and his sons as an example. "God is responsible for handling his leaders."
Dollar added that, before starting his own church, he once questioned his pastor's authority. He said it wasn't until he repented both privately and publicly that the restraints on his life were lifted and his now World Changers Church began to prosper.