This is powerful.
Not Just A Church?
by Dr. Yolanda Pierce
Reflections of an Afro-Christian Scholar
I am grateful for all my colleagues who have weighed in on the allegations against the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia. The timely statements of Drs. Shayne Lee, Jonathan Walton,and Anthea Butler have provided so much context in which we can situate the seriousness of these accusations, as well as the ramifications of race, gender, and sexual orientation as it applies to this case and to the larger phenomena of mega-churches, prosperity preachers, and televangelism. And while my thoughts today are prompted by this continuing scandal, I want to explore what I believe to be at the root of the many, many scandals that continue to befall Christian churches: pastors who want to be feudal lords of their own personal fiefdoms instead of the shepherds they are supposed to be…
"We’re not just a church, we’re an international corporation. We’re not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can’t talk and all we’re doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around this world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation. You’ve got to put me on a different scale than the little black preacher sitting over there that’s supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering." (Eddie Long regarding his compensation package; Atlanta Constitution Journal, August 28, 2005).
These words reveal to me a profound disconnect between what scripture requires of a pastor and what a corrupt and materialistic culture believes a pastor should be. Why has the corporate model, built upon the acquisition of stuff (things, people, and money) become the model for our churches? Why is the number of members or the amount of money raised and spent, the marker of success for a church? How do we reconcile this vain pursuit for bigger numbers with the biblical command to create disciples – not members – but true disciples for God?
Jonathan Walton interviewed by CNN’s Rick Sanchez about the Eddie Long scandal
Dr. Jonathan Walton, author of Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Religious Broadcasting.and professor at Harvard Divinity School on Bishop Eddie Long, and the Prosperity Gospel subculture in black megachurches.
Some churches like Ga. pastor’s thin on safeguards
Bishop Eddie Long on sex scandal: ‘We will arise through this situation’
The 2006 scandal that ousted one of America’s most prominent preachers forced independent charismatic and evangelical churches to consider how to keep a closer eye on their leaders, an issue raised again this week with lawsuits accusing another megachurch pastor of misconduct.
It’s too early to say whether the sex allegations against Bishop Eddie Long, the famed pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta, will spur the kind of soul-searching that followed the downfall of the Rev. Ted Haggard in Colorado.
Regardless, pastors and experts say the Long case demonstrates how vulnerable the country’s independent churches still are to being damaged by the misbehavior – sexual, financial or otherwise – of leaders whose considerable influence often comes with temptation and little accountability.
"The more powerful a Christian leader becomes, the fewer restraints that other people can put on them," said the Rev. H.B. London Jr., vice president of ministry outreach for Focus on the Family. "Some of these men and women become so powerful that no one can tell them ‘no.’"
In one of the biggest shocks ever for independent churches, Haggard resigned from the Colorado Springs megachurch he founded after a Denver man accused him of paying for sex. The fall of Haggard, who drove a pickup truck and made church salaries public information, shook the independent churches who considered him a spotless success story.
Pastors. Affairs. Power. Ethics.
Jun 9, 2009
It all unravels eventually. Whether it’s getting tired of hiding the indiscretion, telling a lie, living a lie. Or, getting
Another pastor admits an emotional and physical affair. It’s wrong and there are tons of consequences. I think in the information age, with the openness of the Internet, more bad news is known and spreads faster. Moral failures have been around before, easier to hide in some sense, though just as devastating. This past weekend, another pastor falls, even more in the public eye because of social media. And the online chatter perculating.
Scott Williams lists 4 Reasons Leaders FAIL, i.e. fake, attitude, integrity, lacking. Geoff Surratt warns pastors of how they’re already toast if they think they aren’t vulnerable. Ron Edmondson adds his thoughts and Todd Rhoades adds his prayer for another fallen servant.
AN ANALYSIS OF POWER IN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP
A Paper for the Christian Business Faculty Association Conference
Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, October 16-18, 2003
The definition of power that we use is particularly important in the Biblical account, since power is a part of God’s creation (Colossians 1:16). All authority comes from Him (Romans 13:1). Power, like the rest of creation, was designed for a moral and upright purpose. However, once God has given power to an individual, it is up to that individual how it will be used – for good as God designed (2 Timothy 1:7-9), or in conceit, cruelty, self-aggrandizement, and domination, as Weber would imply.
Does Power Really Corrupt?
If power is a neutral force, what then should be done with Lord Acton’s statement, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" (Russell, 1938)? This is widely accepted. We have even heard Christians use this as an reason to condemn other Christians in authority positions. But does power always corrupt?
Power certainly can corrupt. Evidence from Genesis to the latest newspaper shows that power is often used for evil or venial purposes and that people with power tend to want to keep it at the expense of others.
Nevertheless, the statement cannot be literally true. God has absolute power and He remains uncorrupted. Moreover, we must wonder if God would create something and give it into the hands of His children if it was impossible for these people to prove good stewards of it.
The evidence in the scripture is that God understands that power is seductive but He provides counter forces by which Christians can wield it honestly and wisely. There are many counter forces such as love for Christ, love for neighbor, obedience, accountability and humility. In the next section, we will briefly show how accountability and humility can counter the seduction of power.
A COVENANT of
CLERGY SEXUAL ETHICS
Human sexuality is a good gift of god through which we become partners with God’s creative intent for humanity (Gen. 1:27, 28, 31). Faithful sexual practice expresses the loving commitment of marriage and embodies the mutual intimacy between husband and wife (Gen. 2:18-25).
When we misuse our sexuality, God’s creative intent is supplanted by destructive consequences. Raised to the status of idol, the good gift of sexuality mutates into the power of exploitation, selfishness, anger, and domination.
When sexual sin and abuse occur, Christian practice calls us to engage the work of justice, reconciliation, and healing. The work of justice involves repentance, restitution, and restoration. Justice builds the foundation for reconciliation by establishing conditions in which alienated and injured parties have the opportunity to heal.
Healing can occur when the possibilities of justice and reconciliation are realized.
The relationship between ministers and congregants is based upon trust. In difficult times, church members turn to ministers for comfort, support, guidance, and assurance, expecting the minister to act as a pastor, shepherd,counselor, and friend. Church members trust
Bishop Eddie L. Long must step down
By ROLAND S. MARTIN
The power of any pastor over his or her parishioners is derived from their "calling" to minister the Gospel from God, or as some call it, the anointing by the Holy Spirit. But the role of a pastor – the Bible speaks to being a shepherd of a flock – also comes from the belief that it is their moral standing as the earthly representative of God to lead their congregations spiritually.
If you read the writings of Paul in 1 Timothy 3 (New International Version), he offers the following instructions: "Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church)…He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap."
As we witness the salacious and troubling sex allegations leveled this week against Atlanta mega-church pastor, Bishop Eddie L. Long, it is clear that many are confused to hear four young men come forward and allege that the man of the cloth, the husband and father, sexually coerced them and used the power of his prophetic position to engage in sex with them. It is even more shocking considering Long has preached with conviction against homosexuality and gay marriage.
The details outlined in three lawsuits – a fourth man stepped forward on Friday – have rocked the Christian community. Bishop Long isn’t just a preacher with a storefront church. He oversees a massive 240-acre complex in Lithonia, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, a congregation of 25,000 members; schools; and an international ministry that is seen on TBN, Daystar, The Word Network and online. He is widely respected as a strong man of God who ministers annually to fellow pastors, men, youth and a mega women’s and marriage conference.
Kinetics: putting faith in motion
By Lynn Pinder,
Baltimore Religion & Politics Examiner
There is a powerful faith movement brewing in Baltimore centered around faith, dialogue and motion. This movement – called Kinetics – is an information ministry founded for the purpose of informing and equipping the faith community with resources to address social justice issues. Like its dictionary definition, Kinetics is about changing the motion of masses.
… You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell. (Isaiah. 58:12)
Kinetics mission is to disseminate information and develop new ideas that work to strengthen social movements within the African-American community; providing them with the tools and skills to pursue justice and better address the needs of those whom they serve.
Kinetics Faith & Justice Network mission is to provide the faith community with the tools to advocate and mobilize on local, national, and international issues, to build capacity to solve our own problems, and to use dialogue as a catalyst for social change. Members include clergy, scholars, lawyers, social justice advocates, and nonprofit and business professionals.
Bishop Eddie Long