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February 3rd, 2012
09:13 AM ET

Bishop Eddie Long crowned 'king'

By John Blake, CNN

Atlanta (CNN)–Bishop Eddie Long has been called anointed, but he was recently awarded another title, as shown in a video that’s gone viral. He’s now a king.

Long was wrapped in a “Holocaust Torah” and crowned a king during a recent Sunday ceremony at New Birth Missionary Church, his suburban Atlanta congregation.

A visiting rabbi wrapped Long in the Torah, which he said was recovered during the Holocaust. The rabbi then directed four men to lift a seated Long in his chair and parade him before the New Birth congregation.

Long wiped tears away as he looked over his cheering congregation.

“He is a king. God’s blessed him. He’s a humble man, but in him is kingship, royalty,” Rabbi Ralph Messer shouted.

Word of the pastor's crowning ceremony spread across the Web. Last year, Long settled out of court with four young men who accused him of coercing them into sexual relationships.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

A rabbi and Christian scholar questioned Long and Messer, the man who led Long’s crowning ceremony.

Messer said during the ceremony that the Torah was a “priceless” 312-year-old scroll that had been recovered from the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. He said he wanted to honor Long “on behalf of Jewish people, and the land of Israel.”

Rabbi Hillel Norry of Congregation Shearith Israel in Georgia said the ceremony was “ridiculous.” There’s no Jewish coronation ceremony where someone is wrapped in a Torah and made a king, he said.

“We just don’t do that. We treat it with deference,” Norry said of the Torah. “It’s not a shawl, not a crown. Don’t treat it that way.”

Norry said Messer doesn’t appear to be an ordained rabbi in the Jewish faith. He also doubts that the Torah that Long was wrapped in is actually 312 years old, and had somehow escaped detection in a concentration camp.

“The Torah is the size of a person. It’s not like you can hide one,” he said.

Brent Strawn, an associate professor at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, said Christian pastors are not treated as kings in the New Testament.

“They are almost always spoken of as servants,” he said. “This is exemplified by Jesus in the New Testament, when he wears the garment of a servant and washes his disciples’ feet.”

Long declined to speak, but his spokesman released a statement from the rabbi who led the ceremony.

Messer leads the Simchat Torah Beit Midrash congregation in Colorado, which describes itself as a community of Jewish and non-Jewish believers in “Yeshua,” or Jesus Christ. He said the ceremony was held to honor and encourage Long because the pastor had given so much to his church, and the world.

“It was not to make Bishop Eddie L. Long a king,” Messer said in the statement. “Lifting him on the chair was to acknowledge and honor him. It is done all the time at Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs.”

Long is one of the most well-known televangelists in America. At its peak, New Birth had around 25,000 members, and Long’s sermons were broadcast around the globe.

Two years ago, Long’s public image took a hit when four young men accused him of misusing his spiritual authority to coerce them into sexual relations. Long’s wife, Vanessa, filed for divorce last year.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Israel • Jesus • Judaism

soundoff (712 Responses)
  1. God is in Control

    He who is the King, the Lord of hosts, sitteth between the cherubim, and amid the strife and tumult of nations He guards His children still. He who ruleth in the heavens is our Saviour. He measures every trial, He watches the furnace fire that must test every soul. When the strongholds of kings shall be overthrown, when the arrows of wrath shall strike through the hearts of His enemies, His people will be safe in His hands.

    O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine. .

    February 6, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • rick

      Wow....quoting from a book. Very convincing, I must say

      February 6, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  2. Remember how Christ said to pray?

    When ye pray, say Our Father." Luke 11:2.
    "Hallowed be Thy name." Matthew 6:9.
    "Thy kingdom come." Matthew 6:10.
    "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10.
    "Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11.
    "Forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us." Luke 11:4.
    "Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Matthew 6:13, R.V.
    "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory." Matthew 6:13

    The last like the first sentence of the Lord's Prayer, points to our Father as above all power and authority and every name that is named. The Saviour beheld the years that stretched out before His disciples, not, as they had dreamed, lying in the sunshine of worldly prosperity and honor,...

    February 6, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  3. King and Kingdom, here?

    As we give ourselves to God, and win other souls to Him, we hasten the coming of His kingdom. Only those who devote themselves to the service of Christ, saying, "Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6:8), to turn men "from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified" (Acts 26:18)–they alone pray in sincerity, "Thy kingdom come."

    February 6, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  4. What Kingdom does E. Long have?

    Thy kingdom come." Matthew 6:10. God is our Father, who loves and cares for us as His children; He is also the great King of the universe. "The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven," is to be given to "the people of the saints of the Most High." Daniel 7:27. They shall inherit the kingdom prepared for them "from the foundation of the world." Matthew 25:34. And Christ will take to Himself His great power and will reign. The heavenly gates are again to be lifted up, and with ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy ones, our Saviour will come forth as King of kings and Lord of lords.

    February 6, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  5. Eladio

    Bishop Eddie Long and Rabbi Ralph Messer are both fakes!!!

    February 6, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  6. 100Alv

    “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Little by little, Lucifer came to indulge a desire for self-exaltation. “Thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God.” “Thou hast said,... I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation.... I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:13, 14. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of His creatures, it was Lucifer’s endeavor to win their service and homage to himself. And coveting the honor which the infinite Father had bestowed upon His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power which it was the prerogative of Christ alone to wield.

    February 6, 2012 at 1:19 am |
  7. Alvarado

    The one who ought to have realized his sin and corrected his evil, was presumptuous, and turned from the messages of God to follow his own course, until sin, in deception, in falsehood, in unprincipled working, in underhand dealing, became current. Whether there is any hope of a change, we know not. But all who have built that man up in his crooked course of action, which they know was not justice and righteousness, will suffer with the transgressor, unless they shall humble themselves before God.

    February 6, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  8. Alvarado

    “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God. If there was a highest place, Judas was determined to have it, and that place was thought to be next to Christ. And Judas was a traitor. In My kingdom the principle of preference and supremacy has no place. The only greatness is the greatness of humility. The only distinction is found in devotion to the service of others. While pride, variance, and strife for supremacy are cherished, the heart cannot enter into fellowship with Christ.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  9. malasangre

    the guy rubbing his face on Eddie's thigh in a rapture says it all to me.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  10. Alvarado

    As the Pharisees of old, Having secured control of their money, the wily schemers used it for their own benefit. To cover their dishonesty, they offered long prayers in public, and made a great show of piety. This hypocrisy Christ declared would bring them the greater damnation. The same rebuke falls upon many in our day who make a high profession of piety. Their lives are stained by selfishness and avarice, yet they throw over it all a garment of seeming purity, and thus for a time deceive their fellow men. But they cannot deceive God. He reads every purpose of the heart, and will judge every man according to his deeds.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  11. stretch

    You have to understand that the people of that church that stayed there with him after his divorce and legal settlement, after being exposed show that they are followers of him. So I know in his mind he is thinking these people worship me so I might as well make it official. Let's see who else jumps on this bandwagon. You know these false teachers love to hide behind gimmicks and buzzwords.

    They used to use Bishop as higher exalting, then some call themselves Apostles, and now Kings, they would call themselves gods if they could.

    This just shows you how bold the devil is and how lost the people are read your Bible.

    And not to offend anybody but I did see a post that no Jewish orginization would call Jesus the Messiah, however in the book of prophets Isaiah "It said that He would be rejected" So if Jesus is not the Messiah and scripture teaches that the Messiah would be rejected who else fits that description???

    February 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Alvarado

      But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called master: for One is your Master, even Christ.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  12. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 5, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  13. Amie

    Sucka's born every minute

    February 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  14. Observer

    "By their fruits, you shall know them." Warning of the end-times happening all around us, especially with this "Bishop" Long issue. It's sad that he's making a mockery of Christianity and tarnishing the name and doctrine of Christ. The mere thought of being elevated as "king" should be repulsing to any true believer of Christ. God definitely did not sanction that idea, it's blasphemous in many ways. Christ said that "he who is to be greatest amongst his disciples should be a servant to them all, and displayed it by washing his disciple's feet". Church is now reduced to mere entertainment rather than where souls are reconnected to God and where lives are changed for the better. May God have mercy on us all.

    February 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  15. New Birth Member

    All yall pices of whitebread can kiss Bishop Longs ass. BIshop Long is now a King on this earth and here to love and spread love. You all just jealous of what we have at New Birth.

    February 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • What's In a Name?

      Do you feel that your comments reflect what you are taught at your church?
      James 3:10-12
      10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
      11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
      12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

      JESUS is the ONLY KING and salvation by His plan–not man's–will be the only way for any of us to enter into the kingdom and to become part of His family (Acts 2:38).
      Much love to you!

      February 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Alvarado

      Cursing, is that what Eddie Long teaches his followers? Christ never used such language to win a soul for His kingdom. Remember what Peter did. Matthew 26:33. He had denied his Lord, even with cursing and swearing; but that look of Jesus’ melted Peter’s heart and saved him. He wept bitterly and repented of his great sin, and was converted, and then was prepared to strengthen his brethren. I hope you repent of such vulgar language.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords

      "No man can serve two masters." Matthew 6:24."Seek ye first the kingdom of God." Matthew 6:33.Jesus shows that in making the things of the world their supreme anxiety they were like the heathen nations about them. Christ came into this world not only to die for us, as King of kings...but to show us the Father (in heaven). Jesus never came to sit Himself, but always did the Father's will. Study the life of Jesus as it is written in the Bible. Please STUDY the bible for yourself, in it you will find life and the truth. If you would PRAY and ask God for the Holy Spirit, He will guide you into ALL TRUTH.

      February 6, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  16. I can see your dirty pillows...

    This shows just how stupid his nig ger congregation is. I hope "king eddie" takes all their money.

    February 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  17. Pope John Paul the Turd

    Yes, fools. Come worship me and King Eddie. Put the Popes weiner in your mouth as King Eddie humps you in the holiest of holys.

    February 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  18. Rudi

    This is a false prophet, who has elevated himself to the level of King Jesus Christ, the only King we as Christians should be serving. Do not be deceived!

    February 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Over It

      Can't get over that Massa / slave deal, eh? Pathetic.

      February 5, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • rick

      Over It: Massa/Messiah whatever

      February 6, 2012 at 3:05 am |
  19. Anon

    More like king of the morons.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • rick

      Sure he leads a bunch of gullible people. But they keep on throwing money at him. It would be rude not to fleece the gullible. That is what they are here for

      February 6, 2012 at 3:06 am |
  20. Joseph

    Do you HATE your job? Do you want untold sums of cash? We all do...but there is a difference between those that have it and the rest of us. They did something about it and went out and got their money.

    Do you want your share?

    Google the terms "Cash Simple Stock" and click the very first site! Go straight to the Penny' Stock section to find out how YOU can learn what the rich already know!

    This is easier than making cookies.

    February 5, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.