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. Anonimo

    Only Jesus is the King.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:30 am |
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    May 8, 2012 at 4:05 am |

    For real.. A KING A KING OF WHAT!!! Sorry people he is not righteous never has been...He;s undercover!!! PLEASE PUT YOUR FAITH IN GOD AND NOT MAN

    March 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  8. Shalah

    Daily I seek Our Father's FACE in prayer and fasting. IF Bishop Eddie Long's ancestors had not been dragged out of Africa brought to the US as slaves, had their families pulled apart by white men treating them as animals and using them for breeding and labor to get rich, none of this would have ever happened.

    It is OUR FAULT as white Europeans

    Father I come humbly before you and repent on behalf of my ancestors and forefathers. I ask YOUR forgiveness for this whole mess. It is just like satan to abuse and then exploit. FORGIVE us all Father I beseech YOU with all my heart.

    If Bishop Long were still in Africa where his ancestors may have been, HE very well might be a king. Ignorance crucifies...
    And God said unto him, Thy name [is] Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I [am] God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; Genesis 35: 11

    and if WE all put ourselves in the Bishops place AS FALLEN, struggling sinners and SAW instead Father, God reaching down wrapping HIS caring, loving "ARMS" around us--Rabbi Messer only using Bishop to ILLUSTRATE His word–I have raised you up and caused you to sit in heavenly places in Christ and I have made you kings and priests unto ME-we would be blessed instead of

    cursing ourselves with out ignorance.

    February 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  9. D. Hall


    February 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  10. mshawaii808

    SHAMELESS!!! Lot's of cult tendencies, and very disturbing that this CHILD MOLESTER/RAPIST actually rewards himself as a GOD. Sheep in wolves clothing, that is what the BIBLE calls signs of the last days. SICK, SICK SICK

    February 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • cennicia

      I am surprised he willingly participated in this. Jesus is the King and for anyone to claim to be a king in the Church is to claim to be the Lord Himself. I hear he also calls himself the anointed i.e. the Messiah, the Christ!!! God help us.

      February 16, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Shalah

      Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: LUKE 6: 13

      Did YOU see something Bishop Long molesting those young men?maybe they are lying for the money

      Saying], Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. i Chron 16: 42

      Even King David knew not to kill King Saul though he was in danger of his life from him.
      talk about ignorant people doing the work of the devil

      And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Rev. 12: 10

      Bishop Long is still God's called and HE alone has the right to correct him, and deal with HIM"

      YOU have lifted yourself up above God with your judgments. You have done worse than Rabbi Messer and Biship Long.


      February 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  11. PeekandSeek

    What a pathetic human being. He has no shame. He is getting richer and the members are getting poorer. But, one day God will take care of him.

    February 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Shalah

      and God will also take care of all his accusers lifting themselves above HIM!

      February 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  12. Dr. Tim Lucas Adams, Th. D.

    We Need to Look for the TRUTH of this Ceremony; Its Real Purpose and Who paid for the Expenses to carry this out.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • cennicia

      true. this must mean something more than what we are seeing here. I wonder what. God have mercy

      February 16, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Shalah

      The 'ceremony' was a visual symbolic illustration of scripture.

      And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 2: 6

      IT is spiritual reality though not 'physical' at this point.

      And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1: 6

      Look up the references in context in the scriptures.

      God has made his called kings and priests (intermediaries) to HIM. It is a spiritual reality and was a beautiful illustrative message.

      The only thing 'wrong' is that the Rabbi failed to make clear and certain reference to the scriptures he was trying to depict.

      Don't curse yourself and your family by speaking ill of God's called and chosen. King David commited adultery and murder adn yet God called him a man after his own heart because he always repented .

      February 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  13. virtuestar

    It is a shame for someone who professess to be chosen by GOD to abuse that which Jesus the Christ died ,bled,tortured so that we the people of GOD as we come into his knowledge of who he is. That this man would dare take a chance on his life it only proves that he never really had Spiritual encounter with GOD creator of all. There is only one King his name is JESUS son of the most High GOD.

    February 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Ran

      Amen! Jesus is the only King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Shalah

      What 'kings' is Jesus King of?

      February 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  14. hadenough

    I need you to be here and give more...A prime example of an arrogant, $ hungry pastor, who blames everyone but himself, and tries to make the people bow down to him like he is God. Sickened!

    February 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • PeekandSeek

      This is unbelieveable. A king to whom? He should be in jail. What is wrong with the congregation? All of them need psychological help. People, he is not God. Please God help the members and open their eyes wide.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  15. Just

    Did they mean to say he was crowned Queen instead?

    February 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • common sense

      Oh, I see what you did there:)...

      February 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  16. Eddie Long Here

    Yawl all hatuhs and playuhs. My conflagration be ful of nig gahs dat hab mo money dan since an duh biship gun clean out ALL day bank accounts. GIMME DAT PHU CKING MONEY!!! Priase duh lawd!!

    February 6, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  17. truth365

    Why didn't the reporters interview participants of this so called ceremony to find out how they understood what they saw? Instead they pasted their own limited perspective of the event with the intent to subject the church to ridicule. How many times does the media need to spy on church activities before the right to religious freedom is violated?

    February 6, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • rick

      no one is stopping anyone from participating in the ceremony.

      February 6, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • rick

      Do you want the church to be exempt from examination from the media?

      February 6, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Cassandra Rivers

      Are you seriously taking up for this ridiculous pagan ceremony. The church is suppose to uplift the name of Jesus and put focus on Him not that damn hypocrite so called bishop. I am just disgusted. SMDHV

      February 7, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • olive

      THe congregaton was applauding, whooping, hollering and in general behaving like a group of rabid orangutans. Watch the video, ya buttRocket.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Shalah

      Father God looks down and cries when HE sees anyone ridiculing anyone! He looks down and cries when HE sees anyone accusing anyone instead of restoring.

      Jesus took the thief crucified next to him to paradise that same day!
      I saw Father God reaching down wrapping His arms around a man (representing all of us sinners and fallen souls) and lifiting him up representing his truth...

      And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 2: 6

      And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.Revelation 6: 1

      scripture says that the natural mind cannot understand the things of the Spirit.

      keep your mouth shut you accusers all you're doing is showing your ignorance AND lifiting your own selves above Jesus that's worse than what everyone accuses (satan is the accuser Revelation 12: 10) the Rabbi and Biship of. stop doing his work...

      truth365 stand up for righteousness! YES

      February 20, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  18. Richimo

    @Believer... If the mold fits. Unfortunately, it's pretty easy to lump a majority of this particular franchise into the same mold. Unquestioningly, they follow and defend obvious frauds, fakes, and evil men. It doesn't just happen in Christianity – But I will say this. I've never seen the Dalai Lama caught with his hands up some little boy's robes. But then again, those robes aren't that flattering.

    February 6, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  19. Who is Minister for Christ?

    Christ's ministers are the spiritual guardians of the people entrusted to their care. Their work has been likened to that of watchmen. Ezekiel 33:7-9. Souls are in danger of falling under temptation, and they will perish unless God's ministers are faithful to their trust. If for any reason their spiritual senses become so benumbed that they are unable to discern danger, and through their failure to give warning the people perish, God will require at their hands the blood of those who are lost.

    February 6, 2012 at 2:32 am |
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    By beholding we are to become changed, and as we meditate upon the perfections of our divine Model, we shall desire to become wholly transformed and renewed in the image of His purity. There will be a hungering and thirsting of soul to be made like Him whom we adore. The more our thoughts are upon Christ, the more we shall speak of Him to others, and represent Him to the world. We are called to come out and be separate from the world, that we may be the sons and daughters of the Most High; and we are under sacred obligation to glorify God, as His children upon the earth.

    February 6, 2012 at 2:27 am |
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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.