By Victor Ocheing
Rumors have been going round that Bishop Eddie Long’s health has been deteriorating. It was, therefore, not expected that he would return to the pulpit any time soon. It, however, came as a surprise to his congregants when he made a return to the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, taking over the pulpit and singing “I Got the Victory.”
Long’s Sunday return came after rumors went around on Thursday that he was in a hospice. Truth be told, Long appeared frailer Sunday.
Speaking to The Christian Post on Thursday, Long’s assistant Elder April McLaughlin said the bishop wasn’t in a critical state and was only taking a rest. She, however, declined to comment on whether the said rest was associated with the health challenge he admitted to have been facing back in September.
“No, not ever in hospice! Currently, not accepting calls but thanks for verifying the rumor,” McLaughlin told CP, asserting that Long was doing much better.
In a 48-second video captured on Sunday, Long appeared sick. In fact, he looked worse than the last time he went public. Making entry to the pulpit, Long was supported by one male church member. He then let go of the support and took to the pulpit clapping, albeit like an older person.
Talks about Long’s health started back in August after he had previously been accused of forcing multiple men into a s*xual relationship with him, released a video on YouTube showing him much thinner. In the video, Long, who was then known to be plump, looked quite emaciated. He, however, said he had lost weight after adopting a vegan diet.
“This is Bishop Long, you say ‘Bishop! What happened to all of you?’ Well, all of me is melting away,” the 63-year-old Long started the video.
“I’ve been getting a lot of calls, people saying ‘Bishop, what’s going on?’ Well, I said to my congregation, I’m gonna live to be 100-years-old, maybe have a few more years. But you know what? I wasn’t gonna get there stopping by Popeye’s you know. That was my weakness, the biscuits with the honey and chicken wings, spicy and all of that,” he continued.
Long would later admit that he was facing some health challenge, leading to further speculations that he was either suffering from cancer or HIV/AIDS.
“I am recovering from a health challenge that I trust God to deliver me from. It is unrelated to the eating for life diet consisting of mostly raw vegetables that I am continuing, as part of a holistic approach to good health,” Long said in September.
In October, Long got back to his church, declaring that “God has healed me.” He said “the manifestation [of his healing] is coming through and we stand in that.” After the declaration, he led a healing service. “When I woke up this morning, God expressed to me that there are some of you who suffer in this congregation of chronic pain. You have to be controlled by painkillers. If I’m speaking to you jump in the aisle. There’s a healing balm in here,” the preacher said.
The church has declined to confirm or deny whether Long’s health challenge is back.