Last week, news
stories about Randy White and Eddie Long had special meaning to me because
there is a Matthew 18 story, which I have not revealed until now, where it says
to go to your brother privately.
Long announced last week that he settled with four young men who accused him of
having homosexual relations. Long had said he was innocent and would fight the
allegations, but he settled for an undisclosed amount so “his ministry
could go on.” You can read more here.
The other news
item was former Pastor Randy White who was picked up on driving under the
influence in Tampa, Fla. You can read a secular report with the sad
details. Suffice it to say, at one
time, Randy was one of the brightest young pastors whose vision to reach Tampa
with innovative ministries brought him a lot of accolades from civic and
religious leaders. We once featured him and his ex-wife, Paula, on the cover of
Ministry Today. It’s so sad because, for reasons we’ll never know, White
let all that influence and potential go down the drain.
known until now is that in the late 1990s, I called Randy and asked to meet
with him privately to share a concern. We both drove to the small Disney town
of Celebration, Fla., about halfway between where we each lived. Over lunch I
told him I was concerned that his success seemed to be promoting pride and he
should be careful lest he fall. He thanked me for caring enough to come to him.
He responded humbly and said he’d take the warning. I felt I had done what God
wanted me to do and forgot about it.
In 2006, I heard
rumors about Bishop Long allegedly being involved in homosexuality. Long had
built a great church in Atlanta. We once featured him on the cover of Charisma
and his influence went far beyond Atlanta. I had great respect for him and
published one of his books.
Since he was
speaking at a large expo we were sponsoring a few weeks later, I felt I needed
to talk to him. I tried repeatedly to make an appointment to warn him that
there were rumors and to ask if they were true. He refused to talk to me and
cancelled the speaking engagement. Saddened, I just quietly took his book out
of print and withdrew any support we had given him.
Only God, those
young men and Long know if the charges are true. If they are, I hope he’s truly
repented and will lead his congregation in righteousness and humility. Thankfully, he continues to say
homosexuality is wrong and he desires to serve the Lord.
White, on the
other hand, seems to have left the ministry. The last I heard, he was involved
in celebrity fundraising events for secular charities and turned over the
pastorate of Without Walls International Church to Paula. I haven’t talked to
him in years so I don’t know where he is spiritually. But getting a DUI is not
a good sign. I pray he’ll get help before it’s too late.
Contrast that to
two other ministers I was with in the past week. In my last Strang Report, I
told about how Pastor Ron Phillips gave his testimony of receiving the Baptism
of the Holy Spirit and then ministered powerfully at Expolit, the leading
Spanish book trade show in Miami. A few days later, I was in Cleveland, Tenn.,
to interview Perry Stone for an upcoming article in Charisma. Both men
have built impressive ministries with national impact through television. But
both have remained humble and free of even a hint of scandal.
the details, the stories of White and Long have been an embarrassment to the
body of Christ. Let’s thank God that there are still ministries like Perry
Stone and Ron Phillips. In the difficult times we live in, we need godly
leaders to lead the church and to not give the enemy more opportunity to bring
disrepute to the name of Jesus.