Eddie Long declares God's healing after 'health challenge'

(YouTube Screenshot)Bishop Eddie Long is seen here before and after his dramatic weight loss.

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church leader Bishop Eddie Long has returned to the pulpit and declared that he has been healed by God after a month-long sabbatical to deal with an undisclosed "health challenge."

Rumors about Bishop Long's health woes and stage 4 gastrointestinal cancer swirled after photos of him looking gaunt emerged online. The embattled pastor later released a statement revealing that he was going through a "health challenge" which he trusts God to deliver him from. He also said the health issue has nothing to do with his new vegan diet, which is part of his holistic approach to maintaining his health, Charisma News relays.

A month after he began his sabbatical, Bishop Long was once again seen on the pulpit and conducted a healing service for church members who were in pain. In a video of the Oct. 9 service posted to YouTube on Sunday, the controversial pastor is heard announcing that God has healed him of his illness, The Christian Post reports.

"I've been on a journey and just recalibrating myself and like I said I had some health issues and God has healed me. The manifestation is coming through and we stand in that," said Long.

(Reuters/Ric Feld)Thousands of people attended a funeral service for Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia. February 7, 2006.

During the recently concluded Kingdom Power Glory Summit, Bishop Neil C. Ellis of the Mount Tabor Union Baptist Church rebuked Bishop Long's followers for being unfaithful. He also told them that their pastor was suffering because of them.

"Now if you believe that Eddie Long is a man sent from God to this congregation ... then understand that his latest bout of health challenges was not about him," said Ellis. "He is paying a price for you."

In the video of the summit, Bishop Long is seen nodding in agreement with Ellis' statement about the reason for his health problem. Bishop Ellis also told the congregation that since they were still present, he assumes that this means they accept that Long is a man sent by God.