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Lithonia, Georgia (CNN) — Baptist televangelist Eddie Long said Sunday he will fight allegations that he coerced young male church members into having sex with him.

“I am not the man that has been portrayed on television,” he told his congregation.

Speaking publicly about the accusations for the first time, Long did not address the specific allegations contained in four lawsuits filed against him earlier this week.

“I’ve been accused, I’m under attack,” he said, lowering his head and softening his voice behind the pulpit at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta.

“I want you to know, as I said earlier, that I am not a perfect man. But this thing, I’m going to fight,” he said. “I feel like David against Goliath, but I’ve got five rocks and I haven’t thrown one yet.”

With that, the 57-year-old pastor put down his microphone and walked off stage, receiving deafening applause from the thousands who had come to hear him.

The lawsuits accuse Long of using his power and influence within the 25,000-member church to lure young male church members into sexual relationships. The suits allege that the relationships, which began when the men were in their teens, lasted over many months.

Long took the young men — all of them teens at the time — on trips, including to Kenya, according to the suits. Long allegedly paid for their hotel rooms, and gave the young men gifts, including a car, cash and jewelry — all in exchange for sexual favors such as massaging, masturbation and oral sex.

The accusations were particularly controversial because Long, who is married, has preached passionately against homosexuality over the years.

In 2004, he led a march to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s grave in Atlanta in support of defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. He once declared that his church had created a ministry that “delivered” people from homosexuality. He has a national presence, has been invited to the White House, runs a popular television ministry, and oversees a worship campus that includes a school.

In the parking lot after the services Sunday, church member Juan Davis told CNN affiliate WXIA that he was “very satisfied with what I heard.”

“It’s a very difficult moment for the church, for the pastor, but I know for sure they’re going to overcome it — overcome it in a big way,” Davis said.

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