Christian pastor Jamal Bryant declines to respond to allegations he fathered a child outside marriage

Pastor Jamal Bryant with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Baltimore, Maryland.Reuters

A popular and charismatic US pastor is declining to respond to allegations that he has fathered an illegitimate child.

Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple Church in Baltimore, Maryland, said his lawyers have advised him not to speak about the allegations. He insisted: "God ain't finished with me."

Latoya Shawntee Odom, 34, a nurse from California, has claimed she became pregnant as a result of a relationship with Bryant and that she refused the pastor's alleged suggestion she abort the baby. 

She gave birth last July to a boy, John Karston Bryant. She has claimed a DNA paternity test proves Bryant is 99.9999 per cent certain to be the father.

Bryant this week took part in a session on Periscope, according to Christian Post, where he said: "Over the last week, a lot has been said and a lot has been suggested and like you I was thrown into a tailspin.

"I had to shut down for a minute so that my response would not be that of a man but be priestly as a man of God.

"To that end, let me say to you I am one of those rare people who are flawed with character. That with all of my issues I don't run from them I stand right next to them."

He continued: "Those of you who have been with me you are fully aware that some eight, nine years now, I went through a divorce and claimed all of it my responsibility. The worst mistake you can ever make is to repeat the exact same mistake."

He neither denies nor confirms that the baby John is his son. 

The reports of his alleged paternity first appeared on Obnoxious TV. 

Bryant said the allegations are now part of legal talks so he cannot comment.

He said: "The last time I went through something, I shut down, wouldn't talk to anybody, tried to in fact deal with it all by myself but I understand that there is strength in numbers. The issues, pertaining and surrounding the allegations are in the middle of a legal discourse that preclude me from going into any depth to talk about it. But let me say to you, while many things have been said about me, running is not one of them, I stand on God's word that he is my battle axe and my (sic) butler and I bear witness His grace is sufficient and his mercy endures.

"My legal counsel says I cannot go through any depth talking about it but there is nothing that can stop me from talking to God. When there is something to be said you will hear it directly from me, you will not have to look for a secondary source. So I wanted to say to you in no uncertain terms, thank you for your prayers, thank you for your support but I also want you to know that His rod and His staff, they comfort me."

Discussion in his church this weekend will be limited to talking about Jesus.

"Keep praying for me and I'll keep praying for you. I wanted to come on tonight so there will be absolute clarity – Sunday morning is to discuss Jesus, it is not to talk about Jamal. So when you come to church, get ready to talk about how great God is. And not the frailty of what Jamal possesses. Love y'all but I declare that God loves all of us best. Let me say to you in closing in case nobody told you, prayer still works," he said.

He also asked for prayers.

"Keep praying for me because unlike others, I actually need it. I appreciate it and I receive it. God ain't finished with me. But when he gets through working with me I shall come forth standing right beside you."

Inquisitr reported that Bryant is well-known in the African-American community. "Plenty of YouTube snippets of Bryant's sermons show the pastor examining and incorporating rap lyrics from artists like Jay Z into his messages. And that is the style of preaching that won Bryant a legion of fans in the church and beyond."

Bryant was formerly married to Gizelle, star of a reality tv show, The Real Housewives of Potomac from Bravo. She divorced Bryant after claiming a woman had contacted her to her know what her husband was up to in her absence.