Nagging WatchDog Groups Lead to Senate Finance Committee Probe of Six Televangelist Ministries

by MullOverThis

The United States Senate Committee on Finance, led by Ranking Member Senator Chuck Grassley, is conducting a probe on six televangelist ministries.  And the nagged are: Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries; Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church Inc. and Benny Hinn Ministries; David and Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries; Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries; Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries; and Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International and Creflo Dollar Ministries.  Yes, I said “nagged”.  Kudos to Creflo and Long for requiring the Senate Committee to issue subpoenas or give it a rest. Kudos to the twentieth exponential power for Joyce Meyer telling them to click the on-line button because her ministry’s financial reports for the past few years is already public information.

Most of these ministries have already stated that as far as they know, they have complied with IRS Not-for-Profit requirements.  Because we can give our opinions in these types of forums here it is: if the governor of my state came to my front door asking me about why I didn’t report or purchased something I felt I had every right to according to IRS and corporate guidelines, I’d ask him why did he want to get into my business.  Just because some watchdog groups are drunk with fighting a fight that the sovereign God is perfectly capable of checking HIMSELF,  and have plagued the senator’s office with information to silence preachers who have been labeled “prosperity gospel preachers”, does not mean the ministries have to buck and comply. If there is a discrepancy, IRS rules, codes, audits and policing mechanisms need to change.  If these ministries are grossly out of compliance and into thievery, then these leaders won’t have to take the jet or be chauffeured in a Bentley or a Yugo to get to minister to prisoners.  They’ll either roll out of bed in their jumpsuits or write hefty penalty checks that better be holy and filled in the sanctified bank. 

Now, I don’t advocate anything that I know nothing about. I am still not clear what the tenets and doctrines of the prosperity gospel are about.  As a Bible teacher, prosperity is certainly part of the plan of God for all of His creation from Genesis to Revelation.  (This is another couple of blogs.) Urging the Senate to override procedural safeguards through fully empowered agencies because of substantive disagreement with what these ministries teach is not a precedent any religious institution should employ. The concern can’t really just be suspect money handling when Long and Paula White were already harrowed in their local areas and had to be IRS proof.  I submit for consideration that suspect money handling in the church is not a mainstay of the mega-church. These are the ministries with compliance officers and functions.

The real treat in all of this is according to letters issued to the ministries and the press release from Senator Grassley’s office, this  inquiry addresses concerns of abusing tax-exempt status, misappropriating funds given by donors,  whether these family or “back pocket” board members are merely figurative, and reporting of lavish gifts personally and to the ministries.                                      Yet, the judge and jury is already out with folks referring to this as an embarrassment to the church.  Hold your horses, Tonto!  We haven’t even gotten underway with the “knitty gritty” yet. The same folks who buy tennis shoes at a gazillion percent mark-up because their whining children must have the brand name cannot be griping. The ones who pull up to their humble church where their pastors and leaders are on salary and live off of ten to sixty-five percent of church revenue can’t be the ones either.  None of these probed ministries exhausts revenue for personal sustenance but do have works all over the world. Many communities in Africa have consummable drinking water because Joyce Meyer, and not her critics who have not come into the land and dropped any wells, has appropriated funds from donors and other streams of income to make a difference in the world. Not the type of difference that people who complain, but do nothing to help solve problems, make. I’m talking about a notable difference that meets the needs of people. So do I care that she or her ritzy guests to the ministry headquarters hoists herself on a $23,000.00 commode to engage in excretory bliss?  Absolutely not.  Order pizza while you’re on it Joyce, if you are bringing in 124 million dollars annually and some local pastors live off of six times more of their annual revenues, not profits, than you do and don’t even pay the church bills on time.  I don’t turn up my nose at the high-end commodes at fine restaurants either.  The ambiance of the executive suite of a mid-sized US corporation does not change because Christians run it. I personally wouldn’t suggest a $4.99 early bird plastic lid special at the ministry offices to appease people, most of whom can’t match the works of those they obsessively criticize.  And, finally,  God didn’t ask for the plastic or moderate commode level in anything He designed and asked His people to build for Him.  Everything in the temple was the $23,000.00 commode level, the finest materials.  When Solomon was rewarded by God for asking God for wisdom to rule God’s people, God gave him riches.  The lavish favored King didn’t grieve God and neither does any other steward that is meeting the needs of those who need Jesus.

 The real people who see the poor giving their last and spend it without accountability are the churches with Goofey accounting systems in play-play land, and every person who has a role in finances or is anointed to preach has the same last name which coincidentally matches the Pastor.  I don’t believe that the same Jesus that permitted the costly oil to anoint his feet (that his disciples thought should be sold and the proceeds used for the poor)  would mind that people who have put in over 25 years in ministry world-wide enjoy life at the level of their productivity. So this is one person that will be waiting to see what the end of this is before rushing to judgment.

To see the letter to each ministry, click here:

16 Comments to “Nagging WatchDog Groups Lead to Senate Finance Committee Probe of Six Televangelist Ministries”

  1. The other post on Creflo Dollar I disagree with and find the author has invested to much energy into trying to suggest the govt is being biased with Creflo.

    In Truth Creflo set his set up for this scrutiny w his flamboyance

    Personally,IN MY OPINION

    Creflo is an embarrassment for a preacher and filled with so many contradictions.

    The Republican Senator came after Creflo despite his Republican ties for valid suspicions, and Creflo initially said he would comply by the deadline and then changed his mind making him appear more suspicious to people.The idea that if the IRS doesn’t find fault with something that it is all good is laughable and a moot point.

    Have you ever seen Money Comin – Ziklag and creflo dollar

    go to youtube

    ( note: Creflo dollar has videos where he is bragging about his wealth and there was little observable difference from his and many of 50 videos,

    the congregation clapped and loved it but there are rap videos with only materialistic jargon ..exactly like this and this same congregation would likely never have clapped for that.. phony folks in my eyes,they rarely discuss Jesus on this video/rap song ..the chorus is about money)

    my threshold is different due to my experiences and knowledge of him and his ilk.

    creflo is arrogant and unrepentant in his mistakes because he really worships money not Jesus or God ..I know many want to like him but I try not to get caught up in personalities unless they are the Pittsburgh stelers.

  2. I feel that a religious organization that is truely focused on charitable acts should be provided the proper tax status, but for these cash juggernaut ministries, it is clear that they should be treated as the for profit business that they are.

  3. CB, I don’t think the government is biased with Creflo anymore than it is against mega-ministries whose CEO’s/top execs live a bling bling lifestyle with a tax exemption status. Because they are religious is nature does should not lean either way, for or against their accountability to the government through the laughable IRS, as to whether their activities are reasonable for enjoying tax exemption classification as a charitable organization, which does not mean that they are NOT to make magnanimous profits. As Grassley or his office stated, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. So with the great impetus from groups that query with religious leaders because of their interpretation of scripture and what God says about wealth, procedural jurisdiction should not change when ministries have set up compliance to be in good standing with the government based upon acceptance, and periodic review by the appropriate governing authority so that they would please the Jesus that rode into Jerusalem as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Amen, and gratis for your thoughts.

  4. I do think that the govt (in the form of Grassley’s inquiries) is over-reaching. The IRS is very capable of oversight in this matter and if the senator and Creflo (and mega-church pastor) critics don’t like his lifestyle or feel like he and other pastors are breaking the law or taking advantage of their church’s tax exempt status, then do a formal inquiry. To cherry pick these six ministries is outrageous.
    Regarding the previous critique about Creflo and his flamboyant lifestyle, I understand how certain aspects of his ministry and lifestyle can be a distraction. I certainly feel its w/in his right to drive whatever car he wants (and can afford) and to live in the best house his (or his church’s) money can buy. I don’t think God calls ministers to a life of poverty or even mediocrity. However, I am reminded of an interview of Rick Warren (author of “Purpose Driven Life” and pastor of his own megachurch). Pastor Warren was asked if it is a sin to be a millionaire. He replied “No. But its a sin to die one”. The obvious import of his reply was that if one is a Christian and is blessed w/ wealth, that persona has, at LEAST, a moral obligation to use their wealth for the spreading the Gospel and improving people’s lives. His personal example was that he and his wife donate 65-75% percent of their earnings, etc. I’m not suggesting that every wealthy minister has to follow the same exact formula, but his example provides good direction.
    I don’t know how much money Creflo has or gets and I don’t really have an opinion on how much he should get or how he should spend it ( I think that his church brought in $69m last yr so him driving a $200k car is not a big prob for me). But I think that he should be much more careful in managing his image. Some folk are always going to want to find a reason to criticize ministers and link them to the stereotype that exists today- e.g. ministers use all the church money for their personal benefit. I don’t think Creflo et al should adjust their lifestyles to suit folk who are not interested in hearing the Gospel. But I am inclined to say that they should adjust their lifestyles in accordance with Romans 14:13-22; because it can be a stumbling block to others. How exactly should they live? Its not for me to say, but I think that Rick Warren and others like him have found a way.

  5. I believe that Benny Hinn is a scam artist. He may have started anointed, but he is now into getting money and living a rich lifestyle. However, it does not matter what any of us think, all of these people will answer to the Lord on Judgement Day!!!!bb

  6. I agree that the Bible does not call us to poverty. However, I believe that the church is misguided when it comes to what is considered true prosperity. I am not saying that one should not enjoy the fruit of their labor. However, the black community is in a poor state on every level and it behooves the black church to focus on Bentley’s, private jets, and the like when our children are in sub par school systems, can’t afford to go to the college of their choice, and have low cultural- and self-esteem. The death of the black community is materialism. This is how the work of the Civil Rights movement came undone. Blacks have come into this country disenfranchised and now that we have a couple of dollars in our pocket, instead of building our communities through true prosperity which is embedded in identity, solidarity, and integrity, we are telling them to bling out. Yes, one should certainly enjoy the fruits of their labor, but as W commented, one should also manage their image. If a church leader is in a position of leadership and his or her outward show of wealth is a stumbling block, then that person should learn to be “quietly” expensive. Keep the Mercedes in the garage and ride to church in a town car. This prosperity message is supposed to be for everyone yet it seems only the leadership benefits. Many leaders have what they have because of the poor single mothers, struggling families, and the elderly on a fixed income, who tithe and offer faithfully and buy their books and tapes. I am more impressed with a wealthy minister of a small congregation than one with a mega church. Why? Because it obviously took some real financial stewardship and savvy to have produced wealth. We have little room to critique the material excesses of the hip-hop world when we do the same thing in the name of the Lord. People can’t see God for the bling, and whether we like to admit it or not, the image of God has been reduced to that of Santa Claus.

  7. Nik and all others who expressed concern about the lack of judgment bragging about the bling bling, I agree. Simply because it is a stumblingblock to too many people who do not have understanding. Although pastors of smaller churches may be wealthy and great stewards, I sincerely believe this is also the same scenario for the most abuse. This is truly where you find the disenfranchised community that you speak of NIK and the pastor lives in a different neighborhood, and exhausts ministry staff, resoures and finances with their own personal business and family use, UNCHECKED. Again, I do not believe this is the norm, but there are too many buildings that don’t have adequate upkeep and a souped up Benz in the reserved parking spot. Finally, I don’t believe we should be critiquing the material excess of the world at all. I know I’m about to start some controversy, but I don’t believe Jesus had a problem with the wealthy and those who amassed material goods at all. It is what one does with it, that He is concerned about. And he certainly did not require to give it all to the poor.

  8. I agree that Jesus would not have a problem with wealth, but more so an inordinate attachment to it and poor stewardship. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Thus my argument, not necessarily on a spiritual level but on a natural one, that the church should critique the material excesses in the black community because our social condition does not permit us to be careless with our resources. White America can live high without guilt because they are not disproportionately disenfranchised like Black America. They have a legacy and leave an inheritance for generations to come. There is a lot of “old” money in White America because they have been taught from day one the art of financial longevity. Economic prosperity is valuable when it is properly appropriated. When you have hip-hop artists like JayZ and Master P becoming entrepeneurs and creating jobs for our people, that’s a beautiful thing. But when you have rappers spending a gazillion dollars on platinum incisors and using their means to tout a fairytale gangsta lifestyle as reality, that negatively influences the next generation. Our condition in this country necessitates that we engage in some type of social and fiscal responsibility. So we arrive at the old argument that occurred amongst Harlem Renaissance writers: should art be for art’s sake, or should it be used to promote our race because of our condition in America? I believe the church should be a center for change on every level, as it was in the 60’s. We need to comment on the viruses that affect our communities, one of which is the material excess the hip-hop world encourages. And when I indict hip-hop, it’s the new school I’m talking about, not the old-school-positively-politically motivated sector.

  9. Nik, you should run for President. It may not be too late. Some considerations to “throw out there”: The wealth that many of our preachers are enjoying–blessings and prosperity [not just financial] is meant to be enjoyed–is because of longstanding faithful stewardship. The distribution of wealth in the Kingdom must include the principle that has been taught since the law was given thru the Church age, the haves give to make sure the have-nots, have. The have not’s will always be around, because some people will not obey the principles that do not discriminate, but release harvests into those who obey, by faith, and multiply. The King’s kids must leave an inheritance for at least two generations to come, and be postured, through stewardship and obeying the laws and principles of the Kingdom (natural, divine, civil, moral, and supernatural) to receive the inflow of resources from those who do not have a “Kingdom of God” mind. So social responsibility will change our community, at least in part, when families understand the value of true prosperity, where a Rolls Royce is not a symbol of success where there is no provision for generations to come, current seed working to generate a harvest for tomorrow, or current distribution of wealth to the less fortunate. See, a pastor laboring for 25 years in a Rolls is not the same as someone who is here today, gone tomorrow, or the Rolls is 5 times the value of real property owned with no consciousness of meeting the needs of others. See, the church should be the nucleus with all of the DNA to define the activity of every other part of society and the world, not B & Ho rappers.

  10. In Loving Memory Of Bonnie Parker,
    I’m writing this in regards to the letter written to Kenneth and Gloria Copeland located at I wrote the letter with hopes of someone passing it along to the Copelands. Comments the letter has brought is overwhelming. My heart goes out to all who has suffered any type of a loss regarding Prosperity Gospel. Several times over the past few years, I felt that there was not anything I could do, or say that would make any difference in the way people see Prosperity Gospel. I was battling, and still am, a multimillion dollar organization for answers, I had never felt so alone. Now after receiving hundreds of supportive emails, I feel I have a army beside us. Some have requested a more detailed accounting of the last few months mom was with us, the following is merely a forth of the story. Our thanks go out to you all.
    I have a link all can visit to view pages of mom’s diary, there is only a few now but I hope to post them all on this site. If you have any questions about these pages please let me know.
    Thank you!

    Also if you would like to share your story you can visit,

    The following articles are referring to Prosperity Gospel

    The following are two must see KCM websites,

    No words could describe just how I felt at that moment. I promised her she would not be left alone, yet here we was in the hospital emergency room lobby, and she was somewhere behind the locked double doors alone. Hour after hour passed , a nurse finally appeared motioning for us to follow her. Seeing the pain in her blue eyes assured me this was no dream, this was it, the moment she knew would come someday but hoped never would. The nurse carefully pulled moms gown back revealing a sight that would be with me the rest of my life. I could hear the doctor asking questions directed to me and my father such as “When did she have a Mastectomy”, and “How long has she been this way?”. My father replied” She hasn’t had any surgery” this answer brought looks of disbelief from the doctor and nurses surrounding us. I realized then exactly they were thinking, they actually thought we denied her medical attention. Their expressions were convicting us without any reasonable doubt. Her left breast was completely eaten away, leaving only a large whole where it used to be. Reality had hit me all at once, our fears were confirmed she was not going to be with us much longer, and we were being blamed for the condition she was in. Mom would not let us bath her even toward the end, she had led us to believe it was due to the weight loss, she didn’t want us seeing her frail body. Truth was she didn’t want us to see her chest. We were escorted back out to the lobby so they could resume their evaluation. Result of each test came back just as we had expected, It was to late nothing medically could be done. The following day’s brought more criticism from the hospital staff, finally I had endured all I could, it was time they knew the truth. I know it was hard to believe we knew nothing about the cancer that had consumed almost her entire body, but that was the truth. And they were going to hear me out no matter how long it would take. I felt most to blame, I was her daughter, I should have seen this coming. But my father, they was not going to direct this blame towards him any longer. Come shift change I walked down to the nurses station where one group were leaving and the other arriving. Asking for a moment of their time, proved easier than I thought. As they began to move closer, I began to take them back in time where I believed it all began. Starting with her right eye in which she had lost the ability to open. This was the first sign something was wrong. Mom insisting day after day it was merely a sinus infection and nothing more. The mention of a doctor was unacceptable, she made that clear. Her eye would remain this way a few day’s then become normal again. Twice more her eye would fail her before closing permanently, refusing medical attention each time. As time passed she began loosing weight rapidly, eating very little, and staying in bed mostly all day. We were fighting a loosing battle and there was no end in sight. She was dieing and there was nothing we could do. Why was she doing this to herself and us? The time came she could no longer stay alone, someone had to be there at her side at all times. My dad worked most every day so mom was with me most all the time. Each day she became weaker. I bought a baby monitor and put by her bed and mine so I could hear her during the night. I dreaded the night for I didn’t know what the morning would bring. I had to get up before my children because if she had passed on I wanted to be the one to find her not them. The fear of her dieing and us not having a clue of what from, or why, was the reality we faced each day. My concern had evolved into anger, she was refusing medical attention and putting us though a living hell, why? There was nothing legally we could do, but watch her die. Once we could legally step in and force her to get in the ambulance waiting outside my door, she was probably only hours away from death. Still refusing and begging not be taken they loaded her in and drove away. I believe she knew she wouldn’t return, deep down we all knew. But there was always that single ray of hope, and no one was going to put that out. We had spent the last few months surrounded by uncertainty, fear, and anger, maybe now at least we would know physically what was wrong. But why she made that fatal decision to refuse any type of medical help was still a mystery. In my eyes she committed suicide, I was going to have to live with that horrible fact. Nothing made since, would it ever? There was not a dry eye in that nurses station that evening after I concluded my memories of the last few months, but in their eyes we were no longer guilty of neglect. Once all the test results were back and we were faced with the fact there was nothing the hospital could do we had at make a decision regarding where to take her to live out what little time she had left. I could not take her back home with me, my kids had been through enough. Southern Oaks nursing home was only five miles from my house, the following two moths this would become our home. The staff took us in as if we were family. We owe the last few months of mom’s life to the staff of Southern Oaks, we will forever be grateful to them all. Mom from this point on had her good day’s and bad. October 19, 2004 she was finally called home. All day her blood pressure had continued to fall, her breathing had became labored, and she was totally unresponsive. Around ten o’clock that night dad told me to go home for a while, I didn’t want to but he and my husband insisted. She passed away a few minutes after I left.
    For the rest of the story simply type , Kenneth Copeland, Bonnie Parker in your search engine.

    Thank you,
    The Family of Bonnie Parker

  11. God bless the writer of this blog

    The way this Bonnie Parkers family behave you would think it was Copeland who killed there mother. There stupidity appalls me

    If Bonnie parker had been truly listening to to the Copelands I doubt she would be buying lottery tickets .

    Look it was Cancer that killed your mother not the Copelnds so quit this your withchunt. It’s sad that your mom died but this childish vendetta needs to stop. The Copelands preach JESUS as healer not themselves

  12. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    Matthew 6

  13. THETRUTHWILLSETYOUFREE, Praise God for the Word!

    As the moderator, I will take liberty to provide the context and principles that Jesus taught in Matthew 6. WE have free choice regarding what we set our hearts on. We can choose money, material things, and the whole nine yards, or God and spiritual things. Our treasures are up to us, but what will last and is eternal is God and spiritual things. So, we are taught in this passage of scripture to seek God first in all things, because in doing so, He will provide everything that we need–natural and spiritual. Point: it is your choice where to put your concentrations in life. Those who live for money and material wealth and possessions find no value in life when the stock market crashes, a business fails, or a tornado destroys everything we have acquired on earth. Those who understand and live by this Matthew 6 principle, sigh, may even weep, but trust the God who is on the throne of their hearts and to help them re-build. We are taught repeatedly throughout the Word of God, that loving money will drive us to all manner of evil, and we can look at our headlines today and see that truth, as well as survey the book of Proverbs.

    This scripture by no means indicates that God is against material wealth, or material things. These things should not “own” our hearts, nor should we be driven in life to gain things. Jesus’ first miracle was to provide wine at the wedding feast, something that was not spiritual, but material to all who drank and enjoyed the miraculous wine. We of course can extrapolate spiritual significance to the wine. Jesus provided what was “desired”, because certainly the wedding would not be null and void over the insufficiency of wine.

    Finally, for those who live in mansions and preach, teach, and do what they have been doing for years while they were in small homes and hopping the bus, they have seen the provision of God and the abundance that comes with faithfulness to God and HIs principles of dominion, stewardship, productivity and multiplication. The same God of Adam, who told him to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth, is the same God of today. The same God of Abraham who promised him that through him, all the families of the earth will be blessed, and to look out as far as his eyes could see, and all of that would be given to him, is the same God of today. God desires for His children to Have, and Have more than enough not just to sustain ourselves, do the work of the Kingdom, and to help the poor, but to leave an inheritance for the next two or more generations.

    Thanks for the door to share some more…

  14. I feel sorry for the Bonnie Parker family, but this one thing I know. They preach healing, will pray with you and for you for healing but will tell you to go to the doctor and get treatment and pray believe God too. I know because I have called them for healing prayer and agreement, but also go to the doctor and take meds until healing is manifested. We must use the wisdom God gives us…..He uses doctors too. I still believe in the Copelands teaching. I also go to a bible -believing church that has good teaching and an excellant God believing pastor.

  15. I think the probe is warranted and criminal charges should be in order. Preaches particularly black ministers shower themselves with material things, from the backs of the congregations they serve. They certainly contradicted the principle that entrepreneurship and churches should not mix.

    Ministers today should be pulling resources from American corporations to fund programs to empower their community, calling it “The Readiness Blessing Program”. Monday through Saturday churches should be opened and offer computer training, job readiness, bus tokens, business attire and shoes to the homeless, all funded by corporations. The money they make for book sales, cd sales, webcasting, pledges, donations, offerings and subscriptions, can go to pay for purchasing an apartment buildings. to house those who attend the program.

    What are most lavished ministers like T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar and others doing, Monday through Saturday other then meeting with investment bankers, car salesmen, and mortgage brokers and like? Look at Bishop Thomas, who was found guilty of beating his wife, we see where is time is being spend.

    It is an insult that Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council would support their effort and not send them a letter requesting what they are doing for the community they server.

    Ask yourselves in the 21st century would Jesus, ware custom suits, thousand dollar shoes, drive a Bentley purchased a private plane and lived in a million dollar house?

  16. Nina, I will respond with a blog. Thanks for stopping by.

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