Posts tagged ‘Mega church’

December 18, 2007

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.                                              http://grassley.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=CapitolGains.Detail&CapitolGain_id=a21ffd20-d8d5-fbb3-21e5-793073fe92b5.  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: http://grassley.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=15b0ac11-1321-0e36-ba95-dfc2c00db9c2&Month=11&Year=2007

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