Another scandal in the works

Considering the lengths to which prosperity teachers go to twist the words of the Bible, it would not surprise me one bit if they were improperly reporting income. How long before these people’s followers realize that they are being had?

Acting on tips about preachers who ride in Rolls Royces and have purportedly paid $30,000 for a conference table, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday he’s investigating the finances of six well-known TV ministers. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said those under scrutiny include faith healer Benny Hinn, Georgia megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar and one of the nation’s best known female preachers, Joyce Meyer.

Grassley sent letters to the half-dozen Christian media ministries earlier this week requesting answers by Dec. 6 about their expenses, executive compensation and amenities, including use of fancy cars and private jets.

In a statement, Grassley said he was acting on complaints from the public and news coverage of the organizations.

“The allegations involve governing boards that aren’t independent and allow generous salaries and housing allowances and amenities such as private jets and Rolls Royces,” Grassley said.

Most of those under investigation preach a variation of the “prosperity gospel,” the teaching that God will shower faithful followers with material riches…

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12 Responses to “Another scandal in the works”

  1. Lincoln says:

    I don’t get the followers who make excuses for these shysters, e.g. “Why shouldn’t he have that Rolls Royce?? he’s a man of God!” We’ve become pretty far removed from the days of Paul, who preached on the virtues of being content with only food and raiment. I suspect many of them will never admit to being had. They’ll just think this hearing is part of a satanic witch hunt to take down their beloved leaders.

    Remember when Christians were intelligent discerners of truth? Me neither.

  2. casey says:

    I don’t remember such a time, either, but I wish Christians would learn to hold leaders accountable. These scandals serve only to hinder the effectiveness of the true message of salvation. It’s a sad state of affairs when pastors make 10 times the average salaries of the members of their congregations.

  3. Joe Jordan says:

    Senator Grassley’s investigation underscores the gap that can exist between personal and financial accountability. To state that one is acting within the parameters of the law or that a board reviews all financial transactions is one thing. Demonstrating maturity of character and good judgment in how money is used is something else.

    I am reminded of the words of a 19th century evangelist who was known on two continents without the aid of television, “If I take chare of my character, my reputation will take care of itself” (D.L. Moody).

  4. Dan Anton says:

    Religabusiness…seriously laughable..they want you to plant a thousand dollar seed so it can grow into a brand new car for them ;). I’m more spiritual than religious because of the nonsense attached to it and justifications for wars

  5. Kansas Bob says:

    About 25 years ago I stopped sending money to large radio and TV “ministries”. I don’t think that it is wise to give money to people that you do not have a personal relationship with.. people who you cannot hold personally accountable. Alas, I am probably in the minority on this one.. if not there wouldn’t be so many radio and TV preachers.

    And about the “prosperity preachers”.. anyone ever check on those other fundamentalist ones? One local SBC pastor lives like a king and has been the object of several newspaper articles. I know several other local pastors who make 6 figures. This stuff isn’t limited to the prosperity folks.. greed is the common theme.

  6. casey says:

    Yeah, greed can affect even the non-prosperity teachers. It’s really sad.

  7. Kansas Bob says:

    Just a few figures to illustrate my point:

    Billy Graham [Director and Chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)] …
    $406,830.

    William Franklin Graham III [as President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA)] … $94,998.
    William Franklin Graham III [as President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse] …$304,308
    Total Package… $399,306.

    Hank Hanegraaff [President of The Christian Research Institute (CRI)] … $210,192,
    His wife Kathy Hanegraaff [Director of Planning The Christian Research Institute (CRI)] … $127,431
    Total Package … $337,623.

    Ravi Zacharias, President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries… $191,498.

  8. casey says:

    Bob,

    Are these salaries really coming from their ministries, or are they coming from book deals and speaking arrangements? What is the source of that information?

  9. Kansas Bob says:

    My understanding is that these numbers are salary figures.. not sure that I want to know what the book sales receipts look like :(

    I found some interesting artices on the Billy Graham founded ECFA.. all is not kosher.. most evangelical churches and religious organizations refuse to release salary figures for their leaders.. unlike publicly traded corportations that have to release compensation levels.

    It is sad how little accountability and integrity there is in Evangelical America.. sadly it speaks to the larger issues confronting us.

  10. casey says:

    Okay. I’d concede that those are somewhat high figures for salaries considering the work in which they’re involved, although they’re not astronomical. It depends on where they live, too. Some areas have higher costs of living. I have no problem with them earning money from book sales and speaking engagements, however.

  11. Kansas Bob says:

    The problem with many of their book sales is that many of their books are written on the church dime.. some are merely a regurgitation of their church sermons which tithe money paid for. It is a complex web of clergy entitlement and hero worship.

  12. Carol says:

    I’m more outraged by their erroneous teachings than the mount of money they make because what they teach affects everyone in ear shot. And if they are bent on getting their rewards now, then that’s all they’ll get. They have to answer for their doings one Day.