Days ahead of the deadline Thursday, when six popular televangelists are expected to turn over their financial records for a Senate probe, traditional Christians are not applauding the investigation.
Some Christians wonder what the future implications of the inquiry, led by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), might be for Christian media ministries.
"What we're concerned about is the future of Christian broadcasting and Christian ministries nonprofit ones if this inquiry is either broadened or ratcheted up and hearings are held and new legislation is considered," said Craig Parshall, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Religious Broadcasters, according to The Associated Press. more >>
Acting on complaints from the public, Senator Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has launched an investigation into alleged financial wrongdoing involving six high-profile televangelists, all of whom run non-profit organizations. The allegations involve governing boards that are not independent and which allow exorbitant salaries, housing allowances and luxuries such as private jets and Rolls Royces.
Creflo Dollar, pastor of World Changers Church International, is one of those under investigation. He has several Rolls Royces, private jets, a million-dollar home in Atlanta and a $2.5 million Manhattan apartment.
Best-selling author and televangelist Joyce Meyer, known for her candid, self-effacing speaking style, is also under investigation. Her office headquarters, with its 158,000-square-foot, three-story building and furniture estimated at $5.7 million, was built for $20 million in 2001. Since 1999, Meyers ministry has reported spending at least $4 million on five homes for Meyer and her four children, the largest of which is Meyers 10,000-square-foot Cape Cod style estate that spreads over three acres and includes a private putting green, a gazebo, a pool and a pool house. Among the items under Senate investigation are a $23,000 commode with marble top, a $30,000 conference table and an $11,219 French clock, all purchased for Meyers ministry headquarters. Meyer seems unapologetic for her accumulated wealth. As she blatantly acknowledged: If you stay in your faith, you are going to get paid. I am living now in my reward. more >>
Some ministers being probed for alleged financial misconduct said they will cooperate with a Senate investigation. But they question whether the request for their financial records is overstepping government authority into religion.
Bishop Eddie Long, senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., and one of the six high-profile ministers being investigated, called Sen. Charles Grassley's request unjust and "an attack on our religious freedom and privacy rights" during the churchs service Sunday, according to The Associated Press.
It was Long's first comment beyond the statement he issued saying he would cooperate since Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, sent letters to the ministers on Nov. 5 asking for financial statements. more >>
Investigation is underway for possible financial misconduct involving six popular televangelists who preach what critics call the prosperity gospel.
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Finance, requested on Monday that the six ministry leaders provide financial statements and records by Dec. 6 and respond to a wide range of questions regarding their personal and organizational finances.
Letters requesting for full cooperation were sent to: Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. more >>
Internet talk show host Reuben Armstrong announced he will file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a faith-based broadcast portal for dropping his show over a controversial book he authored.
StreamingFaith.com, used by churches to broadcast their programs online, removed Armstrong's show earlier this month from the website because the talk show host "slandered a few of our beloved partners," Armstrong quoted Streaming Faith managers as saying.
Armstrong's self-published Snakes in the Pulpit blasts four prominent megachurch pastors who preach what critics call the "prosperity gospel," alleging that they are "false prophets." more >>
The prosperity gospel, as critics call it, is growing highly prominent megachurches and has blacks divided on the controversial message.
While the nation's largest African American religious organization the 7.5 million-member National Baptist Convention has clearly denounced the prosperity gospel especially with many black communities suffering in poverty, tens of thousands of black Christians flock to services every week to hear the message of wealth and abundance.
"God gives us power to get wealth. Does that sound like he wants you to be on welfare? That's in the Bible!" the Rev. Frederick K.C. Price, pastor of Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles, told Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. Current membership at Crenshaw is reported to be over 18,000. more >>