Paula White's Without Walls Sues Former Pastor for 'Stealing' Members
Paula White's Without Walls International has filed a lawsuit against a former pastor from one of its sister churches for allegedly luring members from the congregation to his own place of worship.
In the lawsuit filed last week, Without Walls International Church (WWIC) accuses Randy L. Coggins of making "derogatory statements and allegations" about WWIC while serving as executive pastor at Without Walls Central church (WWC).
He is also accused of using church property and assets for his own personal use, as well as luring away congregants from WWC to his own ministry, Bridge of Hope Church in Lakeland, Fla.
White serves as pastor of both WWIC, which is located in Tampa, and its Lakeland branch WWC.
Coggins, who founded Bridge of Hope Church with wife Sandy Coggins, said he was surprised by the lawsuit, in which the plaintiff requests more than $15,000 in damages.
"I just pray this will be able to be resolved in a godly and Christian manner. These are churches we're talking about, and churches are not supposed to engage in this arena," Coggins told The Ledger.
Coggins, who uses the title "bishop," refused to tell The Ledger the size of his congregation.
On Friday morning, the Facebook page for Bridge of Hope Church had 87 "likes."
White and ex-husband Randy White founded WWIC in 1991, when it was named the South Tampa Christian Center. The couple divorced in 2007 and White took over as senior pastor of WWIC in 2009.
In April, White publicly discussed her decision to divorce her husband, which she has described as amicable.
In the summer of 2010, the WWIC pastor was accused of having an affair with televangelist Benny Hinn. White denied those allegations.