Pope Poses With Wealthy Televangelists

Copeland_and_Pontiff_photo_2014
Photo taken from Kenneth Copeland Ministries blog site [1] and from Catch the Fire, Revival Magazine, “Unity in Diversity”, Left to right—Carol and John Arnott, Rev Brian Stiller, Kenneth Copeland, Pope Francis, Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, James and Betty Robison, Tony Palmer. A similar photo with the same persons was published by Trunews.com [2]

When Pope Francis sacked the German “Bishop of Bling” Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg last October for spending $43 million of church funds for his residential complex, and denounced the “idolatry of money,” self-indulgence and “insidious worldliness” within the church, we were hopeful.

And in May, when the pope condemned “profiteers” and “climbers” and “people who follow Jesus for money,” calling for a “poor church for the poor,” we applauded.

But now the Pope has met with several televangelists who engage in the same kind of excesses he’s been preaching against, and we wonder why.

Continue reading

NPR Tells Why Televangelists Masquerading as Churches are Untaxed, Unregulated…

NPR reporter John Burnett brought us a succinct explanation on “All Things Considered” why nothing has been or will be done about the excessive lifestyles of prosperity preachers.

 

Using Daystar TV’s financial records obtained by the Trinity Foundation under the Texas Opens Records act, Mr. Burnett was able to piece together an accurate picture of how many hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing through their accounts and exactly how little of that is spent on true charity.  It’s less than 5% according to NPR analysis in the first of a 2-part series called, “Can a TV Network Be a Church?  The IRS Says Yes”.

 

In the second part, “Onscreen But Out of Sight, TV Preachers Avoid Tax Scrutiny” NPR reporter Burnett gives us a “bird’s-eye view” of Kenneth Copeland’s large mansion and the ministry’s airport.  He explains why the IRS has stopped investigating any churches or ministries and why they are unlikely to do so in the future.

“What would God Say to the Church?”–radio interview clip rediscovered

“Having an electric church is like having a rubber doll wife.” “What would God say to the church today?” 27 years ago (April 5th, 1987), Ole Anthony delivered a message to the church… whatever you want to call it, this four minute excerpt of Ole Anthony being interviewed by then Eagle rock station’s DJ, Rich Brian, will amaze…

Dr. Cho Convicted–Charisma Blogger Lee Grady On Preventing Scandals

ChoDr. Yonggi Cho rejected Budhism in his youth and converted to Christianity.  In 1958 he founded what has now become, according to PBS, the worlds largest megachurch in Korea.  Spread out across 7 different services, literally hundreds of thousands attend services every Sunday. We are sad to report that Dr. Cho was convicted on February 21st of embezzling over $12 million dollars over the course of many years.  As a part of his sentence, he will have to repay close to $5 million of that amount.

Devastated by Dr. Cho’s conviction, Lee Grady couldn’t help but speak out on integrity.  In response, he expanded on six different ways to prevent another ministry scandal (excerpted here), 1. Never build a cult of personality. 2. Develop a culture of openness.3. Insist on financial transparency.  4. Don’t build a family dynasty.5. Beware of creating a greed monster.  and 6. Never tolerate a spirit of entitlement.”

We couldn’t agree more.

 

Paul Crouch, Sr. is dead at 79

Paul Crouch, dead at 79

We will miss his quirky style, his constant comments about those evil “heretic hunters” (possibly referring to us), and his colorful dress shirts–well, maybe not the dress shirts.  Paul Crouch died this past weekend at the age of 79 after a long battle with congestive heart disease. Religion News Service reporter Adelle Banks provided quite a lot of information about Crouch and the television network, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), he founded and grew.

Ms. Banks quoted our own Ole Anthony as saying, “Paul Crouch at TBN is the greatest proponent of the oldest heresy in the church — that gain is godliness,” said Ole Anthony, a founder of the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation, which has investigated Crouch’s ministries and others for more than 30 years. “All of the heresy connected with that position is what they’re based on and the problem is they’ve spread that all over the world.” 

 

 

Mega-Pastor Steven Furtick Faces Examination

Elevation Church Pastor Steven Furtick has attracted some unwanted attention.  WCNC reporter Stuart Watson recently uncovered Furtick’s large $1.7M house tucked in the woods away from public scrutiny and doubly hidden in a specially created trust. The expose asks a lot of questions about how mega-pastors with a ready-made audience can profit from book royalties.  It also raises questions about the suitability of compensation committees comprised of fellow pastors with a vested interest as contrasted with a long-held church tradition of elders and deacons having decision-making authority.  Take a look at this 3-part story by WCNC News of Charlotte, NC. (part 1 above, parts 2 and 3 below).

In the 3rd and final part in this series, WCNC reporter Stuart Watson also illustrated the connection and similarities between Pastor Steven Furtick and North Texas Pastor Ed Young. Take a look:

Other news outlets have picked up the story as well and interviewed our Trinity Foundation president, Ole Anthony:  “What happens is these pastors are on television or on radio and they write a book, and it’s based on their sermons,” Anthony told The Christian Post. “But then what happens is the church is paying for the time and the place to write the book, and then the church is paying for the airtime to advertise the book. And it’s just unseemly.”

And Anthony wasn’t done there.

“The idea of being a servant is lost. It’s just a job and they try to make more and more money, and the congregations are losing out,” he said. “It just infuriates me. It’s the opposite of the pastor being the servant and feeding the sheep, the pastor’s eating the sheep.”