Rich Televangelists To Be Investigated By Rich Senators

The news today reports that 6 prominent televangelists are being investigated by the Senate Finance Committee. Paula White, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, and Eddie Long are all being investigated for potential financial misconduct. They have until Dec. 6, 2007 to turn over their ministry financial statements to the US Senate.

Why are they being investigated? The Senate wants to know if they are using their tax-exempt status as churches as cover for financing their lavish lifestyles. Jets, Bentleys, multiple million-dollar homes, six-figure incomes, extravagant hotel and travel expenses, all add up to the appearance of financial impropriety.

The question is: Are they breaking US tax law? A lot of us have been wondering that for awhile now, so I guess we’re about to find out.

We do know that they are making merchandise of men’s souls, taking advantage of poor people, proclaiming heresy, promoting themselves, and living luxurious lives off of the backs of their gullible donors. We do know that all of that dishonors Christ and His Gospel, and we do know that they will give fearful account for themselves before God on the final day.

I think it is really unfortunate that these “preachers” have never been able to be brought into the accountability of the wider church, despite the efforts of organizations like Ministry Watch and Trinity Foundation, and despite the near-constant decrying of them as false prophets by evangelical pastors and scholars for decades – not to mention the multiple exposé’s done by 20/20, etc. Despite all of those efforts, few of these misleading lovers-of-money have ever fully been brought to task.

I think it is really sad that they are so self-willed and above correction from the wider church that a worldly court is having to exercise its authority over these abusers of people, to investigate them to see if they are abusers of the law.

They have brought this upon themselves. They have been very conspicuous in their use abuse of money. They have raised eyebrows among believers and unbelievers alike, and they have done it without shame, apology, or pang of conscience. They have dishonored Christ, they have embarrassed Christians, and they have caused unbelievers to scorn the Gospel and the church. Now even the secular authorities have serious questions about the legality of what they are doing.

Yes, I find it quite ironic that politicians, of all people, are investigating preachers for misusing donations, abusing the public trust, living lavishly off other people’s money, and even breaking the law. Pot, meet kettle! It’s pretty sad when a group of people widely known for those deeds feel outdone by someone else, and in this case, those who call themselves ministers of Christ.

That’s what makes me wonder if anything productive will come out of this investigation. Politicians investigating other people for corruption isn’t a scenario that offers much hope. Like Kim Riddlebarger wonders, which is worse here, charlatans or Caesar?

So, the jury is out on whether this will turn out to be a good or bad thing. Who knows what kind of negative ramifications this will have on legitimate law-abiding, Christ-honoring churches. I can only hope that the long arm of the law will bring some needed accountability to these televangelists, especially if they have indeed broken the law. It’s too bad they appear to need that kind of scrutiny.


10 Responses to Rich Televangelists To Be Investigated By Rich Senators

  1. Thanks for posting this Scott. Had I not bookmarked your blog, I would not have known.

    I hope they are all innocent but I’m not so sure they are. Each of these folks are friends with one another too. Hmmm…has their sin of deception finally caught up with them? Many are interested to find out. Thanks again.

  2. Dan says:

    This has been going on since the days of “PTL” and it looks like it will continue to do so. I’m not saying these ministries have not helped or encouraged people over the years but the mere appearance of impropriety damages other Christian/Faith Based organizations.

    The times I’ve heard co-workers ridicule pastors and evangelists saddens me. I happen to know many of them and none live lavish lifestyles as those depicted in the original article. I for one would not want to be judged on preying on unsuspecting donors.

  3. […] is and interesting different take on this issue that raises some equally valid […]

  4. anna says:

    What saddens me is that those people if found quilty of misuse of funds ,funds met to clothe & feed people physically and spiritual ,they will gave those who are really preaching the gospel not for gain but with the love of God for the lost a bad name However those of us who are mature in the Lord should pray that they repent.
    I just believe this is God cleaning house if there were some out there with that in mind they will have second thoughts .”Will the real ministers of the gospel please stand up”

  5. Latonya Wilcher says:

    I think if they are honestly doing the work of God they will have the paper work to show for that. But on the other hand if the senate wants to find falt in these ministries they will be guilty regardless of their paper work. i am not sure the motive for these particular ministers because there are numerous other ministries that are living “lavishly” that are on the television. the senate should be more concern with the countries bigger problems, racism, SS, poverty, education, pedephiles, the war, oil crisis, welfare, immigration, the economy, lack of jobs and health care. no wonder this country is in trouble no one we elect wants to deal with the real problems at hand.

  6. Nick says:

    The Heaven of Senators will also examine them too!
    I hope they All, any many others be accountable because of this action, Thank God for taking thing what are in secret, bringing it to the house top.

  7. Ann Marshall says:

    I’ve never believed in preachers preaching for gain, begging their congregation, and then telling the congregation to beg God.

  8. JANET kIDD says:

    Too many televangelists are preaching-give ,and see if God will not open the windows of Heaven and pour you out a blessing. The Bible clearly states, May you prosper as your soul prospers, not just give and you will receive. We all should take more time to read our Bibles and not only the new testament , but the foundation for it in the old testament.

  9. Makayla says:

    Why come mega preachers like Pat Robertson , who uses his non-profit status for political purposes, Oral Roberts, who said on national television that the Lord would end his life if he did not raise over a million dollars—scam, Ted Haggard, Joel Olsten, Charles Stanley, Earl Paulk are not being investigated. They are multi-millionares and maybe billionares. I guess minority non-white preachers are held to a different standard.

  10. Hope says:

    Why is Charles Stanley even considered in this group? Is there something I don’t know about him?? I think he’s a wonderful teacher and worthy of much praise. I cannot begin to tell you how much he has changed my life… FOR FREE!

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