Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, is launching an investigation of six major ministries, two of which are in the Atlanta Metro area. Here’s the article:

Senate Committee Investigating Six Major Ministries

Wow, picking a horse in this race is difficult, that’s for sure. On the one hand, you’ve got the intrusive, overreaching arm of the federal government prying its bulbous nose into affairs of the church. On the other, you’ve got six “ministries” that are out of control, submit to little if any authority higher than themselves (ecclesiastically), and which justify blatant excess on the part of their “pastors”. I’m sort of surprised that “America’s Pastor”, Mr. Osteen, isn’t in this number (but a guy can hope, can’t he?).

Seems to me here’s how this ought to shake out:
1. The Senate ought to investigate only on the basis of whether laws were broken. It has no prerogative whatever to call these preachers on the carpet for what they do in their “ministries” so long as there are no infractions of law. If people who follow these folks are willing to pay them exorbitant salaries, and people are foolish enough to send in their checks, it isn’t in the purview of government to say anything about it. Period. If Chuck Grassley thinks otherwise (and I don’t know if he does or not, honestly), then who does he think he is? He says he’s looking at misuse of donations; fine. He’d better find a law that touches on this, or he’s way, way out of line.

2. The evangelical church ought to rise up and much more vociferously condemn these charlatans for their anti-Biblical health-and-wealth prosperity message (and many, many other excesses), as well as their independence. I’ll tell you, some of my readers won’t like this, and my home church is independent (but full of integrity, by God’s grace), but I just don’t believe in independence much at all when it comes to churches. Autonomy, yes; independence, where there is nobody to whom we are accountable, no. Instead, what we do is put their pictures up in lights, buy their books, watch their TV programs. These shysters ought to be repudiated by every Christian who gives a rip about the glory of God and the priority of His Word.

6 responses »

  1. Jane says:

    do you respond with the same adjectives and nouns for secular authors? the red cross? if the salvation army showed a profit, would you cry foul? careful, man. i don’t expect you to agree, but if i were you, i’d ask for clarity on whether or not envy was a factor.

    normally, you are spot on. but, really, it takes a jet to go to India and a private jet is sometimes cheaper than commercial.

    God has His people everywhere — from hospital janitorial staffs to ministering in small rural churches to flying to India to shouting from our formerley antenna’d rooftops through the airwaves. It takes a bunch of cash to operate it in a way that is attactive for the SINNER to watch and i don’t think the saved is as big a concern.

    This rant sounds like the one hired early in the day who was paid the same as the one hired late in the day. Look it up.

    Like you say, if no law is broken, there’s nothing to prosecute.

  2. Jane says:

    In other words, is anyone getting saved? Perhaps someone disgusted with real churches they hate to walk into?

  3. Byron says:

    Jane,

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t know much about the “ministries” represented here.

    Has zero, zero, to do with envy, I promise you that. There are many, many large churches where the gospel is preached, and for those who preach the Word faithfully, instead of fleece the flock like these phonies, I have great things to say. John MacArthur preaches the Word, as does Alistair Begg, and Mac Brunson, and CJ Mahaney, and Chuck Smith, and many, many others I could name. And they all have large churches. If I envied anyone, it might be these guys, but not the Creflo Dollars or Eddie Longs, who live lifestyles of the rich and famous, make an utter killing off the money of, in many cases, poor folks, preach a “gospel” that is no gospel, and shame the name of Christ.

    Again, I stand by the idea that if no law is broken, there’s nothing to prosecute; as I said, tough to pick a horse in this race. But just because no law is broken doesn’t mean that a ministry is doing right. Benny Hinn is phony from the word “go”, as are the others, to one degree or another, or at the VERY LEAST, they preach a prosperity gospel that is anathema to the REAL gospel of Christ.

    Ironically, watching a newscast about it last night, even Al Sharpton—yes, Al Sharpton—had enough sense to say of these health-and-wealth guys that their message was phony. I’d encourage you to study up on what is being preached, and just because some people may get saved through these “ministries” doesn’t mean that the gist of their message is right. What we’ll never know this side of eternity is how many people were inoculated to the truth of Christ by virtue of listening to these people, accepting their distorted message, and assuming all was well with their souls.

  4. Derlin says:

    I found this article in my local newspaper. He tends to agree with you, but the article isn’t about these cases in particular, just the church in general.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/ideas/bal-id.qampa04anov04,0,838436.story

  5. Jane says:

    Thank you for the suggestion that I listen to them, implying that I just pulled my comment out of mid air. I have been listening to Joyce Meyer for 15 years, own many teaching tapes and have read two of her books. Benny Hinn’s teaching seminars are astounding. No, I don’t buy his pendants, etc. The two you mentioned are strangers to me. To lump them all as phonies indicates to me that you haven’t tuned into at least Joyce. ‘Cuz she’s a she?

    Someone else to look at and listen to before judgement and lumping is Perry Stone. Also, once you get over his preaching style, check out John Hagee. When I can catch him, I listen to Hal Lindsey’s report. Have you caught up with Ed Young, Jr and Sr? Try out Greg Laurie. One I listen to as long as it takes to scrunch the remote at light speed is Joel Osteen. That man needs vaseline for his teeth.

    As for your possible devaluation of someone’s salvation by “considering the source” you’ve disapproved of, I am acquainted with a lady named Kathy, an avowed non=church goer, who laid hands on the TV at Pat Robertson’s invitation. She sure seems saved to me! God uses the craziest means by which to draw in His children, doesn’t He?

    So, Joyce’s salary is $1M a year? How wealthy is/was Billy Graham and where are the complaints and investigations on him?

    Check out a few web sites and broadcasts before you bury them in a mass grave.

  6. Byron says:

    Whoa, Jane, hang on a second. My first observation would be that you leaped to an implication first, that I would somehow be envious of these folks. Second, I think you’ve been reading this blog, at least off and on for awhile, and I did assume that, given my comments about folks like Osteen, you’d have an idea of where I’d stand; that’s why I did make that assumption.

    Now, as to your list, let me comment. Of the six mentioned, I’ll concede that Joyce Meyer is likely the least egregious in at least some respects, but some of her teaching is from the same vein as the others. She buys into the “speak it into existence” type theology, and that’s unscriptural. And yes, the fact that she is a “she” DOES have something to do with it; it doesn’t automatically mean, by any means, that her message is wrong, but I do not believe Scripturally that a solid case can be made for a woman preaching. Good people can disagree on that, sure, but I don’t believe that the careful exegesis of Scripture supports women in that role.

    Not sure what you mean by Benny Hinn’s teaching being “astounding”, whether you mean that in a good or bad way, but I’ll stand by every word I’ve written when it comes to him. Don’t know Perry Stone; Hagee is OK, from what I gather; not my cup of tea, but that’s OK.

    Greg Laurie and the Youngs are, from all I can tell, fine preachers of the Word. Ed Junior is particularly innovative, not always for the best, but in general, I think he’s doing a great work.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that I devalue a given individual’s salvation in the least. The issue I am raising is whether or not the gist of the message—read what I wrote carefully—jibes with what Scripture teaches regarding the gospel. Osteen is a prime example of this problem: it’s not that everything he says is wrong (it isn’t), nor that nobody has ever found Christ through his church’s ministry (I’m sure some have, though how they could do it through his PREACHING is beyond my ability to imagine). The problem with Osteen’s ministry—and I fear these others as well—is that a person can hear the message being preached, believe all is well with their souls, and go to hell, because they’ve believed a lie. I’m currently reading Osteen’s first book—it’s literally the most tedious reading I’ve ever done in my life—for a project I’m working on. And the fact is that this man is putting a message out there that is not even close to being Biblical or the gospel. And I believe that the same is true, to one degree or another, of all the ministries mentioned here.

    Finally, the wealth of Billy Graham is a very open subject, and if you looked into that much, I guarantee you’d know why there aren’t “complaints and investigations” on him. His financial integrity is utterly beyond reproach, and he makes nowhere in the vicinity of a million/year.

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