Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Probe of 6 Top Ministries

From CBS News: Senate Probes 6 Televangelist Ministries

The parties in question:

Joyce Meyers
Benny Hinn
Kenneth Copeland
Creflo Dollar
Eddie Long
Paula White

I can only hope this is the beginning of God's judgment upon these false teachers.


Blogger Chris Hemmelman said...

Hi Fred,

First time I have commented on your blog, but I often visit...anyway, I have a couple thoughts and a question.

I am somewhat troubled by the government's intrusion into this matter (it's the libertarian in me) but what troubles me more is that this should be an issue for the Church to deal with.

I am apalled and grieved that many in the church have for so long disregarded sound biblical teaching and discernment that hertical ministries like this have thrived for many years.

I believe the biblical way to deal with this would have been for sound biblical judgement on the part of the church at large to cause the ceasing of support for these ministries and for church discipline to be carried out as necessary.

However, since these ministries are set up in such a way to shield them from such discipline and accountability, and many Christians lack the discernment to stop giving, the government is now stepping in to judge these people. Many (including myself) will see this as the potential first step to more governmental regulation of religion. But I also see this as potentially God judging the church as well as these charlatans.

Since the church could not keep itself pure God is sending in the "Babylonians" to judge it. I could be grasping at straws here, but it's a thought I had. What do you think?

2:12 PM, November 06, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hey Chris,
I do agree with your overall assessment: The Christian Church at large do bear some responsibility in allowing these ministries, like Hinn's, to continue with out confrontation.

However, there are a number of thoughts to consider:

1) There have always been Christians attempting to expose these ministries.

2) Their supporters who give their money generally are untaught and are unwilling to be taught as to the phony nature of these ministries.

3) Religious, not-for-profit organizations, which would include pretty much every church large and small, place themselves under the governmental authority when they seek a tax-exempt status. That in turn means they are held responsible (and rightly so) for when they violate that tax-exempt status, the primary emphasis of this probe.

4) The nature of this probe has at the center the Oral Roberts University scandal, which, as the article pointed out, 3 of those top ministries are directly involved, where as the others perhaps indirectly so.

Though I share your concern about the nature of governmental interference into the affairs of the church, with this particular situation, I am not alarmed at the moment. In my opinion, engaging in financial fraud and corruption does not shield a ministry, or church, from the separation of church and state regulations.


5:38 PM, November 06, 2007  
Blogger Chris Hemmelman said...

Thanks for your response Fred!

You raise some good thoughts and I have to say I'm with you on them.

Smartchristian.com has a link to the story as well as a link to a story about how Paula White and her husband Randy are divorcing.

Apallingly he is going to remain the pastor of the church, she is going to preach there from time to time as while as continue in her ministry. The reaction of many in the congregation is equally apalling.

The article talks about their reasons for divorcing as being simply because their lives are going in seperate directions.

I think these two stories lend credence to what Phil Johnson blogged about concerning much of the charismatic movement. Their doctrine is bankrupt.

Interestingly enough, my wife is an ORU graduate, we are both from Iowa but live in DC, and she just turned down a job with Grassley's office. We were joking last night about how crazy it would have been for her to be working there with this coming out. She was saying, "boy I could tell them some things."

I was thinking also about the issue of how much the "faithful" may have to endure concerning God's judgement of the church at large.

I was thinking of how the faithful in Israel responded to the many judgements they faced because of the evils of the unfaithful Israelites. Like all faithful believers, they responded with faith and trust in God's sovereignty, and with hope, patience, and perserverance.

So if the heresy and sinful lifestyles of the unfaithful make living out our faith freely more difficult, I think we can learn a lot from the faithful Israelites.

8:23 AM, November 07, 2007  

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