[anzac] WOW! -LEE GRADY on the 6 MINISTRY INVESTIGATION

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2007 10:52:15 -0800
INTEGRITY, ACCOUNTABILITY & the GRASSLEY INVESTIGATION
-by Lee Grady.

Six charismatic ministries are under the microscope as a U.S.
Senate committee scrutinizes their spending practices. Is this
from the devil—or God?

Depending on how you look at it, Sen. Charles Grassley is either
a crusader for righteousness or a devil with horns.

Some Christians feared he was the latter this week when the Iowa
lawmaker, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance
Committee, announced that he has launched an extensive
investigation into the spending practices of six prominent
charismatic ministries. As soon as news of the probe broke on
Tuesday, I started getting calls from people who are worried that
Grassley is plotting to take away the tax-exempt status of all
evangelical churches in America.

I have been assured by one of Grassley’s top associates that he
does not have a hidden agenda, and he is not conspiring to deny
anybody of religious freedom. What the senator does want is
assurance that these six organizations are not taking money that
was donated to charity and misusing it to buy mansions, plastic
surgeries and other lavish perks.

“The Christian public should have demanded a higher level of
accountability a long time ago.”

In letters that were made public on Tuesday, Grassley told Kenneth
and Gloria Copeland; David and Joyce Meyer; Randy and Paula
White; Creflo and Taffi Dollar; Eddie Long; and Benny Hinn that
they have four weeks to send him a boatload of paperwork to prove
they are in compliance with U.S. tax laws.

Grassley has been applauded in the past for blowing the whistle
on financial abuses among secular nonprofit organizations
including the American Red Cross. Now, because of complaints
he has received from the public, the senator is turning his attention
to these six ministries, demanding that they send him receipts
for expensive purchases, minutes from board meetings, audited
financial records and detailed compensation figures, among other
documents.

Each of the ministries received a letter asking about specific
expenditures or questionable practices. Among Grassley’s
requests:

** A receipt for the Bentley convertible that Florida-based television
preacher Paula White reportedly gave to Texas pastor T.D. Jakes

** Information from Bible teacher Joyce Meyer about expensive
furnishings in her Missouri headquarters—including a $30,000
malachite table, a $23,000 commode with a marble top and a
$19,000 pair of Dresden vases

** Paperwork explaining how Benny Hinn’s ministry purchased
his $3 million home in Dana Point, Calif.

** Receipts and other records explaining how Eddie Long paid for
his $1.4 million estate on 20 acres in suburban Atlanta

** Records about vacation trips to Hawaii and Fiji that Kenneth
and Gloria Copeland took using their ministry plane

** Clarification from Atlanta faith preacher Creflo Dollar about his
role in raising a hefty portion of a $2 million gift donated to
Kenneth Copeland.

We charismatics certainly are in an awkward spot these days.
At the same time that Oral Roberts University (ORU) is under the
microscope for alleged financial mismanagement, some of the
biggest names in our movement are now accused of bending tax
rules and spending God’s money on themselves.

I am not going to rush to judgment in this case. I know that Meyer
pumps hundreds of thousands of dollars into missionary outreach
projects in many parts of the world, and the IRS recently notified
her that Joyce Meyer Ministries is operating in compliance with
tax rules. Hopefully her answers to Grassley’s questions will
satisfy the Senate committee so she can continue her programs
without interruption.

At the same time I can’t understand how some preachers can
take their offerings with a straight face. How can anyone, for
example, think that it is a wise use of God’s money to pay
$10,000 a night for a hotel room on the way home from a foreign
ministry trip?

Something needs to be said. Questions need to be asked. That’s
why I refuse to demonize Grassley for launching this probe.

What is unfortunate about this investigation is that it had to be
initiated by someone in the federal government. The Christian
public should have demanded a higher level of accountability a
long time ago. Why have we been silent when we know certain
ministries are operating without a proper board of directors or
without any accountability?

I’ve been praying about all the uncomfortable shaking that is
taking place in the church today—from the embarrassing moral
failures to the cavalier ministry divorces to the ORU scandal—and
I sense that God is the one who is orchestrating these events.

I believe He is raising His holy plumb line over the church today.
He is demanding that we come in line with His higher ways. He
is decreeing: “I will have a holy people. I will expose greed,
arrogance, larceny and corruption, and I will correct theological
error that has led My people into materialism, selfishness and
idolatry. The process will be painful, but in the end My people
will be purified.”

I hope every one of these ministries can prove they’ve done nothing
wrong. But if God wants to use a senator to help the American
church clean up its act, then I say bring on the reformation.

~J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.
SOURCE: http://www.charismanews.com/