I was waiting for The Beggars Network (TBN) to weigh in on the Grassley investigation into the Sacrilegious Six. TBN has been suspiciously silent and I was beginning to wonder if Paul Crouch Jr. decided that integrity was better then money and not attempt to defend 6 ministries who bring the family empire big bucks. As expected Crouch Jr. defended his pimps and responded with the following “open letter” on the Charisma Magazine’s public forum. The following letter was posted Tuesday November 13th in response to J. Lee Grady’s, on line editorial regarding the Grassley investigation.
November 12, 2007 An open letter to Charisma Magazine, J. Lee Grady and the body of Christ as a whole:
After finally getting over my shock at J. Lee Grady’s editorial from a few months ago titled, “Christian TV Needs an Extreme Makeover,” I see that Mr. Grady is once again heading into treacherous waters. His recent editorial about U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s call for an investigation of the finances of several prominent television ministries is something that could not only harm the church as we know it today, but the body of Christ as a whole.
Phil: Yes, how dare Lee Grady stand up for the truth? Paul, these money changers aren’t a part of the Body of Christ. For that matter neither is TBN. I’m starting to believe you aren’t either. On the surface, the Senate Finance Committee’s investigation (and let’s call it by its real intent: an inquisition) headed up by Senator Grassley might sound logical, and to some Christians maybe even a good idea. But the long term effects of this investigation could be devastating. Put aside your personal opinions about any of the six ministries being targeted, and forget how you feel about Christian television as a whole. The much bigger questions we should all be asking are: Do we want the government deciding anything when it comes to the faith we all hold dear? Should government be allowed to dictate what kind a car a minister can drive, or how large a house is permissible and even how much a minister may receive as a salary? Do we want to establish another Church of England, or was that why our forefathers came to this nation in the first place? Separation of church and state is a foundational principle guaranteed in our Constitution, and Mr. Grady’s editorial seems to be ignorant of that fact!
Phil: Notice how Crouch Jr. defines his “faith he holds so dear”. Cars, houses and money. God and Jesus don’t even rate a mention. This perfectly sums up all six ministries in question because they don’t mention God or Jesus much either. All they seem to care about is “cars houses and money”. These folks are a match made in hell. Tell your pimps to give up their tax exemption status and government would leave them alone. Fat chance this will ever happen. Is this the cake and eat it too anointing?
Also, let’s look at the “source” of Senator Grassley’s information. Ole Anthony, head of the Trinity Foundation, has been around for over twenty years as a self-proclaimed “reformer of the church” and “watchdog for the body of Christ.” Well, it doesn’t take more than one or two Google searches to find out that Ole Anthony’s claim to being the watchdog of Christian ministries is a little like the “fox guarding the chicken coop,” and brings to mind Matthew 7:3 where Christ said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Read a book by Wendy Duncan called, I Can’t Hear God Anymore. Enough said….) Why Ole mainly focuses in on “televangelism” is interesting to me, and obviously the senator is playing right into his hands. Why aren’t other faiths or, for that matter, other 501(c) (3) nonprofit organizations being questioned? What about the Catholic church, Jewish organizations, or even the Muslims? You get my point.Phil: I have to agree with him here. Why Ole Anthony? Ole has big issues and is once again patting himself on the back as some defender of truth when in reality Anthony may be worse then the ministries being investigated. It will be interesting to see just how involved Anthony actually was or is to this investigation.
Martin Luther brought reformation to the church in 1517 with his “95 Theses” nailed to the Wittenberg door, but his actions were directed at the church itself and not with the prevailing government of the day! The body of Christ and God himself will deal with anyone not doing the right thing or compromising any ministry. We don’t need the government to step in and regulate anything when it comes to our faith or the church.
Phil: I disagree. Government didn’t hunt these ministries down offering them tax exemption. It was the pimps who wanted the exemption. It appears the pimps are abusing the very thing they begged for and now want it both ways. “Give me tax exemption and then stay out of our way when we abuse it” seems to be what Crouch Jr. is saying here. Senator Grassley isn’t investigating their faith he’s investigating possible income tax fraud. That’s a BIG difference folks. Please don’t confuse the issue here.
Scripture gives us the criteria by which we may judge fellow Believers. The Bible says in Matthew 7:20, “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Are none of these ministries “bearing fruit?” I submit that the true test of a ministry can be determined by asking these questions: Are people getting saved, lives being touched and faith restored? Is the Word being communicated? How many suicides have been prevented? How many people have been delivered from drugs or alcohol and how many children put up for adoption as opposed to abortion? Are other benevolent works taking place such as feeding programs, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless? How many people have been guided off of welfare rolls? Or how many people will not be returning to jail and, instead, become positive influences on society, because of their faith? Case in point: Just this past week, a viewer called our prayer lines to report that she was about to commit suicide, but then saw Bishop Eddie Long—one of the ministries targeted by Senator Grassley—preach a message that literally saved her life and brought her to faith in Jesus. Mr. Grady didn’t bother to mention any of the good works these ministries are doing. So how much is a soul worth? Maybe we should direct some of these questions back on Senator Grassley and demand his responses by December 6th!
Phil: Again I disagree. These ministries do some good with the money they beg for. No ones disputing that. How they receive and where and how they spend the sheeple’s money is where the dispute comes in. These people preach another gospel which boils down to heresy. The question begs to be asked “Does the end justify the means”?How much is a soul worth? What has a 23,000 dollar “commode” or a 10,000 dollar a night hotel room have to do with saving souls Paul? What does a 3.5 million dollar penthouse or a Bentley Azure Convertible have to do with saving souls? I think it has more to do with losing souls….their OWN.
When it comes to “accountability,” I also take issue with Mr. Grady. Whether you agree with the philosophy or theology of anyone in the pulpit or on Christian TV is not the point. It doesn’t matter if they preach the prosperity Gospel and live in mansions, or the poverty Gospel and are all beggars. We must keep the government OUT of the church, or everything our founding fathers fought for is lost! The concept that God would use a senator to “bring on a reformation,” as Mr. Grady proclaims, is scary and ignorant of the facts. We are dealing with spiritual warfare here, and we must fight back. None of these ministries are required by law to do anything in response to Senator Grassley’s investigation, and I hope they don’t. All of us in the ministry answer to the IRS, franchise tax boards, county taxing authorities, etc., and that is sufficient oversight. I don’t care if Benny Hinn flies in a private plane, or if Creflo Dollar drives a Bentley. That’s between them and God. We as Christians are required to give—it’s an intrinsic part of our faith. God gave his best to redeem our souls, his only Son, and we are to do the same.
Phil: I like how Crouch states the prosperity gospel is for the rich and the “poverty gospel” is for beggars. Is this wack job kidding me? His “Christian network” sits on over 350 million dollars in liquid assets yet holds not one but two telethons a year? Then he hits us with the “Christians are required to give” line. Give to whom? TBN? Paula White so she can have more fat sucked from her backside and injected into her face? These people are HORRIBLE examples of Christian stewardship. This is certainly not the fertile ground where we are commanded to sow our seed. Spiritual warfare? Come on Paul. This is a nice attempt at obfuscation but I ain’t buying it. The money changers got caught skimming the till and now are reaping what they’ve sown.
I leave you with a quote from Martin Niemoeller who was a prominent German pastor put in a concentration camp by the Nazis in 1937: “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.” Need I say more?
Paul F. Crouch, Jr.
Chief of Staff
Trinity Broadcasting Network
Lee Grady is speaking up Paul. Many of us are taking a stand. We may not have the platform that TBN enjoys but we are being heard. The Apostle Paul had the following to say about this mess;
Romans 13:1-8 ESV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
If we say that we trust God then we must trust Him to work in and through the people that God has appointed to handle this horrible situation. In this case that means government. I’m quite certain that many will disagree with me and I look forward to your comments.