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Which Is Worse? Charlatans or Caesar











OK, we can probably all agree that these folk (pictured above) are charlatans and hucksters, and more importantly, heretical in their theology. 

That said, I get very nervous when Caesar takes it upon himself to "investigate" the collective finances of Paula While, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar (what a great name for a prosperity preacher) and Eddie Long.  I don't trust any of these "ministries" as far as I can see them.  But I'm not sure I have any more confidence in the US Senate.  Unless a specific criminal act has been committed (and therefore prosecuted by the IRS), why should the Finance Committee of the US Senate concern itself with what Kenneth Copeland does with the money raised by his ministry?  Shouldn't his board of directors be held accountable by the IRS?

According to a recent article in CT, the US Senate Finance committee chaired by Charles Grassley, has begun an investigation into the finances of these six ministries (Click here: Senate Committee Investigating Six Major Ministries | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction).  Swell . . .

Frankly, Caesar (in this case, our beloved senate) will no doubt find fiscal abuses and think that the solution is to mandate all kinds of additional rules and regulations, further burdening all churches and non-profit enterprises.  If any of these ministries has committed a crime, let the proper authorities bust them and prosecute them to the full extent of the law!  But why should the US Senate be investigating Copeland, Meyer, Dollar, et al?

I say "buyer beware."  If you are gullible enough to believe these "ministers" and send them money, then too bad for you.  If you want to help Copeland put fuel in his newest Gulfstream, that's on you.  But it makes me very nervous that some US Senator thinks he needs to "investigate." 

That can't be good for any of us . . .

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Reader Comments (13)

If you are gullible enough to believe these "ministers" and send them money, then too bad for you.

I almost agree with you except for the fact that the ignorant/weak are being led to stumble by these false teachers. Jesus gives us some strong warnings to those who would cause others to stumble in the faith, but does he say anything about those who stumble?
That being said, I do agree that the Senate's involvement cannot be a good thing. More governmental control never leads to more prosperity (just look at Europe or Canada). I don't want Caesar poking his nose into other people's business. Couldn't the Senate conclude that religion is dangerous and therefore needs to be monitored and limited?
I think we are on a slippery slope here. Soon we will face the same thing that is happening in Canada; to refer to homosexuality as a sin is now a hate crime. The Senate's investigation won't necessarily lead to this conclusion, but it very well could.
November 6, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermholst
PS: Maybe Benny Hinn will pull out his Holy Ghost machine gun (do they sell those on Ebay?) and blast them all to that place where all the mean people go!
November 6, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermholst
I believe this is a back door way to get control of church finances, leading toward the elimination of tax exempt status. It will be very easy to condemn these individuals for violations, as they are obvious charlatans. Once the precedent is set ... look out.
November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl
"Which Is Worse? Charlatans or Caesar"

Charlatans, heretics, false teachers, wolves in sheep's clothing, for sure. At least one knows the governments are not Christian or profess to be Christian.

Maybe, just maybe, God will use this to get the Church back to the Book of Acts model? The underground church even? Christians have nothing to hide have they? Doesn't persecution cause the church to spread like wildfire and grow in leaps and bounds? Bring it on I say. Too many people are being ripped off as it is and it is about time something like this happened in America. God's Judgment?

Why should ministers and churches have tax free housing allowances and so forth when there are many homeless and families struggling to make ends meet in America and not only there but in other parts of the western world? We know Christians have a "hell on earth" time of it in countries that hate them, why should it be any different for us in the western world? Is the promise of a great life in the here and now given to us? Joyce Meyer, Osteen, Hinn, Creflo and co would say so wouldn't they?

My wife and I live on the Invalids Pension and we struggle financially and get no help from the local church yet God supplies all our needs. We actually live on what's called, "below the poverty line" here. Yet we still do ok.

Tithing is not for the New Testament church is it? Tithing is a heavy burden laid upon the backs of New Testament saints isn't it? Under the Law? All those heretical false teachers you mention teach and extract the tithe don't they? Rick Warren teaches tithing doesn't he? 90% he reckons. Keeps 10% for himself? Hip hip hooray for him, eh? Pat him on the back? Oh! He does that himself doesn't he? He reckons that people that moan about paying 10% as being legalistic need to pay more than 10% to break the spirit of legalism or something like that? Huh? There's men in the church teaching that sort of thing???? No wonder there are folks out there that will never cast a shadow upon the doors of the church again.

These true or not? >>>

Presented by Bob DeWaay and Dick Kuffel Broadcast Monday, July 17, 2006 This program shows that the New Testament does not teach a mandatory tithe after the manner of the Old Testament. Those who command tithing are not following the teachings of the New Testament.
MP3 (duration 00:26:00)

“Will a Man Rob God?” (Malachi 3:8): A Study of Tithing in the Old and New Testaments pdf
Andreas J. Kostenberger and David A. Croteau
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Is tithing, that is, giving ten percent of one’s income, obligatory for Christians? This first in a series of two articles investigates this question by studying all references to tithing in Scripture. The discussion commences with Old Testament references to tithing prior to the giving of the Mosaic Law, the Mosaic Law, and the historical and prophetic books. This is followed by a study of the three major New Testament passages on tithing. The article concludes that none of the Old or New Testament passages can legitimately be used to argue for the continuation of tithing in the new covenant period.”

Reconstructing a Biblical Model for Giving: A Discussion of Relevant Systematic Issues and New Testament Principles pdf
Andreas J. Kostenberger and David A. Croteau
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“In a previous article the authors discussed all relevant references to tithing in Scripture and concluded that the continuation of a tithing requirement can not be adequately supported by the exegesis of individual texts. In the present essay they assess the applicability of tithing in light of pertinent systematic issues. Following a discussion of the relationship between the Mosaic Law and the new covenant, larger systematic issues that have been used to argue for the continuation of tithing are analyzed and critiqued. The article concludes with a survey of New Testament principles for giving.”

A discussion paper on the subject of Christian giving.
November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDouglas
Thanks Kim,

Did anyone out there see Randy's announcement when all this broke months ago? Randy announced, beating anyone else to the punch, that what he was going to be doing was staying right there to pastor the church.

Two pastors, married to each other, but can't live together, yet they can sure demand to stay in power and the people will continue to support them.

Well, isn't that special?

Government intervention?
Don't think it is necessary.
Seems to me more like "the theologically blind leading the theologically blind".

Perhaps, if anything, Paula and Randy White teach us how susceptible each and everyone of us really is, when we exercise and misuse power, exploiting people to free us to live even more comfortable lives, running away from what we need in accountability.

I am glad you posted Paula White's book cover.

Read closely the subtitle:
"You will not conquer what you will not confront"

But for the grace of God, there go all of us too...
November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterIvan
Whenever I hear folks talk about issues like this, most are very thin on biblical arguments. John 18:36 often is brought to play without seriously asking what it means.

I understand the low opinions of our Senate and Congress; I share most (perhaps all) of those opinions.

But could someone give us a biblical reason why the Senate should not get involved? The Westminster Divines thought it would be a good idea. Has Americanization made us more mature, more spiritually minded?
November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Larson
What's wrong with Joyce Meyers doctrinally?
November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTrish
"What's wrong with Joyce Meyers doctrinally?"

A lot:

Joyce Meyer
November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDouglas
Another bad cosequence might come out of this. People in these ministries and their supporters might think that they are suffering and being persecuted due to the Gospel.

As for the people who give them money, let them give it. I'm glad they have the liberty to do so. However, it should be thoughtful Christians that reason with these supporters so that not only will the supporters stop funding these ministries, but they will also turn to churches and ministries that will nurture their souls with the Word of God. We don't simply want to destroy or damage their confidence in these large ministries so that they become unbelievers, we also want them to turn to the truth so that they can glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
November 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto
For a second, I thought you got the Kenneth Copeland picture from a cheap vampire movie. It looks like he is about to put the bite on someone. Well, that's what he does for a living, isn't it?

But I suppose if the US Gov't can investigate "sleezodoxy", its next target well be orthodoxy. I'm sure in the minds of most of the Senate we are no different than Benny and his ilk.
November 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDB
I was flipping the channels a couple of days ago and I heard Copeland repeating Phil 2:7 (But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men) and continuing to put the emphasis on "MADE in the likeness of man, MADE in the likeness of man".

I quickly turned the channel before heresy started pouring through the speakers...
November 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDJ Cimino
Phil stated: But could someone give us a biblical reason why the Senate should not get involved? The Westminster Divines thought it would be a good idea. Has Americanization made us more mature, more spiritually minded?

Paul in Romans 13 clearly gives us a picture of the role of government. It controls the sword (law and order). No mention is made of Caesar involving himself in the church. In fact, I Corinthians 6 tells us that Christians are to settle matters "in house" so to speak. What would Ted Kennedy or Fred Thomspson be able to do to bring Reformation to the church? The man without the Spirit sees the Gospel as foolishness and does not accept the message. So, what Reform could they bring?

The Westminster Divines did view the Magistrate as responsible for calling a synod or assembly in order to protect the purity of the church. I think they were wrong on that issue. if you follow the Two Kingdoms mentality, then "render unto Caesar what is Caesar, and to God what is God's."

Matt Holst
November 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermholst
With all due respect, if there are people concerned about this, they should stand up and defend the "charlatons" on the principal that the government shouldn't involve itself in affairs of the church. So far, there's been lots of talk from reformational churches on the issue of false doctrine, but not much done about it. Why aren't we there em masse when these false teachers come to town to spread their false gospel? We do it for abortion, right? Isn't the issue of false doctrine also a life issue?

Why? Because we bought into the politically correct notion that if we disturb someone else's life, we are committing hate crimes or whatever. Sorry, that doesn't wash. John Haggee is comeing to town here soon. I'd love to quickly organize a bunch of us to be there to call him on his false teachings! Let them have me forcibly removed! Let the world see a few Lutherans hauled off to jail for calling a charlaton on the carpet! Let the world see us hauled off for the gospel!

Nah! We'd rather wait around until the government get's involved, takes away or tax exempt status and outlaws the truth. That MUST be what all Christians want, because we are enabling these unbelievers to take away our rights.

November 8, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermattumanu

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