Good Guys and Bad Guys

Readers at this website might well have the idea that I am blind to the false doctrines preached by soi-disant Protestant preachers and evangelists; or to the unChristlike behavior of some of them. That is not the case, though I do concentrate on the ungodly doctrine and practices of the Catholic Church and her priests and religious in this forum.

In my reading today [8/24/05], I learned of a few things I would not expect of a preacher or evangelist truly called to his labors by our Sovereign Lord. One article that I read today called into question, in my mind at least, the Christian credentials of a well-known media minister and sometime Presidential candidate:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but top U.S. officials denied on Tuesday that any such illegal act was being contemplated.--Jackie Frank, U.S. evangelist calls for assassination of Chavez, August 23, 2005, Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited

Today, I also learned that there is a fledgling national movement with the goal to cause the Internal Revenue Service to look into the income of media minister John Hagee. The grassroots organization provides links to financial data filed by Hagee's Global Evangelism Television (GETV) organization.

The group trying to sic the IRS on GETV calls itself Free Good News. On it's petition page one might read:

The Board consists of four members. Three are family members, and paid by the ministry. Only the fourth serves voluntarily and freely, which is the norm for nonprofit corporations. Nonprofits are required, by IRS laws, not to be family-controlled.

The site also provides information sifted from GETV's Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax) filed with the IRS for the year 2003. Those who are interested in the details can download a spreadsheet in Excel format at this site.

On page 4 of the From 990, we learn that in 2003 John Hagee was paid $948,964 in pay and deferred compensation for devoting 16 hours a week to his duties as CEO of GETV. This works out to about $1140 per hour. Another member of the four-member GETV senior management team was Hagee's wife, who was paid only $17,049, or $16.40 per hour, in return for devoting 20 hours each week to her duties as Vice-President of GETV. Hagee's son Matthew, another director, was paid just over $34 per hour, or $8880, for putting in five hours a week on his job as Director. The fourth member of the governing body, apparently not a member of the Hagee family, put in one hour a week as Secretary/Treasurer, for which he received no compensation. I have no idea how much the members of the Hagee family are paid, if anything, by the Cornerstone Church, which Hagee pastors.

This should be seen as an obvious IRS violation for excessive compensation. Nonprofit ministries are forbidden to operate to create personal wealth for individuals; rather, they are intended to be managed for the public good, and to serve the public good. The IRS is well aware of scammers setting up operations for personal gain... it has been tried many times. This is an abuse of donor trust; would donors still donate knowing his compensation packages?--Ibid.

I was surprised to discover that the Internal Revenue Service has not turned a completely blind eye to the goings on of media ministers and religious charlatans. The Nasua Telegraph reported, earlier this summer, what I thought to be a most interesting article.

DALLAS (AP) The Internal Revenue Service is investigating TV evangelist Benny Hinn's organization.-- IRS investigates TV evangelist Hinn, The Nasua Telegraph, July 16, 2005

It seems that another watchdog group calling itself Wall Watchers had asked the IRS to look into Hinn's finances. This was not the only group keeping its eyes on Benny Hinn:

Critics have charged that Hinn improperly profits from a ministry that doesn't meet the IRS definition of a church.

His organization is estimated to raise more than $100 million a year.

According to documents given to the News by Trinity Foundation, a watchdog group, a purported salary list in trash bins at Hinn's office put his annual earnings at $1,325,000.Ibid.

The above is just what I learned in casual reading online. I'm sure there are many other examples to make it clear that wolves in sheep's clothing are to be found in other than Catholic ministries. My point? Every Christian must exercise discernment when listening to the words of men, or women, who claim to be sent by God to preach His truth. The Apostle Paul certainly was not upset that the people of Berea turned to the Scriptures to check out what he had proclaimed.

10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
-- Acts 17:10-12

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