Newslinks 08/02/08

August 4, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Saturday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Those close to televangelist prosper


Findings from the Associated Press (AP) seem to show that those who are closest to televangelist Kenneth Copeland have prospered over the years. There have been questions regarding Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie L. Long, Randy and Paula White, Joyce Meyer, and Benny Hinn. The Senate Finance Committee launched an investigation into whether or not the ministries run by those listed above have complied with federal tax laws for tax-exempt organizations. Of the ministries being investigated, only two, the ministries of Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn, have given the information requested and cooperated with the Committee. AP says that through phone conversations, church documents, and public records, they’ve found a number of things that may be trouble if Copeland’s ministry were to be audited by the IRS. Copeland is a pioneer of the prosperity gospel, which holds that believers are destined to flourish spiritually, physically and financially; and share the wealth with others. The KCM ministry sits on 1,500 acres near Eagle Mountain Lake. The campus holds a church, private airstrip, a hangar for the ministry’s $17.5 million jet and other aircraft, and a $6 million church-owned lakefront mansion. KCM has said that they welcome an audit, which would keep all findings private. If he continues to refuse, the Committee could have him subpoenaed. Some of the things brought into question include the selling of church owned land to Copeland’s son John for use as a ranch and residence. Also under scrutiny is the media and airtime that has been purchased at a “deep discount” through Integrity Media, which is owned by Copeland’s son-in-law. A natural gas and oil company was also started on the church land when an underground oil and gas field was found on church property. Because KCM is organized under the tax code as a church, it only has to make sure that pastors get a “reasonable” salary. While Copeland’s current salary is unknown, AP found that a tax-exemption application from 1995 listed his salary at $364,577 while his wife Gloria made $292,593. AP says that it is unclear whether or not those figures include other earnings or not. Sen. Charles Grassley said that the main goal of the investigation is to “figure out whether existing tax laws governing churches are adequate, which could carry sweeping implications for all religious organizations”. While he continues to fight against the investigation, Copeland has started a fund-raising event to raise money for new television equipment that will allow him to broadcast in high definition.


Ok…there are a million thoughts going through my head right now. When I first heard this story and began following it, I wondered what would happen. I tried not to say too much about it for a number of reasons, but now I can’t help but speak. First, I applaud both Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn. Whether or not I agree with everything they believe, they have been transparent in front of those who support them. Both ministries offered more than the required information. They have been up front and honest about the whole process. This is one reason I can’t help but wonder whether or not KCM is trying to hide something. They vehemently claim that they are above board and they have nothing to hide. If this is the case, then why fight? What would you lose if everything is fair? If nothing else, you would be able to turn around and say, “See! We are on the up and up and the idea that a Christian ministry would do something that doesn’t comply with the law is both unfair and unchristian”. Some people are crying foul for OneNews reporting this, saying that they should be attacking Christians like this. Remember, AP reported this. It was a secular news group that made the report. This is what the church looks like to the world!!! Copeland’s ministry has 1,500 acres of land, a church, a private airstrip, an oil and gas company, and a 6 million dollar mansion! Most of those who follow Copeland and other prosperity preachers would just claim that God has blessed him and that he is living it out. Is this true? How about the hundreds of thousands of people sending in anywhere from $5 to $5,000 a month as a “seed”? According to the 1995 reports, Copeland and his wife made $657,170. That was 13 years ago! I used to be a part of the whole “prosperity” trend, but as I began to study the Word, I have come to understand that the “blessing” of God is not all that Copeland and others make it out to be. Copeland says that this is an attack on religious liberty. I will have to say that I’m concerned about the comment from Grassley. I don’t understand exactly what “religious liberty” Grassley is attacking. Grassley is trying to find out whether or not KCM should have the right to remain a tax-exempt organization. While that is something that should remain a right of churches, if the organization in question is not following the regulations to be a tax-exempt organization, then they should lose that status. As part of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Grassley is doing part of his job. There are a number of others who probably should be investigated too, but they chose the six listed above. The role of a pastor/evangelist is to preach the gospel. They are to share the truth of the Word the way Jesus spoke it and the way that God meant it. Jesus focused much more on hell, sin, and judgment than He did on whether or not His followers should be prosperous. Many who follow the “prosperity gospel” claim that Jesus was “rich” and that as His followers we should be too. They take a number of scriptures out of context to support this. It would have been much better for KCM and others resisting to act as Christians. If they are doing something wrong, they should own up to it and make amends. If, after all the fighting and refusal to cooperate, if it comes out that something is up, it’s just going to reflect more negatively on Christ. If Copeland and others aren’t concerned about how they reflect on Christ, they have no business being pastors…



Man dead after shoot-out at Christian radio station


A man armed with a shotgun was killed in a shootout with police in front of a Christian radio station. The station manager received a tip at 10 AM saying that a man with a gun was asking for money and directions to the radio station. The police received the same tip and met the man at the station. The manager took his employees into a safe room while the man shot at the police and tried to run them over with his vehicle. The police are now investigating the reason why the man would have attacked the radio station.


This is just a tragedy. While we don’t know the reason why the man attacked the station, the fact that he died in anger and was trying to kill others doesn’t bode well for him. We can only hope that he died with “Jesus” on his lips…


Christians, Muslims Seek ‘Common Ground’ at Historic Conference


The meeting between top Christian and Muslim leaders in order to promote deeper understanding and peace between the two religions just ended. The conference was held in response to the letter written last October by Muslims. The letter cited “common ground” between the two religions and expressed the desire to use that ground to promote peace. Christian leaders responded to the letter with a letter of their own, which was signed by 500 leaders. Those who signed the letter said that they desire to “reshape” the two communities “genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another.” Many of the leaders removed their names from the response letter when problems with the original letter were shown. Those at the conference explored ways to change the “distorted perspectives” that Muslims and Christians have of each other. One of the attendees said, “Christians and Muslims have had periods of good and bad relationships”.


I’ve talked about this many times already. The “Christian leaders” continue to show that they have no clue what Muslims truly believe or an understanding of their own religion. Their desire to “reshape” Christianity proves this. When bringing these to religions together, the one that will get reshaped is Christianity. There is no reason in the world to compromise the foundations of Christianity, not even peace. To compromise Christianity is to remove it completely. You cannot change Christianity without ignoring or defacing Christ. The reason for the bad relationships is the differences in the religions. To profess a willingness to completely abandon your supposed Lord and Savior is to show yourself to be a non-Christian of the highest order…


Is Rick Warren ignoring sin in search for ‘peace’?


Tom McMahon says that Rick Warren is introducing the church to the social gospel. Warren’s belief is that the church should be taking the lead in solving the world’s problems like poverty, disease and war. McMahon says that the problem is that he cannot find this in scripture. McMahon says that he believes that Warren and those like him are focusing on the symptoms of the problem and not the problem itself. Warren is gathering a number of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders together to talk about “cooperation for the common good of all Americans.” McMahon responds, “It’s true the world has all kinds of problems, but he’s working on the symptoms and avoiding the root cause, which is the sin nature of humanity. So how can you work with all kinds of people [who are] called ‘people of faith,’ but it’s not biblical faith?”


I have to agree with Tom McMahon. Rick Warren and so many others have made the focus of the gospel something other than what Jesus preached. Jesus preached sin and repentance. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a social gospel. Jesus did heal, He did feed, and He did many other things. Those things were not His focus though. Jesus’ focus was His death on the cross and His resurrection so that wretched, sinful man could be reconciled to the Lord. If we’re not preaching that, then we are not preaching at all.



Theology Professor Leaving Traditionalist Seminary Over Bible Claims


As of August 1st this year, Peter Enns agreed to leave Westminster Theological Seminary after being suspended since March. Enns, a 14-year professor, was suspended for teaching his students that the Bible is the work of both God and man. This teaching goes against a foundational belief of the seminary, which comes from the 1649 Westminster Confession. This belief says that the Bible is solely the work of God.


What is happening to the church when those who are teaching the younger generations are not teaching what our Lord taught? What are we thinking when we allow those who have unscriptural ideas to teach them to our kids? Our churches need people that will teach what the Bible says. To do this, those teaching need to understand what the Bible says! Without proper biblical understanding, we will not be able to raise up children who understand why things are the way they are and what they need to do about it…


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