Evangelism, Scandals and Christian Indifference

Evangelism, Scandals and Christian Indifference
by John Davies (additional notes by Ed)

Majority of Southern Baptist Members Are Pagans?

Only 5.5 million in total attendance on any given Sunday morning

'The overwhelming majority of Southern Baptist church members give little or no sign of spiritual life, Tom Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla stated during the 2001 Southern Baptist Founders Conference, July 17-20 at Asbury College in Wilmore," reported the Baptist Press on July 24, 2001 ... As evidence of this jettisoning of regenerate church membership, Ascol cited figures from the SBC's 2000 church profile and a study conducted by the North American Missions Board which showed that:

-- SBC churches totaled 15.9 million members but only 5.5 million in total attendance on any given Sunday morning. "Only 33 percent of those who are supposed to be members care enough to come," Ascol said.

-- The typical SBC church has 233 members but an average attendance of only 70 persons for Sunday morning worship.

-- Beyond Sunday morning, only one member in 10 takes part in further church activities.

-- Less than one of every 10 persons who make decisions through the evangelistic efforts of Southern Baptist churches is active in the church one year later.

Ascol called such membership statistics a "sham" and "an affront to God."

It's an American Federal law that all non-profit corporations, including universities and Evangelical ministries, must release to the public their five top salaries. But few of the Religious ones do it in America including Southern Baptists Billy, Franklin and Ned Graham!

Billy Graham, born as William Franklin Graham in Charlotte, North Carolina, a registered Democrat, and the leading spokesman for Christian Fundamentalism was educated at the now infamous racist and bigoted Bob Jones University associated with Senator John Ashcroft and George W. Bush.

As full time chairman of Billy Graham Evangelistic Organization, which he founded fifty years ago, Graham took a yearly one hundred percent salary from his own religious non profit organization; even if he was incapacitated, had a pension fund, worked about ten days a year and spent fifty percent of the time in bed or at the hospital!

While the Tampa Tribune had reported that "Billy Graham encourages religious leaders to be open about their salaries and publish their finances" But this does not change the fact that Rev. Billy, Ned and Franklin Graham, Rev, Jesse Jackson or any other prominent Baptist leader in America are not open about their total salaries and those of their family members and special friends.

Graham who has legally been stealing his full salary and other benefits for the last fifty years is unique in his special privileges in this non profit organization as no other employee in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Organization other than Billy Graham is paid a full one hundred percent salary and is allowed to spend fifty percent of his time in bed or at the hospital.

In the late 90's newspaper investigations in America brought out factual revelations that showed that the "Born Again" Baptist leaders were no different than their Pentecostal counter parts. They were just as much liars, thieves and adulterers as the others. As matter of fact Dr. Henry J. Lyons former president of the National Baptist Convention became the first leader of a denomination to be incarcerated.

Dr. Henry J. Lyons President of the National Baptist Convention and Pastor of Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church in St. Petersburg or Lying Lyons was not a novice although he definitely broke most of the rules concerning the position of a bishop outlined in the word of God.

Rev. Henry Lyons saw his troubles begin in July 1997 with arson at a home he is alleged to have owned with a woman other than his wife. After a series of reports by the St. Petersburg Times and an investigation by state prosecutors, Lyons was charged with racketeering and grand theft. He had pleaded innocent but was found guilty on all charges by the jury of his peers. Even though the National Baptist leaders, such as "Born Again" Senior Pastor E. V. Hill did not accept Lyons guilty verdict charging that jury was racist.

Lyons was convicted in February 1999 of swindling more than $4 million from companies that wanted to market life insurance, credit cards and cemetery plots to his convention members. Prosecutors said Lyons padded the convention's mailing list with names randomly selected from phone books across the country. Even a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan was on the list.

Judge Schaeffer sentenced Lyons to 5 1/2-year state prison term and ordered him to pay $2.5 million in restitution to the companies who bought his phony mailing lists and to pay $97,000 for the cost of the state probe into his dealings.

Lyons and his alleged mistress, convention publicist Bernice Edwards, were accused of spending much of the ill-gotten money on a lavish lifestyle, including fancy cars, jewelry and a pricey waterfront home.

Edwards was acquitted on state charges, but she pleaded guilty in federal court to tax evasion. A few weeks after Lyons was convicted in state court, he resigned as head of the National Baptist Convention. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax evasion, fraudulent activities and lying to officials.

Southern Baptist Evangelist Billy Graham was not less of a crook. As a matter of fact, even though he was sick and dying, spent over fifty percent of his time in bed or the hospital, Dr. Billy Graham had been taking a one hundred percent salary and other benefits from the B.G.E.A. that he had founded: Even though the I.R.S. rules stated that no non-profit organization should exist for the benefit of one individual.

No other salaried employee in B.G.E.A. was allowed to take a one hundred percent salary plus his pension fund and other perks and spends so many days being sick, as Billy Graham has done and does.

Where was the justice or integrity in all of this?

So how can American TV preachers preach to others if they are hiding their total salaries? They cannot!

It only shows they have no integrity, especially Rodney Howard Browne who has his parents on the payroll and Benny Hinn who has his family on the payroll and Dr. Billy Graham who pretends to be something that he is not. For the Tampa Tribune reported that:

Although Billy Graham encourages religious leaders to be open about their salaries and publish their finances, Howard-Browne would not disclose what he earns. He says his salary is determined by his board of directors, which is comprised of four pastors, himself and his wife. The couple does not vote on his salary. ``People get hung up on the figure,'' he says. ``But they don't take everything into account. I don't get a housing or clothing allowance. We take our kids on the road and that's very expensive.''

Not good enough, says Paul Nelson, president of the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability in Washington. Revival Ministries International is not among its 925 members. ``When you hold yourself out as a public trust, it's just good practice to be open about your finances,'' he says. ``If you're not forthright, you leave a question in the minds of your potential givers.''

For the past five years, the ministry has been audited by Katz & Kamm, a Baltimore accounting firm. But the tax-exempt church association is not required to open its books to the public. `While I applaud them for getting the audit, I would strongly suggest they go one step further and make their records public,'' Nelson says.

Speaking of making their records public, "open about your finances'' and "forthright," while Paul Nelson, President of Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability reveals upon demand even to strangers his total salary of $ 123,000 and IRS tax form 990 Billy, Ned and Franklin Graham do not. This makes the Grahams and ECFA hypocrites.

The Associated Baptist Press - www.abpnews.com on April 3, 2001 reported that:

"About half of Baptist organizations contacted by the independent newspaper Baptists Today would not disclose salary information for their top executive. Three Southern Baptist Convention entities said policies allowed them to release only salary ranges.

Presidents Albert Mohler of Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and Kenneth Hemphill of Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, declined to provide any information on compensation. New Orleans Seminary did not return numerous phone calls regarding the salary of President Charles Kelley. However, the IRS requires all colleges and universities to report the salaries of the top five paid staff members, Brumley explained."

But Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said recently on CNN's Larry King Show: I believe the Roman Church is a false church and teaches a false gospel. ... Indeed, I believe the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office."

The International Mission Board has defended the publishing of prayer guides for use in Southern Baptist churches that critics said were insensitive to Jews, Hindus and Muslims.

A leader of a Southern Baptist fellowship of "Messianic" believers recently announced the group was severing ties with the convention because of a public perception that Southern Baptists are intolerant of other faiths.

So Southern Baptists such as Albert Mohler are not only intolerant of other faiths but are thieves who hid their total compensation?

Christian News Today had requested that Campus Crusade for Christ validate or deny the following story and disclose the total salary of its Founder Bill Bright. When contacted a staff worker of CCC said it would not be a problem and that CCC would not only give us Bill Bright salary but also his personal income tax. Later the same staff worker when asked about the CNT request and CCC offer told CNT in writing " I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"For CNT had reported In other news, Bill Bright, 79, Southern Baptist Evangelist and Conservative Fundamental Evangelical learned last week that he has fibrosis of the lung, a disease that builds up scar tissue. There is no known cure, and life expectancy is three to five years, his ministry said. Bright also has been treated for prostate cancer for the last four years, just like another Southern Baptist Evangelist and Fundamental Evangelical Billy Graham.

Bright will turn over the presidency of Campus Crusade to Steve Douglass, his long-time assistant, on Aug. 1. He continues to maintain an active schedule of speaking and ministry, but has agreed to slow down in the near future, explore medical options, work on nutrition, and pray for a cure, the ministry said.

Bill Bright and his wife make up of two of the four directors of the board that runs this family ministry and just like a typical family run evangelical ministries their total salaries and those of their best friends are one of America's best kept secrets. None of the prominent evangelical leaders in America, such as Billy Graham, Bill Bright, Jerry Falwell, Charles Stanley, and Pat Robertson to name but a few, reveal their total compensation to their donors.

Many prominent Baptist evangelists in America, such as Billy and Franklin Graham, belong to the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability that purports to work on behalf of the donor but in reality exists for the spenders. For although ECFA has in its possessions the total salaries of all the religious evangelical non-profit organizations that belong to it, it will not disclose them?"

Why is it that the Religious Evangelical leaders in America such as Bill Bright and Billy Graham who profess Christ and the love of Truth will not disclose their total salaries nor release their personal income tax to their donors?

Is it possible that they are really crooks who use the separation of Church and State to fleece the sheep as South African Evangelist Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne had said, it was their responsibility to fleece the sheep?

For in a Howard Browne winter camp meeting in the USF Sun Dome in Tampa Florida attended by two CNT reporters, South African Pentecostal Evangelist Dr. Rodney Howard Browne taught pastors that "sheep needed to be fleeced or they would have too much hair and could not see where they are going. It was the pastors job to fleece the sheep."

Dr. Rodney Howard- Browne had been credited with bringing the laughter revival to America. But from what really happened in Carpenter's Home Church in 1993 and 1994 and its devastating effect on the community including the robbing, raping and murdering of the sheep, was not much of a revival.

The leadership of the Assembly of God denomination both in Lakeland and Missouri also would not accept the testimony of one of its members Roy Aldrich that he was robbed and raped by money changers and wolves in sheep's clothing in Carpenter's Home Church during the so called "revival". But the State of Florida who cared about justice, righteousness and truth accepted the words and testimony of Roy Aldrich about the Straders.

The Florida State prosecutors proved their case and convinced the jurors that Dan Strader, the son of the senior pastor Karl Strader, devised an elaborate scheme to attract cash in the real-estate and mortgage investments. He was selling the securities without a license and that the securities were unregistered. This was done in an organized method amounting to Racketeer-Influence and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO Act.

Daniel, 37, was sentenced to 45 years in prison in August 1995. He was convicted of 238 felony counts for bilking 57 mostly elderly investors, some members of the church, out of $2.3 million by selling investments in properties that didn't exist or already had liens against them. Others who were involved along with Dan Strader were not pursed by the State of Florida as they felt that the conviction of Daniel Strader was a good example for others to take notice.

Dr Rodney Howard Browne used his influence and powers to raise money at Carpenter's Home Church to buy the senior pastor Karl Strader his much needed second Lincoln Town Car. But when Rodney was requested to use his influence and power to raise money for the unfortunate elderly victims of Dan's Strader, he refused.

It is to be noted that Howard-Browne's standard biography claims he once served as an associate pastor at Rhema. But according to Rhema church officials contacted, Howard-Browne was never an associate pastor?nor did he ever hold any pastoral credentials or responsibilities. Said Kelmeyer: "Rodney was never an associate pastor here. He was an ordained minister by the state and a lecturer at our Bible school, but was not involved in any form of pastoral work."

Howard-Browne also claimed a "doctorate of ministry degree" from an obscure San Jacinto, California correspondence institution called "The School of Bible Theology." A state Department of Education employee contacted likened the tiny school, which bills itself as "The Seminary to the World" and has no faculty, to a "diploma mill."

Why are Evangelical leaders in America hiding their total personal salaries? Are they ashamed that they earn so much or not enough? Or are they Crooks and Liars? Mind you the latter is more plausible for Evangelical Leaders in America, be they Billy or Franklin, Graham, Bill Bright, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell or others, have no integrity whatsoever; especially when it comes to their own personal salaries and those of their special friends.

David Taggart, a twenty-nine-year-old "personal aide" to Jim Bakker and his lover, received $360,000 in 1986 for special services. While in 1986 the Bakkers were paid $1.9 million. It is a fact the PTL Club was full of personal misconduct, mismanagement, and pillaging of the PTL treasury.

So are the others any different? For the total salaries of the Billy Graham and his sons and family are one of American's best-kept secrets and even their personal lives that are no different than that of Jim Bakker!

Self Righteous Baptists leaders, such as Billy Graham and Bill Bright were shocked and dismayed, at the revelations about the life style and morality of these Pentecostal "televangelist in America. On Larry King live in the fall of 1998 Southern Baptist Evangelist Billy Graham was insulted when he was compared with TV Evangelists such as Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker and their sex scandals. Billy Graham said that he did not do those things which Jim Bakker or Jim Swaggart did ? a statement that turned out to be a lie!

But Billy Graham's own son Ned Graham turned out to be no different than Jim Bakker. Even though a President of an Evangelical Ministry must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, and not greedy for money, Ned Graham the son of Billy Graham, Southern Baptist minister, president East Gates International, a group that distributes Bibles in China told Christianity Today in an interview that he had abused alcohol and spent an "inappropriate amount of time" with two women on his staff.

Grace Community Church, Southern Baptist Convention, in Auburn, Washington?which counted Ned Graham, his wife, and their two sons as members established in 1999 the fact that Ned Graham was an adulterer, alcoholic, wife abuser, and drug user and revoked Graham's ministerial credentials. It directed Graham to stop using the title reverend.

Yet in a style reminiscent of Jimmy Swaggart, who refused to be defrocked by the Assembly of God denomination, Ned Graham left that congregation for another church.

Most of the staff and board members of East Gates International resigned amid controversies. East Gates, in Sumner, Wash., withdrew its membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability after Ned replaced the board members with his sister Ruth Graham McIntyre, brother-in-law Stephan Tchividjian, and business leader Peter Lowe.

It's evident that they are nothing but thieves, liars and wolves in sheep's clothing and the word of Jesus are unchanging:

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

"Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. "Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

"Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' Matthew 7:15-23

John Davies

More websites to check out

"President Bill Clinton would make a great evangelist ... Billy Graham told U.S. News & World Report in a recent interview. ... Graham said he was impressed with Clinton's charisma and 'with some of the things he believes. ... From a biblical point of view, we should be headed in the direction of goodness and righteousness, away from crime and immorality,' Graham said, 'and towards one's neighbors who are in need. I'm encouraged by the emphasis President Clinton and Hillary are putting on that.'

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