Billy Graham – An Example of True Evangelism – Senator Grassley’s Not Interested in His Ministries!

February 14, 2008

Recovering from surgery, Billy Graham noted evangelist, is listed in fair condition following successful surgery on Wednesday to update a shunt that controls excess fluid to his brain.

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Graham, age 89, has been an example of Christianity and true evangelism for my entire life. Recalling at a young age the Billy Graham Crusades that were televised around the world, Billy Graham had a clear and consistent message that has not wavered. Unlike those whose ministry has been called to task by Senator Charles Grassley, Graham has stayed focused on his role.

In an article from Time Magazine the following was stated:

Under a blazing North Carolina sun, faith and power renewed their vows, as three former commanders in chief — Jimmy Carter, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton — convened in Charlotte, N.C., to pay tribute to a man they all love.

The occasion was the dedication of the Billy Graham library, modeled after the dairy farm where the evangelist grew up, with an immense cross as its doorway and an exhibit designed to soak visitors in the gospel message that Graham had preached to more people than any man who’s ever lived.

Preached to more than any man who ever lived. What an amazing accomplishment. Graham obviously took to heart the mandate – Go and preach the Gospel! By Graham has done with without lavish and fanfare. God provided for Graham, but Graham never needed a Bentley or Cessna Citation to accomplish the mission at hand.

The time article goes on to say:

If Graham’s spiritual message was always consistent, a message of gospel love and Jesus’s saving grace, his political message changed profoundly. There had been a time where he didn’t hesitate to speak out on the issues of the day, on foreign policy, the economy, court decisions. But he had come to see the cost of discussing the issues that divide people.
Jerry Falwell’s death brought many reminders of what happens when preachers take sides; long ago, Graham had decided to go down a different road. He had gotten way too deeply involved in his friends’ campaigns, and he resolved to try and stop diving in. Ten days before his good friend Ronald Reagan was sworn in, Graham told Parade Magazine that “evangelicals can’t be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle, to preach to all the people, right and left. I haven’t been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will in the future.”

Today Graham recovers as he enters the twilight years of his earthly life.

Graham, 89, was hospitalized at Mission for nearly two weeks last year after experiencing intestinal bleeding caused by an arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of small blood vessels in the lining of the colon. He also has suffered from prostate cancer and macular degeneration.

His wife, Ruth Bell Graham, died in June following a lengthy illness.

Wonder what the ministries of Kenneth Copeland, Eddie Long, Creeflo Dollar, Benny Hinn and others think – when they look at what they have done in comparison to Billy Graham’s ministries. The humility and wisdom that Graham has shown is a remarkable accomplishment. The lives he has touched with a ministry, largely untouched with significant controversy, is amazing.

Perhaps others can still learn from the Graham legacy.


Senator Grassley To Ministries – You Better Cooperate! Additional Information Sought from Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long and Others

January 29, 2008

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When the Senator from Iowa asks for information over which he has authority – well, let’s put it this way, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” and in this case – Grassley is Caesar when it comes to the taxing authority of the government.

Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is preparing another round of letters to Christian television ministries, prodding them to answer questions about their spending and the way they are governed, a spokeswoman said back in mid-January.

Jill Gerber, Grassley’s finance committee spokeswoman, said the the follow-up letters would go out in the next few weeks to ministries that have raised concerns or not responded. Gerber said the letters will describe Congress’ authority and duty to investigate and evaluate laws over which it has legislative authority—in this case, tax-exempt policy.

“Customarily, people come to recognize the wisdom of responding to requests by senior members of the Finance Committee, and particularly by Sen. Grassley, before a subpoena becomes necessary,” she said.

Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the finance committee chairman, has not commented publicly on Grassley’s investigation. But Carol Guthrie, communications director for the committee’s Democratic staff, said this week Baucus is aware of the investigation, and suggested that the ministries ought to cooperate.

Gaining support of the Democratic chairman would not only give the investigation added heft, it would deflect criticism like that of Dollar, the most outspoken critic among the ministers under scrutiny.

So what’s next: Well, it appears that the next move is in the hands of the ministries in question. It seems that some want to fight, like Creflo Dollar. Dollar commented on the Fox Business Network that he felt is was Grassley, and not the committee, who was pushing the investigation.

Considering the comment from the Democratic Finance Committee Chairman, Max Baucus, it would appear that Creflo needs to rethink his position. One doesn’t want to get into a power play with the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Right now, I don’t think politics are on the side of any of the ministers or their ministries. Thus far the only ministry that has taken the high road (and who I feel will be rewarded for her position) is the Missouri-based Joyce Meyer Ministries. Smart move on her part.

Otherwise, it is reported that Kenneth Copeland ministries is willing to cooperate, but to what extent is not clear. Neither has there been much word from Benny Hinn and his ministries. Eddie Long and Creflo Dollar have both taken a public fighting stand – an unwise move in my opinion.

My guess, as this is written, is that Grassley has signaled, much like Bush before the Iraq war, his intention giving the uncooperative ministries another chance to comply. Lack of compliance by the end of January will result in further investigation and an outcome that many of these folk don’t really want.

I could be wrong, but it seems like the writing is on the wall. What Creflo and Eddie don’t want is Senator Grassley’s version of “Shock and Awe!”

You thoughts?

Business Ethics Speaker, Chuck Gallagher, signing off…


Benny Hinn – Ethics, Choices and Consequences – A Senate Inquiry

November 14, 2007

An investigation into possible misuse of donations has been launched against 6 nationally known ministries by the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finances – Senator Chuck Grassley R-Iowa.

TOB.com reports: Grassley, former chairman of the finance committee, said his requests for information came in response to complaints from the public and news coverage about practices at the six ministries. The allegations involve governing boards that aren’t independent and allow generous salaries and housing allowances for church leaders, and amenities such as private jets and Rolls-Royces.

“I don’t want to conclude that there’s a problem, but I have an obligation to donors and taxpayers to find out more,” he wrote. “People who donated should have their money spent as intended and in adherence with the tax code.”

The specific request made to the World Healing Center Church, Inc. is found here: http://media.tbo.com/tbo/pdfs/110507hinn.pdf

A good friend of mine said recently, “When you search for something, you’ll find something!” Grassley is searching – make no mistake. Knowing nothing about the ministry (and admitting that openly), I would easily bet that World Healing Center Church and Benny Hinn Ministries employs teams of attorneys and accountants to make sure that the tax positions they take are squeaky clean. The issue for the government is tax revenue and tax exempt status. If the tax exempt status can be revoked or some of the income recharacterized, then more tax money for the government.

Keep in mind, however, Every Choice Has A Consequence! As a national speaker – having served time in Federal Prison for my choices, I know first hand the relationship between your choices and the consequences that follow. However, here the choices and consequences might be mostly perception. What do you think?

Compare Benny Hinn Ministries to Billy Grahams Ministries and while both are extremely successful, the Hinn Ministries are targeted due to the more opulent lifestyle of the ministry head – Benny Hinn. There would be no doubt that Billy Graham Ministries is a well funded ministry, but Billy Graham chooses to live a more reserved lifestyle. I doubt he suffers for any need, but few would call his lifestyle lavish.

Should churches and ministries have to answer the governments questions? Would less flamboyance yield less government attention? Is Grassley overusing his power as the ranking member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee? Or, has Benny Hinn Ministries overstepped their tax-exempt bounds?

Your thoughts?

More to come…and your comments are welcome!


Ethics, Choices, Accountability – Kenneth Copeland Ministries Request

November 14, 2007

An investigation into possible misuse of donations has been launched against 6 nationally known ministries by the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finances – Senator Chuck Grassley R-Iowa.

TOB.com reports: Grassley, former chairman of the finance committee, said his requests for information came in response to complaints from the public and news coverage about practices at the six ministries. The allegations involve governing boards that aren’t independent and allow generous salaries and housing allowances for church leaders, and amenities such as private jets and Rolls-Royces.

“I don’t want to conclude that there’s a problem, but I have an obligation to donors and taxpayers to find out more,” he wrote. “People who donated should have their money spent as intended and in adherence with the tax code.”

The specific request made to the Kenneth Copeland Ministries is found here: http://media.tbo.com/tbo/pdfs/110507copeland.pdf

A good friend of mine said recently, “When you search for something, you’ll find something!” Grassley is searching – make no mistake. Knowing nothing about the ministry (and admitting that openly), I would easily bet that Kenneth Copeland Ministries employs teams of attorneys and accountants to make sure that the tax positions they take are squeaky clean. The issue for the government is tax revenue and tax exempt status. If the tax exempt status can be revoked or some of the income recharacterized, then more tax money for the government.

Keep in mind, however, Every Choice Has A Consequence!

Compare Kenneth Copeland Ministries to Billy Grahams Ministries and while both are extremely successful, the Copeland Ministries are targeted due to the more opulent lifestyle of the ministry head – Kenneth Copeland. There would be no doubt that Billy Graham Ministries is a well funded ministry, but Billy Graham chooses to live a more reserved lifestyle. I doubt he suffers for any need, but few would call his lifestyle lavish.

When Senator Grassley asks the tax exempt purpose for ministry jet layovers in Maui, the Fiji Islands and Honolulu…one might wonder if lavish choices have brought these negative consequences on the ministry or if Grassley is using his power and influence for a witch hunt.

As a motivational speaker who speaks to audiences nationwide on choices, ethics and consequences – I understand the impact that choices (whether intended or unintended) can have. Hopefully, the powerful things that the Kenneth Copeland Ministries does will not be overshadowed by the very public inquiry from the Federal Government.

More to come…and your comments are welcome!