"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Southern Baptists Who Break the Law, Even for "Noble" Reasons, Should Go to Jail

. Sunday night after church I watched a CNBC news show called American Greed. This particular episode focused on the largest non-profit fraud in the history of America, the scam perpetrated by Southern Baptist leaders at the Baptist Foundation of Arizona. Senior Vice-President of BFA, Donald Dale Deardoff, Southern Baptist attorney Tom Grabinsky, and BFA President Bill Crotts (pictured here) were sentenced in early 2007 to four, six and eight years in prison respectively for their participation in the fraud and cover-up.

The fraud was a ponzi scheme, and though Bill Crott's swears that he did not "personally" profit from any money that Southern Baptists gave to the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, that does little to comfort those Southern Baptists who had millions of dollars taken from them through fraud and deceit. Here's how the scheme worked.

The Baptist Foundation of Arizona, through Bill Crott's leadership, encouraged Southern Baptists everywhere to invest their money at BFA to "plant churches" and grow the kingdom of God. Money poured in, which the BFA invested in real estate, ostensibly to use the profits to "plant churches" for the glory of God. But when some of the "investments" in real estate went sour in the early 1990's, instead of coming clean with Southern Baptists, Bill Crotts did two really bizarre things that should have tipped people off there was a problem.

(1). First, he directed a few of his closest friends, one even happened to be a former director at the Baptist Foundation, to establish two "non-profit" companies that would do business directly with the BFA to help cover BFA's losses. These two companies, ALO and New Church Ventures (a fancy name for a non-profit "church planting institute"), would buy and hold BFA’s overvalued real estate in exchange for notes receivable valued in the millions of dollars. In short, the Baptist Foundation cooked the books to show Southern Baptists that BFA's real estate holdings had been "sold," but President Bill Crotts would tell his accomplices at his newly established non-profits "Just pay us later" (wink, wink). The hope was that the value of the Arizona real estate that BFA held would rise in time, and then the BFA could cover their losses--because they never really "sold" the land in the first place, though their books said they did. Had they not fabricated these transactions through dummy corporations the BFA established, the books would have shown them insolvent. As it was, they continued to get more and more money from Southern Baptists.

(2). Second, when people began asking questions about suspicious transactions at the BFA, those high in Southern Baptist leadership used their connections to discredit the people who were asking the questions--making them the problem. All dysfunctional organizations never address real problems, they simply make the whistle blowers the problem. Southern Baptists should have known by the late 1990's that something was amiss for several reasons:

(a). There had been a high turnover of key staff. Between April and November 1996, three high-level BFA staffers—a lawyer and two accountants—resigned in protest. They each wrote letters noting their concerns about continued deception of investors and board members and specific allegations of fraud. Yet millions and millions of dollars continued to flow to the BFA for the next several years.

(b). Major tips went uninvestigated. Shortly before the completion of the 1996 audit in February 1997, a former BFA accountant met with Arthur Andersen’s BFA audit manager for lunch. The BFA accountant had formerly prepared the financial statements of ALO and New Church Ventures. She warned the Auther Anderson audit manager responsible for BFA's audit that entities owing BFA material amounts of notes receivables were insolvent and incapable of paying the receivables. Yet, when the audit manager met with Southern Baptist officials at BFA, THE VERY OFFICIALS INVOLVED IN THE FRAUD, he was assured that there was "no problem." He took their word for it rather than continuing an investigation.

(c). The BFA's nonprofit status was in peril because of their business transactions. Arthur Andersen’s tax team informed the audit team in January 1998 that unrelated business income could jeopardize the foundation’s tax-exempt status, yet nothing was done.

(d). There were numerous newspaper articles suggesting irregularities at the Baptist Foundation. The Phoenix New Times published articles on April 16 and 23, 1998, “The Money Changers,” that contained extensive allegations of fraud and insider dealings at BFA. The audit team responded by reviewing each allocation and asking management if the allegations were true. Again, BFA management assured the auditors that the allegations were not. On April 27, 1998, Auther Andersen signed off on its unqualified opinion for the 1997 financial statements.

Southern Baptists and Arthur Andersen made a huge error by ignoring the major fraud occurring at the Baptist Foundation of Arizona. Millions of dollars of Southern Baptist money was lost--maybe because Southern Baptists and others are hesitant to question anyone who says they are doing the Lord's work and planting churches. Thankfully, three Southern Baptist officials in Arizona have now spent two years in jail for their fraud and will spend several more years in federal prison for their crimes.

Many state Southern Baptist Conventions have paid close attention to the high profile Arizona case. But it should be noted that people misusing money designated for kingdom work is not a new occurance in the Southern Baptist Convention. It has happened numerous times before the BFA fraud was discovered in the 1990's, it has happened since, and it will happen again. I'm sure it is tempting for some in Southern Baptist leadership to try to avoid negative publicity by covering the truth when they discover that someone under their authority has stolen money intended for kingdom work.

I just remind those who wish to hide the truth that the men in Arizona went to jail precisely for that reason. Unlike some embezzlement cases in the Southern Baptist Convention that have been thoroughly documented in the past, nobody involved in the Baptist Foundation of Arizona investigation ever suggested BFA officials took money for personal gain. Their crime was an attempt to hide the loss of millions of dollars at the non-profit Baptist Foundation of Arizona by lying about it and then covering up their lies.

They deserved jail.

How much more does that Southern Baptist who takes money for personal gain deserve jail? In my opinion, a great deal more.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

97 comments:

Darby Livingston said...

"How much more does that Southern Baptist who takes money for personal gain."

I give up, Wade. How much more?

Sorry, it's late and I couldn't resist. :)

Wade Burleson said...

:)

Fragments are common late at night.

:)

Thy Peace said...

Stop Baptist Predators [Christa Brown] > Spending God's Money [12-08-2008].
Baptist Foundation of Arizona

The Baptist Foundation of Arizona was established with the pretense of serving Southern Baptist causes. During its history, it did indeed return about $1.3 million to Baptist causes. But it also “loaned” nearly $140 million to companies owned by three of the Foundation’s directors. In doing so, the Baptist Foundation of Arizona cost thousands of investors their life-savings to the tune of $570 million dollars. It was called “the largest affinity fraud in history”
.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Elisabeth said...

I live in Arizona. My in-laws, who are elderly, lost some money in the Baptist Federation problem. It was the same thing - they trusted them with their money because it was a "church outfit" and they wanted their money to do some good for God. I'm glad those Baptist federation crooks got sent to jail.
December 9, 2008 3:51 PM

Thy Peace said...

I am afraid the methods raised in (1) are similar to the toxic assets being held by banks and institutions in the past year of the economic collapse and the actions being taken by federal reserve and the treasury dept. I have to also admit that these methods were started during Bush last year and then continued into Obama's administration. What I mean is this stink crosses political boundaries, mainly because the oligarchs are running the show.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
The ‘cover-up’ is so many times worse than the original crime or mistake…from David and Bathsheba to Nixon and Watergate.

I just knew Thy Peace would contribute much. Thanks.

I believe these men risk prison hoping a miracle would save their egos. They gambled and lost.

Someday, I believe the same type of egos will suffer for their part in the C/R.

How’s that for high-jacking? :)

Alexis said...

Really good information ! Thanks a lot for this useful post !Good post!
You should write more about this!

jasonk said...

I watched that same episode, last year, and wrote about it the next day. To this day, I receive comments on my post, mostly from people in Arizona who know inside details. Some of them lost money in the scandal.
One of the interesting things that has been said is the Senator John McCain was complicit in the scandal, but that has never been brought up in reports about it. Accusations have also been lodged against prominent pastors and denominational leaders in Arizona. It is a fascinating and tragic story.

Christiane said...

Hi JASON K,

I did not vote for John McCain, but I believe that he is a man of high integrity who would not steal from people or involve himself in a 'cover-up'.

Were the reports of his involvement simply that he invested and lost money like the other victims?

I can't believe him guilty of personal wrong-doing in this matter. It doesn't make sense.
Love, L's

jasonk said...

http://blog.jasonkearney.net/2008/01/23/did-anyone-learn-anything-from-the-baptist-foundation-of-arizona-scandal.aspx

I wonder if the root of the problem with the BFA was that some of the men at the helm were trained to be pastors, not investment professionals. Pastors are typically skilled at putting a positive spin on things. That can be a very bad thing when it comes to handling peoples' money.

As a pastor who became an investment professional, I can tell you that the pressure is unbearable at times, dealing with peoples' life savings.

And I would make one correction to your post, Wade. You call it "Southern Baptist money." More specifically, it was not Southern Baptist money, it was Southern Baptist's money. It belonged to the people, the people who did not give their money to an SBC entity, but who entrusted that entity to properly invest their money, hoping to get it back in the future. In my business, I see some co-workers who lose sight of the fact that it is not their money, it belongs to the investor. I try to always remember that.

jasonk said...

Christiane, you can read the comments on my blog if you like, to see the specific allegations against Senator McCain. I agree with you, he is a decent man who would not knowingly defraud investors. I think that the gist of their argument is that when he was told about the problems in the BFA, he contributed to the cover up by doing nothing. In their opinion, he was part of what Wade talked about--the whistle blowers being villified.

Christiane said...

Thank you, Jason, I will read the information on your blog. Love, L's

Bob Cleveland said...

When I look at SBC churches, I get the impression that we're big on preaching righteousness and all, but not big on demanding it.

Like, it's OK to join a church and then fade into the background, not contribute, not grow spiritually, etc. How else could a church, say, send a letter of membership in good standing, to a sister church, when the members involved hadn't been there for 10 years?

A "warm fuzzy" faith, but not a demanding one. Spirituality, maybe, but accountability, no.

I guess it shouldn't be surprising that more wasn't demanded of the investment guys, either. They were Baptists, right?

RM said...

Wade,

Great job. Now I hope you will do one on the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the loss of millions of dollars in the Rio Grande Valley. The coverup will make the one in Arizona look small.

Jon L. Estes said...

If one of our entities group of trustees chose not to press charges on one of our missionaries who was caught in an extortion scheme on the mission field what should be done?

Wade Burleson said...

Jon,

Interesting comment. I learned yesterday that Wynona Schoen, the insurance agent defrauded by Gray Harvey, will be filing a lawsuit against the International Mission Board for refusing to prosecute Gray Harvey for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the IMB. Her belief is that if Gray Harvey had been in jail, she and her clients who own multi-million dollar homes in Gulf Shores would not have been embezzled by him.

But it gets worse.

Medical tests have returned on Wynona Schoen and it shows that she almost died from arsenic poisoning last year. At the height of the embezzlement, before she knew of Gray Harvey's involvement, every day Gray Harvey would bring a cup of coffee and a morning biscuit to Wynona Schoen. She would drink the coffee and eat the biscuit and became more ill. Her attorney (and the FBI and Secret Service) now believe the poisoning could well have come from Mr. Harvey's homemade coffee.

It may be only a matter of time before attempted murder charges are filed against a former Southern Baptist missionary.

CRIMINALS SHOULD BE PROSECUTED BEFORE THEY HURT OTEHRS.

Joe Blackmon said...

Jon,

Has that happened?

Jeff said...

Wade, Do you think there is another cover up in the baptist universe? Do you have something in mind?

David said...

Maybe the Arizona leadership should have taken lessons from the BGCT leadership. In the BGCT a person can steal millions and the BGCT would tell investigators nothing was wrong.

Add to this an executive board more interested in maintaining golf buddies and climbing the corporate Baptist ladder and you have a prescription for theft and a cover up.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe,

If Jon is referring to the same one of which I am aware, a matter different from the Gray Harvey affair, a missionary was extorting money out of a hotel owner where volunteers from the U.S. were staying on mission trips. The threat was similar to "You pay me $__ per person per overnight stay, or I'll send volunteers to another hotel."

That should should be investigated, and if the testimony of others confirms what some missionaries have said about their supervisor, that missionary should be fired and then prosecuted.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff and David,

Rather than talking about it, I am doing something directly and personally about it with proper law enforcement officials. I am hoping the person(s) responsible are reading my blog.

I want them to have the fear of God.

Wade Burleson said...

It is a matter much different than the one I mentioned to Joe above, and a fraud on a scale much larger than the extortion of a hotel owner.

Roger D. Lee said...

Wade,

Where is the baptist press? Where is the Associate Baptist Pres? While I admire your writing and the concern you have for truth, where are those who investigate and report such dealings to the public? I think I know.:)

Roger D. Lee

Jeff said...

Praying for you, and all people involved.

Jake Barker said...

I would bet that these hypocrites don't let alcohol touch their lips yet they can lie, cheat and steal.

willoh said...

Prison is to good for them.

Why doesn't the SBC invest in churches? They invest in other financial ventures. Up here in Pa. when we plant a church we give a guy 3 or 4 hundred dollars a week. It is a joke. Other denominations put there money into church plants.
Is 50 or 60 thousand too much to invest in a new start? What better to do with SBC funds? I do not mean properties, or buildings, by the way, churches.

Jeff said...

I guess I am out of the loop. Is this something that is known? Does this relate to Texas?

Christiane said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was an addition to the BF&M that no trustee would be allowed to 'sign on' to a hush-up of corruption?

It is a matter of moral law: when people have been badly hurt and may still be badly hurt.
I understand that some things may need to be kept 'confidential', but honestly, the protection of a predator, child molester, or criminal is not one of them.

It is a police matter.

But for ANY denomination, according to moral law, the innocent must be protected before all other considerationa.
Love, L's

Jon L. Estes said...

Joe,

I have spoken with several sources and as each one shared what they knew, the story lined up to what i had been told. The only difference was each individual knew a little more to the story than I was originally told, therefore I am compelled to believe what I know to be true but I do not know everything, like the persons name.

I have been carrying this around for a few months and it continue to get heavier and heavier to carry.

I am not sure if going to the entity would help if it is already being covered up.

I simply thought this would fit into the discussion of Wade's topic and hoped I could find some direction.

Jon L. Estes said...

Wade,

Thanks for the information but the case you speak of and the one I refer too are two different cases. I am glad to hear what you share. Thanks for sharing.

Paul Burleson said...

If our true desire is to be able to one day hear..."Well done good and faithful..." is it better to know of things like this being done and to remain quiet out of fear of what people will think of the SBC if it becomes public because, after all, it will hinder the work of our oranization if it's known__ OR__ is it better to deal openly and honestly with what is done in our work and organization in repentence and brokenness while correcting things so our work will be transparent?

If our true desire is to hear..."Well done good and faithful..." is it better to discover these things have happened and remain quiet because of a fear that people will not think well of me and believe I'm a trouble maker if I tell__OR__ is it better to discover these things have happened and speak up about them boldly out of love and a desire for transparancy so the cause of Christ can be advanced even if a spirit of fear falls upon some who are found out?

From my perspective, rhetorical questions both.

CB Scott said...

Jake Barker,

I agree that criminals should be prosecuted. But I would like to say this in response to your comment.

I am the Chairman of the Board of the Baptist Foundation in Birmingham. I don't not use beverage alcohol, but I have not purposely cheated anyone or stolen anything since the very early seventies after being convicted of by the Holy Spirit that I was a sinner before a holy and righteous God. Upon that conviction, I repented of sin and and believed the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jake, not all Chairmen of Baptist Foundations who do not use beverage alcohol cheat or steal.

Since I became a follower of Jesus I have made a very conscious effort to abide by Ephesians 4:28. I believe all Christians should abide by that. Especially those who have been entrusted with the stewardship of God's money. And, in truth, that means all believers because all of we have is actually God's.

I just wanted to say that, Jake. And I do hope Gray Harvey goes to prison just like any other criminal should.

And, Jake, I also hope you are having a good week.

cb

CB Scott said...

Jake,

I think I need to make it clear that I was not the chairman of anything "Baptist" in the early seventies. Before that time I would hardly have know what a Christian was, much less have been one.

JUst thought I need to make that clEAR JAKE. :-)

CB

Jake Barker said...

CB,
You cranky ol' curmudgeon. If you weren't so obtuse I would think that you and I were agreeing on this ;-/ My point is that the high muckety mucks in SB life seem to be very selective in the sins that they preach against. I for one would prefer these guys to have a porno or drug or drink problem to accompany their greed so that we could at least say that they stole to accomodate their cravings. Currently they just appear to be thieves.
And one question, please, did I accuse you of either drinking or stealing? If not why do you add the statement of innocence? Got some guilt bothering you? Just jerking your chain....don't go throwing those nuke hand grenades now (LOL)

B Nettles said...

Wade wrote:"The Baptist Foundation of Arizona, through Bill Crott's leadership, encouraged Southern Baptists everywhere to invest their money at BFA to "plant churches" and grow the kingdom of God."

It is NOT the job of any "Foundation" to plant churches. Planting churches is the function of local churches individually and possibly in association. To hand off that responsibility is to become totally irresponsible. The fact that the money disappeared should be a good lesson to those who listened to the pitch line, however innocent it may have been or seemed at the time.

Churches should not out-source their functions to other groups. The foundations have been set up to be stewards of retirement funds and trust funds, not bullish profit engines.

Arthur Anderson LLP...well, take a look at how reliable an audit firm they were throughout the 90's. Anybody remember WorldCom/MCI?

B Nettles said...

Opps...that's Andersen with an "e."

rick said...

Wade,

Wow. I lived this in Texas with the BGCT. One other fellow and I are reminded daily we are the problem with Valleygate because we blew the whistle loudly.

Wow.

CB Scott said...

Jake,

Just raggin' on ya. :-)

Seriously, this is a most sad situation. And it should never have happened. There are checks and balances in place that were simply ignored.

Yet, often has been the case in our "Baptist culture", that those vested with the responsibility of keeping administrators accountable have enjoyed their lofty positions so much that they forget their "vested responsibility."

cb

CB Scott said...

"It is NOT the job of any "Foundation" to plant churches. Planting churches is the function of local churches individually and possibly in association."

A-Men.

cb

John Fariss said...

Dear Willoh,

I agree with you completely. Several years ago, I was called to a new work church near a beach resort area of North Carolina (by then, the "start" was two years old). We received, I think it was $2400 from the state convention my first year (they had received $3600 a previous year), $1800 my second, and after that, the church was expected to be self-sufficient. While that amount was welcomed, it was nowhere near what a church start needed. I was told--by a state convention employee--that they expected something like 75% of new churches to fail within their first five years, and with "funding" those that were expected to fail, there was just not enough money to give any of them more. I asked if it wouldn't be better to do more extensive research, determine which churches were in areas more likely to grow/suceed, put in an experienced planter/pastor, and give them some serious money so they'd have a better chance. And if someone wanted a new church where the liklihood of survival/growth was less--bless them, and give them (non-financial) aid and comfort, but keep the $ for plants that could be healthy from Day One. I never got an answer for that.

The church I was at was one of those that never should have received any money. It came about as a split from an existing church, so there was animosity in the community, and by the time I went there, had gone through two "permanent" pastors and three interims. Two groups founded it, and had only one thing in common: to be able to say they were not part of the "mother" church anymore. One group was united around the first pastor (who had been fired from the mother church over unproved accusations of immorality), and the other did not like the pastor, but was dissatisfied with the church, as they were the minority from a church merger years earlier which never quite worked. They had spent more money than they had on a building they did not really need, and were loosing members while the community around them was growing. While I was there, they did grow, from about 70 members to a bit over a hundred, and went from worship attendance of about 45 to about 80; but they still had interpersonal problems which errupted from time to time. They have survived, last I heard anyway, but have never grown much, if any.

Investing in new churches may or may not bring a financial reward--I have no expertise there, maybe Jon Estes can comment--but it will bear rewards in Heaven, and isn't that what we should be focused on?

John

Jon L. Estes said...

John,

I have no expertise either but the little I do know could be dangerous and of little help.

I have always thought the way we start churches is not the best way. If my memory serves me correctly, with all the monies going to the NAMB, we have only around 100 full time missionaries. This just seems wrong.

I have heard the 75% die rate and wonder if that is true why do we continue to fund dying causes.

The church I pastor is facing some tough financial days due to the economy and some families leaving. We did open our doors to a Hispanic church and they are doing great. The started around Easter and have over 50 each week. One reason some families left...

My Bro was a home missionary some years ago in CT. Do you know how hard it is to start a church in CT with little to no money? He had to work so many other hours to feed family he spent little time getting to know people in community.

Jon L. Estes said...

That should should be investigated, and if the testimony of others confirms what some missionaries have said about their supervisor, that missionary should be fired and then prosecuted.

Should any missionary who lost their job for reporting such activity be reinstated and given loss of wages pay?

Wade Burleson said...

Absolutely.

Lydia said...

I read the wiki account which I always am concerned about accuracy but this stood out and was chilling:

Arthur Andersen, the Big Five accounting firm that audited Enron, paid former BFA investors $217 million dollars for Andersen's failure to identify fraudulent activities at the BFA. When the settlement was originally released, in 2002, there were questions as to whether or not Arthur Andersen, which was at the time being charged for issues surrounding Enron, would be able to make that payment.[11]

Christianity Today reported that "the worst case scenario for Baptist Foundation investors would be if Andersen were convicted this month in the criminal case [over its audits of Enron], then quickly filed for bankruptcy-court protection."[12] This settlement was the second largest settlement in the nation's history for a Big Five accounting firm that was not related to the Savings and Loan collapses.

David Simpson said...

As an Arizona Southern Baptist in the late 1990's, I had several thousand dollars in an account at the BFA when my account, along with every other investor, was frozen. That money was to pay for my wedding that was coming up three months later.
As a close friend of the Crotts family, I never thought that for a minute Bill Crotts did any of this for personal gain, but in the end, did feel it was justified that punishment should be handed down to those in charge.
I had close friends of mine who had hundreds of thousands of dollars taken away stand up in open court to ask for leniency for those convicted in this mess.
Wade, I think it's maybe Christian nature (?) to want to err on the side of grace, but from my experience and personal conviction, I am with you- corruption in the church, and theft of God's money, should be exposed for what it is, and for those who are guilty, they should be prosecuted. I honestly can't think of any reason why you wouldn't do that, and I'm glad that your blog is shedding light on these kinds of crimes that are far too often excused and swept under the church rug.
I didn't see the TV program- I need to TiVo it...

John Fariss said...

Jon,

We agree completely. Having heard the 75% figure from a state convention person who worked with new starts, I tend to believe it. I think I have even seen that figure in print, although I could not presently lay my hands on it. And I have long been a critic of NAMB's misleading stats. I am not sure I had heard the figure of 100 full-time missionaries, but I know they claim chaplains they endorse even though they are paid by the military, states, or businesses (I suppose mostly hospitals) they work at. And I know another group are paid in part by them and in part through some Byzantine structure with state conventions, local associations, or someone else--yet are claimed in the "5000 home missionaries" by NAMB. And if someone would show me where I am wrong, I would appreciate it greatly and rejoice in being shown wrong.

They don't need to merge NAMB with IMB, they--WE--need to fix NAMB. Only after it becomes a healthy and functional body should we consider any possible next steps, otherwise their dysfunction will just contaminate the IMB.

John

Jon L. Estes said...

John,

When I served in PA/SJersey, the state convention there depended on NAMB dollars to operate. The way it worked was for every 8 dollars a church in the PA/SJ convention gave to the CP through the state office, NAMB would give the PA/SJ convention 92 dollars.

When we pulled 15,000.00 plus dollars out of our giving through the state convention (the church has since chosen to give 0% to the PA/SJ convention) that is a lot of money lost. These dollars, if I remember correctly, paid the state staff, with the exclusion of the Ex. Director. So these state office employees are considered full time missionaries. If anyone think I got that wrong, I am OK with an update and correction.

I served in the DE convention prior to seminary. In Wilmington, DE. I loved it geographically there.

CB Scott said...

Jon L. Estes said;

"Should any missionary who lost their job for reporting such activity be reinstated and given loss of wages pay?"

Wade Burleson said:

"Absolutely."

I second the:

Absolutely.

Doing the right thing has cost many greatly.

cb

Jon L. Estes said...

CB,

Some of those doing the wrong thing has cost the great (sold out for Jesus, soul winning saints)- even greater.

CB Scott said...

Jon,

I think you are correct. Yet, it all may depend on the lens one sees things through at the time.

But, none the less, the cost to the whole body of Christ and the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth has suffered greatly at the hands of sinfully driven and greedy men.....and a few women also.

cb

Frank (or Chip) said...

Wade,

Thank you for the post. I am a newcomer to Arizona, but have seen and heard some of the stories of individuals and organizations that lost a bundle in the BFA affair.

I think we need to say that people who steal deserve to go to jail and leave it at that. Should the victim being Southern Baptist have anything to do with it? If we as Baptists or Christians cannot learn from history, current events or the warnings of Jesus that there are wolves dressed like sheep, we will probably continue to be robbed and worse. I do not write that as someone who has not been scorched by the unethical/illegal behavior of others.

A good and godly missionary friend reminds me often that the first job of an institution is to continue to be an institution. That may not be encouraging, but it sure is true. The challenge for us as followers of Christ, is to actually follow Christ and not follow imposters, who wear his name.

Frank Lamca

Robert said...

Wade,
Dont you ever get tired of all the "Wrong" things in the SBC.
You just seem like a bitter, bitter man to me!

With the vast numbers of SBC members this could be a full time job!
Just call it the :Damm the SBC blog.
Just saying......

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Jon L. Estes said...

Hey Robert,

Do you recommend that we look the other way when wrong is happening?

Tom Parker said...

Robert:

So sad to see that you do not understand the purpose of Wade's blogs.

Maybe someday you will.

Robert said...

Jon,
I reccomend we let the magistrate take care of the civil issue!

Nothing more and nothing less...too quote that famous theologian Toby Keith or maybe Willie Nelson.
Justice will be Served.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Wade Burleson said...

Robert,

The magistrate sometimes has to be pushed to execute justice--particularly in religious affairs.

:)

Your bitter-sweet friend in a chocolate sort of way.

Grin,


Wade

CB Scott said...

Robert,

I often agree with you and I always admire your grit, but the truth will stand when the world is on fire.

What happened to people at the hands of Gray Harvey and the "boys of Arizona" hurt a lot of unsuspecting people who trusted them basically because they have been conditioned to trust people who have been given leadership positions under the "flag" of sanction by a Southern Baptist entity.

Such things have happened far more often than Wade Burleson has reported here. Frankly, my brother, it is high time these sort of evil perpetrations upon the unsuspecting innocent like the lady in Mobile are brought to an end.

Your concern and my concern should not be who reports it. Our concern should be that it stops.

Robert, real people got hurt and ruined in many, many things for the sake of covering up under the guise of "protecting the Kingdom" and it needs to end.

cb

Robert said...

Wade,
What Scriptural support can you show me to defend that statement.
I understand we could vote for a different judge...sometimes but I dont see this example in the Word.
Maybe you are more like the original Geneva than even I.
Enid the new Geneva?

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Lydia said...

"I reccomend we let the magistrate take care of the civil issue!"

Somebody has to tell the magistrate there is a problem. Are you suggesting we look the other way when we see blatent sin and criminal behavior in what we call part of the Body and wait for the civil authorities to, hopefully, find it out?

Surely that is not what you meant?

Robert said...

Lydia,
You know that is NOT what I meant....Wade is not the defendant nor even part of the case.

Still waiting for the Scripture....drive it back to the Word.

Robert I Masters
from the Southern Baptist Geneva

Thy Peace said...

The fraud was a ponzi scheme, and though Bill Crott's swears that he did not "personally" profit from any money that Southern Baptists gave to the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, that does little to comfort those Southern Baptists who had millions of dollars taken from them through fraud and deceit.

It is hard to believe Bill Cott and others did not profit from this venture. If they did not profit, then why go extreme lengths to discredit people asking questions. He and others could have come clean. Were they then protecting their pride, since they claim they have not profited from this debacle.

NYT > Ponzi Schemes.
In a Ponzi scheme, potential investors are wooed with promises of unusually large returns, usually attributed to the investment manager’s savvy, skill or some other secret sauce.

The returns are repaid, at least for a time, out of new investors’ principal, not from profits. This can continue as long as new investors line up with cash, and old investors don’t try to withdraw too much of their money at once.

Ponzi schemes are also known as pyramid schemes, from the shape of any chart that reflects their basic premise -- that ever-growing layers of new recruits are needed to provide gains to the smaller, earlier cohorts. A gigantic pyramid scheme virtually bankrupted Albania after the fall of Communism
.

I am assuming in this case it started out as a "good" scheme and then turned into a ponzi scheme. Is this assumption correct? As the real-estate investments turned sour, they had to collect money to pay out more money.

If not for profit, then were they acting as God fearing people?

Or is it simply a cover up job that went way over their heads?

Frank (or Chip) said...

Robert,

I think there is a principle from 1st Peter 4 when it comes to people who name the name of Christ and their suffering. That is, that suffering for the sake of Christ is one thing and suffering for your own crimes is quite another.

Christiane said...

LYDIA: FYI re: status of Telegraph Media Group Limited

"The Daily Telegraph has been politically conservative in modern times.[23] The personal links between the paper's editors and the leadership of the Conservative Party, also known by the term Tories, along with the paper's influence over Conservative activists, has resulted in the paper commonly being referred to, especially in Private Eye, as the Torygraph."

Who told you they were liberal?

Lydia said...

"You know that is NOT what I meant....Wade is not the defendant nor even part of the case.

Still waiting for the Scripture....drive it back to the Word."

Are you saying that the Baptist Foundation was not part of the Body of Christ in any way?

Lydia said...

L's, Would you do me a favor and keep our conversation on the thread in which I address you? You know I am checking them by my comments. It just confuses the thread as far as I can see. Thanks, I would really appreciate it.

Unless of course, you have another reason for putting them on another thread that I have not considered?

Robert said...

Frank,
Fair point.....not sure that principle warrants a constant warring agaist every bad SBC action.
One here and there yes but constant attack .....no.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

Hi LYDIA,

I did need to get your attention to alert you to the reference you gave me as 'liberal'.

I will use my own discretion about the wisdom of where to post, but I will certainly honor your request, if reasonable.

Love, L's

BTW, whoever told you Telegraph was 'liberal' might appreciate seeing the correct info on Telegraph. I, myself, sure would want to know.

Robert said...

Christiane,
Would you be kind enough to stay to the topic at hand...unless you want me to
...Go Shack.... on you!

Thanks
RIM
FTSBG

Marvin Merriweather said...

Praise be to Jesus, the Calvinist Messiah, that He is in sovereign control of the situation at hand!

Lydia said...

BTW, whoever told you Telegraph was 'liberal' might appreciate seeing the correct info on Telegraph. I, myself, sure would want to know.

Tue Oct 13, 08:45:00 PM 2009

Asked and answered on the relevant thread.

Darrell said...

I have to laugh at least half the time when someone (usually the self rightous) says "show me the scripture".

Well, there are at least a thousand things in the SBC that have nothing to do with scripture and the radicals keep adding more.

Where are we commanded to build Christian church buildings? Should we all meet outside or in peoples houses?

gimmeabreak, Wade is spot on with this. What's that scripture..."he who justifies the wicked or condemns the just....." now there is some thought.

They should all go to jail.

I am continually amazed how many people live their lives as if there is no God to answer to.

And how many people defend them.

Hey KMC, where are you Brother?

grace
Darrell

Alan Paul said...

And here all along I thought the biggest problem facing the SBC was the threat of the evil liberals.

[sigh]

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Hey Darrell,

Thanks for the shout out. Basically, it seems the more I learn the less I realize I have to contribute. Sort of like the more ya study the dumber ya get. :)

Actually I am taking at the very least this semester off, likely a year. Exploring some options to pay down loans, seeking a closer walk with the Lord. The Lord has a slightly different plan than my whirlwind track to fame. I am doing well thanks for asking. I took down my blog and will someday put it back up when I decide what I want to be when I grow up. :)


K

david b mclaughlin said...

Great article. My only quibble would be with the title. If Daniel had been a Southern Baptist he should have gone to jail? He broke the law for noble reasons.

I'm just sayin...
;)

Robert said...

Still waiting for the Scripture that says the job of the pastor is to force the hand of the magistrate to make decisions.

Gimme a break or maybe a word from the Lord.

Nobody has argued that the perpetrators should should not be punished by those ordained to punish them. ie the magistrate.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

CB Scott said...

Alan Paul,

That is still probably true. :-)

cb

Paul Burleson said...

david,

I would think that the Church has no say in criminal matters and no distinction is to be made between Christian/non-Christian in such matters at all According to 1 Peter 2:12-16.

That is unless the law violated was to be in specific contradistinction to the scriptures themselves.

This is illustrated by Peter and John when they were to "no more speak of the name of Jesus as Lord" under the threat of severe consequences because it was illegal to call someone Lord other than Caesar under Roman law. [Acts 4] But this situation certainly isn't that."For noble reasons" is not the same as "for scriptural reasons"

I would think. This WILL be important for all of us as moral/immoral behavior as identified in scripture is codified into law more and more. We all may be faced with some Acts 4 kind of situations before long. But, as I said, I don't believe this is one of those.

In fact, things like this could hinder us when a REAL need to pay price for faithfulness to our Lord ultimately arrives.

What do you think David.

Jeff said...

I am not sure what you mean by force, but it appears that Romans 13 would commend us as citizens to assist government in the keeping of civil order. We are to submit to their authority which includes passive and proactive submissions.

Rex Ray said...

David,
Any immoral law should be broken by Christians just as Daniel did – and he did go to jail (lion’s den)

Thousands of Christians have not believed in ‘inerrancy’ or signed the BFM and they’re ‘in jail’ by being locked outside of having positions within the SBC – except their money of course.

Jeff said...

I also thought about some O.T. passages which speak to justice.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Paul,
Thanks for answering my question.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

David said...

Daniel did go to "jail" (a pit with lions) and God delivered him. Who are we to decide what is "noble". Let the Lord vindicate the righteous.

I hope my actions in Texas have been noble. However, only God can be the decider of that. Still, this morning I received a threatening email. It basically said shut up or it will cost you.

If you ever have to fight a Goliath, you had better be ready to have to completely depend upon God to bring vindication. It is a hard and pain road.

Joe Blackmon said...

Threadjack:

I would like to interupt for a brief moment and apologize to everyone I may have offended over the past year or so that my comments have been quite vitrolic. I have allowed my "inside my own head" voice to come out here. Not to say that I don't believe and think what I've esposed (i.e. women are forbidden from being pastors, the CR was a good thing) but I've allowed myself to be hateful partially to prove a point--and I hope you got that point, Steve.

I'm not saying that I'm willing to agree to disagree, I'm just saying I went further than I should and I was wrong in how I expressed some things.

Lydia said...

Joe,

I LOVE ya for that last comment. And you know by now I am not one to throw the "L" word around a lot.

:0)

PS: You, of course, understand this by now way means I agree with you on the...you know what...position. (wink)

Joe Blackmon said...

Lydia,
Right back atcha. And as far as the you-know-what position, that's ok. You can be wrong if you want to, you flaming liberal!!. haa haa

All kidding aside, you and then Paula were the first two egal's (I still can't spell that) that I'd met who were not liberal theologically so I have had to admit that being egal doesn't always equal being liberal theologically--just most of the time. Haa

Lydia said...

All kidding aside, you and then Paula were the first two egal's (I still can't spell that) that I'd met who were not liberal theologically so I have had to admit that being egal doesn't always equal being liberal theologically--just most of the time. Haa

Wed Oct 14, 01:24:00 PM 2009

One small step for man...one giant step for Women....

Paul Burleson said...

Joe,

Speaking for myself__apology accepted.

Christiane said...

Hi JOE,

Love you dearly, 'no matter what'.
L's

Wade Burleson said...

Joe Blackmon,

Apology appreciated and received.

Thanks,

Wade

Joe Blackmon said...

Arthur Anderson LLP...well, take a look at how reliable an audit firm they were throughout the 90's. Anybody remember WorldCom/MCI?

Yes, Arthur Anderson stunk up the place and gave us auditors a bad name. After all the fraud cases that came out including those mentioned above, people would ask "Where were the auditors?" Just to remind everyone there's no way an audit team can look at every transaction class or account type. Now, you would think they would catch onto a fraud involving the dollar amounts that were involved. Things have changed in the profession including much stricter auditing standards in both the public and private sector.

I'm just sayin'...we're not all the bad guys.

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

Blogger Buzz > Keeping Your Blog Secure.
While October is to many a month of candy and costumes, it also happens to be National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the U.S. In that spirit, we thought we'd take a minute to look at a few different things you can do to make sure both your content and account are secure on Blogger.

Amazon.com > Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs (Paperback) - by Rakesh Khurana.
Source: Corporate CEOs are headline news. Stock prices rise and fall at word of their hiring and firing. Business media debate their merits and defects as if individual leaders determined the health of the economy. Yet we know surprisingly little about how CEOs are selected and dismissed or about their true power. This is the first book to take us into the often secretive world of the CEO selection process. Rakesh Khurana's findings are surprising and disturbing. In recent years, he shows, corporations have increasingly sought CEOs who are above all else charismatic, whose fame and force of personality impress analysts and the business media, but whose experience and abilities are not necessarily right for companies' specific needs. The labor market for CEOs, Khurana concludes, is far less rational than we might think. Khurana's findings are based on a study of the hiring and firing of CEOs at over 850 of America's largest companies and on extensive interviews with CEOs, corporate board members, and consultants at executive search firms. Written with exceptional clarity and verve, the book explains the basic mechanics of the selection process and how hiring priorities have changed with the rise of shareholder activism. Khurana argues that the market for CEOs, which we often assume runs on cool calculation and the impersonal forces of supply and demand, is culturally determined and too frequently inefficient. Its emphasis on charisma artificially limits the number of candidates considered, giving them extraordinary leverage to demand high salaries and power. It also raises expectations and increases the chance that a CEO will be fired for failing to meet shareholders' hopes. The result is corporate instability and too little attention to long-term strategy. The book is a major contribution to our understanding of corporate culture and the nature of markets and leadership in general.

Thy Peace said...

VTMBottomline [Paul Burleson] > CHRISTIANS, CRIME AND COURTS.
A young man, whom I do not know, wrote on Wade's blog yesterday about how he had been swindled out of the wedding money he had saved over a long period of time___probably several thousands of dollars if I have any memory of wedding cost at all though the amount was not stated___ and had friends who lost their life savings to a "Christian Church Starting Group" during it's financial rape of many Arizona Southern Baptist in the 1990s. Those Southern Baptist leaders, there were several people involved, were recently sentenced to prison for their criminal activity.

david b mclaughlin said...

Paul B,
Not sure if you were responding to me or another David in the thread-especially since another David responded to you.

But i appreciate your distinction between noble & scriptural and concur with your analysis. (Not to say noble & scriptural cannot co-exist.)

dm

Paul Burleson said...

David b,

I was responding to your comment. You triggered my mind to look at the distinction between "noble" and "scriptural" and I think you are correct. They do co-exist as you said ..IMO. But the distinction is important if I'm understanding things correctly. Someone else pointed out, I've forgotten who it was, that even a noble end doesn't justify the means to it as Moses found out.

All in all, this comment section inspired [loosely used] me to write a blog post on the whole topic.

Thanks David for your thoughts. I always enjoy them when you put them up. You get me to thinking. That's good for an old guy like me. :)

Elisabeth said...

Thank you for that post Wade. Thy Peace reposted the comment I made on Christa's blog about my in-law's loss in the BFA.

My mother in law is now disabled due to a stroke. They could have used that money. I remember my father in law saying how he could have put the money in a bank, but he was wanting to help missionaries and church planters.

And so many of the ones I know who lost money were older people who lost retirement savings.

John Fariss said...

Hi Joe,

I was out-of-town last week, with the two week-ends as "bookends," so I just read your Oct. 14, 12:49 entry. Brother, I embrace you and love ya' (in a restrained, manly sort-of way) for it. God bless! Hang on to your passion and conviction--I will try to with mine--and we will enjoy some good give-and-take, and maybe, just maybe, both of us arrive at what, besides the person of Jesus Christ, is true.

Because He lives,

John