Sunday, April 05, 2009

Seed Faith Giving Makes Some People Rich

Last December WCNC Television, a Charlotte news station, broadcast a six minute story on The Inspiration Network, a Christian television broadcasting network out headed by CEO pastor/evangelist David Cerullo and his wife Barbara. It seems that the Cerullos pulled in 1.6 million dollars last year in salary, excluding benefits. The Cerullos preach a prosperity gospel message, and it is worth those interested in Christian television to watch this television news investigation regarding The Inspiration Network.

A handful of Southern Baptist Churches broadcast their services on Inspiration Network. It would seem to me that those SBC pastors and leaders who use Inspiration Network should be the ones asking questions about the Networks finances. When the news reporter asked for David Cerullo's responses to a series of questions, the reporter was handed a written statement from Inspiration which included the following: "Our policy is not to engage in public discourse regarding accusations against our ministry."

When fellow Christians either refuse to ask questions privately, or on the other side, refuse to answer questions privately, then unfortunately, questions must be asked publicly. The refusal to enter into public discourse is most certainly an indication of private dysfunction at the Christian ministry in question.

In His Grace,



Ramesh said...

Fbc Jax uses INSP TV network for their 1/2 hour taped archived broadcasts.

Fbc Jax Watchdog > INSP Network - "Televangelist Gunslingers"

Ramesh said...

This comparison is not quite valid, but here it goes:

NYT > The Pay at the Top

I wonder if Insp network is non-profit? But again lot of mega churches are non-profit.

Charity Navigator > 2008 CEO Compensation Study

Anonymous said...

The Cerullo family are very associated with "word of faith" heresy...they should be noted and listed much like Paul did with Alexander. THe SBC leadership should have nothing to do with them. Watched a clip by John Piper on his disust with prosperity peddlers. There is a clip of it on you tube...very good clip.

Anonymous said...

"Health and wealth" preachers MUST live high-on-the-hog (or at least appear to do so), else it is most apparent that their theology is errant and doesn't "work". Not surprising that the folk mentioned in this posting would permit themselves to receive a ministry (?) salary exceeding that of the average U.S. pastor by $1+ million (that alone would cause anyone with a half a conscience remaining not to want to talk about it--but hopefully the same person would feel ashamed enough to do the right thing; isn't it possible to teach/hold accurate biblical doctrine and still be prosperous?).


Anonymous said...

I don't know a thing about this group or network, but this type of story seems to be par for the course in the Word of Faith, Word of Prophecy/Charismatic world. People like this come off as the hucksters they are. It's just too bad that they influence large groups of sincere people.

There is another network on TV that features some weird looking couple (why is it that lots of charismatic pastors get their wives involved and present these creepy duo arrangements?) and a set that looks like it came from a brothel.

I don't know why churches go on these networks. It may be that they are the only ones available. It may be that they have a large range, or that they cost less. I have no idea.

But I do wonder - is NBC any better than these networks? Jeffrey Immelt (CEO)? How about Roger Ailes at Fox? ABC, CBS? I think that we would probably find ever greater payouts and misuse of money at these networks.

If a church wants to broadcast its services, I just don't have any idea what the options are. Still, I would hope and think that pastors would be critical of all the things these owners apparently stand for.

I would like to hear some comments on this blog from either pastors or laymen who broadcast their services and the various options and considerations.

Is there anyone out there who can make some knowledgeable comments about this one from the church side?


Rex Ray said...

I remember a cartoon of Jesus by a lakeside saying:

“Foxes have dens, and birds have nest, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head”, while on a nearby yacht “Oral Roberts” replied “Amateur!”

Jon L. Estes said...

Isn't there a bigger problem with underpaid ministers then those being overpaid?

I have never moved to a ministry where compensation was discussed prior to the vote and my accepting. I have had committees wanting to talk about such but, for me, the call can not be about salary. I have always believed, if a church pays me too little, shame on them... if they pay me too much, shame on me.

That is just my approach.

I did talk with a committee once who pushed the compensation issue and when I explained myself one man continued to push the subject. On our next visit God told me I was not to move so I entered into discussion by telling them what I presently was receiving. For each line item break down, the man asked... "Do you expect us to pay you that?"

It was the day after when I last ministered in TX when I called the Chairman of the pulpit committee and ask..." What is the compensation, I want to know if I can afford the house we like?" He laughed and realized we had never discussed this subject after the vote.

God has always been good.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of charlatans out there. But it could never be MY pastor could it? No way to know with so much secrecy. But the Bible says we can know them by their fruits? Most likely your pastor is not fleecing you, but some things to look out for?

Does he receive large personal/private gifts from millionaire members?

Does he get his house built at cost from rich builders?

Does he live in a million dollar + house? (Requires big salary to qualify for loan)

Does he put wife on staff? (This adds to the actual total compensation for him/family)

Does he dare also put children on staff?

Does he travel the preaching circuit preaching at seminaries and conferences all over the nation?

Does he miss time from his local church duties to publish books?

Does he promote Holy Land trips he leads every year?

If ANY ONE of the above is true, you should look closer at church finances and begin asking some questions. If ALL of the above are true...well then, your pastor is MAC BRUNSON!


Anonymous said...

The INSP's network income is about 56 million according to ministry watch. So the exec is paid 1.6 million, which is just under 3% of the total revenue.

I am curious as to what percentage of the total church income Wade makes at the church he pastors.

John Daly said...

Oftentimes I take pride in my "humility" and thumb my nose to those who have been blessed with resources in this world. The Gospel must be proclaimed to all and a gated community doesn't always mean a gated heart.

BTW, P. 60 on Hardball and my favorite quote so far:

"A vigorous Christian member of the church is far more in his place in the baptismal waters than his ailing, consumptive, or rheumatic pastor." Sorry bro, Spurgeon has the best quote so far but I'm sure you're okay with that :)

Anonymous said...

Can anybody give me even one good reason why FBC Jax, or any other church, should spend even a dime of its income on national TV broadcasts?

I can understand why a church would pay to be on local broadcast stations -- if nothing else, you are helping your own shut-ins and reaching out to your community. But what's the point of broadcasting your service on INSP or Crouch's network? After all, it's not like you're going to encounter seekers watching those networks, instead you're just preaching to the choir, so to speak, and soliciting contributions from people who have no other connection to your church -- indeed, from people who ought to be giving their money to their local church instead of some national "ministry".

Frankly, the only reasons I can think of are (1) to inflate the pastor's ego, or (2) to inflate the pastor's salary with "supplements" from his "TV ministry".


Anonymous said...

So is Mac Brunson up for the

The question we have is, it is understood that Mac and Debbie operate as a 'team', but why would they drag their son into this scandal? Their own child?
Isn't he also 'an employee' with undisclosed salary and duties?

Seems like they have NO faith if they can do this to their own child.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a pastor's son or daughter can actually be qualified to work for a ministry.

What have we come to when just because a church or ministry is bigger than the one we attend, work for, or pastor that we criticize that other church or ministry out of jealousy and envy?

Surely there are more important things we can be doing for God's kingdom than complaining about how someone who pastors a church 5x or 10x larger than the one we pastor or attend makes a bigger salary than the pastor of a small church.

With friends (brothers and sisters in the Lord) like these, who needs enemies?

Anonymous said...

Just in case MAC never got the meaning of Luke 16, here is a new version from the LOL Cat Bible Project, just for MAC:

" Lazarus an Rich Kitteh

19 I will tell u a storee. Wonz upon a taim der wuz a rich kitteh hoo had minee cheezburgrs.20 But anudder kitteh hoo livd neer him (udder kitteh wuz calld Lazarus) had itcheez all ovr,21 n he wuz hungree 2 and had no kibbulz of his own; and nastee doggeez were alwayz comin and licken him. Srsly.

22 But den Lazarus kitteh dyd and went to kitteh hevun wit de anjel kittehs and Abraham kitteh! Srsly! Oh, n rich kitteh dyd 2.23 Ded rich kitteh did not go with anjels, tho, he went to de bad plase insted. He cud see Abraham kitteh and Lazarus kitteh far awaee, laffin n lookin happee n stuff.

24 Ded rich kitteh yelld, “Hey, uz guyz, srsly, cud Lazarus come bring me sum nip and kibbulz 2? I be sad kitteh down heer in dis heet.”

25 But Abraham kitteh say, “Excuz me, WTF? U spent ur erth time havin gud thingz and not sharin wid Lazarus. Tings sure b diffrent now, huh? Don’t liek it so much now, huh?26 Anywayz, even if i wantd 2 i cudnt hep u. Duznt work dat way, sry!"

27 Den ded rich kitteh sed, “Mayb u go visit my erth famalee den, and give dem warningz?28 I got 5 bruders hoo still b on erth. Dey don’t want 2 burn, srsly."

29 But Abraham kitteh say, "Dey got a copee of de rulz from Moses kitteh and Ceiling Cat alrdy, just liek evrybdy else!”

30 Ded rich kitteh thot a warning from a gost kitteh mite do da trik, tho.

31 But Abraham kitteh sed no. “If dey don’t lissun to Moses kitteh and udder profet kittehs, dey will not lissun to gost kitteh eether.”

Now Mac done has it from the Four Paws Gospel. May the "cats" be with him and lead him to repent and return all that money to the Lord. Don't hold yur breath.

Meow fur Now,

One Mean Cat

Anonymous said...

Move twice from one ministry position to another taking a $20,000 cut in overall salary/benefits--because my wife and I knew the Lord was in it AND that He would make up the difference; He did. However, congregations are EMPLOYERS--and must be ethical ones. One of the congregations which paid us less paid us so little that, for the first time for my family, our children qualified for free/reduced school lunches in our state--which meant that our fellow residents in the state realized that my family needed ministry, even if my fellow church members couldn't have cared less.

If you can't pay them, don't call them. If you call them, make the sacrifice to pay them well/well-enough--ministers will be called on to make those kinds of sacrifices 24/7/365!

Anonymous said...

OMG, if Robert had trouble with 'the Shack' as an allegory;
wait til he gets a load of the LOL Cat Bible Project!

This is gonna be enough to keep him ranting for years to come.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a pastor's son or daughter can actually be qualified to work for a ministry.

What have we come to when just because a church or ministry is bigger than the one we attend, work for, or pastor that we criticize that other church or ministry out of jealousy and envy?

Surely there are more important things we can be doing for God's kingdom than complaining about how someone who pastors a church 5x or 10x larger than the one we pastor or attend makes a bigger salary than the pastor of a small church.

With friends (brothers and sisters in the Lord) like these, who needs enemies?

Mon Apr 06, 01:53:00 PM 2009

And some folks get their reward here on earth.

Anonymous said...

Mac gives new meaning to the phrase, "fat cat"

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I was very critical of FBC Jax March 2008 when Mac first announced he was raising money through a special Easter offering to broadcast his sermons on INSP network.

At the time I was unaware of the financial excesses of the CEO, nor was I aware that this INSP network raises funds for its operations through a prosperity gospel. I simply opposed it as an unnecessary expenditure of $180,000 (that was the figure trying to be raised through a special Easter love offering for the INSP broadcasts) when at the time the church wasn't even broadcasting and archiving sermons on the 316 or other similar online service.

Now that it is another year, I don't know if FBC Jax put the INSP broadcasting costs in the church budget or not, but probably so since there wasn't another special offering.

Mac Brunson has said on several occasions to justify being on a network like this that there is so much garbage on it that there needs to be someone preaching the truth.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Mac Brunson and Debbie Brunson have both been openly preaching the truth: but not about the Gospel.

Their truth? If you are 'friends' with the guys at the top, you can make big money in the SBC. And anyone who 'gets in your way', well, now we know how Mac handles this.
Some truth. They didn't even try to hide a lot of it.

But just suppose that this was only the tip of the iceberg. What else is there to know?
No wonder Mac is afraid of the Dog.
The Dog threatens to blow the top off of Mac's act and really expose the whole mess. He's doin it too.
Go Dog.

Anonymous said...

Mark is right on target.

To the anon who seems to think a $1.6 million salary is okay since it represents only 3% of the total revenue...that is warped thinking. How much is enough? Why not take a $600,000 salary in that case and give that $1 million to the Lord's work?

Should the shepherds be taking a percentage? Is this biblical? No wonder God tell the priests in Malachi 3:10 - "you are robbing me" and when they asked him how, he told them "in tithes and offerings." Those priests were probably using the same logic you use and were not bringing the whole tithe into the storehouse after the Israelites had brought the food to them. Modern day priests also are robbing God by keeping so much of God's tithes and offerings for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Has the church (or those here representing the church) become more concerned about out of line salaries than they are about a lost world?

It seems so.

Anonymous said...

Where is all the love ....I dont understand the -Hate -Act?

Robert from Geneva

Anonymous said...

Has the church (or those here representing the church) become more concerned about out of line salaries than they are about a lost world?

It seems so.

Mon Apr 06, 03:55:00 PM 2009

This is a typical response from blind followers. Out of line salaries and the lack of transparency suggest the ones proclaiming the gospel while profiting greatly are part of the lost 'world'.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how people talk about transparency, and yet, Emmanuel Enid is no more transparent than FBC Jax. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

Wow the New Gospel according to Obama,
Profit is the new big evil.
Man what a bunch of Fascist , Socialist.

Robert from Geneva

Tim Marsh said...

Pastor Wade,

You touched a nerve with this one...thanks!

It seems that many in the SBC are worried about getting involved with so-called "liberals" who ordain women ministers and care about the environment that the SBC has failed to notice its contact with the prosperity gospel.

How many prosperity gospel books are sold at LifeWay? I bet you found Joel Osteen and John Hagee books on the LifeWay shelf, didn't you? What about TD Jakes? When I worked there his books were on the shelf and prior to, he even came to Birmingham to do a book signing at LifeWay. We aren't worried about those guys are we?

You shall know them by their fruits.

Anonymous said...

. . . "the SBC has failed to notice its contact with the prosperity gospel."

Wait a minute.

Hasn't the 'leadership' of the SBC been rolling in money taken from people's tithes?

And haven't Southern Baptists all looked the other way while these pigs were at the troth?

Seems like 'prosperity to the powerful' is the rule in the SBC.
And like the people have okayed it.

ezekiel said...

Anon 3:55,

There are some of us concerned because we see the history of the nation of Israel being repeated among us today.

Nehemiah 5 all over again. If you will work it out a little, I think you will find that this is the context of the favored Malachi verse that preachers these days love to use. I think that Malachi was a prophet in Nehemiah's day.

There were nobles and governors (Israelites) that were exacting taxes and abusing the flock.

Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

This is a typical response from blind followers. Out of line salaries and the lack of transparency suggest the ones proclaiming the gospel while profiting greatly are part of the lost 'world'.

Actually you are wrong in making reference to my comment. Many Christian forums and blogs are filled with anti-fellow believer venom but seem to have little concern for the lost world.

John 9 shows us that Jesus was compassionate and concerned about the blind man (make the spiritual application to the lost world) while the disciples were focused on the cause (why is it the way it is) of the blindness.

All I am hoping to convey is that there is a lost world needing our attention more than the infighting among the brethren.

Later, off to visitation and opportunity to share Jesus.

Anonymous said...

"All I am hoping to convey is that there is a lost world needing our attention more than the infighting among the brethren."

We are a joke to the lost world with our celebrity preachers living high off the hog while single moms in our churches cannot pay their bills or have health insurance. Judgement begins in the church.

I want to make sure that the lost world knows that many of us do not condone such license with the offerings of the saints.

Anonymous said...

"Actually you are wrong in making reference to my comment. Many Christian forums and blogs are filled with anti-fellow believer venom but seem to have little concern for the lost world."

Many of our rich pastors are lost. Start there.

Anonymous said...

Many of our rich pastors are lost. Start there.

So the best way to help them know Christ is to criticize them?

That is a strange way to reach a lost person. Who trained you in this strategy?

Dienekes said...

Tim Marsh,

I'm glad I'm not the only one that has shaken my head in Lifeway. My wife actually called the local store manager out about the Osteen books and the one by Dr. Phil's wife. She got the line, "Well, everything is approved by Nashville". Do huh?!

I'm all for people reading the Shack, or most anything else that stretches the mind and forces us to go back to Scripture and ask what it really says. We need to be well-informed people and not shy away from the challenges of the age. I dislike systems that resemble thought-control or point us in that direction.

On the other hand, there is an incongruity somewhere when someone puts up a sign that says, "Biblical Solutions for Life" and has Zacharias, Tozer, and Wiersbe on the same shelf as Osteen, Jakes, and Meyer.

It seems to me that Lifeway, or any Christian enterprise, needs to establish their purpose and then act accordingly. If you're not going to draw a line anywhere, then change your slogan. Market yourselves as "Your Source for Whatever Calls Itself Christian" or some such. But if you're going to say you're Biblical, draw a line and stay with the stuff you know is on the right side of it. Or at least warn people about the material that's very suspect.

I don't claim to have the be-all-end-all answer about where the line should be. But I can point to some authors/books and say, "That's definitely on the wrong side."

Sorry for the rant. I encourage others to stay on topic. :)

Anonymous said...

"I want to make sure that the lost world knows that many of us do not condone such license with the offerings of the saints."

Well, you can't.

The 'lost' world is not so 'lost' that it can't see when a church is rolling in hypocrisy by allowing an 'idol' to be worshipped in the way that these 'pastors' are indulged with the money that belongs to the Lord.

If a church wants to make an offering to the service of the Lord, then it needs to make sure that offering does not end up in the bank account of a so-called 'pastor'.

Idol worship. That's what is going on.

Anonymous said...

That is a strange way to reach a lost person. Who trained you in this strategy?

That was too funny!!!!

Robert from Geneva

Christiane said...


It's me, L's

I just was able to see the archived speeches that Paul Young made at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

If you locate the Church site and follow the directions, you can watch these recordings.

I don't know if you have had an opportunity to see Paul Young speak, but take a look for yourself.

I can promise you that it is certainly worth your time.
If you see these videos and you want to let me know what you thought, I would like read your comments. I am interested in your reaction to these speeches.
Give it a try, if you have time.
Love and Prayers, L's

Anonymous said...

"Many of our rich pastors are lost. Start there."

So that is what it is all about. Hate to break it to you but rich is a relative term. Compared to many places in the world, an American citizen living on welfare is "rich" in comparison.

A pastor making $35,000 a year in a small town community might seem rich to some, but put that same pastor in a church in New York and that pastor would have trouble feeding his family.

Good thing Obama is President. After he is done regulating the pay of bank executives, maybe then he can regulate the pay of pastors.

I don't know about dishonest pastors but pastors who truly love and serve the flocks are provided for by the Lord. So, it doesn't matter whether you pay that man $5,000 or $50,000.00, he will still be blessed and since he will be blessed there will still be people who judge, criticize, and think he is "too" blessed.

Stephen said...

My father is the wisest man I know. When he was a pastor (now retired) he carried out his ministry within certain parameters. He would never accept a salary beyond that of the median of his flock. He would never live far from the church and would never live in a house or drive a car beyond the value of those of his flock. He was all about outreach, but his outreach was limited to the those in the community. If he could not drive to their house within 30-45 minutes, he deemed them to be living within the area of another church. He reminded his flock that they should not contribute to a TV preacher by asking the question : "Will the TV preacher visit you when you are in the hospital or minister to you in time of need?" I have been spoiled by having a father and a pastor who understood his role as the shepherd of God's people.

Tim Marsh said...


Thanks for your response. There are many good things about LifeWay, specifically the employees in the local retail stores. You will always have good service.

Nashville is the problem. Local stores cannot regulate their inventory.

I did not mean to make an off track comment about the store, but to merely point out that LifeWay's inventory is one example of how we will strain out a gnat with our theology towards the left, but on the theological right we will accept anyone who will confess to the "innerrancy of scripture" regardless of what they believe and what they teach.

Why are the so-called SBC leaders afraid of attacking the prosperity gospel? Why are they afraid to boycot their TV stations and products?

It seems that the answer to that question needs to consider Matthew 6:24

Tim Marsh said...

I remember a newspaper article regarding the Trinity Broadcasting Network run by Paul and Jan Crouch. I believe the LA Times ran it, in either '04 or '05. It stated that the network mostly received gifts from the lower middle class in three or four digit figures, sometimes the life savings of particular givers. They were hoping for their "seed" to produce a harvest.

That same article indicated that if, in that very year, TBN never received another dime, then they had enough assets to last them forever (or as the article put it: "Until Jesus returned.")

John Daly said...

I once asked the clerk at a Christian bookstore what they had by Martin Luther. They went off to check and came back moments later and said: "You meant Martin Luther King right?" I replied, "Well, I'm Letters from a Birmingham Jail is very edifying and worth reading but I was looking for someone a bit older."

They had no clue. But good ole Joel was smiling at me as I walked in.

Anonymous said...

Don't know about Enid but in this part of the state, 3% of our undesignated receipts would put our pastor's compensation $3,000 BELOW the median HOUSEHOLD income of our county. He would be eligible for food stamps. Currently his total compensation is 12%. Even at that, he's right at or slightly below the average compensation as reported by the SBC.

Anonymous said...

Wade, your blog has come full circle. The advocacy today seems to be about narrowing the parameters of cooperation by censuring books at LifeWay.

Anonymous said...

I would no more expect to find a book promoting Baptist theology in a Catholic bookstore than I would to find a book promoting Catholic theology in a Baptist bookstore. How in the world is that censorship?

Christiane said...

Hi Stephen,

My god-mother, who lives in Virginia Beach, has given many, many thousands of dollars to the Seven-hundred Club over the years.
When she was involved in a terrible car accident about twenty years ago, I called the Seven-hundred Club to ask if someone from there could visit my god-mother in hospital, as it would have met so much to her.

I will not describe the response of the person on the phone, but the answer was a very firm 'NO'.

I was reminded of that incident when you wrote this about your father:
"He reminded his flock that they should not contribute to a TV preacher by asking the question : "Will the TV preacher visit you when you are in the hospital or minister to you in time of need?"

Today, my godmother is a 'shut-in' and is crippled. She still watches the Seven-hundred Club and still sends them a lot of money.
She has no bitterness that they did not come to visit her (same city, Virginia Beach) in hospital.

I wonder what they do with her money? She lives plainly and sends a lot of money out to various television ministries. And yes, she is a 'good Catholic'.

Well, that's my godmother, and I love her just the way she is.
She just can't believe that there are people who would misuse any money sent in 'for the Lord's work.' ( It's them I really feel sorry for, that they can do this.)

I know my godmother is clueless but I'm proud of her generous heart. She is just one of many thousands who support what they think is the "Lord's Work" and are unaware of possible misappropriation of the donated funds. I am saddened by the way these good people are used.

Your father sounds like a man of great integrity.

Love, L's

Christiane said...

To anon who wrote about 'Catholic bookstores': you might be surprised by what you would find in such a place. I always am. And I am delighted. Love, L's

Anonymous said...

"Good thing Obama is President. After he is done regulating the pay of bank executives, maybe then he can regulate the pay of pastors."

What will be even more interesting is to see what will happen when our offerings are no longer tax deductable. The high life may be over for many. Unless they resort to selling prayer cloths.

"I don't know about dishonest pastors but pastors who truly love and serve the flocks are provided for by the Lord."

Really? That is strange...even Jesus had no where to lay His head and now you are telling us that the Lord provides a six figure income, free trips all over the world and 8,000 sq ft homes in gated communities for pastors if they are honest? I suppose the dishonest ones live in shacks in Africa, right?

It never ceases to amaze me how deep the Osteen doctrine has penetrated the SBC

If it does not matter what they make, why do they go to such lengths to hide it? Seems to me they would be honest and want folks to know.

Anonymous said...

I know Lifeway sells one book where the pastor warns other pastors not to accept expensive gift while the author himself was accepting a $307,000 land gift from a donor three weeks after he arrived at his new church. The Pastor's Guidebook, by Mac Brunson. Check it out and then look at Mac's actions. Hyprocrisy illustrated is what the book should be called. And this is required reading in our seminaries.

Anonymous said...


Please be sure to also note that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and your private prayer language buddy Ron Phillips also air programs on INSP. Please be sure to be an equal opportunity critic and respond negatively to those two as well.

Mark Burleson said...

LOL. I read the comments because you all provide much entertainment value.

While I don't agree with the off-balance of most "prosperity" teachers, I'd say most of you believe close to the core foundations of some of the Word of Faith and some believe the same foundations of balanced Charismatics as well. Well that is unless you think the Holy Spirit is dead in the world which some of you I definitely could see.

Anyway carry on with your bickering, you do it so well =]

Anonymous said...


Please spare us all the rantings and ravings about Mac Brunson and FBC, Jax. They have a blogsite where they can go vent whatever they need to say.

Your blog has degenerated since you branched off into this things.

Anonymous said...

The 'lost' world is not so 'lost' that it can't see when a church is rolling in hypocrisy by allowing an 'idol' to be worshipped in the way that these 'pastors' are indulged with the money that belongs to the Lord.

A 'lost' world is not so 'lost' that it can't see the vile temperament within the larger church 'family' (they may not use that term).

Anonymous said...

Last two anon comments presented to you courtesy of FBCJax trustees

Ramesh said...

You might think this is Off Topic, but it's all related:

NYT > How the Internet Got Its Rules

TODAY is an important date in the history of the Internet: the 40th anniversary of what is known as the Request for Comments. Outside the technical community, not many people know about the R.F.C.’s, but these humble documents shape the Internet’s inner workings and have played a significant role in its success.

When the R.F.C.’s were born, there wasn’t a World Wide Web. Even by the end of 1969, there was just a rudimentary network linking four computers at four research centers: the University of California, Los Angeles; the Stanford Research Institute; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The government financed the network and the hundred or fewer computer scientists who used it. It was such a small community that we all got to know one another.

Put another way, we always tried to design each new protocol to be both useful in its own right and a building block available to others. We did not think of protocols as finished products, and we deliberately exposed the internal architecture to make it easy for others to gain a foothold. This was the antithesis of the attitude of the old telephone networks, which actively discouraged any additions or uses they had not sanctioned.

As we rebuild our economy, I do hope we keep in mind the value of openness, especially in industries that have rarely had it. Whether it’s in health care reform or energy innovation, the largest payoffs will come not from what the stimulus package pays for directly, but from the huge vistas we open up for others to explore.

John Daly said...

Now on Pg. 134 of Hardball and a few pictures sprinkled throughout the book would have added a nice touch. Most of us have never seen these folks and it would have added a little background to the content.

Just a thought.

Dienekes said...

Tim Marsh:

I agree. Lifeway is not the only issue, but it is indicative of larger blind spot. And I suspect/fear/lament that you may be right about the Mt 6:24 issue. If Osteen's on the shelf because he brings in the cash, what a shame. This really isn't an off-topic discussion, because the larger issue is poor discernment (or no discernment).

John Daly:

Your experience looking for a Luther book would be hilarious if it weren't so sad. That illustrates the other side of the coin, I guess. A lot of American Christianity lives on spiritual donuts rather than meat. I've had a similar experience, too. Can't remember whose books I was looking for; maybe Tozer or Francis Schaeffer. None to be found. But, like you said, "Your Best Life Now" was in glossy hardback at the front of the store.

Anon 9:16,

I'm not advocating censorship. I'm advocating clarity of purpose and actions that follow. If you're going to carry all kinds of stuff that calls itself Christian--some good, some junk--at least have the honesty to say that you're not going to discern. Christian bookstores, TV networks, or anything else shouldn't market themselves as one thing and then fail to live up to their marketing. That's false advertising, a.k.a. hypocrisy.

Dienekes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ramesh said...

This is for writers who wish to write Op-Eds for NYT:

How to Submit an Article to the Op-Ed Page

And Now a Word From Op-Ed

What We Talk About When We Talk About Editing

Stephen said...


Thanks for your comments. Your godmother is a special person. She will be rewarded for her faithfullness as not all of the money she has contributed has been misused. Those receiving her money will give an account to God.

Anonymous said...

Last two anon comments presented to you courtesy of FBCJax trustees

For this anonymous poster, you got it completely wrong. I can't speak for the other you reference but if you are wanting to be factual you need to do better.

You do want to be factual, right?

Cynthia Kunsman said...

Dear L's,

My parents started giving to PTL in the '80s, planning to retire to the Christian utopia. I have a friend whose aged mother gave her retirement savings, intending to retire to the hotel there, since this is what they promised they would provide to those who gave to them. It would be a utopian Christian retirement community.

My parents were thrilled to continue contributing to the INSP when Morris Cerrillo took it over, and they expected me to jump on the band wagon. A friend from Christian school, when last I heard, sold advertising for INSP. (My husband thought he was a freak TV addict or something when this guy visited our house many years ago, asking a million questions about what cable stations we got and why we didn't have cable service!)

My parents still give to all sorts of people, one who talks openly on his show about hopping on a jet to go to Dallas to go to the Galleria to shop, the only place that he will shop. (My big splurges, like most people's, take place at the ultra clearance rack at the local TJ Maxx.)

So this touches me, too. They give in faith believing that they are sending the Word of God out over the airwaves. Though there is a lot of money coming in, it is partly true.

I'm just glad and rejoice in the fact that God is the ultimate book keeper. He knows the heart of the joyful giver and keeps track of all that was given in His Name and for the purpose of carrying the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout the earth. And he's even got all of our tears in his bottle, too. There is a great comfort in that.

Byroniac said...

Good theology does not make money.

Byroniac said...

I meant, good theology is not profitable for book stores (which is truly sad).

Dienekes said...


As in,

"...the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." (2 Tim 4:3-4)

Byroniac said...

Dienekes, yeah, what you said.

ml said...

Hey Wade, is LifeWay carrying your book? I was just curious. With all the LifeWay talk I wondered if LifeWay would carry yours? It would be delicious irony if they were. Hehe.

Steve said...

.... wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires....

That certainly happened this last Presidential election!

John Fariss said...

Isn't that a definition of politics? In what Presidential election, gubernatoral election, mayoral election, dog catcher's election does that not happen?


On a more humorous note... said...

"One edition of the Brigham Young University student newspaper has been pulled from newsstands because of a typo in a caption that referred to Mormon leaders as apostates instead of apostles.

An apostate is someone who has abandoned religious faith.

A photo in Monday's Daily Universe showed members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the university.

The caption called the group the "Quorum of the Twelve Apostates."

University spokeswoman Carri Jenkins says it was an honest mistake that happened when an editor was doing a computerized spell check."

Christiane said...

Hi ML,

It's me, L's

I had ordered Wade's book from the Lifeway in our area and they told me that it would be it by
April 10th.

I got a phone call this morning from them and it was in.

I picked it up today, but did not check to see if other copies were on the shelves.

Hopefully, they will be.

I hope Wade gives us a chance to comment on the book in the near future when people have had a chance to read it. Love, L's

Christiane said...


Did all those people, who gave to the retirement community at PTL, lose their money?

I know that Jim and Tammy Bakker had some problems, but I do not know what happened to PTL.

BTW I have begun to shop at thrift stores and now I do it for fun. :)
Am finding wonderful things 'gently used' and saving tons of money. Give it a try.
I also love TJ Max, Marshall's, and similar 'outlet' type stores.
Also fun, but not as cheap.

Your parents sound like good people, Cindy. Like my godmother.
If my precious godmother gives away ALL her money (it could happen), our Family will take care of her needs.
Love, L's

Anonymous said...

“I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.

Shack quote of the day

Robert...tear down that Shack

Tom Parker said...


So good to see you are now reading the Shack. What are you so afraid of?

Ramesh said...

Breakfast with Fred:

Don't Duck the Troubles!

Douglas MacArthur on V-J Day (Victory in Japan) said, “It is my earnest hope that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge.” As we now know, Japan was defeated in battle, but victorious in peace.

Alvin Toffler, in his 1972 work Future Shock, said we are a nation suffering from “over choice.” We have too many options. Adversity limits these choices and can actually be an advantage. Trouble concentrates the mind. Some of us are trying to get away from difficulties which can positively propel us. That would be like a crew member navigating a sailboat out of the wind and wondering why there is no forward progress. The wind of adversity is often our motivator.

Troubles are a good teacher. Our valleys test our ability to forget revenge and practice forgiveness. Through trouble we learn to help others and to set our minds to be examples, not obstacles.

I find it helpful to write down the lessons I am learning through trials. A young real estate developer came to me after suffering drastic losses. I listened to him, then suggested he document the process. This would show him the value in the experience and also help him see it clearly as it happened. Clarity comes as we think it through on paper.

The old mystics called trials, “God’s gymnasium.” The muscles we build help us lift up others who suffer. When we recognize the purpose and value of persevering in troubling times, we can pass it on to others.

We can help others by encouraging them not to give up. Prior to a Super Bowl, one of the players talked to a reporter. “What are you going to do if you win?” “As soon as I get my Super Bowl ring, I’m going to drop down on my knees and thank my dead mother. She kept me going when I wanted to quit. She never gave up on me.”

Unexpected lessons in the value of loss came to an affluent family when they had to deny their children some expected luxuries. They gathered as a family, talked over the situation, and came to a mutual understanding. The entire family participated in the solution. The financial troubles became a great blessing to the entire family.

Ramesh said...

I just received my copy of the book "Hardball Religion:...". I will read it slowly during this month.

If any of you, after reading the book, please contribute your comments also to here. Thanks.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Did all those people, who gave to the retirement community at PTL, lose their money?"

All but $6.54 of it. And Jim Bakker is baaaaack! No, really!

"I know that Jim and Tammy Bakker had some problems, but I do not know what happened to PTL."

That's kind of like saying the ocean is wet. Did you know the INSP Network is the former PTL Network? Interesting history here.

Ramesh said...

Stop Baptist Predators > Baptist leaders' delusion on display

In Waco, Texas, the pastor of Bellmead First Baptist Church is charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child.

According to KXXV-TV News, pastor W. Frank Brown is accused of molesting girls in another state, beginning about four years ago, and then continuing assaults on a victim after moving to Texas. The girl was reportedly 9 or 10 when the abuse began. “Police say the alleged assaults took place hundreds of times.”

In connection with Brown’s arrest, the Waco Tribune-Herald interviewed Tim Randolph, the executive director of the Waco Regional Baptist Network:

Preventing such events in the first place would be ideal, Randolph said. Churches are encouraged to work through the Baptist General Convention of Texas to screen personnel they are considering hiring, he said. Because Baptist congregations are autonomous, they cannot be compelled to go through the BGCT when making hires, he said.

'Steps are being taken,' Randolph said. 'Churches are encouraged to report (accusations and subsequent investigations) and verify people against a database.'

So here’s my first question: Exactly what “database” is Mr. Randolph talking about?

Anonymous said...

Thy Peace:

I am "BGCT" and Tim Randolph was employed by the BGCT until the end of last year when he assumed the leader role in Waco. He's right; see here (bottom of page):

The BGCT's website: Its phone number for follow-up if desired: 888.244.9400.

Ramesh said...

Thanks for the comment. I posted your comment on Christa's blog post.

Christiane said...


It's me, L's

I also am glad that you are reading "The Shack".

I found an interesting review of the book by a Catholic nun which reflects my own thoughts on the book. I will share it with you:

From Sister Ann Marie
of the Sisters of St. Francis
of Philadelphia

"What's so enticing about the book?
The whole image and concept of God and the Trinity.
What I particularly love is the emphasis on relationship.

At one point the Spirit character said of the Trinity:

"We are in a circle of relationship, not a chain of command or 'great chain of being' as your ancestors termed it.
What you're seeing here is relationship without any overlay of power. We don't need power over the other because we are always looking out for the bst. Hierarchy would make no sense among us."

I wonder if the author is aware of what a Franciscan concept that is! Then there is the depiction of God as being total love--so enthralled with us as the result of that God-love! That too is such a Franciscan concept. Francis in "The Praises of God" wrote "You are love, charity; You are wisdom; You are humility. You are patience; You are beauty; You are meekness. You are security; You are rest. You are gladness and joy. You are our hope."

No where in the Praises does Francis speak of God as someone to fear--only of One who is
"the good, all good, the highest good."

That's my God!

I love the idea in The Shack that God shows God's self to individuals in whatever form that individual needs to comprehend, at least in some human way, who God really is.

Interesting point, isn't it? j

We could spend a lot of time reflecting on 'who God is for me'.
I guess that's one reason I want to get my own copy of the book.
I can foresee an entire retreat week just "absorbing" some of the thoughts from this unique book. "

About Sr. Ann Marie:
"I'm a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. I taught school--both elementary and secondary for many years. I now work in communications, editing and writing for our publications."

ROBERT, this is a Franciscan Catholic nun's review of "The Shack". She is able to see past the metaphors and allegories into the fascinating ideas Paul Young shares about God's love, and she is able to identify with these ideas. So am I.

I hope you continue to read this book and continue to share your thoughts, Robert. Love, L's

Anonymous said...

Why do you think I am reading the book?
You need to go back and read my post

Robert ...tear the Shack down

Cynthia Kunsman said...

Hey L's,

My parents did not take their retirement and dump it into PTL, but they did give for about 2 or 3 years like they were putting money into savings, and they gave cheerfully. They LOVED the few times when they got their week in the hotel. As I understand it, if you gave a certain amount freely, you got to stay in the hotel for a week for free. One year, they took two old ladies with them and shared their room.

My dear friend's mother did put all of her retirement money into PTL, signing over all of her retirement savings. It was all lost when the whole thing was exposed.

But God always provides for us.

My parents are the best of people and generous. They are all about sharing what they have and even giving when they have their own great needs. They were excellent role models in this respect. Sounds like your Godmother is the same sort.

I just wish that they were not so enamored with the whole televangelist thing in general. It is a sad commentary on the state of so many churches today. And I will read more of this as I delve into Pastor Wades book that just arrived. I'm bummed though, as I won't be able to get to it for a week or two.

Christiane said...


It's sad about your friend's mom.
It's not that I think all televangelists are evil, but I wonder about some of the activities that are reported that don't seem appropriate for the spreading of the Gospel.

My godmother has one living son who has tried to curb her generosity to a reasonable limit, alas to no avail. No one wants to see her go without, ever.
She will be cared for, regardless, and surrounded with loving people as long as she lives.

Your parents sound like wonderful Christian people. Mine were too.
They are with Our Lord now and at peace.

I've got Wade's book and have started to read. It is quite an eye-opener. Poor Wade had to go through a lot, for standing up for what is right. I guess in this world, there is a price to be paid for doing the right thing. But Christians need to do it anyway.
Wade shows that it is not only possible, but wonderful testimony to living as Christ taught us.
Love, L's

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