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    Senate:  No penalties for high-flying preachers

    Senate:  No penalties for high-flying preachers

    Senator Chuck Grassley's efforts to hold a group of televangelists accountable has decided that there would be no penalties for the group of preachers, saying that they were unable to make any conclusions about whether the ministries violated IRS rules.

    Two of the ministries involved in the probe, Joyce Meyer Ministries and Benny Hinn Ministries say that they have made changes in their ministries because of the probe.  Four others did not provide full information or cooperate fully.  Those included Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Creflo and Taffi Dollar, Randy and Paula White; and Bishop Eddie Long.

    In the end, a long and expensive investigation that yielded little to no results.  Go figure.

    This is a slippery slope, I know.

    How much should a pastor be paid?

    Should it be based on hours?  On results?  On offerings?  On attendance?

    Should there be a cap on salary?  On benefits?

    Should they live in a mansion?  Is that ok?

    It seems that the prosperity gospel does work... just only for the elite few that lead them.

    Stardom brings rewards.  But how should they be used?

    My question this morning:  Is it possible to lead a huge, huge ministry without letting it go to your head and your pocketbook?  I think it is; but VERY FEW people are able to pull that off.  Very few.

    At what point does excessive compensation and perks become sinful?  Is there a point for that?

    What do YOU think?

    You can read more here...

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    1. Jeff Copelan on Fri, January 07, 2011

      Without knowing the pastors’/ministers’ hearts and intentions, it is impossible to know whether they have fallen into the traps of greed and corruption. Like a pro athlete or movie star, they are using their fame and popularity to generate as much income as they can. As long as people are willing to give them the money, they’ll keep justifying their reasons for taking it.

      But… These religious leaders do not uphold the values and virtues set forth by Jesus, his disiples, or the Apostle Paul. They would demonstrate their love for God by emulating Tony Campolo or Billy Graham: keep only what you need (need!) and give away the rest to help build God’s eternal kingdom.

    2. Pastor/Evangelist Mark A Jones on Fri, January 07, 2011

      Who are we (Christians, Congress, Americans) to critique those with financial prosperity.  Yes, even in our new work, I have a cap on my salary, but, income from books, speaking engagements, etc. are not considered the church’s business.  (Even though I may sacrifice income from the church after a specified number of services missed.  These are guidelines which I personally asked the Board for.)

      I know Christ preached blessings to those who ‘sow seeds of faith’ and it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, but I feel it is a decision of the integrity of the pastor, church leadership/membership.  If a minister is popular, famous, and an author, then of course they are going to have additional financial gain for their work.

      Which one of us work for free?

    3. John Burton on Fri, January 07, 2011

      It’s often jealousy that drives questions about another’s prosperity.

      The most financially prosperous leaders own several businesses, have real estate, investments, write and sell books, etc.

      Simply, they know how to make money. That’s not a bad thing.

    4. Michael Cooper on Fri, January 07, 2011

      Rick Warren should be an example to any pastor who has the opportunity to make a lot of money.  When the media tries to come at him about his handling of money they leave humbled and impressed.

    5. Jeff on Fri, January 07, 2011

      Is a $5000 suit needed to help people come to Jesus? A Bentley? A private jet? A mansion? There is a point when excess shows. To stand infront of people talking about God and His love for us, to tell us to be humble and giving, then to go outside the walls of their church and live a life that shows excess and disconnect from the lesser of us - that’s not right by any means. I would not want to follow the preacher that lives a lifestyle or wealth and excess. And in turn, I would not want to follow “this god” he talks about. Because what he says and what he does do not match.

      The ability to make money - they have that right. To flaunt the money they have - that bothers me. Am I saying because they have the skills and ability to manage a create wealth that there is some rule all preachers must follow the Rick Warren school of money? No. But to claim that God will rain down wondrous wealth upon you if you give you money to my church, then walk around displaying that money with material items that are vain and outlandish, while those people that have paid for these items with their donations struggle and wait for their financial blessings ...that is sickening. God never said His blessing would match our sacrifice, only that he would “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it”.

    6. Peter Hamm on Fri, January 07, 2011

      We are supposed to, especially as Christian leaders, avoid every appearance of evil. Conspicuous luxurious consumption looks to much of the world (rightly, imho) like evil. We should therefore avoid it. Simple, really.

    7. Art on Mon, January 10, 2011

      “Conspicuous luxurious consumption looks to much of the world… like evil.”

      To what part of the world are you referring?  We don’t seem to find it odd when celebrities, musicians, actors, business people, doctors, lawyers or the POTUS live that way.

    8. John Burton on Mon, January 10, 2011

      That’s a great point… if we are all ministers, then the rule must apply for all Christians.

      Look at Deon Sanders… he’s a fiery Christian… have you seen his house? It’s MASSIVE.

      What about, as you say, other Christians? I have a friend who’s a judge… an amazing Christian. His house is huge and magnificent.

      What if Jay Leno got saved… would he be expected to give away all of his millions of dollars worth of cars? His house? Should he refuse his salary from NBC?

    9. Lee Cummings on Mon, January 10, 2011

      We all the ability to sound like whiney little kids who are being told “no” to something by our parents. Jesus called us to “store up treasure….(wait for it….) IN HEAVEN! not earth.

      don’t think celebrity status or fame is congruent with the Kingdom of God or it’s citizens. We are all called to live differently because we have a different set of values. If any celebrity wants to follow Jesus, they will be subscribing to the same set of values that Jesus lived by. Generosity, faith, compassion, aiding the poor, obeying the Father, sacrifice, suffering etc… Are we called to less?

      Have your nice stuff, but let’s keep our focus “up”. As Pastors and leaders, we have a higher responsibility (and higher judgment for that matter) to set the standard and live beyond what is “permissible—or what we can get away with” and go for the “Best for the Kingdom”.
      Why are we here? Leaders should ask themselves that question daily and then ask others that question often. The answer is not to build treasuries or monuments.

    10. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 10, 2011

      John Burton,

      Which of those individuals lead a non-profit church?


      Sorry, but I think it’s obvious that those of us in pastoral ministry leadership have a different standard than Jay Leno and Deion Sanders.

    11. John Burton on Mon, January 10, 2011

      Not sure what non-profit status has to do with it… unless you are arguing their money shouldn’t come from the church.

      I’m saying that people can and do do both.

      I get a salary from my church and I get money from my graphic design business. Should I not accept money from that biz? What if it grows and I start bringing in a million dollars a month?

    12. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 10, 2011


      I am saying that those who are making their living from the Gospel as pastors clearly have a different standard. Just like there is a higher standard for our behavior, that should extend to financial matters.

      if your Graphic design business grew to the point where you didn’t need your salary from the church, wouldn’t you consider doing the church thing for free at that point (if you could even afford the time, as owning a multi-million-dollar company is a LOT of time-intensive work)?

      We are called to a different standard by God AND man, higher than the “regular believer” who is not a professional minister. We don’t want to always admit it, but it’s true.

    13. John Burton on Mon, January 10, 2011

      It’s an option… to give away the church salary… but it shouldn’t be expected… it’s a personal decision.

      But, are you saying, that if I did… and still brought in millions through my business… lived in a nice house, etc… you are cool with that?

    14. Roger on Mon, January 10, 2011

      I know guys in CA that live in houses costing half million dollars that are a third the size of mine in TX bought for less than half that.  Is my house too big and his too expensive?

    15. Peter Hamm on Mon, January 10, 2011


      I’m doubtin’ that you can be an effective pastor AND manage a company of that scale where you are managing the day-to-day operations. But let’s say you were “hands-off” with your business, and you gave your work week to ministry, and you still took income from your business AND from the church. I’d have no problem with that. Let’s say, though, that you drove a Bentley, lived in a house that was 3 or 4 or 5 times the average size/value/etc. than your congregation and community, and let’s say you have a private jet or some such. Yeah, I would. I probably wouldn’t attend that church, though. Are you arguing that those who work in Gospel ministry don’t have a higher standard than others? The New Testament seems to indicate otherwise.


      We are not talking about guys who live in a half-million-dollar house in an area where that is the norm. (I used to live in Northern Virginia, it was the norm there, too.) We’re talking about conspicuous opulence.

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