Two Foundations of Financial Violation
There are two basic violations of finances in the fellowship. All the other violations flow out of these two.
The first is threatening people with loss of salvation for failing to tithe and give offerings besides. They lure people in with the promise of a free salvation, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, and then tell them that if they fail to give money to this specific church that this salvation will be taken away. If you are not redeemed with gold and silver, then you cannot maintain your salvation by gold and silver. That, however, is not what they teach.
By taking this position, they literally extort people from money. Single moms and stuggling families are forced to give beyond their means. They are convinced that God will curse them if they don't, and even take away their salvation. They are one tithe away from hell, and damned for sure if they fall short of the pledges the pastor manipulated them into. It is a dirty, little con game they are running.
The second foundation of financial violation is lack of honest and complete accountability. Simple record keeping makes it easy to give a full and honest account of money taken in and money spent. One tax lawyer, who specifically serviced churches, told me that the pastor and his wife should never touch the offering. The offering should be counted by a group of men and women in the church and they should take care of depositing it in the bank. A church officer should write out the pastor's pay, and any other compensation he receieves. All petty cash flow that the pastor uses should be documented with receipts, and he should only receive that cash from a church officer who makes a record of it.
What I just wrote is completely foreign to the fellowship in almost all their churches. They do what they want with the money and once it goes in the offering it is under their complete control. Try telling the pastor say, of the Tucson church, that his wife should not be allowed to touch the offering. See what kind of response you get.
Anyone in the church who gives money should have access to a complete and detailed record of how much money comes in and exactly what it is spent on. And they should have that on a monthly basis. The fact that this is not the case, and that any suggestion along these lines is met with hostility, smacks of severe dishonesty.
All compensation to the pastor should be a known fact to the congregation. Everything the church pays for that directly benefits the pastor should be known. If he gets a car allowance, a house allowance, a food allowance, an entertainment allowance, an insurance allowance, or anything else besides his weekly salary, that should be known, and the amounts should be known.
How much money he takes in for specific offerings should also be known. How that money is spent should be known. Take the infamous offering to send Lee and Connie Stubbs to France. When the Stubbs decided to leave the fellowship, that money needed to be accounted for. Considering that the offering was basically unnecessary to begin with, since Lee's job was sending him to France, it is not surprising that the money vaporized. Warner was no doubt using the "impact" of the announcement to simply raise money for his piece of the empire. This is just one of the many illustrations of how there is no real accountability.
Please don't tell me about those yearly meetings where they go over the finances. That is as far removed from a real accounting as you can get. A real accounting would be much more specific, and would be monthly. I preached at one of these meetings where $40,000 was missing right there in front of the people. When the pastor realized this, he said, "Well I am sure that money went somewhere." Later he reemed his wife for not the juggling the books.
Another man handed out tax receipts that were far less than what people had recorded in their check registers. Of course this pastor failed 8th grade math, so that could have been part of the problem. He must have had trouble cooking the books. So, he went back, adjusted the figures, and gave out new receipts. The man who was assistant at the time told me there were two sets of books on the church computer.
There are many other such like stories, but you get the idea. The two foundations of evil in regards to money in the fellowship are forced giving, and no real accountability. Out of these two things all the other evils flow.
The Bible does not teach that you have to give money to be right with God. No one should stay in a church where there is no true accountability for money taken in, and money spent. To let these men tell you that you must give 10% of your income and offerings besides to stay saved, and then allow them to spend that money any way they please without true accountability is borderline insane. Read that last sentence five times if you are still in the fellowship.
Time to head for the exit for the last time.
- hey ken
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