June 2, 2007

Tampa Tribune Request Law Enforcement Investigate Randy and Paula White

by @ 9:01 pm. Filed under Questionable Items

A most interesting editorial today in the Tampa Tribune.

Pastors Who Lost Moral Compass, Deserve Law Enforcement Review

The public is used to television preachers asking for money. Some of us still remember the 1980s nickname for Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s PTL Club: “Pass the Loot.”

Neither is it a shock to learn celebrity preachers live in waterfront mansions on both coasts, travel by private jet, drive fancy cars or have cosmetic surgery to appeal to their audience and their personal vanity.

But never will people tolerate ministers who take advantage of poor or elderly members of their flock.

That is where society draws the line, the same line that Randy and Paula White – founders of Without Walls International Church in Tampa and Lakeland – seem blinded by.

The preaching power couple – with their expensive cars, private jet and homes on Bayshore Boulevard, New York City and Malibu, Calif. – has grown rich and famous. They say they pastor to thousands of Central Florida residents of all means.

But their trail of broken promises – reported by Tribune writers Michelle Bearden and Baird Helgeson – casts doubt on their moral compass and raises legal questions worthy of investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the federal Internal Revenue Service and the state Department of Consumer Affairs.

I must say, that I am slow to seek law enforcement intervention, even of money changing cults, which is exactly what the Whites run. But I do feel that the accusations about tax exempt status being used for the purchase of personal items certainly warrants IRS review. Other than that, I feel many of the issues with these vipers are the responsibility of Christians rooted in sound doctrine to continually expose to the public.

Ephesians 5:11 (New King James Version)

11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

The newspaper is not speaking as a Christian voice, but from a purely secular perspective. Just the same, even some Christians request that government intervene more in the affairs of practitioners of false doctrine. I think Christians should be careful of calling in government regarding abuses in doctrine. People fleecing in the name of the Lord is probably as old as the prophesies of His first coming. Even Jesus said that people who were false came before Him and would come after He was resurrected from the dead. False doctrine is not a cancer that government can cure. But government could end up causing people who were ignorant followers of false teachers, to become ignorant followers who abhor government. My point is that they will remain ignorant and too much government intervention will only encourage them to remain ignorant. They would see it as some sort of promised tribulation. However, while it’s not tribulation that false teachers would be receiving, too much government intervention could result in future true tribulation for true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The precedent might allow some future misled government to honestly abuse Christians.

True Christians have to continually sound the alarm for the misled and pray they see the light. None of us who were once duped by false teaching learned the truth from government, because government is not the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We learn from fellow Christians who care. Tear one pimp down and the misled will build up another, until they learn and embrace sound doctrine.

While the people giving money to pimps like Randy, Paula, TD, Joel, Eddie, Jamal, Benny, Creflo, Medina and others are ignorant, they give the money because they honestly believe in their hearts that they should. Government could take every dime from these pimps and place them in prison, but their followers would throw money at them to buy everything they had back and praise them the day they step out of prison. It would grant the pimps saintly status, beyond what their followers are already mislead to believe.

We all want the pimps to stop abusing people, but like with many other issues, always running to have the big hand of government get involved may not be the best solution.

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