UPDATE, March 23, 1:45 P.M.:
TBN lawyer Colby May said Rusty Leonard has a theological axe to grind because he "doesn't believe that the Christian expression of charismatics represented on the network is appropriate."
TBN files a Form 990 for federally tax-exempt organizations, and other financial disclosures, May said.
"The reality is that Trinity is a transparent organization," May said. "He may not like the fact that through their good business management, they operate without debt."
As for theological differences, May said Leonard should "take it up with the Almighty."
UPDATE, March 23, 12:35 P.M.:
Rusty Leonard said there are "many different levels" on which one "would not want to give to this ministry."
The Board of Directors is dominated by the Crouch family and when questions are asked, people get threatened, Leonard said.
"They have so much money piled up there, they don't really need more money. We think that they've built a very nice asset, but it's mismanaged financially and theologically," Leonard said.
I'll update again if I hear back from TBN lawyers.
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 23, 11:38 A.M.:
Shocker: you probably don't want to donate to the Trinity Broadcasting Network
The Santa Ana
-based titan of Christian
media has once again landed on Ministry Watch's
list of 30 Donor Alerts -- which provides Christian tithers red flag warnings about prominent ministries that hide donations under a bushel (or the hood of a Bentley)
, or else find themselves under scrutiny from the government.
Ministry Watch gives Paul and Jan Crouch's behemoth TV ministry an "F" for transparency, even as the Associated Press reported Thursday that TBN has watched its donations plummet by nearly $30 million from 2006 to 2010, with its net income of nearly $60 million falling to a loss of $18 million in the same period.
The ministry declared more than $800 million in assets in 2010, the Associated Press reported.
TBN has made an annual habit of landing on Ministry Watch's alert list, so much so that the group merely links to past alerts about the Crouch empire. Here's a sample
Facts regarding the financial affairs of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) should cause donors to prayerfully consider supporting other Christian ministries that will achieve the donor's objective in a manner that is more transparent and reveals a more efficient and effective use of contributed funds. Huge excess funds, high salaries and very low spending on ministry purposes are grave concerns for donors particularly when so many other worthy ministries are struggling to find the money to meet the needs of the people the Lord has called them to serve.
I'll update the post when I hear back from Rusty Leonard
, the founder of Matthews, N.C.
-based Wall Watchers
, the watchdog ministry behind ministrywatch.com. He's on the road today, likely kicking some financial transparency butt.
Watch for it.