The fact that several large TV programs by famous preachers are the focus of Senator Charles Grassley is well known by most of us. I do not know the details of the organizations in question but it does not take a CPA or tax expert to see what is happening. All we need to do is turn on the TV or read some of their materials.
When men and women in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ preach about the importance of wealth and live in obvious opulence, it throws a shadow of doubt on all of our ministries. It is natural to look at TV preachers and wonder if they are honest in their dealings. Such doubts raise questions in everyone about non profit charities, including this one. So, when the Slick Willies of the world end up living in $20,000,000.00 mansions, our ministry is also suspect as well.
Most people do not have the time or expertise to understand how some TV preachers can brag about driving a Rolls Royce. To us, "Ministry in a "non profit" means we live simply and carefully not with slick manipulation and excessive lifestyles. Lush private jets and $3,000.00 suits do not communicate humility and devotion to Jesus.
But that is not all. A few weeks ago, a friend was telling me how much impact the TV preachers were having overseas. I finally told him the truth. TV preachers do not get much "bang for the buck".
The amount of money they spend per successful contact is very small. In other words, the preaches may brag about their international influence but I have personally been overseas and these guys are not effective as evangelists or preachers. And, their theology is so aberrant that what they teach actually harms more people than it helps.
If you want to support overseas evangelism and missions, give to groups with real, live people on the ground. People not TV sets make disciples. World Vision has influence; YWAM has influence; and, many others have influence. Ask your pastor.
TV preachers rarely impact people positively.
When I minister in Russia I have to spend hours and hours picking up the pieces from the mistakes, cultural gaffes and terrible theology of some famous western preachers. It is less so now because the famous people have moved on to more financially fruitful fields but a few of us are still ministering deeply to the broken hearted and are setting the captives free.
In a 1994 trip, the local leaders wanted to know how much money I was making off of these "Crusades". (TBN brings in some $200 million dollars annually.) When they discovered I had no TV program they were amazed. "Doesn't every American have a TV program?"
After hours of careful and intensive interviews they invited me to teach in their churches and seminaries. I was the first American to be so treated in St. Petersburg.