Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Pastors under probe for lavish lifestyles

ATLANTA - TELEVANGELIST leaders at several mega-churches in the United States have come under scrutiny following accusations that they have used donations illegally to fund opulent lifestyles.

A Senate committee is investigating leaders from six ministries, including Mr Creflo Dollar, the senior pastor of World Changers Church International, who preaches that God will reward the faithful with material riches.

It is a gospel that has won him a 25,000-strong congregation - and a Rolls Royce, a mansion and a private Gulfstream jet.

In a separate case, Mr Richard Roberts, president of the evangelical Oral Roberts University (ORU), is facing similar accusations of living lavishly on misspent university funds.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a veteran senator and top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has announced a Senate investigation into whether six televangelists violated their organizations' tax-exempt status by living lavishly on the backs of small donors. The Robertses were not among the six. But those targeted include three members of the school's Board of Regents: Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn.

Grassley's questions are similar to allegations aired last month about ORU President Richard Roberts and his wife, Lindsay Roberts.

Prosperity of Televangelist's Friends, Family Raises Flags (Eric Gorski, AP, 27 Jul 2008)

Preacher Rebuffs Senate Spending Inquiry (, 5 Dec 2007)\Top%20Headlines\20071206\Televangelists_Finances_20071206.xml&cat=topheadlines&subcat=&pageid=1

Pastors under probe for lavish lifestyles (Straits Times, 15 Nov 2007)

ORU regents get queries - Tulsa World (7 Nov 2007)

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