Southern Baptist Theological Seminary cooperates with no other religious group. Its trustees recently approved a report to the Executive Committee saying that the seminary "conducts no cooperative endeavors with other denominations and religious groups, other than participation in academic associations, accrediting agencies, and educational consortia. The school
is involved in no interdenominational or inter-religious endeavors or activities reported the (Southern) Baptist Press on April 14, 2000
The denomination was formed 155 years ago in Georgia by rural whites who, insisting that the church could not deny them the right to own slaves, split from the Northern Baptists. It has been only 50 years since blacks were turned away from many Southern Baptist churches in the deep South. The Southern Baptist Convention formally apologized five years ago for
"condoning and/or perpetrating racism," and that has led to more acceptance from blacks, a church spokesman said. In southeastern Pennsylvania, for example, the number of predominantly African-American churches affiliated
with the SBC has grown from eight to 80 since 1984.
[The Law of tithing reinstituted comes from the Old Testament, while the New Testament states the following:] Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we
would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)
The Baptist Foundation of Arizona for a number of years purported to be a sophisticated, profitable enterprise that supported Southern Baptist and Christian ministries. Its investment strategy turned out to be a Ponzi scheme reliant on frantic, perpetual recruitment of new investors to pay interest on an avalanche of debt
The financial crash in 1999 of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, a subsidiary of the Southern Baptist Convention of Arizona, the largest collapse of a religious financial institution in the nation's history, resulted with many elderly sheep.. hurt and devastated. For all of its talk of love, compassion and good works the Southern Baptists leadership did very little to change and reverse this tragic situation.
Restoring Our Integrity, a grassroots effort seeking to repay Baptist Foundation of Arizona investors and restore Southern Baptists' integrity, has ceased operations reported the (Southern) Baptists Press on April 18, 2000. Under this plan the Arizona Southern Baptist churches were asked to contribute 1 percent of their undesignated receipts to cover administrative
costs, and funds received from individuals nationwide were to go toward repaying BFA investors' losses.
Only 66 Arizona Southern Baptist churches and missions, out of about 400 congregations, had pledged to support the ROI plan, said Larry Deskins, pastor of Gateway Fellowship, SBC, Gilbert, Ariz., who was spearheading the ROI effort. Another effort the Jerusalem Fund which was began last September, has only raised $384,918 so far.
Steve Bass, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention executive director- treasurer, said the churches' lack of commitment to ROI should not be construed as a lack of concern for BFA investors. "We're proud of our
congregations for what they have been doing," Bass said.
"There is no glass jar in the backyard of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention where I can go dig up these assets," said Bass. "That's the same truth with the national convention. . . . There are some people who maybe misunderstand . . . [and think] we're like Roman Catholics who have all these assets in our offices. . . . Well, that's not true."
But it was the Southern Baptist convention who supported and propagated the support of the $640 million Ponzi scheme that enriched insiders. Private companies controlled by one insider, former BFA director Harold Friend, were paid about $11 million from BFA and its maze of related companies from November 1998 to November 1999,
However Armstrong, a retired Southern Baptist minister, and his wife, Lois, 76, need money from BFA and can't get a penny. He suffers from diabetes, cancer and a liver malady. The Armstrongs sold their Casa Grande home in June and wired the proceeds, about $160,000, to their BFA account. In all, the Armstrongs had entrusted about $460,000 to BFA. Their "investments" amounted to promissory notes. BFA borrowed their money at a high rate, and promised to pay it back , reported the Phoneix News Times. (http://phoenixnewtimes.com)
BFA didn't keep its promises. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November, claiming $640 million in debts and $160 million to $200 million in assets. Now the Armstrongs are living in their RV. It is the only home they can afford.
Until the late 1980s, the BFA had been managing church building funds and retirement funds for a few thousand Baptist layman. Profits came from land investments in the red-hot Arizona market. But when property values tanked, the BFA investments did, too. Instead of admitting losses and writing down loans, BFA officials in several cases allegedly cooked up transactions
between BFA and shell companies that made it look as if the BFA was still profitable. "It was a big paper charade," charged Assistant State Attorney General Robert Zumoff, reported the Phoenix New Times
To counter the unreported losses, fund president William Crotts and the BFA stepped up marketing, allegedly trying to bring in enough new money to cover old losses. Through the '90s, brochures extolled BFA's "Biblically based" investment plans, and urged faithful Baptists to "do good by doing good," becoming "bolder stewards of their God-given resources." Helpful salesmen made house calls. "[Our pastor] said if you've got any money, take it up to the Baptist Foundation," recalls investor Opal Bostwick, 72. The marketing worked. The BFA now owed investors $200 million more than it did in 1995.
None of the prominent Southern Baptist evangelists, including Billy and Ned, Franklin Graham, Bill Bright, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, or Louis Paula who belong to the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability reveal their total salaries and those of their family members and special friends to their donors upon request
BGEA still refuses to deal with the fact that Billy Graham Evangelistic Association received its tax exemption status from the public. As a result it's the public right as well as each donor's right to know and ask questions about the total remuneration of Southern Baptist Billy Graham including special privileges and expenses in his North Carolina home paid by BGEA
including support staff.
BGEA does release to the public other public relations information such as "he has had to slow his pace because of Parkinson's disease and other health, but he remains active in his ministry, preaching at several events last year," but not true financial information. BGEA has stone-walled Christian News Today request for such full disclosure of financial information
concerning the total remuneration of Billy Graham including special benefits in his North Carolina home paid by BGEA.
Billy Graham was embarrassed in 1977 when the Charlotte Observer discovered an undisclosed $23-million fund in Texas, apparently not mentioned in the accountings of the Minneapolis headquarters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association. As a result Graham's business manager led the formation of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability after Graham said on a national telecast, ". . . there are some charlatans coming along and the public ought to be informed about them and warned against them, " "stated K. Hadden and Charles E. Swann in their book Prime Time Preachers.
Although the Tampa Tribune reported that "Billy Graham encourages religious leaders to be open about their salaries and publish their finances" But this does not change the fact that Rev. Billy, Ned and Franklin Graham, Rev, Jesse Jackson or any other prominent Baptist leader in America are not open about their total salaries and those of their family members and special
friends. They do not release their personal income tax as President Bill Clinton does? They demand that others be honest and accountable and demonstrate integrity but refuse to release their personal income tax..?
Florida Southern Baptist Convention has on its books a resolution that no "tongue speaker" or Charismatic Christian could be a member of a Baptist Church in Florida. The pastors of Idlewild Baptist Church, the largest Southern Baptist Church in
Tampa, Florida can often be heard berating and verbally abusing those who speak in tongues and believe in the Baptism of the Spirit, forcing them to leave the church. In Oct. 1998, the Webster County Baptist Association voted to "disfellowship"
Calvary Baptist Church in Marshfield, Mo., because its pastors and many of its members received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and where "slain in the Spirit."
[Editor's Note: correction: "Note in the following Scripture, that Baptism in the Holy Spirit does not include being "slain in the Spirit"!"]
"Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism." Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would
come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:2-6)
Pastor Roger Hicks, 42, who pastors Calvary Baptist Church 42 was born and raised a Southern Baptist, and had dismissed expressive worship and manifestations of the Holy Spirit as a result of the Southern Baptist Convention teachings. But now the pastor has accused his denomination of hiding things from its members. " I wanted to know what else had been hidden
from me." Pastor Hicks can now be seen on any Sunday in his Southern Baptist Church dancing on the platform, as laughter, crying and tongues rumbles through the sanctuary before exploding into a mass chorus of praise and worship.
Southern Baptist evangelists trio of Billy, Franklin and Ned Graham have rejected the "Baptism of the Spirit" and the "gifts of the Spirit" as being too controversial and divisive and therefore not of God but officially they love all people including Charismatics. However Billy Graham's Amsterdam 2000 meeting for evangelists notably has no tongue speakers or charistmatics Christians on the speaking roster. (Excerpts of letter from Christian News Today, http://hometown.aol.com/newsforus/book37.htm - Dave Watson)