LAKELAND -- By Cary McMullen Ledger Religion Editor - The dreams
of a Tampa megachurch to buy the massive Carpenter's Home Church
sanctuary in Lakeland have come to an end.
Without Walls International Church, a 14,000-member Pentecostal
church, concluded a 10 month arrangement with Carpenter's Home
on May 31, ending its Saturday night worship services and closing
off negotiations to buy the 10,000-seat sanctuary.
Inability to agree on a price doomed the sale. Jennifer Mallan,
an associate pastor at Without Walls said Thursday the figures
were confidential but the two sides were "a couple of million
In February, negotiations reached a stalemate when the Tampa
church's offer of $10 million was rejected. The board of Carpenter's
Home set an asking price of $12.5 million.
At that time, it appeared Without Walls would have to end the
Saturday night worship services at Carpenter's Home it had started
last August. Carpenter's Home canceled a lease agreement between
the two, but then it appeared that negotiations revived, and
Without Walls continued to hold worship services until three
However, Shane Simmons, Karl Strader's son-in-law and an associate
pastor at Carpenter's Home who handled the church's negotiations,
said Thursday that Without Walls had made no new offers.
"We were never offered anything higher than the price we
turned down," he said.
The lease agreement expired May 31 and Without Walls didn't renew
it, Simmons said. Without Walls is a multiracial congregation
started in 1991 by Randy and Paula White and is known for its
emphasis on urban ministry. About a year ago, the Whites approached
Carpenter's Home senior pastor Karl Strader about the possibility
of buying the sanctuary to expand their ministry into Central
Carpenter's Home, formerly First Assembly of God in Lakeland,
was built in 1985 at a cost of $12 million. Despite the sanctuary's
size, the congregation never grew larger than about 5,000. Controversy
over Strader's leadership in 1989 resulted in about 800 members
leaving and forming Victory Church. In 1995, Strader's son, Dan,
was convicted of fraud charges, further weakening the church.
About 2,000 people attend the church at present.
The two churches entered into a three-stage agreement in July.
In the initial stage, the Whites traveled to Lakeland on Saturdays
to lead spirited worship services. In addition to its worship
services, Without Walls initiated some outreach ministries, such
as food distribution to the needy.
Under the terms of the agreement, after six months Without Walls
could buy the sanctuary, and in a third stage, Carpenter's Home
could build a smaller sanctuary on part of the site, which it
When negotiations stalled in February, there was public disagreement
between the two churches over who had pulled out of the deal,
but Simmons was careful to avoid recriminations this week.
"I have nothing negative to say. We couldn't agree on a
price," Simmons said.
Mallan said Without Walls had looked at another piece of property
when the deal with Carpenter's Home broke down but decided against
moving into Lakeland for now out of respect for Strader.
"There was some innuendo that the work we were doing was
hurting his work, and Pastor Randy didn't want that. He really
wanted to honor Pastor Karl in his later years. We probably would
have continued to rent, but (White) didn't want to interfere
with anything Pastor Karl was doing," she said.
Mallan said Without Walls would continue its outreach ministry
in Lakeland, distributing food in public housing complexes and
conducting open-air Sunday schools. She said the church would
consider co-sponsoring conferences with Carpenter's Home.
Simmons said Carpenter's Home had no other offers and intends
to expand the number of concerts and special events held at the
"We've added to our events staff and we're planning to do
twice as many events," he said. "It's a great ministry
to the community, and it's profitable to us."
The name Strader carries weight in charismatic circles. Strader,
72, has been pastor of Carpenters Home for 35 years and has ministered
at various churches nationwide. A Pentecostal church under the
Assemblies of God denomination, Carpenters Home has owned radio
stations, hosted concerts and conferences featuring big names
in Christianity, such as evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, gospel
singer CeCe Winans and Christian music artists Jars of Clay and
Michael W. Smith reported the St. Petersburg Times.
But the past 15 years have also carried controversy. Some Assemblies
of God leaders, including televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, have
publicly questioned Strader's theological teachings, according
to the Lakeland Ledger.
"We've been to hell and back," Strader said during
a recent church service. About 800 of Strader's members left
to form their own church in 1989, after a dispute over his leadership.
Then in 1994, Strader's son, Daniel, was arrested on fraud charges.
He was convicted the next year and is serving a 45-year sentence
in federal prison. A small number of fraud victims were members
of the church, causing further tension. Strader said he believed
his son was innocent and was treated unfairly by the system.
But his son's appeals have been denied. Strader asked members
of Without Walls to pray for his son's release, saying seven
years behind bars was enough for a "white collar crime."
At one time membership rolls swelled to about 5,000. Strader
and a jubilant congregation had the 10,000-seat auditorium built,
believing that in time it would be filled to capacity. Instead,
attendance dwindled. (Published the St. Petersburg Times August
12, 2002 )
CARPENTER'S HOME FINANCES
In our local news recently is a report that the Carpenter's Home
Church, under the leadership of Karl Strader, will be sold.
I wish The Ledger would investigate and publish the finances
of this deal. The Carpenter's Home Church started out as an Assembly
of God church before Karl Strader took control.
I have relatives who were members of that church since the 1940s,
and they helped pay for it.
I have visited often in the past and heard many of Rev. Strader's
sermons. I was puzzled why he often said in his sermons that
anyone who disagreed with him should not make a fuss, just walk
out the back door and leave.
His congregation has now dwindled down and he is left with a
My relatives left after Rev. Strader became a more-autocratic
minister, there were questions about his family being given jobs
at the church and his son was convicted of defrauding church
members (mostly elderly ones) out of their life savings.
It seems to me part of the problem is that the Assembly of God
denomination allows ministers to preside over board meetings
instead of a church member, as in other more democratically operated
Nonetheless, it was good Assembly of God people who paid for
that Carpenter's Home Church property, and any benefits from
the sale should go to the Assembly of God denomination.
The question before the public is, will it?
(Published The Ledger Saturday, August 31, 2002)
Daniel Strader's brother, Stephen Strader and his sisters, Karla
and Dawn also wrote a letter which was also reprinted in the
Ledger. The letter solicited funds for Strader's legal defense.
Investigators were charging him with 259 felony counts and for
scheming to defraud Central Florida's elderly residents. The
letter didn't talk about the real victims of Dan's crimes but
"Dan is facing bankruptcy and life imprisonment because
of mistakes he made in his business. Because of these mistakes
and the economy, some of Dan's business clients have suffered
losses. While many of these good people have been willing to
give Dan the opportunity to recovery financially, others have
been unwilling or unable to give Dan more time to make things
The system which holds Dan's fate in its hands seems almost sinister
in its inclination, conscious or not to damage Dad and the church.
The press and some of Dan's investors have not hesitated to drag
out Dad and the Church into the mire."
All we want for Danny is that he be treated fairly, and that
he be given the opportunity to set things right. He has been
faithful to the Church and to his small family [ whose electricity
was cut off 14 times in one year because of non payment of bills
by Dan ]. He loves God and feels the call of God on his life.
He is seeking the Lord now more than ever in his 6 by 10 cell
with only his Bible. Being human, Danny has made mistakes, but
he is sincere in his desire to make things right. He wants all
of his investors and business associates to be made whole."
Our reasons for contacting you is to let you know about this
trouble, because we know that you will want to show your love
and support to our parents. We also want you to know how critical
this situation is. Dan has no money, and cannot afford to pay
a qualified lawyer to defend himself. Our parents cannot afford
to handle the expenses of Danny's defense by themselves."
Mary wrote a letter to the Editor titled "Strader gutless,
selfish" which was printed in February, 1995, in the Ledger,
concerning Daniel's decision to withdraw his guilty plea. For
Strader was accused of soliciting investments in income producing
properties and in his company and instead the money was converted
to cash and deposited for his personal use and pleaded guilty.
A truly revolting and shameful display. The Reverend Strader
should be double ashamed - not only did he raise a criminal,
he raised a gutless selfish whiner.
Later, we were to learn that Dan's parents, the Straders, lived
in a debt free $400,000 home on a lake next to a golf course
drove two luxury towncars and made a salary in the six figure
bracket not including special perks.
While other parents, who sold their homes and possessions to
help one of their daughters or sons in their time of trouble,
the Straders in their usual style asked others to contribute
and made only small token contributions themselves. For their
other children protested that dad was not to spend their inheritance
in defending Dan.
If Dan was innocent as Pastor Karl Strader said many times, why
didn't Karl Strader, as a concerned parent sell any of his assets,
especially the luxury towncars to help him? This was something
that haunted me and spoke loudly to me that something was really
wrong in the pastor's behavior and actions as a Christian.
Dan Strader, who earned in prison in Florida a Master's degree
in Theology plans to co-author a book with his father,his silent
Dan cannot accept the fact of his guilt in real crimes of praying
with and preying on the members of his father's church with the
help of his father. Deceived Dan doesn't understand that God
resists the proud and gives grace to the humble for Roy Aldrich,
a retired school teacher, died prematurely at the age 65, as
a direct result of the stress and betrayal by his friend and
pastor, Karl Strader, and the deeds and actions of his son, Daniel
Strader. Roy wrote the following:
Dan Strader was convicted of stealing our life savings of $ 100,000.00
by using lies and deceit and since your question about the effect
on our lives is probably the must important factor to you and
the Parole Commission, let me simply repeat the words of Jerry
Hill, state attorney of Polk County: "The crimes of Dan
Strader have done more damage to more elderly people than any
homicide that I have prosecuted "
Dan's thefts have forced us to sell our house and most of our
personal possessions and move into a trailer. He has shown absolutely
no remorse and Judge Robert Doyel who presided over this case
stated: "The first step toward rehabilitation is admission
of wrong doing, and therefore I feel that Dan Strader will never
What Mr. Strader did was calculated and carefully planned with
a willful disregard for the lives of others to such an unbelievable
degree of extremity that my wife and I still cannot understand
why anyone would try to destroy us in this fashion, especially
since we had given faithful service to the Carpenter's Church
in Lakeland pastored by Karl Strader, Dan's Father.
The leadership of the Assembly of God denomination both in Lakeland
and Missouri would not accept the testimony of Roy Aldrich that
he was robbed and raped by money changers and wolves in sheep's
clothing in the house of God. But the State of Florida who cared
about justice, righteousness and truth accepted the words and
testimony of Roy Aldrich about the Strader's.
The State prosecutors proved their case and convinced the jurors
that Dan Strader devised an elaborate scheme to attract cash
in the real-estate and mortgage investments. He was selling the
securities without a license and that the securities were unregistered.
This was done in an organized method amounting to Racketeer-Influence
and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO Act.
As a result Daniel Strader, 37, was sentenced to 45 years in
prison in August 1995. He was convicted of 238 felony counts
for bilking 57 mostly elderly investors, some members of the
church, out of $2.3 million by selling investments in properties
that didn't exist or already had liens against them.
Roy and Patricia Aldrich of Lakeland, a wonderful couple, were
among the elderly who were members of the Assembly of God and
Carpenter's Home Church, Lakeland, Florida who were deeply hurt.
Roy had written to important and influential people at AG, including
District Superintendent Don Lunsford and General Superintendent
Thomas Trask, requesting their help concerning Pastor Karl Strader.
But they didn't get true justice!
But the evil and wicked deeds of Dan Strader and his 238 counts
of theft, fraud and racketeering will continue to haunt Carpenter's
Home Church in Lakeland. Although Dan appealed his conviction
the 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld the conviction and sentence
in 1996. In 1999, Strader began a new appeal, contending he didn't
get adequate representation from his lawyer, Jack Edmund of Bartow,
during the 1995 trial. Strader alleged that his accomplice Pernice
lied in his testimony during the trial at the prompting of prosecutors.
On April 1, 2002 Attorneys for Dan Strader have taken their case
to federal court. They filed a motion in the Middle District
of Florida in Tampa to have the court review the process of the
state proceedings in the trial against Strader. Attorneys had
appealed the case to the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland
after Circuit Judge Donald Jacobsen turned down their post-conviction
relief petition. Jacobsen was not the judge at Strader's trial,
but in 2001 he ruled against Strader's request for a new trial.
A three-judge panel from the appeal court upheld Jacobsen's ruling
without comment in a decision released March 11, 2002.
The Lakeland Ledger reported that April was a bittersweet month
for Strader. On Easter Sunday, he marked his 35th anniversary
as pastor of Carpenter's Home Church. A week earlier, the latest
appeal by his convicted son, Daniel, was denied. In the twilight
of his career, Karl David Strader is a living alloy of tradition
and progress, success and loss.
In one generation, he has seen his Pentecostal tradition grow
in numbers and in acceptance. And by most accounts, he has been
an innovator, freely associating with faith groups outside Pentecostalism
and borrowing ideas from them. He built an empire at Carpenter's
Home in North Lakeland that has at times included a 10,000-seat
sanctuary, a national TV audience, a private school and a retirement
home. But his innovations were not appreciated by everyone, and
11 years ago, strife decimated Carpenter's Home. Today, the cavernous
sanctuary is perhaps a quarter full on Sundays, and the TV broadcasts
have been cut way back.
Strader bears an even deeper wound. Those who know him say the
scandal surrounding his son's arrest and 1995 conviction on fraud
charges have affected him more deeply than any other setback.
Yet at 72, Strader soldiers on, preaching and laying hands on
people who come forward in hopes of a healing touch. He says
he will remain as pastor of Carpenter's Home as long as his health
is good. He tells his congregation, "I'm past the age scripture
tells me is given to us of three score and 10. But God has given
me a wonderful life of health and strength. I'm shooting for
But the Ledger also reported recently that the Carpenter's Home
Church, under the leadership of Karl Strader, will be sold. It
doesn't profit to be a thief and to raise up a thief! Yes, crime
Dan was not an entrepreneur, he was a first class con artist
who used religious words, quoted the Bible, prayed with and preyed
on his victims. He modeled himself after his protégé
and hero-his Dad, and did the things that the Senior Pastor and
the Strader family did in Carpenter's Home Church continually.
Unfortunately, there are others in the Assembly of God who do
the same things, even pastors and superintendents.
The facts would later show the Straders for what they are and
. Ignored the plight of the elderly victims and raise tens of
thousands of dollars for Dan.
. Ignored moral discrepancies in Dan's multiple admission of
lying and guilt, and declare victory over their enemies, which
. Identified the forces of darkness as anyone who would question
their views and positions on matters, especially in regards to
. Ridiculed and lampooned Dan's victims, by deriding them for
testifying against Dan.
. Arrogantly refused to admit doing any significant wrong and
say it was the fault of others a conspiracy out to get them,
because of who they are, high profile Christians.
. Repeatedly used the pulpit of Carpenter's Home church to issue
misleading statements about Dan and others such as "we are
being crucified by the press" and using lies and deceptions.
. Issued unbelievable hate and slander from a public pulpit,
on three investors or victims, who were embezzled by a con artist.
. Used people and things in Carpenter's Home Church for their
own hidden agendas. Jim, who was used by the Straders for his
considerable talent, and to do the punishing work of building
Carpenter's Home Church, then threw him out like a gum wrapper.
Jim believed in checks and balances, and this was something that
Karl and Dan Strader didn't do or practice. Therefore, they hated
Jim for loving the truth, and sought a means, at all costs, even
at the price of splitting the church, to see him removed from
. Denied members and staff members access to elected deacons,
and used others on staff as Roy Aldrich had written to work them
over with "a rubber hose" for not submitting to their
demands and wishes.
. Ensured that their salaries were confidential and their positions
were maintained at all costs, while others less fortunate and
more talented had to leave, even though they had given their
best and expected a degree of respect for their loyalty and hard
work. It wasn't what you did but who you know, and the same is
true in churches today.
So it safe to assume that Dan Strader is not getting out of prison
soon because the God who put him there is not stupid and neither
Dr. Randy White
Senior Pastor of Without Walls International Church
Dr. Randy White is the powerhouse founder, and Senior Pastor
of Without Walls International Church (WWIC), a multiracial,
multicultural congregation that has grown from five members to
10,000 members since 1991. Under Dr. White's leadership, Without
Walls International Church has twice been named one of the fastest-growing
churches in the nation by Church Growth Today.
Known for his dynamic preaching and practical teaching styles,
Dr. White brings God's Word to life through sometimes intense,
often humorous, and always relevant sermons, and dramatic, entertaining
illustrated sermons. He communicates the message of Christ with
sincerity while bringing it down to concrete realities for the
year 2001 and beyond.
Tenacity and brokenness underscore his success as a respected,
and successful evangelist, author and pastor. As an ordained
minister he is also known for his pursuit of evangelism and restoration,
Randy White comes from a rich heritage of preachers. At age 13,
he decided he too would devote his life to ministry by preaching
in prisons, on the streets, and in nursing homes.
Still, Randy held on to his dream of becoming a minister. He
entered Lee College (now Lee University) and graduated with a
Bachelor's Degree in Ministerial Studies and a Master's Degree
in Divinity, and an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters.
His early ministry positions included work with T.L. Lowery -
one of the leading pastors in the Church of God denomination,
who would later become his mentor. He served on staff with Dr.
Lowery and his church of over 5,000 members, for more than 7
In 1990, Randy and his wife Paula, made a leap of faith. They
began to reach out to the people that nobody else wanted: the
"unchurched", the broken, the derelicts, the Mafia,
and the children in the inner cities. Together, in 1991, they
eventually opened the doors of South Tampa Christian Center,
which would later become Without Walls International Church.
Ten years later, this thriving church has confounded and amazed
those who warned the Whites that the "poor" could not
support a ministry. Today, Without Wall's membership and the
weekly attendance are tangible evidence of its success. Its diverse
congregation is a vegetable soup mixture of Africans, African
Americans, Whites, Pacific South Islanders, Asians, Hispanics,
and Europeans from throughout the world. They are rich, poor,
homeless, men, women, children, corporate professionals, CEOs,
professional athletes, all searching for one common thing: "Restoration".
Traveling extensively both nationally and internationally, Dr.
White's message revolves around the theme of calling people to
repentance before God.
He also trains individuals and congregations on how to reach
the unchurched, the homeless, and the inner city. Dr. White gives
practical and insightful instruction on how to take cities for
His vision for the city of Tampa has resulted in more than 200
in-reach and outreach ministries that serve over 15,000 people
per week, with an estimated 1,100 conversions weekly. Without
Wall's core philosophy is to meet people where they are - and
that is often outside the four walls of a church building.
His ministry has been recognized by some of the most influential
people of our times, including former U.S. president Bill Clinton,
former U.S. president George Bush, Sr., former British Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Israel,
Benjamin Netanyahu, General Colin Powell, former Vice President
Dan Quyale and Boxing's heavy weigh champion, Evander Holyfield
for its uncommon approach to solving challenges that affect our
nation and the world. Dr. White has taught and trained in Russia,
Israel, Puerto Rico, Australia, Singapore, Hawaii, Uganda, South
Africa, Canada, Germany, England, Holland and throughout the
While the Tampa Tribune in an article by Michelle Bearden titled
'Expensive Walls' reported about Randy Whites $ 2.1 million home:
TAMPA - When preachers Randy and Paula White bought the $2.1
million red-brick house on Bayshore Boulevard last month, they
were already thinking ahead to November. ``We always do a `Table
in the Wilderness' Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless,'' says
Randy White, senior pastor at Without Walls International Church.
``Now that we have the space to do it in our own yard, we'd like
to find a way to bus them here for the party.''
The Whites, who came to Tampa 13 years ago, say they sometimes
worried they wouldn't have rent money after they started their
church in 1991.
Last year, they claimed a combined income of $600,000. Of that,
$179,000 is Randy White's annual salary from Without Walls, a
church that claims 15,000 members and brings in $10 million yearly
in revenues. Co-pastor Paula White, who is gaining international
acclaim as a televangelist and speaker, is paid $120,000. They
also receive an $80,000 housing allowance from the church.
The Whites also are accountable to an 18-member church board,
which sets their salaries, pension plan and housing allowance.
According to an outside financial accounting firm, they are not
compensated enough for their work.
``For the size of their church and its revenues, they're grossly
underpaid,'' says H. Michael Chitwood, who heads Chitwood & Chitwood
financial services company. The Tennessee firm works with nonprofit
organizations to determine benefit plans and salaries, based
on what the Internal Revenue Service allows.
Neither the Ledger nor the Tribune reported on the fact that
Randy White and Karl Strader were CEO's of their religious incorporated
non profit organization and what this entails.
For the record, none of the major thieving evangelists or CEO's
such Randy White, Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Rodney Howard
Browne, Franklin Graham, Karl Strader Or Stephen Strader have
earned doctorate degrees never mind a degree in business administration.
Secular presidents of universities and non profit charitable
organizations have earned doctorate degrees and are qualified
to earn their salary unlike many Pentecostal religious leaders
who have honorary degrees bestowed on them by Oral Roberts university.
But greedy and thieving TV evangelists always justify what they
are doing because they are uncomfortable with their thievery.
Richard Dortch, VP of the PTL club, now an ex felon stated that
when he was earning very little he didn't care if people knew
but when he was stealing $400,000 he didn't want anybody to know?
There are always tell a tale signs about their thievery and live
styles that give them away.
Unlike Jesus Christ who owned nothing, Televangelists Jan and
Paul Crouch who lost their tax exemption for their Trinity Broadcasting
Network are definitely not lacking in any material possession.
Their home is described as "a palatial estate with ocean
and city views and was purchased for around five million dollars.
It has six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a billiard room, a climate-controlled
wine cellar, a sweeping staircase and a crystal chandelier. The
three-story, nearly 9,500-square-foot house, has an elevator,
also has a six-car garage, a tennis court and a pool with a fountain.
Trinity Broadcasting, established in 1973, has more than 768
TV stations on the air worldwide. The Crouches oversee a $100-million-plus-a-year
enterprise. One of the Crouch estates is TBN's ranch in Colleyville,
TX, just minutes away from the Dallas/Fort Worth International
Airport. The 80-plus acre ranch contains eight houses and horse
stables, is estimated to be worth about $10 million.
Mind you President Clinton did and President Bush does release
his total salary and his personal income tax to the public while
Billy and Franklin Graham do not. But adulterous and lying Bill
Clinton seems to have more integrity and accountability than
Southern Baptist Evangelists do in this area?
THERE IS NO HONEST REASON FOR FRANKLIN GRAHAM AND HIS RELIGIOUS
FRIENDS TO HIDE THEIR TOTAL SALARIES UNLESS THEY ARE RAPISTS
AND THIEVES WHO USE OTHERS FOR THEIR OWN SELFISH AND SECRET AGENDAS?
[ Source: Wally Duncaster ]