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Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church

 

003white  Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church     >     Shepherds or Wolves     >     Lifestyles of Wealthy Celebrity Pastors - 5

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 Lifestyles of Wealthy Celebrity Pastors And Their Self Serving Shallow Theology 

Ch 5. Franklin Graham, Mark Driscoll, James MacDonald, Wendy and Casey Treat

By Carol Brooks

Introduction

Chapter 1: The Investigation: Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer and Eddie Long
Chapter 2: Joel Osteen, Steven Furtick
Chapter 3: Ed Young, Kevin Gerald, Joseph Prince
Chapter 4:  T.D. Jakes, John Hagee, Fred Price, Jesse Duplantis, Juanita Bynum
Chapter 5: Franklin Graham, Mark Driscoll, James MacDonald, Wendy and Casey Treat
Chapter 6: Jordan and Jordan. Rev. Run
Chapter 7: Others - Here and Abroad
Chapter 8: Conclusion

 

Franklin GrahamMark Driscoll, James MacDonald, Wendy and Casey Treat


Franklin Graham
Billy Graham's son, Franklin is head of Samaritan's Purse, an international relief agency based in Boone N.C. Although he is not being a pastor, he is an evangelist in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Besides which, he is wealthy - ridiculously so. As said in a 2015 Huffington Post piece,

     His annual compensation of $880,000,"has some worrying that too many top Christian nonprofit leaders as well as pastors are seeing themselves as CEOs instead of as God's servants". [01]

This is 40 percent to 50 percent higher than the average paid the CEO's of the top 50 U.S. charities.  However, a 2016 article on Religion News upped the figure.

According to its most recent IRS disclosures, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association took in almost $107 million in 2015. Samaritanís Purse recorded an income of $593 million for that year. Franklin Graham was compensated a total of more than $1 million between both groups. [02]

    Apparently Franklin Graham "wants to make enough money to be able to work for free when he turns 70". [03]

Good Grief! How much money does anyone need to be able to retire comfortably or work without compensation?

Also worth reading is an article in the Charlotte Observer entitled Franklin Graham takes pay he once gave up

As of November 2015, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's tax status was changed from a nonprofit to an "association of churches" which means they no longer have to file a 990, a public financial  statement that includes what they pay their top officials. However, an an annual financial report will still be available on their web site billygraham.org.

    They state that the primary reason for the request for reclassification was to avoid the intense work required to file a 990. However, a Graham spokesperson also said "the new tax status will safeguard the organization's religious liberties". [04]

I am not sure how this came about considering that BGEA is neither a church or an "association of churches".

End Notes - Franklin Graham
[01] Christine Wicker. How Much Is Too Much To Pay A Pastor? Religion News Service.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-much-is-too-much-to-pay-a-pastor_us_55d4be53e4b0ab468d9f583d

[02] Kimberly Winston. IRS changes status of Billy Grahamís ministry. Religion News Service. September 29, 2016.
https://religionnews.com/2016/09/29/irs-changes-status-of-billy-grahams-ministry/

[03] Christine Wicker. How Much Is Too Much To Pay A Pastor? Religion News Service.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-much-is-too-much-to-pay-a-pastor_us_55d4be53e4b0ab468d9f583d

[04] Tim Funk And Ames Alexande. Franklin Graham takes pay he once gave up. Charlotte Observe. August 08, 2015.
https://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/religion/article30505932.html?utm_content=buffer3e328&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer



Tele-Mark DriscollMark Driscoll
The former Mars Hill Church pastor, resigned in 2014 ago amid allegations of plagiarism, misogyny and emotional abusiveness.

In 2013, "his last year as pastor at Seattle's Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll was drawing a $607,000 package, with a $150,000 raise promised [01]

His exit led to the collapse of a megachurch that once counted 13,000 members in five states. However, he has been making a series of public appearances around the country sparking a protest by "a dozen former Mars Hill members, who voiced concern that Driscoll has neither acknowledged wrongdoing nor sought reconciliation with those they believe he has harmed". [02]

However, less than two years after the implosion of the Seattle church, Driscoll has launched The Trinity Church in the 50-year-old, 1,400-seat former Glass & Garden Drive-in Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. [03]

Driscoll is also an example of how book sales can be manipulated to get on the New York Times bestseller list. See Steve Furtick.

Mars Hill was bled, made to purchase 11,000 copies of a Driscoll book on marriage, valued at around $210,000, as part of a consultant's effort to put it on the New York Times bestseller list. The consultant was paid $25,000. Driscoll was also accused of lifting passages from other people's books. [04]  


End Notes - Mark Driscoll
[01] Christine Wicker. How Much Is Too Much To Pay A Pastor? Religion News Service.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-much-is-too-much-to-pay-a-pastor_us_55d4be53e4b0ab468d9f583d

[02] Evangelical leaders give fallen Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll a new forum. The Seattle Times. May 30, 2015.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/evangelical-leaders-give-fallen-mars-hill-pastor-mark-driscoll-a-new-forum/ 

[03] Joel Connelly, The return of Mark Driscoll: A new church in Arizona and gigs on the road. SeattlePI Published May 31, 2016.
https://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/The-return-of-Mark-Driscoll-A-new-church-and-7955134.php

[04] ibid.

 

James MacDonald
Who was until fairly recently senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois bought a house in Inverness from former U.S. senator Peter Fitzgerald for a cool $1.9 million. According to a February 2006 article in chicagomag.com, MacDonald called it a very exciting house". And no wonder, it has

    a designer kitchen commissioned by the Fitzgeralds, a two-story family room, and five bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. The backyard has a pool and a multilevel series of decks overlooking a private lake... [01]

However, MacDonald has sold the house, for one that he apparently finds more 'exciting'. Records indicate that he has bought a 4.87 acre property, the total square footage of the "custom home" on it being 8,540 sq. feet.  There is also

    "a finished basement exceeding 2000 sq. feet, a crawl space exceeding 1500 sq. feet and a garage that is almost 2400 sq. feet. Whether these figures are a part of the 8,540 square footage total or whether they are in addition to the 8,540 sq footage total is unclear based upon the records. [02]

Macdonald and his wife were also guests at the "Triumphant Journey" event - a black-tie gala featuring a "star-studded" guest list celebrating the 35th anniversary of T.D. Jakes' ministry. [03]

End Notes - James MacDonald
[01] www.chicagomag.com February 2006. Link is no longer valid

[02] Headed to the Big House "For the Sake of Jesus". The Elephant's Debt. Posted on June 19, 2017.
https://theelephantsdebt.com/2017/06/19/headed-to-the-big-house-for-the-sake-of-jesus/

[03] James MacDonald Celebrates 35 Years of T.D. Jakes.
http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2012/07/james-macdonald-celebrates-35-years-of.html.

 

Wendy and Casey Treat
Casey Treat and his wife Wendy are joint senior pastors of Christian Faith Center, a multi-campus, multi-cultural church in the Seattle area including the $58 million, 2,500-seat church in Federal Way WA. that they opened in 2007. "In 2008, the Treats applied to add a helipad at theirTele-Casey Treat Home Front Federal Way locations so they could fly between their churches." [01]

As of October 2018 Casey Treat's web site [02] opens with the words "SUCCESSFUL LIVING WITH CASEY TREAT" below which it gives the "Showtimes" for Hillsong and TBN.

By worldly standards it certainly has been successful living for the Treats. According to City-Data.com, Wendy and Casey Treat live in a luxury 5 bedroom 8,100 square feet Tele-Casey Treat Home Backhome on a 57,935 square feet lot on Lake Fenwick in Kent WA. The house has an almost 2000 sq. foot attached garage. However, it seems to have been put up for sale in July of this year (2018).

Zillow describes the house as an

    Elegant, custom built home with stunning Mt. Rainier and Valley views. Natural light, flowing floor plan. 3 master suites, bonus/media room, 4 and 2 car garages, indoor basketball/racquetball court with adjoining 2 shower bathroom, sauna, walk-in pantry, coffee bar room, coat room, huge laundry area on upper floor, built in shelving, huge closets & storage areas, exercise/bonus room.  [03]

In case you are interested, the asking price is $1,400,000.

The 3 Essentials:
The foreword to his book The 3 Essentials: All You Need for Success in Life, was written by Creflo Dollar (Publisher: Berkley; Original edition (September 6, 2011). It says in part

    "By activating the three essentials, you will be in the perfect position to rise above average and achieve the abundant life He has designed for you to live"

In the introduction, Casey Treat writes (Emphasis Added)

    You were created in the likeness and image of God, and every aspect in your life can reflect the abundance and creativity of our amazing Lord... Faith causes us to see good things in the future and because of this we develop vision of success and prosperity in life..

(If the word "sin" occurs in the book, I have no idea where it is.).

In Chapter 1, Treat says that he and his wife Wendy were in their third year of Bible college when they first heard a Fred Price television broadcast in which Price was speaking about Christians being able to use faith to actually initiate the change they wanted. Treat also mentions that Price had a revelation that faith was not just a wish for God's promises to come to pass, but it was a tangible force to make dynamic things happen in our lives.

And as he also says, Fred Price set a course for their future in ministry.  They devoured every book and tape by Price that they could get a hold of and began Christian Faith center the next year in 1980. 

Biblically Unsound Defense
In a 2009 letter to the editor of the Federal Way Mirror, Debbie Willis Board member of the Christian Faith Center defended Treat echoing his claim that

    Compared to Heaven, Jesus was not rich, but compared to earthly standards of his time, Jesus was not poor. He had a trust fund provided to him by the Magi (Kings) who brought him gold and other gifts when he was a young child in honor of his birth. Jesus had a treasurer. [04]

The extent to which people fool themselves boggle the mind. The Gospels simply say that Judas had the money box or bag. See Is There ANY Indication in the Bible That Jesus Was a Rich Man?

Casey and Dean Curry
A recent update to Treat's Instagram was apparently posted around the first of August 2018. It is a photograph of Casey and Wendy along with Dean Curry and his wife Ann. The caption reads "Love these guys. They always make us bigger and better. Friends are gold". [05]

Dean Curry was pastor of the multi-campus Life Center Assembly of God church in Tacoma, Washington (Their web site opens with the words "It's All About People"). That is until some of those 'people' - leaders at the Assemblies of God's Northwest District Council to be precise,

    said late Monday that they unanimously decided to fire Pastor Dean Curry of the multicampus Life Center Assembly of God church in Tacoma, Washington, based on the "testimony of two or more witnesses" about alleged misconduct with a former church employee. [06]

An article in the Seattle Times originally published July 11, 2018 carries more detail including the fact that Curry was investigated for other incidents in the past. At that time women who spoke out were portrayed as "crazy" or having drinking problems. [07]

While no person is responsible for the behavior of another, it seems like a pastor has an obligation to either distance himself from sordid behavior, try and bring the person concerned to repentance. Either Treat doesn't believe these accusations or he is ignoring them.

In fact, in 2017, a suit was filed in July in King County Superior Court that alleged that Casey Treat's son Caleb who got married in 2010

    "repeatedly preyed upon female employees and church members over the course of his employment."

The suit also alleges that "Caleb Treatís improper sexual activities were known to his superiors " and "Christian Faith Center failed to take effective action to protect female Christian Faith Center employees and church members" [08]

As far as I know nothing was said publicly - to the church congregation or otherwise. The only change is that Caleb is no longer listed on the church web site as "Executive Pastor", which he was until fairly recently [09] [10]. He and his wife now live in Birmingham, Alabama


End Notes - Wendy and Casey Treat
[01] Craig Sailor. Casey Treat's megachurch hit with sexual harassment suit over founder's son.
https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article181163556.html

[02] https://www.caseytreat.tv/#successful-living

[03] https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/26310-52nd-Ln-S-Kent-WA-98032/48816798_zpid/

[04] http://www.federalwaymirror.com/letters/jesus-money-casey-treat-and-helicopters-federal-way-letter-to-the-editor-jan-17/

[05] https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl7GRa4nNwd/?taken-by=caseydtreat

[06] Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter | July 3, 2018 https://www.christianpost.com/sponsored/faith-and-healthcare-is-there-still-time-for-compassion-in-todays-fast-paced-medical-environments.html?load=infinite.

[07] Sean Robinson. Tacoma News Tribune. Pastor misconduct complaints rattle Tacoma megachurch.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/pastor-misconduct-complaints-rattle-tacoma-megachurch/

[08] Craig Sailor. Casey Treat's megachurch hit with sexual harassment suit over founder's son.
https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article181163556.html

[09] https://web.archive.org/web/20170120200430/http://www.cfcchurch.org:80/leadership/

[10] http://www.cfcchurch.org/leadership/

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