Is This Ethical?

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34 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    I will note 3 things:

    1. These donations should not be tax deductible.
    2. I don’t know if we could say the fund raiser is unethical, because it appears to be up front about what transpired.
    3. I think it is an abuse of the church for a pastor, directly or indirectly, to ask church members to bail him out of a bad investment. It takes a lot of gall to ask your congregation to fork over their money, which could go to their family or the needy, to bail out a pastor who made a bad, risky, stupid investment.

  2. Em says:

    Amen, Jean, amen ! ! !

  3. Xenia says:

    A sermon should be a short explanation of the day’s Gospel or Epistle reading, or maybe a short retelling of the life of the day’s Saint, or an explanation of the current feast day. Add a few admonitions or encouragements, and it should all take about 10-15 minutes tops. It should be just like all the other sermons given on that particular Gospel/Epistle reading with nothing innovated added. The aim is to convey the simple Bible teaching or the example of the life of a Saint, it is not to become known as a “good teacher.” When I hear that someone is called a “good teacher” I know he talks too long.

    I’ve heard thousands of sermons in the course of my life and I barely remember any of them. I do remember the behavior and attitudes of some very Godly, holy people I have known, and that has had a more profound effect on my life in Christ than any “well-crafted” sermon. Yes, there needs to be a Sunday morning homily. Make it short and remember, Mr. Pastor, that it’s not about your ability to be novel or clever. Be truly Bible based: Just read and simply retell the Scripture story, without your personal observations or opinions.

  4. filbertz says:

    Nelson Walker could publish a book regarding his hard-earned lessons about investments and recoup his “lost” finances that way…

    I wouldn’t buy it, but…

  5. Nathan Priddis says:

    Of course sermons have ghostwriters. Can’t believe readers wouldn’t believe you.

    A multi-campus has to have a synchro-sermon delivery. Satellite pastors can’t create their own content. How?

    I recall Driscoll stating his born again experience came when he was given a copy of Augustine. No. Just No. I don’t believe it. It’s like 600-700 pages. It implies he actually read it. Sorry.

    Doctrine is hard. It’s like DNA. Change one portion and it has unexpected consequences elsewhere. I don’t believe the average pastor has time on his hands to devote to doctrine, or would want to.

  6. EricL says:

    We truly are in post-pastoral Christianity, where too many churches have no pastors. The leaders don’t bother to marry or bury, to visit or disciple, to wrestle with Scripture or intercede in prayer. These places are led by dynamic speakers and golden-throated singers. It isn’t a congregation to join; it’s a weekly event to attend, much like a TED talk or a concert. Just the price is higher- most venues don’t demand 10% of your income for admission.

    Thankfully, there are still many pastors who are pastoring and congregations who understand what it means to be the body of Christ. I only wish there were so many more of such healthy congregations in all our various church tribes.

  7. Craig Deming says:

    Providing there’s no misrepresentation, nothing jumps out as unethical to me. I’ll admit the situation is awkward and I would not have felt compelled to give. However who are we to weigh in on another’s misfortunes or the means and methods that one (the church in this case) utilizes to help them out? Furthermore, how is Pastor Skip’s approval or disapproval relative? Go Fund Me is not a church organization in the end it’s none of his business. Additionally, I’m sure the government amongst others would find it unethical if the mentioned “multi-million dollar operation found a way to help” By utilizing tax exempt funds to retire private debt. Go Fund Me is set up for sharing in helping people in their time of need irrespective of their status & position in life, pastors included. Again, providing there’s no misrepresentation, can’t people decide for themselves on this one without the gossip and scandal? Sounds straightforward to me.

  8. EricL says:

    Eighty thousand tax liability? Wow, that’s a lot of money. Surprised the bill is being passed on to shareholders, if this was an LLC or a Corporation. Something similar happened to a pair of old bosses of mine, but that was because they “pierced the veil” that is supposed to separate personal assets from corporate assets. They too had to pay the IRS a bundle, but they had been enjoying a lot of benefits beforehand. Really awful if Nelson Walker didn’t get any benefits out of it and get stuck holding the debt.

    But the whole idea of fundraising from the church seems off-tone to me. He’s a leader to these people. It would be like your doctor or therapist asking for a donation because of a bad business deal.

  9. Em says:

    Ethical? NUTS! ! ! I don’t care who gave it an okay! ! !

  10. Nathan Priddis says:

    C.D.
    I view it as very unethical. Regardless of the public optics, the internal culture of a church is too tightly connected to avoid personal boundaries. I would feel pressure to give if I was a paid staff.

    If I was an unpaid volunteer, or a person wanting to be tightly involved with church ministry, I would likewise feel pressure. Small groups could also be very affected by this.

    In the bigger picture, it says that ministry individuals are entitled to benefits based on their status. This is a chronic attitude in churchs, missions and para-churches.

  11. I don’t even plagarize myself! 🙂 After I share a message, I never use it again. For me, it has to be fresh and current.

  12. UnCCed says:

    I’m surprised the Skipper didn’t tell the pastor with his hand out to call it “leadership style.”
    I bet Pete’s fiasco cost $80k.

  13. The New Victor says:

    As Russel in Fat Albert used to say, “that’s school at midnight.”

    No class.

    Despite disclosures, how might it affect those of weaker faiths (like widows, not to say widows have weaker faiths, but those more emotionally vulnerable, for instance) to donate?

  14. CM says:

    Plagiarism is SERIOUS. There have been a number of professors, researchers, and academic leaders in secular universities that have lost their jobs and their credentials because of it. I have written a number of technical papers, NSF grant proposals, etc. in both my university and professional life. One of the cardinal rules I was taught was to properly cite sources. ALWAYS.

    There is nothing wrong with doing that. So if a pastor references from say one of Chrysostom’s homilies or something from Augustine’s City of God and cites the author, I don’t see
    what the big deal is.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_on_the_shoulders_of_giants

    From the link above (yes I am citing the source):

    To quote Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

    It was used earlier than Newton:

    “Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.”

    But of course to admit that requires something that most (especially the megachurch pastors) do not have. Humility. In my mind, if a pastor either has a ghostwriter or plagiarizes, that makes him unqualified as a pastor or elder according to Scriptures.

  15. Nathan Priddis says:

    Something sounds very off about this alledged GoFundMe. A shareholder can be liable for tax in two ways.
    -An S corp is designed for shareholders to pay taxes incurred, not the corp. In which case it’s on recieved income..several hundred thousand…in income.
    -A non-S corp. In this case the IRS is functioning as a creditor pursuing a legal claim against the taxpayer. The IRS would essentially be claiming taxpayer recieved…several hundred thousand…in fraudulent income. (Fraud committed by the corp not taxpayer, but resulting in benefit to taxpayer)

    If the second situation took place, the GoFundMe may be criminal in itself. It would be fraud.
    Also, a taxpayer holds a $1000 stock and recieves..a $280,000 tax bill? Is this PPP monies?

  16. CM says:

    Nathan,

    You raised some very salient points. Skippy, CC Albuquerque, and the recipient may be looking at some serious fines and/or criminal offenses.

    Perhaps even conspiracy to defraud depending how how many people were in on this? If official CC resources were used, would it jeopardize their tax-exempt status?

  17. pstrmike says:

    From Julie Roy’s article:

    “The rise of podcasts and streaming sermons from megachurches have made things worse, with preachers of a local church often being compared to celebrity pastors.”

    Modern ecclesiology has morphed into something that appears to have slipped away from a biblical construction. We don’t like to talk about it, but we all compete for the marketshare, which according to some surveys, is dwindling. We compete for numbers: attendance of our services (both in-person and on-line), how many listen to our podcasts, buy our books, followers on facebook and twitter. Numbers are the measurement of influence and the strong indicator of continued success . It is momentum that becomes the catalyst for greater momentum, which is where the investment of minds, hearts, capital and dollars look to reside.

  18. Nathan Priddis says:

    Retraction…
    I guessed JD would be arrested for a financial crime. Good thing I never went into criminal justice.

    CM. CCABQ just seems to have a very loose ethics when it comes to money. The first thing coming to mind is CCABQ being used as a fundraising base for Gospel for Asia. These was on-site fundraising promoted as an official Church event. I would know where incompetence gives way to culpability.

  19. CM says:

    Nathan,

    I wonder if Josh Dugger is a Q-Anon supporter and buys into the conspiracies.

    Maybe the people pushing the whole Q-Anon thing about all the pedophiles and their crime rings in the Democrat Party (Pizzagate anyone?) are actually PROJECTING.

  20. Nathan Priddis says:

    CM. Whatever JD thinks of Q, I believe Q is ultimately the result of lying spirits. Yes there are a collection of humans who promote Q further own purposes, but spirits are the source of it’s power. Just as God dispatched a lying spirit to entice Ahab. It is another part of a strong delusion sent by God.

    Projection…I would say projection is a byproduct of certain doctrines. My Fundamentalist background did. My Gothard background did. The Pharesees did too.

    If we go back to when Gothard was expanding his influence, I was led to believe he had a personal time with God, on a yearly basis. It was reported to take place at Wolf Lake. I’m confident he heard voices because I have friends that do exactly the same thing and hear voices themselves. They learn to trust the spirit and do what the spirit says. I have a childhood fear of such things.

  21. Em says:

    I have only heard voices one time…
    I was a child, running a high fever. They started out calling my name way down the hall. Getting closer and louder until they were beside my bed screaming at me.
    Hearing voices? Not the same as “hearing God the Holy Spirit.”
    IMHO

  22. Dan from Georgia says:

    I wouldn’t be shocked to find out (not that I want to) that QA and other conspiratorial agents are demonic. The Bible talks about lying spirits. The way many of these people act when confronted is rather telling and startling.

  23. Em says:

    Used to be pastors could buy books of prepared sermons…..
    Too busy hand holding to teach? Dunno

  24. Muff Potter says:

    There’s no bizz like the Jeezus bizz.

  25. Jim V says:

    The legacy western church model looks like it is running out of gas. It does not play at all in closed countries which represent half of the world’s population. It is no longer playing well in the free world either, where pandered church goers want their ears tickled, are quickly bored and seldom convicted. Want a lights out sermon? Take your pick on YouTube. Yawn.

    I predict that our ascendant woke powers will strip the church of its property tax exemptions, its deductible donation subsidies and its generous pastoral housing allowance perks. It may fit God’s purposes to push us much farther so that we have no choice but to learn from our brothers and sisters in closed countries how to simplify, testify and mortify.

  26. Em says:

    Simplify? Yes. Testify? Yes. But what do we mortify, Jim V?

    By. God’s grace and a neighbor our two ponies are safely back in their paddock. The shooer didn’t lock the gate and they were out running through the neighborhood. Our mountain road has become very busy and almost no-one obeys the 45 mph speed limit. Thank You, Lord! ! !

  27. JIm V says:

    the flesh.

  28. Jim V says:

    Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, lust, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

  29. Em says:

    Ahh, yes, Jim… Clear now
    Thank you

  30. Captain Kevin says:

    Jim V: “It may fit God’s purposes to push us much farther so that we have no choice but to learn from our brothers and sisters in closed countries how to simplify, testify and mortify.”

    Amen. May I plagiarize… umm… borrow… umm… I mean, quote you?

  31. Captain Kevin says:

    Em, praise God your ponies are safe!

  32. Jim V says:

    It is yours if it speaks to you.

  33. Corby says:

    “Post-pastoral Christianity.” Nice one.

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