6 March 2023 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) had a miraculous birth, and for a time produced outstanding programming. Although it is an independent ministry, the Adventist Church appears to endorse it..
Yet available information indicates that the founder has had a tumultuous domestic life, and some say that his current marriage does not meet the denomination’s biblical standards. My question: how can the church place its stamp of approval on this organization?
3ABN has been very successful among Seventh-day Adventists. But allegations have circulated about it almost since its beginning: high living by the founder (private planes and pedigreed horses) at the ministry’s expense; charges of pedophilia against the founder’s brother, who also worked in the ministry; and in more recent years the founder’s public and messy divorce for questionable reasons, followed by his remarriage.
Aunty doesn’t want to make judgments based on rumors, and she also wants to be forgiving of the problems that families have. But Aunty also believes that moral accountability (pursued with understanding and compassion) should be expected of all ministries and ministers, including independent ones such as 3ABN. Given the many concerns that have circulated so widely, she has wondered, like you, why denominational leaders don’t appear to care very much what’s happened behind the scenes.
The answer may be as simple as this: 3ABN gives a clear version of the conservative message favored by church leaders, and what 3ABN says is more important to supporters than how ministry leaders behave.
Organized religions, as much as they like to say they stand on unbending principles, are capable of letting the end justify the means—and 3ABN seems to be such a case. No one in authority has been willing to rise to his feet and say, “We have concerns about those leading this organization.”
A related question: how much is 3ABN really building up congregations? Most of the 3ABN programs she’s heard appear to be addressed to conservative Seventh-day Adventist members. This obviously draws contributions from church members. But is it producing evangelistic results? That’s hard to say.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—without identifying the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.