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11 Comments

  1. 19Michael62
    15 May 2012 @ 5:00 am

    Lots of examples are given of non-Adventist scams.  The final warning seems to be about fraudulent Adventist ministries, yet none are mentioned.  How useful is this?  I feel this article falls short in that area.  Be brave enough to fully mention what you are warning us about!

  2. David IJB
    15 May 2012 @ 1:13 pm

    At present, there is no public accountability of charity funds to the general church contributors, unless you are a board member. Local Conferences, Unions, Division or GC, Amazing Facts or 3ABN provide no outside audit of funding or operating expenses. Any intent to hide assets can result in personal culpability on the part of the treasurer. No place is provided for a whistle blowers or comments from contributors as to management of accounts. Because it is a church, we are to trust everything to the Lord and we are told that if funds are misspent it is not our concern, God will take care of it. It is past time for financial transparency.     

  3. Patti Grant
    15 May 2012 @ 5:34 pm

    Everyone should read Douglas Hackleman's whistleblowing book "Who Watches? Who Cares?:  Misadventures in Stewardship.  In it, he traces the ongoing policies of the GC in financial scandal after financial scandal that have resulted in the loss of millions upon millions of tithe dollars due to decision making by unqualified, inexperienced and naive ministers at the corporate level.  Instead of following EGW's advice of a century ago that financial decisions should be made by finance professionals the GC insists time after time on following unsound advice of ministerial or administrative personnel who are grossly unqualified to be making such decisions.  Why does the GC stubbornly insist on disregarding her advice while mandating that the membership reveres her every word?

    And the process continues.  Despite the harsh lessons of Davenport and additional well-known financial scams we have yet another land developer scandal in Australia where the private developer was bailed out to the tune of I believe $10 million because his venture fell apart before the contracted buildings were ever built.  What is it with these men who continue to do the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.  What gives them the divine right of kings to keep making the same mistakes?  This is the true definition of insanity.  We need to Demand Accountability from those who make these repeatedly disasterous decisions.  Look up Members for Church Accountability.  WE need to be faithful stewards by educating ourselves about those who presume to make these decisions in our name. 

    • Kevin Riley
      16 May 2012 @ 3:31 am

      I believe your information on the Australian case may be inaccurate.  The deal did not expose the church to that sort of risk.  I believe the deal was entered into also on the advice of the financial professionals, not ministerial or administrative personnel.  Recent events world-wide should warn us against assuming that financial professionals necessarily know what they are doing.

  4. Patti Grant
    15 May 2012 @ 5:40 pm

    Visit http://www.advmca.org for Members for Church Accountability

  5. Elaine Nelson
    15 May 2012 @ 6:17 pm

    My preferred charities are the Salvation Army, local community food banks and locally run operations to feed and house those in need.  They are locally accountable and have local boards to oversee.  With a world-wide organization, there are innumerable ways for money to be "lost" and drained away.

    • Stephen Ferguson
      20 May 2012 @ 11:36 am

      Isn't the Salvation Army is a world-wide Christian denomination with a HQ in London, not a charity? Also, I believe ADRA in fact has one of the highest accountability rating.  I don't think this post is about bashing all Adventist organisations per se, because all groups get it wrong, including very big ones like major political parties and hudge denominations like the RC Church. It is about putting us all on guard – there are indeed wolves in sheep clothing everywhere. 

  6. Anonymous
    16 May 2012 @ 2:26 am

    The denomination spends millions of dollars annually to audit churches, conferences, unions, etc. (In order to work for General Conference Auditing Services, one has to be either a CPA or actively pursuing this disignation.)  These reports are provided periodically to members at constituency meetings.  All one would have to do is ask for one of these audited reports.  To say there is no public accountability is incorrect to say the least.

  7. Patti Grant
    19 May 2012 @ 12:33 am

    Mr. Howe, apparently you haven't read
    1)  Who Watches? Who Cares?; Misadventures in Stewardship, by Douglas Hackleman, or
    2) Fatal Accounts: The Audacity of an Adventist Auditor's Quest for Transparency, by David Dennis.

    The issue of accountability goes far beyond post-facto reports to constituency meetings and degrees in CPA.  It is the decision-making processes of the GC power brokers that needs to be seriously investigated and debated, with an eye toward transparency.  Talk about Revival and Reformation!

  8. Elaine Nelson
    19 May 2012 @ 12:48 am

    I've read both books.  They are an eye-opener.

  9. Stephen Ferguson
    20 May 2012 @ 11:40 am

    My major concern for modern Christians is the tendency to silence critical questions with the guilt trip, accusation of lack of faith, and proof of Christeness.  I know of one local SDA Church where a large number of members were conned by a woman who claimed to have cancer.  The woman herself was not an Adventist, but convinced a Church elder, who in turn put a lot of pressure on the rest of the congregation.  Those who didn't pay up were accused of lacking faith and being heartless.  Suffice to say it turned out this woman didn't have cancer and went to jail.

    The lesson is, as noted in the post, is we should never feel guilt-tripped away from asking legitimate questions.  It isn't just about money either – it could be any situation that seems fishy.