Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another Blow to the Body of Christ

This is a sad story. It's always sad when a couple divorces. It tears at the social fabric, destroys lives, and shakes the faith of those around them. But when the couple are pastors of a 23,000 member church taking in millions of dollars, it is greatly magnified.

The first headline I read focused on how they will split up their possessions. This is where they might have spent a little time reading Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline chapter on Simplicity. Just read this and shake your head:

The Whites have declined to say what the church pays them.

Michael Chitwood, whose financial services company devised their compensation package, said he recalled they have taken an annual salary as high as $1.5 million collectively, though most years it's closer to $600,000.

They were approved to take up to $3 million collectively, said the president of Chitwood & Chitwood of Tennessee.

Perhaps the most complex part of their divorce, being handled by Holland & Knight law firm, will be dividing up the assets, debts and business interests.

The couple's home on Bayshore Boulevard has an assessed value of $2.22 million. They have a land trust that includes two Tampa houses with assessed values of $144,800 and $257,835. The New York condo is valued at about $3.5 million.

Their multimillion-dollar ministry includes a private jet.

Randy White has said much of their wealth comes from more than 23 successful business ventures, including real estate and his role as a pitchman for Great HealthWorks' Omega XL fatty acid pills.

His main company, RAW Realty, is listed on his company Web site as being housed at 100 S. Ashley Drive, Suite 1180, in Tampa, but a law firm occupies that space. The state lists the company as being located at 2511 Grady Ave. in Tampa, which is the church address. The phone number on the Web site and listed with the state is disconnected. E-mails sent to the Web address were not returned.

White said this week the company is "very much active" in real estate, residential acquisitions and other ventures, but he's pared it down to himself and one assistant.

Citation from TBO.com story referenced above.

Was just reading about Mammon this morning. Mammon = wealth, and we can't serve both, according to our Lord. I think this just reinforces his 2000 year-old point. I understand we all have bills to pay, but that does seem excessive to me. I think heeding the words of John Wesley on from Sermon 50 would be wise in this situation:

Make all you can,
Save all you can,
Give all you can.

Hoarding is a sin. And when our leaders do it, all Christians suffer because of it.

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