Tuesday, August 3, 2010

EVANGEL WORLD CENTER: ANOTHER FALSE PROPHET?

I have made it a habit of outing corruption wherever I find it. Though most notably in the political arena, I do occasionally venture into other areas for one reason or another. This is one of those times. Many times I am asked why so many churches allow political events at a place of worship considering we believe in the Separation of Church and State. In fact I have reported on occasion where I felt it was inappropriate to do so at different political functions.
 
I called out what I considered to be a problem with this distinction at a Rand Paul rally back in January 2010 even though I am a Paul supporter. Fair is fair. During this election cycle I have been accused of many things even being a great follower of Dr. Frank Simon which I am not. I even did an article questioning the integrity of Simon.
 
I called out David Tandy for making his Mayoral announcement during a Church service. No one should be above accountability in this area including me.
 
During the primary campaign Evangel World Prayer Center of Kentucky, formerly known as Evangel Tabernacle DBA Evangel Christian Life Center, formerly affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination, and also know by many other names and aliases that will be outed in future articles, held a candidate forum at their place of worship sponsored by Frank Simon. I did not attend that event because I do not believe it was the right place to speak politics.
 
Church is for God, not for politicians in my opinion, and I would not willingly violate the spirit of separation of Church and State. It is kind of ironic to me that so many candidates campaign on "Constitutionality" today and do not separate themselves from this part of it. Whether you agree it was a violation or not we can most certainly agree that ethically speaking it presented the possibility and as a candidate I would not go down that road. There are ethics.
 
Because I was not in attendance at this event, for the reasons stated above, many continue to contact me not only in support of my decision, but also to ask how a Church can get away with having political events in lieu of their "tax exempt status." Good question and I have been researching quite a bit over the last few months using Evangel as the focus of my investigation.
 
Why Evangel? That is a fair question.
 
As a kid I lived off of Bowie Drive, the little circle that is behind Evangel located off of Minors Lane in Okolona, at a time when Evangel did not exist. Each summer these strangers "invaded" my neighborhood and took over the field where Evangel now rests. They set up tents and had a good old fashioned tent revival for a week then they would disappear again until the next year. As a kid I witnessed those tent revivals and did my share of people watching during them. It was mesmerizing to a Catholic boy back then. It was my first introduction to something other than a Catholic mass. For me checking into Evangel I guess had much to do with my memories of them back then when the Church seemed pure at heart. At least to a kid like me.
 
Unfortunately, the first thing I had to do with research is find exactly what their status was and how it was being used to see if there were violations. I researched Channel 21 as well since it is affiliated with Evangel. Because of my fond memories I was hoping I would not find much but could easily answer the questions I had been asked. How can they do this?
 
I found more than I bargained for. Surprisingly, once you begin asking questions you don’t have to search far or wide in Louisville to find someone who has at one time or another attending or been a member of Evangel. And each one has their own story. As is usual when researching one thing leads to another and this case was no different. While I was looking for a way to answer a simple question involving a candidate forum at a church I uncovered so much more that it simply cannot fit into one article.
 
Consider this article an explanation of just why I am involved in what will be known as the "Evangel Conspiracy". This is Part One in a series of articles that will detail how Pastor Bob Rogers ignores the intent of his tax exempt status, blatant abuse of public trust, while possessing the usual lust for power and money, and the greed that creates both. I’ll share how a congregation is being manipulated for money, and how this cannot possibly be pleasing to God.
 
In short, how one man who exercises ultimate authority and power over organization(s) can manipulate people and events without even trying. One man's rise to fortune by preaching a "Prosperity Gospel" at the expense of those who believe that sacrificial giving will obligate God to return untold manifold blessings to them.


Don’t get me wrong, I believe it is more blessed to give than to receive. I don’t have a problem with those who are the givers and know what or who they are giving to. What I do have a problem with is those who are on the receiving end and lack the proper accountability to the public trust. I’m sure I will be chastised, labeled a blasphemer, and worse, as is expected. So be it.


We have had way too many "false prophets" in Churches professing to be men of God while benefitting for their personal gain, not God's. Think Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, heck today think Pat Buchanon, who has skewed the fine line between separation of Church and State we may never get it back. My goal is to make things right as I believe they should be. God knows my heart so I don't worry about those I am outing.
 
There will be a bunch of folks who will try to belittle me, attack my family, or lie about where I stand on things. I can’t wait for the first person to say the bible says "touch not mine anointed." Threats to me and mine is a daily way of life these days so I won't bother with them either. They haven't stopped me yet and won't stop me now. I found that out during the Jim King case even though I was proven right and they were proven wrong. I will be proven right this time as well.
 
Examine the evidence I will lay out and make up your own mind.

Next up? 

Part 2: How Evangel came to be and the tax exempt status scam.

7 comments:

  1. I agree a Sunday morning church service isn't an appropriate venue to announce a candidate’s candidacy or solicit votes. And the tacit approval of a priest or pastor allowing such individual activity may very well have consequences as it relates to the organization’s tax-exempt status. However, the Evangel primary candidate forum was not a Sunday morning service; it was an evening event held at a time when the only people in attendance would purposely be at Evangel for the forum.

    While the physical church building was used for the forum, any Christian will tell you “church” is much more than a brick-and-mortar building. The church is the body of Christ – which is made up of those individual believers. Therefore, whether the event was held in the physical church building or not, it truly does not matter.

    I believe your fundamental understanding of separation of church and state may be flawed. The First Amendment ensures your religious beliefs are not controlled by the government (national church). It also ensures the government does not promote specific religious beliefs, practices, denominations, etc. Separation of church and state does not mean the two physical entities cannot exist in the same physical location at the same time. Considering there was no government promotion or influence in the primary candidate forum, I don't see a First Amendment issue.

    From a tax perspective, there is no reason for Evangel to fear losing its tax-exempt status due to the primary candidate forum (see http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=163395,00.html). 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office; however, that is not what happened at the candidate forum. The IRS allows 501(c)(3) organizations to participate in educational activities (i.e. candidate forums) conducted in a non-partisan manner. Since all candidates were invited and encouraged to attend, I see no cause for alarm.

    Now, I know nothing of the pastor or his activities. I look forward to reading Part 2….

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  2. Thanks for the comment I probably could have done a better job clarifying a couple of things. I stated that for me it was basically wrong as I believe it at the minimum crossed some sort of ethical line. Nowhere would I say they should or would lose their status over this event.

    I understand the first amendment and its intent. I agree with your statements. I just find it hypocritical that so many claim to be "constitutional" or "Tea partiers" and would leave themselves open to a discussion of this commitment based on this forum.

    The purpose of even speaking of the event in question was to show just what led to my investigation of Evangel in the first place. I was not even looking for this story. I was asked by so many about how they could allow politics in Church, i agree with your assessment the Church is just a building and unike Tandy the event was not during a religious service, the original intent of this story was to clarify that Evangel was a 501 (c)3 and they did nothing technically wrong, though I question candidates who allow themselves in this type of forum.

    I planned on doing a story using a copy of the 501(c)3 of Evangel and laying out exactly why they could do this legally though I personally do not like it. When I went to pull the status and did a periphery check on the Pastor and Evangel overall so many problems came up I cannot do the original article as intended. What should have taken an hour or so ended up taking dozens of hours that led to all kinds of things I did not foresee.

    This is one of those stories that started out as one thing but went in an entirely different direction than I planned. It happens lol.

    Thanks for writing I agree with most of what you wrote.

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  3. Keep up the good work, Ed! I look forward to "the rest of the story".

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  4. The Government is NOT separating itself from Churches. First of all they are going into churches and arresting pastors for preaching the scriptures. They call it "hate crimes" to read passages that expressly say that God condemns homosexuality etc... Therefore, Christians are also deemed "hate crime" offenders for "offending" anyone who is of another religion or atheistic. They can have "their" holidays and beliefs..and no one is "offended." How many Atheists come out against Muslims or Buddhists? None. The Government is getting involved in taking down Christian Websites and following our Evangelists around such as Perry Stone and Grant Jeffery. The founders of this nation were the first ones who fled from religious persecution and that is why the founding fathers incorporated "God" (the Judeo/Christian) "God" into our founding documents. We have the right to discuss anything that would affect us as people of faith in this nation and that includes the truths about those seeking offices that would either restrict our rights to practice our religion or arrest our church members for trumped up charges against our Scriptures and faith.

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  5. Hello,
    After doing a web search last night with some key words, I found your article concerning Evangel.

    I used to go to school there as well as church when I was younger at Evangel and have seen the church become very different to what it once was. Does anyone know if Evangel is still affliliated with the Assemblies of God?

    Over the years, I have seen Evangel in the news more and more but the coverage is very limited. I remember a few years back, someone took a great sum of money and all the reporter was told was, “a brother has fallen and we handled it internally.” That’s it. End of story.

    Pastor Rodgers was called into court during sentencing for Mel Ignatow (a man who brutally killed his girlfriend and got away with it because evidence was only later found after a not guilty verdict was rendered. Ignatow could not be retried and then went to Evangel to attend church and work at the Lord’s Kitchen.). Ignatow’s later sentencing was for perjury. Not much was ever said in the media about this situation. I understand all need love and forgiveness but Pastor Rodgers seemed to take it quite hard when Ignatow died saying things on his television program like, “it was so awful and a horrible way to die.” Ignatow was found in his apartment after falling and cutting his head on a glass coffee table. Yes, it was horrible but also ironic considering that it was upon a coffee table that Ignatow tortoured the girlfriend he killed. Rodgers was almost in tears over this man’s death, but does no one seem to think it odd? Does anyone else besides me feel it is kind of a slap in the face to the victim’s family? I mean, even the quote about the man who stole all the money is odd, “not thinking he ever really intended to steal the money?!?”

    Then there was the lawsuit that was brought after a bunch of kids and a few adults got sick from a bus that was found to have at least ten safety violations. What ever happened with the lawsuit?

    Was any lawsuit brought after a child fell into the lake and drowned on church property? A quick blip on the news for a few seconds and then the story was gone.

    There are times when candiates come to the church and give essentially campaign speeches during special events but no one really seems to blink an eye. I’ve seen coverage about other churches that do this in relation to keeping their tax exempt status but Evangel? It’s off the radar.

    Then there is the man who was found guilty on several counts for bilking members at the Billtown Road location out of tons of money. Rodgers was interviewed and said he has known this man for years and while he wasn't taking up for him, he didn't really feel he meant to do wrong. What?!?

    So what all is really going on at Evangel?

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  6. Thanks for writing. Yes there is more and my apologies. I work on this stuff alone in addition to a full time job to pay for it all. Sometimes it makes it difficult to find time for everything. More will be forthcoming in the near future.

    Thanks again....

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  7. They also have a satellite church in Southern Indiana called Evangel North that has had its fair share of negative publicity in the community.

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Thank you for reading LNP. Open and honest discussions of local politics and relevant issues is important to voter understanding. Please listen to the "Ed Springston Show". We broadcast Monday through Thursday evenings at 7 PM on local media outlets. Please check for the links.
Yours truly,
Ed Springston

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