Over the years I’ve seen dozens of cases of pastors stealing from their churches. In most cases it is pastors duping uncaring and blind congregations. In other words, the pastor can do no wrong, therefor it is unthinkable to keep close tabs on his (or her) use of funds. It’s a shortsighted policy and can lead to ruin.
The congregation of Bethel Institutional Missionary Baptist Church in Houston Texas were allegedly victimized by their pastor and First Lady. Charles Gilford and his wife Adriane Gilford allegedly misappropriated $430k from the small congregation over a few years starting in 2004. They used the funds to finance gabling trips. I always ask what would Jesus think. Would Jesus think pissing away $400k a good thing? Or, would he look to the church and ask, why did you trust these people to represent me in the first place? And… why did you have $400k to steal when there are thousands of people starving in Houston?
Let’s set aside the obviously corrupt behavior of the pastor and his wife and look at the church instead. Why did the church avoid oversight? What is it with Baptist churches in particular that causes them to set the pastor on a pedestal? It’s sickening.
Don’t get me started about the money. I’m watching a multi-million dollar church go up near my house. Do we really need another big church? Can’t the money be put to a better use helping people? And.. do we really need to pay the pastor a six figure salary? It’s sickening.
Is this the way Christianity is supposed to function? The excess and opulence of the Catholic church not withstanding, the protestant sects seem to be in a race to copy the church they defected from. It’s all about money and power. It’s this Christianity? It breeds corruption and abuse. It also breeds a class of people who think they have the right to impose their version of morality on others, but that’s another post.
Pastor Charles Gilford is no man of God. He’s a man trusted too much by believers too foolish to manage their own affairs. I’m no longer surprised by the excesses that organized religion produce. I am mystified by churches who continue to worship their pastors though. It seems so stupid. Why do congregations go down this road? Is it a Baptist cultural thing?