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The Whites are among four of the ministries that the committee has reported as not cooperating with its requests for financial information, prompting the committee recently to prepare another round of requests and fueling speculation that subpoenas eventually could be sought.
The committee’s inquiries have intensified an already active debate about how open tax-exempt churches and ministries should be with their financial records.
What has not changed is the message: God wants believers to be healthy and wealthy, and they can get there by giving generously to the church.
The more congregants give, the more they will receive.
“From this stage, a potential 2.3 billion households will be touched throughout the world,” the narrator says in an online video.
The revamping of the church follows several controversies last year, including Hawkin’s divorce, the divorce of his son, Dustin, whom Rick had designated as pastor, and a WOAI investigation in which former church members questioned Hawkins’ integrity as a minister, including his spending of church money.
It alleged he paid former church members to keep quiet, which Hawkins has denied is improper or illegal, given church policy about severance packages for departing staff.
Chuck Grassley is individually reviewing in an inquiry about their compliance with non-profit tax policy.One side is suspicious that the Senate committee could be interfering with religious freedom.Others say the government is enforcing nonprofit tax laws that might be abused by church leaders in the name of charity. It’s a season of disclosure, and I’ve been saying that God Almighty is auditing the church.” White, who has lived in Tampa, bought a home near Boerne six months ago and has set up a “media headquarters” for Paula White Ministries at the San Antonio church, according to the Epicenter Web site.The nondenominational church, formerly called Family Praise Center, recently changed its name to San Antonio Epicenter, and founder Bishop Rick Hawkins remains its leader.The Epicenter’s Web site reflects the church’s makeover and highlights White’s branding, including her monthly appearances and use of the church’s stage, remodeled to turn into a TV studio, for her recordings.
The couple announced an amicable divorce last fall, saying no infidelity took place but sparking a debate among evangelicals about whether the breakup was appropriate.