Lifestyles of the Rich and Baptist: Creflo Dollar and Robert White

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.” Ezekiel 16:49-52

Plain and simple: Pastor Creflo Dollar is a disgrace,” wrote Steve Siebold of the Huffington Post in his recent article Creflo Dollar wants your Dollars.  His article betrays a deep misunderstanding of the biblical text; however, even a lost person like Siebold can trace the evidence where it leads with regards to Dollar’s character.  Dollar is simply a disgrace.  Social media has been abuzz for the last few days with deservedly harsh criticisms of Dollar after he sought donations on his website to purchase a $65,000,000 jet for his “ministry.”  Dollar, a prosperity gospel televangelist, is an easy target for disgusted secularists and incensed evangelical Christians alike.  He has amassed great wealth while preaching a false gospel at a Baptist church called “World Changers Church International.

Dr. J Robert White

To many, Dollar’s request for jet funding came as no surprise at all.  That sort of thing has come to be expected from flashy prosperity gospel preachers.  However, it is certainly not expected from conservative, theologically sound Southern Baptists.  Yet, the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) has spent donated money as egregiously as Dollar on sinful opulence without the same degree of criticism.  Consider the case of the Georgia Baptist Convention Headquarters.  Under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Robert White, the GBC constructed a corporate headquarters in Duluth, GA at a price tag of $45,000,000.  This building puts the materialistic nature of GBC leadership on proud display every day.

GBC Headquarters – Duluth, GA

Since its construction, the GBC headquarters has been “a money hog, draining needed resources from ministry and putting them to use in decorating, maintaining, and utilizing a huge structure.”  The $45,000,000 price tag for a denominational office building stands out on its own but pictures tell the story of the GBC’s extravagance better than words and numbers.

Roof Art and Paintings

Globe Ceiling Mural

The roof mural pictured here shows the faces of peoples from all around the globe.  Many people in third-world countries meet in dark, dank rooms for church.  Imagine bringing a foreign missionary or 3rd-world Christian to a room like this.  What could a missionary in India do with the money that built this room, with it’s intricately designed carpet and artisan columns?

Life-size Marble Statue of Peter

The Apostle Peter was a simple 1st-Century fisherman.  In the GBC headquarters, he is immortalized in Marble.  How much did this statue of Peter cost?

Schimmel Grand Piano

 According to the Blue Book of Pianos website, a Schimmel Grand Piano is worth between $64,300 and $149,700.

GBC - GodMoses 10 Commandments

The Ten Commandments are cordoned off by a velvet rope.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” Exodus 20:4

An ornate ceiling mural of what seems to be an image of God the Father, looks down upon the Ten Commandments.

GBC headquarters has what appears to be a very expensive painting of God looking down upon a replica of the ten commandments.  Professional Baptist Theologians and Pastors walk by this image every day.  Doesn’t it violate the 2nd Commandment?

Bathroom Stalls with Full-Length Deadbolt-Lockable Wood Doors

Much of the world’s population does not have access to running water and healthy latrine facilities.  The GBC, a missions organization, has perhaps the nicest bathrooms in the world.

paintings

“I feel like I’m in the Mormon Temple” -Photographer

“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17

A Google image search of “Georgia Baptist Convention Building” yielded no inside-the-building images.  It’s not hard to imagine why.  How many pew-sitting Georgia Baptists have never seen the inside of this building, which some Georgia pastors and missionaries are ashamed to show to others?  The wasteful spending incurred to construct this opulent denominational business office calls to mind the image of Former RJR Nabisco Chairman F. Ross Johnson, who was known for his lavish corporate spending and playboy lifestyle.  Yet this building was not built by a cigarette tycoon but by supposed men of God. Unfortunately, this type of spending screams “Georgia Baptist Convention” to those familiar with the organization and its practices.  J. Robert White has (or has had) a compensation package that extends into six-figures.   So, too, have the Presidents of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s three small and ill-reputable colleges.   Two have been on SACS probation within the last 5 years.  One was called a “dropout factory” by Time Magazine.  Yet their leaders are paid over $150,000 according to publicly available 990 tax forms.

The Georgia Baptist Convention spends money like oversight is not an issue…and it’s clearly not because few are paying attention.   By and large, Georgia Baptist pew-sitters are unaware that their tithes and offerings go to support the lavish lifestyles of old, white, less flashy versions of Creflo Dollar.   The WartBurg Watch assesses the situation thusly, “Here is the problem. Leadership is inbred. The good old boys elect the good old boys. The average pew sitter has absolutely no idea what is happening in the offices of the state convention leadership. Unfortunately, they trust that these godly men will do godly things. And the honchos like it this way.” Anyone reading this now has an idea and is morally obligated to act upon it.  They surely should no longer trust GBC leadership, it’s failed them too many times. How under Heaven is Creflo Dollar criticized so roundly but J. Robert White and his $43,000,000 sinful albatross are ignored?  The GBC office looks like Ric Flair built it.

WOOOOOOOOO!!!!  It’s doubtful that anyone provides a better representation of the too big to fail, too powerful to be questioned ethic of the GBC than the styling and profiling “Nature Boy” Rick Flair.  In their Flair-like arrogance,
J. Robert White and the Georgia Baptist Convention leadership do not want you to read this blog.  They do not want this information out.  This is not conjecture, it is documented.  The GBC actually passed a resolution against blogging which states:

“BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that we reaffirm the historic method of administering our agencies and institutions through elected boards of trustees, and we call upon bloggers to cease the critical second-guessing of these elected leaders;”

Does is it not look like J. Robert White, one of the men who voted the charlatan Ergun Caner in as a GBC College President and employees his brother as President in another needs to be second guessed?  Does it not look like the man who led a missions organization to build what equates to a palace while some people struggle to get by needs to be questioned? The pictures and commentary above, reported to you by bible-believing bloggers (and not a lot of Georgia Baptist pastors) are what the Georgia Baptist Convention doesn’t want you to see.  Now you’ve seen it and you can never un-see it.

This story actually gets worse.  The $25,000,000 debt on the GBC headquaters was recently paid off using funds….from the Georgia Baptist Healthcare Ministry.  According to retired SBC Pastor William Thorton, “Georgia Baptists got out of the hospital business some while back, sold the assets to one of the big hospital corporations, and put the money in a foundation which gives grants that support health care needs in Georgia. The initial amount was $125 million. The fund was severely depleted by the economic meltdown in 2008 but total assets were back to about $160 million, meaning that there was a mountain of money that insiders gazed longingly upon and that a few Georgia Baptists were going make decisions about.”  Money that was originally intended for meeting healthcare needs was used to pay off one of the most ornate and expensive denominational offices in Southern Baptist History…not feed and clothe the poor…not spread the good news of Jesus Christ…to pay off a building debt.

“Let not the foot of pride come upon me,
And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
There the doers of iniquity have fallen;
They have been thrust down and cannot rise.” Psalm 36:11-12

To be reasonable, Creflo Dollar does need to travel and fly to do his job just as GBC staffers need office space. However, just as Creflo doeesn’t need the finest jet on the market to fly, the GBC doesn’t need an office of previously unimaginably luxury.  It’s wasteful, wicked, prideful, and sinful.  Sadly, while many Georgia Baptists have heard about the heinous deeds of Creflo Dollar, few have heard the sordid tales of their own Georgia Baptist leaders, who abide in careless ease in the finest office building money can buy, paid for by money from hundreds of Georgia Baptist Convention member churches and thousands of hard-working every-day people.  It is simply poor stewardship for individual Christians and local churches to financially support the GBC. Despite encouragement from pastors who shamefully advocate doing so, the GBC should be de-funded.  The evidence leads to a clear conclusion.  Like Creflo Dollar, the Georgia Baptist Convention leadership is simply a disgrace.

“Well, they’ll choose a man for you to meet tonight
You’ll play the fool and learn how to walk through doors
How to enter into the gates of paradise
No, how to carry a burden too heavy to be yours
Yeah, from the stage they’ll be tryin’ to get water outa rocks
A whore will pass the hat, collect a hundred grand and say thanks
They like to take all this money from sin, build big universities to study in
Sing “Amazing Grace” all the way to the Swiss banks
Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
When your foot of pride come down
Ain’t no goin’ back”
Bob Dylan

[Contributed by Seth Dunn]

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

This is a call to repentance.  If you are a young Georgia Baptist retweeting #coutnerculture sayings from David Platt, to be consistent, you should put your mouth where your money is and start calling our state to biblical stewardship.  It starts with you and your money. I can be contacted by concerned parties at sethdunn@bellsouth.net

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