Bishop Eddie Long has recently been in the news regarding the allegation of sexual abuse. While all the current focus is on these allegations, someone needs to look into his financial empire. It turns out that Bishop Long has an empire that is much bigger than just his church of 25,000 members. He also has an organization called, The Father's House, in which churches and pastors agree to submit to his authority and pay him their tithes.
Rachel Tabachnick recently wrote: Long claims spiritual authority over more than his New Birth mega-church in Lithonia, Georgia. He is the 'apostolic authority' over churches in The Father's House network, including 79 churches in Georgia alone and a total of approximately 275 in 38 states.
According to the The Father's House website: The Father's House is a ministry that is intended for Senior Pastors who are led to submit themselves under the spiritual covering and apostolic authority of Bishop Eddie L. Long.
Tabachnick explains: This model requires tithing (payment of ten percent) into the leader's network. The website for Long's The Father's House network list the benefits and responsibilities of "covering" provided by Long.
Long is something of a Pope over these churches. Notice the outfits used when he recently ordained another Bishop in his organization.
What Long has going here is something of a pyramid scheme. Churches tithe up the ladder. Apostle John Kelly explains the principle in the book The New Apostolic Churches (ed. Peter Wagner):
If they [Pastors] tithe to their local church, they are tithing back into their own paychecks...
...Many pastors will declare they have a covering, but the question is, do they tithe to that covering? By tracking the tithe, we can literally track the order in the house of God.
Our local churches also tithe, but they tithe for a different purpose. Instead of tithing to their spiritual covering, they tithe to the network for global impact and a global harvest.
Apostle Kelly is the founder of International Christian Wealth Builders Foundation . According to Tabachnick, this organization
works to prepare for the 'great wealth transfer' prophesied by the movement and to aid in the "advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth." This is not redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Dominionists are diehard free marketers who rave against the country's supposed decline into Marxism. Wishful progressives have described the charitable and faith-based work of some dominionists as a return of the social gospel, but these dominionist forcefully reject any association with the social gospel, describing it as socialism. The wealth redistribution that they are referring to is a future windfall that will go from the ungodly to the godly, a belief that the New Apostolics share with many prosperity doctrine or Word of Faith preachers.
When will people wake up and demand that these religious institutions pay taxes!