Last year, I spoke with a number of Christian credit unions about the mortgage-lending crisis. I was assured by the head of America’s Christian Credit Union that “thankfully, we don’t have the house of the Lord in sub-prime loans.”
The Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU), the nation’s largest Christian lender and, with $1 billion in assets, a rival to big secular lenders, told me they had stayed out of trouble by not offering home loans at all. It appears, however, that $26 million it loaned to the Florida-based Without Walls International Church has become a major liability. ECCU said Without Walls default on a $1 million line of credit and tried renegotiating the conditions of the church’s loans on two properties. The Rev. Randy White refused:
“I’ll be damned if I’m leaving,” White told his congregation Sunday. “I promise you this: I will handcuff myself to that column right there because right is right and wrong is wrong. We are a great church, and the devil has tried to take us out every single way that he can.”
Sounds like a sad story, right? Well, it’s difficult for me to give White, and not his bank, the benefit of the doubt. Why?
This is the same Randy White whose ministry brings in $40 million a year who personally jets about in a $1.9 million business plane, rents a waterfront villa in Malibu and owns a multi-million dollar condos in Florida and Trump Tower in New York.
“Mansions, big planes, money, fame. That’s what it’s all about now,” the Rev. Hector Gomez, a former Without Walls staff member who left in 2000, was quoted as saying last year. “There are prophets for God, and there are prophets for profit. That’s the category they fit in.”