Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Manong Daton as called by this writer, Dan to others,and  DATON A. PALITAYAN to numerous  members of the church of our Lord within the Philippine Archipelago and to  many parts of the world where Filipino Christians migrated,  had gone ahead  to our Lord and Savior Jesus.  He rested from his  earthly toils in the early morning of April 26, 2009 (1:30 AM as informed by Gershom B. Palitayan, one of his sons).

This writer had first heard about  this Great Disciple of Jesus in  the summer classes of 1967 when he enrolled at Philippine Bible College in Baguio City, Philippines. He looked at the man from a distance when he made frequently visits to PBC at in those years and was awed by the qualifications frequently mentioned as he was introduced to speak. He was (the writer) then in his late teens.

It was only in July, 1970 when the author spoke to the Man when he was introduced by Federico Dagson to him.  The meeting took place at the rented house of  spouses Andring and Elvie (Adriano & Elvie) Limbawan.  During that meeting  Manong Daton gave an oral invitation to the writer to be a student  teacher of Solano Bible School, a newly operated school of preaching then  in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. The latter accepted the invitation by force of circumstances. He had nowhere to go to continue on his fourth year high school studies.

During that stay for one (1) year  with the family of Manong Daton, this writer began to  realize that  the man is “FIRST AMONG EQUALS”.  He later came to know the  Latin translation of that idiom  as “PRIMO INTER PARES” from books of higher education. All through the years, the idiom was confirmed to be a reality.

1.  Manong Daton is Primo Inter Pares when it comes to helping others.  Upon arrival in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya in the the first week of August, 1970, this writer came to know about “Tidio”, a native of Nueva Vizcaya.  Brother Tidio was taken by Manong Daton as a member of his family.  The former enjoyed all the privileges of a family member of the latter.  Even after the death of Brother Tidio,  one of his sons (Tidio’s) was taken in by Manong Daton and enjoyed the same privileges as Brother Tidio had enjoyed.  From 1970 to this day, there have been many “Tidios” in Manong Daton’s home.  This writer was one of them as he could not have been where he is now were it not for Manong Daton’s generosity by  financing  the former’s fourth year education at DALTON HIGH SCHOOL, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya in the school year 1970-1971. Philip Marana who later on became his brother-in-law by affinity is another.  These “Tidios” had no blood relationship with Manong Daton, yet, they were considered as bossom brothers by the Man.

2.  Manong Daton is Primo Inter Pares when it comes to being a “Tent Maker Preacher”.  Manong Daton loved to tell this writer how he survived preaching the Gospel in that part of the Cagayan Valley without any foreign nor local support.  When he went to Nueva Vizcaya in the late 50’s he had no financial support.  He lived at the graciousness of local members whom he converted to Christianity after numerous debates that he won over the preachers of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Manalo). Members of the churches that were established in Malasin, Dupax, Nueva Vizcaya where Manang Aning, his wife, was born,in  Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya where the Balgoses, Alcaldes, to name a few, were the early converts from the Iglesia Ni Cristo provided support in part as he went on preaching.  He was into farming to augment whatever sustenance these brethren gave him.  He worked like a “Full Time Preacher”  without any “Full Time Support”, he related.  He later on went to Diffun, Nueva Vizcaya (now Diffun, Quirino) because, he said, there was more opportunity to acquire farm land with least cost .  With that opportunity, he surmised that his preaching activities will be greatly helped.  Indeed, the “Tent Maker Preacher” was responsible in the establishment and development  of the churches in Nueva Vizcaya and Cagayan Valley in their present state.

3.  Manong Daton is Primo Inter Pares when it comes to the kind of life of a Preacher.  Manong Daton had not built “Palaces” for himself and his family.  Until his death, he had a modest house at the back of the building where christians in Solano meet for worship. These two buildings had common wallings.  He droved a motor cycle (Suzuki) for a long time, then an owner jeep for a while and until his death, he owns a pickup (1990 model) sold to him at a very reduced price by Bother Elmo Duque.  The Man was a classic  example of a  Christian storing heavenly wealth over and above earthly possessions.

4.  Manong Daton is Primo Inter Pares when it comes to dedication to his work.  This writer was one of those  who had the final glimpsed of the Man during the “Panagkakadua 2009” held at 18 Rimando Road, Baguio City from April 8-11, 2009. He was no longer the brisk walking Daton as he was seen walking slowly with a cane.  He was no longer the Daton who spoke with clarity and booming voice as he spoke a little bit louder that a whisper.  However, his smile as he met with acquintances and new found christian friends was still there as he mingled with the participants.  He was seen still trying to guide his son Jonathan as the latter was practicing the choral group from Solano that won the Choral Signing Contest.  He was there to lead the flock that he was tasked to feed as an Overseer, a Pastor, and an Elder. This writer still felt that warm and tight hug from the Man. That hug will be felt for a time for there will no more be another earthly hug from him.

There are a lot more aspects in the life of Manong Daton where he excelled and he  may be considered as “First Among Equals”May be there will be more write ups about him like his experiences in the numerous debates he had with the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Manalo), which at times it nearly cost his untimely death. However, at this point in time, this writer likes to emphasize the qualities as enumerated above where, obviously, MANONG DATON stood out among his equals.

Good bye, Manong Daton!  I hope to see you in that land called Paradise.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Missed Opportunities

The story is told of a young man who wished to marry the farmer's  beautiful daughter. He went to the farmer to ask his permission. The farmer looked him over and responded, "Son, go stand out in that field
and I'm going to release three bulls, one at a time. If you can catch the tail of any one of the three bulls, you can marry my daughter."

The young man stood in the pasture awaiting the first bull. The barn door opened and out ran the biggest, meanest-looking bull he had ever seen. He decided that one of the next bulls had to be a better choice than this one, so he ran over to the side and let the bull pass through the pasture out the back gate.

The barn door opened again. Unbelievable. He had never seen anything so big and fierce in his life. It stood -- pawing the ground, grunting, slinging slobber -- as it eyed him. Whatever the next bull was like, it had to be a better choice than this one. He ran to the fence and let the bull pass through the pasture out the back gate.

The door opened a third time. A smile came across his face. This was the weakest, scrawniest little bull he had ever seen. This one was his bull. As the bull came running by, he positioned himself just right and jumped at just the exact moment. He grabbed ... but the bull had no tail!

We may miss out altogether.

Life is full of opportunities. Some will be easy to take advantage of, some will be difficult. But once we let them pass -- often in hopes of something better -- those opportunities may never again be available.
The same thing is also true of opportunities to serve Christ. God often opens doors -- opportunities to speak up for Him, opportunities to minister to someone who is hurting or in need, opportunities to make an influence on the world around us. If we allow them to pass by (perhaps because we are waiting for something easier to come along), we may miss out on them altogether.

Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God. Also pray  for us that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his  message (Colossians 4:2-3 NCV). 
  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all,  especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians  6:10).

May you take advantage of the doors God opens for you this day!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


The congregation of the church of Christ at Pongpong, Sto. Tomas, La Union, Philippines held their yearend fellowship last December 30, 2007.  The expanded chapel for worship services was also inaguarated. It is not yet fully finished but it is now conducive for meetings and services.

The event was well attended (see the pictures).  Some brethren from Rabon, San Fabian, Pangasinan;  San Julian, Agoo, La Union; and Tubao, La Union joined the fellowship.  Brother Ruben Mendoza, worker of the OPEN DOOR MINISTRY and the College at Dagupan City, Pangasinan, was present.  The event was captured in video and in still pictures.  The DVD format of the event will be distributed to the members. We are posting the pictures taken during affair.

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After several years of staying in the United States where HERMAN TRINIDAD, her husband died in 2005, Perse Jimenez-Trinidad came home to the Philippines last December 27, 2007. She spent her New Year's Eve at the family's residence at Cabilocaan, Calasiao, Pangasinan.  This writer, together with some members of the family, went to see her on January 1, 2008.  She tendered a thanksgiving party for having survived the "BIG C".

Sister Perse was so accommodating in bringing home an LCD Multimedia Projector which was ordered by the writer for use in his home congregation at the expense of leaving behind some baggage which were earlier intended to be brought home.  She will accommodate this writer again in bringing to America the payment (she accepted Philippine Peso and converts it in America later).  The said projector was used last Lord's Day, January 6, 2008.

Perse is continuing the ministry left behind by Herman by sending help to several Preachers in the Philippines through the ARO Foundation established by several brethren in the USA including Herman and his in-laws. ARO is a word in Pangasinan dialect which means "LOVE".

Here are some pictures taken by means of a Phone Camera used by the writer.  Shown are: Perse (Lady in brown), Leony Lachica, Yoling Bravo, Felix Bravo, Marilyn Lachica & Adelina Lachica (daughter and wife of Trifon Lachica, respectively), Trifon Lachica, Ricardo Nieto, Daughter and grandson of Ric Nieto, Teofilo Alcayde,  Roland Lazo, Mar Bernanrdo, and several others.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

You Must Be Born Again:

Why This Series and Where Are We Going?
November 18, 2007

John 3:1-18

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2
This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you
are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do
unless God is with him." 3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4 Nicodemus said
to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time
into his mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say
to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the
kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which
is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You
must be born again.' 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its
sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is
with everyone who is born of the Spirit." 9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can
these things be?" 10 Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and
yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we
speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not
receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not
believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has
ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man
be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 "For
God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in
him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son
into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be
saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever
does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only Son of God.

If you go to the Barna Group online-it's an organization that specializes in
religious research and statistics-you'll read things like this: "Born Again
Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are Non-Christians." The same kind
of statistics are given by Ron Sider in his book The Scandal of the
Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the
World? and by Mark Regnerus in his book Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in
the Lives of American Teenagers.

American Church Not Unlike the World

What I am picking up on here is precisely the term "born again." The Barna
Group in particular uses it in reporting their research. So that report is
titled " Born Again Christians Just As Likely to Divorce As Are
Non-Christians." Sider uses the word "evangelicals" but points out the same
kind of thing: "Only 9 percent of evangelicals tithe. Of 12,000 teenagers
who took the pledge to wait for marriage, 80% had sex outside marriage in
the next 7 years. Twenty-six percent of traditional evangelicals do not
think premarital sex is wrong. White evangelicals are more likely than
Catholics and mainline Protestants to object to having black neighbors."
In other words, the evangelical church as a whole in America is apparently
not very unlike the world. It goes to church on Sunday and has a veneer of
religion, but its religion is basically an add-on to the same way of life
the world lives, not a radically transforming power.

A Profound Mistake

Now I want to say loud and clear that when the Barna Group uses term "born
again" to describe American church-goers whose lives are indistinguishable
from the world, and who sin as much as the world, and sacrifice for others
as little as the world, and embrace injustice as readily as the world, and
covet things as greedily as the world, and enjoy God-ignoring entertainment
as enthusiastically as the world-when the term "born again" is used to
describe these professing Christians, the Barna Group is making a profound
mistake. It is using the biblical term "born again" in a way that would make
it unrecognizable by Jesus and the biblical writers.

Here is the way the researchers defined "born again" in their research:
"Born again Christians" were defined in these surveys as people who said
they have made "a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still
important in their life today" and who also indicated they believe that when
they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and
had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were not asked to
describe themselves as "born again." Being classified as "born again" is not
dependent upon church or denominational affiliation or involvement.
In other words, in this research the term "born again" refers to people who
say things. They say, "I have a personal commitment to Jesus Christ. It's
important to me." They say, "I believe that I will go to heaven when I die.
I have confessed my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior." Then the
Barna Group takes them at their word, ascribes to them the infinitely
important reality of the new birth, and then blasphemes that precious
biblical reality by saying that regenerate hearts have no more victory over
sin than unregenerate hearts.

The New Testament Moves the Opposite Direction

I'm not saying their research is wrong. It appears to be appallingly right.
I am not saying that the church is not as worldly as they say it is. I am
saying that the writers of the New Testament think in exactly the opposite
direction about being born again. Instead of moving from a profession of
faith, to the label "born again," to the worldliness of these so-called born
again people, to the conclusion that the new birth does not radically change
people, the New Testament moves the other direction. It moves from the
absolute certainty that the new birth radically changes people, to the
observation that many professing Christians are indeed (as the Barna Group
says) not radically changed, to the conclusion that they are not born again.
The New Testament, unlike the Barna Group, does not defile the new birth
with the worldliness of unregenerate, professing American Christians.
For example, one of the main points of the first epistle of John is to drive
home this very truth:

  1. 1 John 2:29: "If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that
    everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him."
  2. 1 John 3:9: "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed
    abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of
  3. 1 John 4:7: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and
    whoever loves has been born of God and knows God."
  4. 1 John 5:4: "Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this
    is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith."
  5. 1 John 5:18: "We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep
    on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does
    not touch him."

We will come back to texts like these in the weeks to come as this series
develops. There are many questions to answer and we will distance ourselves
plainly from perfectionism and deal realistically with the failures of
genuine Christians. But for now, is it not true that these statements appear
to be written with the very claims of the Barna Group in mind, namely, that
born again people are morally indistinguishable from the world? The Bible is
profoundly aware of such people in the church. That is one reason why 1 John
was written. But instead of following the Barna Group, the Bible says that
the research is not finding that born again people are permeated with
worldliness; the research is finding that the church is permeated by people
who are not born again.


Today we begin a series of messages about the new birth. What does the Bible
teach about being born again? Another word for the event of being born again
is "regeneration." It is helpful to use that word from time to time. Would
you be willing to add it to your vocabulary? Children would you help your
parents with this? They have probably never used the word "regeneration" in
talking to you. So they may not know what it is. Would you tell them when
you get home, "Mommy and Daddy, did you know that 'regeneration' means being
born again? And did you know that the word 'regenerate' is how you describe
somebody who is born again? You say, 'That person is regenerate.' That means
he's born again"? If you could coach your parents with this, it will help me
very much. Then we can all use words in the same way and not get confused.

1) The Desecration of the Term "Born Again"

Today's message will be an introductory overview of where we are going and
why. You can already see one of the reasons I want to focus on this issue.
The term "born again" is desecrated when it is used the way the Barna Group
uses it. And, of course, that kind of misuse of the biblical term is not the
only kind. The term in our day simply means that someone or something got a
new lease on life. So the internet says that Cisco Systems, the
communications company, has been born again, and the Green Movement has been
born again, the Davie Shipyard in Montreal has been born again, the west end
in Boston has been born again, Kosher foods for Orthodox Jews have been born
again, and so on. So it's not surprising that we have to be careful when we
read that 45% of Americans say they have been religiously "born again."
This term "born again" is very precious and very crucial in the Bible. So I
hope to make sure that we know what God intends when the Bible uses this
language. What does being born again mean?

2) What Happened in Being Born Again

Another reason I am eager to focus on the new birth is to help you know what
really happened to you when you were born again. It is far more glorious
than you think it is. It is also more glorious than I think it is. It is
wonderful beyond all human comprehension. But that mystery is not because
there is little about it in the Bible. There is much about it in the Bible.
It's because when all is comprehended there is still more. So I hope that
you will know more and know better what happened to you when you were born

3) What Must Happen to Be Born Again

Another reason for this series is that there are others that I want to help
be born again. I want to show them what must happen to them. And I, with
your prayers, would like to be a means of many being born again in these
weeks. The new birth, we will see, is not a work of man. You don't make the
new birth happen, and I don't make the new birth happen. God makes it
happen. It happens to us, not by us.

Being Born Again Happens Through the Gospel

But it always happens through the word of God. Listen to1 Peter 1:23 and 25:
"Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable,
through the living and abiding word of God. . . . And this word is the good
news that was preached to you." So even though God is the one who begets his
children, the seed by which he does it is the word of God, the gospel that
we preach. So pray with me that one of the great effects of this series will
be that miracle. And bring your friends and family who need to hear about
the necessity of the new birth. I will try to explain it clearly and show it
from the Bible so people can see it for themselves.

And the reason I want you to know what happened to you in your new birth and
others to know what must yet happen to them is threefold. 1) When you are
truly born again and grow in the grace and knowledge of what the Lord has
done for you, your fellowship with God will be sweet, and your assurance
that he is your Father will be deep. I want that for you. 2) If God would be
pleased to bring this kind of awakening to his church, then the world will
get the real deal of radical love and sacrifice and courage from the church
and not all these fake Christians that live just like the world. 3) If you
know what really happened to you in your new birth, you will treasure God
and his Spirit and his Son and his word more highly than you ever have. And
he will be glorified. So those are some of the reasons why we are focusing
on the new birth.

Crucial Questions About Being Born Again

There are several crucial questions we will be asking. One is: What is the
new birth? That is, what actually happens? What is it like? What changes?
What comes into being that wasn't there before?

Another question is: How does it relate to other things that the Bible says
God does to bring us to himself and save us? For example, how does being
born again relate to:


  1. God's effectual calling ("Those whom he called he justified" Romans 8:30),
  2. The new creation ("If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation," 2
    Corinthians 5:17),
  3. God's drawing us to Christ ("No one can come to me unless the Father who
    sent me draws him," John 6:44),
  4. God's giving people to his Son ("All that the Father gives me will come to
    me," John 6:37),
  5. God's opening our hearts ("The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to
    what was said by Paul," Acts 16:14),
  6. God's illumining our hearts ("God . . . has shone in our hearts to give the
    light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2
    Corinthians 4:6),
  7. God's taking the heart of stone out and giving us a heart of flesh ("I will
    remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh,"
    Ezekiel 36:26),
  8. God's making us alive ("even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made
    us alive together with Christ," Ephesians 2:5),
  9. God's adopting us into his family ("You have received the Spirit of adoption
    as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!'" Romans 8:15).
  10. How does God's act of regeneration relate to all these wonderful ways of
    describing what happened to us when God saved us?

Another question we will ask is: Why is the new birth necessary? Jesus said
to Nicodemus in John 3:7, "You must be born again." Not, "I suggest it," or,
"Your life would improve if you added this experience." Why is it that
"unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3)? This
is one of the great reasons for dealing with this. Until we realize that we
must be born again, and why we must be born again, we probably will not
realize what our condition really is without salvation. Most people do not
know what is really wrong with them. One way to help them make a true and
terrible and hopeful diagnosis is to show them the kind of remedy God has
provided, namely, the new birth. If you have a sore on your ankle and after
the doctor does his test, he comes in and says, "I have hard news: We have
to take your leg off just below the knee," that remedy would tell you more
about the sore than many fancy words. So it is with the remedy "you must be
born again."

Another question we will tackle is how the new birth happens. If it is the
work of God, which it is, how do I experience it? Is there anything I can do
to make it happen?

And a final question we must deal with is: What are the effects of being
born again? What changes? What is it like to live as a born-again person?
Millions in Church Not Born Again

Which brings us back to where we started, namely, the claim that "born
 again" Christians have lifestyles of worldliness and sin that are
indistinguishable from the unregenerate. I don't think so. First John 5:4:
"Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the
victory that has overcome the world-our faith." But my conviction is not
rosy news for the church. It implies that there are millions of church
attenders who are not born again.

Would those of you who are born again, and have the Holy Spirit in you, and
love God and care about lost people, pray with me that the effect of these
messages will be to awaken the spiritually dead - both the ones who never

go to church, and those who have been there all their lives?

Saturday, November 10, 2007


A blogger placed a comment on our History Of The Church at Pongpong, Sto. Tomas, La Union. He did not reveal his name. He claims to know Bro. Buchanan. He did not reveal an address so that we could forward our reply aside from the fact that he posted the comment as an Anonymous. However, we know that he or she is sincere in posting the comments (go to the comment portion).

Brother or Sister, who ever you may be, please accept our sincerest thanks for visiting.
Indeed, we love to have songbooks for our worship and materials for children. We have classes for children every Lord's day. My wife and two (2) other members are teaching this class.

We, too, are expanding our building for worship. Below is the picture of the building under repair taken last October 28, 2007. We are now short of funds for the construction. WE welcome any help that you can extend to us.

In answer to your query, you can reach us at the following address:

Pongpong Church of Christ
Pongpong. Sto. Tomas, La Union
2504 Philippines

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Very Interesting News

Senator investigating 6 TV ministries
By Erica Simons

WASHINGTON (BP)--The leading Republican on the Senate Finance Committee is
investigating prominent televangelists and their financial conduct, pursuing
reports of elaborate private jets, Rolls Royces and indulgent salaries.

"It is important that the Congress and the public have confidence that
public charities, which benefit from very significant tax breaks, are
operated in a manner that promotes continued trust," Sen. Grassley, R.-Iowa,
said in a Nov. 5 letter to the TV preachers.

Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn are among representatives of six ministries asked
to hand over their records of expenses and compensations to Grassley.
Because of their non-profit "church status," all of the ministries are
tax-exempt and not required to submit their financial information to the
Internal Revenue Service.

"I don't want to conclude that there's a problem, but I have an obligation
to donors and the taxpayers to find out more," Grassley said. "I'm following
up on complaints from the public and news coverage regarding certain
practices at six ministries."

Other ministries that Grassley has identified for investigation are Paula
and Randy White; Gloria and Kenneth Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries
in Newark, Texas; Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in
Lithonia, Ga., and Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers International
in College Park, Ga.

Grassley requested the preachers disclose their personal and ministry-
related finances. He asked for credit card statements; lists of expenses for
second and third residences used by the ministers; the cost of hotels,
travel and entertainment used for board meetings; cash and non-cash gifts
given by the ministries, and lists of private vehicles. The media-oriented
ministries have been given one month to comply with the requests.

The senator's goal is to bring transparency to the donor-funded,
billion-dollar industry of TV evangelism, according to his statement.

Most of these ministries are financed by individuals, who often receive
material gifts such as CDs and books in return for their support. Hinn also
sells keepsakes, such as desk sculptures and decorative plates, on his

The practices of these types of ministries have been under scrutiny in the
last several years, mainly in the mainstream press. The Tampa Tribune
recently investigated Randy and Paula White. The Whites announced in August
they are divorcing.

These and other investigative reports weighed on Grassley's decision. Ole
Anthony of the Trinity Foundation, a watchdog of religious broadcasting,
provides a way for donors who feel victimized by pastors and teachers to
report it on his website.

Joyce Meyer, who was investigated by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2003,
provides her ministry's financial reports online and undergoes a voluntary
financial and legal audit each year.

"We are pleased to announce that during 2006, 82 percent of total expenses
were spent on outreach and programs directed at reaching people," said a
statement released by the ministry in early August 2007.

Some leaders are concerned the investigation might blur lines between church
and state.

"This is cause for alarm that a Senate committee would presume to directly
exercise financial oversight of religious ministries," Richard John Neuhaus,
editor of the journal First Things, told Christianity Today.

Kenneth Behr, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial
Accountability, said the investigation might be unfair. "I think he's
picking a fight," he said of Grassley, according to the Tampa Tribune. "He
is not just asking them to come in and talk, he is asking them for

Behr's organization has set standards for how churches, private Christian
colleges and large ministries should handle their tax-exempt status in an
ethical way. Members are required to hold to these standards. None of the
six ministries under investigation are currently members.

"If your house is in order, you have nothing to fear and much to gain from
this process," Florida pastor Joel Hunter told Christianity Today. Hunter's
Orlando church -- Northland, A Church Distributed -- provides its members
with a financial report weekly.