March 13, 2009 -- Two ministries that had come under fire for their financial practices have received accreditation by the Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability (ECFA).
In an announcement Thursday, the ECFA said Joyce Meyer Ministries and Oral Roberts Universities had met the group's standards of "responsible stewardship," which involves ministries' financial accountability, transparency, board governance and fund-raising practices.
In recent yeas, both ministries had been accused of violating those very practices. Oral Roberts University was $55 million in debt when three professors accused its former President Richard Roberts and his wife, Lindsay, of using school funds to support a lavish lifestyle.
"ORU is excited to be accredited by the ECFA," Green said in a statement. "This accreditation shows our commitment to economic sustainability and accountability and is another milestone in building trust in the new ORU."
Meanwhile, Joyce Meyer Ministries (JMM) is one of six charismatic ministries to be investigated by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. JMM was the first ministry to comply with Grassley's request for financial records. Benny Hinn of World Healing Center Church also has provided extensive answers to Grassley's questions.
Grassley said Thursday that JMM's ECFA membership was a positive development. "It's good to see increased financial accountability, transparency, board governance, and ethical fund-raising taken seriously," he said.
"I hope other ministries, including the ones I'm looking at, will pursue accreditation," he added.
Grassley said his staff continues to review the information it has received from ministries that cooperated and is weighing their options for the ones that have not complied.
Grassley said Randy and Paula White of Without Walls International Church, Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, and Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries have submitted incomplete responses to his requests for financial information. Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International did not provide any of the requested information.
Newly elected ECFA President Dan Busby said his organization was pleased to include both JMM and Oral Roberts University among its membership.