Soon, I will get back to some of the questionable details of the report, but I would like to address some more thoughts on the response of Dad’s former organization.
Many of those remaining at RZIM, along with some former global leadership, have worked very hard to distance themselves from my dad. They’ve busted out their thesauruses and called him every name they think is appropriate. They’ve damned him, erased him, and expressed regret that they were ever involved with him in what was a very successful ministry. If they feel he should be erased and reduced to only the sum of his sins, then they have some hard questions to answer about their theology given the way God allowed his success while these things were allegedly happening. God sure is lucky to have them here to save Him from allowing Dad’s material to ever positively impact another person.
They can’t even acknowledge the reality that God blessed them (wrongly, it would seem, according to their logic) in their own ministries alongside Dad either. Of course they still benefit from the status that came as a result. 10 years ago, no one would have paid any attention to the statements of many of them. Their audience now is a result of the platform they got from their days at RZIM with Dad.
They want no piece of, him, association with him, or remnant of him. Nothing at all.
Well, almost nothing.
Let’s start on an individual level. In his most recent book(s), Dad split the advance with at least one co-author 50/50. An advance payment is often given based on how well the publisher expects the book to do. Splitting it is actually something Dad didn’t have to do, but it was his choice. Although the co-authors have now denounced Dad and any association with him, I’m going to go out on a limb and say their halves of the advance – amounts that were surely boosted by Dad’s involvement – have not been surrendered.
Next we have the Oxford office, which has since broken off from RZIM. A few years ago, the UK team decided they needed a new building. Despite having just donated money for a new facility at RZIM headquarters in Atlanta, donors stepped up and provided what I think was 13-15 million for the purchase of a historic property in Oxford. Very little of that support came from Europe.
The UK team pressured the headquarters in the months and days leading up to the report, insisting it be released in a certain way. When it was done the way they wanted, they immediately announced they were separating from RZIM. They took the building with them because HQ never took the step of securing it legally to the main organization. Given their pressure and immediate exit you have to wonder if this is perhaps the outcome UK leadership actually wanted. Some of their team regularly had issues with taking direction from the US, but of course always requested and relied on the funding from the US. The report gave them the excuse to leave, and leave quickly, before HQ came calling for that building. I’m sure that step was all planned in the months leading up to the report.
There is no way that the Oxford office would have ever gotten the money for that building without Dad’s efforts on their behalf, his name, or his reputation. They are so virtuous that they immediately rejected and disowned him. But not so virtuous as to relinquish the building that wouldn’t be theirs without him and the donor support he generated.
Finally, you have the headquarters. A lot of that money sitting in the bank was given because of Dad. Most of the rest of it was received from the massive insurance policy they received upon his death. They will say they are using that to help with “restitution” and legal fees. But they most certainly will not need to use all of it for that and they know it.
And while I’ve already mentioned this below I’ll say it again: their future plan is convenient. They claim to not feel at ease with using their resources to support themselves as an apologetic organization anymore. The solution?
1. Change the name.
2. Decide you’re going to be an organization that gives money to apologetics and sexual abuse victims.
3. After announcing that, lay off the staff whose sole job at RZIM was to issue grants to organizations that help sexual abuse victims. (Seems like they would have been helpful given the intended direction).
4. The remaining speakers will likely split off in the near future. They can apply for and will most certainly receive grants from the new organization.
I can’t decide if it’s spiritual money laundering, or spiritual people laundering. Either way they’re essentially going to get paid by RZIM funds to preach. Something they say they can’t do anymore.
In addition, they sit in a building already paid for because of the money Dad raised for it. Might the new RZIM also gift office space to the speakers that split off? And provide use of the media team and facilities? This is actually a pretty sweet setup for that group.
Bob Grinnell, the VP of development, used to constantly say Dad was his best fundraiser. They have that money and those assets because of Dad. He was the one people responded to and gave towards.
They want nothing to do with his ministry legacy. But they’re glad to hold on to his financial legacy.