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John Ankerberg Elected To Board of National Religious Broadcasters

Election comes just weeks after he’s suspended by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

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The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) are meeting this week in Orlando, Fla., and on Monday (May 22) announced that John Ankerberg has been elected to its board of directors.

Just weeks ago Ankerberg’s organization, the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute (ATRI) was suspended from membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

The ECFA suspended Ankerberg’s organization while the organization is under review for compliance with three of the ECFA’s seven Standards for Financial Accountability.

The review of Ankerberg’s organization by the ECFA comes after a former fundraising executive at the organization went public with concerns about how Ankerberg used nearly $20 million raised to fund audio bibles. That executive, Andrew Jaeger, said much of that money has stayed in the ministry to fund the Ankerbergs’ use of private jets, as well as to build the coffers of the organization. Ankerberg’s organization subsequently sued Jaeger for breach of contract, but Ankerberg has not disputed the substance of the allegations made by Jaeger.

Those concerns were first reported by MinistryWatch and were later the subject of a lengthy front page story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Troy Miller, president and CEO of NRB, said in a statement announcing the new board members, “I am appreciative to our board as they…made key leadership determinations, selecting leaders who will work to steward the future and the potential of NRB.”

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For years, ECFA membership was required for board members, but that requirement was dropped after popular broadcaster David Jeremiah lost its ECFA membership in 2010. In 2015, NRB changed its rules, dropping the ECFA requirement.

Ankerberg’s organization is under review by the ECFA for compliance with the following standards:

Standard 2 says: “Every organization shall be governed by a responsible board of not less than five individuals, a majority of whom shall be independent, who shall meet at least semiannually to establish policy and review its accomplishments.”

Standard 7.1 says: “In securing charitable gifts, all representations of fact, descriptions of the financial condition of the organization, or narratives about events must be current, complete, and accurate. References to past activities or events must be appropriately dated. There must be no material omissions or exaggerations of fact, use of misleading photographs, or any other communication which would tend to create a false impression or misunderstanding.”

Standard 7.2 says: “Statements made about the use of gifts by an organization in its charitable gift appeals must be honored. A giver’s intent relates both to what was communicated in the appeal and to any instructions accompanying the gift, if accepted by the organization. Appeals for charitable gifts must not create unrealistic expectations of what a gift will actually accomplish.

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Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine, and Vice President of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 25 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.