LEXINGTON, Ky. (EP) -- Comedian Mike Warnke has released the findings of a +quot;council o
LEXINGTON, Ky. (EP) -- Comedian Mike Warnke has released the
findings of a "council of elders" convened to look into
charges that Warnke falsified his testimony, was guilty of
moral failure, and misused ministry funds.
Last summer Cornerstone magazine published an extensively-
documented article claiming that Warnke's involvement in
satanism, as portrayed in the book Satan Seller, was
fabricated. The article also made allegations of adultery
and substance abuse, and detailed Warnke's three divorces.
A report in the Lexington Herald-Leader detailed financial
misconduct in the ministry which resulted in revocation of
its tax exempt status by the IRS.
A five-member board of elders chosen by Warnke met in
January to look into the charges. Warnke said he would
submit to any disciplinary measure chosen by the council.
The council was chaired by the Rev. Ronald Fellemende of
Lexington, Kentucky, and also included: the Rev. Richard
Morgan of Jamestown, Kentucky; the Rev. James Kraft of Santa
Cruz, California; the Rev. Robert Hale of Lexington,
Kentucky, and the Hon. Frank James of Louisville, Kentucky.
The council said there were "conflicting reports" of
Warnke's background, and said it had heard testimony that
"validates involvement with the occult." The council
concluded that "Mike's unique ministry of witnessing to the
salvation available in Jesus Christ is a voice that still
needs to be heard."
The council criticized the Cornerstone article as "less than
fair in representing the truth," but made no attempt to
disprove the specific allegations made in the article. It
called for corporate restructuring, more independent
governance of corporate activity, a less "casual" approach
to handling ministry finances, and more candid treatment of
Warnke's multiple marriages and "unfortunate experiences."
The council recommended that Warnke Ministries apply for
membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial
Accountability (ECFA), and establish a salary structure for
employees "commensurate with similar organizations and/or
In a statement dated Jan. 25, 1993, Warnke said he stands by
his testimony of former satanic involvement, but confessed
to "some exaggeration and embellishment ... which resulted
from the dramatic recreation of incidents in my life."
Warnke insisted his intent was not to deceive, but to
Warnke also confessed to "the previous ungodliness of my
personal life," including multiple divorces. He said, "I
have been a failure as a husband, a father and a friend."
He concluded, "I ask the body to forgive me. I repent."
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