LEXINGTON, Ky. (EP) -- Comedian Mike Warnke has released the findings of a +quot;council o

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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 ministries." 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 entertain. 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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