Bill Hwang’s Scandal: Campus Crusade for Money? CRU’s Unholy Alliance with Big Money

Welcome back to Defenders Voice. This is Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Hope you are doing well. Campus Crusade and  Ravi are in the news. Some of you are angry at me – when will you stop talking about Ravi? Well, Ravi is showing up at all the wrong places and for all the wrong reasons. Today he showed up in the Washington Post’s article on his close friend Bill Hwang. Are you going to be mad at the Washington Post, New York Times and WallStreet Journal? Tell them to stop talking about your hero. I am only giving you a Christian perspective on these events. Can you stop the Washington Post from talking about your idol? Look at what they wrote: Billionaire at the center of a Wall Street fiasco gives millions to evangelical ministries. They put a photo with Ravi smiling full heartedly at Bill Hwang. They wrote, ‘Hwang, 57, was also once close to the late evangelical leader Ravi Zacharias, who was recently in the news over accusations of sexual misconduct, and they spoke together at a conference in 2019.’ The secular news media is connecting the dots between the Wall Street, big money, big corporations, Christian organizations and sex scandals. 

Now, who is this Bill Hwang? I never heard about him. This news article informs that Bill Hwang is a billionaire donor to many evangelical Christian organizations. Over the years he gave millions to Ravi’s organization RZIM, CRU, King’s College, Fuller Theological Seminary, Prison Fellowship, Young Life and the Navigators. Bill Hwang is a son of a Korean pastor who became a hedge fund owned billionaire and a philanthropist. He founded Archegos Capital Management. Many evangelical leaders like Andy Mills became its chief executives. 

   Archegos had more than 10 billion dollars in funds. In the past, Bill Hwang led Tiger Asia Management fund and was fined for insider trading to the tune of 44 million dollars by securities regulators. 

  Last week he was at the centre of a financial meltdown on the WallStreet. His business formula goes like this: He owns stocks in corporations like ViacomCBS and Discovery. These corporations sell stocks at higher prices than their actual worth. Viacom was selling stocks at $85 dollars per share. In reality, it was not worth more than $55 dollars per share. Bill Hwang makes bets on where stock prices will go, without having to buy actual shares. Big Banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley boughs shares of ViacomCBS and Discovery through Bill Hwang. 

    Someone got suspicious of ViacomCBC stock prices and found out that their actual worth was not more than $55 dollars per share. Their stocks plummeted and the banks lost billions of dollars. Bill Hwang’s bets did not go as he thought. I have no problem with that because he took a risk and it did not work out as he thought. I have a problem with how much risk he took. Bill Hwang went into the game with 10 billion dollars in his pocket. He bet on 100 billion dollars and lost. He lost his 10 billions and the banks had to sell their own assets to cover for their losses up to 100 billion. You can imagine the fall out from this fiasco. 

  If I have 100,000 dollars in my hand, can I start a 1 million dollar business? I don’t think so. Can I ask the banks to put 900,000 of their money into my business? If my business fails, I will lose my 100,000 and they will lose their 900,000. I can file for bankruptcy but who will cover the money I borrowed from the banks? I don’t think a Christian should put that much of risk on the society for his business. 

   Bill Hwang’s business failed. His own 10 billions evaporated in minutes. The banks which supported him lost 90 billion and their collapse rocked financial businesses around the world. These banks hold billions of dollars from ordinary citizens: from educational loans to retirement funds to 401 k plans. Their losses mean ordinary people will suffer. 

   Bill Hwang was basically gambling on the WallStreet. Christian ministries should not be accepting money from him. When New York Times, Washington Post talk about you during these scandals, you bring shame to the Lord’s name. Your ministries don’t bring glory to God. If you win a 5 million dollar lottery ticket and donate 1 million to my ministry, I will not take it because buying lottery tickets is gambling. If you send 20 dollars to a ministry which you made out of a honest day work, that brings glory to God. 

                Archegos has no accountability. Bill Hwang has been running his firm as a family office just like Ravi Zacharias was running his ministry like a family ministry. RZIM stopped filing with the IRS in 2015. They were not accountable to the local church or the government or their donors. That is a recipe for disaster. 

   The New York Times writes, ‘Archegos is a Greek word meaning leader or founding father, and is used in the Bible to refer to Jesus’. 

   Bill Hwang brought shame to Lord’s name. Archegos was used in the Bible to refer to Jesus as the author of salvation. Lord Jesus Christ is the author of salvation, not of stock exchange. 

   The media bashed Christians back in 2008 when we had a subprime mortgage crisis. Many Christians bought expensive homes beyond their capacity to pay in monthly mortgages. They were told a lie: God will help you out. God will never finance our greed. Always remember that. God will never finance your greed. 

We read in 1 Timothy 6:6-10 

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Apostle Paul has those strong words for all of us. When we try to become rich, through craving, through the love of money, we wander away from the faith and pierce ourselves with many pangs. 

God is not against billionaires. Samuel Cathy founded the fast food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A. He mastered the art of making a delicious chicken sandwich. He honored God by closing on Sundays to allow its employees to attend church services. Sell a sandwich for 5 dollars, make 1 dollar profit on each sandwich, sell millions of sandwiches, and make millions of dollars. Become a billionaire. No one will stop you. 

But when you manipulate stock prices that is not right.  

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