The Voice of Evangelism board has issued a statement to Charisma Media to lay to rest allegations from critics of Perry Stone, pointing out that a Dec. 25 newspaper article was much ado about nothing.
"There is nothing new to report," the statement reads. "The story reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press is lacking in true journalistic substance, and most of all the sources were offered and granted anonymity, allowing the story to be sensationalized. The VOE board stands firm in its decisions and will continue to operate in true biblical godly integrity."
Charisma News reported earlier this week on the accusations that resurfaced against Stone through the Times Free Press, which included a report that the FBI is investigating his ministry, and shared a statement from VOE that said the newspaper story "bears no new information or allegations." Charisma News also posted a recent video teaching from Stone that addressed integrity in the media; however, this video was prerecorded and not intended as a response to the recent allegations, per VOE.
Last April, Stone was placed on a forced leave of absence due to allegations of misconduct and deviation from "the biblical standards set in place for VOE leadership," also reported by Charisma News.
Stephen Strang, founder of Charisma Media and a journalist for five decades, knows better than to take accusations in the press at face value. "There are journalists who love to sensationalize negative stories on ministries and disgruntled people who like to harass ministries," he says. In order for Charisma's coverage to consist of more than repetitions of the latest accounts posted on social media, he invited VOE to tell its side of the story.
Here is the complete statement from VOE:
In April 2020, the Voice of Evangelism board of directors took proactive measures to place evangelist Perry Stone on a six-month sabbatical for rest and restoration.
This decision was made for two reasons: First, earlier this year employees at VOE requested to meet with the board of directors to address concerns of inappropriate words and actions. Second, over the past few years, Perry had started to encounter serious health issues related to spiritual and physical burnout. Doctors quickly determined that his blood pressure was at levels indicating the potential for a dangerous stroke. This demanded immediate attention and a team equipped to provide medical supervision to resolve these issues.
The board conducted a private thorough investigation and determined there was behavior that deviated outside of biblical standards set in place for VOE leadership. So, the board unanimously determined to initiate his sabbatical. This action was not reactionary but with much prayer, and was set in place to uphold the highest standards of integrity.
The actions taken by the board were determined to be reasonable and appropriate and in the best interests of Voices of Evangelism, its supporters and even its detractors.
At the direction of the board, Perry Stone respectfully agreed to the requirements of rest and restoration. He stepped aside from all pulpit and travel ministry for a period of time and has sincerely repented for any words or actions said or done that made anyone feel uncomfortable or brought them hurt in any manner.
Perry Stone, in a publicly released statement in May of 2020, stated, "I confess at times I've been inappropriate in all this weariness of just non-stop ministry ... I let my guard down, and I've asked, of course, God, and others to forgive me for that."
The board has worked with Perry Stone to set in place strong boundaries including a seasoned accountability ministry team that meets with Perry regularly. The board continues to evaluate his spiritual and physical health and help to lead the ministry forward.
Last week, we were asked to answer various questions submitted by the Times Free Press. Unfortunately, it is relatively obvious from the tenor of the article that was in the Chattanooga Times Free Press that respectable journalism has not been able to compete with the digital and social media. Thus, we now see a different standard develop, which has been birthed by a concept that sensationalism may sell more newspapers. Hearsay and a failure to identify sources rule the world of information. Here are some of our comments to the story reported:
—The board of directors of the Voice of Evangelism or Voice of Evangelism staff have not been contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other such investigative entity. Consistent with the findings of the board and as a result of the allegations in early 2020, no one has made any accusations of any misconduct which would involve any considerations other than civil considerations. As you know, Perry Stone is dedicated to the ministry and spends many hours of research prayer, study of the Scriptures and consultation of biblical authorities in preparation for the presentations he makes around the world.
— The board has not received any letters that the Chattanooga newspaper it asserts it has. It is difficult to comment on matters that the paper purportedly has and which were not presented by the paper. The board did consider the communications that were made to the board back in early 2020. Some of these were withdrawn, some were not signed or identified as to authorship, and others were not found to be supportable or were otherwise unreliable. The board made decisions based upon all of the evidence that was presented to the board.
— The board has requested that Perry Stone not discuss the investigations that were made by the board and that Perry Stone refrain from commenting concerning unsupported allegations and unidentified individuals or identified people who provided information.
— The requirements of the board were multifaced and ranged from physical health issues to all aspects of restoration and renewal. After approximately six months, the board determined that it would be appropriate for Perry Stone to return to his role as a proponent of the faith of and programs of the Voice of Evangelism.
— The board has not received any threats of legal action from any individual. Because of the attacks that have been recently publicized, it appears that comments through social media outlets have resulted in truly absurd accusations and absolutely false statements being made regarding Perry Stone and the Voice of Evangelism ministry. The international ministry continues to be accepted by people of good will and great faith. Voice of Evangelism is committed to continuing to make contributions to the betterment of the people of Southeast Tennessee and around the world. Once again, hundreds of thousands are hearing the love of God and the available gift of salvation delivered by Perry Stone and other committed members of VOE.
At the end of the day, there is nothing new to report. The story reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press is lacking in true journalistic substance, and most of all the sources were offered and granted anonymity, allowing the story to be sensationalized. The VOE board stands firm in its decisions and will continue to operate in true biblical godly integrity.
(For further questions or media inquiries, please contact John Rodriguez, firstname.lastname@example.org.)
For more of what Charisma has reported on Perry Stone over the years, visit the following links:
In addition, we invite you to click here for a Charisma cover story from 2010 by Stephen Strang about Perry Stone and Voice of Evangelism, titled "The Shaping of Stone."
Strang asks Charisma's readers to pray that Perry Stone and VOE weather this storm for the glory of God and that the hidden things be revealed.
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