-------- Original Message --------
||August 7, 2007
||Wed, 08 Aug 2007 10:03:29 +1000
BREAKING NEWS: Special Report
The Beginning of the End for 3ABN Under Danny Shelton?: Report
from the ASI Convention
Ervin Taylor, Executive Editor, AToday.com (August 7, 2007)
Reports have been received by Adventist Today from credible,
first-hand sources that include individuals privy to discussions
going on inside the Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN)
organization and those who attended the just-concluded (August
1-5) Adventist-Laymen's Services and Industries (ASI) Convention
in Louisville, Kentucky.
These reports indicate that considerable confusion existed
among 3ABN staff concerning the merger talks between 3ABN and
Amazing Facts. Many 3ABN employees had been led to believe that
there would be a "big announcement" during the ASI convention
and were very surprised when it was announced by Doug Batchelor,
the president/speaker of Amazing Facts, that the merger would
not occur. As reported earlier, the initiative to call off the
talks was taken by Batchelor, not 3ABN. Apparently a principal
reason was the continuing financial, organizational, and possibly
legal problems at 3ABN.
One interpretation of these events by a well-informed observer
was that Batchelor concluded that any union could only be consummated
after Mr. Danny Shelton, the current 3ABN president, "retired"
and a non-controversial replacement, perhaps someone with a business
background who had the confidence of major donors and church
authorities, was brought in as acting CEO.
Consistent with this interpretation were reports that Shelton
was "nearly invisible" at the ASI meetings, and was not brought
on stage during ASI programs. Rumors circulated, meanwhile, that
Shelton was actually no longer actively "in charge" of the 3ABN
booth and its activities, and that staff was making most of the
day-to-day, hour-to-hour decisions. A source close to Shelton
said that Shelton is considering the possibility of "retirement."
Don Schneider, president of the North American Division, who
has reportedly expressed deep concerns that 3ABN not "fail,"
was seen on more than one occasion in earnest conversation on
the ASI pavilion floor with Garwin McNeilus, a wealthy, influential
Adventist businessman, whose daughter-in-law had just been elected
to the ASI presidency for a two year term. McNeilus reportedly
favors a merger between 3ABN and the Amazing Facts organizations.
He is on the Mission Board of ASI, though not of 3ABN, but has
been viewed as a strong backer of 3ABN. Sources indicated that
it was highly likely that McNeilus and Schneider were discussing
how to address 3ABN's current needs, in essence, to "save 3ABN."
3ABN in recent months has acknowledged a steep downturn in
donations and serious cash flow concerns, even as it presses
a lawsuit against two individuals who have made serious charges
of corruption against 3ABN's current administration and have
voiced concerns that these administrative practices and conduct
are ruining 3ABN. Many observers believe that the charges made
by the two individuals are, in most respects, substantially true.
Adventist Today contacted Dr. Walter Thompson, chairman of
the 3ABN Board, in an effort to obtain further details of the
recent downturn in donations to 3ABN. Dr. Thompson stated that
he had forwarded the Adventist Today communication to the attorneys
handling the 3ABN lawsuit and could not comment immediately.
In a subsequent communication, Dr. Thompson stated "The article
you sent for my review is full of factual inaccuracies concerning
the proposed merger between Three Angels Broadcasting and Amazing
Facts. Given your insistence on publishing this article today
or tomorrow, I simply do not have enough time to respond to the
many errors and untrue statements it contains. 3ABN therefore
has no comment on the article in question." Adventist Today appreciates
this response of Dr. Thompson.