Apologetics TV Ministry Loses Financial Accreditation Over Fundraising

‘The John Ankerberg Show’ kept 80 percent of money raised for audio Bibles.

A television ministry with the most-watched Christian apologetics program has been ejected from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) for insufficient oversight and dishonest fundraising.

The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, which produces The John Ankerberg Show, failed to meet three ECFA standards, according to an ECFA investigation. The apologetics ministry reportedly did not have an independent board, did not have adequate internal controls, and did not truthfully represent the intended use of the funds it raised.

“In securing charitable gifts, all representations of fact … must be current, complete, and accurate,” the ECFA standards say.

According to MinistryWatch, The John Ankerberg Show raised about $20 million for audio Bibles but kept 80 percent. John and Darlene Ankerberg said the money went to producing and distributing the TV program, which cost about $2 million in 2022, according to tax records. No mention of this was made during the on-air fundraising appeals.

The Ankerbergs insist they were not dishonest, though.

“Being 100 percent donor-supported, we invest 80 percent into our ministry,” CEO Darlene Ankerberg told CT. “We have made it clear to all donors that their support is for our overall mission. We believe donors support our mission of spreading the Word of God.”

A former director of donor relations reported the apologetics ministry to the ECFA and MinistryWatch. Andrew Jaeger, who worked for the Ankerberg organization from 2019 to 2022, said he found that donors had no idea how their money was being used and that a “full disclosure” of the TV ministry’s financials would “most certainly be met with disapproval, …

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