The Bible warns Christians not to show favoritism to wealthy people in the Book of James, however, Mars Hill Church, a megachurch based in Seattle, has reportedly been keeping a "Top 25 Donors" list and caters to wealthy people.
Psychologist and blogger Warren Throckmorton recently reported that the leaders of Mars Hill Church provide the "Top 25" donor list and another list of donors (who give more than $1,000) to pastors at satellite churches that are part of Mars Hill Church.
Throckmorton writes, "I recently obtained several of these lists for the years 2011-2012. I don’t know if this is done in 2014, but pastors who left in 2013 say it was done then."
He posted images of the donors lists (above), but removed names and addresses for privacy reasons.
Throckmorton added that the "Lucas Group," a short list of large donors, has reportedly donated large amounts to Mars Hill Church during tough financial times.
“This practice is what made up my mind to leave after I was not heard out," former Mars Hill Church lay leader Shawn Nickerson told Throckmorton.
"There was blatant catering to the high dollar or potential high dollar donors," added Nickerson. "Wealthy families and couples were being invited out to dinner with the church leadership, while it was unheard of to even get a coffee date with my pastor,and I was in a senior lay position. We were definitely briefed to keep encouraging giving and it became a mantra.”
Sutton Turner, a former Mars Hill Church leader who recently resigned, once wrote a thinly-veiled defense of rich people by trying to re-direct Jesus Christ's admonition not to favor the rich over the poor in James 2:1-9.
Writing in TheResurgence.com, Turner cherry-picked James 2:9 and claimed that verse (“If you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors”) was also a warning against favoring the poor over the rich.
Turner wrote, "Fear of committing the sin of partiality leads them to commit the sin of reverse partiality. Functionally, this results in a number of ways that we push the rich out of the church."