Guest / Limited Access /
Was an Ohio-based nationwide "biblical medical plan" used as a slush fund to enrich the founder and his family members? Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery says that's what happened to "hundreds of thousands of dollars" belonging to the Christian Brotherhood Newsletter, and she filed suit in December to get the money back.

Charging numerous instances of fraud and conversion of ministry funds and property to private use, the lawsuit demands return of property and cash valued at more than $2.4 million, and alleges that Hawthorn took larger sums without leaving a paper trail. Montgomery demands $16.3 million in punitive damages, all to go back to Christian Brotherhood, under new leadership.

Bruce Hawthorn, 59, founded Christian Brotherhood Newsletter in 1982 after successfully appealing to fellow Christians to help with his medical bills following a near-fatal car crash. Hawthorn, the son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister, was then operating a rescue mission for alcoholics in Barberton, Ohio.

Christian Brotherhood, billed as "a proven and biblical method for Christians to share one another's medical bills without using insurance of any kind, "grew rapidly and now operates in all 50 states. It publishes subscribers' medical expenses as "needs," which are paid by regular contributions from other subscribers. The organization handles millions of dollars worth of medical bills per month for its estimated 40,000 subscribers. Similar programs have sprung up in its wake (CT, Oct. 2, 2000, p. 24).

Dancer Paid $41,000Along the way, however, Hawthorn allegedly raided approximately $728,200 from Christian Brotherhood's accounts for cars, a motor home, real estate, an airplane, and cash to benefit himself and family members. The lawsuit ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Pottering and Prayer
As John Stott turns 80, he still finds weeds to pull, birds to watch, and petitions to make
RecommendedIs It Robbing God to Tithe on Your After-Tax (Not Gross) Income?
Is It Robbing God to Tithe on Your After-Tax (Not Gross) Income?
The Israelites were never subject to withholding upward of 15 percent.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickUrban Mix-and-Match Religion Didn't Start with Nick Cannon
Urban Mix-and-Match Religion Didn't Start with Nick Cannon
Why this 'new spirituality' is really just old-fashioned syncretism.
Christianity Today
Lawsuit: Health Plan Accused
hide thisApril 2 April 2

In the Magazine

April 2, 2001

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.