This is a significant question, and I think there is some biblical tension here. First, there are strong biblical statements concerning judging a brother, such as are found in Matthew 7 and Romans 14. So I understand the caution from brothers and sisters here about prying into things that are none of our business.
Yet, I am not sure that this type of issue is the same. Biblically, there are no parachurch organizations, nor missions organizations; there is only the church. These things are not forbidden, but neither are they found in the pages of Scripture. If we are going to look at such organizations as an extension of the church (as it seems we should, if they are allowable at all), then what are the qualifications to be in leadership? I would suggest that the qualification for leading a Christian organization or going to the mission field are the same qualifications that you find in 1 Timothy 3.
The fact that these qualifications are widely disregarded in evangelicalism for elders, for pastors, and for missionaries is both undeniable and is certainly a factor that the visible church is in the sad shape that it is in. Yet the question remains: what qualifications are important to us? Is it the ability to speak well, to run things smoothly, to raise a lot of money? Or is it the qualifications that God has set out?
I do not know much about Franklin Graham, and I have no desire to throw stones at him. Yet I have been thinking much on the larger issue. If a Christian ministry leader or a pastor is receiving a salary at or near a million dollars a year or more, is this concerning?
I am not being dogmatic, but asking you brethren to consider this with me, as I think it is significant. Honestly, I am concerned by this, because of the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3, which state a bishop should not be greedy for money...not covetous...and have a good testimony among those who are outside.
It seems to me that earning such an enormous salary from Christian ministry lends itself to the charge that we are lovers of money. Does a man (not speaking of Franklin Graham here) who lives in a 2 million dollar mansion have a good testimony among those who are outside? I do not believe he does.
I have spoken with many unbelievers who want nothing to do with the church because, they say, "All they want is our money." When that is the general perception, is it the time for us to take a million dollar salary? Even if we give it away, does it not give occasion for others to speak ill of the Gospel as a means of gain, rather than a way to love and serve?
I remember well a man telling me in disgust that in our small town of 30,000 people, there are 5 pastors that make $100,000 a year or more. This is in a town where the average income is around $25,000.
I am open to insight. I have learned it is dangerous to judge someone's motives. And yet the large salaries and lavish lifestyles do not seem consistent with the One who laid down His life as a servant and calls us to do the same. At this point, I would echo Brother Zac: "I don't have to judge those men, but I also don't want to follow them." And, in all honesty, we are to have discernment about the men that we follow. And it seems that making huge sums of money in the name of Christ while at least 1/4 of the world has yet to hear the Gospel and hundreds of millions are on the brink of starvation does not leave us in the place of having a good reputation to those outside.
Again, I have nothing against Franklin Graham, but have been pondering this much, and this seemed like an appropriate time to share some thoughts. As I write, I pray that the Lord will continue to work in and through Franklin Graham, and that He will increasingly become like our Lord Jesus Christ and be a blessing to many. I am interested in your thoughts. May Jesus be lifted up through your lives.