Christian bike gang, attempted murder charges and TBN

The story broke today that authorities in Orange County arrested six members of the Set Free Soldiers Christian motorcycle gang and charged them with conspiracy to commit murder. Phil Aguilar, leader of the Set Free Soldiers and founding pastor of the Set Free Worldwide Ministries movement, was among those arrested.

During my multi-year investigation into the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Aguilar’s name came up often. The convicted felon (I was told of the charges, but never confirmed them so I won’t repeat them here; but I think it’s safe to say he wasn’t in prison for shoplifting). Aguilar had close ties to the Tustin-based network, which is the world’s largest religious broadcaster.

He had been a semi-regular on-air guest and at one point was given his own show. Aguilar also served with TBN co-founder Paul Crouch on the board of the National Minority Television Network, an organization that federal officials called a sham TBN used to get around limits on television station ownership.

John Casoria, TBN’s in-house counsel and nephew of TBN co-founder Jan Crouch, has represented Aguilar. And Aguilar ran a drug treatment facility in the early 1990s at a TBN-owned ranch in Texas.

On-air, Jan Crouch called Aguilar “the closest thing to Jesus” she ever saw and once declared that those who didn’t give money to Set Free were going to Hell, according to a 1995 edition of the Christian Sentinel.

Several observers have wondered over the years why TBN had maintained a close relationship with Aguilar and his ministry, which has been criticized in print and by former members as being an abusive cult. And now the “closest thing to Jesus” is being held in jail on $1 million bail for allegedly participating in a 15-person barroom brawl — police say it was Set Free Soldiers vs. Hell’s Angels — in Newport Beach and trying to kill someone.

What a story. More, I’m sure, to come.


Jeff said...

Pastor Phil was always there for me especially when I was down and out.
Jeff Seymour

Glenn Hendrickson said...

This guy and his group are ridiculous. It would be humorous if if all of the violence and hypocrisy weren't involved.

Anyhow, Earlier this week apologetics index released a chapter from a book by Dr. Ronald M. Enroth called 'Churches That Abuse.' Our buddy, Phil Aguilar was the "star" of the first chapter:

Thought you might find this interesting.

Jeff said...

One of Jesus’ best friends was a guy named Peter who tried to kill a guy with his knife. What was Jesus doing hanging around a guy like this?
When the Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus the bible says they didn’t recognize Jesus because Jesus dressed and looked like the people he was reaching out to.
Jesus was falsely accused because many people hated him and said all kinds of mean things about him. The bible says “beware when all men speak well of you”. They told all kinds of lies about Him and the people of that time completely misunderstood Him.
None of us are perfect but then again Christ came for people who aren’t perfect. There was another guy named King David who was one of God’s greatest leaders. The bible called King David “a man after God’s own heart”. Yet David put a contract out on a guy’s life and had him killed. And the whole reason David did that was because David slept with the guy’s wife and didn’t want the guy to find out.
I understand those of you who have never read the bible but still hate Christianity. I also understand all the haters of Jesus because I was the same way. I use to bash Jesus and say He wasn't real so I hear you. Just know Jesus loves you as much as He loves me so don't worry He will be there for you if you ever change your mind.
Jeff Seymour

Glenn Hendrickson said...

Jeff apparently cut and pasted this entire comment on a few blogs (including mine). If anyone is interested in my reply you can follow this link: (I won't play the cut and past game, lol)

JeffSeymour said...

I am just a sinner like everyone else, saved by grace who loves Jesus. I love the fact that Jesus saved his harshest rebukes for the Pharisees. You remember them, those were the people that thought they were better than others. They acted like the judge and jury. They had that holier than thou attitude. In today's vernacular they acted as if they didn't have skid marks in their underwear (lol).
Like Jesus says "He who is without sin cast the first stone" lol.

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