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Posts tagged ‘Crouch’

10 Well-Known Christians Who Met the Lord in 2013.


From left, clockwise: Richard Twiss, Edith Schaffer, Charles Lamb, Pat Summerall
From left, clockwise: Richard Twiss, Edith Schaffer, Samuel Lamb, Pat Summerall

Media outlets have published lists this week of celebrities who died in 2013—lists that include Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, novelist Tom Clancy and actors Peter O’Toole, Jean Stapleton and Paul Walker of Fast and Furiousfame.

But religious leaders often don’t make these lists, mostly because the work of the Spirit is rarely celebrated on this side of eternity. As this year comes to a close, I decided to look back at 2013 and honor the memory of church leaders who died this year. They include:

1. Samuel Lamb. This brave Chinese pastor died in August at age 88. He spent 20 years in prison for his faith because he refused to bow to his communist oppressors. He taught his flock: “The laws of God are more important that the laws of men.” Today the illegal church he planted in the city of Guangzhou has grown to 4,000 members.

2. George Beverly Shea. Perhaps the best-known gospel singer of all time, Shea performed at Billy Graham’s crusades for decades and recorded more than 70 albums. A Canadian known for his booming bass-baritone voice, he teamed up with Graham in 1947. Ever willing to stand in the shadow of the more famous evangelist, Shea prepared audiences for Graham’s message by singing trademark songs such as “I’d Rather Have Jesus” and “How Great Thou Art.” He died in April at age 104.

3. Edith Schaffer. She and her husband, Francis, both Presbyterian missionaries, established L’Abri Fellowship, a retreat center in Switzerland that became a think tank for Christian theologians and activists. Some believe Edith and her husband—through their many books and lectures—galvanized the Christian Right in the 1980s by encouraging believers to challenge culture rather than hide from it. She was 98.

4. C. Everett Koop. Hated by some members of Congress because of his personal opposition to abortion, this distinguished pediatric surgeon was tapped by President Reagan to serve as U.S. Surgeon General. When Dr. Koop took office in 1981, 33 percent of Americans smoked; when he left in 1989, the percentage had dropped to 26 percent because of his strident campaign against tobacco use. A devoted Presbyterian who wrote a book about his faith journey, Sometimes Mountains Move, he also defended the rights of the elderly and children with birth defects. He was 96.

5. Richard Twiss. Once a monthly columnist for Charisma, Twiss was a rare breed: An outspoken charismatic Christian from a Native American background. His ministry, Wiconi International, focused on promoting reconciliation between whites and Native people. Born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, Twiss wrote the popular book One Church, Many Tribes, and used his pulpit to reach Native people for Christ. He was only 58.

6. Pat Summerall. Perhaps the best known sportscaster in the U.S., he was fondly referred to as “the voice of the NFL” because his career spanned more than 40 years—and 16 Super Bowls. But what many TV viewers did not know was that the man with the famous voice experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ in 1992 after battling alcoholism. He wrote in his autobiography: “My thirst for alcohol was being replaced by a thirst for knowledge about faith and God. … I felt ecstatic, invigorated, happier, and freer. It felt as though my soul had been washed clean.” Summerall became a Southern Baptist before he died at age 82.

7. Paul Crouch. Raised in the Assemblies of God and driven by a desire to spread the gospel through television, Crouch built his Trinity Broadcasting Network from scratch, starting in 1973 with a station in Tustin, California, using $20,000 of his own money. When Crouch died in November at age 79, TBN had more than 18,000 network affiliates. His fund-raising tactics and spending habits made him plenty of enemies, but millions of donors looked beyond his flaws to help him build the largest Christian TV ministry in the world.

8. Dallas Willard. Considered a leading authority on spiritual formation, Willard was a philosophy professor at the University of Southern California whose books included The Spirit of the DisciplinesThe Divine ConspiracyRenovation of the Heart and Hearing God. He was a passionate proponent for rigorous discipleship, and he chided the American church for thinking we can be Christians without being disciples. He wrote: “The spiritual life is a life of interaction with a personal God, and it is pure delusion to suppose that it can be carried on sloppily.” He was 77.

9. T.L. Osborn. This unassuming Oklahoma-based evangelist always kept his focus on evangelism, and he preached in 90 nations before he died in February at age 89. Never a showman, he did huge outreaches in developing countries that drew crowds as large as 500,000—but he didn’t brag about his accomplishments. (In one of his crusades he shipped and delivered 56 tons of literature!) Throughout his life he reminded Christians of their responsibility to obey the Great Commission. He summarized this in an interview I did with him in 2011. “I once had a vision of the Lord,” Osborn explained. “But in the vision, God didn’t have any hands. Then He looked at me and said, ‘You are my hands.’”

10. Faye Pama Mysa. Few Americans have ever heard of this 47-year-old Pentecostal pastor who served as secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria. But he died a martyr’s death in May when Islamic militants burst into his home in Borno state and shot him. He is only one of hundreds of Christians who have died in Nigeria in recent years, victims of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Organizations that monitor the persecution of Christians say the numbers of martyrs increased in 2013, especially in Nigeria, Egypt and Pakistan. In September in Pashawar, Pakistan, 78 worshipers were killed in a bomb attack at a church. In May, officials at the Vatican announced they believe 100,000 Christians are killed annually because of their faith.

I can’t list all their names here. But I pray our hearts will be filled with the courage of a martyr as we head into 2014.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project (themordecaiproject.org). You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He is the author of Fearless Daughters of the Bible and other books.

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It’s Time to Reboot Christian Television.


Lee Grady believes the time for preaching styles like TBN's Paul Crouch (center) has passed.
Lee Grady believes the time for preaching styles like TBN’s Paul Crouch (center) has passed. (TBN/Facebook)

Among the legendary pioneers of Christian broadcasting—a list that includes Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts and Jim Bakker—no one worked harder to establish Christian TV stations around the world than Paul Crouch Sr. In spite of constant controversies over his network’s content and finances, the Trinity Broadcasting Network that Crouch founded in 1973 has grown to be the largest and most profitable religious television enterprise in the world.

But Crouch died last weekend, and all is not well at TBN. Crouch’s oldest son, Paul Jr., who at one time was the heir apparent of the network, abruptly departed in 2011 and went to work for the Word Network, a predominantly African-American ministry. The Crouch’s granddaughter, Brittany Koper, in a lawsuit filed against TBN last year, claimed that millions of dollars of donor funds were misused. The Crouch’s grandson, Brandon Crouch, has lamented on a blog that the family is now split apart because his sister was fired for blowing the whistle on what she considered fraud.

And as Christian friends and colleagues mourn Crouch’s passing (there will be no public funeral, but TBN plans to air a tribute on Dec. 8 and 9), the wider Christian public is asking a lot of questions about TBN—and about Christian broadcasting in general: Why is televangelism so prone to scandal? Why have so many Christian broadcasters insisted on living lavishly? Why is our most visible outreach to the world so embarrassing?

Some people might say this is not the time to have this discussion. But I think Paul Crouch’s passing signals the end of an era—and it is time for a reformation. Crouch’s generation built monolithic organizations with autocratic leadership, and broadcasters who began their networks in the 1970s created a showy, bigger-is-better style that included endless telethons, sensational preaching and celebrities in spotlights.

That may have worked in 1975—and it still appeals to a segment of the market. But my generation and my children’s generation tuned out long ago because Christian TV came off as fake, campy and spiritually out of touch.

If I were asked to suggest ways to improve Christian television in this new era, I would list the following:

1. Support it with advertising, not donations. Who said Christian programming has to be donor-funded? I’d rather watch ads for steak knives or dietary supplements than endure two hours of begging—especially when the slick-haired evangelist running the telethon reminds you of a used-car salesman.

2. Prosperity preaching shouldn’t be allowed. Networks need to declare a moratorium on sermons that promise magical monetary benefits to people who “call now” to give a credit card donation. This type of merchandising of the anointing of the Holy Spirit grieves God and drags Christian TV down to the level of scam artists.

3. Preachers—and their doctrines—should be more carefully screened. Christian networks should not air programs by ministers who have questionable morals. If we wouldn’t allow that person in our church’s pulpit, why would we let them preach in front of millions on the air?

4. Donors should never be manipulated. If there is an appeal for donations, there should be no hanky-panky allowed. Don’t tell people that if they give tonight, God will give them a house. Don’t promise that God will heal their bodies if they sow a “$1,000 seed.” And don’t tell viewers that if they give in this special “Day of Atonement offering,” God will forgive their sins. This is witchcraft! Shame on any broadcaster who has allowed this garbage to deceive audiences.

5. Money should never be misused. TBN makes millions in donations every year—and the network has donated some of the funds to charitable causes. But why is it that broadcasters like Paul and Jan Crouch had to purchase lavish homes, a private jet and an enormous trailer for their dogs? Donors should demand more accountability for financial contributions.

6. It should be relevant to today’s culture. Young Christians today care about justice, world poverty and community transformation. They also want teaching on relationships, sexuality and practical discipleship. Christian TV must move beyond the talking-head style of the 1980s. If we want to appeal to young viewers, the false eyelashes, pink fright wigs and “Granny hootenanny” music will have to go.

7. Network owners should not set up broadcasting kingdoms. Some leaders in the past generation believed that ministries are like dynasties—that God expects the founder’s son to run it when he dies. But there is nothing in Scripture that even hints at ministries being passed down through family lines. God entrusts His work to faithful people—and He expects us to manage ministries with integrity, humility and accountability. Many of the disasters we have seen in American televangelism occurred because men thought they could take ownership of the work of God.

My prayer for TBN—and every other Christian television network in this country—is that ministry leaders will take their hands off of God’s work and let Him use broadcast technology in new and creative ways to reach the world for Christ.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE.

J. LEE GRADY

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of the Mordecai Project(themordecaiproject.org). You can follow him on Twitter at @leegrady. He is the author of The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and other books.

Hinn, Parsley, Jakes Honor TBN Founder Paul Crouch’s Legacy.


Paul and Jan Crouch
Paul and Jan Crouch
Remembrances and condolences have poured into Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in the days since the passing of founder Paul Crouch, who died Nov. 30 at the age of 79 following a decade-long battle with degenerative heart disease.
TBN will broadcast a special celebration of Crouch’s life and legacy Sunday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. PST and Monday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m. PST.
Following are a few of the honors offered by pastors and ministry leaders who have partnered with Crouch and TBN over the past 40 years:
“Everyone at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association extends our condolences to the family of Paul Crouch Sr., who, along with his wife, Jan, founded the Trinity Broadcast Network in 1973. … He and the TBN family have been longtime friends and supporters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.” —Billy Graham Evangelical Association
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Paul Crouch, who was a friend for decades. Paul was a pioneer in Christian television; the channels and studios that Paul built around the world are an incredible achievement and will live on as a permanent legacy.” —Pat Robertson, Christian Broadcasting Network
“Paul truly was a pioneer with a powerful vision for delivering the gospel in a manner that reached millions around the world. He understood the power of the gospel. His ministry and broadcast operations touched the lives of many in this country and abroad—including all of us at the ACLJ. Paul will be deeply missed.” —Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice
“Paul Crouch was a giant amongst men whose trail blazed television ministry for the 21st century. His brilliant faith and business acumen brought Christ to many who wouldn’t have been otherwise exposed. His legacy lives on through his family, TBN partners everywhere, and the many people that he gave an opportunity. I am numbered amongst those beneficiaries.” —Bishop T.D. Jakes, The Potter’s House
“Paul was a true man of God and through TBN led millions to Jesus. … I’ll miss my friend, but there is joy in heaven, where millions of people are thanking him for sharing Jesus with them.” —EvangelistArthur Blessitt
“‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints’ (Ps. 116:15). Certainly this is true for Dr. Paul Crouch, a man who helped open doors for me and many other ministers as founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Today my heart is sad, yet I am thankful to God for nearly four decades of a special, life-changing bond with this giant in the faith.” —Benny Hinn
“Dr. Paul Crouch and his lovely wife, Jan, saw something in this young Pentecostal preacher decades ago that perhaps I didn’t even realize myself. I will always be grateful that they found a place for Breakthrough and for me on their vast network. … Without Dr. Crouch’s faith in me, this ministry simply would not have the national and worldwide influence it has today, and for that I will always be grateful to him and to Jan.” —Rod Parsley
“My dad loved Paul Crouch, and Paul loved my dad. So it is like losing a family member. I can imagine my dad and Paul now sitting at Jesus’ feet together.” —BeBe Winans, award-winning gospel music recording artist.
Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Christian Leaders Mourn Loss, Honor Memory of Paul Crouch.


Paul Crouch
Paul Crouch

Paul Crouch, who co-founded the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) with his wife, Jan, 40 years ago,passed away Saturday at 2:32 a.m. at the age of 79 after more than a decade of chronic heart problems.

Under his direction, TBN has become the most-watched faith network in the U.S. TBN reaches every major continent via 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates around the world.

Christian leaders across denominations are offering their condolences to the family and honoring the memory of the Christian television pioneer.

Billy Wilson, Oral Roberts University

“I am deeply thankful for life of Paul Crouch Sr. and his passionate work sharing the gospel around the world through media. I am confident that his contribution to the growth of the global Spirit-empowered movement will continue to bear fruit as TBN continues into the 21st century. Our prayers are with the entire Crouch family during this time of loss.”

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

“Everyone at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association extends our condolences to the family of Paul Crouch Sr., who, along with his wife, Jan, founded the Trinity Broadcast Network in 1973. … He and the TBN family have been longtime friends and supporters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.”

Military Bible Association

Dr. Crouch had a passion for missions to the military, such that he visited the troops in Baghdad and invited military personnel on the air at TBN, which encompasses 26 global networks and affiliates around the world.

One such guest was retired U.S. Army Chaplain (Maj.) Jim Linzey, who recalls the honor of being with Dr. Crouch on Behind the Scenes and when singing on TBN with the Vanguard Chorale when he was a student at Southern California College:

“Dr. Crouch was a deeply spiritual man and extremely professional. He was absolutely a delight to be with and discuss anything in front of the camera. I appreciated the opportunity to talk about military ministry in the Middle East.”

Linzey also opened the Praise the Lord program with prayer at Dr. Crouch’s invitation.

GEB America

“The ministry of Paul Crouch Sr. is truly remarkable,” says GEB America President Ossie Mills. “GEB America founder and chancellor of the university that bears his name, Oral Roberts, was a pioneer in Christian television. Without a doubt, Paul Sr. took that concept to the next level and beyond.

“The entire family of networks of TBN throughout the world has and continues to impact the entire world for Jesus Christ. We are so deeply grateful for Paul Sr. allowing God to use his life to send His message of hope into homes everywhere. The GEB America family is praying for Jan, Paul Jr., Matt and their entire family and celebrates his life with them.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Paul Crouch
Paul Crouch

Paul Crouch, who co-founded the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) with his wife, Jan, 40 years ago,passed away Saturday at 2:32 a.m. at the age of 79 after more than a decade of chronic heart problems.

Under his direction, TBN has become the most-watched faith network in the U.S. TBN reaches every major continent via 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates around the world.

Christian leaders across denominations are offering their condolences to the family and honoring the memory of the Christian television pioneer.

Billy Wilson, Oral Roberts University

“I am deeply thankful for life of Paul Crouch Sr. and his passionate work sharing the gospel around the world through media. I am confident that his contribution to the growth of the global Spirit-empowered movement will continue to bear fruit as TBN continues into the 21st century. Our prayers are with the entire Crouch family during this time of loss.”

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

“Everyone at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association extends our condolences to the family of Paul Crouch Sr., who, along with his wife, Jan, founded the Trinity Broadcast Network in 1973. … He and the TBN family have been longtime friends and supporters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.”

Military Bible Association

Dr. Crouch had a passion for missions to the military, such that he visited the troops in Baghdad and invited military personnel on the air at TBN, which encompasses 26 global networks and affiliates around the world.

One such guest was retired U.S. Army Chaplain (Maj.) Jim Linzey, who recalls the honor of being with Dr. Crouch on Behind the Scenes and when singing on TBN with the Vanguard Chorale when he was a student at Southern California College:

“Dr. Crouch was a deeply spiritual man and extremely professional. He was absolutely a delight to be with and discuss anything in front of the camera. I appreciated the opportunity to talk about military ministry in the Middle East.”

Linzey also opened the Praise the Lord program with prayer at Dr. Crouch’s invitation.

GEB America

“The ministry of Paul Crouch Sr. is truly remarkable,” says GEB America President Ossie Mills. “GEB America founder and chancellor of the university that bears his name, Oral Roberts, was a pioneer in Christian television. Without a doubt, Paul Sr. took that concept to the next level and beyond.

“The entire family of networks of TBN throughout the world has and continues to impact the entire world for Jesus Christ. We are so deeply grateful for Paul Sr. allowing God to use his life to send His message of hope into homes everywhere. The GEB America family is praying for Jan, Paul Jr., Matt and their entire family and celebrates his life with them.”

TBN Co-Founder Paul Crouch Dies at 79.


 

Paul and Jan Crouch
Paul and Jan Crouch

Paul Crouch, who co-founded the Trinity Broadcast Network with his wife, Jan, 40 years ago, passed away Saturday at 2:32 a.m. at the age of 79 after more than a decade of chronic heart problems.

TBN’s website and Facebook page announced Saturday that, “Dr. Paul F. Crouch passed into the presence of the Lord on Nov. 30, 2013. We are grateful for the life of this amazing servant of God.”

An official statement from TBN read:

“Paul’s first love, the call he received as a young man, why he and his wife Jan founded TBN in 1973, and his life’s work, was the Great Commission first given by Jesus to his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew 28:18-20:

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world.”

“Today heaven is a loud and joyous place where Paul has been greeted by the countless souls he lead, and helped so many others to lead, to Christ. He hated can’t, insincerity, and giving less than one’s all. Paul never tried to be anyone else, but was just himself in all his rugged reality, frankness, and humor. He loved mankind, and longed to introduce everyone to the Best Friend he and humanity ever had, Christ Jesus. We mourn Paul’s passing and he will be greatly missed. But we know, as the old hymn reminds us, soon enough we will see him again in that great ‘meeting in the air.'”

Two years ago, Crouch was hospitalized for congestive heart failure. A pacemaker was inserted into his body last year. Earlier this month, he returned to the hospital and required a ventilator but was sent home and his health reportedly was improving.

Due to Paul Sr.’s failing health, his son Matthew has taken over day-to-day operations of TBN. Paul Crouch Jr. had left TBN in 2011 to work for The Word Network.

Started in 1973, TBN celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. The Crouches purchased TBN’s first station, KTBN-TV, in Southern California.

TBN since has grown to reach every major continent through 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. It has become the most watched faith network in the country.

The Crouches anchored the network’s flagship program, “Praise the Lord,” for several years. Crouch and TBN received many broadcast awards, including the Golden Angel Award from the Excellence in Media organization and the Parents Television Council Entertainment Seal of Approval.

Crouch Sr. was born in 1934 in St. Joseph, Mo., to Assemblies of God missionaries. He graduated from the Central Bible Institute and Seminary in Springfield, Mo., in 1955 with a degree in theology.

He and Jan met in 1957.

Evangelist Steve Hill was among those who offered their condolences on TBN’s Facebook page. Hill said, “ Please keep in prayer the Crouch family, founders of the Trinity Broadcasting Network as we and all their friends mourn the loss of President and Founder, Paul Crouch. The legacy of this ministry lives on forever.”

Evangelist Rod Parsley, founder of Rod Parsley Ministries in Columbus, Ohio, posted, “Thanking God today for the life of Paul Crouch—a dear friend and mentor and a giant of the faith whose TBN Trinity Broadcasting Network helped bring untold millions around the world to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Please join me in praying for God’s peace to rest upon Jan, their family and all who called him a beloved brother in the faith. You will be missed but certainly never forgotten.”

Christian News Service reported that John Hagee of Cornerstone Ministries said of Crouch: “Paul Crouch changed the course of Christian history by building a Christian network that spreads that Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations of the world everyday. Our deepest sympathies for his loved ones today.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

TBN Founder Paul Crouch Dies at 79.


Paul Crouch, who co-founded the Trinity Broadcasting Network in 1973, died early Saturday at age 79.

“We are grateful for the life of this amazing servant of God,” said an announcement on TBN’s website. “Please pray for the Crouch family during this time.”

Crouch died at 2:32 a.m. in California, according to a posting on the network’s Facebook page.

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No further details were available, though the Christian Broadcasting Network reported on its website that Crouch had “suffered for more than a decade with chronic heart problems.”

“The televangelist was hospitalized for congestive heart failure two years ago and received a pacemaker last year,” the CBN report said. “He went back into the hospital last month and for a while needed a ventilator to help him breathe.

“But he had returned home early in November amid reports he was doing better,” the network reported.

According to his biography, Crouch and his wife, Jan, founded TBN as Trinity Broadcasting Systems in 1973. The network purchased its first station, KTBN-TV 40 in Southern California, the following year.

Two other co-founders were Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, who left after just two years to form their own ministry, the PTL Club.

Based in Costa Mesa, Calif., TBN bills itself as the largest faith network in the country and the seventh-largest owner of television stations. It has studios in Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, and in New York City.

The network also has 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. TBN has also produced movies and television programming.

Among the televangelists whose programs have been aired on the network are Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, Robert Hagee, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, and Joel Osteen.

TBN marked its 40th anniversary this year.

Crouch served as the network’s president and chairman, with Jan Crouch working as vice-president and programming director.

In recent years, however, one of the couple two sons, Matthew, also a TBN vice president, took over the network’s daily operations, according to the CBN report.

Another son, Paul Crouch Jr., works for the The Word Network, the world’s largest African-American religious network, CBN reports.

According to his biography, Paul Crouch Sr. was born in 1934 to parents who were missionaries in St. Joseph, Mo. He is a graduate of the Central Bible Institute and Seminary in Springfield, Mo., earning a theology degree in 1955.

Two years later, he met his wife, Jan.

Crouch began his broadcasting career in the 1950s, CNN reports, working in radio and eventually managing the television and film production operations for the Assemblies of God in Los Angeles in the early 1960s.

His books include “I Had No Father But God” and “Hello World.”

Crouch served on the board of The Holy Land Experience, an interactive biblical museum in Orlando, according to CNN.

TBN’s Facebook page has been filled with condolences from a cross section of individuals.

“Paul Crouch was a giant amongst men whose trail blazed television ministry for the 21st century,” Jakes said in a posting. “His brilliant faith and business acumen brought Christ to many who wouldn’t have been otherwise exposed.”

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By Todd Beamon

TBN Responds to Steve Strang.


TBN World Headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif.
TBN World Headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif.

In mid-March, TBN staff members asked me to do a story on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s 40th anniversary. We don’t normally “cover” anniversaries, but because founders Paul and Jan Crouch agreed to an exclusive interview, it was set up for March 15.

To help me utilize the time, I asked my readers of The Strang Report to give me suggestions on what questions to ask, knowing we’d use only a few. It was similar to when people gave suggestions for questions for the presidential debates. It loosed a flood of questions, showing deep feelings—mostly negative—about TBN.

When Jan Crouch then canceled the interview, I felt it wasn’t worth the trip to interview Paul Crouch and his son Matt. I also felt I needed to tell my readers that the interview didn’t take place. TBN staff responded with a “letter to the editor.” Even though we don’t do “letters to the editor” for an Internet newsletter, I felt it was important to let you read what they said.

As we continue to cover this ongoing story and seek answers to the many questions that surround TBN, I’ll respond to some of the charges they made about me, with which I don’t agree, including portions of private text messages in which we negotiated the terms of the agreement, which they have divulged in order to make me look bad.

They apparently don’t understand the journalistic give-and-take in arranging such interviews. If anything, TBN should know, since they seem to carefully vet all the guests on their Praise the Lord program, including whether those guests have ever been critical of TBN or the Crouches.

As a journalist I want to tell “both sides,” so I am devoting this issue of The Strang Report to their response. Here is the link to my original column.

TBNs ‘Letter to the Editor

It was a disappointment for many to read Steve Strang’s recent commentary addressing his inability to orchestrate the interview he had hoped with Trinity Broadcasting Network founders Paul and Jan Crouch. While a meeting had, indeed, been arranged for an interview with Dr. and Mrs. Crouch, along with TBN Vice President Matthew Crouch, about the network’s upcoming 40th anniversary, Mrs. Crouch’s schedule forced her to bow out at the last minute.

That left both Dr. Crouch and Matthew Crouch at Mr. Strang’s disposal to move ahead with the planned substance of the interview: to reminisce about the miraculous launch and growth of TBN under Dr. Crouch’s 40 years of leadership, and to discuss the vision and direction for the network moving ahead under the leadership of Matthew Crouch.

An earlier series of discussions between Mr. Strang and a TBN representative had led to the impression that Mr. Strang was genuinely open to covering the occasion of TBN’s 40th anniversary with an exclusive interview and article in Charisma magazine. Knowing Mr. Strang’s business reputation in the world of ministry, the representative even arranged for the partnership to include a financial incentive for Mr. Strang’s magazine through planned advertising.

However, what Mr. Strang conveniently left out of the extended discussion was his plan to use the opportunity provided by the Crouches to apparently focus on questions about the mistaken belief that TBN lacked accountability, civil and spiritual. When Mr. Strang discovered that he would not be able to target Mrs. Crouch as he wished, he quickly sent a terse, two-word text to the TBN official who had set up the interview: “Deal’s off.”

Forgoing what he called the “exclusive” piece that he was planning to make a “big deal” in his publication, Mr. Strang reversed course and instead offered “a one pager interview we can [do] by phone.” Added a disgruntled Mr Strang: “I’m not going to spend two days in my life and a couple thousand bucks for a routine story. I’ll assign someone to do it. But I won’t. Sorry.”

That private venting segued into a more public, muted diatribe against the Crouches, in which Mr. Strang portrayed himself as a serious journalist seeking accountability. Apparently, however, Mr. Strang’s search for accountability extended no further than an intense interest in questioning Jan Crouch, and her absence made an exclusive sit-down interview with TBN’s esteemed founder and Vice President nothing more than “routine.”

That is unfortunate, because such an interview would have allowed him the opportunity to ask any question he wished, including those he solicited from his online blog. It would also have allowed him to set the record straight on the issue of TBN’s accountability, pointing out, among other salient facts, that:

  • TBN voluntarily files annual “Returns by Tax Exempt Organizations” with the IRS (IRS Form 990), even though as a church it is exempt from doing so.
  • TBN is subject to dual annual audits conducted by two separate CPA firms covering tax, financial, and regulatory compliance matters.
  • TBN submits annual charitable solicitation filings and registrations with more than 30 states (all that require it).
  • TBN files ownership and quarterly and annual compliance reports with the Federal Communications Commission regarding its operations, programming, and public service.
  • While TBN is one of the largest non-profit television network entities in the nation, the salaries of its officer are among the most modest (if not the lowest) in the industry.
  • Paul and Jan Crouch have turned over nearly all of their assets and estate to TBN.
  • TBN has garnered one of the most respected ratings from GuideStar, a leading group that monitors non-profits and ministries like TBN.

Along the way, an objective Mr. Strang might have told the relatively little-known story of TBN’s miraculous growth from one small station in California to over two dozen international networks and affiliates broadcasting the good news of Jesus Christ to every inhabited continent 24 hours a day—billions of souls.

Mr. Strang might have focused in particular on TBN’s six affiliate networks in Russia, its two full-time networks broadcasting the gospel to Muslims around the world, or the 24-hour network established a couple of years ago in Jerusalem that broadcasts the good news to the millions of Russian Jews who have made Israel their home.

Mr. Strang might also have pointed out the state-of-the-art studios TBN is now building in London and Jerusalem for the production of life-changing programming in all of TBN’s international networks and affiliates.

Most importantly, Mr. Strang would have had the opportunity to highlight the more than 36 million decisions for Christ logged by TBN’s prayer partners over the past forty years, the multiplied millions of prayers answered and lives changes, and the commitment Matt Crouch and the next generation of TBN leadership has for continuing to pursue Paul and Jan Crouch’s undeterred vision of using television to reach the world for Christ.

Over the many years that Mr. Strang’s Charisma has been published, TBN and its founders have been the subject of a number of informative cover stories, and TBN’s friends and partners—as well as those unfamiliar with the ministry—would have benefited from a well-deserved update.

Regardless of Mr. Strang’s unfortunate response to the circumstances surrounding their planned meeting, the Crouches continue to count Mr. Strang as a friend and fellow-laborer for the work of the Kingdom. They also pray for God’s continued blessing over Mr. Strang’s life and endeavors.


Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).

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