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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 00:32:13 +1300
by J. Lee Grady

Lee Grady believes the time for preaching styles like TBN's Paul
Crouch has passed.

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

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.

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