Paul Crouch Jr. from TBN Responds

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Last night, my old friend Paul Crouch Jr. from the Trinity Broadcasting Network sent me this response to our recent poll “What Will it Take to Fix Christian TV“:

Phil,
I read with some interest the piece you had on your website about “What Will it Take to fix Christian TV”, and obviously had a couple of observations and comments.

First of all, it’s good that people are talking about this subject at all. I’m thrilled that we have the opportunity to “fix” Christian TV, that means at least it exists! If it weren’t for a handful of men like my Father, Pat Robertson, Lester Summerall or even Jim Bakker, Christian television would not be available as we know it today. At least we’re not debating, “How Do We Get Christian Television at All!”

Because of these pioneers the transmitters, studios, remote trucks and hardware are in place…now what we do with those tools is another story altogether. What gets hard to deal with at times is the fine line between debate and criticism. (And both are healthy if done properly.) I suppose anything in life could be debated or criticized, but the question should be, “Will it do any good?” Many times people criticize out of frustration, a lack of power, a lack of knowledge or to simply make themselves feel better. We are all different and have varying motives. Many times those on the receiving end, either don’t know or don’t care, and that’s OK too.

The title of this article was interesting to me, (I’m not sure who wrote it or who conducted the poll, but it obviously denotes that something is broken, and needs to be fixed.) Couldn’t the title have been, “What’s Happening in Christian TV and How Do We Make it Better?” To me, this perception is a little like going down to a new car dealership, looking at a Ford Mustang and asking, “What will it take to fix this new car?” Well, to the designers and engineers of that model, there’s nothing wrong with it, and does the job just fine. To a Chevy guy, it’s a piece of junk and needs to be crushed! Anything, anywhere at anytime in history could be criticized as to it’s relevance or significance. The Eiffel Tower was one of the most hotly debated projects in French history. Many saw it as a beautiful architectural masterpiece, others as an eyesore that needed to be torn down.

The other issue that needs to be discussed is, “What is Christian TV designed for?” Is it to, “Preach to the Choir?”, so to speak. Is it for only Christians to watch and enjoy? Is it designed to inspire one’s faith? Could it be used to teach and to entertain? Or could the technology possibly be used as a tool to evangelize the unsaved and unchurched both here in America and around the world? Well the answer is obvious…it’s to do all of those and more in my opinion. Exactly what kind of programming is the most effective will never be agreed on, and could be discussed until Jesus comes, but I can’t get into all of that in this short response.

Trust me, creativity is not the issue, I’ve got a stack of show ideas on my desk six feet deep, and many of them are pretty good! (Unfortunately we did turn down the Christian Wrestling show…sorry. I know you wanted to direct that one.) For a long time I was a huge believer that if we could simply spend more money, (or change how our medium is funded) we could make everything all better. For the most part money helps, but it is still only a small part of the equation. Viewership, ratings, donor response, spiritual impact and financial return must always be taken into consideration when doing a TV program and those with the fattest pocketbooks don’t always generate the greatest return in those categories.

Do we need to spend the money first to garner a large audience? Or do we wait for the large audience before we spend the money? Many programmers seem to be stuck in a kind of “Chicken and Egg” scenario. Then we must factor in what gets people to tune in and support any ministry? The slick production values, the lighting, the music, the message, the personality of the host? If the program happens to be a movie or documentary, what makes that compelling? The stars, the subject matter, the production values, the graphics, the spiritual content? Again, everyone is looking for something different.

I’m curious to know if these kinds of articles or attitudes exist in other forms of Christian media. (i.e. – Movies, Radio, Music, Internet?) Do those industries need to be “fixed” also, or simply improved? We all want better programs, bigger budgets, more creativity, more authenticity, etc., but saying “Christian Unity”, is a little like saying, “Arab Unity!” We all have our own ideas, perspectives, opinions and theories of who Christ is, and how the good news of the Gospel is to be preached and communicated effectively.

What I get excited about is those who don’t just sit on the sidelines and criticize or pontificate, but those who light a candle in the darkness. Some of the greatest programs to air on TBN recently were done by production companies who didn’t have a checking account full of money, but a heart full of faith. The tools for doing TV production (i.e., cameras, lights, editing systems, etc.) have plummeted over the last few years and there is no excuse for not getting in the game! If you have an idea that will revolutionize and evangelize the world, then “Go for it!” When God guides, trust me, He’ll provide.

I wasn’t one of your respondents to the “poll”, but had I been, I would have fallen into the “Christian TV Doesn’t Need Fixing” catagory. But is does need improving and refining, as all forms of media do. Trust me, I am going to do everything in my power to make that happen and raise the level of the ocean, so to speak. I’ve been in this indusry for over 30 years and we are getting better, but there is much more to do, so it’s time to stop debating and time to start shooting and editing!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Anonymous

    Great comments Paul. But I think your defensive position tells us a little about how TBN has gotten out of touch with the culture. Yes – I'm sure you must have a great heart for ministry, and I hear you've invested heavily in digital technology. But online blogs like Phil's are the new "conversation" platform for issues like Christian broadcasting. We're not critics. Most of us are deep in the trenches of the struggle to produce excellent Christian programming. TBN has lots of issues, just like our own programs do. And by discussing those issues in a forum like this, we can share ideas and insight to raise all boats.

    Keep responding here Paul. I hear you're trying to take the network in new directions, and we all support that. We'll be watching.

    –Viewer in Atlanta 

     

  • Anonymous

    This is so interesting. But, what if the entire concept of Christian TV (like secular TV) is broken? What if (like Murrow and Postman have said), TV is a trivializing medium, and what if it is therefore inappropriate for directly sharing the gospel? For instance, as a Gen-Xer, once I see something on TV, I am less likely to believe it to be true and authentic. I am immediately skeptical and cynical, wondering who's trying to sell me what. I'm all for harnessing technology, but I just plain don't believe in TV anymore–except as a resource for entertainment. Maybe that's the key … Christian television as entertainment/art/cultural contribution–no strings attached. Like Marshall McLuhan said, "The medium is the message." If no one takes the medium seriously anymore, what does that say about the message? – Matt Green, editor, Ministry Today (http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/blog)

  • Anonymous

    If a tree is known by it's fruit, then are we known by what we produce as well? Absolutely!

    What kind of 'fruit' does Christian television produce? If it is good, then there is nothing to fix. The old adage 'if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it'.. is full of truth and wisdom. Yet the reality of Christian television is that most of the programming is so bad, so out of touch with the viewing audience.. that some of the programs are watched only by the people who appear on the program. Think about that!
    Of course you realize that there are thousands of Christians who work in Hollywood. Over the years, I have hired many Christians to work on my own productions who have worked for TBN and other Christian media organizations. Im sad to say that many of those have told me stories about their experience that leaves me wondering what kind of people run these organizations?
    I attend a fellowship at CBS made up of believers who act as mentors for the students of Biola's Film, Television and Radio department. Here are films that have been produced  by members and associates of this small band of believers.
    X-MEN (The Last Stand), The Chronicles of Narnia, Hoodwinked, The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
    Please read that list again. Research the box office numbers on those four films. Research how many people in the world saw those productions. It's staggering. Many Christians were responsible for the writing, directing and production of those films.
     I first started meeting with this group nearly ten years ago when our numbers were very small..but we asked ourselves.. What's wrong with US? Why aren't Christians producing the best content in Hollywood? We are connected to the Source, are we not? What do we need to do to fix this problem?
    We aren't all great producers..but we are producing for a great God. We aren't even great Christians..but we are covered by a great God. Not all of our productions are that great..but we serve a great God and we all need Him to 'fix' all of us.
    What kind of fruit does TBN produce? Not numbers..not testimonials..not exceptions. What kind of fruit does Christian television produce?
    We've been given the talent..let's not bury it.
    Unless you are living in denial..you will know the truth and the truth is that we need to fix Christian television.
    Rand Chesshir
    ~Abbey Cinema~
    ~Abbey Academy of Arts~
  • Anonymous

    First I should say that I have probably wached about six hous of TBN in my life, despite being a Christian for a great majority of my 33 years, living in Southern California my entire life (home of TBN) and watching a LOT of television. Indeed, I have worked in the Television industry for most of the last ten years, and have also been deeply involved in Christian media, mostly on the music side, for much of the last thirteen years.

    The first statement of note above is 'At least we're not debating, "How Do We Get Christian Television at All!'" That statement makes two assumptions – 1. That "Christian" television is a good thing, and 2. That if it didn't exist we would be debating why not. First, what is "Christian" television. This whole thread is a little ambigous without and agreed on definition. Does Christian Television, or any Christian Media in general, need to be walled of from the rest of culture? Does Christian Television necessarily imply separate channels, separate production companies, separate infrastructure? Is that the most effective way to create Christian media? Is television created by, for, or about Christians still Christian Television if it is not on a Christian station, created by a Christian company, or funded by Christians?

    I recently read Bob Briner's book Roaring Lambs for the first time – years after it was given to me – and I think that his book, agree or not, should be required reading for Christians interested in media oriented vocations. In my view what is generally considered Christian television right now is a ghetto, in the sense that it is a separate world derided or ignored by the greater world.

    The question should not be is Christian televsion broken. The question is how can the Church develop, mentor, support, and encourage Christians called to media vocations to fulfill their God given callings and utilize their talents and skills in obedience to the Lord.

    – Noah Tutak

    Two Tack's Thoughts

  • Anonymous

    Agreed Noah.

    But as the parent of two television-watching children, it would be nice to know that there might be a safe and family-friendly channel that my kids can tune to at any time day or night and you can  feel safe.

    Ratings on shows are a good step, but they are ambiguously rated and very rarely have any constancy, like movies.

    There need to be ratings that are black and white so if “a certain” word or subject matter are used it get THIS rating. Right now it’s too loosy goosy.

    A dedicated venue/network seems the best way to provide our families with quality, morally safe programming. Not preaching all-day-long.

    A Concerned Christian Father

    (Gettin' a hint, Paul

  • Anonymous

    I'D LIKE TO HEAR PAUL'S RESPONSE.

    CHRISTIAN TV NEEDS TO BE ENTERTAINING AND REAL-LIFE, WITHOUT CROSSING ANY LINES.
  • Anonymous

    Paul,

    This may not work at all, but with all those show ideas you have on your desk, ect maybe you could utilize Christian producers who are already producing media and just tell them what you need. Given a potential worldwide audience who knows-maybe some of them would do it? Maybe your viewers could submit or vote on shows they'd like to see. I know one thing, teens love interactive media. If you can make the viewing experience as interactive as possible, people feel a part of it. That's why with video games they do beta tests first and the gamers workout the kinks and tell the game makers what changes they want to see.

    It could save you $ from producing them from scratch and you may get away with only paying a licensing fee you pay on your programming. Say a reality show, sit com, ect…the shows could have a website/blog/messageboard to give you a more accurate feel for how many viewers you really have…

    Just some ramblings. Anyway, I do think "Christian TV" could benifit from a good dose of change in programming. I was a voter that WISHED we could change the way it's funded. Whether advertisers could be secured in reality I don't know. I know it's expensive to produce network style episodic shows, however.  I wish we could escape the label of "Christian TV" and just be a cutting edge TV station. Anyway, you guys at TBN have potentially a massive audience and distribution outlet and so I'll pray for you guys and know that it's a lot of weight on the shoulders, but I know God is with you guys. Your in a position that a lot of people wish they could be and so of course you will take some shots. Take the constructive criticisms and weigh it and take the other stuff lightly.

     In Christ

    Reece

    Duststorm Productions

  • Anonymous
    As an international sometimes-viewer of TBN, Daystar, GOD-TV, etc (in Australia off the bird) I strongly agree there is some fixing to be done, especially to have any impact internationally.
    1. I have access to these channels only because I have a satellite dish for other purposes. Average Joe does not have this so therefore whilst technically there is national coverage, next to nobody can pick it up. Add to this the picture and sound quality is very poor next to other channels.
    2. It seems every time I "flick around" I'm being preached at or "begged on" by plastic looking people on smoltzy 1980's stage sets (the florist bills must be HUGE!). Big turn off for the average Aussie.
    What a waste!
    From my observation, Christian TV has sadly tried to please too many people all at once… probably driven by wanting to encourage donor support through been seen to be doing good things (like "reaching all of Australia" no doubt).
    Unfortunately we seem to have ended up with lots of half-baked options rather than fewer really really good channels that capture TV's power to engage.
    Jesus never had a flower-encrusted studio and a nice suit! Let's get real and get out amongst the people to tell their (sometimes gritty) stories.
    So is it broken? Not terminally. The patient just needs radical surgery to survive, or at least be noticed as viewers get harder (not easier) to capture.
  • Anonymous

    I think we are all talking around the real issue – Proving television that people want to watch. Whats calling the shots when we produce shows? Souls? Funding? Are we really being salt of the earth or just stiring the pot.

    I cant say its broken, more like its a product made by RONCO. Nice idea, alot of poentental, but didnt come with a manual.

    Clap on – Clap off …

     

    Ray Rodriguez

  • Anonymous

    From Truett Hancock

    Benny Hinn Ministries, CA

    Great topic and responses from all. Let me just throw in another perspective on Christian TV that has not been discussed other than from our friend in Australia. Regardless of what you might see here in the states, TBN, God Channel, and Daystar are making a huge impact overseas evaneglising the unchurched world. At the crusades we hold all over the world we ask people to raise their hands if they heard about the crusade on a Christian television channel, Typically 90% of the crowd responds. That, and the fact that we see thoudands of people respond to the call to salvation each night proves that Christian TV is making an impact in these far away places. We do very little radio and newsprint ads to get people to attend crusades. America is still the only real player in spreading the gospel and people who watch Christian TV are funding most of that evangelism. Most of you who responded on this string need to get a world view beyond your local cable system. If you want to really do some evangelism get your butt on a plane with a camera and shoot some shows with a missionary in a foreign country and help him get on the air in the native language.  Then the "medium will be the message".

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Truett for that comment and validation…I agree and have seen the same thing overseas. 

  • Anonymous

    I just turned 50 this past July. I got saved in 1969, back before shows like the 700 Club even existed.

    I'd like to be able to honestly say that I enjoy watching contemporary Christian TV, I really would. But I can't, because most of it is garbage and embarrassingly bad schlock, not withstanding the fact that we no longer have to deal with Tammy Faye Bakker's ludicrously bad makeup and manipulative tears.

    I'm not talking about whether or not the technology is the latest and greatest. I'm talking about content.

    One prior comment said, "TBN is in an amazing position of influence and they are having little to no impact on the culture." Actually, I think that assessment is overly optimistic. As anyone who's ever seen secular comedians lampoon and satirize the worst elements of the Christian subculture, the problem isn't that our subculture has gone unnoticed (although that sometimes happens, too), the problem is that when our subculture does get noticed, it tends to have the effect of making us into a laughingstock.

    Now, I realize that some of the derision we hear from non-Christians is motivated by the inherent antipathy between believers and unbelievers, but it's also true to say that the derision we receive is sometimes well-deserved.

    But it's easy to criticize, you may say. How would I do things differently, if I had the power to change the way Christian TV operates? I'm glad you asked.

    First of all, I wish that Christian broadcasters would take the time to notice that a substantial amount of "prime time TV" consists of entertaining fictional shows (and, in recent years, "reality TV").

    So where are the good, creative Christian dramas we could be producing and broadcasting (or cablecasting)? Where are the good Christian reality TV shows?

    Is it asking too much to ask for people to be able to turn on the TV and watch a good science fiction show or crime drama or medical drama or courtroom drama or sitcom or Western (and no, I'm not talking about ancient reruns of The Rifleman) in which Christian values and truths are woven into the storylines, in such a way that it doesn't feel forced or propagandistic? Are Christians so bereft of imagination that the only type of TV evangelism they can imagine is within the context of a talk show or a televised church service?

    Where's CS Lewis when we need him? We need someone (or more accurately, a bunch of someones) who can do for Christian prime time TV what Lewis and Tolkien did for Christian literature.

    And what about reality TV? I can think of a number of ideas for good Christian reality TV shows. How about a show called "The Mission", for example, in which the objective of participants would be to compete against one another by going into completely unfamiliar and frequently hostile environments (both at home and abroad) and serving the Lord in the most challenging situations possible? Viewers could vote (online or via toll-free phone calls) on who they thought best exemplified the fruits of the Spirit from one episode to the next, including compassion, love and mercy, to say nothing of courage and the other traits essential to effective missions work.

    Another idea: I'd definitely watch a Christian version of the show "Rock Star INXS". There are a number of good Christian rock bands and CCM bands, and they all have to go through the audition process from time to time in order to replace people who have left their groups. But obviously, the best Christian bands care about more than just talent. They also seek band members with a real passion for the Lord. Watching people deal with all of the issues normal musicians deal with, while simultaneously fighting to maintain their spiritual integrity, would be both entertaining and edifying. Such a show would certainly have a lot more appeal for the vast majority of young people (including the vast majority of Christian young people) than watching some alien-looking TV evangelist/huckster on yet another Christian talk show.

    What about a show which interviews and profiles real people (yes, real people) and discusses the ways in which their faith has made a difference on the job?

    What about shows, similar to what one can see on The History Channel, which would examine the history of various theological movements (such as The Jesus Movement, the Reformation, the Azusa Street revival, etc.) within the history of the Church? Numerous other historical periods and events could also be examined from a Christian perspective. Education doesn't have to be boring. The History Channel has proven that.

    What about a show which presents the gospel of Christ from the perspective of someone who hasn't bought into the whole "name it and claim it" heresy (a/k/a the "prosperity doctrine") which seems to guide the thinking of so many of today's TV evangelists, such as Kenneth Copeland? How about a more well-rounded approach which includes the viewpoints of Christians who don't necessarily equate materialism and self-aggrandizement with discipleship?

    What about shows which intelligently critique aspects of popular culture (e.g., by reviewing movies in a manner inspired by Ebert and Roeper) from a godly perspective?

    What about shows in which passionate but intelligent debate is encouraged, regarding the pressing social and political issues of the day? On such a show, non-Christian guests would be encouraged to appear in order to make their best attempts to rebut the arguments of the Christian guests and hosts, based on the belief that Christians have nothing to fear from such people. (Or are we afraid to present such a show because our faith really isn't as strong as we'd like folks to think that it is?)

    The above ideas, and the fact that they're so rarely implemented on Christian TV networks, help to explain why I'd rather watch paint dry than watch what passes for Christian television.

    Marshall McLuhan notwithstanding, it isn't the medium of TV that's to blame, it's the people involved in producing Christian TV who are to blame. We haven't even come close to tapping the potential of the medium, and we won't do so until people like Paul Crouch, Jr. pull their heads out of the sand and acknowledge that Christian TV needs a major overhaul, not just a few minor adjustments. 

    Mark Pettigrew

  • Anonymous

    Amen, Mark. I second that.

  • Anonymous

    Has it been noted that TBN has actually started 4 other networks (for U.S. consumption-many more world wide) that are on the air right now. Each with the purpose of reaching a certain segment of society. (Smile of a Child Network (SOAC) for children birth-12 years, JCTV 13-29 age group, ENLACE Spanish speaking audience, Church Channel 70 years plus… lol.)    Both SOAC and JCTV have very different programming than what you see on TBN. They are not pulpit driven like much of the TBN programming, but are seeking programs that relate to the age group they are targeting, which means they are often entertainment driven, but with a message consistent with a Christian world view. (More info on SOAC at http://www.soac.org  and JCTV at http://www.jctv.org)  Though both SOAC and JCTV are much smaller than TBN, they still have a sizable and growing audience. JCTV is in 500 cities through cable, broadcast affiliates and TBN owned digital multi cast stations across North America – in addition to North American converge on free to air satellite TV. (JCTV also penetrates millions of homes abroad and we have received letters from every continent and reports of JCTV even being played in malls, banks and restaurants in some countries)   These two networks are not a cure all, but they are moves in the right direction. Although JCTV's target audience is 13-24, we have a large spill over on both ends of the age spectrum. A good example of this is a letter received by JCTV from a 40 something year old father who stated he likes to watch JCTV with his 10 year old daughter.  We are aware of some of our production short comings – it’s the reality of the economy of doing television right – on both SOAC and JCTV. However, I think we offer a product that is credible to the marketplace and is improving. TBN helps produce over a dozen of the shows on JCTV right now. The rest come from outside sources.   If SOAC or JCTV prove to be successful it will enable more progressive programming to be developed on the mothership (TBN).  As a concerned Christian citizen, you are welcome to help further the relevance of these endeavors by offering programming to SOAC or JCTV, helping us grow through cable distribution (tell your cable providers you want this service), watching and critiquing (we are open to your thoughts and realistic ways for improvement – a 500K per episode sitcom is not realistic), telling those you know about us, asking them to push their cable/satellite provider to carry SOAC/JCTV, and of course, by financially supporting these efforts to show that people are willing to support such programming. 

  • Anonymous

    Phil,

    At this year's NAB ? Technologies for Worship Confrerece, much was made of Lakewood Church. New building, HD Cameras etc. However I watch Christian Tv not just to see camara moves, lighting etc but bible based content. Joel Osteen never uses the bible , but gives a "nice" psychological message . He never ties his "message " to the Word of God . He isn't alone; T.D Jakes also.

  • pjoshua

     

    Please note that alot of you are now debating your christian viewpoint, rather then offer any good advice on what we should do with christian television. The fact that you guys are pointing out ministries that you disagree with show me that your not really here to tell Paul how you might do christian television differently. Also to say that tbn has had no impact at all is just foolish. Im 24 years old and must people my age do not watch christian television. I believe some of it has to do with the christian television lack of relativism but the majority of it has to do with a lack of spirituality in ones life. More and more of my generation are leaving the church in record numbers. You could probably have the best christian program ever and my generation would still probably not watch.

  • Reba Toney

    Kudos Paul Jr. for stepping up to a question that is an obvious insult. "What Will it Take to fix Christian TV?"… Is like asking, "What it will take to fix your local church". I think there is always room from improvement and a need to be relevant and progressive but as of now, Christian TV is not broken. Christian TV is, like you said, just not to the taste of some. I love how you said, without TBN, and others Christian programers the debate would be nill. It seems to me that there is more movement in Christian tv, networks, programs, and movies now then ever before and as you said now is a time to be proactive not critical. If you think about it, the secular industry esteems their classics and humble beginnings… and I think it's time Christians do the same!

  • linn mcclellan

    I agree with pjoshua's comment entirely.  When you start trying to do some "morally neutral" programming, or vaguely Christian  fictional dramas and movies, etc., or worse yet as was suggested above a type of Christian realtiy show of competing missionary groups, the message of the gospel becomes debased as just another source of entertainment.  This is a watering down of the gospel message, which Jesus told us plainly is going to be unpalatable to the world.    Please remember, everyone what the apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 1:18-31.  In part, ". . . . For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing" and . . . ."Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" and " it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe"   and etc.  The gospel is not to be brought down to the base level of man's understanding and used merely for entertainment (and God forbid that Christians are sitting down to TV on a regular basis to be entertained, for we should be redeeming the time), the gospel is to pull man up and OUT of the mire of the world.    We do know that in the church, and that includes the "TV" church, there are tares as well as wheat.  The false among the real, the wolves among the sheep.  Christ will indeed weed these out at the last day.  But we are not to condemn the church in it's entirety, for then we would be condemning all true believers as well, including our own selves.  While we do see some eccentricities in our brethren, love, not judgment, is the overriding theme of the church.  You can do over all the sets, and all the wardrobes, and all the hair, and all the formats in Christian TV and will have, guaranteed, the same number of critics as you have right now.

  • tex

    the best way to fix Christian tv is to get rid of TBN all together. PLEASE. I'm embarrassed to even be associated with them.

  • Deanna

    WAAAAY out of touch! It pains me to watch. I can hear what all the non-believers are thinking. It's (TBN) frightening little chidren and entertaining cynics. I don't know. I love Paul and Jan and all, but they're wacky. I believe they're sincere, but they do not come accross that way. People value sincerity. Extra measures should be given to ensure that it comes accross just as it is.

  • s rizzi

    I am astounded and disheartened by much of what has been said. I was saved watching PTL and fed the good news and taught Bible. You have no idea of the caliber of wonderful preaching that came forth esp in the early years. I have supported Christian TV shows as the Lord leads me for over 30 years. Some hairstyles and clothes are not to my liking, but it's never stopped me from hearing the words coming from men and women full of the Holy Ghost and scripture. I saw PTL fall but i had quit giving to them as they had become mostly entertainment. I quit giving to Jimmy Swaggert as I saw him spiraling out of control. But I wept many tears when he did go down. But every time I saw a ministry hot with the fire of God, I supported it because I knew that people were getting saved. Do any of you care about people getting saved and brought into the kingdom, with all of its flaws? There seems to be lots of humor at the age of the ministers and the givers, yet us old ones are the ones who are supporting this huge ministry of Christ, with the ability to touch millions of lives of people living in hopeless situations, and some of you would replace that with "family friendly viewing" and christian competition? Well don't expect us old work horses to support that with our dollars because we will just find a place where Christ's life, death, & resurrection are taught and the prayer of salvation is offered, despite anyone's outside appearance. When trials and tribulations come to people, I want there to be an answer when men and women in desperation cry out to God "what must i do to be saved!" And if TBN brings on young, cool, attractive people who I could never identify with , preaching and  teaching the living gospel of Christ, who are anointed and on fire for God, I will support them, because what they look like doesn't matter. I only see Jesus.

    (Thank you TBN and all television ministers who have blessed my life and the world) 

  • Jamie Grigg

    Never compromise the Gospel.  Preaching cuts to the soul in a way that nothing else can.

  • LeoLion

    While it would be nice if most Christian TV shows looked comparable in quality to secular shows (e.g., nice sets, fancy lighting, etc.), for me content is more important. 

    I really enjoy Christian apologetic type shows, such as John Ankerberg's (though I do not agree with his support of progressive creationism).

    Specials that debunk secular anti-Christian material, such as the "Lost Tomb of Jesus" and the "DaVinci Code" (by Dan Brown) are among my favorites, too. We need more of that on Christian TV.

    I think author Lee Strobel ("The Case For Christ") should have his own apologetics show, as well as Josh McDowell, Ron Rhodes (expert on the cults), James White (expert on cults and Roman Catholicism; his ministry has a web site, "Alpha and Omega").

    We need more intellectual Christians on TV giving responses to the criticisms of Non-Christians and demonstrating that Christianity is a viable, rational choice in this post-modern, "all truth is relative / does truth even exist" era.

    A daily news broadcast from a conservative, Christian perspective would be welcomed, such as CBN's news segment on the "700 Club." 

    I also enjoy shows that are educational in nature, such as the science specials which support intelligent design, or the 'Drive Thru History' program, which has a host who visits spots that Jesus and/or the Apostles visited 2,000 years ago. 

    One change on TBN that I believe was an improvement was the increase in the number of Christian films shown. (One can get tired of the standard 'preacher- in- a- pulpit' kind of show.)

    On the downside – and I'm sure that Mr. P. Crouch Jr. has heard this a million times before – I believe there are way, way too many shows by Properity Gospel pastors on TBN (and on Day Star). 

    Even putting aside any debates as to the merit (or lack thereof) of Prosperity teachings, there are just too many such shows on TBN!

    The shows by the Prosperity Gospel (also known as "Wealth and Health") teachers such as Paula White, Rod Parsley, Benny Hinn, etc., are even repeated 2 to 3 times through- out the day, every day! It's overkill.

    Personally, I regard Prosperity teachings as being false. 

    At the very least, I think if you're going to have the Prosperity Gospel guys on your network, you need to balance them by having more shows with people who do not agree with the Prosperity Gospel and who also actively teach against it.

    Or, how about a show where "pro" and "anti" Prosperity Gospel folks debate each other? That way, it wouldn't be only the "pro" people who get heard on TBN, which is usually the case.

    Unfortunately, I don't know if that could happen, as Paul Crouch Senior doesn't seem open to allowing differences of opinion being broadcast on TBN.

    P. Crouch Senior seems to stifle criticism of the Prosperity Gospel and Roman Catholicism on TBN.

    Another problem I see with TBN is that they're too ecumenical – and at the expense of truth.

    TBN has been airing a couple of shows hosted by Roman Catholic guys.

    The Roman Catholic guys on TBN seem nice enough, mind you, but…

    I do not regard Roman Catholicism as being a valid form of Christianity, because they reject the teaching that salvation is by faith ALONE.

    The RCC (Roman Catholic Church) teaches that you can never know for sure if you're saved, but to have any chance at salvation, you have to have faith *AND* Roman Catholic sacraments *AND* good works.

    If your wish to double check this information, look in the RCC's own official documentation; do not ask a Roman Catholic priest or "Average Joe" Catholic. I say that because…

    Often times, Roman Catholic clergy (and even some RC lay-persons or apologists), whether intentionally or not, or out of ignorance, I do not know – will misrepresent what their own church teaches when speaking with Baptists or Protestants.

    I think the misrepresentation is done to make it sound as though Roman Catholics and Protestants/ Baptists all basically believe the same things (when in fact they have huge differences in teachings) .

    Roman Catholics also place the RC Church's Tradition and the Pope's dogmatic rulings on the same level of authority as the Bible, which has led to all sorts of unBiblical beliefs on their part (e.g., the "Bodily Ascension of Mary," etc).

    ~I wonder if Mr. Crouch (Senior) is aware of all that? If so, why would he continue giving air time to Roman Catholic shows??

    I've known and been good friends with Roman Catholics over the years, so I am not slamming them as people.

    I do not mean all this to go off on a Roman Catholicism rant, but rather to demonstrate that they have a false Gospel, yet some of their priests are permitted to have their shows aired on TBN. ~And I can't figure out why. 

    I would like to see more shows by conservative Baptists on TBN and other Christian networks.

    I realize that Christianity is not a popularity contest.

    However, it bothers me that most Non-Christians get their ideas of what Christians are like from Christian TV programming, and as a result  walk away thinking all Christians are lunatics… 

    And they arrive at that conclusion, I believe, because 95% of the content on a network such as TBN is not only filled with Prosperity Gospel teachers continually asking for money- 

    – but also the sort of overly expressive Christians who hoot, holler, scream "Amen," jump up and down in their chairs, shout, "Be heeeeeeeled in the name of Jeeeee-sus!" etc. during televised services. 

    I'm not saying it's necessarily wrong to worship that way, but I believe a more sober-minded congregation would leave a more favorable impression with Non-Christian viewers. 

     If you have ever noticed, when Non-Christians (such as the actors on the secular show "Saturday Night Live") parody Christians, it's almost always a caricature of the Prosperity / overly expressive Christians you see on most TBN programming. 

    When secular news shows do televised investigations and exposes on tele-evangelists, it's almost always about the the Prosperity pastors, who tend to be flamboyant, with their goofy outfits and creepy, dowdy and immaculate hair styles.

    You hardly ever see the news shows targeting a Charles Stanley or Adrian Rogers – ask yourself why that is.

    I'm in my mid-30s, and a few of the programs on TBN that I enjoy are Love Worth Finding (Adrian Rodger's show), In Touch (Charles Stanley's show), Greg Laurie's show, 'The Stranger' series, Drive Thru History, Christ in Prophecy (David Regan's show), Way of the Master, Manna fest, Carl Baugh's science show, Grant Jeffrey's prophecy show…

    On Day Star and other networks, I enjoy the John Ankerberg show, Zola Levitt's show, and the Hal Lindsey prophecy show. 

    There are probably a few others I'm forgetting.

  • LeoLion

    P.S.) In my post above, I wrote,

    "You hardly ever see the news shows targeting a Charles Stanley or Adrian Rogers – ask yourself why that is."

    – er, I realize that Mr. Adrian Rogers passed away a few years ago, so news reporters obviously can't ask the man questions now. I meant, when he was alive, you didn't see NBC or ABC go after him over alleged scandals.

    To linn mcclellan, who was concerned that having entertaining, fun Christian shows would somehow water down the Gospel:

    I agree with you to an extent, but not fully.

    Sometimes I do find myself irritated when Christian TV show / movie makers try to appeal to Non-Christians by making shows / movies that only hint at a Christian message.

    Basically what you get in that kind of scenario is a secular show with a Christian veneer; the Christianity part is shallow.

    And when Christian entertainment providers take that route, their movies and shows sometimes come off as desperation, a cop out, compromising, pandering too much to the unbelievers, and as being lame-o.

    People who make such shows or films don't want to offend seekers by being blatant about the Gospel.

    On the other hand, watching nothing but "televised-church-service" after "televised-church-service" gets mind numbingly dull after awhile.

    You do have to consider we are talking about TV here. TV can be educational, but its other purpose is to entertain.

    So I'm not sure it's wrong to have (Christian) shows that are not expressly about Jesus / The Gospel.

    It's like the debates I see with those who like CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) and Neo-Fundamentalist Baptists. "Neo Fundies" regard almost anything and everything as being sinful or of Satan, including CCM.

    I don't think a song by a Christian composer necessarily has to mention Jesus -(and in context of Calvary to boot)- to be considered "Christian."

    A Christian song could have lyrics against abortion and which urge young girls who are pregnant to put the baby up for adoption, for instance.  

    I hope nobody misunderstands what I'm about to say next…

    As much as I love Jesus and appreciate what He did for me on the cross, I think a CD with nothing but songs about sin/ the crucifixion/ resurrection might get stale because it's too repetitive.

    Remember, we are talking about entertainment mediums, not a church service where a preacher is trying to get the lost to see their need for a Savior.

    If the entertainment in question (whether album or movie) does point to Jesus as Savior, that's fine, I'm just saying Christian entertainment doesn't have to be only, or exclusively, about the Gospel 100% of the time.

    Another example:

    While many pastors will have sermons about sin, the need for a Savior, the crucifixion and resurrection (and yes, they should sometimes preach on those topics!!), they sometimes vary it by tossing in sermons about prophecy, the Second Coming, sexual purity, having faith in God even when you're going through a trial, etc.  

    Wouldn't you find it boring and limiting if the only topic your local pastor ever preached about all the time, sermon after sermon, was the Gospel (i.e., sin, redemption, Christ's atonement, etc.)? Don't you think your pastor should occasionally also toss in topics such as… adultery is bad, Christians shouldn't compromise Judeo-Christian morality with the world's standards, etc?

    Also, doesn't the Bible encourage pastors to preach the 'whole counsel' of the word of God? And the whole counsel of God is more than the Gospel.It also includes how we are to treat others, what morals we should live by, how to pray, having faith in tough times, and so on.

    You'll notice that Jesus taught on different topics, and not just about salvation, so I don't see why it would be wrong to have a Christian-based reality show, as the one guy above was saying.

    I don't see how it debases the Gospel to display Christians in different settings and situations.

    After all, you're not just a Christian when you sit in the pew each Sunday; you're a Christian 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and no matter where you are:home, work, the grocery store, in the shower, mowing the grass, in the park, etc. 

    And you know, I think a Christian reality show might be good: you'd see people helping each other to win the contest rather than trying to stab the 'other guy' in the back. I mean, imagine a show where you tried to come in last.

    That would be a nice change from the secular reality shows where people are mean, selfish, and horrible to one another, and it might give a Non-Christian viewer something to think about.

    If you want pure, no-nonsense, serious biblical teaching, your best bet would be to go to a seminary.

    I don't think expecting Christian TV to be like televised seminary classes all the time is fair to the medium.

    But I'm still in agreement with Linn, to a degree…

    I do think that there are too many "seeker friendly" ministries out there today who are so scared of offending and scaring off potential converts that they don't just "water down" the Gospel, but they omit it entirely from their TV / church services! 

    They seldom (or never) mention the words (or concepts of) sin, redemption, atonement, hell, etc., and they really should, at least once in awhile.

  • LeoLion

    Ever since the local TBN has been on something called a "CET Telethon" kick for the past week where I live, I've not been tuning in to TBN at all.

    – Other than an occasional visit (for a few seconds) to see the preachers turn red in the face from screaming that if you "sow your seed" with them, then God will "double your portion," I've not been watching. 

    And the only reason I do watch for the few seconds here or there is for the entertainment – it's like watching a train wreck. Overall, though, the greed and non-stop financial begging make me ill, so I don't watch.

     For the past few days, they've had mop-top evangelist Steve Munsey on with the prosperity shtick (''sow your seed, God will give you double back, or fix all your problems, guaranteed! ~ how nauseating.)

    It's my understanding that other Christian networks also use Munsey, not just TBN. Anyway.

    TBN folks should take a lesson from the guys at PBS. 

    PBS does fund raising too, but the difference is, they actually air content when they do so! 

     Every so often, PBS will take a break from the content – which may run anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour – to get their hosts on asking for money. 

    For example, during one PBS fund-raising day, they showed an hour or two long special about Elvis the pop singer.

    I got to see interviews with people who knew Elvis, clips of Elvis singing, etc., and then they'd do a few moments of begging for money. Once the begging part was over, they'd go back to showing more Elvis footage. 

    TBN, by contrast, whether with their national or regional fundraising efforts, have hosts on 100% of the time begging for money.

    To be fair, the hosts who ask for money will sometimes break into a song for a couple of minutes, but then it goes right back to some host guy telling us to "sow a seed" (send $ $ $).

    It's been 24 / 7, for the past week, of nothing but non-stop talking heads begging for money on TBN.

    Do they actually think people watch this? It's mind numbingly BORING.

    I don't know how they manage to get any contributions from anyone.

    As I said, other than watching a few seconds of it, I haven't been watching at all.

    All it has done is caused me to miss some of the programs that I do enjoy, (such as Charles Stanley's show, "In Touch").

    Instead of doing 24- hour- a- day fund-raising, why don't they just limit it to a few hours and show regular programming the rest of the day?

    -OR-

    Why don't they mostly run regular programming but run a scrolling, text marquee thing at the bottom with a phone number asking people to donate? 

    That way, people would still get to watch their shows, TBN could ask for money, and it would be a lot less boring for the viewer.

    I mean, 24 hour a day, seven day a week fund raising?? All that does is alienate people (by boring them to death), not reel them in. 

    I've tried watching the 'Day Star' newtork in the meantime, but they're pretty much non-stop false teachers (i.e., prosperity gospel type stuff).

    TBN will at least break it up by running a Christian movie once in awhile, or a decent, trustworthy guy, such as Stanley or David Reagan (of the "Christ in Prophecy" show).

  • DBauman

    TBN fails to remove ministries that are  in moral failure, doctrinal error, or have failed marraiges to step down for season. ie..Paula White. This makes a mockery to the scriptures and sceptics have a field day with these inconsistancies. I have yet to hear preachers on TBN urge viewers to TITHE to their local church ONLY and only give offerings to the TV ministry. Lee Grady is couragous to raise these issues.

  • Mary Hutchinson

    Joyce Meyer says that you tithe to the church…then give to ministries.

  • http://radiantgod.blogspot.com/2007/11/accountability-in-kingdom.html Charisse

    I just wrote an article about that very subject.  It is really appalling what is happening in the church today.

  • Bill Scudder

    I agree. There is very little true gospel given on TBN. Where is Martin Luther when we need him? I have never heard Joel preach he Gospel and he gives a two or three setence prayer and the end and then says, you have been born again. this is not biblical and the people never heard the Gospel. You can not get saved by just repeating a prayer.

    And if you took all the unbiblical prosperity preachers off TBN there would not be much left to watch.

  • Bill Scudder

    Benny Hinn now wants you to send your tithe to him. And tithe is not a new testiment principle anyway.

  • Defected

    Tv ! Is dead on TBN . We need real shows and edge ! Stop asking for money everyday – Use commercials . Who are you trying to reach ? The younger generation or the investors ? You do realize that my generation is slipping past your station ( prosperity preaching ) – Is the main reason your losing this generation . No , not from salvation but from christian entertainment . I can’t stand turning on TBN , with someone telling me I have to give TBN to be blessed . I give to my church . If you really want change ! Give this station a Next generation spring cleaning . Until then I will enjoy Fox

  • Betty Crone

    Hey, now i know what a blog is and i like it.  A place where people can openly express their views and ideas.  Awsome.  I love TBN and all the preaching going on, but i am not the type to sit in front of the tv set all day long.  I like to stay busy.  Keep airing your viewpoints, Paul Jr. and keep producing your programs, I love and respect all you do for the viewers of TBN.  I am not perfect but enjoy trying to be.  Love to read about your opinions and how you express them.  There is no criticism and there is alot of respect for others perspective. I love Jesus and yes, i let him be my co-pilot and i think jesus appointed Paul Jr. to help his father pilot the Gospel to all the world. God Bless everyone and i am happy to find this site.    Betty Crone

  • John McKendricks

    "You can teach a pig to fly, but what’s the point." This is the only phrase that seems to express the scene behind the scene. I initially found this particular article while searching for information regarding <strong> Mellisa Scott and Paul Crouch Jr.’s engagement. <strong> Christian Television may not be dead for everyone, but it is dead for me. I refuse to participate. I will not allow it to rob me of time and energy. How long will we continue to support lavish living, immoral leading and for the sake of image and teaching – which personally I don’t find to be all that "good"– under the auspice of spreading the gospel? Do we even slightly resemble Jesus, does that matter to anyone?

    Good is a matter of perspective and the pursuit of authentic and genuine faith is another conversation all together. 

     John 

  • patrick thatcher

    your opinions are like armpits, everybody has em and they all stink..so keep em to yourself and let tbn do what they like & u do what u like & shut up & get 2 work..let God give His opinion in that Day

  • Lydiauebele

    it did not tell anything about Matt and Laurie Crouch on TBN their weath their home and all the things money can buy do they have a plane What about the kids

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6VUR4KLHSXS7JXSQN3DMHC3HDI Angelita Sandoval

    I think Christian Television has become very lazy, spoiled and liberal. They are not caring about souls anymore, it’s all about technology and who has more money and they forget what the Bible says ab out money being the root of all evil. When my family and I visit different churches, the rich stick with rich and do not want to help the poor so much and judge them forgetting that they might have been in there position at one time. The very elect have been decieved by hollywood and want to be accepted by them instead of telling them the truth that loving God and being a believer is more important than money and fame. We need more people like Nicki Cruz who still goes in person witnessing for Christ in the highways and biways and is not ashamed of the gospel and it’s name, and does not make excuses and cover up for people with lots of money, does things the old fashion way, like walking and not just by television .

    concerned christian,

  • Timothy D. Horton

    Well, TBN is changing. I have heard Paul and Jan state that TBN would never have sponsered commercials………well that is over! I saw four commercials back to back on a program last night. I did email TBN and got back a regular form thank you. Too Big to care they declare.

    In the last few TV telethons both Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. have stated that TBN doesn’t need the money. Basically I guess that means they will take it but are above asking? But almost every segment has some sort of offer or money request tied to it. That is ok I guess. But now you get pieces of sermons and then are offered a CD or DVD to get the whole message………and evryone does this. I am sure all of them are life changing. Has anyone noticed the cost for life changing ideas and concepts are going up? Oh yeah, now there are the package deals.

    This is all being done under the protection of nonprofit but I think that will be changing soon. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…………”it’s a duck! Either I am watching a different TBN or it is as close as regular tv can get.

    I think Paul Crouch Sr. is the real deal…..I think one of his sons is sincere but for the other……it is about the money!  TBN is family and really a lot of family payroll. However, has anyone ever seen Paul Jr. and his wife together on a show? Any show………..not even a fundraiser? Makes you wonder.

    I am not gifted but I did have a terrible vision, so terrible I contacted TBN about it. They did respond to that personally and I was grateful that they really listened.

    Things seem to go in stages now like there is a quarterly foremat. It can be about The Blood or The Word and now the theme is Grace! I am not kidding, In less than 24 hours there were two popular TBN pastors that had almost the same exact sermon. Basically about the birth of the Grace or Benjamin Generation. In both cases the Law generation has gone deaf and ignorantly still living in the law versus grace.

    Now the problem that comes up is which CD or DVD do you Buy… and yes it is a purchase…….it isn’t a duck, it is a purchase. I have always beleaved that an offering is what a person gives from the heart and with Joy. Looks like TBN has now targeted the MIddle Class Christian asking for some pretty high offerings. However, there are actual prices or costs to consumers. Most of the shows are really long commercials about the current sermons for each pastor.

    Please, ask yourself one question………..actually two but answer them both honestly. The first is basic common sense. Do you know that it does take funds to get God’s message on tv? The second question is a little more important. When was the last time you watched any pastor give a complete sermon from start to finish and without asking for a certain amount of money with a tape, cd or dvd offer………whoops, forgot those life saving books, on TBN?

    In the article Paul Sr. comments about TBN is not about entertainment but to save lost souls. Gotta call him on that one…. the whole drive now seems to be about entertainment and selling music items, reecorded sermons and most of all “BOOKS”.

    Isn’t the Bible life changing enough? Please excuse my typing and spelling……..I have a little trouble seeing and I am not all that bright.

    I actually considered becoming a pastor. But there are a few problems with that. I havge a problem loving everyone, I would die for a loved one or friend and even a man or woman that is a true Christian. Has the Lord ever spoken to me? Yes, in the spirit. At times some things said to me make no sense, but eventually I understand. I had asked the Lord if I were to become a pastor how big of a church I should try to build. Almost before I finished asking my question the answer was given to me.

    The Answer:
    God created the heavens and named all the stars and planets. God created man and has named them all. God can tell you exactly how many hairs a person has on his or her head. This is why God’s Church is as large as the universe and will last for eternity. However, you are not God. So to keep it real and manageable, do not try to build a church without being able to know every persons name and the person themselves. It is foolish to have a family and not know the family members. You are to be the shepard and be capable of taking care of your flock without the need of any man made tools.

    I have not given up on the idea of being a pastor…….. But I never want to have my ego as a driving force.

    God Bless You