Monday, September 20, 2004

LA Times hacks away at TBN

The LA Times continued its denuding of TBN in an article entitled 'TBN's Promise: Send Money and See Riches.' This is billed as part 2 of 2, a continuation of it's Sunday piece referenced by me in a previous post. The article focuses on TBN's use of the prosperity gospel as its primary fundraising tool. It's no news to informed Christians; but, they make sure to pick a few flamboyant evangelist quotes to point out the extremism of that false gospel. A couple anecdotes from the story:

[Paul and Jan Crouch] launched their own network in 1973. After two nights on the air on KBSA-Channel 46 in Santa Ana, they were broke. So the next night, they staged a telethon.The phones hardly rang.

Then Paul Crouch hit on an idea, he recalled in his autobiography, "Hello World!" He told Jan to announce on the air that an anonymous donor had promised to give $20,000 — on condition that viewers pledge the same amount that night. The anonymous donor was Crouch, and the $20,000 was money the couple had already loaned the network. If viewers came through with $20,000, they would forgo repayment of the loan. By evening's end, viewers had phoned in $30,000 in pledges, enough to keep TBN on the air.

"Without really realizing it at the time, I had put into motion one of God's most powerful laws — the law of giving and receiving, sowing and reaping," Crouch wrote. "Thirty, 60 and 100-fold blessing is, indeed, a glorious truth and blessing for those who will simply obey the word of the Lord!"
Ahem... I wonder why he puts this story in his autobiography. It's deceitful and dishonorable.

Philip McPeake is [a] donor for whom God's economy of giving did not deliver. Out of work and out of luck in November 1998, McPeake heard the Rev. R.W. Schambach make an impassioned plea for donations on TBN's Kansas City television station, KTAJ.

Schambach promised that if viewers sent $200 as a down-payment on a $2,000 pledge, God would give them the rest within 90 days — with a bonus to follow.

McPeake sent in his money and waited for his luck to change. When it didn't, he complained to the Missouri state attorney general's office and the Federal Communications Commission. TBN refunded his donation.
(chuckle) Schambach is the closer they bring in every telethon to get the most donations possible. Probably had to have a meeting with the legal team to figure out what could and could not be said regarding the return on viewer's "investment."