Sunday, September 19, 2004

LA Times keeps TBN in the spotlight

Last weekend, the LA Times exposed the legal wranglings of Paul Crouch trying to keep an alleged gay affair out of the public eye. This weekend, they took a look at TBN itself (article here--reg req). Nothing really new and earthshattering here other than a few specifics of what many have suspected. If this story picks up nationally, the TBN empire could be plucked down from its pedestal. A few particulars from the article:

Though it carries no advertising, the network generates more than $170 million a year in revenue, tax filings show. Viewer contributions account for two-thirds of that money...

TBN has posted surpluses
[ie. profits--ed] averaging nearly $60 million a year since 1997. Its balance sheet for 2002, the most recent available, lists net assets of $583 million, including $238 million in Treasury bonds and other government securities and $31 million in cash. It has 400 employees across the country...

[Jan and Paul Crouch] project the image of a happily married couple. But off the air, they lead separate lives and rarely stay under the same roof, according to former TBN employees and others who have spent time with the couple...

In all, the network owns 30 residences in California, Texas, Tennessee and Ohio — all paid for in cash, property records show. These include two Newport Beach mansions in a gated community overlooking the Pacific. One of them was recently on the market for an asking price of $8 million...

Whitmore said she regularly used ministry money and a network-owned van to stock the bars in Paul's and Jan's separate condominiums at Trinity Music City. Whitmore said the Crouches directed her to make the purchases at a store called Frugal McDougal, hoping it would not be recognizable on credit-card statements as a liquor store.
Hmmmm. $269 million in cash and bonds on hand. It's a far cry from when Jesus sent out his disciples commanding "them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse (Mk 6:8)."

And that whole liquor thing... In a previous article the Times describes the newest Crouch house as having a wetbar and this article talks more about alcohol consumption. Also, there was Benny Hinn saying Paul Crouch blamed his gay sex encounter on being drunk. What's with all the liquor references?

We know that judgment must begin at the house of God (1Pet 4:17). I'm wondering if we are seeing some of the beginnings of that here.