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Please review our chapter in UNSEALING THE END OF DAYS entitled: Chapter 10, Part 2, “Take These Things Away! Do Not Make My Father’s House a House of Merchandise!” (John 2:16).
MAKING MERCHANDISE OF GOD’S PEOPLE – THE CROUCHES
On September 19, 2004 a series of articles appeared in Los Angeles Times entitled THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL with a byline: Pastor’s Empire Built on Acts of Faith, and Cash . . . The top Christian broadcaster’s steady plea for money funds growth—and a life of luxury for Paul Crouch and his wife, by William Lobdell, Times Staff Writer—also, Times staff writer Scott Martelle assisted in Times piece. The Times articles also exposed an illicit affair allegedly committed by Crouch and hush money that went with cover-up!
Nearly 18 months have passed since I wrote a series of articles decrying extravagant methodologies by today’s “evangelical charlatans” and entrepreneurs who continue to both harass and fleece people of God—it is relentless and unabated; frankly, without precedence since days of selling Papal Indulgences by Johann Tetzel, who sold Grace of God to multitudes of faithful in order to build St. Peters Basilica and splendors of Vatican City.
What is it about these “den of thieves” that demand such ostentatious settings for their views below of vulnerable they bilk? The extravagance of Evangelical Empire of Crouches literally, and this is hard to fathom, that of Vatican’s!
Yes, this makes for some interesting comparisons. According to LA Times’ article, TBN’s latest 2002 balance sheet lists their net assets at $583 million, including $238 million in Treasury bonds and other government securities and a mere $31 million in cash—along with 400 employees.
Now, Vatican stats are exceedingly skewed due to their priceless art treasures which are incalculable; however, a TIDINGS ON LINE article by John Thavis, Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service on July 16, 2004 wrote an article entitled: Amid diocesan financial crises, Vatican has own problems—to wit:
“The Vatican’s net worth is difficult to gauge, but has been estimated at close to $1 billion.”
Trinity Christian Center International, located in Costa Mesa, Orange County, California, with its elaborate sets, and adjacent gated development in which Trinity Broadcasting Network owns 11 homes, along with residences in Texas, Tennessee and Ohio—along with extravagant homes owned by Crouches in nearby Newport Beach (adjacent photo recently on market for $8 million), demonstrates, according to “Gospel of Prosperity” God’s blessing upon TBN’s ministry.
St. Peter’s Basilica took nearly 100 years to complete (1626 AD); meanwhile Vatican Papal Residence (i.e., The Apostolic Palace) and gardens, along with scores of similar residences, dwarfs anything Crouches could envision—but, given time, who knows what will suffice them
PLEADING OR PREYING UPON THE PEOPLE OF GOD
The LA Times article revealed an amazing amalgamation of unprecedented wealth heaped up by Crouches—the likes of which staggers imagination of, I am sure, even one Donald Trump. No, it’s not akin to a Bill Gates—but given time, look out!
Paul Crouch peers into camera and proclaims need for $8 million in order to spread Good News throughout Indian subcontinent. Viewers were/are encouraged to give $1,000 each as a pledge—even if they don’t have it to give—but to take a “step of faith”* and make pledge for “Lord would repay them many times over!” (*Note: Quote marks are derived from LA Times series.)
The outrageous appeal for such funds for “spread of Gospel in India” upon some 8,700 television stations was not a matter of “additional funding needs” because: “TBN was not short on cash. In fact, it could have paid for India expansion out of interest on its investment portfolio. But at TBN, appeals for money never stop—nor does flow of contributions.
Did somebody say “success?” Well, if you think success can be compared to likes of Ted Turner, listen to how world compares such “success” –
“Much as Ted Turner did for TV news, Crouches have created a global infrastructure for religious broadcasting. But that is just one element in their success. Another is a doctrine called ‘prosperity gospel,’ which promises worshipers that God will shower them with material blessings if they sacrifice to spread His Word.”
But “success” has its downside:
“The network, little known outside fundamentalist Christian circles, was buffeted by unwanted publicity last week, when The Times reported that Crouch had paid a former employee $425,000 to keep silent about an alleged homosexual tryst.
“WHEN YOU GIVE TO GOD . . . YOU’RE SIMPLY LOANING TO THE LORD AND HE GIVES IT RIGHT ON BACK!”
TBN has no advertising—yet it generates more than $170 million a year in revenues—its viewers contribute two-thirds of that money! Do you want to know what you’re paying for? Take a gander:
“Paul, 70, collects a $403,700 salary as TBN’s chairman and president; Jan, 67, is paid $361,000 as vice president and director of programming. Those are highest salaries paid by any of 12 major religious nonprofits whose finances are tracked by Chronicle of Philanthropy.”
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Doug is a team member of the lastdaysnetwork.com . . . an end times' prophetic ministry to the Church. His articles appear on numerous evangelical and even "secular" web sites on topics regarding Religion and Politics. His URL is www.the-tribulation-network.com