Is this the end for TBN?
Writer: Gail Williams | 13 November 2012 | www.examiner.com/article/is-this-the-end-for-tbn
Amid a bout of scandalous accusations, ministries again face the question of whether to abandon or reform the broadcast.
The world's largest Christian TV channel, the California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network, has become embroiled in a multimillion dollar financial scandal after members of the family alleged widespread embezzlement.
The claims ג€" by Brittany Koper, whose grandfather Paul Crouch founded TBN, and by Joseph McVeigh, another family member ג€" describe exorbitant spending on mansions in California, Tennessee and Florida, private jets and even a $100,000 (ֲ£63,000) mobile home to house the dogs of Crouch's flamboyant wife, Janice.
The filings recently prompted a California federal judge to threaten to brand the network a "vexatious litigant" (A legal action or proceeding initiated maliciously and without probable cause by an individual who is not acting in good faith for the purpose of annoying or embarrassing an opponent) because its lawsuits seemed designed to "overwhelm the courts ג€¦ so as to avoid a rational decision on the merits."
The Trinity Foundation, a long time critic of TBN, publicly called for ministries associated with evangelical icons such as Billy and Franklin Graham, Charles Stanley, Ron Luce, and Jack Graham, to withdraw from the network's airwaves.
Another advocacy group, MinistryWatch.com, has issued warnings about "widespread abuse of ministry funds by TBN directors." But founder Rusty Leonard does not think pressuring ministries to leave the network solves the problem.
"We decided long ago that we did not want to try to embarrass the legitimate ministries that were broadcasting on TBN," he said. "Instead, we decided to try to get TBN's management and board changed so that there could be a better, biblical based teaching."
Evangelical ministries that appear on TBN declined to comment.
Albert Mohler, president of ministrywatch.com, points out that evangelical television ministries have always faced an airwaves quandary.
Unless you own your network, you're facing the fact that you're on with people who do not share your worldview," he said. Mohler sees a difference with TBN: the expectation that the network is Christian. "It's increasingly awkward for the mainstream ministries to stay on the network," he said. "Every new allegation, every new headline, makes it more difficult."
Gail Williams, Richmond Christianity Examiner, received salvation at a young age. She is married to Bishop Robert R. Williams. She was ordained as a minister in 1987. Dr. Williams received her undergraduate degree in Human Ecology at Virginia State Univesity in Petersburg, Va. She received a Master of Arts degree in Religion and a Masters in Christian Education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. In 2006, Rev. Williams received her Doctorate degree in Religion from the Slidell Baptist Seminary in Slidell, Louisiana. You may contact Dr. Williams with your comments and questions.