If youre a charismatic icon, there are a lot of easier things in life than getting booted off the largest syndicate of Christian television stations, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).
Heresy wont get you kicked off. Popular charismatic teacher Kenneth Copeland proved that when he told TBN co-founders Jan and Paul Crouch, during a TBN Praise-A-Thon: I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure in the Bible is. ... The biggest one in the whole Bible is God. Mmm, Paul mused as Copeland rationalized his heterodox view. (His biggest failure pronouncement has also been taught on other TBN-aired programs. See, for example, Copelands weekly broadcast for May 8, 1994.) Copeland also teaches a concept of God that is more akin to Mormonism than orthodoxy.
False prophecy wont keep you from inducing the TBN viewing audience. Los Angeles pastor John J. Hinkle told of a vision from the Lord saying that on June 9, 1994, God would rip the evil out of this world ... And at that time something cataclysmic of glory and the power of God is going to come upon the earth. ... When that glory comes, and come it will, there isnt anyone who wont be on his knees and on his face before the Lord.
June 9, 1994, passed and the glory and power of God that was to come upon the earth did not come. Instead of being rebuked and held responsible by Crouch for misleading the TBN audience with his false prophecy, Hinkle was allowed to spiritualize his utterance. The veil, was it ripped? he asked. Yes, but it was at first a spiritual veil.
You cant get yanked off TBN by making harsh and unscrupulous declarations against Christians who scripturally examine the revelations of purported modern-day apostles and prophets. Faith healer Benny Hinn demonstrated that when he told a TBN audience: You wonderful people of God quit attacking men of God by name! Somebodys attacking me because of something Im teaching! Let me tell you something brother, You watch it! ... You walk around with your stiff lip and collar on your neckdear God in heaven I wish I could justoooh! They call it a ministry, my foot! You know Ive looked for one verse in the Bible, I just cant seem to find it, one verse that said If you dont like em, kill em. I really wish I could find it!
Apparently those who evaluate Hinns doctrine and practice have become his enemies (Galatians 4:16). Nonetheless, even if his critics could rightly be labeled enemies, his attitude defies the command of Jesus Christ, who told His followers: You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:43-45).
Hinns unbiblical outburst didnt affect his standing as a favorite of TBN viewers. In fact, it was more in line with the networks attitude than contrary to it. TBN President Paul Crouch has said of critics: I think theyre damned and on their way to hell and I dont think theres any redemption for them. I say, To hell with you, and Gods gonna shoot you if I dont.
Yet just when it appeared impossible to get dumped from the TBN lineup for any reason, singer Pat Boone, an original TBN board member, did. In February, TBN officially announced that it was canceling Boones weekly gospel music show, Gospel America.
What was the reason? Heresy? False prophecy? Immoral conduct? Maybe some serious and hidden sin from the singers past? No, Boone got the ax after thousands of TBN viewers (and contributors) called and complained about the singers tame venture into heavy-metal rock music and his staged appearance in January at the American Music Awards. Crouch said he was singularly responsible for the judgment to pull the program. The buck stops here. I made that decision, he said.
At the awards ceremony, where Boone presented the prize for best heavy-metal album, the mellow teen idol from the 1950s donned a black leather vest and pants, studded dog collar, bracelets, and fake tattoos. Boone said his theatrical transformation was the idea of Dick Clark, who produced the show.
His latest album, Pat Boone in a Metal MoodNo More Mr. Nice Guy, flavors several heavy-metal classics with a jazz and big-band style. However, the album is anything but typical heavy-metalthe songs being sung in classic Boone-style with an orchestra accompaniment. Once again proving you cant judge a bookor albumby its cover.
Boone said the whole episode was a parody and said that fans-turned-critics were so quick to judge me. For example, estranged fan Marilyn Intagliata of St. Louis, said Boone has just turned me off completely. Hes behaving like an idiot.
What makes the cancellation of the gospel program by TBN officials even more ironic is that Boone said, The little old ladies and folks who contribute to TBN ministries didnt get the joke. Surely, TBNs management and viewing audience are capable of knowing a joke when they see or hear itarent they? After all, when Benny Hinn claimed his heretical declaration that within the Godhead theres nine of them was just a joke, the TBN family laughed with him. There was no outcry for Hinns programs to be pulled from the airwaves because of the joke. (Neither was there concern from within TBN because Hinns proclamation was originally presented, not as jest, but under the cover of revelation knowledge.)
Following the cancellation of Boones program, the tide shifted and TBN began to receive calls in support of Boone. The Orange County Register newspaper polled its readers and reported a 50/50 split concerning the controversy.
Boone was an invited guest on the April 15 edition of the Praise The Lord show and was given the opportunity to explain his actions and dispel the numerous complaints. He responded to questions and complaints from the letters and phone calls of the TBN faithful. He also entertained an amiable rebuke from his pastor, Jack Hayford, who also appeared on the program. In the end, Crouch invited the viewing audience to make the decision of whether or not to return Boones program to the airwaves. At the programs conclusion, Crouch noted that the calls were running 75 percent in favor of reinstating the weekly show.
The Pat Boone episode has again
demonstrated that Paul Crouch, his TBN network and devoted flock
lack good judgment and biblical discernment. It shows that Crouch
is ruled by audience appeal and economics, not truth. Time and
again, false teachers and false prophets who, for scriptural
reasons, should be excluded from a Christian network
of television stations are allowed to continue to propagate
confusion and heresy. While another, who may have only lacked
good judgment, is given the TBN boot.
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