Donors advised to find other ministries to support until TBN is restored to place of unquestioned integrity in the minds of donors
Wall Watchers CEO Rusty Leonard explained, “The decision by TBN leadership to revert to stonewalling MinistryWatch.com’s attempt to obtain crucial answers to important questions of governance and finances at the ministry just two months after TBN Vice President of Administration Paul Crouch Jr. agreed to answer these questions has caused MinistryWatch.com to again recommend that donors withhold contributions to TBN.”
Leonard added, “Additionally, because of the seriousness of the allegations and governance issues that the Crouches refuse to address, as well as the hundreds of millions of donor dollars involved (TBN has received $643 million in donations over the last five years and has $341 million in cash and near cash investments on hand), MinistryWatch.com also reiterates its call for the establishment of an independent commission of respected Christian leaders to restore TBN to a place of unquestioned integrity in the eyes of donors.”
Donor Alerts are issued, said Leonard, because, “MinistryWatch.com believes educated and knowledgeable donors are the best stewards of their giving to the Lord’s work and extend the impact of their giving the farthest.”
The full Donor Alert can be read at: http://www.ministrywatch.com/mw2.1/pdf/MWDA_031805_TBN.pdf
However, while some legitimate ministries and teachers (those who adhere to the orthodox teachings and practices of historical Christianity) appear on TBN, the network promotes such an incredible amount of heretical material – including extremist Word-Faith teachings – that it is often referred to as “The Blasphemy Network.”
Just in the past year, numerous questions have been raised regarding TBN’s cash reserves, use of resources, conflicts of interest among board members, improper related-party transactions, whether funds donated for charitable purposes are instead benefiting the Crouches personally, and low spending on charitable programs. Additionally, TBN executives Paul and Jan Crouch espouse a skewed view of the Gospel, embracing the “health and wealth” or “prosperity” theology, portraying an unorthodox accounting of the life and teachings of Jesus. Also, in 1998, a former TBN employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, was paid $425,000 for agreeing not to publicize Mr. Ford’s allegations that he and TBN founder Paul Crouch had a homosexual tryst two years earlier, while TBN vigorously worked to keep the information regarding the settlement with Mr. Ford private and questions remain regarding the source of those funds.
Leonard noted, “MinistryWatch.com only reluctantly issues this Donor Alert since the most recent correspondence with TBN executives began with encouraging signs. On October 8, 2004, a MinistryWatch.com official engaged in a cordial conversation with pledges of cooperation from Mr. Crouch Jr. Soon, however, the dialogue deteriorated, and within about two months, following an un-Biblical pattern it has used in the past with others, TBN threatened to sue MinistryWatch.com. The letter threatening legal action – dated December 9, 2004 – was the last official correspondence from TBN.”
He continued, “MinistryWatch.com has remained faithful to the biblical model of confrontation, reconciliation and repentance as outlined by Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17 in its dealings with TBN. It has been only after many unsuccessful attempts to garner relevant and reasonable information from TBN on the behalf of donors that MinistryWatch.com has issued Donor Alerts, including this one. Such publication is the practical application of ‘telling it to the church’ as believers are commanded to do when a believer rejects biblical counsel.”
In response, Leonard said, “MinistryWatch.com recommends that donors find other worthy ministries to support.” He noted, “Donors considering this approach need not be concerned that TBN’s ministry efforts will be thwarted, as TBN’s current vast financial resources ensure its ability to continue its programs for at least two-and-a-half years without any additional donor support.”
Leonard added, “MinistryWatch.com has concluded that TBN leadership should voluntarily resign and allow an independent commission of respected Christian leaders to be put in place to establish a pathway to restoring TBN to a place of unquestioned integrity in the eyes of concerned donors, and that the new board should then complete a thorough overhaul of the ministry to put it on a path to teaching authentic Christian theology and operating in a manner that rejects potentially self-serving financial transactions and embraces sound governance practices.”
Still, concluded Leonard, “It remains MinistryWatch.com’s desire that TBN avoid an escalation of their adversarial approach and would instead respond in a manner aligned with biblical admonitions. MinistryWatch.com remains willing to engage in productive dialogue with TBN to find suitable answers to these questions. It is MinistryWatch.com’s belief that the Bible is clear as to how TBN, and every other Christian ministry, should conduct their dealings with those who give generously and sacrificially to their ministries. The Apostle Paul wrote, ‘We intend that no one should blame us about this generous gift that we are administering, for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of others’” (2 Corinthians 8:20-21, NRSV).