Paul Crouch's Response to Hal Lindsey
I have just finished reading your “Personal Letter from Hal” dated November 30, 2005, which was posted on your website.
Let me express my utter disappointment and personal dismay that after many decades of friendship and airing your program on TBN that you have purposefully chosen to attack and slander Trinity Broadcasting Network so as to convey to all those who read it that TBN’s recent decision to pre-empt your program is part and parcel of Satan’s plan of attack against you.
It is with a heavy heart that I write you to address the issues you raise in the hope that our relationship can be salvaged and that we can move beyond this matter.
Your letter states and I quote:
The International Intelligence Briefing has been removed from the air on TBN for the entire month of December (and perhaps never to be broadcast again?).
As you are very well aware, TBN regularly pre-empts its TBN produced programming during various holiday seasons in order to focus on the holiday. TBN gives these TBN produced programmers the opportunity to provide TBN with holiday focused programming to air during the holiday season. Clearly, TBN is looking for programming focused on the birth of Christ Jesus during the month of December. You failed to provide TBN with such programming and thus, your program has been pre-empted for the holiday season. You were not singled out as the only TBN produced program to be pre-empted this month. Twenty other programmers will also have their program pre-empted during the month of December.
Be that as it may, given your wealth of knowledge on Biblical prophecy, it would have been very special for you to provide some special programming on Biblical prophecy as it concerns the birth of Jesus; focusing the world toward the most important event in the history of mankind and how this singular event changed the world while continuing to remain absolutely relevant for today. This type of programming would have been just as enlightening and topical as your present non-Christmas programming. Hal, if you will produce a Christmas themed program, we will be happy to air it this month.
You also speculate and imply that perhaps your program will never be broadcast again on TBN. That is not only false, but it also saddens me greatly. It appears that the purpose for such an inaccurate and uninformed statement was simply to inflame your readers against TBN. It is a tactic which, in all honesty, sounds a little like the Islamists that you are so readily willing to criticize. Surely you were aware of what your actions would trigger. As a result, TBN has had to spend many employee hours unnecessarily responding to numerous telephone calls, emails and letters which have literally wasted thousands of dollars in partner donations.
On the other hand, TBN has shown its support to you and your ministry over the last 20 plus years by utilizing these same donor funds to provide you with not only the facilities and studios, television equipment and production crews to produce your weekly program, but also free air time across the entire TBN international network. If one calculates the air time alone over this time period, it would total over thirty-seven million dollars ($37,000,000.00) in value from TBN to your ministry. In addition, TBN has promoted every book you have written and has had you as a regular host and guest on our prime time flagship program, Praise the Lord. On the other hand, TBN has received approximately $63,000.00 in designated funds for your program thus far for 2005. This is why it is absolutely incredible to me that you have taken this stance and purposefully damaged TBN in the way that you have.
The decision of whether your program airs again has never been an issue with TBN. I find it very interesting that you have taken it upon yourself to raise this question at this time. Contrary to the unfounded speculation in your letter, it is you who will decide whether your program will continue to air on TBN.
Your letter states in the same paragraph about TBN:
“Some on the network apparently feel that my message is too pro-Israel and too anti-Muslim.”
Surely you can agree that there is a wide and varied opinion among Christians over the positions and issues of the Middle East. It is unfortunate that you have chosen to voice your political views as a weapon against TBN rather than offering a more rational and truthful viewpoint. As you are aware, TBN and you have had an ongoing dialog and at times disagreement regarding the amount of purely political content of your program.
TBN has never been and is not now against Israel or the Jewish people. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, TBN most recently aired in your time slot the program entitled Against all Odds: Miracles in the Desert, which is a program entirely shot in Israel, produced in Israel and whose subject matter deals with the miracles experienced by the Israeli military and others during the various wars with the Arab world. Likewise, I was invited to meet and have met most, if not all, of Israel’s leaders over the last few decades. Recently, I met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which was broadcast on TBN. TBN has actually been offered the opportunity to build a television station in Israel. Clearly the facts do not support your statement and your reckless words could possibly jeopardize this opportunity.
As a church and religious television network, the primary focus of TBN’s ministry is to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unsaved world. It also ministers to feed the saints. In both cases, TBN works to be a proper witness to both the unsaved and the saved. TBN chooses to do this by following in the footsteps of Christ in regard to highly controversial issues.
Nowhere in the Scriptures does Christ speak negatively of those who persecuted him or his people. Surely we can agree that the Romans in Christ’s day were just as violent, savage, evil and in need of the truth of the Gospel as many terrorists are in the world today. TBN is making a great effort to reach the Muslim world with the truth of the Gospel by demonstrating God’s love to all people. I am not aware of a single instance where making inflammatory, derogatory anti-Muslim statements has led a single follower of Islam to Christ. On the other hand, TBN receives daily emails and correspondence from Muslims, Christians and others living in Muslim countries around the world thanking TBN for reaching out to them and showing them the Truth through God’s love.
It is becoming clear to us that your program has moved more and more away from Biblical prophecy as it applies to world events and has become more and more a bully-pulpit for an expression of your personal political views. Your belligerent and rather personal response further confirms this. TBN is not the proper forum for this type of activity. If you believe expressing your opinions in this way is now your God-given mandate, then you have many other avenues from which to present these types of opinions such as your website, your books as well as secular TV and radio. I am sure that with all of these other available forums that you can find a proper place to express these views. In fact, TBN strongly encourages you to do so and will support your efforts as we always have.
Finally, you state and I quote:
“This is confusing to me because my message is the same as it has been for the entire 12 years of presenting the IIB program. It has not changed one iota.”
Hal, you are really doing yourself a disservice here. To say that you have not changed and that your message has not changed in the last 12 years is not accurate in my opinion. We have all changed over the last 12 years and grown in our ministry and the maturity of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Moreover, world events and the events of our own personal lives have changed us. To take this rather extreme position is to say, in essence, that your life and message has stagnated. I assure you that, in my opinion, it has not.
Finally, as we have discussed in the past, TBN is now a worldwide voice for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must be mindful that we do not inadvertently cause doors to be shut that are now open to us. The Scriptures state that we are to present ourselves as harmless as doves while being as wise as serpents. It does not say for us to be the proverbial bull in a china shop. In this regard, we have shared with you news from various countries that foreign governments are now monitoring TBN programming for the purposes of taking TBN off the air should these countries feel that TBN programming is being overly belligerent or inflaming certain radical groups. We have also shared with you memorandums from various legal counsel warning TBN not to be overly anti-anything, especially in our international broadcast feeds. TBN would be foolish if we did not heed this very sound advice.
Likewise, we will not jeopardize any part of TBN’s international ministry nor are we willing to have doors, which have been opened by God, to now be closed because we did not heed the advice of those we trust. The Great Commission is more important than you or TBN, and God’s plan will carry on with or without either of us. However, we are not willing to be outside of what we believe to be God’s will for TBN’s overall ministry as it reaches out to the Muslim world with the Gospel. If this does not fit into your mandate from God then perhaps like the Apostle Paul and his various partners, we should re-examine our relationship. Be that as it may, let us not be negative towards one another but let us be encouraging towards each other that God’s will continue to work through both of our ministries for His glory. Would it not be more Christ-like show our respective partners and the world how longstanding Christian brothers should act towards each other, especially if we should disagree on some issues?
I ask you to pray and to search your heart of hearts as to how we both should proceed in this matter. TBN would like nothing better than to start airing your program after the holiday season and continue its long, amicable and important relationship with you. As always, I remain available to you, as a personal friend, to talk with you in the hope that we can reason together towards an amicable and equitable resolution to this unfortunate situation.
Paul F. Crouch
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