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TBN Reaches Out To Muslims With "Christian Love"
By Michelle Bertello, WDC Media New
LOS ANGELES --- The founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) said today that all programming carried by the network must meet one over-arching criteria: Presenting the Christian message in truth and love.
"We began TBN over 33 years ago with one goal in mind," said Dr. Paul Crouch, who with his wife Jan founded what has become the world's largest religious network and the most-watched faith channel in the nation. "That goal was to share God's free gift of salvation, and to share it in a winsome and Christlike way. Our focus remains unchanged."
Responding to recent questions about TBN's outreach to Muslims, Paul Crouch, Jr., Vice President of Administration and eldest son of the founders, said in an official statement, "TBN remains committed to presenting the Christian message to Muslims with a clear demonstration of love, joy, and peace in a way that embraces Christ's love for them."
He explained that TBN's policy has always been to steer clear of criticism or conflicts over other religious faiths or beliefs, and instead to follow the clear example of Christ in the New Testament. "Our Lord never compromised the message of God's Kingdom when He walked this earth," said Crouch. "He never approached others with anything but a spirit of love and humility. Likewise, here at TBN we are very sensitive about criticism of the beliefs of others. We view this as counterproductive to our mission."
Earlier this year, during a series of TBN's "Behind the Scenes" programs, Dr. Paul Crouch demonstrated this approach when he encouraged Muslim viewers to read the Bible even as he had committed to reading the Koran. "I discussed the similarities between these two religious canons, while gently pointing out the differences," he recalled. "I believe it's this kind of open and transparent dialogue that can changes hearts."
Likewise, Jan Crouch has reached out worldwide to needy children — including many Muslim children living in third-world countries — through her non-profit organization "Smile of a Child." Not only has the outreach taken countless thousands of toys to needy children globally, but it also contributes liberally to other projects such as feeding children and building hospitals. "Right now we are nearing completion on a $3,000,000 hospital in Haiti, as well as a $200,000 hospital in Costa Rica," said Jan.
Smile of a Child also funds reconstructive and other surgeries for needy children. This was highlighted most recently when the ministry brought medical attention to a Kenyan girl whose face had been terribly mauled by a hyena.
Dave Bohon, an expert in Christian media, noted that TBN's message of Christian love and compassion has reached to countries traditionally closed to the gospel. "That includes a channel that broadcasts around the clock in Arabic," said Bohon. "The Healing Channel, which broadcasts 24 hours a day in Arabic, has filled an important need for Middle Eastern and Arabic speaking viewers. They're hearing a message many have never heard before. It's a message of Christian love."
Added Bohon, "The kind of global influence TBN has garnered over the years only comes from a keen sensitivity to the cultural and political nuances at work in various regions of the world," said Bohon. "TBN has been very good at that, and that's why it's the most influential religious broadcaster in the world."
From its beginnings in 1973 as a small VHF station in Los Angeles through its global expansion to nearly 50 satellites and thousands of television and cable affiliates worldwide, TBN has held to the same message of Christian love and grace. The network now reaches throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central Africa, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and other countries.
TBN has also been hard at work domestically, adding four additional channels to its TBN flagship network, to reach an ever-expanding viewing audience seeking faith-based television. Those channels are:
JCTV, a new digital network geared for teens and young adults. JCTV features round-the-clock cutting edge Christian music videos, reality and game shows, relevant talk programs, comedy, extreme sports, and much more.
The Church Channel, the only network featuring America's most popular church services from a wide variety of Protestant and Catholic congregations – broadcast 24 hours a day.
TBN Enlace USA, America's premier Spanish language faith network. TBN Enlace brings viewers the best inspirational programs from Latin America and the most popular programs from TBN all in Spanish -- 24 hours a day.
Smile of a Child, TBN's latest network addition. The Smile of a Child Network offers 24-hour faith-based programming that parents can trust for their children.
While Paul and Jan Crouch certainly had a vision for worldwide outreach, they had little idea in 1973 how far TBN would expand. "We did not have a clue," said Dr. Crouch. "We felt that one small station in Los Angeles was enough, but when we saw the enthusiastic response to the body of Christ we began to seek out other stations."
Explained Dr. Crouch, "Christ Himself calls Christians to be 'salt and light' before all the world. We have followed that biblical mandate in all our TBN projects, and it has served us well for the last three decades. We're not about to change now."
TBN is the world's largest religious network and America's most watched faith channel. Each day TBN offers 24 hours of commercial-free inspirational programming that appeals to viewers in a wide variety of denominations. TBN now reaches every major continent via 47 satellites and more than 12,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. In the United States, TBN is available to 92 percent of the total households. TBN's website receives more than 25 million visitors monthly. For more information on TBN, visit www.tbn.org.
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