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By Ted Pike

In 1998, Trinity Broadcasting Network paid $425,000 “hush money” to silence a former TBN employee, who charged, among other things, that TBN’s founder and head, Dr. Paul Crouch, had a homosexual encounter with him in 1996.

TBN is the world’s largest Christian broadcasting network, airing via 43 satellites and more than 10,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. It insists that ministry funds were not used for the pay-off.

However, in 2004, this employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, re-surfaced. His lawyer demanded $10,000,000 from TBN in exchange for the promise from Ford that he would not publish a book detailing Crouch’s alleged homosexuality. Crouch and TBN refused, denying any guilt. A court-appointed Los Angeles arbitrator upheld Crouch’s claim that the 1989 payment to Ford permanently forbade further disclosures.

After this scandal broke last September in the L. A. Times, Crouch retired from his frequent appearances on TBN. For six months, the network seemed leaderless, showing lots of old religious movies. I wondered who would assume control before it was too late.

Then suddenly last month, it was Paul Crouch’s birthday! Virtually everyone who had ever broadcast on TBN came on the air, praising Crouch to the heavenlies. This was immediately followed by the kickoff of TBN’s first fundraising “Praise-a-thon” in more than six months.

Here again was Paul Crouch. With undiminished conviction, he reaffirmed the pitch that nets TBN about $50,000,000.00 in pledges during each “Praise-a-thon.” It says that if you give money to God’s specially anointed ministries, particularly TBN, God will give back to you in cash or material benefits 100 times what you invest. And quickly! The promise is frequently made that it will happen in a matter of months.

Result: only a few days into the “Praise-a-thon” week, Crouch announced that contributions to TBN exceeded previous records.


What is this fundraising dynamite that empowers such Pentecostal leaders as Crouch, Benny Hinn and Oral Roberts, to fuel their broadcasting empires? It’s an old-fashioned theological concept: “simony.”

In the Book of Acts (Acts 8:9), Simon Magus, a Jewish magician, tried to buy spiritual and material blessing from St. Peter. He was cursed by the apostle for such presumption. From that encounter comes the world “simony,” which means attempting to obtain material or spiritual benefit by paying money to religious leaders.

In Martin Luther’s “95 Theses,” he rebuked the simony of the Catholic Church. The papacy had grown obscenely rich by promising material or spiritual benefits to those who purchased religious offices or paid money as “indulgences” to liberate souls from purgatory. In fact, the Protestant Reformation began largely over protest against simony.

So, you see, simony is a mega-money-maker, if you can get away with it. With the lid being placed on further revelations concerning charges of homosexuality against Crouch, Crouch and TBN may be doing just that.


It is remarkable that this story has not been picked up by the secular mainstream media outside Los Angeles, especially since this media has a proven bias against Christian moral values. Why?

I believe that the liberal media is smart enough to realize that in TBN it has a good thing going. As TBN continues to expand, so does universal disdain for Christianity.

While TBN’s incessant promise of “health, wealth and miracles” through the payment of money may be believed by gullible millions worldwide, there is little doubt that most of the world’s more rational inhabitants regard its message with contempt.


Someday, mark my words, the media that now turns a blind eye to TBN’s simony will turn on Christianity with fury. It will dramatize how “Christianity” defrauds the elderly and mothers on welfare of their pittance of income; how it siphons their meager funds, which should have gone to feed and clothe hungry children and pay rent, to help fund lavish life-styles for televangelists. Example: the $5,000,000 yachting resort home in Newport Beach that Paul and Jan Crouch own. Benny Hinn and other TBN evangelists also share such opulence.

Sooner than might be expected, an angry world, like the crowds filling Rome’s coliseum in the first century, will cry out for retribution.

Thus, TBN, through its distorted “gospel,” is actually helping to destroy what remains of the integrity and reputation of true Christianity in the eyes of a skeptical, mocking world. TBN is contributing to the fulfillment of Christ’s ominous prediction concerning persecution of the church in the end times: “…you will be hated by all on account of my name…” (Mk. 13:13) “Everyone who kills you will think that he does God a service.” (Jn. 16:2)


Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian, conservative watchdog organization.

For many more of Rev. Pike’s articles, visit www.truthtellers.org

For an interview with Rev. Pike, call 503-631-3808


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