The Trouble with TBN
Image: Ray Tamarra / Everett Collection / Newscom
The Trouble with TBN

Amid the latest drama surrounding the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), should mainstream ministries seek reform or pull their programming?

Brittany Koper, the granddaughter of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch and its chief financial officer until September 2011, has accused network directors of illegally distributing "charitable assets" worth more than $50 million for their personal use. In response, TBN has filed half a dozen lawsuits nationwide accusing Koper and her husband of engaging in a smear campaign to divert attention from their own financial sins.

The filings recently prompted a California federal judge to threaten to brand the network a "vexatious litigant" because its lawsuits seemed designed to "overwhelm the courts … so as to avoid a rational decision on the merits."

The Trinity Foundation, a group long critical of TBN, publicly called for ministries associated with evangelical icons such as Billy and Franklin Graham, Charles Stanley, Ron Luce, Jack Graham, and the late Adrian Rogers to withdraw from the network's airwaves.

"It's a spiritual and moral snake pit," said Trinity founder Ole Anthony. "TBN uses these legitimate preachers to justify [its] existence."

Another donor advocacy group, MinistryWatch.com, has issued warnings about "widespread abuse of ministry funds by TBN directors." But founder Rusty Leonard does not think pressuring ministries to leave the network solves the problem.

"We decided long ago that we did not want to try to embarrass the legitimate ministries that were broadcasting on TBN," he said. "Instead, we decided to try to get TBN's management and board changed so that there ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this IssueShari'ah's Uphill Climb
Shari'ah's Uphill Climb Subscriber Access Only
Does Muslim law have a place in the American landscape?
RecommendedPete Holmes: Believing in God Gave Me Hope as Comic
Pete Holmes: Believing in God Gave Me Hope as Comic
In his new HBO show 'Crashing,' the former evangelical winks to Christian fans.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickTogether for the Gospels
Together for the Gospels: Unprecedented Unity Among Bible Translators Transforms Giving
Lessons learned from illumiNations initiative could help other causes.
Christianity Today
The Trouble with TBN
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.