Died: Paul Crouch, 79, Founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network
Dec. 3, Update: TBN announced on its Facebook page, "Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. A special tribute to Dr. Crouch will air Sunday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. (Pacific) and on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 at 2 p.m. (Pacific)."
Dec. 1, Update: TBN has posted an online update about Crouch, and provides a brief biography of Crouch and his achievements:
TBN reaches every major continent via 84 satellite channels and over 18,000 television and cable affiliates around the world.In addition to TBN, Dr. Crouch developed and oversees operations for TBN's affiliated television networks which are broadcast worldwide: Smile of a Child children's channel; JCTV youth network; The Church Channel; TBN Enlace USA, Spanish language network; Enlace Juvenil, Hispanic youth network; TBN Asia; TBN Europe; TBN Russia; Smile of a Child Russia; Juce Russian language youth network; TBN Africa; TBNE-Italia; Al-Horreya TV and Arabic language network; TBN Nejat TV, Farsi language channel; and TBN-HD, TBN's new high definition network. Additionally, Dr. Crouch serves on the board of the Holy Land Experience, an inter-active Bible theme park in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Crouch and TBN have been the recipients of numerous awards and citations of appreciation by both local and national leaders including the Golden Angel award from the Excellence in Media organization and the Parents Television Council Entertainment Seal of Approval, given to both the TBN and Smile of a Child networks for producing and promoting positive, pro-family programming. Dr. Crouch was also appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Private Sector Initiative Project.
CT reported the trouble with TBN last year where, amid a flurry of scandalous accusations, evangelical ministries again faced the question of whether to abandon or reform the broadcaster.
A November 30 statement posted on the evangelist's website states:
"Dr. Paul F. Crouch passed into the presence of the Lord on November 30, 2013. We are grateful for the life of this amazing servant of God. Please pray for the Crouch family during this time."
In October, Crouch was hospitalized in Dallas due to shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Over the past decade, Crouch has been treated for a chronic heart condition.
Brandon Crouch, grandson to Crouch, Sr., wrote on his Facebook page:
"Today, my grandfather, #PaulCrouchSr went home to be with Jesus in heaven. Thank you for your prayers in this heavy season."
"Paul Crouch changed the course of Christian history by building a Christian network that spreads that Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations of the world everyday," said John Hagee founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. "Our deepest sympathies for his loved ones today."
In recent years, the ministry has been plagued by questions of financial accountability about use of donated funds.
Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Crouch graduated from the Central Bible Institute and Seminary in Springfield, Mo., in 1955 with a degree in theology. TBN reaches every major continent via 84 satellite channels and over 18,000 television and cable affiliates around the world.
Crouch is survived by his wife, Jan, and sons Paul Crouch, Jr. and Matthew Crouch, who has since been named as the new president of TBN.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
The Los Angeles Times provides an extensive overview of Crouch's ministry and the financial scandal that dogged TBN in recent years. The Times report includes comment from Charisma Media publisher Steven Strang:
"He has created an enormous platform for many ministries to do what he says is very important to him — that is, to spread the Gospel not only in this country but around the world," said Steve Strang, founder and chief executive of Charisma Media, a leading publisher of books and magazines for charismatic and Pentecostal Christians. The son of a poor missionary, Crouch was known for preaching a gospel of prosperity. His twice-yearly Praise-a-Thons on TBN generated as much as $90 million a year in donations, mostly in small amounts from lower-income Americans. "When you give to God," Crouch said in a typical appeal, "you're simply loaning to the Lord and he gives it right on back."
CT reported previously about ongoing problems at TBN and within the Crouch family: