The results of a major survey of television ministries on the topic of financial accountability appear on a chart on pp. 48–49. CHRISTIANITY TODAY asked the ministries that produce the 15 most-watched religious television programs (according to the Arbitron Ratings Company) to participate. Evangelist Billy Graham was included because of his high visibility as a television minister, though he does not appear on Arbitron’s list of the top 15 since he does not have a regular program.
Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, which produces the most popular religious television show (193 viewer markets; 1.76 million households), chose not to respond to the survey. A representative for Swaggart said the organization was willing to discuss its finances “in detail” only after Congress is through examining the finances of television ministries.
Two other organizations, PTL and Kenneth Copeland Ministries, also did not respond. PTL expressed a willingness to do so in the future. A spokesperson explained that PTL is in the midst of a major reorganization and that policies that would determine the answers to many of the questions on the CHRISTIANITY TODAY survey have not been finalized. A spokesperson for Copeland merely said the survey had been referred to the evangelist’s attention.
The Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, which accounts for 2 of the top 15 programs (“Expect a Miracle” and “Richard Roberts Live”) also did not respond directly to the survey questions. A press spokesperson said information on the organization’s finances would be appearing in Abundant Life magazine and that it wanted donors to be the first to see it.
The organization did send copies of the articles appearing ...1
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