Tale of Two Charismas?
In a December 4 editorial, Steve Strang, Publisher of Charisma Magazine and founder of the Strang print media empire, pays tribute to the late Paul Crouch as "One of the Giants of Our Generation."
It is accurate, but not necessarily a compliment, to be called a "giant of our generation." Even a criminal or notorious politician can become "larger than life" by his deeds.
So whether one "loves" Paul Crouch and The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), in the sense of being a supporter and fan, or whether one despises the stigma that he brought upon the church by his words and deeds and the endless parade and charade of what the world sees as "Christianity," Crouch is no longer "living large."
Strang appears to speak the truth when he observes that "anyone who knew him well knew he was a shrewd businessman." But is this really a compliment? Is being known as a "shrewd businessman" a godly character trait that biblical Christians should aspire to? Strang then appears to conclude in a moment of intentional tact, "I thank God for Paul Crouch and his life and the legacy he leaves. I believe he was welcomed into heaven by the Lord saying to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'”
However, if Paul's life of excess, scandal, greed, fraud, and promotion of false teachings merits our Lord's praise, then either God's standards have changed, or else I'm reading the wrong Book!
In this same issue, former Charisma editor J. Lee Grady takes a stronger position in his call for "reformation" of Christian TV. http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/19293-it-s-time-to-reboot-christian-television
And while I'm not optimistic of this occurring at TBN, even in the absence of Paul Crouch Sr., it does seem a tad ironic that Charisma tolerates many of these same personalities who "make merchandise" of God's people by selling false hope and false teachings that "draw away disciples" after themselves.
So, while we pray for "cleaner airwaves" in Christian broadcasting, let's also pray for "purified pages" within Charisma. But this will prove a challenge to Mr. Strang. Paul Crouch and his parade of programs all used "nonprofit" status to line their pockets with donations. Charisma is for-profit, so they don't ask for donations,but they do rely on sales of advertising to many of the same personalities and ministries and publishers that promote many of the aberrant doctrines and practices for which TBN became notorious.
What does all of this mean? Simply that there are many "money changers" in the temple today. And tragically, it illustrates that falsehoods sell amazingly well to believers; and whether in print or broadcast, truth is a much harder sell—even in the church. God lamented that a "wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" (Jeremiah:5:31).