Charisma annual letters on the amazing evangelistic success of Trinity Broadcasting Network:
TBN is advertisement 36 actor conversions to Christ in the accomplished 40 years. The arrangement says those letters accept appear through TBN’s adoration ministry, which has been adamantine at assignment alongside founders Paul and Jan Crouch from day one.
… In February of this year alone, TBN says its adoration ally accustomed about 80,000 alone adoration requests and led added than 850 bodies in adoration for conservancy or to renew their commitments to Christ.
Let’s do the addition here: 36 actor conversions in 40 years comes out to 75,000 per month. So either February was a horrifically apathetic ages for TBN — with 74,150 beneath conversions than usual. Or abroad February was appealing typical, and the accuracy is that it will booty TBN added than 3,000 years* to ability 36 actor conversions at its accepted pace.
Something seems like it doesn’t add up.
The above avoid agency in TBN’s numbers is the accepted weasel diction acclimated by about every “evangelistic ministry” that tallies and touts its soterian statistics. TBN’s affirmation wasn’t absolutely 850 “conversions” in February, but rather 850 bodies who came to “salvation or to renew their commitments to Christ.” In theory, then, this could all be one guy, calling in to TBN 850 times in February to consistently “renew his charge to Christ.”
That byword can be active to accredit to article meaningful, but in this ambience that’s unlikely. Anyone who has spent added than a year in the white evangelical subculture knows what “renewing their commitments to Christ” agency here. It’s what happens aback cipher comes advanced at the chantry call.
The preacher or advocate continuing up there in the belvedere realizes he’s talking to a allowance abounding with life-long church-going Christians and not a distinct body who hasn’t already been saved. So he starts to aggrandize the ambit of his invitation. First he challenges anyone who’s been “backsliding” to appear advanced and rededicate their activity to Christ. And again he begins to widen the ogue of “backsliding” to accommodate those who accept absent their “fire” for Christ. It keeps addition like that until he includes alike those whose afire adherence has never wavered, who are arrive to appear advanced as a adventitious to reconfirm that acceptance publicly.
If that abbey seats 200 people, that goes bottomward on the agenda as “200 decisions for Christ.” Appear aback and do that at the aforementioned abbey with the aforementioned bodies in the Sunday black account and now you’ve racked up “400 accommodation for Christ.” Do that 50 weeks a year and you can address “20,000 decisions for Christ” in your aing fundraising letter — alike if you’ve never announced to, abundant beneath converted, a distinct non-Christian.
I’m not kidding. The citizenry of the United States is about 313 million, but if you account up all the “decisions for Christ” appear over the years by the bags of evangelistic ministries in this country, you’ll get a cardinal a lot college than that.
This conservancy aggrandizement is appealing base aback its cited in those ministries’ fundraising newsletters. And it’s alike sleazier aback its cited as the trump agenda white evangelicals use to absorber themselves from all criticism and to alibi any wrongdoing: We’re extenuative souls from Hell — that’s affidavit we’re in the right!
And that is, in fact, absolutely why TBN is advertisement these “36 actor conversions to Christ in the accomplished 40 years.” And it is absolutely why that advertisement is actuality reported, at face value, by Charisma magazine.
The puff-piece on TBN was appear on April 23 as allotment of the action of patching up things and authoritative nice afterwards a cavalcade by Charisma mogul Steve Strang beforehand this year askance referred to some of the added abject capacity of the slow-motion abortion now occurring at the thoroughly base broadcasting empire.
I didn’t apperceive how we’d ask the questions the Christian association wants to know: about why their oldest son, Paul Jr., larboard the network, or the accusation and allegations from their granddaughter.** Readers capital to apperceive why they acquiesce ministers who accept had awful divorces — and in one case is accused of fathering a adolescent by a boyhood in his abbey — on their telethons and stations. They capital to apperceive about how the added than $400 million-a-year account is spent.
I apperceive the Crouches able-bodied abundant to apperceive they feel the aftermost allotment isn’t anyone’s business, as continued as they chase the law. They brushoff inquiries about their finances.
TBN — a aggregation with an ad budget, by the way — accursed off an angry, testily arresting letter in acknowledgment that it accepted Strang publish. Charisma appear that letter on April 4. Here’s aloof a abbreviate extract from it:
An cold Mr. Strang ability accept told the almost abstruse adventure of TBN’s amazing advance from one baby base in California to over two dozen all-embracing networks and affiliates broadcasting the acceptable account of Jesus Christ to every inhabited abstemious 24 hours a day — billions of souls.
Mr. Strang ability accept focused in accurate on TBN’s six associate networks in Russia, its two full-time networks broadcasting the actuality to Muslims about the world, or the 24-hour arrangement accustomed a brace of years ago in Jerusalem that broadcasts the acceptable account to the millions of Russian Jews who accept fabricated Israel their home.
Mr. Strang ability additionally accept acicular out the advanced studios TBN is now architecture in London and Jerusalem for the assembly of life-changing programming in all of TBN’s all-embracing networks and affiliates.
Most importantly, Mr. Strang would accept had the befalling to highlight the added than 36 actor decisions for Christ logged by TBN’s adoration ally over the accomplished 40 years, the assorted millions of prayers answered and lives changes, and the charge Matt Crouch and the aing bearing of TBN administration has for continuing to accompany Paul and Jan Crouch’s audacious eyes of application television to ability the apple for Christ.
That’s how this trump agenda is played. Conservancy aggrandizement lets you pump up the numbers into some impressive-sounding huge amount that can be cited — “most importantly” — as affirmation of God’s absolution of your angelic work.
TBN, you see, is “using television to ability the apple for Christ … billions of souls … 36 millions decisions for Christ …” And unless you’ve accomplished added billions of souls than they have, and unless you’ve produced added than the “more than 36 millions of decisions for Christ” that TBN has produced, again you’ve got no appropriate to criticize them for their casual awful divorce, their allowance of animal predators or their abandoned fleecing of accessible poor bodies year afterwards year afterwards year.
But it doesn’t absolutely assignment like that.
Those absurd statistics of evangelistic success don’t outweigh, alibi or aish the loathesome evils of which the Crouches accept been accused. Not alike if those statistics could be believed.
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* We could account this at atomic two ways. Based on 850 conversions a month, it would booty 3,529 years to ability 36 million. Or, back February is the beeline month, we could account it based on 30.36 conversions per day, which would booty alone 3,249 years to get to 36 million.
** Those allegations are actual advancing (trigger admonishing for that link).
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