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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

A Pastor's Empire

September 21, 2004

One of the best things about your coverage of the scandals of Paul and Jan Crouch and their Trinity Broadcasting Network ("Pastor's Empire Built on Acts of Faith, and Cash," Sept. 19) is that it provides me some relief from reading about the scandals of my own Catholic Church.

Donald A. Bentley

La Puente

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I thought Crouch was an expert on the Bible. What about the Lord's words: "You cannot serve both God and money" (Matthew 6:24), or "Sell all you have and give it to the poor" (Luke 18:22)? Is Crouch the exception when Christ said, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19:24)?

The Prince of Peace became violent only once -- at those who profited off religion (Mark 11:15-17). In the end he was betrayed by the one to whom he had entrusted his donations (John 13:21-30). In this regard not much has changed in 2,000 years.

Steve Mills

Glendale

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Why is writer William Lobdell so concerned with how or why people spend their money? Has he taken it upon himself to undermine what might actually be (God forbid) acts of faith? Or does he expect the gospel of Jesus Christ to spread void of human involvement or money?

As a Christian, I find it interesting and disconcerting that The Times has relentlessly "exposed" what amounts to nothing more than people offering and providing the gospel to Third World and communist countries that otherwise would never know how much God loves them. I am forever grateful that someone had the guts to approach me with Christ's love; Crouch simply does it on a global level.

Steven Scholar

Los Angeles

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In 1998, Crouch, president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, agreed to a $425,000 monetary settlement to silence a former employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, from speaking out about a sexual encounter that they allegedly had eight years ago (Sept. 14). Not only was it wrong of Crouch to pay out hush money, but it also gives the appearance that Crouch is guilty of the allegation.

How can the millions of worldwide faithful contributors have confidence in Crouch and Trinity Broadcasting Network when some of the hard-earned money they contribute is secretly used for such a purpose. In addition, since this was secretly done, it raises the question of whether other corrupt things are secretly done with the contributions sent to TBN.

The best and only honorable thing that Crouch can now do is to resign from his position as president of Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Benny D. Prince

Birmingham, Ala.

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As a theologian, I am always open to surprise and, alas, disgust at the way the people of God are being served. When Jesus said, "Feed my lambs," he did not say, "Feed on my lambs."

The article about Crouch shows that the Christian church is a sheepfold that is often tended by wolves and Crouch is merely one of the more predatory ones. He, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Fred Phelps, Benny Hinn and so many of his peers make me feel deeply sorry for Jesus, who meant well and deserves better.

Karen Silver

Bronx, N.Y.

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