Following a courageous fight with degenerative heart disease, Paul Franklin Crouch the co-founder and leading televangelist of the world’s largest Christian Broadcasting network, TBN, died yesterday on 30 November 2013.
Crouch suffered for close to ten years being in and out of hospital. Despite reports indicating that his severe condition was improving earlier this month, he died in his home in Orange, California, USA. According to the Trinity Broadcast Network Crouch fell ill and was taken to a hospital in Dallas in October while visiting the network’s facility in Colleyville, Texas, before returning to California for continued treatment of his heart condition.
Followers and critics have termed him as an incredible entrepreneur and visionary, that built something that impacted the world, not just a TV network that spreads the Gospel of Christianity, but one which, among other nations worldwide, has fueled the growth of “prosperity gospel” preaching in Africa.
Before his career as a televangelist kicked off, Crouch studied theology at the Central Bible Institute and Seminary in Missouri in which he helped build the Campus’ radio AM station (KCBI-AM). After he emigrated to California in early 1960s to manage the movie and television unit of the Assemblies of God, he founded the Trinity Broadcasting network in 1973 with his wife Jan Crouch.
Since then, without relying on advertisers and charity funds, the network went international, spreading the gospel of Christianity to every continent. Many countries especially in Africa have had regular TV stations broadcast the network’s shows, while a number of homes in countries in the Middle East have had to rely on watching the network’s shows through satellite.
Reports say that the network has some 84 satellite channels and over 18,000 television and cable affiliates alongside a Christian amusement park in Orlando that gives a virtual feel of Biblical times.
Amidst the success of the TV network that has branches around the world including Kenya’s TBN Family media, the Crouches have faced criticism for their extravagant lifestyle, of which, critics have questioned how the network receives its millions of tax-free donations through partners and viewers who call on air. Despite lawsuits alleging up to $50 million in financial improprieties and extravagant spending, the Crouches dismissed allegations while their attorney said that the network’s spending was in line with its mission to spread the gospel through the world.
Paul Crouch is survived by his wife and two sons, Matthew and Paul Crouch Jr, expected to continue with the network’s vision and mission to spread the gospel throughout the world. Viewers are invited to share their condolences on below.