Are there any honest televangelists out there?

I know, I know. Everytime anyone on this board mentions televangelists we all immediately conjure up thoughts of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker, and Peter Popoff. These conmen and hypocrites are not who I’m talking about.

What I’m wondering is if there are any men (or women) out there who do the whole preaching before the huge crowd on TV thing but are sincere about it. I imagine that they probably ask for donations, but I’m hoping that there are a few who really only use what they absolutely have to in order to keep their operation running and then give the rest to a needy charity.

So, are there any honest televangelists out there, or is the whole industry truly just a pit of vipers?

Billy Graham?

I haven’t heard anything negative about Joel Osteen, the head of Lakewood Church in Houston. Lakewood recently began holding services in a former basketball arena, and has a television broadcast, which is how my parents got involved.

What Fionn said. Joel is I believe quite sincere and has put together a remarkable following here. They’ve recently outgrown their large church and have remodeled and moved in the old Summit where the Rockets played. I usually watch about 10 or 15 minutes of his broadcasts Sundays because it’s a pretty good message and to me he seems quite genuine.

Heh, our wives are also dead ringers for each other and mine will get a dozen inquiries a week as to whether she’s “Victoria”. Sadly, nobody mistakes me for Joel. :smiley:

Do you have any evidence of the insincerity of Bakker, Swaggart, et al? And how would you establish the sincerity of Osteen? That you believe him to be is no evidence, since millions believe the same of Bakker and Swaggart. Have you audited his books?

We have a minister here who runs a homeless shelter and has other projects for the poor. He also has his own TV station. He drives a 25-year old car, wears clothes that may have been almost fashionable in the 1970s, lives in a crummy neighborhood, etc. A lot of people think he’s a royal pain, but he runs his ministry clean as can be.

And, yes, Hoodoo, his books have been audited.

I tend to be suspicious of most televangelists. Having said that, I think most people would agree that Billy Graham is basically beyond reproach. The financial books of his organization have been open for many years.

Zola Leavitt also appears to be pretty honest; however, he’s by no means your typical televangelist. In fact, he really seems to be more of a TV preacher, and any proselytizing that he does is probably incidental. (This is no accident, I’m sure. I have no objection whatsoever to proselytizing; however, I do see that the dishonest preachers will tend to focus on aspect of their ministry. After all, with more converts, they’ll have a larger flock to fleece.)

I haven’t heard anything negative about John Ankerburg either. Like Leavitt though, he’s really more of a teacher than an evangelist.

That’s why I said that I hadn’t heard anything negative about Osteen, not that he was definitely honest.

Searching for “Jimmy+Swaggart” on Wikipedia didn’t bring anything up, but “televangelist+scandal” did. He was filmed driving a prostitute to a motel room while he was married.

Jim Bakker confessed to adultery and was convicted of defrauding his followers for millions of dollars.

Assuming they didn’t leave a couple of commandmants out of their preaching, do those count as proof of insincerity?

I presume the OP is referring to these two because both have been exposed as being guilty of criminal behaviour (infidelity with Jessica Hahn and embezzlement for the former, drugs and prostitutes for the latter).

Well, I saw a bumper sticker that said Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.

There’s imperfect, and then there’s outright dishonest and criminal. Many of these guys are the latter.

I’m still waiting for someone to nail Robert Tilton to the wall.

I believe that means the Christian God will forgive then if they are truely repentant, that doesn’t mean that anyone else has to.

Billy Graham is also well known as being two faced. His unwavering support of Nixon during the Watergate scandal and his hatred of Jewish people have been well reported.

Just Google: “billy graham” nixon jews
and you’ll see a sampling of articles about this. Try this for example.

The guy was caught on tape as well as many eyewitness examples and he’s still trying to deny it.

The “open books” stuff is also too little and way too late. His organization is notoriously secret about its finances and workings.

Well, there are so many televangelists, there’s bound to be a few honest ones that slip through the cracks! :smiley:

I’m of the mind that when it comes to politicians and televangelists, “honest” simply means “hasn’t been caught yet”.

I don’t recall anything hearing anything bad about Robert Schuller.

The article that you quoted talks about Billy Graham having been “snookered” by Nixon. It does not speak of “unwavering” support, and it does NOT necessarily make him two-faced. In fact, if his support was indeed unwavering, then this would argue against his alleged “two-facedness.”

Nor does it support your claim of his “hatred of Jewish people.” Rather, it merely says that Rev. Graham agreed with some of Nixon’s comments with regard to certain “liberal Jews,” but that’s hardly the same as hating Jewish people in general. In fact, that very same article talked about his long-standing support for the nation of Israel, which defies any claims of anti-Semitism.

I won’t claim that Billy Graham has never been dishonest about anything; after all, what man could ever make that claim? However, he seems to be fundamentally honest, which is a great deal that what most people could say.

“Notoriously secret”? The income tax records of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association are published on the website, along with their annual reports for the past four years. Their annual audits are publicly available, for which they are routinely praised. Daniel Borochoff, executive director of the American Institute of Philanthropy (a secular watchdog group) even describes Rev. Graham as the “gold standard” by which financial accountability should be gauged.

If they are indeed “notoriously secret” about their finances, then I think you must be using rather odd definitions of both “secrecy” and “notoriety.”

You do realize that your citation refutes your own assertion, don’t you?

It appears that one (incomplete) taped conversation, which is vague enough in context, and which has Nixon saying the more obvious anti-Semitic things, is the only “evidence” in this 3-page article.

Given the fact that Graham has had good relationships with all U.S. Presidents in the last quarter-century (or longer) would indicate that any “unwavering” support is a respect for the position and not some predictable partisanship.

Excellent point, ArchiveGuy.