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?
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.