(Photo: GFA World, formerly Gospel for Asia, at NRB’s 2021 Convention in Grapevine, Texas. Gospel for Asia has rebranded after facing a series of scandalous accusations and settling a $37 million lawsuit.)
Where have the televangelists gone?
The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) annual convention was held this year in Grapevine, Texas, which is coincidentally the home of Benny Hinn Ministries.
Some of America’s best known televangelists (James Robison, Robert Morris, Marcus Lamb and Matthew Crouch) have homes within 10 miles of the Gaylord Texan Convention Center, home of the 2021 NRB Convention.
Yet, unsurprisingly, most televangelists and “Christian” TV networks were no-shows at the convention. Daystar Television Network, Inspirational Network and The Word Network stopped being convention exhibitors years ago. The ability to network over the Internet has dramatically reduced the need for in-person communication and the lingering effects of Covid-19 discourage large networking events in 2021.
The networks may have eliminated convention sponsorships and exhibits as a cost-cutting measure. However, in some cases the costs would have been minimal. Daystar’s headquarters is nine miles from the convention center.
Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) was the last large religious TV network to abandon NRB. In 2019, TBN transferred $860 million in assets to Trinity Broadcasting of Texas as part of a massive restructuring. TBN’s main offices are now based in Fort Worth and TBN’s International Production Center is located in Irving, Texas. Both buildings were a short drive from the NRB 2021 Convention.
TBN personnel could have easily operated a booth on the expo floor. Instead of networking with content producers at the NRB convention, TBN President Matthew Crouch was spending time in Italy.
Perhaps the religious TV networks abandoning NRB is a blessing in disguise. These networks are often shameless promoters of the prosperity gospel.
Meanwhile, the religious right hasn’t abandoned the NRB. A movie about the life of Ronald Reagan was promoted to convention attendees. One exhibitor’s booth advertised “How to Run for Office as a Christian Conservative.”
Conservative TV news network Newsmax broadcast from the convention floor. Other conservative news organizations operating from NRB included The Epoch Times and One News Now.
Guest speakers for NRB’s 2021 convention included prominent conservatives such as journalist David French, editor of The Dispatch, and Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State during the Trump administration. Pompeo addressed the topic of religious persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
This is problematic. Was Pompeo using NRB to advance his presidential ambitions? Last week CNBC reported about Pompeo, “He’s basically already running for the presidency.”
Pompeo’s claims of supporting free speech are questionable as he advocates imprisoning Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks.
The big problem with the religious right and the religious left can be summed up in a Bible verse. “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3.
In recent years NRB has focused on stopping social media websites from discriminating against Christians while ignoring moral corruption in religious broadcasting. NRB should get its own house in order first. Perhaps, for the sake of conflict avoidance and the appearance of unity, NRB refuses to take a position on the prosperity gospel. There is not one single mention of the prosperity gospel on the NRB website.
NRB’s repugnant silence on the biggest scandal in religious broadcasting is deadly. People are being led astray by greedy false teachers.
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