- (Photo: TBN)
Author Max Lucado and televangelists Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn are among the thousands who have paid their tributes to Paul Franklin Crouch, co-founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), who is being remembered for his faith and ministry. He died at age 79 on Saturday.
"Praise to God for this man of faith," tweeted Lucado, bestselling author and writer and preacher at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Crouch "has passed into eternal joy," he said.
"We celebrate Dr. Paul Crouch's good & faithful work on earth. May we all leave such a legacy for the Kingdom," wrote Creflo Dollar, founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church International, on Twitter.
"On this day of his glorious home-going, please reflect upon the tremendous impact of this man's extraordinary life," reads a tweet by Pastor Hinn from Benny Hinn Ministries.
Crouch Sr., co-founder along with his wife, Jan, of the world's largest Christian-owned cable station, had been treated for chronic heart problems for over a decade and had received a pacemaker in 2012, according to TBN. He was hospitalized on Oct. 22 in Dallas, Texas, and returned home to California in early November.
"Today, my grandfather, #PaulCrouchSr went home to be with Jesus in heaven. Thank you for your prayers…" Brandon Crouch tweeted Saturday.
"@brandoncrouch our hearts are with you and the family, our sincerest condolences. Know that we are lifting you up from Austin," resonded Pastor Mark Brown, the founder and senior pastor of Breath of Life Worship Centre in Austin, Texas.
"It's amazing to see all that Dr. Paul Crouch accomplished in 40 years promoting the Gospel," said TBN as it released a video paying tribute to its founder, narrating the story of his ministry and highlighting his contribution in reaching the world for Christ.
Crouch had a "servanthood heart, love & passion to spread the Gospel," posted Lead Pastor Samuel Segundo, Jr. of Family Faith Center in Big Spring, Texas. "Enter in thou good & faithful servant #PaulCrouchSr," the pastor tweeted.
Wendy Treat from Christian Faith Center in Washington called Crouch a "Christian general." "One of our Christian generals is now sitting at our savior's feet. Dr Paul Crouch. Reached millions by faith 4Jesus."
"I believe every Christian in this nation has been positively HIMpacted directly or indirectly at some point by #PaulCrouch," tweeted Phil Munsey, chairman of Champion Network of Pastors.
Seshmi Robertson from JCTV, a Christian youth network and part of TBN, remembered Crouch for leaving behind "a legacy of bold faith."
"Without you, there would be no JCTV. You will forever be in our hearts," JCTV Network tweeted.
Crouch, who was born in 1934 in St. Joseph, Mo., began his career in broadcasting by helping to build a campus radio station while studying at Central Bible Institute and Seminary in in Springfield, Mo., in the 1950s. Crouch founded TBN in 1974, and today TBN reaches every major continent via 84 satellite channels and over 18,000 television and cable affiliates around the world.
Christians from around the world are also paying tribute to him.
Joseph Prince, the senior pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, offered "deepest condolences, love and prayers" to the Crouch family.
"Praying for the Crouch family from Kenya for the loss of #PaulCrouchSr. He's now receiving his crown! Good & Faithful servant of God," tweeted a woman from Kenya.
However, TBN's journey has not been easy. The question of succession at TBN has made headlines recently. In September 2011, Crouch allegedly wrote a letter saying he wanted his son Matthew Crouch to take over as president of TBN. Paul Crouch Jr., who was presumed the heir of TBN, suddenly announced the following month that he would leave TBN to pursue other ministry opportunities.
And in recent years, the Crouchs and TBN have been embroiled in family lawsuits. Their granddaughter Brittany Koper, former director of finance and human resources, has legally accused the Crouch family and TBN of illegally using tens of millions of dollars from the non-profit to support their luxurious lifestyle, including jets, estates, and vehicles. Koper's uncle, Joseph McVeigh, who never worked for TBN, also joined the family feud and filed another lawsuit against TBN in 2012, saying TBN was maliciously targeting him as part of a "campaign of retaliation" against Koper.