Televangelist Leaves TBN; Claims Censorship

Trinity Broadcasting Network president Paul Crouch has recently denied claims of censorship for not airing an episode of televangelist Jack Van Impe where he disputed Rick Warren’s church-growing strategy.

Impe withdrew his show, “Jack Van Impe Presents,” and ended his 23-year relationship with TBN last week as the result of the dispute with Crouch. Impe said afterwards, in his show currently available on the Internet, that Crouch’s decision to not air the episode was “because of a couple of cronies.”

A TBN legal department spokesperson told The Christian Post that the station would not comment on the specifics of the dispute. However, a statement by Crouch is available on the station’s website. Crouch stated that it was a program policy issue rather than censorship that led to the decision.

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“It has been my position for TBN’s 38 years of ministry that TBN preach Christ only and that it does not become a bully pulpit for endless debate and/or criticism on/of various doctrinal issues among denominations, churches, ministries or individuals,” Crouch stated in his letter. “Specifically, it has been TBN’s policy not to allow its broadcast air time to be utilized for personal attacks by one Christian brother against another or to call them out by name.”

During the show in question, Impe said Southern California pastors Rick Warren and Robert Schuller were wrong for speaking at various faith-inclusive conferences. "... Schuller was a speaker for the Common Word conference while Warren spoke at an Islamic event in Washington, D.C. last year. Wherever Chrislam or its equivalent are promoted, Christians should run for their spiritual lives and I’m really gonna spend time on both of these men for the entire program next week," Impe said.

During Impe’s recent video-taped shows, he and his wife, Rexella, promote a DVD titled, “Reclaiming and Restoring Biblical Christianity,” and make claims that the methodology used by other pastors in “modern” churches is wrong. There needs to be a return to “old time religion,” the televangelist says.

Saddleback Church Pastor Warren’s The Purpose Driven Church book and model are prominently disputed in Impe’s DVD promotion and show discussion. Among the disputed elements that Impe says prevail in the Purpose Driven Church model, are contemporary, rock-style worship music and calling a church a “campus.”

Impe, who is based in Rochester Hills, Mich., states that his show has 16 other stations ready to begin broadcast in July.

“I will not stand to have my freedom of speech taken away from me,” he says in a recent episode. “God’s called me to be the prophetic voice and I will not stand down for any man, any church, any Christian organization.”

Impe's last official broadcast on TBN was June 8.

TBN, based in Southern California, is the world’s largest religious network and reportedly America’s most watched faith channel. Its inspirational programs are geared toward those of Protestant, Catholic and Messianic Jewish traditions.

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