The Sad Saga of Two Pentecostal Pauls

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Over the past 18 months scandals have exposed the double standards of various preachers. Amongst them have been Paul Crouch and Paul Cain.

Paul Crouch is one of a number of U.S. Word Faith millionaire preachers/teachers. He founded the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in 1973, purchasing a television station in 1974 and going on to develop one of the largest world television empires, using satellites to beam his programmes around the globe. He, and his wife Jan, were in partnership with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the PTL (Praise the Lord) in the early years of their media activities.

TBN has had a wide range of Word Faith/Seed Faith/Dominion Theology, leaders on their programmes including: John Avanzini, Kim Clement, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, John Hagee, Kenneth “Father” Hagin, Marilyn Hickey, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Rod Parsley, Carlton Pearson, Frederick K.C. Price, Oral Roberts, Richard Roberts, R.W. Schambach.

Apart from some very unsound theological pronouncements by Crouch and his television guests, some very dubious fund raising, there have also been some damning statements made during broadcasts, including the following by Paul Crouch himself in November 7, 1997:

’God, we proclaim death to anything or anyone that will lift a hand against this network and this ministry that belongs to You, God. It is Your work, it is Your idea, it is Your property, it is Your airwaves, it is Your world, and we proclaim death to anything that would stand in the way of God’s great voice of proclamation to the whole world. In the Name of Jesus, and all the people said Amen!’

Benny Hinn, described as TBN’s ’star performer’and ’star evangelist’, once reportedly declared, ’God will destroy the homosexual community of America ... with fire’ but according to documentary evidence, also once stated in the hearing of a private invesigator who had worked for him about: ’a sexual relationship that Paul Crouch had with his chauffeur’, and that ’Paul’s defence was that he was drunk.’ At least one other former staff member, a minister and former policeman, heard the beginning of Hinn’s comments, but didn’t want to listen to ’gossip’. Hinn has more recently denied these comments found in depositions by his former, and now deceased, investigator, Mario Licciardello.

What was the situation to which Hinn had referred?

Paul Crouch Snr. has been accused of a homosexual affair in which he seduced African American, Enoch Lonnie Ford, in a TBN-owned mountain cabin in 1996.

Ford, a known drug addict, and apparently openly homosexual, had been employed to work on telephones at TBN in 1992 and later had been noticed by Paul Crouch. Crouch employed him as his driver and photographer (though Ford knew nothing about photography).

After the sexual encounter Ford had thousands of dollars of debts paid by TBN, and then agreed to a US$425,000 settlement, which included a silence or secrecy clause, in 1998. In 2003 Ford took the manuscript of a memoir describing the sexual encounter to TBN. Lawyers for TBN apparently offered US$1 million for the rights to the manuscript, but this was rejected. The matter went before closed court hearings, resulting in a ruling to keep the matter under wraps (because of the secrecy clause Ford had signed).

However, the Los Angeles Times uncovered information about the whole affair and began an investigation, which again put Ford and his claims in the public spotlight. TBN lawyers went to court to prevent the L.A. Times from publishing the story, but were unsuccessful.

It seems that TBN’s lawyers had been worried about the story leaking out for a number of years. One of the lawyers, Dennis Brewer, apparently wrote in several letters to other lawyers that he had been amazed that Ford had not taken the manuscript to Penthouse magazine and that Paul Crouch’s youngest son Matt, had told a legal partner (in 1998) that he was devastated in having to confront the fact that his father was a homosexual.

TBN, Paul Crouch, and others related to TBN have strenuously denied the allegations, portraying Ford as a sexual predator, extortionist, drug addict and more. In March 2005 they were successful in preventing the airing of a lie-detector interview with Ford in the NBC Universal-PAX TV reality show, ’Lie Detector’ — at least for the time being. They were not so successful in court. They have attempted to have Ford jailed for breach of contract and court order. A judge ruled in early March 2005 that TBN did not have enough evidence to have Ford convicted.

In spite of all the denials, it seems, sadly, this situation is far from over.

Once again Christian leaders are in the media headlines for all the wrong reasons — and it really raises serious questions about U.S. TV Evangelists — their empire building, their theology, and their morality.

Paul Cain is one of America’s self-proclaimed ’Prophets of God’. His website currently still declares: ’Today, Paul Cain is acknowledged as a most prominent leadership figure in the Christian “prophetic” movement.’ To add to his spiritual prominence the website declares that: ’Paul Cain has led a life marked by a touch of the supernatural. Before his birth, an angel had appeared to his mother with a message from the Lord: “The fruit of your womb is a male child. Name him Paul. He will preach the gospel as the Apostle Paul of old.”’

The website goes on to describe how significant his preaching, teaching and healing ministries have been over the years. Interestingly, his website makes no mention that he had been a companion preacher of the bizarre and heretical William Branham, whom he declared ’the greatest prophet that ever lived.’ Branham, Cain, and a number of others tried to introduce Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God into Pentecostal churches. One of the main Pentecostal denominations, the Assemblies of God, rejected this teaching as heresy and also rejected Branham.

Paul Cain was also instrumental in establishing the Kansas City Fellowship — and was one of the main ’Kansas City Prophets’ — another thing left off his website for some reason. For a number of years Paul Cain was one of the leaders of the National School of the Prophets conference movement — along with numerous others, such as Mike Bickle, Jack Deere, Kingsley Fletcher, Ted Haggard, Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, David Morris, Chuck Pierce, Dutch Sheets, Peter Wagner.

On October 19, 2004 Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle and Jack Deere put out a joint statement (a Morning Star Ministries ’Special Bulletin’, No.36) — exposing the fact that Paul Cain, while ministering as a ’Prophet’ in the new ’apostolic’ and ’prophetic’ ’reformation’ — had become an alcoholic and was involved in homosexual activity. They confronted him over these issues early in 2004, then publicly stated ’Paul admitted to these sinful practices and was placed under discipline, agreeing to a process of restoration which the three of us would oversee.’

Their public statement went on to say: ’However, Paul has resisted this process and has continued in his sin. Therefore, after having exhausted the first two steps of Matthew 18:15-17, we now have a responsibility to bring this before the church.’

The statement was widely and publicly circulated and placed on Rick Joyner’s Morning Star Ministries’ website. It also included the following apology towards its conclusion: ’We apologize to the body of Christ for our lack of discernment in promoting Paul’s ministry while he had these significant strongholds in his life. We failed to see them until this year.’

The statement stressed, several times, the hope that Paul Cain could be helped to the point of restoration.

Following the Joyner-Deere-Bickle public statement, Paul Cain eventually made a public confession, stating he wanted to correct his denials made when he had earlier on been confronted by his errors, and acknowledging that he had been struggling with alcoholism and homosexuality for ’an extended period of time.’ He apologised to Rick Joyner, Jack Deere and Mike Bickle for not being truthful with them and for his ’misunderstanding of their attempts to discipline me’, and he apologised and asked for forgiveness to those who had been hurt by his ’actions of emotional or sexual misconduct.’

Cain stated that he was submitting to a numbering of people (naming two of them) who would be ’supervising every aspect of my restoration.’ It seems that Rick Joyner, Jack Deere and Mike Bickle are NOT part of that team.

Following his public confession (which he placed on his website), Paul Cain made a further public website statement on the 28th April 2005, declaring he had gone to the Lord over the issue and that ’he has accepted my repentance’ [stated by him in heavy bold print]. His second statement made it clear that he was aware of divided opinions about him and his ministry:

’It seems that after confessing my mistakes before the world, some have taken the opportunity to take advantage of my transparency, and pour forth more accusations. I will not defend myself…After my confession, I felt concerned that I was coming to a place of complete rejection by the body of Christ. But to my surprise, multitudes have communicated with us and have shared their complete acceptance of me in my humanity.

It also seems that there have been many spiritual analogies and suspicions shared about me which have been aimed to prove that I am either insincere, done with my race, I am ungodly, or that I am a deceiver. Within myself, this has been the hardest thing I have ever undergone. It seems that the onslaught of accusations continues on course, schemed to destroy me for good. But the Lord continues to watch over me, faithfully.

… The most painful aspect of all this, has been the continual attacks by people of God who have added to the difficulty of this whole situation, hindering a process of restoration rather than helping. In all humility, and weakness, I need His grace and presence like never before. I am also in need of that grace to handle the hurtful words and wounds by some of whom I trusted with the secrets as well as the treasures of my heart…. I must stand in the revelation that I am forgiven in Christ. I am not living in a sinful lifestyle. I am standing in the truth that Christ is my Master, and I am His forgiven friend.’

Unfortunately the second statement is all about Paul Cain being hurt. He is adamant that he has been forgiven, and should be allowed to move forward without negative criticism. It is all about him — and lacks the acknowledgement of his earlier confession that perhaps the suspicion and criticism may have some validity and may, at least to some degree, come from the hurt, damage and mistrust his actions have caused others.

Rick Joyner had also made a second public statement (Morning Star Ministries ’Special Bulletin’, No.46), dated April 22, 2005. He stated that he had received many questions asking about how genuine Paul Cain’s public confession may have been. He commented: ’It is understandable that many would question whether Paul’s repentance was genuine because of his previous denials. First, I personally question whether anyone has ever repented perfectly. I think there is only One that we can expect perfection from. I personally feel that Paul’s repentance was as genuine as he could make it at the time.’ He acknowledged that he no longer had dealings with Paul Cain (though there had been some small exchange of emails), so wasn’t really sure about his restoration progress. He added that: ’During our time of trying to help Paul, I did not see much evidence of that which would lead to a quick, easy restoration…there still seems to be much evidence that this is not going to be very quick or easy for him.’ He further added that he would do his best to keep praying for Paul Cain and encouraged readers to do the same, saying: ’My trust is not in Paul, but in the Lord who does marvelous things.’

Paul Cain did not comment on Rick Joyner’s second statement, even though he would have known about it, having published his own second statement a week later. His website has removed any reference to his ministry activities or resources he may previously have offered through his ministry organisation.

Paul Crouch continues to make denials of any wrongdoing (in spite of massive payments and signed secrecy clauses — with a variety of documents indicating his denials amount to lies) — while Paul Cain has made public confession and claims to be forgiven. Sadly, both men seemed to have failed to release the enormous responsibilities of public, high profile, Christian leadership, and the enormous damage and hurt they have caused their families and relatives, colleagues, their supporters, the wider Christian community and the cause of Christ.

While all of us are human and sinful, including other Christian leaders, denials and confessions after exposure do little to further the Kingdom of God or increase confidence in Christian leadership. May both these men learn from their errors, and may they ultimately come to true repentance and restoration with the Lord. May all of us learn to be more Christ-honouring in our conduct and lifestyle.

(From TACL Vol 26 #3 May/June 2005)