August 23, 2009

Father-Son Disharmony

                             

     I observed a very sad scene on TBN last week, August 20, 2009, on the Praise the Lord program originating from TBN's new studio in New York City.  The night's hosts were Matthew and Laurie Crouch and their first guests were TBN's founder Paul Crouch Sr. and his best friend Benny Hinn. Hinn was there to promote his new book, Blood in the Sand, a book on the subject of the Middle East in Bible prophecy. Very little time was spent on the book. Host Matt Crouch took this segment as an opportunity to confront his elderly father about his belief in the soon return of the Lord, a hope that the younger Crouch obviously does not share with his dad.
     The disrespect Matt showed in confronting his dad on world-wide television -- on the network his dad built -- was astonishing. Paul Sr. has had a divided family on this issue of Dispensationalism as his wife Jan bought into the Kingdom-Now heresy of the late Earl Paulk decades ago and even won her husband over to it, at least for a short time. But now as he is facing the declining years of his life, he is taking a strong stand on his pre-mil/pre-trib heritage resulting in the scorn of his son who seems to despise his eschatology.
     Below is a partial transcript of the conversation that had Crouch Sr. visibly shaken at times, prompting co-guest Benny Hinn to put a comforting arm around him several times to calm him down. While Matt is correct that date-setting on TBN has indeed occurred over the years, he errs in deducing that we are no longer to be looking for the rapture and living in anticipation of the Lord's coming. This attitude was foreseen by the Apostle Peter when he wrote:

    'Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.- 2 Peter 3:3-4 

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MATTHEW - We want to talk about something -- I have to say, Dad, that for many years I directed this very Praise the Lord program. Oftentimes you would be the host -- you and mom would be the host -- you would have Stewart McBirnie, you would have Hal Llindsey, you would have Doug Clark, you’d have lots of people. And you would be discussing Dispensational theology, ok? But I would hear as a young person, the Lord’s coming back in ’81, ’83 [laughter from audience], 88, you know 88 reasons the Lord will be back by ’88, you know. The Late Great Planet Earth, the number 1 best selling book of the 1970s decade - ok - so are you still a Dispensationalist? [more laughter]

PAUL - Yes!

MATTHEW - Still?

PAUL - Let me explain what Dispensationalism is.

MATTHEW - I want to just say that you did squirm in your seat there for a second.

PAUL - Quite frankly, Dispensational theology has fallen on hard times [louder gaffes] through misunderstanding. All it is, it’s really very simple once you stop to think about it. Benny knows more about this than I do and he’ll elaborate I’m sure, but you simply take periods of time in the Bible where certain events happened. Let me just say, the first Dispensation was the Dispensation of human government from Adam until Noah people were just kinda self-governing. Ok? After Noah and all the world was destroyed and God started all over again then He raises up an Abraham and -- yeah, the law [sr. moment] - yeah, Moses, Moses and then we have for two thousand years the Dispensation of Law.

MATTHEW - Correct.

PAUL - At the end of the Law here comes Jesus Christ, in the fulness of time, God brought forth His Son, made under the Law to redeem us who were under the Law. Oh, I’m so glad Jesus fulfilled the Law...I couldn’t possibly keep the law. There are 603, I think. Somebody actually counted them up. Do you know how many Benny?

BENNY - About 632.

PAUL - 632 - thank you, you straightened me out. Jesus kept them all. I’ve broken most of them. But here’s the good news! He fulfilled the Law and then because of my faith in Him, He takes His beautiful white robe of righteousness and clothes me upon it, with it.  And I’ve fulfilled the Law now because of Him. Amen! And so then, from Christ to right now we’ve been under the Dispensation of Grace. So there’s basically three great Dispensations and then the fourth we know will be a thousand years millennial reign of Jesus Christ after He returns in power and glory...

MATTHEW - Wonderful, but how come we’re still here? [audience laughs]

PAUL - In an hour that you think not the Son of man cometh, however He did say “watch”...

MATTHEW - OK, so then what we thought was the big prophetic aha moment in 1948, maybe we’re still waiting on the big aha moment. ... So what I thought I heard what Hal Lindsey was saying was ok 1948 Israel became a nation...so 40 years later, we’re all outta here. Was that the math that was kinda -- you know, this generation shall not pass away until all thing be fulfilled? Is that the math?

PAUL - We wondered, we wondered. And some made the mistake of setting dates, and as Benny knows as well as I do that that was wrong. That’s flat wrong! But we kinda figured 40 years is kinda generally assumed to be a generation - 40 years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness till that generation had all passed away.

MATTHEW - So that’s where you got the 40?

PAUL - So we thought, 48, 58, 68, 78, -- 88, maybe!

MATTHEW - Yeah!

PAUL - But it wasn’t. [audience screams with laughter]

MATTHEW - Ok - is that why I didn’t get to go to college.

LAURIE - That’s why we got married as fast as we could.

PAUL - No, you were having too much fun running cameras in a TV station.

MATTHEW - Well, I know I got married in ’85 just to make sure I got married before ’88...

BENNY - Now, let me go back if I may about the generation. There is also another thought from Genesis 14 and 15 where it’s possible that a generation is a hundred years because God said to Abraham that Israel will be in Egypt for four generations; that’s 400 years. So God never told us what a generation is; we’re still wondering...but ’48 was a miracle...

MATTHEW - So we started this conversation by saying Dispensational theology is -- that kinda got out of balance. Are you willing to admit that?

PAUL - Yes. Some abuses were made by some over-

MATTHEW - Sincere.

PAUL - Sincere, but wrong people who set dates. And I’ll tell you the thing that troubles me the most is that so many people are just saying ‘there is no more rapture of the church.’

BENNY - Big mistake by the way!...

MATTHEW - Can I ask you a quick question? When Israel became a nation when you were 14, you were convinced that you were the last generation.

PAUL - Yes, I was told that by just about all the preachers at the time.

MATTHEW - Ok, but now your mind is saying maybe this is gonna outlast me? You’re willing to admit that now for the first time?

PAUL - I am.

MATTHEW - And we are taping now? We got that on tape?

PAUL - But listen, if you throw out the rapture you’re gonna have to throw out Paul’s writings in Corinthians... Oh, I love this one, ‘behold I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep...we shall be caught up...’

MATTHEW - So, bottom line, Dispensational theology kinda went through a phase of the pendulum kinda swinging to one end --

PAUL - A little.

MATTHEW - We were looking at everything through a Dispensational mind and maybe that was a mistake. Ok....

It has been my great pleasure to have my senior father and Benny Hinn on the program.

 

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Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. -- Luke 12:51-53

 

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