The Los Angeles Times on Matthew Crouch and "One Night With the King"

Church pockets fuel his Hollywood crusade
Tax-free donations from his parents’ Trinity Broadcasting Network fund Matthew Crouch’s religion-themed movies.
By William Lobdell and Stuart Pfeifer – Times Staff Writers – October 23, 2006

At the recent premiere of “One Night With the King” in Westwood, movie producer Matthew Crouch took a few moments to offer thanks.

“You know what I feel like would be an awesome thing to do right now?” Crouch said during a live broadcast of the opening festivities on “Praise the Lord” on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. “To thank my sweet little mom and dad, Paul and Jan Crouch.”

There’s a lot to be thankful for. His televangelist parents have authorized more than $32 million in tax-free donor money for the funding of three of his movies, TBN officials say. In addition, $16 million was given to a ministry that funded “One Night.”

The movie, which opened Oct. 13 on about 900 screens, took in $4.3 million at the box office on its first weekend, ninth among films in release. Over this last weekend, it dropped to 14th place, taking in $2.2 million. With sumptuous costumes, location shooting in India and cameos by Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif — their first pairing since “Lawrence of Arabia” — “One Night” tells the biblical story of Esther, who helped save the Jews from extermination in ancient Persia.

Matthew Crouch, 44, could use a box-office hit. Of his first three movies, none has turned a profit, although his 1999 movie, an apocalyptic thriller called “The Omega Code,” is credited by some for showing Hollywood the potential of Christian-themed films, leading to such hits as “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “The Passion of the Christ.” Crouch’s small, publicly traded company is struggling, having lost nearly $3.7 million last year, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Even so, Crouch’s ties to his parents’ cash-rich ministry — which operates the world’s largest religious broadcasting company — may help explain why he never had to take a vow of poverty. He owns a Hollywood Hills mansion. He and his wife, Laurie, have eight vehicles, including a $240,000 Bentley Arnage.

For fun, Matthew Crouch hunts big game with a bow and arrow in Alaska and at a private reserve in Texas and displays his trophies — stuffed elk, gazelle and ram heads — on his study wall.

In many ways, Crouch and his company, Gener8Xion Entertainment, are Hollywood anomalies. He hasn’t had to look further than his parents — with their tax-free donor base and worldwide television reach — to bankroll and market his movies. In other ways, the stereotype of a Hollywood producer fits snugly. Friends and foes describe him, by turns, as charismatic, arrogant, charming, ruthless, visionary and greedy.

“He’s one of the most creative and innovative people in my industry,” said Stephen Strang, president of Strang Communications, a Florida-based Christian media company. “I know there’s many people out there trying to make a difference, but Matt’s someone out there doing it.”

Other entertainment-industry veterans who have worked with Crouch — a diminutive figure who sports a modish crew cut — say he would have been drummed out of the business if not for his TBN ties.

“I think he would be a laughingstock if he was a penniless evangelical, going cap in hand, office to office, trying to raise money and projecting the same personality he does,” said Brian Trenchard-Smith, director of “The Omega Code’s” 2001 sequel, “Megiddo: The Omega Code 2.”

Associates also say that Crouch’s impulsiveness — and perhaps a desire to escape his father’s long shadow — has prompted him to take shortcuts that have led to risky decisions. During the production of “Omega Code,” his key personnel included a former adult-film actor and a novice screenwriter who was arrested and convicted of soliciting a child for sex.

Crouch declined to be interviewed for this story. But on “Praise the Lord” last month, he sat next to his wife and told viewers, “We were born” to make “One Night With the King.” “We were destined for greatness.”

Matthew Crouch was 11 when his Pentecostal parents launched TBN in 1975 in a rented Santa Ana studio, using the family shower curtain as a backdrop. Today, the Tustin-based empire, with annual revenues of nearly $190 million, is controlled by three board members: his mother, father and older brother, Paul Jr.

From TBN’s early days until 1991, Matthew Crouch held a variety of positions at the network. Former associates and friends describe him as a dreamer and risk-taker who likes to drive fast cars and is especially close to his mother.

In 1992, Matthew and Laurie Crouch formed Gener8Xion Entertainment, with the mission of serving a long-neglected demographic: religious audiences turned off by what they see as the vulgarity of popular culture.

The venture started simply, operating out of a home that Matthew Crouch owned in Orange. Former associates said the business was soon flourishing as Crouch sold his services as a television producer to pastors seeking connections with TBN.

Move to Hollywood

By the mid-1990s, he had moved the business to Hollywood, renting office space in a colorful complex that once housed cartoon giant Hanna-Barbera Productions. In 1995, the Crouches bought a home nearby for $1.15 million. Crouch has told colleagues that he had a vision about getting that exact office and house.

Joe Marroquin is a onetime Gener8Xion employee who said he did not leave on good terms. He said Crouch would charge pastors $15,000 to $20,000 a week to produce their shows — work that consisted of little more than providing access to his parents’ network.

“He basically strong-armed people, saying, ‘Paul Crouch is my dad, and my mom is in charge of programming,’ ” Marroquin said.

A second person, a former confidant of Matthew Crouch who feared retribution if identified, confirmed this account. TBN officials said at no time was Paul Crouch or the network aware of such arrangements.

In response to The Times’ questioning, TBN attorney John Casoria said the network launched an investigation, interviewing pastors who retained Crouch as a producer.

“All of them have denied this allegation,” Casoria said. And “they would continue to work with Gener8Xion whether or not they were” on TBN.

In 1999, Crouch hit Hollywood’s radar screen with “The Omega Code,” a $7.2-million apocalyptic thriller that surprised the movie industry by taking in $12.6 million at the box office.

“I’m trying to tell Hollywood executives that I’ve found an audience, and I know how to market to them,” Crouch said in a 2001 interview with The Times.

Although federal tax filings show that TBN received only a $2-million return on its $7.2-million investment, Crouch supporters say the legacy of “The Omega Code” cannot be contained on a balance sheet.

“How many more slasher or chain-saw-massacre movies do we need?” Paul Crouch Jr. asked at the “One Night” premiere.

Some in Hollywood would agree. Last month, Fox Filmed Entertainment announced plans to produce as many as a dozen Christian-themed films a year under the banner FoxFaith. This month saw the debut of “Facing the Giants,” a film about an underdog Christian high school football team that was produced, written and directed by two Baptist pastors.

Matthew Crouch produced “The Omega Code” with a staff that had far less film experience than those at major Hollywood studios. For instance, Marroquin, owner of a Houston-based limo company, said he was recruited to be Crouch’s chief lieutenant as “director of projects.” TBN officials said Crouch described Marroquin as a driver and “errand boy.”

One Gener8Xion exe
cutive was Sean Abbananto, vice president of marketing. His prior industry experience was as an actor in several adult films, including “Erotic Fantasies III.” Abbananto, who had no marketing experience, said he was upfront about his past.

“The thing I enjoyed about Matt and Gener8Xion is that stuff didn’t bother them,” said Abbananto, who now runs a Christian ministry. “They were more interested in what you’re doing now, as opposed to what you did then.”

In a statement, TBN said that Crouch was unaware of Abbananto’s previous work.

The screenwriter for “Omega Code” was Barton Green, who had no movie credits to his name. During production, he was arrested in San Bernardino County on suspicion of soliciting a child for sex over the Internet and attempted child molestation. His target, according to court records, was a police officer posing as a child online.

Marroquin said that after the arrest, Crouch worried about being linked to Green if the story were picked up by the media. “Matt had me calling to the cops, digging for information,” he said.

In 2000, court records show, Green pleaded no contest to a child prostitution charge and was sentenced to three months’ probation and 90 days in county jail.

Using a pseudonym

When “The Omega Code” was released, the writing credit went to Hollis Barton. Marroquin said Green used the pseudonym to avoid linking the movie to a sex scandal. Green, who shared a writing credit for “Megiddo,” didn’t return phone calls or a message left at his Los Angeles apartment.

“The Omega Code” faced its own legal problems in 2000, when a novelist alleged in federal court that the plot of her book had been stolen and used for the movie. The defendants, which included TBN and Gener8Xion, denied the allegation, and TBN officials said they settled to avoid costly litigation. The settlement was about $1.2 million, according to a source close to the negotiations.

Crouch’s next two movies fared poorly at the box office. In 2001, “Carman: The Champion” — a boxing tale with spiritual overtones bankrolled with nearly $4 million from TBN donors — earned less than $2 million in theaters, TBN officials said.

TBN and Crouch had higher hopes for “Megiddo.” TBN officials said that the ministry initially gave Crouch $16 million to make the movie but that the price tag grew to $22 million.

Because of those budget pressures, some who worked on the film were surprised that Crouch bought two new cars within a three-day period during filming.

John Lafferty, who edited “Megiddo,” said he watched from his cutting-room window at Gener8Xion as Crouch drove up.

“I was just floored,” Lafferty said. “He showed up in the blue Porsche. I mentioned that to a co-worker, and he said, ‘You should see the wife’s car, the Bentley.’ ”

In a statement, network officials said their audits show that Crouch received only $180,000 in production fees for the first three films. For “One Night With the King,” TBN gave $16 million to another ministry, the Hope, Direction and Encouragement Ministries, run by the Rev. Tommy Tenney, who wrote the book the movie is based on. That ministry in turn hired Crouch to produce the film. TBN officials said they didn’t know the terms of the deal between that ministry and Crouch.

“Megiddo” took in $6 million at the box office, a poor showing that TBN officials blamed largely on its release date shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Timing aside, reviewers weren’t impressed, panning it as unintentionally comical. The Hollywood Reporter called it too funny to “take seriously.”

These days, Gener8Xion could use a box-office hit. The company lost nearly $3.7 million in the last year, and “there is no assurance that additional capital will be available” for future operations, according to a company statement.

Gener8Xion had to borrow $6 million in August to distribute “One Night.” Although some observers called its opening-weekend box office impressive, the movie fell far short of the $12.5 million it needed to qualify contractually for an additional $2.5 in loans for wider distribution.

Reviews were mixed. The LA Weekly said it “plods across the screen with the thudding portent of an earnest Sunday-school lesson.” But Variety called the movie “a surprisingly satisfying attempt to revive the Old Hollywood tradition” of lavish biblical epics.

On the air, Crouch remains upbeat, not just about “One Night” but also about other projects, such as “Gifted,” a Christian version of “American Idol.”

In a public conference call for investors, Crouch explained that God recognizes his company as a blessing for American culture and for investors.

william.lobdell@latimes.com

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times |

—— End of Forwarded Message

This entry was posted on Monday, October 23rd, 2006 at 5:55 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Cooke Reader

    Wow, he's living the high life. Elitist and not afraid to show it with his lifestyle. He doesn't want for anything and yet TBN still begs for donations. This is what creates a cynical audience-people who are super rich asking for more $. In my mind it's bogus and no better than a scam. I don't want to watch the movie and I don't wish to support or watch TBN. Just today I tuned into a Christian radio station begging for money to stay on the air. It almost made me sick. I'm currently dissallusioned with the "Christian" media. It seems no better than a ploy to make money off of good hearted people who are being exploited. I can't help but feel that people are being scammed out of their hard earned money. People work hard so they can barely scrape by and yet everywhere the Christian working man turns he is being asked to donate to yet another "ministry".

    Why not give the money to the poor? There are so many hurting people all around us. I don't see how spending big bucks on a tv ministry is going to impact that many folks. Most of the people I see hurting can't afford cable anyway and if they can they won't be watching TBN. Maybe those in Christian media never had to associate with the working class or seen the struggles of everyday people. By all appearances Christian media doesn't care about you, just your money. Which puts them in the same class as the rest of the media world. They're just trying to exploit an audience for financial gain.

  • http://childoftelevision.blogspot.com/2005/01/must-see-sabbath.html Tony Figueroa

    When television and religion coalesced somehow, against the laws of mathematics, the sum became less than its parts. Unfortunately you tune in to your religious leaders on TV in times of crisis and they will blame the problem on gays, feminists, the ACLU and the Teletubbies & SpongeBob SquarePants (for promoting the Gay lifestyle Conservatives Pick Soft Target: A Cartoon Sponge. I guess anyone who lives in a pineapple has got to be a bit fruity and yet no one has ever questioned Bert & Ernie living together on "Sesame Street). I know some Christians (many of whom live here in Hollywood) who are tired of a handful of self appointed Christian representatives perpetuating a negative stereotype. Maybe it’s time that you do like we did in California and have them recalled.

  • Cooke Reader

    As with his whole family Matthew fits the bill of a true Pharisee. 

    Mack

  • Cooke Reader

    it's not judgingit's plain to see that this young man is the recipient of the donations sent to tbnhe purchased a studio in hollywood that cost millions,he has all these cars and lives in a mansion,all at the expense of little old ladies sending in their pension cheques.a crying shame is what it is.

  • danthetvman

    Hey..at least he is out there trying. The movies may not have been a smash but they are getting talk. Everyone has hobbies..I like airplanes. Does that make me wrong for using my salary I recieve from a ministry to use on things I enjoy? no..

  • Phil

    Do we really want someone just "trying" when it comes to millions of dollars of ministry donations?  Wouldn't it be better to have someone accomplished and excellent at it?  Use your personal ministry salary any way you want, but when it comes to the church or ministry budget, it becomes a dramatically different issue…

  • danthetvman

    Good point..I dont know to what degree Matt gains outside advice on what may have good potential and what is a bomb. I have been curious as to how a script gains approval to justify a movie. Most of the “Christian” movies have been about bible times or armageddon. I”m ready for a good drama or comedy that is not “in your face” Christian. (That’s another blog altogether).

    Dan

  • trythespirits

    Yes it is wrong to use ministry money for things you enjoy. Money given to ministry is to be used to spread the gospel of Jesus. To win souls and increase the kingdom of God.

  • Jed

      I have no problems with judging…

     as the rest of the living/breathing/thinking population, including religion. 

     Just make it solid & constructive…

     Yeah, believe Matt is doing a kinda judas/absalom, with this thing… 

     Not much more to say than this…

    Reading this article kinda confirmed this…

    Doesn't mean the dude who wrote this, didn't have a left leaning bias…

  • PMM

    You can use your salary for any interest you have, but using "non profit" resources to fund your "desires and wants" is not proper and certainly not acceptable under God's Will for your life.

  • Tim Saye

    My wife and I just saw Matthew Crouches’ ‘One Night With the King’, and we were very moved and impressed with the great acting and story line which kept true to the Biblical account of Esther.  The costumes and sets were first rate, and even the King’s Palace was very realistic looking, and not a matte painting.  Compared to another film on the same subject, this one is far superior.

    As far as those who are critical of viewers giving their offerings to TBN, and then those funds helping out this Christian film company, may I suggest that if non-Christians come to Christ from being exposed to the Biblically based films being produced by Matthew Crouch, which causes them to read the Bible and take an interest in Christianity for the first time,  then indirectly souls are being saved.  Remember that even a gospel tract left in a phone book or put in with a utility bill can plant a seed in a person’s heart, and in turn the Holy Spirit gives increase, and a soul is saved for eternity.  God can use us in whatever ministry he calls.  I will be praying that more excellent films are produced from the Crouches,  such as “Facing the Giants”, to contrast with much of the very bad and immoral material our young people and American adults are exposed to today in American theatres and DVDs watched at home. 

    Jesus was rebuked by the religious pharisees for eating with sinners, but He did it to win them to salvation in Himself, as Jesus knew the proud followers of the Torah would not.  Matthew is doing the same in mingling with non-saved Hollywood actors and actresses, and showing them Christ’s love.  If they view his films, and begin to feel the spiritual emptiness in their lives, then what Matthew is doing makes sense. 

    So lets be careful not to judge fellow Christians, but judge ourselves, as Jesus told us to, as we must all stand one day before our Maker, and we won’t have anyone else to blame for the loss or gain of our rewards as Christians, by by the three S’s: Service, Sacrifice and Sanctification.  What we do in proclaiming Christ to a lost world now is what matters. (John 14: 2 & 3).

     

    Please pray for Matthew and Laurie, as they counteract a dangerous trend in Hollywood today.  Maybe that town will one day be called, HOLYWOOD, as our godless nation turns back to Him (II Chronicles 7:14), in answer to our prayers as believers in Christ.

     

  • DJ Peace

    Hello. I am a 48 yr young women in the Lord. 30 years ago, when I became a Christian, I didn’t know one thing at all about the bible or the bible characters. I remember, wishing, someone would somehow make bible based movies so I could get the jist of the bible stories. It was so frustrating going to church and not even knowing who Solomon was! Or the story or meaning of David and Goliath.  The only thing I knew about a David and Goliath, was the old child puppet type cartoons about a boy, David and his dog named Goliath!  I didn’t know( being raised in a jesuit Catholic church) about any of the stories, except for Adam and Eve, and the Tower of Babel. (My mother used to say to watch out to what I am saying is truth, or else “God would change my language instantly so I won’t be able to lie”.  That was what I knew of the Bible, and that we live in this awful world the way it is all because of Adam and Eve disobeying God (free will) by eating the one fruit, out of all the tons of fruit God had given them. Those weren’t enough! They had to have that one too!  So because of them, I get to suffer in this world.  That is all I was taught.

    So I would pray that God would “Please start having Hollywood make movies that taught the Bible, like back in the old days, of “Moses”. Please Lord, I don’t know what all these stories are about. Or what is meant by them.

    For me, having these movies be made is an answer to prayer. Might of took a little longer than I hoped but at least the next generation after me and my one day grandchilden will have Bible based movies to enjoy.  Do people have to be stuck only with what the general Hollywood producers are making? Few are good with good values being taught-few.  Hollywood needs balance. I personally am sick to death (pardon the expression) of watching shows and movies showing men with men “discovering each other”! Or movies that show women being so hurt from bad father figures or rapist that they “try out” being with a woman “because they are a woman like me and were hurt too, so we will be gentle and understanding with another”.

    Those experiences might be well and true, but why does Hollywood have to shove it in my face so much! TV show after TV show seems to have to now show at least a gay person in the program so the topic gets brought up.  You know, over the past 30 years, I have befriended gay people to be close friends! Why? Cuz that is between them and God. I can share I don’t agree with it, and still befriend them, but they don’t shove the subject in my face. I would go to gay clubs over straight clubs, because they have awesome DJ’s but number 1 reason is the overly eager woman hunters are not there to bother me! So I could actually enjoy dancing, instead of constantly being given stupid dumb lines with stinky beer breath and cigarette breath put in my face.  But, I chose to go there. Yes, there, in those clubs, they are able to be free with themselves in a place they feel accepted.  But, now, why is it being shoved in my face in every movie or TV show, and even in malls and common shopping streets!  That way of living to me and to what both old and new testament says, is wrong and not natural. Male parts are put where female parts are. That is how 2 become one. God doesn’t make mistakes! It’s humans who make mistakes. But we can because of free will. Statistics show that 95% of the gay population were sexually messed with/abused as young children. So, yah, that will confuse the emotional growth of any person and they react or respond to it in many different ways. That being one of them.

    But my question still stands, why does Hollywood feel that the rest of America will want to watch programs with it displayed? And so graphically, And in front of our young ones growing up watching “family” shows which includes this behavior of lifestyle being as part of the program? So our children normal emotional growth is being confused with them being exposed to this. They now are not literally “free” to grow up without it put in their faces. So they don’t get the priveledge to grow up with the natural and  sexually emotional manner, of how our bodies are made to behave, as I got to have going up. I too was sexually abused as a little girl, and during my teen years I turned to drugs to excape the emotional pain. During those days, we got so drunk or high we just did whatever ended up happening during being obliverated. We said later, “well we did what we did, cuz we didn’t care about ourselves” otherwise we wouldn’t of got so obliverated. But then, we I for instance started looking at my life and heart, and lifestyle, I began to show myself love and care. I chose to surrender all of the pain, and confusion over to Jesus and live for Him. He accepted me just as I was at that very moment. There was nothing I had to do “for” Him to “get” Him to love me of accept me as I was…sin and all. After that, I didn’t think about that “other” way to “play”. I was clear and clean of any mind altering substances so I was able to start looking at my insides. Which isn’t always easy, but it is only a day at a time life anyways. Things change little by little as we choose to change from doing what we’ve been doing to doing something else, doing things different.

    For me, doing things different meant to watch different TV and movies than I used to or listen to different music than I used to. This way I was giving myself free room to make changes.  That old way of living ceased, because I now was praying and “trying” to read and understand the bible, and listen to christian inspired music. To me this is a “spiritual” way of living. Not a “religious” way of living. I didn’t become “religious”, I became Christian. Which is so simple. It simply means to live a “christ” like way of life. Which is spiritual! Not a man made religion telling me what I can or can’t do. God was gentle with me. If I was told things like that, then I might as well guit and so back to living the way I used to live. “Rebellious”. But God was patient with me. It is “mankind” who is not patient.

    God gives us all free will. We can “will” to live how “we” want to live, or we can “will” to live by God’s will, as best as we know at the time.

    I didn’t know a thng about the bible really, (catechisim just taught me what the Catholic traditions and ways of doing things in the mass, or what is wrong but ” “God” will let us “slide” on and other things are wrong where there is absolutely no “getting” out of. IE. “sex outside of marriage is a one way to hell” . At the time, it was taught you go straight to hell, no way around it. No going to “purgatory” some Catholic made up place that our spirit goes to after death to suffer for so long to cover the sins we made on earth before we will be aloud to enter into heaven.  Well, for me, with my innocent child’s mind and emotions, at 16,(we think we are grown ups but seriously, we are still thinking childlike), I was date-raped.(at the time it was known as that, it was known as the boy overpowering the girl and taking advantage of a situation for their benefit, and that because we were kissing for some odd reason, that was indirectly telling the boy/man I wanted to do sex, which is totally selfish way of thinking for the male) I was so devastated not only cuz of the fear and pain, but mostly because “I now am going to Hell” . I did sex outside of marriage!

    When I chose to live for the Lord some years later, I really knew nothing of the bible. So since there were no movies about the bible stories except for Moses and Jesus’ birth, I had nothing. (I turned to childrens bible story books in christian book stores to as least know something!)

    So, yes, it cost a lot of money to make these movies, and yes they aren’t blockbusters like Titanic, but who says they have to be blockbusters anyway?? This is what I don’t understand. So if they make a some sort of profit, cool! They should get to have that as compensation for their hard work and dedication on doing this job of making the
    movie.

    If they don’t make a profit, oh well. It’s God’s money anyhow. Maybe that doesn’t matter to him as much as having humans watch these movies and learn something from it. For me, it would of been learning a bible story. But for me now 30 years later, I learn a moral subject or value that maybe I didn’t have prior or I knew of it but didn’t live it. And by watching the movie I got convicted inside to smarten up. To do more changes on myself. Living Spiritually means we are constantly willing to work on ourselves to change bad or wrong behaviors into good, moralistic christian thinking ways. (How would Jesus do it?) All God would like to see his children do is to want and to try to live like his example which is written in the bible.

    I loved the movie as much as I did “A Walk to Remember”, which was not a blockbuster either. but the message it gave was really good. I liked it as much as liking Moses or Titanic- which happens to be blockbusters.

    Now if crytics want to dis the movie and those that made it, so what! and who cares? That is “their” job. To give a thumbs up or thumbs down. So really who cares??  What matters, is that those who went and got something out of it. That is the point of the whole thing.

    The car buying thing….well, I personally think I would feel uncomfortable driving in one.  But I am not them. They might feel just fine about it. They earned a paycheck like anyone else, and if Matt happened to be born in a successfully blessed family then that is life for him. Not maybe our life but it’s his life. Children for centuries of wealthly parents have never wanted for anything. So why should it be any different for him.

    People give money to TBN because they are getting something out of it and want to support it so they get to continue getting something out of it.  No different than the Masons. Whether I believe they are a good organization or not, is not the subject. The people who participate in that program like it and believe in it. So they support it. The monies collected go to keep the program active and not fall apart. Any other monies goes to various charities or programs to help people in hospitals for example. Any other monies go to those who are working for the organization as a full time job. They get a paycheck. Where do you think the money for the paycheck is coming from? The supporters.

    Same with the Goodwill, Salvation Army, AA, Muscular Dystrophy non-profit.  Monies come in to the program. It is put in all the different areas to keep it going, as well as monthly bills. Those who are employeed receive earnings. So is the same with Matt Crouch and the others of the crew who received earnings.

    Some people make more than others in all different roles of positions needed. Some have higher responsibilities than others. So naturally they earn higher wage.  If the person chooses to buy themselves a car with 700.00 dollar a month payments, that is on them. If they are living within their means or not, it is their business. Now, I do believe in that the bible says “to whom much is given much is expected”.  He or Obama or Bush or Spellmen or Tom Cruise, etc… they all have been given huge responsibilities. Some different than others but still, much. So yes they are in the “lamb light” so to speak. So if they will get judged. It is human nature. We are not naturally born to be spiritually minded. that is something taught. So for me I might feel uncomfortable with a Bentley, but if it is within my means and I can, then ok, it is my business not yours.

    I think we need to start looking at the good in people more than pointing out their flaws. Because uh humm.. we have flaws too. Do we want our flaws to be broadcasted? I sure don’t. But they do in life one time or another, because that is what people do naturally.

    To live a spiritual life with Jesus, means to me to live as best as I can with what I know at the present and continue to learn more and grow in my spiritual life more and more. To show Christ in me more and more as best as I can with what I know. One day at a time.

    Just remember, all sorts of people from all over the globe give gifts monterially to all sorts of non profits. It’s because they like what they see the program doing. They see the vision of what the program can do or is capable to do. This is why they give. The little old lady thing is because they believe in giving to the church where they are getting spiritually feed from. Well if the are home bound, TBN might be their “church”.

    All we can do is do what the bible says to do. Pray ye one for another, that your sins might be removed/forgiven.  We need to pray for them and the more prayers that are being prayed God (with or without prayer really) shows them the way. If they abuse what God gives them it is on them not on us or the little old ladies. They will pay the consequence.  Our business is to pray for our president, pray for Israel, for those in high offices and jobs- Matt and Paul Crouch, etc…

    We have to take care of our own side of the street and let God do the rest.

    Sorry this went so long. I don’t know how to get my points across without examples.

    God Bless, and I hope if you don’t know Jesus that soon you will turn your life over to Him. It was the best decision I ever made. If you are already in Christ/a Christian, let’s try (I am speaking to myself too, cuz I am at fault myself many times) to just do the right thing that we know to be right and not worry about someone else. Just pray for them.

  • e

    cooke reader, my thoughts exactly.  keep repeating them.

  • Tim

    My opinion of Matt Crouch is simply he is a spoiled brat that couldnt’ survive without his mama and daddy..who who have taught him the way’s of spiritual and worldly corruption period!!

    His wife Laurie is all smiles because she is a recipient of riches made off of the widow’s mite and conned biblically illiterate people.

    Matt is seeking to find a path of his own that does not tie in with his homosexual daddy who his attorney’s protect at all costs and his looney tune mom who thinks more of her screwed up worldly hairdo than the Lost they proclaim they serve!! LMAO!!

    So much more to say, however the Crouches are all about Worldliness, greed, corruption and Godlessness.

    This TBN family is ushering in the  NEW JESUS that the world’s religion will buy into..For it is truly the Anti Christ Spirit which leads and controls this Motley Crue TBN Family!!!  A true Hell’s Angel , A False Light indeed based on greed, corruption , Filth and spritual lawlessness that will be judged to Hell for sure!!

    For God Himself has sent this strong delusion as Judgement to those who refuse to keep the Written Word as their guide, but would prefer a Saul of sorts found in this Godless TBN Crouch family and associates!!!

    Tim

  • Linda

    The Crouches are so so far gone into apostasy they can’t see.

    Their movies will never make it because God is Savior and King not producer and director.

    Hollywood is good at making movies as we know this is their thing. Let the dead bury the dead!

    And for TBN to use the money of donors to enrich the Crouches is something the Bible condems.

    It is a sad thing they do but all their greedy works will be brought into judgement by God.

    Ecclesiastes says so.

    Laurie and Matt and all the rest are a shame to the Gospel. They without conscience prey on the Bible ignorant people for money to make them rich. The donors would rather watch television and go to the movies than read the Bible for themselves.

    God bring the evil on TBN down and raise up what is holy and true!

     

  • Linda

    Tim you’re right it is strong delusion sent to these blind leaders of the blind.

    God HAS SENT them strong delusion and this is what the Crouches are under!

    They will be damned because they receieved not the love of the truth that they might be saved.

    It ticks me off how they rob and trip the blind while laughing.

    Maybe God will let me see their judgments.

     

  • Linda

    Tim, I don’t have to “be careful” about judging Matt and Laurie Crouch who live sinful greedy lifestyles at the expense of the Bible ignorant. They are hypocrites and liars and greedy of filthy lucre.

    God will send judgment on them it is guaranteed, it will follow the strong delusion he sent to them for rejecting his gospel and making up their own.

    Their god is money!

    Sinners have been saved for thousands of years without any movies from Matt Crouch. Believe me the gospel will continue to go forth without any movies from the Crouches.

  • Kingdomageministry

    Jan cries on TV about how her poor little Hatian babies are starving.  Why not sell some of her extra jewelry and cars (and put her fancy poodles on a diet) and use the savings to feed those poor kids?  When donkeys fly!

  • Cooke Reader

    Judge not, lest you be judged. Yes, this LA Times article paints an ugly picture of our brother Matthew Crouch, but let's please remember where the article is coming from. Many on this blog seem out for blood, particularly when it comes to the Crouchs. Matthew Crouch is our brother in Christ and we cannot know his heart. Only God does. It appears that he is being "crucified" in the secular press and what do we do? We join in and hurl rocks at him. That's ugly.  Let's pray for each other particularly those in positions of influence. It's the Christian thing to do.

  • tmac

    You're exactly right about not judging. We shouldn't judge. But at the same time we are told to be wise as serpents and discerning.  Just because TBN is the world's largest Christian network doesn't necessarily mean those in leadership should not be questioned and held accountable.  Paul Crouch has historically proven that he does not want to be held accountable to any man or organization.  I can appreciate what Matt has done and is trying to do.  I believe he's been successful in creating awareness and drawing attention to the fact that there is an audience for Christian-based films.  I think any criticism of him and his company is due to his relationship with TBN.  I worked for TBN and saw the extravagances that the Crouches live in on a daily basis.  They beg for donations and get them from trusting, unassuming and naive elderly people who really cannot afford it.  Paul and Jan have built for themselves a kingdom at the expense of innocent people.  They enjoy their multiple mansions, dozens of luxury vehicles, catered meals, etc.  They could probably continue to operate the network just on the interest off the millions of dollars they have in banks around the world and never have to ask for another penny.  

  • http://t-hype.blogspot.com t-hype

    That is a hott mess! It pretty much explains why TBN's movies are so bad though.

    I had wondered why–when there are so many Christian writers of excellence in Hollywood–that TBN keeps turning out wack movies. It would only take one call to Hollywood Connect or Act One to find Christians with impressive resumes who would be more than happy to help improve their scripts.

    TBN is not exactly "two Baptist pastors in Texas" yet their films garner the same level of response. They've got way more resources and they're not using them wisely. It's just a matter of time before Gener8Xion goes the way of Big Idea. [They should read Phil Vischer's blog if they want to face their future!]

    God help us all to love him, listen to his voice and walk in humility wherever he may take us!

  • Cooke Reader

    Yes. I agree. The picture of TBN is not a good one. And if half of what is said about the Crouchs is true we ought to be praying for God's mercy on them. God is just and will judge everyone according to what's in his or heart. To truly be discerning, we need to be in heavy pray.  In regards to TBN – I say: make sure we pray first, then discern. By doing that, we keep ourselves from judging and let the Holy Spirit be the judge. If what is said about the Crouchs is true, let's believe that the power that raised Christ from the dead can redeem the entire organization.  God will turn everything around for good. Let's be on the lookout for miracles surrounding TBN. 

  • Concerned Christian Professional in Hollywood

    Actually, you're incorrect. The only people the Bible specifically prohibits us from judging is the world. But numerous chapters of the New Testament admonish us to be discerning, be aware of sin among believers, seperate them from the Body, and always be on guard for deception. As a professional in Hollywood, I have no axe to grind with TBN or Matt Crouch, but the truth is, these accusations are not new, and most of us know they're accurate.

    The truth is, the government won't let families of government employees profit from their position, so why shouldn't Christian organizations at least hold to that standard? Is that too much to ask?

    From a pure accountability point of view, how can Paul and Jan Crouch keep throwing millions of dollars down this black hole that can't seem to ever make a profit? Why don't the partners and supporters of TBN demand better?

    We are not called to be blind, non-judgemental believers that allow our leaders to run amock. Perhaps it's time that TBN viewers demanded more of the network leadership. How can we do less for the cause of Christ?

  • Cooke Reader

    Yes, we are called to be discerning. But if we are not "prayed up" and filled with the Holy Spirit, discernment quickly slides into judgement.  Being in judgement of others is not a pretty place to be. From my perspective, some of the posts I've read here sound awfully judgemental (on both sides). My aim was just to caution my brothers and sisters to not let their discernment turn into judgement.  It is only the Holy Spirit in us that can judge.

  • Reader

    This article is cruel and cold!  Matt Crouch is not hurting anyone! All he is trying to do is bring people to God, King of Kings, ruler of the Heavens & the Earth.  Movies is his ministry and what he was called to do, and you know what?  He will be blessed beyond his wildest dreams for not giving up and quiting because of people like you.  He kept doing God's will even though this was far from easy. . .  God never calls you to do something easy, never!  That's how He knows how faithful you are to Him.  And Matt and his wife, Laurie had every reason in the world to quit, but they didn't because Christians live for the most high God, our Lord and savior.  I only pray that I could be as merciful and loving as He is towards even the unbelievers… because even though you are beating Matthew Crouch, this child of God, God still loves you and he's waiting with open arms.  As soon as you live your life for Him, it will never be the same.

     God bless.

  • Cooke Fan

    as for one who worked at 8X (gener8xtion) as a Producer/editor  IT IS ALL TRUE. I am not a big fan of the LA times but this time they Got it right.

  • Reader & Child of the most high God

    This article is cruel and cold!  Matt Crouch is not hurting anyone! All he is trying to do is bring people to God, King of Kings, ruler of the Heavens & the Earth.  Movies is his ministry and what he was called to do, and you know what?  He will be blessed beyond his wildest dreams for not giving up and quiting because of people like you.  He kept doing God's will even though this was far from easy. . .  God never calls you to do something easy, never!  That's how He knows how faithful you are to Him.  And Matt and his wife, Laurie had every reason in the world to quit, but they didn't because Christians live for the most high God, our Lord and savior.  I only pray that I could be as merciful and loving as He is towards even the unbelievers… because even though you are beating Matthew Crouch, this child of God, God still loves you and he's waiting with open arms.  As soon as you live your life for Him, it will never be the same.

     God bless.

  • Reader

    THis is not an article on the movie, it is an attack!  Grow up!

  • Reader

    Also, Matt Crouch does hunt, but the rest of the body goes to feed orpanages and charity.  It does not go to waste.  So, Mr. Cook, get your facts straight before you post them!!!

  • Phil

    Keep in mind, I simply posted the article from the Los Angeles Times, and made no comment either way about it.  But the conversation it's started as been fascinating, from people on both sides of the issue…

  • by cooke fan J.M.

    The story on matthew crouch was and is totally true i knew the man he was a friend of mine at one time but it has become all about money which would be fine as a movie producer who raised money from banks,investors or whoever but that money comes from a 501(c)(3) so it would seem to me that T.B.N. gives the money how can they make a profit?if the movie makes a profit who keeps the money?who gets the money for the d.v.d. sales side deals if i would guess and i was in those meetings i would say the producer.It is all about box office results and how hollywood thinks of him not saving souls.The word of god says that we cannot judge the person but the fruit of the person is another thing.The person who should be directing and producing these movies that we call christian movies is the true expert who has the true calling is Mr.Phil Cooke