God’s TV station?
An account of the Christian Channel Europe (CCE) – a British-based satellite channel – and the heretical teaching appearing on this channel
Christian TV has arrived in Britain, but the channel has proved very controversial.
The Christian Channel Europe (CCE), the first British-based Christian satellite TV channel, re-launched itself last December with the infusion of $3 million, mainly from US evangelical sponsors, including Benny Hinn. In doing so the channel’s name was changed adopting the new title of the ‘God’ channel.
At the media launch Rory Alec, with his wife Wendy, the main movers behind the station, pointed to one of their six key advertising posters. It featured the words: ‘God the Father, God the Son, god the TV channel’. Alec was at pains to explain: ‘While some might consider this close to blasphemy the important thing was that the last section of the slogan did refer to god with a small ‘G’.’ This, of course, he believed made all the difference. It still comes as a shock, however, the first time you tune in to see the silver advertising ‘God’ logo spinning into view and spreading itself across the screen.
Growing without a whimper
While the ITC has already had to formally warn the channel for breaking its code (Baptist Times, February 3) by showing Benny Hinn performing an on-screen exorcism, the company star is still rising. The channel itself, while apologising for breaking the ITC code, has already written to its own supporters, complaining about the ‘current rules’, and asking supporters who agree with it, to complain to the ITC (letter from CCE’s managing director, Tony Brill, February 1998). It has, however, already been granted licenses for six digital cable channels.
According to CCE’s own literature they have plans for a dedicated Revival Channel and a Worship Channel among others. It recently increased its broadcasting time to 7 hours a day, using the same channel as Sky Soap. For those Christians who believe that, being a satellite channel, CCE only has a minor influence in the wider church, they should know that it has big plans. Some church leaders may well believe that CCE’s influence is irrelevant to them as they are poor and cannot afford satellite TV. I can assure them that, even if they cannot, members of their congregation and those they seek to reach certainly can. The strangest thing, however, given the nature of this channel, is just how all of this has taken place (without a whimper from the rest of the church). Given the nature of the material daily appearing on screen the lack of response is disturbing.
BBC blows the whistle
It recently took BBC 1’s Here & Now watchdog programme (Monday February 16 to investigate some of the CCE’s healing and miracle claims. When I asked CCE’s Tony Brill about this, he told me: ‘We do not have the resources of a large organisation such as the BBC, to investigate individual healings. We see healings as unremarkable. In his programme, Benny Hinn advises people to go and see their doctors after the event.’ He added: ‘I do see us getting into making programmes that investigate the healings and showing the proof.’ One wonders that, if CCE does see the professed healings as ‘unremarkable’, why so much is made of them throughout their scheduling.
Brill states that about 79% of programming still emanates from the US. A situation it is seeking to remedy in line with its ITC license agreement. He told me: ‘ now that we have the new studios, we can begin to make our own programmes, and we wish to have a high European content. We know there is a resistance to US programming among the unsaved in Britain.’ The ITC code does not allow for on-screen fund raising (as US TV evangelists can) which is why the money is raised by proxy in the US, neither does it allow claims of human supernatural power. Revocation of their license is always a possibility open to the ITC for flagrant and persistent breach of their operating code, but at least funding does not seem to be a problem for the channel.
But why should we be so concerned about this Christian TV channel in our midst? Is it not just the charismatic movement on the telly? Well, no, it is not. While Colin Dye already has his Tuesday morning David Letterman-type show, the bulk of it is still US TV evangelists – some of whom (including Benny Hinn) are already being investigated by the US media concerned with overblown claims and the raising and use of massive amounts of money. Indeed, the bulk of those appearing daily are not charismatics at all.
They are in fact from the Word-Faith Movement itself. For those still unaware of the teachings of this movement, it involves the key belief that you can literally have anything you want (usually personal wealth and health) if you have ‘faith’. While the name Jesus is often touted Word-Faith does not, however, rely on faith in Christ at all, but on faith in faith itself. Faith thus becomes a universal law which even God must obey.
Its exponents are the main movers behind the ‘health and wealth’ gospel. They are largely individuals who believe in the Laws of Faith, steps to belief or the ‘steps to the anointing’ heresies of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin – both of whom appear regularly (the former occasionally in his own Westerns). Their critical belief, around which much of their mystical theology is formed, is that we all possess the ability to become ‘little gods’. This, of course was the original sin in the Garden of Eden, the belief that through spiritual (gnostic secret) knowledge (the charismatic anointing) we can become little gods. This is entirely similar to the beliefs at the heart of Mormonism which preaches the same unbiblical lie. Should you need confirmation of the beliefs of CCE’s broadcasters: ‘You don’t have a god in you. You are one!’ (Kenneth Copeland, The Force of Love tape). ‘Dogs beget dogs, and cats beget cats, and God begets gods. You are all little gods’ (Kenneth Copeland, Trinity Broadcast Network’s Praise the Lord TV show) and ‘You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was. Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth’ (Kenneth Hagin, Word of Faith, p.14).
I asked Tony Brill why the programme content was almost exclusively Word-Faith. He told me: ‘We select programmes in terms of their quality from the Christian programming available.’ I asked if that meant that choice was made on the basis of production quality rather than the content or teaching. He answered: ‘Yes, that’s right. We have no editorial policy on one church over against another.’
‘Apostle of economics’
These are just the merest taste of the heresies preached by these men. Their spiritual children are men like Benny Hinn. Hinn stated on the Trinity Broadcast Network TV that those who spoke against ‘Word-Faith’ teacher Kenneth Copeland were ‘attacking the very presence of God’ (TV broadcast June 8, 1992). Lately the CCE has begun importing some of the big US names not so well known here. John Avanzini for one. Avanzini is known as the end-time apostle of economics. Put another way ‘listen to him, follow his ‘biblical’ rules and you will rid yourself of your debt and make lots of money’. Avanzini preaches that ‘Jesus had a nice house, a big house’ (Trinity Broadcast Network TV 1991). In his recent CCE appearances he was preaching the same message. Avanzini believes that Jesus and the apostles were far from being poor and that, if you have enough faith, neither should you be.
Church civil war
Nor does it stop there. Marilyn Hickey, Roberts Liardon, Ulf Ekman and Rodney Howard-Browne can all be found on CCE. All of them preach the health and wealth message.
And yet the church says nothing. Still more are to be imported. One of the least well-known here has one of the most chilling messages for all Bible-believing Christians. US end-time prophet Rick Joyner is another scheduled for broadcast on CCE. His end-time scenario is that just as in the American Civil war there will be a war in the church – between the blues (federals) and the greys (confederates). In the prophecy a Grand Ball is held where both sides mix and dance until war breaks out and the blues and greys once again fight to the death. The blues fight to free the church from slavery against the ‘grey’ confederates, who defend slavery. What Joyner means by slavery is slavery to God’s Word (the Bible) What he and his side will effectively be fighting is those opposed to ‘freedom ‘in the spirit’.
Joyner in common with Bob Jones and James Ryle (a director of Promise Keepers) all share this exact same prophetic belief. (Hank Hanegraaff, Counterfeit Revival p95f.) Joyner declares that ‘the party’ that God is currently ‘throwing’ (the alleged global revival) will presently give way to a bloody civil war in the church when those who war with the ‘blues’ will ‘either be converted or removed from their place of influence in the church.’ Joyner believes that the ‘grays’ – effectively those who refuse to move from their belief in the Scriptures as the Word of God – will thus be eliminated from the church, by force.
These then are the men and women who appear weekly on the CCE TV channel. These are the messages and this is the nature of their teaching which passes under the noses of, and unopposed by, an apparently oblivious church. Worse, this is what individuals desperately in need of Christ and the true gospel are being fed in the name of truth. And the churches, yet again, are silent and CCE continues to grow.
The Christian Research Network (CRN) will soon be publishing a more detailed report on the Christian Channel Europe and those who appear on it . For more information write to: CRN, PO Box 8400, London SE13 5ZQ.
Why has the Church ignored the evidence before it’s eyes that should ring alarm bells?
Americanism, abberant american prophetic, a ministry that does not care in the secret place where emails are deleted and concerns pushed aside, the casaulties in their churches,( it would take independent bloggers striking out as they have done to examine what is coming from God TV and Cross Rhythms Message to Schools, Innervation trust, even UCB, because it supports the JOYNER theology now wreaking havoc in thens of thousands of lives of all ages cultures disabled or not, the less able to speak-the more vulnerable the viewer and listener of these aberant ministries that should NOT be abberant.
Are they too prey to domineerring and bullying? to adopting a subservient position? are they quick to rationalsise or disbelieve the evidence before their eyes of strangly damaged lives. I can only thank God that SJC has woken up to the damage done to me and instigated openess and healing towards me that only needs to happen in other congregations even world wide! and in every form!
What do you think?
© Evangelicals Now – April 1998