And then there is television. As Pentecostal-charismatic programming has flooded Africa, renewalist numbers have risen from 17 million in 1970 to 147 million in 2005. The continent's largest religious broadcaster is Santa Ana, California–based Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), followed by Europe's GOD TV.I guess Paul and Jan Crouch just aren't satisfied killing American churches.
As TV sets grow common in African cities, these broadcasters are gaining huge audiences. People who lack a TV often watch with neighbors, and viewing options are limited. In Zambia, only three stations click on: MUVI TZ, which airs reruns of U.S. shows and old movies; ZNBC, the Zambian National Broadcasting Company; and TBN. Television is becoming the continent's religious classroom.
"People turn it on and assume that TBN is American Christianity, and Americans know everything, so why not listen to it?" says Bonnie Dolan, founder and director of Zambia's Center for Christian Missions, a Reformed school for pastors. "[W]e have Zambians looking to the West for direction, and they associate TBN with the West. And it's killing our churches."
In an accompanying article, Madison Trammel interviews Arlene Sanchez Walsh, author of Latino Pentecostal Identity, on the appeal and effects of the prosperity gospel on Latino-American churches. Apparently, TBN can take some credit here as well:
Latino prosperity denominations like Maranatha boast 400 churches worldwide. But prosperity might best be measured in terms of influence. I measure its significance by how many Latinos are influenced by prosperity teachings via the media, not only TBN, but also Almavision, which is based in Los Angeles and has more than 30 outlets in predominately Latino areas from New York to Charlotte to Washington state. People hear those teachings and incorporate them into their preexisting Pentecostal-charismatic theologies, creating a hybrid Pentecostalism that is typical in Latino churches.