Like father, like son?



Weekend mornings call for the slow and sometimes intermittent multi-tasking of razor and remote control. The shaving is slower and often later than on weekday mornings.
So is my channel surfing, which usually lands on news and home improvement shows.
Since confession is good for the soul, however, let me admit to some brief pauses to watch televangelists.
Lately, I have noticed that the torch of prominent, pioneer television preachers is being passed to the next generation — namely, their sons.
In general, a preacher’s kid (or P.K.) can react to that unusual upbringing in a variety of ways ranging from strong church rebellion to following the ministry path of a parent. I guess the same is true of the better known TV pulpiteers of the recent past.
But there seems to be an strong emergence now of second-generation preachers who are sons of those who preach or have preached on the airwaves.
Some of it has to do simply with the passing of time. When Jerry Falwell died earlier this year, his son Jonathan took the reigns of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., as well as the responsibility for keeping Liberty University on the right doctrinal path.
His father’s insurance policy that paid off the church and school’s debt was thoughtful. A law school grad, Jonathan has a preaching style that is his own.
That’s not the case with Robert A. Schuller, son of Robert H. Schuller who gained fame with “The Hour of Power” television service from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.
The younger Schuller’s dark hair and younger face are the only differences it seems — as he d-r-a-w-s o-u-t his words in dad-like emphasis.
San Antonio fireball preacher John Hagee is giving some airtime to his son-associate Matthew. The stocky, strong-voiced young man resembles his father a great deal.
Donnie Swaggart shows some of the same Pentecostal fervor of his dad, Jimmy. However, he seems to leave the tear-stained piano work to his father who got some of the same gifts as cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley.
Of course, the aging Oral Roberts passed his evangelical empire over to son, Richard. Things have not gone well with that arrangement lately.
Some other current TV preachers out pace their dads in televised exposure. Joel Osteen (overwhelmingly) and the younger Ed Young are examples.
What does all of this mean? I don’t know. Just found the observation interesting.
Now back to the news or HGTV. I might need to know how to replace my gutters someday.

1 Comment

  1. And then there are other preacher’s sons like Randall Balmer, who write a memoir; Marshall Frady who became the greatest social justice journalist of the last quarter of the 20th Century yet dedicated his last book, the short bio of MLKing, Jr. to his Dad Yates.
    There is Charles Marsh who did the chilling interview of Sam Bowers; and daugthers kate Campbell who has been thinkin about Elvis lately and has that powerful new version of My God They Killed Him.
    Bertis Downs, the Presbyterian and manager of REM; and Grady Cothen’s Daughter who not long ago chaired People for the American Way.
    And I think Ron Rash’s Dad ended up Preachin Some.
    My daddy was a preacher. I impressed Stewart Newman with my promise in a conversation 78; but looks like it will go unfulfilled.
    I may never recover, lesser version of Blood Done Sign my Name’s Author Tim Tyson; preacher’s boy I am.

    They say billy Graham’s grandson in North Carolina has the stuff. Let’s hope he is more like Anne Lotz and less like the right wing tendencies of his Uncle Frank and Cousin Stephen Tchvidjian.

    Ed Young may have a good heart, but he needs to take a sabbatical with Ben Cole and Wade Burleson, take some time out and study with Mark Noll,
    Charles Kimball, and Garry Wills so he doesn’t have to confess some day like his Daddy did to Bill Self in early 80’s. At the time Paul Pressler’s pastor Ed Young told Self: “Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, the whole world is going to the Right and I wanna go too.”
    At the time maybe Self coulda modified the fundy juggernaut but he jumped on the bandwagon and a good case can be made that like Billy Graham’s naivete or somethin; the last chapters of Garry Wills Head and Heart starring Karl Rove, would not have us in the mess we are now in in Baptist life and Middle East.
    We are all fallen, but the prodigality woulda been of a different hue for sure; and maybe could built more on the promise of King and Marney of the 60’s.
    Or Maybe I shoulda stopped about 300 words ago; withoust this explicit Young addendum.
    I can’t stop:
    Gushee did a fine job in the Januray issue and my kudos to you and him.
    Have him interview and do a piece on Ed Young’s great friend Harry Dent; Dent’s Daughter Ginny Brant of Seneca South Carolina and two term IMB trustee.
    I don’t speak for Bill Self but I think he may find that as fascinating as I would.

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