Tributes are being paid to Pat Robertson who was widely regarded as one of the most influential Christians in the United States, after he passed away at the age of 93.
He was the Baptist minister who turned a tiny Virginia TV station into a global evangelical phenomenon, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).
“Today, CBN is a multifaceted nonprofit organization that provides programming by cable, broadcast and satellite to approximately 200 countries, with a 24-hour telephone prayer line,” noted the station’s website.
The entrepreneurial empire based on his faith also encompassed a university, a law firm and school and a humanitarian organisation.
He became widely known as the long-serving host of the The 700 Club, a hugely popular program on CBN.
His own network paid tribute saying: “Pat Robertson dedicated his life to preaching the Gospel, helping those in need, and educating the next generation. Pat had a hunger for knowledge of the Lord, and he wanted to share the love and faithfulness of Jesus with the world. His heart’s desire was that all people come to know Jesus.”
He was also keen to have a political influence, marshalling Christian conservatives into a powerful constituency to help make faith central to Republican Party policies and once unsuccessfully running for the party’s presidential nomination. He later founded the Christian Coalition which stoked the faith-based political resurgence of the 1990s and beyond.
The New York Times wrote: “Whether in the pulpit, on the stump or in front of a television camera, Mr. Robertson could exhibit the mild manner of a friendly local minister, chuckling softly and displaying an almost perpetual twinkle in his eye.”
He was also a strong supporter of Donald Trump who in paying tribute, said: “Today, the World lost an incredible and powerful Voice for Faith and Freedom. Pat Robertson showed us that Belief in God produces results that can change the course of History. Pat’s legacy lives on in the many endeavours and lives that he touched. He will be greatly missed.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence described Pat Robertson’s bold faith as “An inspiration to millions. Through his writings, broadcasts, and advocacy, Pat touched countless lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including mine.”
Pastor Greg Laurie noted: “The world is a much better place because Pat Robertson was in it. If there is a single word that would sum him up it would be vision. It’s been said Faith sees invisible things and Pat applied his faith to the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel literally.”
Christian commentator Dr. James Dobson noted that “Dr. Robertson was a giant among Christian leaders and contributed enormously to the cause of Christ. He led multiple millions to a saving knowledge of the Gospel. He pioneered Christian radio and television, paving the way for many of us who came behind.”
Reverend Johnnie Moore, the founder of the interdenominational Congress of Christian Leaders called Pat Robertson: “An evangelical leader whose legacy reminds all of us of what’s possible in a single life. Pat was: Groundbreaking. Innovative. Courageous. Compassionate. Brilliant beyond belief. Almost no leader in Christian history has had more of an impact across so many sectors of society than Pat. ”
Evangelist Franklin Graham told CBN News: “Pat Robertson, a great friend to my father, to me, and to our ministries, has graduated to a new address in Heaven.”
In 1977, Pat Robertson founded Regent University in Virginia Beach, serving as its president and chancellor for many years. The following year, he founded Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation.
in 1990, he helped launch the conservative law firm the American Center for Law & Justice. In the same year, he founded and co-chaired International Family Entertainment which became the Fox Family Channel and then ABC Family when Disney acquired it in 2001.
During all his broadcasting, teaching and business commitments, he also found time to author nearly 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction.
In October 2021, as part of the 60th anniversary of The 700 Club Pat Robertson announced that he was stepping down as the regular lead host after 55 years.
He occasionally made guest appearances and continued to teach and lead at Regent University.
He is survived by four children, 14 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.
Photo: Christian Broadcasting Network