Robert Tilton

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Robert Tilton on his television program

Robert Tilton is an American televangelist who achieved popularity in the 1980s and 1990s through his paid television program Success-N-Life. At its peak, it aired in all 235 American TV markets.

In Success-N-Life, Tilton regularly taught that poverty was a result of sin. During the program's run, Tilton made the following statements, among others, about the relationship between wealth and sin, "Being poor is a sin," "The only time people were poor in the Bible is when they were under a curse," and "Not only is worrying a sin, but being poor is a sin when God promises prosperity!" [1] (http://letusreason.org/Popteac21.htm)

One of Tilton's most frequent sermon topics was the Biblical story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (First Kings 17:8-16). In the story, Elijah comes to a widow who is almost out of food and asks her to prepare him a meal. She replies that she has only enough food for one last meal for herself and her son. Elijah asks her to prepare him a meal first and then promises that God will not let her food be exhausted. In faith she does so, and her food supply indeed does not run out. Tilton continually used this story to persuade viewers to send him money, even their last bit of money, in return for the promise of God's continued blessing.

A 1991 ABC News investigation found that his ministry threw away prayer requests unread, keeping only any money or valuables sent by viewers. The investigation indicated that Success-N-Life was taking in more than $80 million (U.S.) a year. Viewership and donations declined, prompting Tilton to cancel Success-N-Life in 1993. Tilton sued ABC for libel because of its investigation and report, but the case was dismissed.

Nevertheless, Tilton returned to the airwaves in 1997, buying airtime on independent television stations. In 1998 his program began airing on cable channel BET as part of the late-night program "BET Inspiration".

Aside from his TV program, Tilton was also the pastor of Word of Faith Family Church and World Outreach Center in Dallas, Texas. While the church was a megachurch with over 8,000 members in the 1980s and early 90s, membership declined to less than 300 by 1999, when Tilton sold the church.

Tilton is the author of several self-help books about financial success, including The Power to Create Wealth, God's Laws of Success, and How to be Rich and Have Everything You Ever Wanted. Most of Tilton's books were published in the 1980s.

As of May, 2005, Tilton ran his ministry out of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Tilton has also been the subject of various edited videos called "The Farting Preacher". These videos play on the odd and spontaneous gestures he often makes while on camera.

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