The Christian Broadcasting Network’s flagship television program, The 700 Club, is a talk show combining news, social commentary, interviews, and responses to questions and prayer requests received by phone or email. The show has been running since 1966, born out of telethons for CBN during which the network’s founder, M. G. “Pat” Robertson, requested 700 people to support CBN monthly. The original show included various interviews, performances, and call-in questions or prayer requests. Today, Pat Robertson still functions as the chairman of CBN and provides commentary on The 700 Club. His son, Gordon, is CEO and president of CBN. The 700 Club is co-hosted by Terry Meeuwsen and Wendy Griffith, and John Jessup is the news anchor.
It should be noted that using television or a talk show format is not inherently wrong or unbiblical, any more than radio, newspapers, or the internet is. Television is simply another form of communication that can be used in many ways. Christian-themed information and the gospel can indeed be communicated effectively through various television formats.
However, The 700 Club itself is not an ideal source for biblical information. Pat Robertson puts himself forward as a prophet of sorts, claiming to receive messages from God that he relates to his viewing audience. These supposedly divine messages have been riddled with false prophecies. For example, in January 2007, Robertson said the Lord told him that “very serious terrorist attacks” would be perpetrated on the United States “during the last part of this year. . . . There’s a definite certainty that chaos is going to rule. . . . It’s going to happen, and I’m not necessarily saying nuclear—the Lord didn’t say nuclear—but I do believe it will be something like that, that will be a mass killing, possibly millions of people. Major cities injured.” He then says, “I hope I’m wrong” (https://youtu.be/W0hWAxJ3_Js). Robertson’s hope was realized; he was wrong. The prophecy never materialized.
In 1980, Robertson made another false prophecy on The 700 Club: Russia would invade Israel in 1982, provoking “the next major war in the world.” After making that statement, Robertson went on to describe either the Battle of Gog and Magog or the Battle of Armageddon (https://youtu.be/uDT3krve9iE, starting at 02:35). Of course, there was no major war in Israel in 1982.
In 2006, Robertson repeated a false prediction four times over the space of two weeks: “If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms,” he said on May 8 of that year. On May 17, he warned of “vicious hurricanes” and said, “Also, there well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest.” He followed up the prediction by requesting $20 from each viewer, so CBN could have “supplies positioned” in California and Florida. As it turned out, 2006 was “a below-average season [for storms] when compared with the recent 1995–2005 average,” and “Only 2 storms made landfall with the mainland U.S. during 2006,” and only one of those was a hurricane (www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tropical-cyclones/200613, accessed 6/5/2020). Some rain storms did hit the Pacific Northwest in 2007, and the hosts of The 700 Club claimed that as a late fulfillment of their prophecy for the previous year (https://youtu.be/DfhFvYpXwyM).
As part of the charismatic movement, The 700 Club regularly espouses modern-day prophets and wanders into strange theological territory. In 2013, The 700 Club warned viewers that articles of used clothing bought at thrift stores could have demons attached to them and that “it isn’t going to hurt anything to rebuke any spirits who have happened to have attached themselves to those clothes” (https://youtu.be/jOYSDxCkzSs, begin at 0:20).
Guests on The 700 Club through the years have included false teachers and charlatans from the Word of Faith movement such as Benny Hinn (December 19, 1974; August 4, 2008; September 29, 2014), Kenneth Copeland (December 17, 2019; March 23, 2020), Rodney Howard-Browne (October 27, 1994; October 26, 2010), and Bill Johnson (February 14, 2012). Giving such men a platform to spread their deception shows a decided lack of discernment, at the very least.
None of this is to say that The 700 Club never communicates biblical truth or that it is un-Christian. However, one should exercise caution. As inspiring as some of the broadcasts may be, the information and spiritual advice from the commentators, guests, and hosts of CBN should be checked according to Scripture. Given Pat Robertson’s failed prophecies and CBN’s promotion of false teachers, The 700 Club is not always a reliable source.