Christian network CEO tries to head off blackmail campaign

(RNS) — The founders of the world’s second-largest Christian network admitted Nov. 30 that their marriage was once torn by an “improper relationship,” and went public to head off a multimillion-dollar blackmail threat.

Marcus Lamb, president and CEO of Daystar Television Network, appeared with his wife and co-host, Joni, on Daystar’s flagship “Celebration” program.

“Several years ago, Marcus and I went through a challenge in our marriage and I discovered that he was having an emotional relationship, if you will, with someone and that it had turned into an improper relationship,” Joni Lamb told viewers of the Dallas-based network.

The couple said they sought counseling about his extramarital relationship with a woman and overcame their marital troubles. Now, they said, three people have threatened to tell their story if they did not receive $7.5 million.

“We’re not here today to excuse sin, but we are here to celebrate the goodness and grace of God, that He has helped Joni and me,” Marcus Lamb said. “He has healed our marriage and He has restored my heart to Him.”

His wife added that they had hoped to handle their situation in private.

“This is not a secret story that we’ve been hiding, rather a private matter in which we have been healing,” she said.

Marcus Lamb asked supporters to pray for the couple and for the people threatening them with blackmail. Daystar spokesman A. Larry Ross could not provide additional details about the improper relationship or the blackmail threat.

“These three people that have come against Joni and me and the ministry, we don’t hate these people,” Marcus Lamb said. “We don’t consider them our enemy. We love them. We’re praying for them. We ask you to pray for them.”

Founded in 1997, the 24-hour Daystar network is ranked second in size behind the California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network. Its programs air in more than 200 countries, featuring religious figures such as Bishop T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Charles Stanley and Benny Hinn.

— Adelle M. Banks

© 2010 Religion News Service. Used with permission.

Posted Dec. 2, 2010

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