Home National News Longtime TV host and religious broadcaster Rev. Pat Robertson will ‘forever be...

Longtime TV host and religious broadcaster Rev. Pat Robertson will ‘forever be regarded and remembered’

Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Richmond, Va., is pictured in a 2018 photo on the set of "The 700 Club" with hosts Terry Meeuwsen, left, and the Rev. Pat Robertson in Virginia Beach. After the June 8, 2023, death of Rev. Robertson in Virginia Beach at age 93, Bishop Knestout said he will be remembered for broadcasting Gospel message to millions. (OSV News photo/Diocese of Richmond)

RICHMOND, Va. — The late Rev. Pat Robertson’s work “in the area of bringing the Gospel message to millions where they are, through modern technology and communications” will “forever be regarded and remembered,” Bishop Barry C. Knestout said in a statement about the passing of the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Rev. Robertson, longtime TV host, religious broadcaster, educator, political commentator, humanitarian and one-time presidential candidate, died June 8 at his home in Virginia Beach at age 93. CBN announced June 12 that a memorial service for him will take place June 19.

Bishop Knestout of Richmond, Virginia, described him as “an example of facilitating modern technology and the latest communication tools, to spread the Christian message to a worldwide audience.”

“He took Christian broadcasting to a higher level through his ‘700 club’ and many programs. In the 1980s, as multiple cable TV networks were being launched, he chose to put the Gospel at the heart of his work and in doing so brought Christ and the Good News to millions of viewers daily,” he said in a June 8 statement.

Marion Gordon Robertson was born March 22, 1930, in Lexington, Virginia, into a prominent political family, the youngest of two sons. It was his brother who nicknamed him “Pat” when they were children. The boys’ father, Absalom Willis Robertson, was a conservative Democratic who served in public office for over 50 years at the state level, in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate. Their mother, Gladys, was a housewife and a musician.

Before he was ordained a Southern Baptist minister in 1961, Robertson, who was a Yale-educated lawyer, had hoped to become a successful businessman.

The Rev. Pat Robertson speaks during a news conference in Beijing Nov. 28, 2001. The longtime TV host, religious broadcaster, educator and political commentator died June 8, 2023, at his home in Virginia Beach, Va., at age 93. (OSV News photo/Andrew Wong, Reuters)

“In his 1972 autobiography, ‘Shout It From the Housetops,’ he wrote about his dream of living the life of a New York socialite. But his path took a decidedly different turn in the 1950s when he became a born-again Christian,” according to a posting about his life on the CBN website.

“Deep in my heart, I heard (God) speaking to me about the television ministry: ‘Go and possess the station. It is yours,'” Rev. Robertson wrote in his autobiography. He was the author of 15 books, including “The Turning Tide” and “The New World Order.”

He advocated a conservative Christian ideology and was associated with the charismatic movement within Protestant evangelicalism. He also was known for his involvement in Republican Party politics.

Rev. Robertson’s career spanned over five decades. Besides CBN, he was the founder of several other organizations, including Regent University, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corp., International Family Entertainment (now ABC Family Channel/Freeform), the American Center for Law & Justice, the Founders Inn and Conference Center and the Christian Coalition.

He served as chancellor of Regent University, in Virginia Beach, from its founding as Christian Broadcasting Network University in 1977 until his death. In 1990, the school’s name was changed to Regent University.

He founded CBN in 1960 and signed off as host of the network’s flagship program “The 700 Club” in 2021 at age 91, though he continued to appear on monthly Q&A segments. He launched an unsuccessful campaign bid to become the Republican nominee in the 1988 presidential election.

Bishop Knestout recalled meeting Rev. Robertson in 2018, a year after he was installed to head the Richmond Diocese.

“He was among the first faith leaders in Virginia to whom I was introduced, and he and his staff graciously welcomed me. I am tremendously grateful for how I was received by him and his team,” the bishop said in his statement. “I joined him on his show, the 700 Club, for an interview and found him to be kind, thoughtful and gracious.”

“A good ecumenical relationship between Catholics and evangelical Christians was clearly a strong desire of his,” he added, but noted it was his use of modern communications to spread the Christian message worldwide is his legacy.

Rev. Robertson’s wife of 68 years, Adelia “Dede” Robertson, died April 19, 2022. She was an evangelical Christian activist and author. After graduating from Ohio State University and working as a fashion model, she received a master’s in nursing at Yale University, where she met her husband while he was a student at Yale Law School.

He is survived by the couple’s two sons, Timothy and Gordon; two daughters, Elizabeth Robertson Robinson and Ann Robertson LeBlanc; 14 grandchildren; and 24 great-grandchildren.