- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rex Humbard, 88, televangelist

ATLANTIS, Fla. (AP) — The Rev. Rex Humbard, a former itinerant preacher whose televangelism ministry once reached more parts of the globe than any other religious program, died Sept. 21 of natural causes at a South Florida hospital near his Lantana home, a family spokeswoman said. He was 88.

The son of evangelists, Mr. Humbard evolved his ministry from revivals across the country to a permanent home in Akron, Ohio, and television. He realized the potential of the new medium in the early 1950s and became known to millions by the 1970s.

He began with a renovated theater and eventually built the $4 million domed, 5,000-seat nondenominational Cathedral of Tomorrow.

The broadcast, also called “Cathedral of Tomorrow,” developed into a mixture of preaching and music. By 1979, the show was broadcast in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, Australia and Latin America, giving it a worldwide reach greater than any of his competitors, according to the 1999 reference work “Religious Leaders of America.”

His ministry suffered from internal disputes and extensive borrowing. In the 1970s, federal and state regulators complained that notes he had issued to followers over the years violated securities laws.

Mr. Humbard eventually left in 1982 and the congregation dwindled. He became pastor emeritus of the church in 1983 and moved his family ministry to Boca Raton, Fla. He gave up his weekend on-air preaching in the 1990s.

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