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Televangelist Admits To Cheating On Wife

Dallas, TX, United States (AHN) – A televangelist confessed in front of a television audience to cheating on his wife, an announcement he made to deter people he claimed were trying to extort millions of dollars from him.

The Rev. Marcus Lamb admitted his infidelity Tuesday night on his show “Celebration” with his wife Joni Lamb sitting by his side.

The couple also posted a special message about the incident on their Daystar Television Network website that read:

“At the top of the program, the Lambs shared a compelling, transparent account of a personal challenge in their marriage that occurred several years ago, involving an inappropriate relationship between Marcus and another woman.”

The couple said there were three people blackmailing them for more than $7 million. The couple was ordered to pay the money or the individuals would expose the affair.

Daystar Television Network is based in Texas and airs evangelists including T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer and Creflo Dollar.

A. Larry Ross, a public relations executive who represents Daystar, said authorities were alerted to the extortion attempt. He said the threat was made in recent weeks, but he wouldn’t say which law enforcement agency was contacted.

The Dallas office of the FBI would not say whether it was investigating. The Bedford police spokesman did not return calls.

The Lambs said Tuesday that their marriage is now sound but that “several years ago” Joni Lamb discovered that Marcus Lamb was having an improper relationship.

Though they shared few details, one of their marriage counselors, Fred Kendall, did provide some specifics.

‘With a woman’

“He had had one inappropriate period of misbehavior, with one person, and it wasn’t a man. It wasn’t a transvestite. It was with a woman,” Kendall said during the broadcast.

Marcus Lamb said he takes full responsibility. “Joni has no blame,” he told viewers. “The other person doesn’t have any blame. … I don’t even blame the devil. It’s all on me.”

The Lambs also offered few details of their extortion allegation.

“There actually are three people who are not involved in what we’re talking about today or affected by our marital challenge that are now saying that unless Daystar pays them $7.5 million, that they’re going to take our story that we just shared with you to the media,” Joni Lamb said on the program. “This is not a secret story that we’ve been hiding – rather, a private matter, from which we have been healing.”

Sex scandal among prominent evangelical figures is hardly new, with the ranks including Jim Bakker , Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard. Recently, sensational allegations have been made in lawsuits filed against Bishop Eddie Long of Atlanta.

But the Lambs’ joint appearance Tuesday suggests that many in their audience will accept and forgive, said Michael Lindsay, a sociologist of religion at Rice University who has written extensively about evangelicals.

“This apparently happened several years in the past, and that’s one thing they have going for them,” Lindsay said. “It appears their marriage has been able to weather the storm, and that helps.”

First Baptist support

Jeffress, of First Baptist Dallas, expressed support for the Lambs. “As Christians, we need to be careful that we don’t shoot our wounded but instead pray for those who are in need of God’s help,” he said, “and we certainly are praying for Joni and Marcus.”

Jeffress added that the Tuesday revelations would not cause him to withdraw his program from Daystar.

“If the president of AT&T fell into some kind of moral transgression, we would be sorry to hear about it, we would pray for him,” Jeffress said, “but that wouldn’t keep us from using AT&T products for our communication needs.”

Daystar is a nonprofit that pays for its more than $70 million annual operating budget through paid programming, Ross said. Viewers’ donations go toward “ministry projects,” he said.