Television Preacher Ben Haden Dies at 88

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: David Moore
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Updated: 10/24/2013 7:11 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WDEF-TV) -- Ben Haden was once one of the nation's best known religious broadcasters.
His program called "Changed Lives " was seen on hundreds of television stations for more than 30 years.
But he was also the former pastor of Chattanooga's First Presbyterian Church.
Ben Haden died at his home early Thursday at the age of 88.

BEN HADEN, FROM T-V BROADCAST "Ben, did anyone ever tell you to go to hell? Well, yeah...I was in the newspaper business."

It was televised sermons like that one, that endeared the former newspaper editor to his audience and to Dr. Glenn Draper , who was Ben Haden's choir director for 30 years on TV and at Chattanooga's First Presbyterian Church.
He recruited Draper from a church in Florida in 1968.
Draper opened his personal archives to us and talked about the early days of the ministry in Chattanooga.

DR. GLENN DRAPER, FORMER CHOIR DIRECTOR "It was simplicity...would be the word. Not too long after we were here I said Ben I want to know you have any thoughts of moving? I said if you do I'm making a mistake by coming here. No, I sure don't. He said I expect to stay here until die."

Ben Haden was not your traditional preacher. He was an atheist who was converted in 1954, two years after he served in the CIA.
Haden and Draper were a team, touring the world, and making 15 trips to the White House.
They were even invited by European royalty.
Haden's face was easily recognized as one of the best known television ministers, and the Glenn Draper Singers recorded scores of albums as part of that evangelical effort.

DR. GLENN DRAPER "I said Ben, if you should go before I do...what are some of your favorite hymns" He said Glenn,Jesus Loves Me" and blessed assurance..those are the two that got me where I am."

The former choir director remembered more than 30 years in the life of Ben Haden.

After his retirement from First Presbyterian church in 1999, Haden devoted his time to developing an online ministry.

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