VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Family and friends gathered Thursday to honor the long-time co-host of The 700 Club, Ben Kinchlow. He passed away last month at the age of 82.
The touching tribute to this man of God was held in the Regent University Chapel.
"Some of you, if you're expecting a funeral today, you're in the wrong place because today we're gonna celebrate the life and legacy of Ben Kinchlow," said Pastor Mark Lawrence of Regent University.
Lawrence set the scene for the celebration service with the flag-draped casket of Kinchlow before him.
In addition to being a veteran, this man of God served as a minister, author, businessman and well-known 700 Club co-host with CBN founder and chairman Dr. Pat Robertson.
"It's Ben's homecoming, and brother I just want to tell you – I'm looking down at this casket – we love you," Robertson said. "I loved you; we worked great together."
"You were my dear friend; we were partners, and we live for the Lord, and your life is a testimony to the power of God Almighty," he continued.
"Thank you, Ben – we love you. God bless you; thank you," Robertson added.
"A light has not gone out because Ben has gone on to eternity because the legacy that he has left shines in Nigel, in Levi, in Sean, in the grandchildren who are here today," Terry Meeuwsen, co-host of The 700 Club, shared.
Kinchlow's son Sean said, "That was the greatest gift to me that he gave me – freedom to ask questions without fear of being shut down, without retribution of going, 'You can't, you can't think like that; that's not how it goes;' the freedom to explore to keep finding the truth."
The service was also a time to celebrate the humor of Kinchlow.
"So one day I'm walking down the hallway, and here he comes – I'd seen him on television – and he stopped and looked and said, 'You're a man of God,'" shared Scott Ross, a reporter for The 700 Club.
"I said, 'Whoa. Thank you very much. Why are you saying that?' He said, 'Because you wear boots,'" Ross recalled as those in attendance erupted in laughter. Kinchlow was known for his cowboy boots and his lively sense of humor.
Throughout the Celebration of Life service, speakers remembered Kinchlow's love for Jesus Christ and his passion for sharing that love.
"And if you will understand Ben Kinchlow, you cannot simply see him as a broadcaster; you cannot simply see him as a CBN man, even though he was all of those things," shared Bishop B. Courtney McBath, the eulogist.
"But you must recognize that Ben Kinchlow is a man that God found in the midst of bondage and brought him out of that bondage, and when God brought him out, he gave him a voice that has changed our lives," McBath exclaimed.
"This is definitely a homegoing celebration," said Barbara Johnson, Kinchlow's cousin. "I will miss him in the flesh, not being able to pick up that phone and hear that strong, thunderous voice and the great accolades."
"But he has run his race, and he has already preached his own funeral by his life, by his giving, by him pouring into souls and saving souls through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior," she concluded.