JIM BAKKER

all things for meJIM BAKKER WAS NEVER VINDICATED

Bakker was not released early from prison because the judge made some statements about his religious beliefs. His trial was about business wrongdoing. He intentionally over-sold time shares in a hotel owned by PTL amounting to several millions of dollars. The trial had nothing to do with religious issues. The law in the USA is that the Internal Revenue Service cannot even look at the financial records of a church or a legitimate registered religious ministry. But, when a church/religious organization goes into commercial business such as running a hotel/motel that has nothing to do with their legitimate ministry, then the IRS has a right and responsibility to investigate. And, that’s the reason why, after investigation charges were laid against Bakker for fraud. He tried to say that he was not responsible.

But, since he was the President of the PTL ministry and since he made the decision to sell more time shares than they had rooms, he was charged with fraud. Since he was not taking responsibility for his decisions, he was found guilty. He was originally sentence to 70 years in jail because he would not take responsibility for his actions. The judge at his trial explained this. He also said that when Mr. Bakker is willing to take responsibility for his actions, he would reconsider the judgment.

It took Bakker 7 years to finally take responsibility and it was the same judge who had sentenced him to 70 years in jail who reduced it to time served. The judge made no statements about his religious beliefs with the exception that he was not exempt from IRS jurisdiction because he had headed up a religious organization which had gone beyond their financial responsibility by moving into a business that had nothing to do with religion. When Jimmy Bakker wrote his book, “I Was Wrong”, he was really saying, “I was wrong but not really.” When a so-called Christian pastor thinks that he can sin by cheating people out of their money which is sin and think that God will protect him, that is his greatest mistake.

Our God does not overlook sin, regardless of the self-righteous advertising that people may continue to do. Let’s keep the record straight! Bakker has not learned a lesson from his 7 years in jail. He’s busy selling things like watches and food for end times. Regardless, for him, it’s still all about money.

JIM BAKKER WAS NEVER VINDICATED THE UNCHANGING SCOUNDREL, THE FELON AND CON ARTIST STILL OWES THE IRS $ 3 MILLION:

Tammy Faye Messner new husband said Jim Bakker and his former wife didn’t want to talk about the tax issues. “We don’t want to stir the pot,” Messner said. He said the original tax amount was about $500,000. Penalties and interest account for the rest of the bill. The notices reinstating the liens list “James O. and Tamara F. Bakker” as owing $3 million.

JESUS NEVER PRAYED ABOUT WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING BUT EXPOSED THEM? AND WE MUST DO THE SAME!

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT JIM BAKKER OR PRESIDENT OBAMA IS NOT SLANDER BUT EXPOSURE OF A SCOUNDREL, THIEF AND CON ARTIST WHICH IS WHAT THE BIBLE IN EPHESIANS 5 TELLS US TO DO

“He was one of the worst of the very worst preacher men begging on TV, the kind of conman and scripture twisters that could make anyone flip the channel as fast as humanly possible (Christian or non-Christian), the leader of the so-called PTL Club (Praise the Lord), a show full of hand clapping and bebopping and unscrupulous moneychanging shenanigans and crocodile tears galore — and the odd thing was, even when he had fallen as far as he could fall (lying, cheating, promiscuity, false prosperity theology to separate trusting Christians from their money, rape, homosexuality, tax fraud) he was always sincere, by his own word he probably felt he really was serving God, and he probably started out not all that far from the truth.” (Douglas Christian Larsen)

President Obama who claims to be a Christian is not only the worst lying President America every had but a Muslim and supporter of terrorists. He is a son of hell who is not capable of telling the truth but only lies. (George Watts)

For some reason fools seem to think that a “preacher” or “politician” is above reproach, vetting-out, and immune from free speech? As Christian we are called to be like Jesus, who slandered no one when he spoke “truthfully’ about them. Yes Jesus the epitome of love and character bad mouthed people. He called them all kinds of names including fools, hypocrites, murderers, serpents, brood of vipers, liars, blind guides, sons of hell, etc. He told them they would not escape the condemnation of hell (Matthew 23:15, 33, Luke 11:24-25, 23:38-31) and they didn’t!

And Jesus the epitome of love and character didn’t go around blessing people with words. He didn’t bless the religious and political leaders of His day but cursed them with ‘Woe to you’ which doesn’t mean something good is going to happen to you especially when spoken by God incarnate.

Let it it be known that the truth is often harsh; especially when it is not good!!! Exposing evil is sometimes ugly; especially when there is so much evil to expose!!!…There is a difference between SLANDER and TRUTH. Slander is actually the lack of truth!!!…Pretty much a lie!!!

The following definition is from Merriam-Webster:
slan•der transitive verb \ˈslan-dər\
: to make a false spoken statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone
slan•dered slan•der•ing
Full Definition of SLANDER
: to utter slander against : defame
— slan•der•er noun
Examples of SLANDER
She was accused of slandering her former boss.
for some reason, that newspaper seems determined to slander one particular celebrity

WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE? ALL OF A SUDDEN A PERSON BECOMES A PUBLIC PREACHER AND HE CANNOT BE JUDGED TO SEE IF HE IS A FALSE PROPHET? HOGWASH! THE BIBLE CLEARLY STATES WE ARE TO JUDGE ALL PREACHERS:

1 Corinthians 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.

JIM BAKKER IS AS NUTTY AS EVER

Morning Side is a Sanctuary of Scared people with money.
Their doctrine is false.

Their preparations are not for Christ.
But for failed systems.

Even Lori said on one of the shows that Jim is a hypochondriac.
Jim suffers from ‘abnormal anxiety’.

Maybe land is cheap because of an earthquake fault line there.

Jim and Rick Joyner are of the same cloth.
Rick established Todd Bentely in his crew and after his fall?
Tried to reinstate him again.

If you don’t know who Todd Bentely is?
You better find out. Todd is a Kook to the max no doubt about it.

Rick and Todd have been apart of The Latter Rain Movement.
Kansas City Prophet crew.
And Jim has joined up with them!

What Happened to Jim Bakker and why?

Who is, was Jim Bakker? and what the Internet says about him..

The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; He who is abhorred by the LORD will fall there. Proverbs 22:14

The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust. Proverbs 11:6

The Man of The Hour?

Who said I cannot judge liars, rapists and thieves? Not God! Rather Jesus told us in Matthew 7:15  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 7:16 “You will know them by their fruits. So we can judge, write and read about them?   For the record, what biblical restoration did Jim Bakker do for his sins and crimes ? None! Jim Bakker repented of what? Very little! So his repentance wasn’t worth much? The only thing that Jim Bakker ever repented off was teaching prosperity. In his book he doesn’t admit to repenting to anything else. Now we know from fact that Jim was an adulterer, a thief, a liar and bisexual and he did these things in public as a religious leader. Could you please tell me when he repented of his sins in public just like David did in Psalm 51 and “Zacchaeus did in Luke?

Luke 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 19:6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 19:7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 19:8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 19:9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 19:10 “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

EX 22:1 “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.
EX 22:4 “If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or donkey or sheep, he shall restore double.

“He was one of the worst of the very worst preacher men begging on TV, the kind of conman and scripture twisters that could make anyone flip the channel as fast as humanly possible (Christian or non-Christian), the leader of the so-called PTL Club (Praise the Lord), a show full of hand clapping and bebopping and unscrupulous moneychanging shenanigans and crocodile tears galore — and the odd thing was, even when he had fallen as far as he could fall (lying, cheating, promiscuity, false prosperity theology to separate trusting Christians from their money, rape, homosexuality, tax fraud) he was always sincere, by his own word he probably felt he really was serving God, and he probably started out not all that far from the truth.” (Douglas Christian Larsen)

Jim Bakker was founder and former president of the PTL Ministries. Sam Johnson was director of World Missions in 1986. Richard Dortch was the PTL’s 2nd minister in 1984. In 1987 former Secretary of the Interior James Watt, and retired televangelist Rex Humbard were named to the PTL board by then- chairman Reverend Jerry Falwell.

Bakker resigned from Praise The Lord ministries in 1987 after admitting he had an affair with a ministry secretary. In 1989, he was convicted in Charlotte of a wire and mail-fraud scheme over the sale of more than 150,000 lifetime partnerships to the planned Heritage USA theme park in Fort Mill, S.C.

Bakker’s 45-year sentence was reduced to 18 years and he served five before his parole in 1995. While in prison, his former wife, Tammy Faye – now remarried as Tammy Faye Messner – divorced him.

Bakker has since contended that his years in prison were his salvation. He re-read all the scriptures and crucially concluded that the so-called “prosperity preaching” of his PTL days – wherein he equated dollar-wealth with godliness – was misguided. For a while, Bakker lived by his new creed that God also attended to the poor. He moved to Los Angeles where he met his new wife, with whom he is now raising seven Hispanic foster children.

Although many sheep are leery of Bakker, the clergy admired his propensity to rob and use the sheep. In 1995, when he was barely out of prison,  he addressed a Christian leadership conference  where 10,000 clergymen cheered and gave him a 15-minute standing ovation. “I thought people would spit on me,” he later recalled. “Instead they received me with open arms.”

Bakker is now back on the air with “The Jim Bakker Show,” taped in Branson, Mo.

Jim Bakker is an evangelical fundamentalist who began his television career co-hosting a children’s puppet show with his wife Tammy Faye on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club television show.  Bakker rose to fame as a TV evangelist in the PTL (Praise the Lord) Ministry, an enterprise he started in 1974 and built from the ground up. The PTL claimed in 1987 to have 13 million subscribers and assets of $175 million including Heritage USA, a 2,300-acre Christian theme park and home of the PTL Network in Ft. Mill, North Carolina.  Other assets included the PTL Network, and a retirement center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The PTL Network reached an estimated 13 million households on its own cable channel and was also aired on 180 other commercial stations. Heritage USA was a lavish resort with a 500-room luxury hotel, an amphitheater for staging passion plays, an amusement park, and Billy Graham’s boyhood home–brought there piece by piece and reconstructed. (Hence Billy Graham supported Jim Bakker in prison and out of prison!)

Guests who have made appearances on the Bakker’s TV show included: evangelists Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, James Robison, and Robert Schuller; actors Mickey Rooney, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Pearl Bailey, Anita Bryant, Little Richard, and Mr. T.

Speaking about the rise of an entrepreneurial movement in Pentecostal Christianity author Susan Harding wrote of the PTL: “It reached its apogee in Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Heritage USA, a kind of postmodern pentecostal mecca. Their ‘inspirational theme park’ conspicuously celebrates consumption, play, excess, indulgence, immediate gratification, wild swings of growth and crisis, anti- hierarchy, feminization, polymorphous perversity, ‘name it/claim it,’ visual images, spectacle and narrative fragmentation, disposable identities, movement, artifice, depthlessness and decenteredness.

However, all has not been rosy for the PTL which by 1978 was $13 million in debt and in 1979 was investigated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about Bakker’s on-the-air solicitations for overseas work, which were used to pay the bills for his domestic operations. The investigation of the PTL Network   disappeared in the restructuring of the FCC that occurred in the early years of the Reagan administration. Bakker and his ministry continued to expand and managed to stay financially afloat until 1987.

The fall of the PTL began at the February 1987 National Religious Broadcasters convention when Jimmy Swaggart heard rumors of sexual infidelities on the part of Jim Bakker. Bakker, fearing that Swaggart would create a public scandal and take over Heritage USA, resigned from the PTL Network in March 1987, turning temporary control over  to Jerry Falwell. Falwell examined the books and found that the PTL was more than $60 million in debt. Falwell refused to turn the network back to the Bakkers, claiming them to be unfit for the ministry of the gospel. Falwell’s financial rescue plan for the PTL  complex was turned down by Judge Rufus Reynolds as being inadequate for contributors and creditors. Falwell then resigned as head of the PTL in 1988, turning the ministry over to board members James Watt and Rex Humbard.

Meanwhile the IRS had been investigating the PTL since 1980, claiming the Heritage USA theme park operations were commercial, not ministerial. After Falwell’s resignation, the IRS revoked the PTL’s tax-exempt status retroactive to 1980. The IRS claimed that the PTL owed $65 million in back taxes. The PTL went into bankruptcy proceedings in 1988 and was sold when Judge Rufus  Reynolds accepted a bid of $115 million from Rabbi Stephen Mernick, an Orthodox rabbi from Toronto.

Jim Bakker had no formal training in theology–he failed to complete even the introductory course in religious doctrine at North Central Bible College. The Bakker ministry was one of love–the God that healed and forgave all human trangressions. Bakker’s ministry sanctioned extreme forms of “conversion experiences,” where sinners turned into saints via divine intervention. This allowed Bakker to accept a wide variety of religious beliefs and traditions into the fold of his ministry. The Bakkers used the tradition of Pentecostal testimony on the PTL Network to work through the many crises in their lives and to justify their extravagant lifestyles and financial transgressions. Between 1984 and mid-1987, the Bakkers received annual salaries of $200,000 each and Jim awarded himself over $4 million in bonuses. The Bakkers owned, among other things, a $600,000 house in Palm Springs, 4 condos in California, and a Rolls Royce.

Bakker has been disordained as an Assembly of God minister. At its peak 25 ordained ministers from the Assemblies of God worked full-time for the PTL. PTL sold “lifetime memberships” for a $1,000 or more which entitled   buyers to a 3-night stay annually at a luxury hotel in Heritage USA. According to the prosecution at Bakker’s trial, tens of thousands of memberships had been sold, and only one 500-room hotel completed. Bakker had not only sold more “exclusive” partnerships than could be accommodated, but had also raised more than twice the money needed to build the hotel. The Bakker trial revealed that a good deal of the money had gone into operating expenses of Heritage USA, and Bakker kept $3,700,000 for himself.

Bakker, who apparently made all of the financial decisions for the PTL and kept two sets of books to conceal the accounting irregularities, took conspicuous consumption to new extremes. PTL once spent over $100,000 for a private jet to fly the Bakker’s clothing across the country. PTL also spent more than $100 on a purchase of cinnamon rolls because Jim and Tammy wanted the smell of them in their hotel room.) “They [Bakkers] epitomized the excesses of the nineteen eighties–the greed, the love of glitz, and the shamelessness– which in their case was so pure as to almost amount to a kind of innocence.”

The PTL, the Christian Broadcasting Network, and the Trinity Broadcasting Network in April 1980 pooled their resources to provide live and taped coverage of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International’s day-long prayer rally, “Washington for Jesus.”

Jim Bakker claimed that the PTL sent “a large monthly contribution to Mark Buntain whose overseas ministry feeds 12,000 children a day.” However, the Charlotte Observer reported in 1979 that the PTL raised thousands of dollars for foreign missions that never went to the missions. In 1986 the PTL claimed it was in the process of building a School of Evangelism which would use missionaries, radio, and television to send its message around the globe. This, as with many other Bakker schemes, never happened. At that time PTL television shows were being broadcast in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Jim Bakker’s daily TV show reached an estimated 5.8 million households each month during 1986. After losing Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker in 1987, “The PTL Club” broadcasts went from 67 TV stations down to 32 stations, and its viewing audience dropped by half.

In 1988 Bakker, his number 2 administrator Richard Dortch, and aides David and James Taggart were indicted on charges of fraud and conspiracy. Bakker and Dortsch were charged, among other things, with illegally taking some $4 million in bonuses from PTL funds, defrauding at least 150,000 contributors to the PTL, mail fraud, tax evasion, defrauding the thousands of “lifetime partners” who bought memberships to Heritage USA, and conspiring to “create and continue to lead lavish and extravagant life-styles.” Bakker was found guilty on 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy and in October 1989 was sentenced to 45 years in jail and fined $500,000. He was paroled because the original judge made some statements about Jim’s religious beliefs which were not proper.

Sources:
1. “Jim Bakker Indicted on Fraud Charges,” Fund Raising Management,   Jan 1989.
2. Russell Shaw, “TV Ministries Gaining Ground After Scandals,”   Electronic Media, Jan 30, 1989.
3. Louise Bourgault, “The ‘Jim Bakker Show': The Program, Its    Viewers and Their Churches,” The Journal of Communication and  Religion, Mar 1988.
4. Letter from Sam Johnson, PTL Ministry, Dec 8, 1986.
5. Letter from Jim Bakker, PTL Television Network, Aug 8, 1983.
6. Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1989).
7. “God and Money: Sex Scandal, Greed and Lust for Power Split the  TV Preaching World,” Newsweek, April 6, 1987.
8. “Divided Pentecostals: Bakker and Swaggart,” The Christian    Century, May 6, 1987.
9. Susan Harding, “The World of the Born-Again Telescandals,”    Michigan Quarterly Review, Fall 1988.
10. David Earle Anderson, “The ‘Holy War’ for Ratings,”    Christianity and Crisis, May 4, 1987.
11. “Power, Glory–And Politics,” Time, Feb 17, 1986.
12. “Jerry Falwell Is Not Just Another Baptist Minister,”     Christianity Today, Mar 18, 1988.
13. “Can Jim and Tammy Make a Comeback?,” U.S. News & World Report,   Oct 19, 1987.
14. “Fresh Out of Miracles,” Newsweek, May 11, 1987.
15. “TV’s Unholy Row,” Time, Apr 6, 1987.
16. Richard N. Ostling, “Jim Bakker’s Crumbling World,” Time,  Dec 19, 1988.
17. Facts on File (New York, NY: Facts on File, 1989).
18. Terry C. Muck, “Healing the Church–After Bakker: Thanks to a   North Carolina Jury, a Time of Recovery Can Come to American  Christians,” Christianity Today, 1989.
19. “An Unholy War in the TV Pulpits,” U.S. News and World Report,    April 6, 1987.
20. Richard N. Ostling, “Falwell Throws In the Towel,” Time,  Oct 19, 1987.
21. Richard N. Ostling, “Tuesday, the Rabbi Bought PTL,” Time,    Oct 17, 1988.
22. “Praise the Lord, Pay IRS,” Time, May 2, 1988.
23. Frances FitzGerald, “Jim and Tammy,” The New Yorker,    April 29, 1990.
24. GroupWatch –  The Interhemispheric Resource Center, Box 4506, Albuquerque, NM 87196.
25. Hadden, Jeffrey K. and Anson Shupe. Televangelism: Power and Politics on God’s Frontier. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1988.
26.Jean Seligmann, “The Inimitable Tammy Faye, Newsweek, June 8, 1987, p. 69.
27. Cited in Gordon Witkin and Jeannye Thornton, “Stones Fly in the TV Temple,” U.S. News ~ World Report, June 8, 1987.
28. Transcript, Jim Bakker’s statement of March 19, 1987. Charlotte Observer, March 20, 1987.
29. Megan Rosenfeld, “Bakker Says His Ministry is at an End,” Washington Post, May 2, 1987.
30. Art Harris and Michael Isikoff, “The Bakkers’ Tumultuous Return, Washington Post June 12, 1987.
31. Transcript of ABC’s “Nightline,” May 28, 1987.
32. “Statements from Bakkers,” USA Today, April 27, 1987.
33. Ted Mellnik, “Bakker, Dortch Dismissed,” Charlotte Observer, May 5, 1987.
34. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Bakker

Jim Bakker’s back
Independent (England), June 15, 2003
http://news.independent.co.uk/

The life of Jim Bakker, the world’s most famous fallen tele-evangelist, has always been about numbers, and we are not just talking hymns and psalms. There was the $1.9m salary he paid himself in 1986, the last full year that he led the Praise The Lord (PTL) Ministry that he founded in 1972 with his thickly mascara’d wife, Tammy Faye. At the time, he owned six luxury mansions, 47 bank accounts and a single Rolls-Royce. He was accustomed to raising $1m from his TV-goggling disciples across America every two days. Then came 1989, when he was charged, and convicted, on 24 counts of fraud and conspiracy for stealing $3.7m from his flock to fund his fabulous lifestyle.

We could go on in this vein forever. It was never exactly clear how many sexual partners (allegedly both women and men) he enjoyed in those crazy days before his reckoning with the law and crushing humiliation. We do know he paid $265,000 in cash to buy the silence of a church secretary he had been involved with in 1980.

The opulence of the Bakkers’ lifestyle at the height of their reign could not be measured in simple figures, however. They enjoyed the American Dream, but a garishly inflated version of it. They had an air-conditioned dog kennel and gold-plated bathrooms. Theirs was the kind of money that bought everything except good taste. Tammy Faye, who used glove puppets to help explain the Word of the Lord on air, is still seen today as the gold standard for eye shadow run amok. There is even a documentary film about her simply called The Eyes of Tammy Faye Bakker. Jim had a monkey face. His apple-shiny cheeks contrived to look at once bloated and stretched.

The Bakkers flaunted their wealth and used it to raise more and more of it. They offered a model of extravagant living that viewers drank in, presumably not in a spirit of post-modern irony. At its peak, the PTL broadcasts touched 13.5 million American households every day. The Bakkers are still being pursued for $3m (£1.9m) in unpaid income tax.

But there is one number, above all, that Jim Bakker, will never forget. It is 07407-058. Put “Inmate” in front of it, and you will see why. Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison for his crimes, even though some of the counts against him were later reversed and in 1994 he was released after only five years behind bars. By then, Tammy Faye had divorced him and Bakker, we all assumed, would fade into shamed obscurity. One thing was for sure, he told one interviewer shortly afterwards – he would never preach on television again.

He did write a book, however, simply called I Was Wrong. And then, lo and behold, Bakker was wrong again. Not only is he preaching once more, but he is doing it before the cameras. Second chances are encouraged in Christian teaching and, for sure, they are allowed in America. For proof, you need look no further than a joint called the Studio City Café in Branson, Missouri, a folksy tourist town that peddles God and country music to Middle America in roughly equal measures.

Since January, Bakker, 63, and his new wife, Lori Graham Bakker, have been turning up here each weekday morning to record an hour-long show of music, pious chat and, of course, old-fashioned preaching. The show is being carried by a growing roster of television stations across America and, via satellite, around the world. Assisting them are 20 Christian singers doubling as waitresses and cooks and, on most days, a celebrity guest of questionable calibre. Tony Orlando was on recently, and if you can’t quite pin him down, he is the man who sang “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” with Dawn. On hand every day to ensure an atmosphere of wholesome devotion to Bakker, are the paying customers of the 260-seat café, nearly all tourists visiting Branson, cheering him on while shovelling down barbecued ribs and eight-inch-high chocolate gateaux.

Bakker, in other words, has made a swift journey from shamed to shameless. When the new Jim Bakker Show hit the airwaves in January, it was 16 years to the day since his last PTL appearance. Yet the sins that were subsequently unearthed were surely enough to make any resurrection in the TV evangelising business an utter impossibility. Chief among them was his success in persuading countless viewers to donate sums of $1,000 or more to purchase “lifetime partnerships” in a hotel complex at his glitzy Christian theme park in North Carolina called Heritage USA.

The theme park, with a Main Street to rival Disney World’s, certainly existed – but the hotel never did. It was the biggest time-share scam ever conceived, cloaked in the false respectability of the name of God. Thousands of American souls, mostly retirees, found they would be unable ever to get their money back. Bakker was defrocked by his denomination, the Assemblies of God, for “conduct unbecoming of a minister”, and all of America, and his fellow television evangelists, turned against him. Jerry Falwell publicly declared Bakker a sexual deviant, an embezzler and a liar. After taking over the PTL Club, as it was known, and taking it into bankruptcy, Falwell called its founder “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in two thousand years of church history”. Few at the time disagreed.

Bakker has since contended that his years in prison were his salvation. He re-read all the scriptures and crucially concluded that the so-called “prosperity preaching” of his PTL days – wherein he equated dollar-wealth with godliness – was misguided. For a while, Bakker lived by his new creed that God also attended to the poor. He moved to Los Angeles where he worked for a ministry working in a city ghetto. It was there that he met his new wife, with whom he is now raising seven Hispanic foster children. Later the couple moved to Florida where they founded a Christian camp for inner-city teens, called the New Covenant Fellowship. And, as he did so, Bakker discovered that he was not quite the pariah he imagined. When he addressed a Christian leadership conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1995, when he was barely out of prison, 10,000 clergymen cheered and gave him a 15-minute standing ovation. “I thought people would spit on me,” he later recalled. “Instead they received me with open arms.”

Bakker recently commented that it was a “supernatural act of God” that got him back in front of the cameras. He may also have been inspired by his ex-wife, Tammy Faye. In 1994, she married Roe Messner, a construction contractor who used to be one of Jim’s best friends and who helped build Heritage USA, and now she too is exploiting her notoriety on the tube. With a little-known actor, Jim J Bullock, she has a cable chat-show featuring D-list Hollywood guests, entitled The Jim J and Tammy Faye Show. She talks Tinseltown and glamour but leaves God well out of it.

But, in fact, most of the credit for Jim’s resurrection goes to a Branson businessman called Jerry Crawford. Crawford’s unbroken admiration of Bakker stemmed from his memory of visiting Heritage USA many years earlier, an experience, he has since claimed, that saved his then crumbling marriage. Crawford owns the Studio City Café in Branson and persuaded Bakker that it was the perfect venue for a television comeback. Relying on the sweat partly of volunteers and the broadcast talents of other devotees of Bakker, the restaurant was hastily converted in time for January’s launch. It remains a shoe-string affair. Fabulous has made way for folksy and Bakker cuts a self-consciously humble figure.

“Oh my, I never really planned to come back on television,” commented Bakker himself. “I had been sick for two months before the show started, and I think it was related to my losses before, to the press, and what I’ve been through. I think it was just my body saying, ‘No! No! Don’t put your head above the crowd. You’ll get tomatoes thrown at you again.'”

And the reception has been remarkable. “I’ve never been welcomed so wonderfully anywhere in my life,” Bakker said of Branson and his new audiences. “I’m beyond excited, I’m overwhelmed.” His show airs daily on 30 Christian broadcast television stations around the US, even though in some markets the time-slot is in the small hours. It is taken by 200 cable channels and, most recently, reaches homes worldwide via the Christian Television Network’s “Angel” satellite. “We didn’t really get any flak at all [for putting Bakker back on the air],” commented CTN’s president Bob D’Andrea. “We’ve had a lot of favourable comments that people are glad to see Jim back.”

And among the folks packing the Studio City Café, you will even find a few who donated to PTL and to the hotel scheme and lost everything they gave. But, apparently, there is just something about Bakker they cannot resist. And they forgive him. “We lost money,” Bill Armstrong, recently retired from a metal casting company, told a reporter from the Springfield News-Leader after visiting the café and watching Bakker do his thing again. “He’s forgiven.” And people respond to his new low-key tone. “We don’t come as someone who has all the answers,” Bakker insisted. “We don’t come as examples. We come as a demonstration of God’s restoration.”

He may not want to be an example – prison is seldom something the average viewer aspires to – but Bakker has not been able to resist digging out some of the trappings of his old incarnation. A few of the more valuable paintings that used to adorn the walls of Heritage USA are once again on view in the café, including four huge paintings of Jesus by Joseph Wallace King. And on a small wall just next to the kitchen, fans can find a collection of framed photographs, harking back to the days when Bakker hob-nobbed with presidents and tycoons. Bakker can be seen posing with Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and George Bush Sr. There is even a frame exhibiting an engraved napkin ring and other mementoes from Air Force One from the day in 1980 when President Carter invited him on board to help him pray for the American hostages in Iran.

So, what about Bakker’s old fetish with numbers? At what stage in his show, you may be wondering, does he stare deep into the lens of the television camera and implore his new-found flock to send their dollars to Branson? Wouldn’t it be nice to build a Bakker motel adjacent to the café, at least? No, that is not part of the script this time around and if it was, you can be sure that Bakker would be scooped up by federal agents faster than he can say “Praise be to Je-sus!”

But we cannot let him off the hook completely. Someone has to pay for the cost of the show.

Programming is expensive nowadays. So there it is, for those who make it all the way to the end of the Jim Bakker hour – a gentle request to viewers to write a cheque, large or small, to keep the show on the air. And donations, believe it or not, are rolling in.

Don’t Call Me Brother:
A Ringmaster’s Escape from the Pentecostal Church

Austin Miles has been a well-known circus ringmaster for most of his adult life. It was, he found, good preparation for his experiences with PTL and the Assemblies of God churches. Miles is the first ordained Assembly of God minister to leave the movement and write an in-depth book revealing the inner workings of this sect. This is not rumor, not innuendo. It is fact, seen first-hand, and fully described for the first time. Don’t Call Me Brother is not a book written by an outside observer – Austin Miles was an active participant in the evolution of the PTL Club.

- Austin Miles was on intimate terms with the entire cast of PTL’s characters and the high-tech world of Christian movers and shakers: Jim Bakker, Tammy Faye Bakker, Pat Robertson, Charles and Frances Hunter, Richard Dortch, John Wesley Fletcher, Christian celebreties such as Pat Boone and Ephram Zimbalist, Jr., and many others.

- Austin Miles opened the door on the steam room where Jim Bakker was cavorting – in the nude – with three other men.

- Austin Miles was there when televangelism hatched its super-successful fund-raising schemes, and he participated in the staged “financial crisis” telethon, during which millions of dollars poured into the coffers of the PTL Club.

- Austin Miles watched the development of Jim Bakker’s violent mood swings and saw the chilling possibility that Jim Bakker could have become another Jim Jones.

- Austin Miles was there when Jim Bakker started a fist fight with his producer over the favors of the current Miss America.

Austin Miles had fame, wealth, and a wonderful family. But by the time he finally broke free of the fanatic world of the religious right, he had lost everything. Don’t Call Me Brother is his story. A poignant, outrageous, sometimes hilarious drama peopled with colorful real-life characters. Building to a climax with a surprise double-twist ending, this story is tough but fair, a must-read for those who want to know what really happens in the world of America’s media-glitzed charismatic religions.

Note As a friend of the author Austin Miles, and having read the book, I have no doubt over the matters he witnessed firsthand. Although I’m an Assemblies of God minister, I recognize that in all human organizations (churches are human organizations) there will be fallible people with poor judgment and liable to temptation. Austin Miles has come back to Christianity, and has repudiated the negative attitude he expresses in his book towards Christianity, although he still maintains what he saw was true. He and I have had many wonderful conversations, and will continue to do so. He is a preacher again, and travels to churches. He has returned to Christian ministry with lessons learned and a new attitude. Rev. Richard F. Lee.

A PBS Television documentary title “Religion and Politics” that first aired in December of 1987 spotlighted Ronald Reagan’s interference in the Justice Department’s attempted initial investigation of Jim Bakker, as well as the investigations of the IRS and FCC. An interesting sidelight to this cover-up concerns George Bush. He made a trip to Charlotte to meet privately with Jim Bakker in a hotel room. He wanted Jim to endorse him for President on the PTL network. Jim asked him if he was a born-again Christian to which Bush replied ‘no’. Jim said that he would only endorse Bush if he openly declared himself a born-again. “Carter did that”, Bush shot back, “and I don’t want to be classified with him.” “Then I can’t endorse you”, Jim answered. That refusal in March of 1985 angered Bush and proved fatal to Jim Bakker. It was George Bush, out of revenge, who instigated the investigation that destroyed Jim Bakker and the PTL Club. It was not as a duty to the American public that this investigation and conviction took place. It was done only for vengeance. This is in keeping with Bush’s CIA background, where he routinely de-stabilized entire countries whose governments disagreed with him. This has been documented to me by a confidential source with a news-wire service and who was very close to that entire affair. (Church & State: A Secret Marriage by Austin Miles).

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,  whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:25-29

Fire can be a very constructive and destructive thing depends on how it’s used. It does purge impurities out of certain things but it also destroys other things leaving nothing behind. Assembly of God preacher and Evangelist Jim Bakker presided as the king over one of the most corrupt television ministries of the past two decades.  A successful televangelism group run by Jim and Tammy Bakker is a testimony that Evangelical pastors sold their own souls just to make their wallets thicker, when they were supposed to bring God to the people. As a result Jim Bakker and his sidekick Richard Dortch ended up in prison accused of sexual immorality, tax evasion, and racketeering. The wave of corruption not only affected other televangelists such as Jimmy Swaggart, but also showed a dark, dirty fight for the control of PTL among several other prominent televangelists.

Felon Richard Dortch, senior vice-president of PTL and associate pastor of Heritage Village Church, said pride, arrogance and secrets led to the PTL scandal. While most people never face temptations on the same scale, the ingredients for seemingly smaller failures are the same, he said. Dortch said the men in PTL’s leadership felt they were above accountability. They felt specially called by God and accountable only to Him. He said they didn’t plan the scandal; instead, it was the natural result of living for oneself, rather than for God.

Most people are aware of Jim Bakker’s $265,000 payoff to Jessica Hahn to keep her sexual services to him a secret, his longtime homosexual relationship with his right hand man David Taggart, his prison sentence, his close relationship to Billy Graham, and his lust for public spotlight.

On CNN/Larry King Live, Jan. 30, 2001 from Bonifay, Florida, Jim Bakker, whose ministry crumbled in 1987 when it was discovered that he used church donations to pay his secretary to hide their sexual affair stated “I’m actually making plans to go back on television. I haven’t announced it. It’s not too many weeks away. We may be making our debut.”

The Associated Press reported on December10, 2002 that the cafe where Jim Bakker plans to carry daily broadcasts has opened. Now, the fallen televangelist must persuade TV stations to carry his talk show. Diners at Studio City Cafe will be the studio audience, local and national entertainers will be featured guests and Bakker and his wife, ordained minister Lori Graham Bakker, will be hosts. The show will feature the 20 Christian singers who double as wait staff, cashiers and cooks at the 260-seat cafe operated by the Churchill Coffee Company. “We’re not looking at the big (networks) yet,” said Chris Busch, director of Tulsa, Okla.-based B/M/C Advertising, which is recruiting television stations. “Jim wants steady, controlled, well-managed growth. He’ll be tweaking the show initially. One thing we know for sure is Jim believes in excellence.”

Bakker’s backers, both newfound and those dating to Bakker’s scandal-riddled PTL Ministries in York County, S.C., are financing and encouraging the project. “It’s surreal to me right now. I know there are some people who won’t like me, and I don’t blame them. But since I’ve been in Missouri, not one person has been mean or cruel or said a sarcastic remark to me,” Bakker said.

The minister – he is unaffiliated with any denomination – returned to Christian evangelism upon his release from federal prison in 1995 and began working with a ministry in Los Angeles. He was convicted of mail and wire fraud 13 years ago. In recent years, he has operated from Vernon, Fla., where he founded another independent ministry, New Covenant Fellowship. Bakker said he has been stunned by the outpouring of moral and financial support and volunteer labor he has found in Branson. “I’ve never been welcomed so wonderfully anywhere in my life,” Bakker said. “I’m beyond excited. I’m overwhelmed. People are just doing things. Last week, a man that sells carpeting chased me with his truck, and he told me he had heard me on the radio talking about this. He said, `God told me to do whatever you asked. What can I do for you?'”

As his fellow evangelists seemed to take their turns facing justified criticism, Billy Graham maintained his own integrity and the sincerity of his message. Far from publicly condemning his peers, Billy spoke of them with concern, and even visited Jim Bakker in prison for birds of feather stick together.

It is not known whether the Graham’s, including Billy and Franklin Graham, will be assisting Bakker in with his ventures. Franklin came to prison over and over again to visit Jim Bakker. Franklin Graham said, “Jim Bakker’s my friend”. When Bakker got out of prison the Grahams sponsored him and paid for a house for him to live in and gave him a car to drive.

None of the Graham’s supported or comforted any of the Jim Bakker’s victims! It didn’t matter to the Grahams that   -Bakker had 47 bank accounts, 6 luxury homes, $1.9 million dollar salary and Rolls Royce and Mercedez cars.

- Falwell called Bakker a liar, an embezzler and sexual deviate. He fired Bakker’s entire staff when he took over Praise the Lord show. Falwell bankrupted the PTL Club calling Bakker “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in two thousand years of church history”

But Jim Bakker won’t have to pay $120 million to former followers who bought “partnerships” in his PTL tele-ministry. A jury in North Carolina on July 23, 1996 threw out a class action suit brought on behalf of more than 160,000 onetime believers who paid as much as $7,000 each in the ’80s to join Jim and Tammy Faye in holy larceny.

However the Internal Revenue Service says Bakker and Messner owe personal income taxes from the 1980s when they were building their Praise The Lord empire reported the Charlotte Observer. The IRS assessed the taxes after revoking the PTL ministry’s nonprofit status, said Roe Messner, Tammy Faye’s husband since 1993.

Tammy Faye Messner new husband said Jim Bakker and his former wife didn’t want to talk about the tax issues. “We don’t want to stir the pot,” Messner said. He said the original tax amount was about $500,000. Penalties and interest account for the rest of the bill. The notices reinstating the liens list “James O. and Tamara F. Bakker” as owing $3 million.

On his website, Jim Bakker is still being a parasite, living off money that he steals from others, stating:

Dear Internet Friend,

It’s not an accident that you have come to this page on this website at this critical hour in the life of this ministry!

Lori and I thank you for your meaningful support. Even Moses had the help of faithful loved ones who held up his arms to steady him at a critical hour in his ministry (Exodus 17:12).

We need you today to hold up our arms, to steady us at this exciting hour in the life of this growing and vital outreach. My heart is bonded with you and the Apostle Paul who admonished the Saints of God:

He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

- 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NKJ

I need your help right now! Think it not strange that you are reading these words from my heart at this very moment, “online”! Your obedience to God’s leading will be a needed breakthrough for us right now.

Would you make a pledge to this ministry for $100?

Bakker, who apparently made all of the financial decisions for the PTL and kept two sets of books to conceal the accounting irregularities, took conspicuous consumption to new extremes. PTL once spent over $100,000 for a private jet to fly the Bakker’s clothing across the country. PTL also spent more than $100 on a purchase of cinnamon rolls because Jim and Tammy wanted the smell of them in their hotel room. “They [Bakkers] epitomized the excesses of the nineteen eighties–the greed, the love of glitz, and the shamelessness–which in their case was so pure as to almost amount to a kind of innocence. “

PTL sold “lifetime memberships” for a $1,000 or more, which entitled buyers to a 3-night stay annually at a luxury hotel in Heritage USA. According to the prosecution at Bakker’s trial, tens of thousands of memberships had been sold, and only one 500-room hotel completed. Bakker had not only sold more “exclusive” partnerships than could be accomodated, but had also raised more than twice the money needed to build the hotel. The Bakker trial revealed that a good deal of the money had gone into operating expenses of Heritage USA, and Bakker kept $3,700,000 for himself. (Frances FitzGerald, “Jim and Tammy,” The New Yorker, April 29, 1990.)

Between 1984 and mid-1987, the Bakkers received annual salaries of $200,000 each and Jim awarded himself over $4 million in bonuses. The Bakkers own, among other things, a $600,000 house in Palm Springs, 4 condos in California, and a Rolls Royce. (“Fresh Out of Miracles,” Newsweek, May 11, 1987 & “TV’s Unholy Row,” Time, Apr 6, 1987.)

The former televangelist preached at Central Assembly of God in Muskegon, Mich., July 30, 2000, Religion News Service reported. It was the first time he had been there in 30 years.  “If I’ve ever hurt you, I say please forgive me,” Bakker told the congregation of several hundred people during a two-hour service. “My life was smashed, but Jesus Christ has put me back together again.” Bakker’s grandfather helped start the church in the Depression, and his cousins and their families still attend there.

Jim Bakker nor the Assembly of God with whom he was ordained have never publicly discussed or dealt with the fact that Jim Bakker was Bi-sexual or that his real lover was a man! Although a contrite Jim Bakker returned to his childhood church to ask forgiveness, he never talked about David Taggart his great male lover! Bakker, the founder on the now non existent PTL Club and Village, has downplayed the role of the bisexual evangelist John Wesley Fletcher, who arranged his tryst with Jessica Hahn. He hardly talks about James and David Taggart, the brothers who many claim controlled Bakker in his final PTL years Fletcher was bitter and said Bakker had failed to keep promises and had forsaken him during tough times. Fletcher stated during the “Pearlygate” media storm that he, too, had been sexually involved with bisexual Bakker, reported Christianity Today.

So it was not surprising that Tammy Faye Bakker ( now Messner), who divorced Bakker, would have a prominent role in the gay pride festivities in Washington in June 2002.  The former televangelist was to judge a Tammy Faye look-alike contest, appear at a fund-raising dinner and speak from the main stage of the Capital Pride 2002 street festival.

There are those who believe that Tammy Faye is really a drag queen. Once adored by viewers of the electronic church, Messner now appears at gay-pride events nationwide, such as a Tammy Faye look-alike contest held in Washington, D.C., recently where, according to National Public Radio, she was “surrounded by men in falsies and pancake makeup and…impossible to upstage.”

“I’m just trying to give back to them,” she says. “I…tell them there’s a God who loves them and cares for them. I told them there’s a better way out…that nothing can give you peace except Jesus.” Messner does not specifically address the issue of homosexuality being a sin when she talks to groups of gays. “I leave that up to the Holy Spirit because unless He speaks to them, they won’t change anyway,” she said.

But Tammy Faye’s former husband, Assembly of God Evangelist Jim Bakker, the founder on the now non existent PTL Club and Village,  has downplayed the role of the bisexual evangelist John Wesley Fletcher, who arranged his  tryst with Jessica Hahn. He hardly talks about James and David Taggart, the brothers who many claim controlled Bakker in his final PTL years or that David Taggart was his lover and gave him blow jobs.

Fletcher was bitter and said Bakker had failed to keep promises and had forsaken him during tough times. Fletcher stated during the “Pearlygate” media storm that he, too, had been sexually involved with bisexual Bakker, reported Christianity Today

Bakker,  former head of PTL Ministries and Heritage USA, served five years in federal prison on fraud charges. He has spoken about confession of sins, forgiveness, and reconciliation for the last two years in churches around the country, RNS reported. Bakker’s wife, Tammy Faye, divorced him while he was in prison and married his best friend, Roe Messner. Bakker, who remarried about two years ago, is starting a ministry in Florida for children from inner cities.

At times in prison “I felt like God had left me,” Bakker said. “That’s the real problem with prosperity teaching,” a cornerstone in his television days. “If God comes to you when you prosper, do you think he will walk away when you are poor?” he asked. “There’s a lot of false doctrine going around, and I was preaching a lot of it.”

Jim Bakker and clan were also on Larry King Live on May 30, 2000  spewing out their form of Christianity.  It was a three ring circus of fools.  Bakker’s son said he was ” angry that people do not allow preachers to be human.” Bakker even presented a bible as a gift to Larry King’s wife.

Bakker and Messner said they had made up with each other after the collapse of the ministry and their divorce. “I don’t blame Tammy Faye for going on with her life,” and divorcing him after he was sentenced to 45 years in prison for fraud, Bakker said. Messner said she had forgiven Bakker for having an affair, said he had not deserved to go to prison, and called him “a very good man.”

Bakker was out of prison and sometimes preaches. He said his faith grew during five years in prison, which he calls “the greatest training and seminary and intimate relation with God that I ever could have had.”  “I’m just grateful to God that we’re still alive and that Jim’s happy and I’m happy,” Messner said. The Bakkers’ two children, Tammy Sue Chapman and Jay Bakker, also were on the program.

Jim Bakker, former president and founder of PTL, and Richard Dortch, former executive  vice president, both served prison terms for fraud convictions that resulted  from a failed “Lifetime Partnerships” project for a hotel at Heritage USA.  Both men have since returned to active ministry endeavors-Dortch in Tampa,  Fla., and Bakker in Los Angeles and Charlotte, N.C.

Bakker, was convicted in 1989 of defrauding 116,000 followers who sent him at least $1,000 each in return for promised lodging at his  religious/recreational complex, Heritage USA near Charlotte, N.C. During his  trial, prosecutors said the scheme brought about $158 million into the Praise  the Lord television ministry that Bakker and his former wife, Tammy Faye,  founded in 1972.

Bakker helped dedicate the 10,000-seat Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland,  Florida in 1985. The Straders went through a major split of Carpenter’s Home Church in 1989 when the Straders refused to relinquish the financial control  they had on the ministry, the church and its assets.

After getting out from prison Baker once spoke at Carpenter’s Home church and   said Strader’s wife, Joyce, wrote him a letter once a week while he was in prison. I was one of those who helped him build PTL,” said Karl Strader,  “and I never did know what he did wrong, frankly. And if he did do something  wrong, I forgive him, and I know everybody else here forgives him,” said   Strader.

Karl Strader was being generous with Jim Bakker for he too wanted absolution from these sins and crimes and those of his family. His oldest son Daniel, 37, was arrested, tried and sentenced to 45 years in prison in August 1995. He was convicted of 238 felony counts for bilking 57 mostly elderly investors, some members of the church, out of $2.3 million by selling investments in properties that didn’t exist or already had liens against them.  Dan’s specialty was to pray with and prey on his victims with the help of his father.

It is to be noted that Richard Dortch, a former Assembly of God district superintendent and vice president of the PTL Club, who paid Jessica Hahn off to buy her silence, led a campaign to raise $52,000 for the defense of Dan Strader but not a penny for any of Dan’s victims.  In response to all of this Paul Humphries wrote to the author and stated:

“See, you do expect too much from our preachers and their family. You think a lil’ ole raping and plundering and driving people to murder is wrong. You’ve got to lighten up, the lord allows for preachers to twist and change the commandments or even selectively choose which commandments are apt for that particular time and place.

Since people are people, you can’t expect them to follow all the commandments do you? Since you can’t follow all of them even part of the time, then to hell with all of them, don’t follow any of them……..of course tell the sheep to follow every one of them.”

While Jeffrey K. Hadden, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, and Anson Shupe in their book Televangelism: Power & Politics On God’s Frontier wrote:

There were many significant underlying themes to give the PTL scandal a cheap theatrical appeal guaranteed to keep it in the news for months. The 1987 unholy wars of televangelism brought together most of the leading figures in syndicated religious programming. Even Robert Schuller, whose theology is light years and Crystal Cathedral a continent away from the Bakker action, became involved early on when PTL counselor Norman Roy Grutman commented that people who live in glass houses should not cast stones-seemingly implicating Schuller as a culprit in the alleged “hostile takeover.”

The first and grandest theme tying all the other subplots together was the fairy-tale life of the central characters themselves. The main scene for most of the action was a fantasy world called Heritage USA, which Jim and Tammy Faye created from the dimes and dollars of those who sent their savings and Social Security checks. The sad part of the Bakker fairy tale began on March 19 when a tearful Jim told his television audience how a very mean man was about to usurp Jim and Tammy’s kingdom. The ammunition possessed by this mean man (who was shortly to be identified as televangelist Jimmy Swaggart) was information about an itty-bitty affair Jim Bakker had had with a church secretary years before.

A second significant subplot in this unholy religious soap involved evidence of personal misconduct, mismanagement, and pillaging of the PTL treasury. Thus, there were two dimensions to the scandal: the Bakkers’ personal “moral” lives, and their mismanagement and misuse of Heritage USA resources. And just when it seemed that all the sordid details had oozed out, new disclosures and allegations of offenses emerged.

In the beginning, there was only the sexual indiscretion, when Jim Bakker, in a moment of mental exhaustion and loneliness, succumbed to the advances of a young seductress. The way Bakker told the story to Jerry Falwell, he was so ashamed that he became impotent and was unable to consummate the liaison. The hush money he paid to the woman, a church secretary, was for the sake of the PTL ministry, Bakker said.

Within hours, newspaper reporters were in hot pursuit of tips about other alleged incidents of personal misconduct. Lots of people were talking, but nobody wanted to speak on the record.

Then, on the eve of a meeting of the newly constituted PTL board headed by Jerry Falwell at Heritage USA, rumors suggested that Jim and Tammy Faye might return to retake possession of their fiefdom, and this prospect led the Reverend John Ankerberg, host of a debate format TV show broadcast from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to tell what he knew.

Ankerberg used first “The Larry King Show,” then “Nightline,” to talk generally about the sexual escapades, the mismanagement of PTL resources, and the exorbitant salaries and bonuses paid to the Bakkers and their closest cronies. Ankerberg was not explicit, but he told enough to intrigue the media. After six weeks of intensive investigative reporting, the alleged details out-Gantryed Elmer Gantry: infidelity, homosexuality, prostitution, alcoholism, even wife-swapping among top managers at PTL.

While confessing that all have sinned and come short of the glory of the kingdom of God, the Bakkers were not about to answer the litany of allegations. “Ninety-nine percent of what they [the media] have printed or said about Jim and Tammy Bakker bears no truth whatsoever,” Tammy told a gathering of reporters in April outside their Palm Springs retreat.

The Bakkers declined to meet their accusers. Jerry Falwell offered them that opportunity; so did the elders of the Assemblies of God, which conducted their own inquiry. When Bakker declined to appear before his district presbytery to face charges, the Assemblies of God dismissed him for “conduct unbecoming to a minister.”

Reverend G. Raymond Carlson, general superintendent of the church, said the “alleged misconduct involving bisexual activity” weighed heavily in the decision to unfrock Bakker.  Carlson noted further that the word alleged was used because Bakker did not wish to defend himself.

For many people, allegations of misappropriating PTL resources for their own personal use and the payment of huge salaries and bonuses were far more serious charges than the allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Bakkers had appointed a rubber-stamp board of directors to oversee their management practices. In return for acquiescing to Jim and Tammy’s whims, several of these board members received tens of thousands of dollars in fees, bonuses, and contributions to their own projects.

In 1986 the Bakkers were paid $1.9 million; since 1984, a total of $4.8 million had been paid to them. In addition, PTL monies were used for expensive homes, a palatial suite at the Heritage Grand Hotel, automobiles, lavish wardrobes, vacations, and parties.

The Bakkers’ closest associates were privy to their high living at the expense of PTL partners. They, too, were well paid. Reverend Richard Dortch, the Assemblies of God minister who many thought had brought some order and organization to the rapidly growing Heritage USA operations, was paid $240,000 in 1985 and $350,000 in 1986. He received approximately $270,000 during the first three months of 1987 before Falwell sacked him. David Taggart, a twenty-nine-year-old “personal aide” to Bakker, received $360,000 in 1986; Jim Bakker’s personal secretary received $160,000.

And then there were “consultants.” James Taggart, interior decorator and David Taggart’s brother, was paid $10,000 a month, but, according to the new PTL management, he had performed no services “for months.”‘ Peter B. Teeley, press secretary to George Bush until 1984, was paid $120,000 for eighteen months to serve as a Washington “liaison”; apparently there were no written records of any services performed.

Assembly of God Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, had been accused of complicity in the “diabolical plot” to take over the Bakker ministry by Jim Bakker.  Swaggart said that he had initiated a church inquiry into Bakker’s personal conduct, but that it was “absurd and ridiculous” to suggest that he wanted to take over PTL.

He also stated ” I’m ashamed, I’m embarrassed. The gospel of Jesus Christ has never sunk to such a level as it has today. We’ve got a dear brother in Tulsa, Oklahoma, perched up in a tower telling people that if they don’t send money that God’s going to kill him, then we got this soap opera being carried out live down in South Carolina all in the name of God. (. Jeffrey A. Frank and Lloyd Grove, “The Raging Battles Of the Evangelicals,” Washington Post, March 25, 1987.)

In an interview on “The Larry King Show,” Swaggart claimed that Bakker’s downfall represented a “very glad day, because this cancer has been excised that I feel has caused the body of Christ untold reproach. ‘ ( Associated Press, “Swaggart Calls Bakker ‘Cancer’ of Christ,” The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Virginia), March 25, 1987.)

These comments aroused Oral Roberts’s ire, and he blasted Swaggart while defending Bakker. Foolish Oral Roberts forgave and defended Jim Bakker for something that was not forgivable. God does not forgive those who rob, rape and murder in the house of God as Eli and his two sons were not forgiven. Something that is in the very bible that they sometime use and is true.

Oral Roberts forgave his friend, Jim Bakker, for robbing and raping in the house of God. Roberts made large contributions to the Praise the Lord (PTL) ministry of Jim and Tammy Bakker when they fell into hard times during the 1987 scandal. (Sara Diamond, Spiritual Warfare (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1989). Then he wondered why the City of Faith of faith was not finished, the law school was not accredited and ORU incurred a 40 million dollar debt. (Robert’s aides confirmed annual donations of $58 million in 1986, but the Association’s Internal Revenue Service returns show that the organization has been losing money steadily since 1986)

Jim Bakker always felt that people were conspiring against him-especially journalists, politicians and judges.  It was reported in Christianity Today in an article by Terry Mattingly’s religion column for 12/04/96.

” After the 1987 collapse of his empire, he said he had been betrayed by other televangelists. “I sorrowfully acknowledge that seven years ago … I was wickedly manipulated by treacherous former friends and colleagues who victimized me with the aid of a female confederate,” he said. “They conspired to betray me into a sexual encounter at a time of great stress in my marital life. … I was set up as part of a scheme to co-opt me and obtain some advantage for themselves over me in connection with their hope for position in the ministry.”

In other words, the first domino at PTL was a scheme that preceded Bakker’s 1980 sexual liaison with Jessica Hahn, a conspiracy within his inner circle that preceded “Pearlygate.” Yet Bakker has nothing new to say about these “friends and colleagues” and their scheme. In particular, he downplays the role of the bisexual evangelist John Wesley Fletcher, who arranged the tryst with Hahn, and he hardly mentions James and David Taggart, the brothers who many claim controlled Bakker in his final PTL years.

In his book, Bakker confesses many sins. He repents of his “health and wealth” theology, saying he sinfully twisted scripture. He offers 647 pages of near-stream-of-consciousness details about lessons he learned during his trial, divorce and prison years. But he continues to avoid some questions.

“For most Pentecostal and charismatic people, the most serious questions about Jim Bakker were all those allegations of moral misconduct. … People haven’t forgotten that,” said historian Vinson Synan of Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. “There does appear to have been a kind of subterranean, homosexual world inside PTL that has never been fully described. That’s where so many questions remain.”

Mind you Jerry Falwell did conspire against Jim Bakker. By 1987 Jerry Falwell Ministries had reached its peak but Jerry Falwell wanted more. Jim Bakker then owned the largest Christian television network in the world known as the PTL Network, being based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Yet what was called “A Hostile Takeover of the PTL Network” was being formulated.

That year, Jerry Falwell and his then attorney entered the home of PTL founders Jim and Tammy Bakker stating they had evidence of a Hostile Takeover of the PTL Network. The person Falwell accused of planning the Hostile Takeover of the PTL Network was none other than the only man in the world with a larger ministry than Jerry Falwell. Falwell convinced Jim and Tammy Bakker that if they would turn over the PTL Network to him for a time he would protect PTL from the Hostile Takeover.

In Jim Bakker’s book entitled, “I WAS WRONG”, in Chapter 7 … the chapter labeled “THE HOSTILE TAKEOVER”, Bakker stated that “there was indeed a Hostile Takeover being planned for the PTL Network, but it wasn’t being orchestrated in the offices of Jimmy Swaggart in Baton Rouge, Louisanna. Jim Bakker goes on to point out that it was Jerry Falwell who had designs on PTL. Richard Dortch, was Jim Bakker’s right hand man on the PTL Network. Richard Dortch stated on the Late Steve Brown Show that “if Jerry Falwell would just admit that he tried to get the PTL Network … it was a bad choice on my part … please forgive me … it would send out a breath of fresh air in the body of Christ”. Jim Bakker’s wife Tammy, who has now remarried, has stated repeatedly how Falwell’s actions in the PTL situation has caused untold harm to her family. Jim Bakker even went to prison for years. Jimmy Swaggart made an appeal to have Jim Bakker relieved from his prison sentence after receiving a phone call from Jim Bakker’s son, Jamie. {That is in Bakker’s book as well.}

Jim Bakker’s Grahams’ Connection

As his fellow evangelists seemed to take their turns facing justified criticism, Billy Graham maintained his own integrity and the sincerity of his message. Far from publicly condemning his peers, Billy spoke of them with concern, and even visited Jim Bakker in prison. When his Crusades would generate more offerings than he had anticipated, both Billy and Ruth gave their share to needy organizations. As for his own efforts to integrate television into his ministry, Billy hosted a half-hour weekly program in 1951 but discontinued it a few years later because of the immense commitment of time it required. Afterwards he telecast his Crusades but never again tried a weekly program.

(The Grahams are no different from Jim Bakker. They are liars; deceivers and thieves who claim to have integrity but are false. The Grahams are also scoundrels and money lovers who will not reveal their total compensations as chairmen’s of non-profit organization. Of course as parasites they have not worked in the private sector but have lived off the tax-free donations of others. )

On the Graham family Jim Bakker stated – Franklin came to prison over and over again to see me. He wrote me every month. The funny thing is, when he’d come I’d ask him to teach and preach in the chapel. I didn’t want to just have him to myself in the visiting room. And the chaplain always would say to him, “Now don’t give an invitation to accept Christ and don’t admit you know Jim Bakker.” He broke the rules every time, both of them. You know when you’re down in prison and Franklin comes and says, “Jim Bakker’s my friend,” it would just elevate my life for that moment. And then he’d give an invitation to accept Christ, and guys would come to the Lord.

When I was transferred to my last prison, Franklin said he wanted to help me out when I got out-with a job, a house to live in, and a car. It was my fifth Christmas in prison. I thought it over and said, “Franklin, you can’t do this. It will hurt you. The Grahams don’t need my baggage.” He looked at me and he said, “Jim, you were my friend in the past and you are my friend now. If anyone doesn’t like it, I’m looking for a fight.”

So when I got out of prison the Grahams sponsored me and paid for a house for me to live in and gave me a car to drive. The first Sunday out, Ruth Graham called the halfway house I was living in at the Salvation Army and asked permission for me to go to the Montreat Presbyterian Church with her that Sunday morning. When I got there, the pastor welcomed me and sat me with the Graham family. There were like two whole rows of them-I think every Graham aunt and uncle and cousin was there. The organ began playing and the place was full except for a seat next to me. Then the doors opened and in walked Ruth Graham. She walked down that aisle and sat next to inmate 07407-058. I had only been out of prison 48 hours, but she told the world that morning that Jim Bakker was her friend.

Afterwards, she had me up to their cabin for dinner. When she asked me for some addresses, I pulled this envelope out of my pocket to look for them-in prison you’re not allowed to have a wallet, so you just carry an envelope. She asked, “Don’t you have a wallet?” And I said, “Well, yeah, this is my wallet.” After five years of brainwashing in prison you think an envelope is a wallet. She walked into the other room and came back and said, “Here’s one of Billy’s wallets. He doesn’t need it. You can have it.” It reminded me of the time I was in prison when she took all of Billy’s Bibles in his library he wasn’t using and gave them to me to give to other inmates.

On Larry King live in the   fall of 1998 Southern Baptist Evangelist Billy Graham was insulted when he was compared with TV Evangelists such as Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker and their sex scandals. Billy Graham said that he did not do those things which Jim Bakker or Jim Swaggart did – a statement that turned out to be a lie! For Ned Graham’s own son turned out to be no different than Jim Bakker.

Even though a President of an Evangelical Ministry must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, and not greedy for money, Ned Graham the son of Billy Graham, Southern Baptist minister, president East Gates International, a group that distributes Bibles in China told Christianity Today in an interview that he had abused alcohol and spent an “inappropriate amount of time” with two women on his staff.

Grace Community Church, Southern Baptist Convention, in Auburn, Washington–which counted Ned Graham, his wife, and their two sons as members established in 1999 the fact that Ned Graham was an adulterer, alcoholic, wife abuser, and drug user and revoked Graham’s ministerial credentials. It directed Graham to stop using the title reverend.

Yet in a style reminiscent of Jimmy Swaggart, who refused to be defrocked by the Assembly of God denomination, Ned Graham left that congregation for another church.

Most of the staff and board members of East Gates International resigned amid controversies. East Gates, in Sumner, Wash., withdrew its membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability after Ned replaced the board members with his sister Ruth Graham McIntyre, brother-in-law Stephan Tchividjian, and business leader Peter Lowe.

Christianity Today founded by Billy Graham did not report on one of its own pastors Ollin Collins of Harvest Baptist Church in Fort Worth, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s board chairman. A man who resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations when he was accused of having sexual relationships with two women who sought counseling.

But it did report about the adultery of a black man and a National Baptist but not about the adultery of a white man and Southern Baptist. An adultery which was more hideous and gross because Collins raped unsuspecting trusting women,  while Lyons adulterous relationships were consensual. It has been said that Lyons will go down in the history books as “Hugh Hefner of the New Testament.” http://headlines.yahoo.com/Full_Coverage/US/Henry_Lyons

Now concerning the fallen hero, the church had suspended Pastor Collins with pay pending an investigation. He resigned from his board position one day after a story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported the women’s allegations and their intent to sue. Southwestern is the world’s largest evangelical seminary, with 3,000 students on eight campuses.

But of course neither the Seminary nor the Church did nothing for the real female victims but they did help and console the aggressor?  Just like Billy Graham stated about Bill Clinton “I forgive him . . . because I know the frailty of human nature, and especially a strong, vigorous young man like he is. “He has such a tremendous personality that I think the ladies just go wild over him.”

While Jeffrey K. Hadden, professor of sociology at the University of Virgina at Charlottesville, and Anson Shupe in their book Televangelism: Power & Politics On God& Ch 1: Getting Saved from the Televangelists wrote:

The first and grandest theme tying all the other subplots together  was the fairy-tale life of the central characters themselves. The main scene for most of the action was a fantasy world called Heritage USA, which Jim and Tammy Faye created from the dimes and dollars of those who sent their savings and Social Security checks. The sad part of the Bakker fairy tale began on March 19 when a tearful Jim told his television audience how a very mean man was about to usurp Jim and Tammy’s kingdom.

The ammunition possessed by this mean man (who was shortly to be identified as televangelist Jimmy Swaggart) was information about an itty-bitty affair Jim Bakker had had with a church secretary years before. Details of the takeover plot unfolded gradually; Swaggart was about to blow the whistle on Bakker to the church elders of the Assemblies of God Church.

This would lead to an investigation that would result in Bakker’s being stripped of his ordination. The shame brought by all of this was not deserved, of course (God and Tammy had both forgiven Jim years before). A little-known clause in the Heritage USA charter bequeaths the entire kingdom to the Assemblies of God in the event that Jim and Tammy are not able to reign. Swaggart, being the most powerful preacher in the Assemblies of God alliance, thus would be the one to move in and take over.

A white knight named Jerry Falwell agreed to take the kingdom into custody to protect it from Swaggart’s evil intentions. Two months later, when Bakker advised Falwell that he was ready to return home, Jerry replied, “Not now nor ever.” Jim and Tammy brushed back the tears and told “Nightline’s” Ted Koppel and 23 million Americans- who had stayed up late to see this dramatic episode-how they had been tricked by Falwell.

Bakker now claimed that Falwell, the man from Liberty Mountain, had become a thief in the night rather than a white knight. It was Falwell all along, they said, not the honky-tonk preacher from the Louisiana bayou, Jimmy Swaggart, who was the real villain. Falwell, with his slick-talking New York lawyer, had tricked Jim and Tammy Faye into believing that the only way they could save their kingdom was to relinquish it to Jerry-temporarily.

Exhausted and bewildered, Jim and Tammy Bakker had tearfully given up their magic kingdom with its Rolls-Royces and furs and goldfixtured dressing rooms and presidential suite and credit cards and daily starring roles in their own “Wheel of Fortune.”

Ted Koppel had warned Jim and Tammy at the beginning of the “Nightline” program “not to wrap themselves in the Bible.” By the end of the program, it was Koppel who had been wrapped in the mesmerizing melodramatic tragicomic fantasy the couple had spun.

Playing to Koppel and the huge television audience with words that sounded ever so sweet and loving, Jim Bakker now declared war against Falwell. They just wanted to come home to Heritage USA, but if Jerry Falwell wouldn’t let them, they might start a new Shangri-La in the California desert near their Palm Springs hideaway.

Koppel advised them that this might be difficult in light of reports from Heritage USA that the mail was running overwhelmingly in support of Falwell’s measures to save the spiritual Disneyland. “If the people don’t want us back, if they want Jerry Falwell, then they should support Jerry Falwell,” said an emotional Bakker. “. . . But if they don’t, they should support Jim and Tammy Bakker.”l3 The Bakkers seemed genuinely unable to grasp the reality of the tragedy that had befallen them, to say nothing of its impact on others.

A second significant subplot in this unholy religious soap involved evidence of personal misconduct, mismanagement, and pillaging of the PTL treasury. Thus, there were two dimensions to the scandal: the Bakkers’ personal “moral” lives, and their mismanagement and misuse of Heritage USA resources. And just when it seemed that all the sordid details had oozed out, new disclosures and allegations of offenses emerged.

In the beginning, there was only the sexual indiscretion, when Jim Bakker, in a moment of mental exhaustion and loneliness, succumbed to the advances of a young seductress. The way Bakker told the story to Jerry Falwell, he was so ashamed that he became impotent and was unable to consummate the liaison. The hush money he paid to the woman, a church secretary, was for the sake of the PTL ministry, Bakker said.

Within hours, newspaper reporters were in hot pursuit of tips about other alleged incidents of personal misconduct. Lots of people were talking, but nobody wanted to speak on the record.

Then, on the eve of a meeting of the newly constituted PTL board headed by Jerry Falwell at Heritage USA, rumors suggested that Jim and Tammy Faye might return to retake possession of their fiefdom, and this prospect led the Reverend John Ankerberg, host of a debate  format TV show broadcast from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to tell what he knew.

Ankerberg used first “The Larry King Show,” then “Nightline,” to talk generally about the sexual escapades, the mismanagement of PTL resources, and the exorbitant salaries and bonuses paid to the Bakkers and their closest cronies. Ankerberg was not explicit, but he told enough to intrigue the media. After six weeks of intensive investigative reporting, the alleged details out-Gantryed Elmer Gantry: infidelity, homosexuality, prostitution, alcoholism, even wife-swapping among top managers at PTL.

While confessing that all have sinned and come short of the glory of the kingdom of God, the Bakkers were not about to answer the litany of allegations. “Ninety-nine percent of what they [the media] have printed or said about Jim and Tammy Bakker bears no truth whatsoever,” Tammy told a gathering of reporters in April outside their Palm Springs retreat.

The Bakkers declined to meet their accusers. Jerry Falwell offered them that opportunity; so did the elders of the Assemblies of God, which conducted their own inquiry. When Bakker declined to appear before his district presbytery to face charges, the Assemblies of God dismissed him for “conduct unbecoming to a minister.” Reverend G. Raymond Carlson, general superintendent of the church, said the “alleged misconduct involving bisexual activity” weighed heavily in the decision to unfrock Bakker. 15 Carlson noted further that the word alleged was used because Bakker did not wish to defend himself.

For many people, allegations of misappropriating PTL resources for their own personal use and the payment of huge salaries and bonuses were far more serious charges than the allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Bakkers had appointed a rubber-stamp board of directors to oversee their management practices. In return for acquiescing to Jim and Tammy’s whims, several of these board members received tens of thousands of dollars in fees, bonuses, and contributions to their own projects.

In 1986 the Bakkers were paid $1.9 million; since 1984, a total of $4.8 million had been paid to them. In addition, PTL monies were used for expensive homes, a palatial suite at the Heritage Grand Hotel, automobiles, lavish wardrobes, vacations, and parties.

The Bakkers’  closest associates were privy to their high living at the expense of PTL partners. They, too, were well paid. Reverend Richard Dortch, the Assemblies of God minister who many thought had brought some order and organization to the rapidly growing Heritage USA operations, was paid $240,000 in 1985 and $350,000 in 1986. He received approximately $270,000 during the first three months of 1987 before Falwell sacked him. David Taggart, a twenty-nine-year-old “personal aide” to Bakker, received $360,000 in 1986; Jim Bakker’s personal secretary received $160,000.

And then there were “consultants.” James Taggart, interior decorator and David Taggart’s brother, was paid $10,000 a month, but, according to the new PTL management, he had performed no services “for months.”‘ Peter B. Teeley, press secretary to George Bush until 1984, was paid $120,000 for eighteen months to serve as a Washington “liaison”; apparently there were no written records of any services performed.

When the Bakkers departed, the financial records of the organization were in shambles-as they probably had been for years. No fewer than forty-seven separate checking accounts were found in the first days of the Falwell takeover. “The books are a mess,” proclaimed Harry Hargrave, the Dallas-based consultant Falwell hired to become PTL’s new chief executive officer.

Noted Jerry Nims (Falwell’s CEO for the “Old Time Gospel Hour” in Lynchburg), who came in to help dig out, “This was a business organization that was totally out of control. 20 Added Nims, “For these folks, there were no rules. You’re not talking about people nudging over the line. There was absolutely no line…. It was fiscal sin.”

Early on, it appeared that $92 million was missing. As the financial records of Heritage USA were consolidated and audited, much of this money was accounted for, but then evidence of unpaid bills began to grow. By early June, outstanding debts were estimated at $70 million owed to 1,400 creditors, and $23 million of this debt was delinquent.

Independent of the struggle between Jim Bakker and Jerry Falwell was the unsightly scene of other members of the Protestant cloth taking sides and launching verbal missiles at one another. In addition to the principals of the electronic church, there emerged a large cast of walkon characters seeking a moment of glory in front of the camera.

1COR 10:6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.

COPIED FROM http://www.christiannews.0catch.com/bakker.htm

Tammy Faye Messner Dies at 65 Unhealed
AP – Sat, 21 Jul 2007
By STEVE HARTSOE
Tammy Faye Messner, who as Tammy Faye Bakker helped her husband, Jim, build a multimillion-dollar evangelism empire and then watched it collapse in disgrace, has died. She was 65.
Messner had battled colon cancer since 1996 that more recently spread to her lungs. She died peacefully Friday at her home near Kansas City, Mo., said Joe Spotts, her manager and booking agent.
A family service was held Saturday in a private cemetery, where her ashes were interred, he said.
She had frequently spoken about her medical problems, saying she hoped to be an inspiration to others. “Don’t let fear rule your life,” she said. “Live one day at a time, and never be afraid.” But she told well-wishers in a note on her Web site in May that the doctors had stopped trying to treat the cancer.
In an interview with CNN’s Larry King two months later, an emaciated Messner — still using her trademark makeup — said, “I believe when I leave this earth, because I love the Lord, I’m going straight to heaven.” Asked if she had any regrets, Messner said: “I don’t think about it, Larry, because it’s a waste of good brain space.”
For many, the TV image of then-Mrs. Bakker forgiving husband Jim’s infidelities, tears streaking her cheeks with mascara, became a symbol for the wages of greed and hypocrisy in 1980s America.
She divorced her husband of 30 years, with whom she had two children, in 1992 while he was in prison for defrauding millions from followers of their PTL television ministries. The letters stood for “Praise the Lord” or “People that Love.”
Jim Bakker said in a statement that his ex-wife “lived her life like the song she sang, ‘If Life Hands You a Lemon, Make Lemonade.'”
“She is now in Heaven with her mother and grandmother and Jesus Christ, the one who she loves and has served from childbirth,” he said. “That is the comfort I can give to all who loved her.”
Messner’s second husband also served time in prison. She married Roe Messner, who had been the chief builder of the Bakkers’ Heritage USA Christian theme park near Fort Mill, S.C., in 1993. In 1995, he was convicted of bankruptcy fraud, and he spent about two years in prison.
Through it all, Messner kept plugging her faith and herself. She did concerts, a short-lived secular TV talk show and an inspirational videotape. In 2004, she cooperated in the making of a documentary about her struggle with cancer, called “Tammy Faye: Death Defying.”
“I wanted to help people … maybe show the inside (of the experience) and make it a little less frightening,” she said.
More recently, Tammy Faye kept in the public eye via her Web site.
“I cry out to the Lord knowing that many of you are praying for me,” Messner wrote in a July 16 post in which she indicated she weighed 65 pounds. “In spite of it all, I get dressed and go out to eat. … I crave hamburgers and french fries with LOTS of ketchup! When I can eat that again, it will be a day of victory!”
In 2004, she appeared on the WB reality show “The Surreal Life,” co-starring with rapper Vanilla Ice, ex-porn star Ron Jeremy and others. She told King in 2004 that she didn’t know who Jeremy was when they met and they became friends.
Messner was never charged with a crime in connection with the Bakker scandal. She said she counted the costs in other ways.
“I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom,” she said in promotional material for her 1996 video “You Can Make It.”
In the mid-1980s, the Bakkers were on top, ruling over a ministry that claimed 500,000 followers. Their “Jim and Tammy Show,” part TV talk show, part evangelism meeting, was seen across the country. Heritage USA boasted a 500-room hotel, shopping mall, convention center, water-amusement park, TV studio and several real-estate developments. PTL employed about 2,000 people.
Then in March 1987, Bakker resigned, admitting he had a tryst with Jessica Hahn, a 32-year-old former church secretary.
Tammy Faye Bakker stuck with her disgraced husband through five stormy years of tabloid headlines as the ministry unraveled.
Prosecutors said the PTL organization sold more than 150,000 “lifetime partnerships” promising lodging at the theme park but did not build enough hotel space with the $158 million in proceeds. At his fraud trial, Jim Bakker was accused of diverting $3.7 million to personal use even though he knew the ministry was financially shaky. Trial testimony showed PTL paid $265,000 to Hahn to cover up the sexual encounter with the minister.
Jim Bakker was convicted in 1989 of 24 fraud and conspiracy counts and sentenced to 45 years. The sentence was later reduced, and he was freed in 1994. He said that his wife’s decision to leave him had been “like a meat hook deep in my heart. I couldn’t eat for days.”
While not charged, his then-wife shared during the 1980s in the public criticism and ridicule over the couple’s extravagance, including the reportedly gold-plated bathroom fixtures and an air-conditioned doghouse.
There was even a popular T-shirt satirizing her image. The shirt read, “I ran into Tammy Faye at the shopping mall,” with the lettering on top of what look like clots of mascara, traces of lipstick and smudges of peach-toned makeup.
In a 1992 letter to her New Covenant Church in Orlando, Fla., she explained why she finally was seeking a divorce.
“For years I have been pretending that everything is all right, when in fact I hurt all the time,” she wrote.
“I cannot pretend anymore.”
In the end, there wasn’t any property to divide, her attorney said. The Bakkers lost their luxury homes in North Carolina, California and Tennessee, their fleet of Cadillacs and Mercedeses, and their vintage Rolls-Royce.
Her autobiography, “I Gotta Be Me,” recounts a childhood as Tammy Faye LaValley, one of eight children of a poor family in International Falls, Minn. Her biological father walked out. She was reticent about her age, but a 2000 profile of her in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis said she was born in March 1942.
She recalled trying eye makeup for the first time, then wiping it off for fear it was the devil’s work. Then she thought again.
“Why can’t I do this?” she asked. “If it makes me look prettier, why can’t I do this?”
She married Bakker in 1961, after they met at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. Beginning with a children’s puppet act, they created a religious show that brought a fundamentalist Protestant message to millions.
A secular TV talk program, the “Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show” with co-host Jim J. Bullock, lasted just six weeks in early 1996. Shortly after it went off the air, she underwent surgery for colon cancer.
She said afterward that she endured bleeding for a year because she was embarrassed to go to a male doctor. And she wore her makeup even in surgery.
“They didn’t make me take it off,” she said. “I had wonderful doctors and understanding nurses. I went in fully made up and came out fully made up.”
Survivors include her husband and her two children, Jamie Charles Bakker of New York City and Tammy Sue Chapman of Charlotte.
Spotts said that the family is considering a public memorial service for the coming weeks, but that nothing had been finalized Saturday.
Messner divorced televangelist Jim Bakker in 1992, while he was serving a sentence for financial fraud. The couple had founded a Christian retreat in Fort Mill, S.C., and built a multimillion-dollar evangelism empire.

WALTER KAMBULOW

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6 thoughts on “JIM BAKKER

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