Jim Bakker

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Jim Bakker (1939-present), born James Orsen, was an American televangelist.

Bakker and his then-wife, Tammy Faye, were famous for hosting the PTL Club (alternately standing for Praise The Lord and People That Love) and later for heading up the PTL Network. At the show's height, it was being carried by close to one hundred stations and boasted over twelve million viewers. The Bakkers were also instrumental in the building of Heritage USA, the now-defunct Christian theme park in North Carolina.

Outside of religious circles, however, Bakker may be best known for his meteoric fall from grace. Bakker was accused of offering a $265,000 bribe to a secretary in the ministry to cover up their adulterous affair. He was also tried and convicted on charges of fraud, tax evasion, and racketeering, stemming from his involvement in several illegal financial transactions during the construction of Heritage USA.[1]

Following the scandal, Bakker was the subject of intense backlash in the Christian broadcasting community, with Jerry Falwell calling PTL a "religious soap opera" and Jimmy Swaggart calling Bakker "a cancer in the body of Christ." (Many commentators have noted the irony in this statement, as Swaggart himself was later defrocked for his alleged extramarital engagements with a prostitute.)[2] Nevertheless, following his parole for good behavior in 1993, Bakker has been able to find forgiveness in the Christian community. He has published an autobiography entitled I Was Wrong, where he denounced Prosperity theology, [3] and in 2003, he began broadcasting again with The New Jim Bakker Show[4].

References

  1. Rick Ross Institute: Information on PTL Club
  2. http://www.ky3.com/news/local/17305559.html
  3. Jim Bakker, I Was Wrong. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1996 (ISBN 0785274251), p. 535.
  4. NNDB: Jim Bakker
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