Jim Bakker and his ex-wife Tammy Faye dropped out of college to start a “Christian version of The Tonight Show.” CBN gave Jim his first opportunity to host a television show, but he demanded absolute control. As a result, the pair established the PTL (Praise the Lord) Satellite Network in 1976.
Bakker and Tammy sponsored The PTL Club, which popularised prosperity gospel – a doctrine that promised financial and material success in exchange for unshakable faith. Faye and Jim positioned themselves as examples of the success of having strong faith. To achieve similar results, viewers had to give presents and money in exchange for blessings and prayers.
Jim Bakker is still alive and well, preaching about the end of the world.
The televangelist’s downfall was precipitated by a sexual assault complaint leveled against him by church secretary Jessica Hahn. PTL and Heritage USA, the third-largest theme park in the United States, was owned by the Bakkers at the time.
Although the Bakkers’ opulent lifestyle and Tammy Faye’s shopping sprees drew criticism, the couple’s show nonetheless drew millions of viewers. The sexual assault accusation, on the other hand, proved challenging to dismiss.
Bakker stated that his sexual contact with Jessica in a hotel room in Florida was consensual. He’d given over $350,000 in PTL money to Hahn as hush money, but Jessica eventually exposed Jim. Jessica rose to popularity overnight, while Jim resigned from his post at PTL.
Investigations into the Bakkers’ spending revealed serious financial misconduct. Jim was charged with 23 charges of fraud and one count of conspiracy in 1988. Jim’s lawyers successfully argued that his 45-year sentence should be reduced to eight years.
Faye supported Jim at first before divorcing him three years into his sentence. “For years, I’ve pretended that everything is fine when, in fact, I’ve been hurting all the time,” Faye wrote, explaining her divorce. In her memoir, Telling it My Way, she later said that the couple’s love had waned over time.
Jim Bakker was released from prison in 1994 and returned to ministry. On the other hand, his spectacular fall from fame and divorce from Faye precluded him from drawing the millions of viewers who hung on his every word during his glory days.
Bakker keeps track of Morningside, a Christian resort in Blue Eye, Missouri, which hosts The Jim Bakker Show. The show receives a minuscule fraction of the viewers that The PTL Club did, maybe due to its apocalyptic character.
Jim no longer preaches the prosperity gospel, most likely due to a lack of energy. Jim’s gospel loses the vitality it had in the 1980s without Faye’s performance-like preaching. Jim primarily discusses the end times and attacks on the Christian faith.
According to BuzzFeed News, Bakker believes the apocalypse will begin when two asteroids collide with the Earth. “There are two different ones that are going to impact the Earth, one after the other,” he explained. The asteroid will cause seven years of chaos and bloodshed.
He claims that you can survive the seven years if you acquire survival materials produced by his ministry. With a declining church and worsening health, Jim is a shell of his former self (he suffered a stroke in May 2021). However, he continues to preach, albeit with a very different message than the one that brought him popularity.
Bakker was fined $156,000 for promoting a bogus coronavirus treatment.
Morningside and Jim were sued in March 2020 by Attorney General Eric Schmitt for marketing a bogus coronavirus treatment. Schmitt requested an injunction to prevent Bakker from hawking Silver Solution as a coronavirus cure on The Jim Bakker Show.
Jim allegedly marketed the bogus cure in 11 episodes between February and March of 2020. Bakker made the Solution available to viewers who contributed between $85 and $125.
A chat between Jim and Sherrill Sellman, whom Bakker referred to be a “natural health specialist” and “naturopathic doctor,” was included in Schmitt’s complaint.
“You’re claiming that Silver Solution would be successful against influenza that’s currently circulating the globe,” Jim asked Sherrill, according to the suit. “Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of coronavirus and has been able to remove it within 12 hours,” Sherrill replied.
“It is completely eliminated and killed. “It’s deactivated,” Sherrill said. Bakker was cautioned by the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration that Silver Solution posed a “serious risk to patient health” and violated federal law.
Silver Solution was a liquid with silver particles suspended in it. According to the company, it can treat ailments and enhance the immune system. The Solution, on the other hand, has no acknowledged advantages.
Jim agreed to pay $156,000 to resolve the lawsuit in June 2021. The funds would be used to reimburse people who paid to receive Silver Solution. It also forbids Jim and Morningside Church Productions Inc. from promoting Silver Solution as a cure-all for any ailment or illness. Jim Bakker refused to accept any wrongdoing.