Jim Bakker | Jim Bakker in a Nutshell. Above is God in a Nutshell | the Choice | This is one of the first spiritual video I made. Most of the content (the letter I am reading) was written in the desert of Mexico while on the run from Mike Murdock following the safe robbery in 1999. I remember screaming in the blood red horizon of cactus, cracked earth and creatureswaiting for the breath to stop: "God! Are you even REAL! Can you see me right where I stand! Where are you!?"
Jim Bakker | Jim Bakker then & today--- An opinion I think is worthy of your attention.
I can remember being 12 or 13 years old when it hit the news that Jim Bakker was being sentenced to 45-years for fraud. In the months that had led up to his judgment, Linda Murdock (ex-wife of the TV pastor Mike Murdock) and my mother were --- at times --- best described as furious.
"Those bastards!!!!How can they be doing this to him!" I would hear yelled from the front room as Jason (Mike Murdock's son) and I played Nintendo.
At that age, I didn't understand what was happening to Jim Bakker. All I knew was that he was a guy that had a "cool" theme park hotel that Jason and I had run and explored all over --- and waterslides we really liked. Yet, while the TV screens were calling this man a monster, here were two women saying things like, "They are crucifying the only decent man Christian TV's got."
After the safe robbery of Mike Murdock --- the train wreck of the world's worst decision making that I cataloged in my book Thieves --- I spent some time with Linda Murdock.
We were on the patio at her lake house. Amongst other things, she told me this. "I can understand that examples had to be set, but what happened to Jim Bakker really was going too far."
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Bakker was the bad pastor of the bunch. Even the Christian mega-ministries will tell you that."
"Are you kidding?" She laughed. "None of them go to prison for what Jim did. He was a builder. Jim was making Christian theme parks, massive family-friendly hotels and finding entertaining new ways to express the message of Christ...... I guess they figured that since Jim liked Jesus so much, they'd put him on a cross right up there with Him.Bottom line, Jim Bakker was sending ordinary Christians the wrong message --- that they deserved something in return for their money..... They hated him for it."
"It did appear that an array of sharks had decided there needed to be a frenzy that would tear the largest Christian ministry right down to the very last scraps." --- Trey Smith
Jim Bakker | Jim Bakker's history as I understand it.
Together with Paul and Jan Crouch, Jim Bakker and wife Tammy Faye Bakker created the "Praise the Lord" show for the Crouch / Bakker's new Trinity Broadcasting Network in California. While that relationship lasted only about a year, the Bakkers retained the rights to use the initials PTL and traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina. It was there that the couple (Jim & Tammy) begin their own show, The PTL Club. Their show grew quickly until it was carried by nearly a hundred stations --- average viewers numbering over twelve million. This viewership would rival the top programs on the major networks today, FOX, NBC and CBS. The Bakkers established their own network, The PTL Television Network (also known as PTL-The Inspirational Network).
In the early 1980s, the Bakkers built Heritage USA in Fort Mill, South Carolina, (south of Charlotte). It quickly became the third most successful theme park in the United States. Additionally, the Bakkers installed a satellite system to distribute their network 24 hours a day across the nation. Contributions from viewers towards these projects were estimated to exceed $1 million dollars a week.
"The Bible records 10s of thousands of people following Jesus from place-to-place, had there been TV at the time, I am certain news crews would have followed and covered him too. What an awesome thing it would have been to hear and see Jesus speak. We're not reinventing the wheel, we're just trying to make a better amphitheater."--- These are common types of statements Jim Bakker would make about his ministry.
In an attempt for larger expansions to PTL's projects, Jim Bakker sold what amounts to time-shares at his hotel, Heritage USA. He sold way too many at way too low of cost and the money was being spent as it came in.
While the business model may have been weak due to bad financial advice, the intent of the Bakker's did not appear centered in personal greed. Never-the-less, these over-sights were enough to meet the minimum requirements to be technically defined as "fraud." The government pounced fast and with a heavy fist, issuing 24 felony charges (a mixture of fraud & conspiracy not dissimilar to what may be given to a mob boss) and ultimately sentenced Bakker to 45-years of which he did 8 years, day-for-day. After his release he composed a book both humbly and simply titled, "I Was Wrong."
Little-by-little (almost from scratch), Jim Bakker has built a new television studio / ministry near Branson, in Blue Eye, Mo The studio is housed on a 600-acre property which is a continually improving development. The Jim Bakker Show is an hour-long daily broadcast seen on over 50 affiliates throughout the United States, over 600 cities in Canada, and in over 200 countries around the world through Direct TV and Dish Network.
Jim Bakker has rested on my heart on a number of occasions through-out my life. It is a release of burden... and an honor... to write this article about him. I made a point just a week back to watch his show ---- I was mesmerized. For an hour straight he talked about Jesus Christ, current world events and --- to my utter shock --- problems with Prosperity Gospel. I got so excited that I went onto the show's website and bought a few things just to support his ministry.
One thing I've learned about men & women who go through the roughest times --- they generally have something to say.
I may not know much, but I do know about the "mentality & mindset" of some of the men at the top. I also know what it feels like to scream in the middle of a desert, "How the hell did I get here!" --- I for one respect Jim Bakker.
Trey Smith --
Trey Smith -7 Nutshellsthat may make YOUR world a little brighter place.In the process of writing & promoting Thieves (the book to your right), I have had no shortage of opposition. Sometimes even those who have taken deliberate actions against the project and myself personally. I have learned a few things in the process. Let me share them with you without charging a dime.