Jim Bakker redefined the history of televangelism through PTL Satellite Network and its flagship program PTL Club. From a humble beginning, in an old furniture workshop with less than ten employees, Jim Bakker grew PTL to a gigantic figure.
With 2500 employees and $129 million annual revenue, PTL evolved into a worldwide ministry with its headquarters in a 2300 square feet theme park named Heritage USA in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Jim Bakker hosted the show from 1974 to 1987 with the co-hosting of his ex-wife Tammy Faye Bakker. There were controversies in the PTL, which ended the show, and Jim Bakker was sentenced to prison for financial fraud.
Later Jim’s wife divorced him, followed by the closing of Heritage USA. The world witnessed the fall of the giant of commercialized religionism.
Jim was released from prison in 1994 and married Lori Beth Graham, a former evangelist. He returned to television in 2003 with a new program titled the Jim Bakker Show in the facelifted version of PTL Satellite Network. The show is telecasted from Morningside Church, Blue Eye, Missouri.
What Happened To Jim Bakker?
The PTL Club, one of the top televangelist programs, and its host Jim Bakker had transformed the newly formed PTL Satellite Network into a ministry with massive turnarounds.
The ministry’s headquarters ‘Heritage USA’ was a Christian-theme-based park and came third only to Disney World in yearly attendance. Tammy Faye Bakker, Jim’s wife at that time, was also associated with every activity of PTL and Heritage USA.
Like any other money-generating religious program, controversies followed PTL. There were speculations regarding channeling PTL funds for Jim Bakker’s personal use and meeting Heritage USA’s requirements.
In 1987 it was revealed that he had paid a large sum of money to influence Jessica Hahn into covering up her allegation that Jim Bakker had drugged and raped her. Federal Agencies discovered multiple funds diversions and financial frauds, resulting in Jim’s imprisonment.
Following his conviction, the Assemblies of God dismissed Jim Bakker from the Assembly, and later in 1992, Jim’s wife, Tammy Faye Bakker, divorced him. The Federal Agencies permitted Jim Bakker to sell his dream project, Heritage USA, and in 1994 he was released from prison.
Where Is Jim Bakker Now?
Jim Bakker has returned with a new television show, the Jim Bakker Show, after being released from prison. He established a new Ministry, Morningside Church, in Blue Eye, Missouri.
Jim Baker shifted the production of his show to his studio complex in Blue Eye, which is similar to his previous establishment Heritage USA. Jim is a strong advocate of Apocalypticism now, leaving behind his old theory of Prosperity theology.
Jim Bakker’s second innings in televangelism is not free from allegations of misleading people, and lawsuits followed.
His statements on recent natural calamities and accidents as God’s judgment have been controversial. People have also accused him of selling survival kits at an overpriced rate.
What Does Jim Bakker Look Like Now?
Jim Bakker is 82 years old and living with his wife, Lori Beth Graham. Jim Bakker suffered a minor stroke in May 2020 and stayed away from all activities until July.
Jim Bakker, in the 1980s, appeared with a clean-shaved face, but now he seems entirely different with a white beard that matches his moderately bald grey hairstyle.
Jim Bakker In Controversies And Law Suits Again
At the pandemic’s beginning, Jim Bakker created another controversy by offering colloidal silver as a universal remedy for Covid 19.
Government agencies ordered him to stop distributing the medicine, and attorney generals of more than one state filed a lawsuit against him. Later Jim and Morningside Church were prohibited from issuing colloidal silver and instructed to reimburse those who purchased it.
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The Bottom Line
Jim Bakker hit the right button to earn money; that was people’s wish for salvation through religion. Despite being found guilty several times, he got through most often until he was finally convicted in 1987. Although convicted of a serious crime, he was released eight years later.
Jim Bakker revolutionized the evangelical style and is considered one of the pioneers in televangelism. History would have marked him as a model man if he had not been imprisoned for the proven financial fraud and allegations of sexual misconduct in the past.