Well, embarrassed again. Jim Bakker, founder of the PTL cable television network, host of the “Jim and Tammy” television program, builder of Heritage Village, and long-time Assemblies of God minister, has resigned from all those responsibilities in disgrace. He has admitted to a sexual affair seven years ago, claims he paid $265,000 to cover the affair, and under that pressure has turned the leadership of his empire over to Jerry Falwell.
This is only the latest in a long line of escapades from Bakker, who with his wife, Tammy Faye, has lived a life that USA Today described as “more of a TV miniseries than a TV ministry.” In the meantime, however, the Bakkers have ministered to millions, doing as much as anyone else to bring grassroots Christianity to prime-time television. In spite of the excesses, the Bakkers have proclaimed the gospel of Christ to a vast audience that contributes $130 million per year to keep the good ship Bakker afloat.
That is what embarrasses us. They are one of us. Of course, we don’t agree with all their theology. But in our more honest moments, we recognize we are part of the same family as the Bakkers; and when one of us falls, we all feel the impact. Every time it happens we vow to forgive and forget. But increasingly, our willingness to forgive is exploited; the apologies and explanations of high-profile family members have that hollow sound of a poorly written script.
High Profile, Higher Stakes
Quite simply, we have had enough. We have been hurt by our brother and hurt badly. The world snickers. The secular press has a field day. And we find it harder to tell others we have the spiritual answers to the world’s problems when some of our own fail so miserably.
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