And this is one more reason the American church’s witness is little better than a faint flicker in the dark of the world.
It’s bad enough that Evangelicals now are more associated with being apologists for the adulteries and abusive attitude of Donald Trump than Christian apologists, standing firmly in the faith. We also have to deal with absolute frauds, who cloak themselves in a counterfeit faith and prey on the trust of the gullible.
If ever there was a more glaring confirmation of that very thing, enter Jim Bakker, and his disgraceful infomercial masquerading as faith-based programming, “The Jim Bakker Show.”
For those who may have forgotten, or never knew about Bakker, he’s the disgraced televangelist who spent a few years in prison at the end of the 80s for fraud, ripping off investors in a theme park scam.
The married “pastor” also had an affair with a church secretary, Jessica Hahn, that kept tabloids ablaze around that same time.
Now he’s back, a little older, but no less slimy.
Specifically, he’s claiming that he has built a utopia that is promised to save investors from the coming wrath.
Bakker has been building up a community called Morningside in the Missouri town of Blue Eye for 15 years. It boasts an amphitheater, residential housing, and a wedding chapel.
According to Bakker, you’d better buy into this, quick, because when the end comes, this is where you want to be.
No, don’t worry about Heaven. This is practically the same!
And it’s not just the Morningside community he’s selling.
He also is advertising survival gear, such as a pack of six "extreme survival" water bottles being sold for $150. His website claims that the bottles are "designed using a combination of both Advanced and Radiological filters."
That’s $150 water bottles, folks.
"You all are going to know soon why God brought us here," Bakker said on Tuesday's show.
"Do you know the people from the government, from NASA, the research from so many of them, they have said in their research that the safest place to live in troubled times is right here. That's why God brought us here," he added.
I’m pretty sure there’s not a single word in the Bible that says the safest place to live in troubled times is Missouri.
There’s also no apparent reference from NASA’s we
Or that you should pay $150 for water bottles.
And he also pointed out that they’re looking for “people on fire for God” to jump at this spectacular offer.
What’s he implying?
It would appear he’s implying that a lack of fire for God is the only logical reason for not digging deep and giving to the latest “Help Jim Bakker make it rich” scam.
No Christian of any conscience wants to be told they lack fire for God. Some might actually believe this swill.
Throughout the rest of the show, Bakker advertised various survival meal packages, and spoke with community pastors about the importance of trusting in God's plan in the wake of apocalyptic fears.
"I'm determined to let you know what we have here what's going on and what God is doing," he told the audience.
What God is doing is keeping a record of how you twist His Word and work fear in the hearts of His people, Mr. Bakker.
That wasn’t even the worst of Bakker’s highlights.
Back in 2015 he was still on this beat, still attempting to stir fears, rather than faith.
In fact, back then, he was suggesting cannibalism could be a thing, unless you buy his stuff, of course.
"The Bible says they're going to eat their arms, the Bible says they're going to eat their babies, then it says they're going to eat their children. That's what people do when they get hungry," Bakker warned.
"When you're huddled in a corner with your grandbaby and they're screaming and crying and there's no food — I don't want that blood on my hands."
It’s a truly horrific scenario, but has little connection to end time prophecy.
Bakker had time away in the 80s and early 90s to get his life straight, to repent of his trickery and double dealing. It would seem, he only sharpened his focus on fleecing the sheep.
Proverbs 26:11 AMP – “Like a dog that returns to his vomit Is a fool who repeats his foolishness.”
And what comes after, no $150 water bottle is going to quench.
I’d say, “Shame on you, Jim Bakker,” but men like that tend to have no shame.