Saturday, March 17, 2012

25 years ago: The PTL scandal breaks, while Oral Roberts demands $8 million--or else!

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
II Timothy 4:3-4

On March 19, 1987, televangelist and Assemblies of God minister Jim Bakker revealed to the Charlotte Observer that “treacherous former friends” had betrayed him into a sexual encounter in a Clearwater, Florida hotel in 1980 with Jessica Hahn, then 21 years of age. Mr. Bakker said he then “succumbed” to paying blackmail to Miss Hahn to protect his family and ministry. More scandalous revelations followed, including accusations of homosexual acts on the part of Mr. Bakker, and accounts of a lifestyle that included an air-conditioned doghouse. Jerry Falwell then made the wrong move in agreeing to take over the "ministry" while the scandal was on the front pages.

Those of us with long memories will also remember that shortly before the Praise the Lord scandal broke, Oral Roberts had said that God had told him that he would be "called home" if he didn't get $8 million for his Oral Roberts University medical school by March 31. $3.5 million had supposedly been raised, but he needed another $4.5 million by the end of March--or else! On the appropriate date of April 1, Mr. Roberts announced that he had raised $9.1 million, with the last $1.3 million coming from Jerry Collins, owner of a dog track. According to newspapers at the time, when Mr. Collins presented Mr. Roberts with the cheque, the television studio was suddenly and mysteriously struck by lightning, knocking the broadcast off the air.

That was such a fun time; I get misty-eyed just thinking about those days.

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