ERIC Number: ED206039
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
"Rubbing the Devil's Nose in It:" PTL's Jim Bakker under Investigation.
Griffin, Keith H.
Despite its rapid rise as leader of the religious broadcasting industry, Jim Bakker's "PTL Club" (People That Love) has experienced numerous financial problems. In 1979, three former PTL vice-presidents charged that the club was diverting thousands of dollars in donations for missionary projects to the club's general fund to pay bills. The subsequent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigation shifted Bakker's role from evangelist to Chairman of the Board, and his relationship with his congregation from that of shepherd and flock to that of executive and stockholders. Nonetheless, Bakker attempted to divert his followers' attention by repeatedly denouncing the press, the FCC, and the government from the pulpit (citing religious persecution), and by persuading his congregation to dismiss the allegations and concentrate instead upon their role as Bakker's partners in defending the Faith. With his unethical but successful rhetorical strategy, Bakker appears to be creating a closed society as a leader possessing ultimate power and control over a group of fiercely devoted followers with a common enemy--any person opposing his ministry. However, his persuasive strategy may diminish the credibility of other ministries, having already lost the endorsement of many notable Christian leaders. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Federal Communications Commission; Religious Broadcasting
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Speech Communication Association (51st, Austin, TX, April 7-10, 1981).