Who’s Who In TV Evangelist Fray With AM-Bakker-Swaggart, Bjt
NEW YORK (AP) _ Here are the main players in the dispute among TV evangelists triggered by the resignation of Jim Bakker as head of the PTL organization.
-Bakker, a Pentecostal, led the $129 million PTL - ″Praise the Lord″ or ″People That Love″ - ministry in Fort Mill, S.C.
The 500,000-member ministry reported $129 million in revenues last year. It includes the sprawling Heritage USA complex, which has a 500-room hotel, shopping mall, cafeteria, convention center, water-amusement park, a TV studio and several real-estate developments. PTL employs about 2,000 people.
Bakker resigned last week, saying he did so to avert a hostile takeover of his ministry by people using knowledge of a blackmail scheme over an affair with a secretary seven years earlier.
He and his wife, Tammy Faye, his co-host on the ″Jim and Tammy Show,″ have been in seclusion in Palm Springs, Calif. Two weeks ago, Bakker disclosed that his wife was being treated for drug dependency.
-Jimmy Swaggart, a Pentecostal minister who runs Jimmy Swaggart Ministries Inc., of Baton Rouge, a $100-million-a-year satellite communications network that broadcasts worldwide.
It employs more than 600 people and includes a $10 million TV recording studio, a 9,000-seat worship center and a Bible college. He owns seven religious radio stations, and by his own count has sold 15 million gospel music records.
Swaggart says 40 million people hear him each Sunday and that he reaches the largest TV ministry audience in the world.
Swaggart was identified Tuesday by Bakker’s lawyer, Roy Grutman, as the evangelist behind the alleged PTL takeover plot and as having gone before the leaders of the Pentacostal Assemblies of God in Springfield, Mo., last summer to urge sanctions against Bakker.
-Jerry Falwell, fundamentalist Baptist and founder of the Moral Majority, employs about 2,000 people in his $100 million ministry.
His enterprises include his 21,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., the ″Old-Time Gospel Hour″ telecast, Lynchburg Christian Academy, Liberty Broadcasting Network, Liberty Godparent Home and WRVL radio.
Falwell’s Liberty Federation, formerly known as the Moral Majority, claims a mailing list of 6.5 million people. Falwell says his telecast reaches 5 million households, although the A.C. Nielsen Co. puts the figure at one-tenth that.
Falwell agreed to replace Bakker as head of the PTL and said he had no intention of bringing the PTL ministry into his own. He said he did not think Swaggart had ″any designs whatever.″
-Oral Roberts, originally a Pentecostal who switched to the United Methodist Church, runs a TV ministry, hospital and university centered in Tulsa, Okla.
The 69-year-old Roberts began his syndicated specials 30 years ago and his weekly ″Expect A Miracle″ program has been on the air for 20 years. He heads a $500 million empire that includes the university and huge medical complex in Tulsa and an evangelistic association that has offices in seven countries.
Roberts said he could authenticate details of the takeover plot and called Bakker a ″prophet of God.″
-M.G. ″Pat″ Robertson, a Southern Baptist and founder of Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, Va., is considering seeking the 1988 Republican presidential nomination. He said in September that he would run if 3 million voters signed petitions pledging to support him.
The 57-year-old evangelist’s ″The 700 Club,″ a weekday, Christian- oriented news and interview program, has a daily audience of 4.4 million people, according to Nielsen figures. CBN, with more than 1,200 employees, had an estimated operating budget of $230 million in 1986.
Robertson described Bakker’s resignation as ″housecleaning″ by the Lord.
-Robert H. Schuller, ordained in the Reformed Church in America in 1950 and founder of the Garden Grove (Calif.) Community Church. He began televising his ″The Hour of Power″ Sunday service in 1970 from his church, which gained fame because of its partly drive-in congregation. In 1980 he opened the $18 million Crystal Cathedral, a 12-story structure with thousands of glass panes. His congregation numbers about 10,000.
Schuller said he believed there had been a move to take over Bakker’s ministry, but he declined to say who was behind it.