Jim Bakker and the PTL Club

im Bakker: A Life of Faith, Scandal, and Redemption

Jim Bakker is a controversial figure in American history. He is best known as a televangelist who founded the Praise the Lord (PTL) Club, a popular Christian television program that aired from 1974 to 1987. Bakker was also the founder of Heritage USA, a Christian theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Bakker’s life has been marked by both faith and scandal. He was a devout Christian who used his platform to spread the gospel. However, he was also involved in a number of financial and sexual scandals that ultimately led to his downfall.

Bakker was born in Muskegon, Michigan, in 1940. He was raised in a Pentecostal family and began preaching at a young age. In 1961, he married Tammy Faye Messner, a singer and actress. The couple had two children, Tammy Sue and Jay.

Bakker and Messner began their television ministry in 1974 with the PTL Club. The show was a success, and the Bakkers soon became two of the most popular televangelists in the country. They used their platform to promote a message of faith, hope, and love.

In 1978, Bakker and Messner founded Heritage USA, a Christian theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina. The park was a huge success, and it became a popular destination for Christians from all over the country.

However, Bakker’s success was not without its problems. In 1987, he was accused of having an affair with church secretary Jessica Hahn. Bakker denied the allegations at first, but he later admitted to the affair. He was also accused of financial mismanagement.

In 1989, Bakker was convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison, but he was released after five years.

After his release from prison, Bakker attempted to rebuild his life. He founded Morningside Church in Blue Eye, Missouri, and he began hosting a new television program called The Jim Bakker Show.

Bakker’s life has been a roller coaster of faith, scandal, and redemption. He has made mistakes, but he has also shown great courage and resilience. He is a complex and fascinating figure, and his story is one that continues to be told.


  • Bakker, J. (2007). I Was Wrong. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
  • Crouch, S. (2001). The Eyes of Tammy Faye. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
  • Martin, W. C. (1997). Tammy Faye: A Biography. New York, NY: William Morrow.
  • O’Connor, T. P. (1993). Getting Away with Murder: The Life and Times of Jim Bakker. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Listen to our episode on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker

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