If you are older than 40, you should know the names Jim and Tammy Bakker, although the younger generation might not know about the famous television-evangelist couple. Their story is still interesting. For at least a decade, they were household names, and people who had no interest in Christian things knew about them.
It ended with scandals involving misuse of money and sexual misconduct, and Jim Bakker went to jail. His wife Tammy divorced him, and later died of cancer. Jim is out of prison now, and remarried, and active as a Christian speaker again. Apparently, he owes millions to the tax department.
We can never accuse Jim and Tammy of being boring. The media needs stories to sell, and Jim and Tammy probably generated millions in revenue for the press. People paid to read those stories.
- RELATED: Jim Bakker: Wikipedia
Jim Bakker has been operating as a Christian speaker for several years now, and it’s not correct to say he just came back, but I think he is getting more attention recently. For most of us, Jim Bakker is back now. He claims to have prophetic gifts, and he is a strong supporter of Donald Trump.
- RELATED: Televangelist Jim Bakker Claims Trump has been Spiritually “Saved” Multiple Times: World Religion News
So, what should Christians do with this information? Should we judge, and condemn? Can we laugh?
We should think before we speak.
It is easy to focus on the faults and failures of Jim and probably also of Tammy; it’s all so obvious. It is less obvious that we can miss the positive side, and there is one in this story. Jim Bakker is back because he is a gifted man; he is talented. Jim and Tammy started as Bible college graduates, in a very humble place. The story of Jim’s fall only makes sense if we understand the amazing success story that came first. He is only a famous failure because he was a famous success.
If I failed in some way, my neighbors would hardly notice, and my relatives would be slightly embarrassed. I’m not Jim Bakker.
It is clear that God did some great thing through the Bakkers, many years ago. Now, when I see videos of the new Jim Bakker, the white-haired old man, I believe I can still see gifts or talents from God. Jim Bakker is back because he can be. The Bible is clear “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11: 29) or they are “irrevocable” in some translations. The man brings gifts and talent to his work.
Also, I don’t know how sorry Jim Bakker is for his failings, although he did write a book “I Was Wrong.” If he is sorry, God will forgive him, just like you and me. We can’t take God’s forgiveness for ourselves, and take it away from our brother.
God’s pardon is a supernatural miracle, much bigger than our opinions.
I grew up in a time and place when Christians were great judges. The attitude that I learned was, ‘If we don’t forgive, God probably won’t either.” Jesus turned that idea over, and said “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.” (Matthew 6:15)
I did a count once, and I estimated that we could have two family reunions, in my extended family; one small meeting for the righteous ones and a really big group for the rejects and renegades. And the renegades would have more fun. Our majority is now the embarrassed people who slunk away because of some personal failure, and they seem to have no way back. I am embarrassed to tell you that.
If you or I can be forgiven and redirected, anyone can, and I hope this is Jim Bakker’s experience. God gave His gifts to that man for a purpose, and I hope he can find his true calling, in the years that he has left.
In history, there was a man who violently persecuted Christians and was our worst enemy. God changed him and he wrote about half of the New Testament. That’s how God’s work gets done among us failed humans.
Though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1: 13 to 15)