Televangelist Jim Bakker had a stroke and will not appear on “The Jim Bakker Show” until he recovers, his family confirmed Friday.
“I know some of you struggle with humanizing my father, but he is also a good grandpa and my dad,” Bakker’s son, Jay Bakker, wrote on Twitter Friday.
“We have a complicated relationship like a lot of folks... His life has influenced mine as well as my work. He recently suffered a minor stroke, your thoughts are appreciated,” he wrote about his 80-year-old dad, who went to federal prison for fraud and was accused in sex and financial scandals in the late 1980s.
“We are thankful that Jim is okay, and that he is now at home with our family,” Lori Bakker wrote on the show’s Facebook page. “Under the guidance of medical professionals and our Board of Directors, Jim will be taking a sabbatical from the show. Jim will be back! He is still dreaming and hearing from the Lord, and he already has a powerful word to deliver when he returns to the air.”
She announced that the show will continue. “Jim is a Watchman on the Wall, and we as a family are committed to carrying his mantle by bringing more prophets, news, updates, and more in the coming weeks on The Jim Bakker Show.”
She added: “For many years now, Jim has been working non-stop, working hard to bring incredible prophets and guests to our show, discovering and developing new products to share, building at Morningside, and bringing forth the message for the days that we are living in. All of these projects, and the vigorous warfare that we have experienced in the last several weeks, have taken a huge toll on Jim’s health.”
Bakker is known for selling various religious and health products in response to disasters and potential End Times scenarios.
The office of Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit in March against the televangelist for promoting a “Silver Solution” product suggesting it could help cure strains of the coronavirus.
During an episode of “The Jim Bakker Show” that aired in February, Bakker and his guest, Dr. Sherrill Sellman, claimed that a Silver Solution product could cure strains of the coronavirus.
“This influenza, which is now circling the globe, you’re saying that Silver Solution would be effective?” Bakker asked Sellman, a naturopathic doctor. “Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested against this strain of the coronavirus, but it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours,” replied Sellman.
Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat who is serving as an attorney for Bakker, argued in a statement Monday that he believed his client is innocent.
“Jim Bakker is being unfairly targeted by those who want to crush his ministry and force his Christian television program off the air,” stated Nixon, as reported by local media. “The video recording of the Jim Bakker Show clearly shows the allegations are false. Bakker did not claim or state that Silver Solution was a cure for COVID-19. This case is about religious freedom.”
In the 1970s and ‘80s, Jim and his former wife, Tammy Faye Bakker, were among America’s most famous televangelists and known for their luxurious living and expensive cars until their “Praise the Lord,” or PTL, empire crashed down amid sex and financial scandals.
“But in the years following the demise of their ministry, the Bakkers didn’t let a prison sentence, the loss of their massively popular multimillion-dollar TV network, the closure of their ‘Christian version of Disneyland’ theme park, financial ruin, a divorce and being the butt of many ‘Saturday Night Live’ jokes keep them down - or away from the spotlight,” read a feature published on ABC News in December 2019.
After being released from prison, Bakker launched a new ministry called Morningside, and began broadcasting a new daily TV show, “The Jim Bakker Show,” in 2003 with his second wife, Lori Bakker.