In today’s podcast I participate in a discussion about the recent movie, “The Eyes Of Tammy Faye,” a biopic centered around Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, and their famous ministry that ended in dramatic controversy. We review the movie, but primarily focus on what practical lessons we can learn from this movie for the contemporary church, the world of Pentecostalism, the prosperity gospel, and Christian celebrity.
For those of you who are unfamiliar: Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker rose to fame in the 70’s and 80’s as televangelists, and were known for their unique programming and take on the gospel message. Their program “Praise the Lord” (PTL) television was watched daily by tens of millions of people across the country and world.
The Bakkers built a religious empire centered on preaching a prosperity gospel, and their unique cult of personality. However, such eventually all came crashing down, as their opulent lifestyle, massive amounts of debt, financial fraud, and sex scandals just became unsustainable.
Jim Bakker would end up going to federal prison for a while, and Tammy Faye was forced to embrace a bit more of an obscure life, devoid of the fame and fortune she once enjoyed. Together the Bakkers have become a cautionary tale, and something of a paradigm of what happens when the gospel, money, and celebrity get mixed together.
About Today’s Guests:
Daniel Rushing: A former Pentecostal pastor who served over 20 years in the Church of God. After resigning from his ministry position, he has started his own real estate business, Rushing Realty Inc. Today he spends his time exploring the intersections of business, self-development, spirituality, and culture. You can find him on social media and on his YouTube channel: Uncensored Wizard.
Derek Henson: Works in church administration and hold degrees in theology and ministry from Brite Divinity School and the University of Valley Forge. Raised in the Pentecostal tradition, he now identifies with the progressive Baptist movement. Derek is most interested in building congregations where progressive theology and world views embrace relevant ways of doing and being the church.