The depravity that has overtaken the American church body no longer shocks me, I’m sad to say.
I’ll toss in here that the decline to lukewarm status didn’t begin with Donald Trump, lest anyone get the impression that this is going to be another piece chastising evangelicals for their support of the unrepentant adulterer and con artist.
No, the decline began years ago, when disreputable frauds saw that there was power in the Word and sought to use that power for their benefit, rather than the glory of God. The fish rots from the head down, and Trumpism is simply a culmination of the internal rot of the American Christian church.
So let’s talk about Jim Bakker, the disgraced felon televangelist, who will forever stand as the most perfect example of how pastors are becoming the very wolves they’re assigned to protect the flock from.
I’ve written a lot about Bakker’s nonsense. The main idea is that he apparently learned nothing from the few years he spent in prison and has doubled down on his treachery.
In 1989, Bakker was convicted of federal charges of mail and wire fraud, as well as conspiring to defraud the public. His original sentence was for 45 years, but that term was overturned and he was given 8 years, instead. He was released in 1994.
Just an interesting bit of trivia for those who like to draw lines, is that his attorney at the time was Alan Dershowitz, a fellow Trump sycophant.
Whatever amount of time he spent in prison, it was for fraud, and he continues to fleece the public, even more brazenly than he did when he ran the PTL (Praise The Lord) Ministries.
I’ve written about Bakker’s attempts to sell food buckets, $150 cases of water, and plots in a resort meant to be a haven for believers during the end time apocalypse.
All of these things are absolutely ungodly and unbiblical, but it hasn’t slowed him down, nor has it blunted his support from the gullible.
With the latest crisis around the world being fear of the coronavirus, a con of Bakker’s caliber has been given a new opportunity to grift, and thankfully, someone other than disgusted bloggers are taking notice.
I’m going to say off the top: Silver Solution is not going to cure the coronavirus. We don’t know what will, beyond prevention, at this point. We just know what won’t.
Last month, Bakker interviewed Sherri Sellman, an integrative naturopathic doctor, on his program and asked her if his Silver Solution product would be effective in treating the “influenza that is now circling the globe.”
“Well, let’s say it hasn’t been tested on 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,” Sellman said. “Totally eliminate it, kills it, deactivates it and then it boosts your immune system.”
During the show, there was a helpful ad, instructing viewers on how to purchase the solution for a mere $125 a bottle – paid to Jim Bakker, of course.
The Southern District of New York has put a warning out there, and we can only hope they mean it.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement Thursday that her office was on alert for coronavirus scams like Bakker’s.
“In addition to being mindful about our health, we must also beware of unscrupulous actors who attempt to take advantage of this fear and anxiety to scam or deceive consumers,” James stated. “I encourage anyone who believes they are the victim of a scam or predatory action to contact my office and file a complaint.”
Lisa Landau, chief of the AG’s Health Care Bureau, sent a cease and desist letter to Bakker on Thursday threatening legal action if he fails to stop touting his “Silver Solution” as an effective treatment for the deadly virus. Landau wrote that she was “extremely concerned” about his latest promotion because there is no specific medicine to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus.
“Any representation on the Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combatting and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law,” the letter warned.
I’m going to be fair here and say that there is more than one strain of the coronavirus. Some disinfectant sprays tout their effectiveness in killing coronavirus, but not THE coronavirus that is threatening the public today.
Jim Bakker is just greedy, and in this waning age of the American church, emboldened by the intellectually and spiritually numbed state of believers. He’s been imprisoned, but not adequately chastised for his corruption. You can believe that God will attend to that, even if the law fails.
Does he care that his claims could potentially cause harm?
Of course not. Grifters have no conscience.
A statement from Bakker’s program to The Washington Post claimed Silver Solution wasn’t a fraud and could cure many illnesses, including HIV, and that links to documentation would soon be provided.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned that the colloidal silver — particles of silver metal suspended in a liquid — in Silver Solution wasn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition. The National Institutes of Health also warned it could be dangerous.
If justice truly prevails, Bakker’s fraudulent ways will catch up to him soon, before another widow is fleeced of her meager savings, or some unwary shut-in is harmed by the snake oil he’s selling.
In the meantime, keep praying for revival in the American church, before we find ourselves rendered useless to the coming Kingdom of God.