Prominent televangelist Jim Bakker suffered a stroke and has taken a ‘sabbatical’ from his eponymous TV show, according to his wife.
Lori Bakker confirmed that her 80-year-old husband underwent a health scare, but is now recovering at their home in Branson, Missouri.
The Jim Bakker Show, the Christian program the couple host, will continue while Bakker is away.
‘In Jim’s words, this has been the most vicious attack that he has ever experienced,’ Lori wrote in a Facebook post.
Famed televangelist Jim Bakker (pictured) has suffered a stroke, but is recovering with his family in Branson, Missouri
Working non-stop on various projects and building the Morningside Church community has taken a ‘huge toll’ on Bakker’s health.
‘Under the guidance of medical professionals and our Board of Directors, Jim will be taking a sabbatical from the show,’ Lori wrote.
‘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.’
This comes after Bakker was sued by the Missouri Attorney General for promoting a fake coronavirus cure.
Lori Bakker (left) revealed her husband’s health scare in a Facebook post on the official The Jim Bakker Show page
It’s not immediately clear when Bakker suffered the stroke or when he will return.
‘In the meantime, 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,’ Lori added.
Jay Bakker, the televangelist’s oldest son, also spoke out on Facebook and called the stroke ‘minor.’
Jay Bakker, the oldest son of Jim Bakker, said his father’s stroke was ‘minor’ and urged followers to show compassion
‘I know some of your are struggling with humanizing my father, but he is also a good grandpa and my dad,’ Jay wrote on Friday.
‘We have a complicated relationship like a lot of folks…His lift has influenced mine as well as my work. He recently suffered a minor stroke, your thoughts are appreciated.’
Bakker’s health troubles come at a time when he’s once again by bogged down by legal drama.
The controversial pastor’s most recent run-in with the law happened after he claimed ‘Silver Solution’ could cure COVID-19 on his TV show.
There is currently no known cure or vaccine for COVID-19, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The show was selling a bundle of Silver Solution products for more than $125. To use, consumers were instructed to ‘apply generously to skin as needed to help promote natural healing’
This prompted swift backlash from public health experts and officials, including New York State Attorney General Letitia James and chief of the Health Care Bureau of the New York Attorney General’s Office Lisa Landau.
Landau wrote in a letter to Bakker that the World Health Organization ‘has noted that there is no specific medicine to prevent or treat this disease.
‘Therefore, any representation on The Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combating and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law.’
Bakker introduced Silver Solution, which he called a ‘miracle in a tube,’ to audiences in 2018 during a segment of his show.
He claimed that Silver Solution cures all venereal diseases, but this has not been formally proven.
Missouri AG Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against Bakker and his production company for hawking the item in March.
The suit stated that the defendants ‘violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by falsely promising to consumers that Silver Solution can cure, eliminate, kill, or deactivate coronavirus and/or boost elderly consumers’ immune system and help keep them healthy when there is, in fact, no vaccine, pill, potion or other product available to treat or cure coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).’
During the February 12 episode of the show with guest ‘naturapathic doctor’ Sherill Sellman, Bakker posited that the Silver Solution sold on the show’s website would be effective against the coronavirus.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (pictured) filed a lawsuit against Bakker and his production company in March
Bakker asks Sellman if the solution will work against the virus, to which she responds: ‘Let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it’s been rested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours’.
‘Yeah,’ Bakker says.
Schmitt wasn’t alone pursuing legal action against the TV pastor.
Also in March, US regulators warned Bakker’s company and six others to stop selling items using what the government called false claims that they could treat the coronavirus or keep people from catching it.
Letters sent jointly by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission warned the companies that their products for treating COVID-19 were fraudulent, ‘pose significant risks to patient health and violate federal law.’
In May, Bakker hired former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to legally represent him and asked to have the suit dismissed on the grounds that it was an assault on religious freedom.
‘Jim Bakker is being unfairly targeted by those who want to crush his ministry and force his Christian television program off the air,’ Nixon said in a statement.
‘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.’
Nixon said Schmitt’s lawsuit violated Bakker’s constitutional right to free speech, as well as the Missouri Constitution and the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He said silver products are commonly sold at stores and online.
‘Targeting a Christian pastor, who has been using and offering the product for the past 10 years, is not supported by the facts or the law,’ Nixon said.
Bakker (right), pictured with Lori Bakker (left), was previously convicted on fraud charges and sentenced to 45 years in prison
Bakker and his first wife, Tammy Faye, used to co-host PTL, which stood for ‘Praise the Lord,’ but people later came to associate the acronym with ‘Pass the Loot’ as the two were notorious for a lavish lifestyle that included air conditioners for their dogs.
During the height of their popularity in the 70s and 80s, Bakker and Tammy Faye ran Heritage USA, a Christian theme park that spanned 2300 acres in Fort Mill, South Carolina, which is also where they taped their show.
The two divorced in 1992, after it was revealed in 1987 that Bakker paid money to cover up a 15-minute affair with a church secretary by the name of Jessica Hahn.
Bakker later served close to five years in federal prison on a fraud conviction related to PTL. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison for fleecing $158million from his congregation.
Now, Bakker and his current wife, Lori, tape The Jim Bakker Show from another Christian compound, deep in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.