Hands up, everybody here who remembers Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, the 1980s American televangelists whose “PTL Club” crashed and burned when Jim was convicted of fraud and covering up a payment of hush money to Jessica Hahn, a secretary whom he had allegedly raped?
If you have no memory of Jim, you might recall the iconic image of Tammy Faye’s tearful breakdown, which somehow became synonymous with the gaudy hypocrisy of over-the-top televangelism in general, and Jim Bakker in particular. What can we say, it was a different time.
In any case, Jim and Tammy Faye divorced, Jim did a stint in prison, and once he got out, he rehabilitated himself via the obligatory tell-all confessional book.
Then in 2003 he and his new wife, Lori, started an all-new daily evangelical show. These days, Bakker’s preaching is designed to appeal to the growing demographic of hardcore survivalists and millennialists—those Christians who believe that following the events allegedly foretold in the Book of Revelations, Jesus will come to reign over the earth for 1,000 years.
Apparently one of Bakker’s signature products (aside from his various prophecies, which range from God punishing those who mock him…er, whoops…to the claim that if Donald Trump is impeached, a civil war will result), is buckets of foods suitable for storage in one’s survivalist bunker. Because, you know, apocalypse.
We told you all that so we can tell you this
Another evangelical couple with an end-times outlook now run a regular feature on Bakker’s resurrected PTL Network.
Derek and Sharon Gilbert, who run Gilbert House Ministries, also talk about science and technology from an eschatological (“end-times”) Christian standpoint. Yes, really.
They have appeared several times with Bakker, and now host SciFriday, where they discuss such science-y things as “Werewolves”, “Wiring our Kids into the Matrix”, and “SciFriday at the Hybrid and Transhuman Age Conference”, subtitled “Why are leaders in tech and science sponsoring research that could exterminate humanity?”
According to the Gilberts’ Jim Bakker Show bio,
Gilbert has been a speaker at Bible prophecy conferences in recent years, focusing on the prophetic. Derek is currently working on a book about how poor teaching in end times Bible prophecy in American churches will lead many well-meaning Christians to welcome the Antichrist.
And sure enough, if you check out the page you will discover an hour-long podcast featuring Jared Chrestman and Tom Dunn, discussing their new video, “This is a War”.
Gilbert says that he and Dunn met at the Hear the Watchmen conference in Dallas, Texas in March 2018, where the Gilberts were listed as speakers. During that conference, Gilbert produced this interview about the video, “Detestable” for his Skywatch Network:
It seems that Tom & Jared are still-minor but rising stars in the oddball world of “fundamentalist end-times Christianity meets science fiction meets conspiracy theories“, as described by BarthsNotes.
This sounds easy to mock, but dragging the Hampstead SRA hoax into this toxic and potentially lucrative milieu could prove extremely dangerous.