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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 30, 2009

PASSINGS: REVEREND IKE

NY Times -The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, the flamboyant minister better known as the Reverend Ike, who preached the blessings of material prosperity to a large congregation in New York and to television and radio audiences nationwide, died Tuesday in Los Angeles, where he had lived since 2007. He was 74. . . .

"Close your eyes and see green," Reverend Ike would tell his 5,000 parishioners from a red-carpeted stage at the former Loew's film palace on 175th Street in Washington Heights, the headquarters of his United Church Science of Living Institute. "Money up to your armpits, a roomful of money and there you are, just tossing around in it like a swimming pool.". . .

The philosophy held that St. Paul was wrong; that the root of all evil is not the love of money, but rather the lack of it. It was a message that challenged traditional Christian messages about finding salvation through love and the intercession of the divine. The way to prosper and be well, Reverend Ike preached, was to forget about pie in the sky by and by and to look instead within oneself for divine power. . .

One person who benefited from this philosophy of self-empowerment was Reverend Ike himself. Along with Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and Pat Robertson, he was one of the first evangelists to grasp the power of television. At the height of his success, in the 1970s, he reached an audience estimated at 2.5 million.

In return for spiritual inspiration, he requested cash donations from his parishioners, from his television and radio audiences, and from the recipients of his extensive mailings - preferably in paper currency, not coins. ("Change makes your minister nervous in the service," he would tell his congregation.). . .

Whether legitimately or not, the money flooded in, making him a multimillionaire and enabling him to flaunt the power of his creed with a show of sumptuous clothes, ostentatious jewelry, luxurious residences and exotic automobiles. "My garages runneth over," he said. . .

Reverend Ike could be an electric preacher, whether at the old theater or on the road appearing before standing-room-only audiences. And he could make his congregations laugh, drawing on the Bible to drive home his message about the virtues of material rewards. "If it's that difficult for a rich man to get into heaven," he would often say, citing Matthew, "think how terrible it must be for a poor man to get in. He doesn't even have a bribe for the gatekeeper."

4 Comments:

Anonymous Tom Puckett said...

I'll bet I still have my 3" x 4" pinked edged red felt prayer cloth around here, somewhere . . .

July 30, 2009 11:44 PM  
Anonymous Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John all them prophets is dead and gone? said...

Luke 6:20-26

[20] Looking at his disciples, he said:
"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
[21] Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
[22] Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
[23] "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy,
because great is your reward in heaven.
For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

[24] "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
[25] Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
[26] Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

July 31, 2009 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Money is not the root of all evil.

The love of money is not the root of all evil.

The root of all evil is the love of having *other-earned* wealth.

(As opposed to loving having self-earned wealth. Having, and loving having self-earned wealth is entirely good. Having self-earned wealth is as good as growing your own vegetables and eating them.)

August 1, 2009 9:37 AM  
Anonymous same song different venue said...

Matthew
Chapter 5
1
1 When he saw the crowds, 2 he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
2
He began to teach them, saying:
3
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, 4 for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4
5 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5
6 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
6
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 7 for they will be satisfied.
7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8
8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, 9 for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.
12
10 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13
11 12 "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
15
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.
16
Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
17
13 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
18
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.
19
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 14
20
I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
21
15 16 "You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.'
22
17 But I say to you, whoever is angry 18 with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, 'Raqa,' will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
23
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you,
24
leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
25
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.
26
Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.
27

August 1, 2009 7:39 PM  

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