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Rev. Ike Dead at 74

John on August 1, 2009 at 8:51 am

reverend ike

Here’s the AP report:

Family spokesman Bishop E. Bernard Jordan told The New York Times that The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II, who suffered a stroke in 2007 and never fully recovered, died in Los Angeles. He moved to the city two years ago, Jordan said.

Though it’s not entirely clear they understand the significance, the AP does point out some of Rev. Ike’s, uh, distinctive doctrine:

“This is the do-it-yourself church,” he proclaimed. “The only savior in this philosophy is God in you.”

Reverend Ike stretched Christian tenets, relocating the idea of God to the interior of the self, with the power to bring the believer anything he or she desired in the way of health, wealth and peace of mind…

“If it’s that difficult for a rich man to get into heaven,” he said, riffing on the famous verse from the book of Matthew, “think how terrible it must be for a poor man to get in. He doesn’t even have a bribe for the gatekeeper.”

This companion piece over at the Washington Post has a few more details:

“The best thing you can do for the poor is not be one of them,” the flamboyant minister proclaimed. Saint Paul was wrong about the love of money being the root of all evil, he liked to say. “The lack of money is the root of all evil.”

Claiming more followers during his heyday than any evangelist except Billy Graham, he earned an estimated million dollars a month from listeners across the hemisphere.

He owned mansions on the East and West coasts, was partial to designer suits and had a fleet of mink-appointed Rolls-Royces and several yachts. He dropped hints about his bevy of mistresses.

[...]

One of his fundraising techniques was to send a letter containing a piece of yarn or a sliver of prayer rug that could be used as either a charm or a curse. The letter exhorted the recipient to mail it back the following day with a donation of at least $20, so that Rev. Ike could bless it. Failure to return it, with a donation, could have dire consequences, the letter claimed.

[...]

He moved to New York in 1973 and developed what he called “the Science of Living.” It was a mix of Christianity and consumption, seasoned with elements of Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” and Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.”

“Don’t wait for pie in the sky by-and-by when you die,” he proclaimed. “Get yours now with ice cream on top!”

In short, Reverend Ike wasn’t a Christian at all, not even close. That distinction is never quite made in any of his obituaries.

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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