Assemblies of God officials say it is unlikely defrocked television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart will ever apply for readmission or be accepted by the church if he applies.
Although there is a procedure for readmission, church leaders said that Swaggart will probably do nothing toward that goal after the trauma of being linked with a New Orleans prostitute."There is always a roadblock," the Rev. Everett Stenhouse, assistant general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, said Friday. "Most of us anticipated this might be the way he would go, although we had hoped otherwise."
According to Stenhouse, dismissed ministers are allowed to reapply after at least a year outside the church. Even if Swaggart applied, he would be ordered to submit to a moral rehabilitation program and probably would be turned away even then.
Swaggart, thrown out of the Assemblies of God Friday for refusing to accept a yearlong suspension, vowed to return to the pulpit May 22 to save his $150 million-a-year ministry.
The decision to revoke Swaggart's credentials as a minister was announced by G. Raymond Carlson, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God Executive Presbytery, after an 80-minute telephone conference by the 13 members of the church's governing panel.
During the meeting, the panel discussed a letter from Swaggart in which he told church officials he could not accept the punishment they imposed on him March 29.
Assemblies of God officials had ordered Swaggart suspended from preaching for at least one year and to undergo rehabilitation for not less than two years. The church also barred distribution or use of tapes of Swaggart in the United States or abroad.
The Rev. William Bibb of the First Assembly of God in Baton Rouge said he was sorry to see Swaggart go but insisted the evangelist would have to face the financial consequences of his decision.
"Due to the fact that he is no longer part of our denomination, our support would not nearly be what it has been in the past," said Bibb. "I don't know if it (the Swaggart ministry) will ever be as big as it has been."
The Louisiana evangelist tearfully told members of his 7,000-plus congregation in Baton Rouge on Feb. 21 that he was guilty of an unspecified "moral failure." He admitted to church officials he met with a prostitute once, church spokeswoman Juleen Turnage said.