Jim Bakker says he passed the plate without giving even a dime to PTL because it currently is not a ministry he can support.
Bakker attended the daily PTL show Tuesday and sat stone-faced as PTL pastor Sam Johnson urged supporters to dig deep and help pay the ministry's transponder fee, due Thursday.At the end of the show, offering envelopes were passed out and Bakker took two. But when the offering bucket arrived he put both envelopes back in - empty.
"I thought it (the envelope) was information they were passing out," Bakker said Wednesday. "But when I saw what it was, I put it back. I don't feel that I can support what PTL is doing right now."
The current leaders of PTL are trying to reorganize as part of a bankruptcy sell-off of the ministry's assets. Bakker would like to buy the operation back but the current leaders do not want him to return to the ministry he founded.
Bakker said he cannot support that thinking and therefore put no money in the offering plate.
On Tuesday, PTL pastor Sam Johnson pleaded for funds to pay PTL's satellite transponder fee and keep its 24-hour religious programming on the air.
"If we can get just 10,000 people to send us $29 apiece, then by today or tomorrow we will have enough money to pay our transponder fees," he said.
Last month, however, Johnson said PTL's transponder - which relays programming to stations nationwide - is self-sustaining, funded by fees charged other religious broadcasters, including Oklahoma evangelist Oral Robets and the Rev. Jerry Falwell, whose "Old-Time Gospel Hour" appears on the network.
Bakker said he believes the satellite transponder money was diverted to the PTL waterpark this month. The park, which needed repairs, is scheduled to open this weekend.