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By Mark W. Swarbrick
Jimmy Swaggart Ministries (JSM) is an aberrant Christian ministry that is known for its propensity for maligning ministries other than its own. The ministry is not recommended by the cult watch ministry Christian Research Institute, siting its convoluted explanation of the trinity, wherein it is alleged that the Holy Spirit and God the Father have bodies.
There are three areas of concern: Doctrinal, Behavioral, and Moral.
JSM teaches the following…
- The Apostle Paul as a Christian lived a defeated sinful life.
- The Apostle Paul did not understand the cross.
- None of the apostles understood the cross.
- Jimmy Swaggart claims he’s been given a new revelation about the cross.
- Jimmy Swaggart’s revelation goes beyond what the church has ever known.
- Most churches besides JSM are satanic and in error and rebellion.
- JSM is called and anointed of God to reform the Church.
- Jimmy Swaggart is the apostle of this reformation.
- Faith in “the cross alone” is emphasized over faith in Jesus Christ.
- Jimmy Swaggart is the only TV evangelist preaching the proper gospel.
- Unless you speak in tongues you are of little worth in the Kingdom of God.
- God the Father has a man-like body that is not omnipresent (everywhere at once).
- The Holy Spirit also has a body.
- God’s body lives on a planet somewhere in our universe.
- Planet heaven is in the direction “north.”
- Their own Bible commentary full of strange heretical teachings.
Those who have attended Swaggart’s Family Worship Center, or have worked for the ministry have reported immoral and cultic behavior in the ministry. Reports by these people allege…
- Immoral behaviors such as numerous affairs amongst church leaders.
- High percentage of divorces among church members & leaders.
- Unethical behaviors with the handling of money.
- Unethical real estate deals.
- Isolation, shunning, and coercive discipline used by leadership.
- Paranoia and secrecy about money, business dealings & ministry activities.
- Unchecked sexual indiscretions among leadership.
- Printing of satanic & gang material for money by the ministry print shop.
- Leadership implies that JSM is God’s only true ministry.
- Their TV ministry is replete with mean-spirited attacks against others.
- An unhealthy cultic group-think mentality amongst members.
- Encouragement to leave the local church and become an on-line tithing member of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries.
- An unhealthy reliance upon Jimmy Swaggart’s Expositor’s Study Bible (see our page on the dangers of the Swaggart Bible).
The ministry suffers from a stigma of…
- Viewing Pornography
- Visiting Prostitutes (whore mongering)
- Repeated Lies
- Non Submission to Church Authority
Jimmy Swaggart was caught with a prostitute in 1988 and confessed to going to prostitutes and viewing pornography for over twenty years. He confessed and tearfully expressed his sorrow on public TV.
However, he rejected his church’s discipline (Assemblies of God) and refused to step down from ministry for a year to receive special counseling from A/G ministers. In a meeting with the General Council of the Assemblies of God Swaggart told them they were “too dumb and too stupid” and that he heard from God himself and that he speaks for God and that the Assemblies of God does not. Swaggart has stated that the Assemblies of God is a cult and that some of its officials were “in league with pornographers.”
After Swaggart’s tearful apology on television in 1988, he was again caught with a prostitute in 1991. He was pulled over by police with a prostitute in his front seat and pornography was found under the seat. He told his congregation, “God told me it is flat none of your business.” He was caught again in 1995.
Donnie Swaggart (Jimmy’s son) divorced his wife to marry a lady in the church who was a 5-time divorcée. He then divorced her and remarried his first wife. He continued to minister during this time.
JSM is a multi-million dollar real estate empire that gets most of its income from property purchased with donations from Christians to support the Swaggart “ministry.” Swaggart’s real-estate partner was imprisoned for fraud. The number of allegations from people pointing out shady financial dealings and a lust for money in the ministry is legend.
The Swaggart’s are millionaires many times over and live in the lap of extravagant luxury. The ministry has a history of legal entanglements. Jimmy Swaggart was convicted in court of defamation and ordered to pay ten million dollars to another ministry which he had defamed. He was also sued by Dake Publishing for 2.5 million dollars, who alleged that Swaggart had “wrongfully taken and used plaintiff’s proprietary works for their own benefit and profit.”
The qualifications for Christian ministers is listed in Titus 1:5-9. There we read that ministers must be “above reproach, not arrogant, not greedy for gain, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 1Timothy 3:5 tells us, “If a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?”
Swaggart’s actions after his televised display of repentance, indicate that he did not truly repent and turn from his sin. He is not above reproach. He has been, and is still, arrogant. The ministry is greedy for gain. We have not seen self-control and discipline. Clearly a man who is unfaithful to his wife over a course of decades cannot be considered as one who is managing his own household well and therefore cannot be esteemed as one who can take care of the church of God. Jimmy Swaggart fails the Biblical qualifications required to be a minister of the gospel.
Below is our video that gives an in-depth analysis of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries.