Jimmy Swaggart, was born in 1935 and grew up in the Ferriday, Louisiana. In 1958 he became a preacher With the Assemblies of God Church. In the 1960s he gained much exposure through his gospel albums. He also developed a huge following by conducting revival meetings. In 1969 Swaggart started a full-time radio program called "The Camp Meeting Hour." During the 1970s, he expanded into the world of television.
By the early 1980s Swaggart had grown to become the most popular U.S. television preacher. He had over 200 stations broadcasting the "The Jimmy Swaggart Telecast" into 2 million households each week. The Jimmy Swaggart Ministries had its headquarters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, drawing in close to $100 million a year, and it grew to include a local congregation of more than 4000 members, and a Bible college.
Many of you folks know about the 1988 revelation that Swaggart had engaged in improprieties with a New Orleans prostitute. However, hypocrisy was probably Swaggart's greatest error. In 1987 he had scornfully denounced fellow preacher Marvin Gorman for his extramarital affair. It was Gorman who hired the private detective that photographed Swaggart with the prostitute Debra Murphy. After Swaggart failed to responded to Gorman's requests for compensation, the incriminating photos were shown to the Assemblies of God leadership.
Pride was probably the greater cause of Swaggart's downfall. His minister could have easily survived the sex scandal, but Swaggart's unwillingness to submit to church authority caused his key supporters to withdraw their sponsorship. Swaggart was told to take a leave of absence from his ministry, he refused the order, believing Jimmy Swaggart Ministries could not survive without its star.
Swaggart came up with his own bizarre plan for punishment. After missing a few shows, he began to appear on his weekly program in a type of penalty box. His wife Frances and son Donnie would be in the main studio, while he was off in some dimly lit room. This strange arrangement showed how out of touch Swaggart was with reality.
Although Swaggart's national; audience has been totally lost, he still has a very profound legacy to reflect on. Swaggart has long been a heavy promoter of the end time message. He produced several teaching on prophecy that have withstood the test of time. I think he did more good than harm to the cause of Christ.
On a personal note, I have found it interesting that Jimmy Swaggart and I have nearly identical beliefs. We both come from a Pentecostal background, and I have not found one key doctrinal point that we disagree on.