No Direct Comment on Bakker Affair : Would Quit Rather Than Beg on TV, Graham Says

Associated Press

The Rev. Billy Graham said at a news conference that he rarely uses television to promote his teachings and that he would rather quit as a traveling evangelist than have to plead for money on TV.

Graham refused to comment directly this week about fallen television evangelist Jim Bakker, but walked into a news conference carrying a black Bible and a book he wrote in 1984 called "A Biblical Standard for Evangelists."

When asked about Bakker and the PTL ministry, Graham pointed to the book on evangelists and said, "It's all in here."

Crusade Begins Today

Graham, whose first U.S. crusade this year begins today in Columbia, suggested that reporters read Chapter 8, which includes the quotation, "Peter and Jude warned against false teachers, who are corrupted by sensuality, greed, immorality and ungodliness."

Bakker resigned from the PTL ministry last month as news broke that he had a tryst with a church secretary in 1980 and paid a $265,000 settlement to keep the young woman quiet.

Graham said he would not comment on the controversy until it is over.

"There's something new coming out every day," he said.

The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported this week that three former PTL directors said they do not remember authorizing all of the $1.1 million in bonuses Bakker received during his last 15 months as president. The three are A. T. Lawing of Charlotte; Ernie Franzone of Bedford, Tex., and the Rev. J. Don George, an Assemblies of God pastor in Irving, Tex. Lawing and Franzone stepped down from the board at Bakker's request a month ago. George quit in January. Franzone is vice president of Brock Hotel Corp., which owns the PTL's Heritage Grand Hotel in Fort Mill.

Surprised by Salaries

The three expressed surprise that Bakker and his wife, Tammy, drew nearly $1.6 million in 1986 and that Richard Dortch, then PTL's executive director, got more than $350,000 in salary and bonuses, The Observer said.

Graham, at his news conference, said his ministry uses television only to promote his books or his crusades.

Graham said three or four of his crusades are televised each year "to extend the effect of the crusades. Television is not our main work."

The Billy Graham Crusade pays for television time about a dozen times a year for less than five minutes each time, he said. "Usually it's about a book we have to offer."

Graham also said, "I've always said if I have to plead for money or beg for money, I would quit."

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