have to admit that I was taken by
surprise by Rev. Ike's (Rev.
Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II) transition on Tuesday (July 28, 2009). In the past
couple of weeks I had been listening to his prosperity presentations on
YouTube.com and so he was very much alive in my mind. The New York
Times' Christopher Lehman-Haukpt, referred to him as the
"flamboyant minister who preached the blessings of material
prosperity" ... and this is true, but in a very positive way.
Rev. Ike was an original, and he expressed his uniqueness through his
sermons to millions of people on television and radio. He was the
first minister to embrace television, becoming the first
tele-evangelist. The New York Times article states: “Close
your eyes and see green,” Reverend Ike would tell his 5,000
parishioners from a red-carpeted stage at the former Loew’s film
palace on 175th Street in Washington Heights, the headquarters of his
United Church Science of Living Institute. “Money up to your armpits,
a roomful of money and there you are, just tossing around in it like a
NY Times: "Because of his
emphasis on material self-fulfillment, Reverend Ike alienated many
traditional Christian ministers as well as leaders of the civil rights
movement, who believed black churches should further social
reform." But, traditional was not Rev. Ike's style, and the
only social reform he was interested in was lifting people out of
poverty and financial struggle into prosperity and success. He
would tell his audience and students, "The more you begin to
appreciate the good you have, the more good you will have to
appreciate." This is a restatement of the same teaching of
the Master Mind Jesus ... only, Jesus went further and stated that if
you don't appreciate what you have, you will lose it.
"Whatever ideas you have in your head are what you are going to get
in life," Rev. Ike stated, once again, restating a passage from
Proverbs and a principle taught by Jesus.
Like the science of mind, Rev. Ike did not teach that we can get
something for nothing: "Give your mind a purpose, and your
mind power will lead you to the fulfillment." - "Push on -
keep moving!" - "The business of life is to go forward."
- "God helps them that help themselves." - "Through you,
the infinite Power of God becomes definite. It is not enough for
God to be infinite; the Infinite must also be definite." -
"God didn't give Jesus anything He didn't give to you." -
"The somebody that you need to lean on is your Self, your Divine
Self, God-in-you." - "The same Presence of God that was in
Jesus is in you. The same Power of God that was in Jesus is in
you." And the Master Mind Jesus would agree with Rev. Ike,
for he said, "these things I do, and greater things still, shall
you do." (John 14:12)
"Get excited about the fact that God
is in you," Rev. Ike told his audiences, "If you want to
experience the sweetness of life, you have to let your attitude toward
life be, "How sweet it is!" And the traditional
ministers would cringe. But, Rev. Ike was teaching the same
spiritual truth written throughout the Bible ... but, he was making it
personal to his audience, just as the Master Mind Jesus did!
"No man is poor. I don't care
what the "Cost of Living Index" says. I don't care what
the unemployment figures say. No man is poor. There are no
poor people, only people who are not aware of the riches of God
within," declared Rev. Ike. "Deep within the heart of
everyone, God has put the ability to be, to do, and to have the goodness
of life, the riches of life. The truth of me, the truth of you,
the truth of everyone is that, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall
not want." (Psalms 23:1) This is what the Master Jesus
meant when he said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall
set you free." (John 8:32) ... "When you know the truth
that God is in you, when you know that good is in you, you are free.
Unfortunately, the fact that God is in man is one of the best kept
secrets in the universe. This is why I love to tell people,
"God is in you." Many times when I speak to thousands
and I suggest this, I see that it just shocks people."
Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times: "Rev.
Ike's opulent lifestyle -- he was given at one point to wearing a gold
watch, a silver-and-diamond tie pin, a silver bracelet and a large gold
ring studded with more than a dozen diamonds -- was supported by
millions of dollars in contributions to his church.
am the first black man in America to preach positive self-image
psychology to the black masses within a church setting," he told
The Times in 1976. ... That year, his church owned 16 Rolls-Royces for
his use, as well as an undisclosed number of Mercedes-Benzes, Bentleys
and other cars. (As he once put it, "My garages runneth
over.") ... There were six church-owned residences for Rev. Ike,
who at the time spent much of the winter in Southern California. ... The
multimillion-dollar empire that Rev. Ike built reportedly withstood
various investigations, including by the IRS and U.S. Postal
"The enjoyment of good increases and
multiplies the good," was a fundamental principle that Rev. Ike
taught. And his life reflected this principle that can be
realized by everyone. As my very dear friend, Rev. Irene Danon
wrote to me about Rev. Ike: "Now there was a man who had a high
money consciousness. He was not afraid or ashamed to drive a nice
big car, wear jewelry, dress well, etc. The more he liked it, and
accepted it, the more he got!
Rev. Ike's message was very simple, his
delivery was eloquent and enthusiastic ... and sometimes shocking to
people because he was unlike any other minister: "Between
here and the pearly gates, you need some money, honey!"
SO IT IS!
Dr. Henry Lee Bates
Visit Rev. Bates BLOG: Living
the Way to a Wonderful LIfe