Biography of Famous Preacher and Evangelist Reverend Ike Part 1

About the famous preacher and evangelist Reverend Ike, history and biography of the religious figure and leader.


Successful evangelists have a problem with money. While they regularly draw greenback gushers from the faithful, most of them strive to give at least the appearance of personal humility.

Not the Reverend Ike. Not with his showy homes in New York and Hollywood, 2 Rolls-Royces, 2 Mercedes, a Bentley, drawers full of jewelry, and a Liberace-style wardrobe that reportedly costs his followers $1,000 a week. But then the Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II (who graciously shortens it to Reverend Ike) is not trying for any humility awards. Far from being an embarrassing side effect of his flamboyant ministry, the money that rolls in is the whole point.

From his rhinestone-speckled lapels to his platform patent leathers, Ike is the virtual embodiment of his own theme: that regardless of what you may have heard, conspicuous consumption is truly next to godliness. Forget about meekness and repentance, he counsels his mostly black middle-class audiences, "When you kneel down to pray, you put yourself in a good position to get a kick in the behind."

That kind of talk, along with his garish style, has taken the handsome mulatto evangelist from the drab world of black storefront churches in New York and Boston to popularity and glittering success on a national scale. The son of a South Carolina Baptist minister of Dutch-Indonesian extraction, the Reverend Ike is today America's top-rated black radio preacher, beaming a 15-minute message of positive money-lust and instant divinity over some 80 stations.

When he made the switch from fundamentalism to the worldly pleasures in 1965, he invented the "Blessing Plan." The plan is simplicity itself: Give whatever you can afford to Reverend Ike, and it will be returned--with interest--to those who possess sufficient faith.

"Pledge at least $100!" he begins. "Borrow it if necessary. People borrow for the doctor and the lawyer and they save for the undertaker but rob God! DON'T LET THIS BE YOU. Send an extra offering. And believe for EXTRA blessings." To make it even easier, Ike allows for blessings on the installment plan, either by the month or by the week.

One year after his conversion to Mammon, the fruits of the Blessing Plan enabled Eikerenkoetter to buy a $600,000 movie theater on a full city block in the Washington Heights area of Manhattan. The plan also provided him the wherewithal to pour $1 million into remodeling the theater as the United Palace, with a 5,000-seat auditorium, offices for his United Christian Evangelistic Association, and headquarters for the Science of Life Institute.

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