PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. -- Deposed television evangelist Jim Bakker has vowed again to continue his ministry and suggested he may be cooperating with evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, according to a published report.
But a spokesman for Jimmy Swaggart Ministries in Baton Rouge, La., said the two have not patched up their differences, and Swaggart doesn't know what the former PTL leader was referring to, the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported Saturday.
"We want to go back and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to hurting people," an upbeat Bakker said outside his Palm Springs home Friday. "Tammy and I are going to go on with our ministry."
He said he and his wife have opened an office to handle a deluge of mail from across the country and said he had spoken on the telephone with Swaggart and "good things are happening."
He declined to elaborate and would not answer questions, but he appeared to give the impression that he and Swaggart would be cooperating, The Desert Sun said.
But Jerald Ogg Jr., Swaggart's administrative assistant, told the newspaper that Bakker must have been referring to "part of some plan he's got that we are not privy to. We don't know what he's talking about.
"We didn't agree with PTL concepts two years ago or last year before all this happened," Ogg said, referring to Bakker's resignation from the TV ministry in March after admitting a sexual encounter with a church secretary.
"And to think that we would agree now just boggles my mind."
Ogg said Swaggart, in Vancouver on a crusade Friday, had not talked with Bakker for more than a week.
"Swaggart had been trying since March to connect up with Bakker by phone to assure him that he never had any intention of trying to take over the PTL," Ogg told The Sun. "It never panned out. He was never there or he was never willing to talk to Swaggart."
Meanwhile, Bakker said his new local office will include a small staff to answer his mail, which he called supportive. He did not say if it would become a base for his new ministry, which he said would begin with counseling and workshops.
Also, The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., reported Saturday that Bakker tried to expand his operations to the Palm Springs area at least once while he was at the helm of PTL.
Four years ago, Bakker's ministry offered to buy a prime piece of property in the downtown area of the resort for a counseling center and possible winter home for his television show, the newspaper said.
The city turned down the $700,000 cash offer in March 1984, Mayor Frank Bogert recalled Friday.