Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. David Hamilton


This dissertation traces the rise of Jim and Tammy Bakker and analyzes the birth and growth of prosperity theology in the United States of America. It highlights how Jim and Tammy created a form of Pentecostalism that grew alongside and because of the growth of the Sunbelt. It blossomed in the new suburban enclaves of this region. Jim Bakker's religious ideas had their roots in an increasingly powerful anti-New Deal coalition that was led by the conservative business community. Positive thinking and the prosperity gospel reinforced their beliefs in unfettered markets and their opposition to activist government. Bakker combined these ideas with an emphasis on the family, creating a power new kind of religion. It became a form of cultural conservatism that increasingly shaped American society in the 1970s and 1980s, helping transform political issues into moral and religious questions.