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One year ago: The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II


The Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II (a.k.a. Reverend Ike), who died one year ago at age 74, had a saying that defied traditional Christian thought: "It is not the love of money that is the root of all evil, it's the lack of money."

Rev. Ike practiced what he preached, driving sports cars, flaunting expensive jewelry and living in six church-owned houses. His 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.

Rev. Ike first came to fame in the 1970s, preaching what Newsweek magazine once described as "an unabashed love of money and the good life." Despite criticism from other clergy over his materialistic approach and from others who accused him of being a huckster and a charlatan, Rev. Ike's positive, self-affirming message of hope appealed to an estimated 2.5 million people across the country in the '70s.

"I 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.

For more, read Rev. Ike's obituary by The Times.

--Michael Farr

Photo: Reverend Ike delivers a sermon. Credit: Associated Press

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