Reverend Frederick Eikerenkoetter, also known as Reverend Ike, was the first of many “prosperity preachers” who dangled blessings over the heads of his congregation members in exchange for 10 percent of their income. Reverend Ike made millions from his members’ donations and, sadly, could not take it with him when he passed away Tuesday in a Los Angeles Hospital, he was 74-years-old.
Family members said he suffered from a stroke two years ago, from which he never fully recovered.
Reverend Ike was well-known to devout church-goers in California and was all but a household name in the mid-seventies when his career was at its best with live broadcasts of his sermons played on nearly 2,000 radio stations to an estimated 2.5 million person audience.
He often preached the teachings of self-empowerment from his church, United Church Science of Living Institute, which was once a movie theater. Reverend Ike would often tell his mass of followers, “This is the do-it-yourself church. The only savior in this philosophy is God in you.”
He would then tell them to “close your eyes and see green … money up to your armpits, a roomful of money, and there you are, just tossing around in it like a swimming pool.”
He was even bold enough to ask his members to give cash donations only, paper only please. “Change makes your minister nervous in the service,” he said.
According to NY Daily News, critics believed the reverend was a con artist and got rich off member donations. “My garages runneth over,” he would boast.
Rev. Ike was born in Ridgeland, S.C., to a father who was a Baptist minister and a mother who taught elementary school. They divorced when he was 5.
He is survived by his wife Eula and his son Xavier Frederick.