The source of the money is a new 3-D camera he and his partner developed.
The television commercial begins with a red sun glimmering over the horizon and the sounds of majestic, expectant, classical music. The announcer’s voice proclaims, “You are about to behold a miracle.”
The miracle, the ad goes on to explain and dramatize, is three-dimensional photography. Now this art form, which in the past was dismissed as impractical if not impossible, can be performed by an amateur photographer.
But perhaps a greater miracle is the story behind the camera’s success. Horatio Alger could not have written a better script than the one Jerry Nims lives.
As recently as five years ago, Nims was on the brink of financial destruction. He was barely able to pay his staff of nine researchers who continued clearing a road into the technological frontier.
Today Nims is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Nimslo Corporation, which has literally given to the world another dimension in photography. Since 1978, Nims has raised more than $100 million to support the production and marketing of the Nimslo camera, named for Nims and the Chinese technical expert behind the venture, Allen Lo. Nims now employs 700 in the United States and several hundred more abroad. The estimated value of his Atlanta-based corporation is $450 million.
Nims says, “What has happened to me is a flat-out miracle. I shouldn’t be here; this business shouldn’t be here. Nims credits a large part of the strength he needed to endure through the lean years to the sustaining faith of his wife and to the promise of Matthew 24:13: “Those who endure to the end shall be saved.”
Nims, 47, could retire today if he wished. “I wouldn’t mind if I never saw another airplane,” he said, in reference to the tiring trips to Europe his business demands of him.
But his business has become a financial source for Christian activities ranging from urban mission work in Denver and Atlanta, to ministries in refugee camps in various parts of the world, to support for oppressed Christians in Eastern Europe.
Nims tries not to highlight his financial generosity. He merely observes: “We’ve been fortunate in business, and I’m a firm believer in the compassionate use of any money I make.”
Recently, Nims helped to finance promotional campaigns for Francis Schaeffer’s A Christian Manifesto, John Whitehead’s The Second American Revolution and Franky Schaeffer’s A Time for Anger. The amount Nims invested is not known, but it is believed to be substantial.
Nims credits Francis Schaeffer with having brought into focus his understanding that his Christian faith should penetrate all his activities. In 1980, Nims spent more than a month with Schaeffer in Switzerland. In the preface of his book, Schaeffer said Nims’s questions about the Christian’s relationship to government provided the impetus for the book.
Nims invested in the book because he felt the message needed to be heard; the unexpected financial return, resulting from the sale of nearly 300,000 copies, is all being channeled into support of Christian ministries.
The books Nims has helped finance are being used as a battle plan by some fundamentalists. This is mildly ironic since Nims, though he does not judge the actions of other Christians, considers himself neither politically rightist nor theologically fundamentalist. He is a self-proclaimed “ecumenical evangelical,” meaning that he advocates unity among those who proclaim Christ as Savior and Lord as opposed to division over methods of baptism and fine points of theology.
“There was a lot of praying done before the Manifesto was written,” Nims says. “I don’t recommend a theocracy or a group of people that gets together late at night and plots. Of course the ideas in the book can be misapplied; the Bible has been misused. But the issues needed to be raised; there has been far too little debate on these questions.”
Since the publication of A Christian Manifesto, Nims Communications, which consists of Nims and his secretary, has been flooded with query letters from authors with ideas for books expressing similar sentiments. Nims has sent some of these authors to their typewriters. Currently, at least four books are in the final stages of editing—books dealing with such topics as law, the media, and the church in Eastern Europe, as they are related to the Christian’s role in government.
In addition, Nims has helped produce Franky Schaeffer’s film The Second American Revolution, and he may become a full-fledged book publisher himself.
Nims believes that those adhering to the Judeo-Christian ethic are being relegated by society to a communications ghetto. He has challenged Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee to explain why A Christian Manifesto has not appeared on the Post’s best-seller list. Bradlee claims it’s because the book is not selling in the stores he checks; Nims maintains this book, and others like it, are not placed in these stores because the Post will not review them.
Nims’s actions are undergirded essentially by two basic tenets. First, he believes the main struggle in the world is not between Right and Left, capitalism and communism, or East and West. Rather, he believes the war is being fought between those who believe the world emerged from impersonal chance and matter, and those who believe in a personal Creator-God.
Second, Nims maintains it is one thing to turn a cheek to a personal insult, and quite another to turn from evil. “For example,” he says, “child pornography is an abomination. We should pray for the child pornographer, but we should also enter into society and try to remove the destructive opportunity he has under the guise of freedom of speech.” In addition, Nims asserts he would not hesitate to break a law of society if he knew he had to keep God’s law.
But if all this means Nims is a religious “rightist,” many of his other activities would identify him with middle-of-the-road evangelicalism. He works with his father, a retired American Baptist minister who spends most of his time in Eastern Europe, ministering to the persecuted church. He supports several foreign missions efforts, including the Haggai Institute, a resource center in Singapore for Third World leaders. He keeps four pictures of refugees on his office wall and tries to view them daily, to remind himself that other people go to bed hungry. All these are in addition to the support he provides for inner-city mission work in Denver and Atlanta. Like his camera, Jerry Nims is hard to categorize.
Children Of God Cult Records Higher Numbers
After claiming last year that divine judgment in the form of a nuclear holocaust was about to descend upon Europe and America, David “Moses” Berg, the 63-year-old founder and leader of the Children of God/Family of Love cult, urged followers to move to the Southern Hemisphere and to the Far East.
However, 1981 statistics released by the Children of God (COG) disclose that cult members are not heeding the warning. According to those statistics, at the end of last year nearly half of COG’s 9,788 members were living in the Northern Hemisphere, 17 percent in the United States.
That membership figure, which includes 4,277 children, is an all-time high. The cult lost more than 2,000 members in 1978, partly because Berg fired 300 leaders. Defection, venereal disease, and bad publicity also contributed to the decline. But the cult has made a comeback in recent years.
The report of last May also announced a distribution of more than 400 million pieces of literature, and 34,957 persons won through “flirty fishing,” (prostitution evangelism), all since 1971.
The COG cult is characterized by the supplanting of biblical revelation with cult teaching, sexual and financial exploitation of members, fear of outsiders, and preoccupation with death.
Berg communicates to cult members through letters, called “MO” letters, which he extols as “God’s word for today,” not to be confused with the Bible, “God’s word for yesterday.”
In a 1979 MO letter, Berg, once a Protestant minister, wrote that the Trinity consists of Father, Mother, and Son. In a 1978 letter, Berg encouraged cult members to have sex with potential converts in an effort to “win souls for Jesus.” Each member was requested to keep a “flirty fish” diary in which to record details of their experiences.
Recent COG publications contain photographs of young children engaged in sexual play with adults. Sexual experimentation from infancy onward is advocated by Berg and practiced within his extended “family” of disciples.
Meanwhile, efforts of former cult members to expose the cult’s beliefs and practices, continue. Kathy Hansen, deprogrammed four years ago, now publishes a newsletter targeted for present and former members and their families.
Also, Berg’s elder daughter, Linda, who resides in California with her second husband, has succeeded in enrolling a number of former members (including her mother Jane) in Bill Gothard seminars. She credits Gothard with facilitating her return to evangelical Christianity. Jane Berg (formerly Mother Eve in the cult) has moved to Knoxville where she and other ex-Children of God members are operating a Christian ministry at the World’s Fair.
Raymond Albert DeVries, 50, vice-president of special services at Lexicon Music/Light Records, pastor, conference director, editor of In Tune magazine, music consultant to Christian schools; October 26, at a Christian Booksellers Association board of directors meeting in Colorado Springs, of cardiac arrest.
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