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Son of a Preacher Man: My Search for Grace in the Shadows Paperback – December 24, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

By any standard, Jay Bakker has had it rough. The son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jay was only 11 years old when his parents' empire collapsed and his family was vilified as the epitome of televangelism's excesses. Jay Bakker's autobiography, Son of a Preacher Man, unflinchingly addresses all of his family's major scandals, including his father's affair with Jessica Hahn and his mother's battle with drug addiction. Bakker also reveals that by age 13, he had developed a serious drinking problem, and that was only the beginning of a long period of rebellion that intensified during his father's years in prison. After his father's release, Jim and Jay began to rebuild their relationship, and Jay, though still struggling with alcoholism, discerned a calling to ministry. After several false starts he built a ministry to young people in Atlanta called Revolution. As a minister, Bakker's main interest is in the kids that churches overlook--the pierced, tattooed, smoking, drinking kind. The message of this ministry, like the message of this book, is simple: "Jesus loves you for who you are, not who you can become." Bakker says that he still works every day to learn that lesson, and to pass it on to others, as he does with some eloquence in Son of a Preacher Man. --Paul Power --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

From the opening epigram (a passage from Romans about learning from trials and adversities) to the rousing concluding chapter, this memoir by the son of the scandal-ridden televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker inspires, captivates and entertains. Even before his dad was arrested, Jay confesses, family life began to fall apart: Mom was addicted to drugs, and Jay's 16-year-old sister ran off to marry her beau. And then, in a haze of scandal, his father, whom Jay lionizes, was sentenced in 1989 to 45 years in prison. Jay's portrait of Papa Bakker is extremely sympathetic--at times, a tad too worshipful. He also includes a touching vignette about Jimmy Swaggart, who agreed to help Jay get his father's prison sentence reduced when no other big-name pastors dared to intervene. In the years since his father was released from prison, young Jay Bakker has discovered he's an alcoholic, and gotten sober; fallen in love, and gotten married; and realized he's a sinner, and gotten right with God. He's now a pastor--a tattooed, hip pastor--in Atlanta, ministering to street youth on skateboards. Readers are sure to love Bakker's delightfully down-to-earth, slightly self-mocking tone ("For a while I thought I was Jim Morrison," he says about his acid-tripping, cowboy-boot-sporting days in high school), and will hope he'll somehow carve out time to write more books.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (December 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006251699X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062516992
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,408,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My brother just got married a couple months ago, they played the old song "Son of a Preacher Man" at the reception, so when I saw the title of this book it really caught my eye. I grew up as a preacher's kid, so I can relate, but only slightly, to what Jay went through growing up. Though, the whole country never hated my dad.
One lesson that must be learned from this book is that we must learn to love. The "American church" has gotten so far off in that area. We must remember that all preachers, pastors, evangelists, teachers, yes, and even apostles and prophets, are also just human and therefore make mistakes. But God is willing to forgive them when they repent, so what gives us the right to stop loving and start hating? What gives us the right to not forgive?
This book was actually the first time I have heard anything positive about Jim Bakker since all these things happened in the 80's when I was a small child. That in itself shows that the American church is in trouble - We need a revolution in the church!!!
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Format: Hardcover
My brother and I bought this book together. We've both read it. We've both gone through a similar experience as Jay (though not on the same scale), having had a father who was a pastor and made some huge mistakes that cost him his ministry. To this day, fifteen years later, his mistakes affect us and our families.
Does it sound like I'm whining? I'm not. But, then again, maybe I just needed to get that off my chest--which is exactly what Jay Bakker does in this book.
I was fascinated by an insider's view of what happened to the Bakkers and, though I never appreciated PTL ministries myself, it gave me some respect for what they originally started out doing. It seems the family was unnecessarily ravaged, especially by fellow churchgoers, but my one complaint is that Jay doesn't come totally clean and admit the long-term damage some of his father's choices had. Oh, he does to some extent, but he still seems to have a bit of that "Isn't my dad the best?" attitude of a child. I love my own father, I've forgiven him, but I can't gloss over the wrongs he committed. I never will.
Jay is open about his own mistakes, though. He paints an accurate picture of the pressures and internal motivations of a child in the limelight. I could relate to many of his frustrations with organized religion.
Overall, this book reads quickly, and I thought Jay's message of God's grace was powerful. I was moved by his encounter with Jerry Falwell, the man he lays most of the blame upon. While honestly airing his feelings, Jay shows the need for--and the freeing power of--forgiveness. A lesson he learned from his father.
Jim Bakker's book is entitled, "I Was Wrong." I'd like to read it and see if he doesn't unveil more of his own faults in what went on.
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Format: Hardcover
This was the most insprirational and moving book I've ever read. It really touched my heart and caused me to think... and to pray. There are people in the world today who need to know the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, not the conditional love of religion. We must stop judging people because they don't look and act exactly like we do. We must look at people through God's eyes and see the potential of who He made them to be. We must be willing to forgive as Christ forgave. We must turn our backs on religion and learn to be followers of Christ.
Jay's story was so moving, I found myself choking back tears on the plane as I finished reading it. This book is well-written. It points out the flaws of the church in general, but does not do so out of bitterness, only out of concern.
Read it. It will move you, too.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...is what Jay Bakker was trying to do his entire life and this book gives some details on the bumps in the road he encountered. His all too brief account of his childhood in the spotlight of the PTL television ministry and what happened after his father's fall can be riveting at times. Bakker's childhood was one of privilege that was wrested away mainly by the machinations of rival television preachers. He reveals the motivations of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and others mainly being attempts to gain money and influence at the cost of his family's happiness and harmony.

More important is what happened afterward. Bakker becomes something of a drifter. He enters the world of clubbing, partying, drinking and drugs. And it takes him a long time to realize how addicted he's become and how much these things are affecting his life. Good things happen along the way. He makes friends, meets and marries his wife, founds a ministry, but most importantly, he discovers what has made him depressed. He was trying to earn his salvation rather than discover grace, hence the title of the book.

You get the sense that Bakker isn't all the way there yet. He still has steps to take and things to do. The book is several years old now and hopefully there will be a follow up volume to fill in some the gaps. I think he has discovered the true heart of Christianity and reaches out to those who need it most. All the while dealing with the learning disorder, dyslexia.

The book is written in a clear and simple, but not simplistic, style that make it very easy to read and difficult to put down. I read it in a few hours and am very glad I did.
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