It’s not every day that the son or daughter of a once famous, or in this case infamous, pair of Evangelical preachers writes a book about grace. Quite frankly I was very skeptical reading this book at first. I mean, really, what can Jay Bakker, a onetime drunk and drug user, who also happens to be the son of Jimmy and Tammy Faye Bakker tell me about grace, let alone the Bible, theology, and contemporary Church culture? I was surprised. Apparently, Jay Bakker has been to hell in back and through keep constant connections with friends and loved ones, as well as through the Church, Jay is a survivor. He survived to write this book. He survived to tell his story. His story is about grace.
Perhaps many of Bakker’s younger readers, those in generation Y, may not be that familiar with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. They were very famous television evangelists in the mid-1980’s; most noteworthy perhaps was Jim’s white pasty face which seemed to always glisten with sweat and Tammy Faye whose makeup and poufy hair were the brunt of many a Saturday Night Live skit. The Bakkers eventually established PTL Ministries, a shorthand for Praise the Lord, whose headquarters were located in Fort Mill, SC just a few miles south of Charlotte off of 1-77. From the PTL ministries they also created Heritage USA a Christian focused theme park. A series of major scandals with the Bakkers including fraud and other money issues Heritage was closed as well as their PTL TV ministries. Poor Jay was left holding the bag so to speak. I have read my share of memoirs and autobiography written by children of clergy, most noteworthy Darcey Steinke’s heart wrenching book Easter Everywhere. Living under the limelight, always being the “son of” Pastor X or Y, as well as living among the glitz and glammour must have been extremely damaging to Jay. However, he survived. Not many people do. His new book, Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self, and Society is his testimony that life in Christ is possible, if we just have the guts to reach out and take it.