When Time magazine's editors declared T.D. Jakes the best preacher in America, we wondered whether the nation's preachers would agree. You did, in part. But some of you also took us to task for posing the question.
Time acknowledged Billy Graham as the longstanding holder of this distinction when they asked over a photo of Jakes, "Is this man the next Billy Graham?" Jakes and Graham are the only two evangelists who could pack out the Georgia Dome, which seats 79,000, they said.
But who would preachers say is heir apparent to the title Most Effective Preacher?
We first asked the question of you, the recipients of our e- newsletter. You nominated almost 100 preachers. Then we posted the top ten on our Web site for another balloting. The result was a tie: T.D. Jakes and Chuck Swindoll each received 23 percent of the vote.
Two very different preachers. What do they have in common? Time cited Jakes's delivery and his skillful handling of Scripture: "He purrs like Isaac Hayes and screams like Jay Hawkins … And however leisurely Jakes's presentation may seem, each sermon eventually reveals itself as perfectly calibrated and balanced, cohering into an often exquisite extended metaphor."
Our readers appreciated exegesis and delivery in both Jakes and Swindoll, plus a tasteful measure of self-disclosure.
"When Swindoll speaks, you know he is conveying the word of God with the respect, dignity, and integrity it deserves," says Rob Pochek of Nashville, Illinois. "He communicates with a tremendous openness about his own shortcomings. Rather than Chuck preaching to us, we listen to the Word preaching to and through Chuck."
Valerie McDowell of Lanham, Maryland, says much the same about Jakes. "T.D. Jakes hits the areas America loves to ...