08/03/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT
by T.D. Jakes
For many women, "Stand By Your Man" isn't just a song, it's a way of life—and a religious imperative. But T.D. Jakes, a nondenominational evangelist with a huge TV following, has crafted a message that bridges feminism and Christian fundamentalism. In a ground-breaking book that, in biblical terms, echoes what feminists have said for decades, Jakes argues that high aspirations and achievements are not incompatible with love, marriage and sacred duty. Disavowing the stereotype of born-again women as devout doormats, he encourages them to strive for financial success, and not to marry men who are threatened by it. "Both men and women should realize that it doesn't matter who has what individually," he says. "It is the sum of the parts that makes for a strong marriage."
Jakes, whose last book, 1993's Woman, Thou Art Loosed! sold well over a million copies, has been compared to Oprah
Winfrey for his protean appeal, charisma and candor about personal issues like excess poundage. And the most moving passage of his latest book is perhaps its most intimate: He describes his own inability to comfort his wife after her mother's death. The tenderness that Jakes expresses in that crisis offers inspiring proof that he practices what he preaches. Readers just might find a new model for their own mates and marriages. (Putnam, $19.95)
Bottom Line: A provocative sermon for devout women on how to have it all