A Letter From the Publisher: Aug. 3, 1987

Television preachers are a wary group these days. Along with their supporters, they tend to blame the press for many of their problems, particularly financial ones. TIME's correspondents who reported this week's cover stories on the fortunes of Jim and Tammy Bakker and their fellow televangelists faced constant reminders that their subjects are as widely noted for their business acumen as for their spiritual charisma. "To some critics," observes Chicago- based Correspondent Barbara Dolan, "these people appear to be almost comical with their emotional appeals. But that faith-healing showmanship can hide the mind of a Wall Street banker."

Along with Los...