Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jerry Vines Autobiography: An Exercise in Narcissism or Self Defense? A Little of Both

In the prologue of Jerry Vines' new autobiography "My Life and Ministry", Vines makes the following opening statement:
"To write one's autobiography is either an exercise in narcissism or done in self defense! Perhaps mine is a mixture of both. I guess I'm writing for my own benefit more than anything else."
After reading the book myself, I'm glad Vines admits this. As you'll see in my next post, when he wrote about Darrell Gilyard it surely was an exercise in self-defense, an attempt to deflect some of the criticism that has come his way over being the one who propelled Gilyard to prominence without doing any due diligence to check out his background before recommending him for an all expenses-paid trip to seminary in Texas.

Also, I have been very critical of Vines for going to speak at Gilyard's church after it became known that Gilyard not only showed himself to be a serial philanderer and possible rapist in multiple churches in Texas, but even after Vines had knowledge of Gilyard's own sexual advances toward one of his 17 year-old high school senior church members. Here is an example of Christa Brown's criticism of Vines and Patterson on the Gilyard matter.

I haven't always been critical of Vines in my writing. Vines was my pastor for about 18 years, and I have written fondly of Vines, for example here. I've even been criticized by a local metro writer for my praise of Vines in that article.

But whatever respect I had for Vines has almost completely waned after I read his section on Gilyard. He did not tell the complete truth, and it was a poor attempt to make himself and Paige Patterson out to be the hereos in the whole sordid Gilyard affair, when that is not so. In fact, Vines tells an awful fib about the 17 year-old high school senior at his church that I'll write about in my next blog post. Why would he do this? Was it just poor editing? No, Vines meticulously prepares his sermons and I'll assume his books, there is no reason he or his editor would not fact-check and get the story right, or go back to the speak to the then 17-year old before publishing the book. One must assume he wrote this because of his Prologue admission: self defense and narcissism, to help him gloss over the biggest stain of his ministry: pushing Darrell Gilyard to prominence back in the late 1980's.

Vines' book is completely silent on his role in the Ergun Caner affair, arguably the biggest scandal in the SBC in the past 10 years. Jerry Vines was one of the ministers who actively and purposefully catapulted Caner to instant stardom in 2001 just weeks after 9/11, giving Caner a platform to fool SBC'ers into thinking Caner was an ex-Jihadist trained in terrorism.

Why did Vines not attempt to explain away the Caner affair? Probably because he can't. It is too embarrassing for him and the others who helped Caner back in 2001 without bothering to look into his story, which would have been easy enough. Caner was a talented speaker with an incredible story that would bring people to hear him - so why bother questioning the basic elements of his story, right? Silence is probably the best tact to take in the Caner mess, lest Vines embarrass his friends who were involved as well.

But one of the legacies Vines' leaves behind that he can't spin himself out of: he will be the man who catapulted BOTH Darrell Gilyard and Ergun Caner to prominence in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Stay tuned for my next blog post analyzing Vines' section on Gilyard.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Narcissism, definitely narcissism!

Anonymous said...

Welcome the the SBC, folks!

Popcorn, get your popcorn! Cotton candy!! Cold drinks!!!

Now send in the clowns!

Anonymous said...

Are you forgetting here that Peter Lumpkins claims that he writes Vines' Sunday school material. He has claimed to edit for a lot of famous SBC writers. Perhaps Lumpkings wrote the Gilyard saga for Vines, and he certainly would have been silent on Caner!

Anonymous said...

Vines probably simply trusted Caner's story. I can't find much fault there. A lot of people were deceived by Ergun's lying, myself included. I never really liked his persona, but i would have never imagined that he concocted his muslin upbringing story. I think that you should drop that point unless you have objective evidence that vines allowed Caner to speak while knowing of his deceit. It is nearly impossible for any preacher to do a complete background check on every potential guest speaker.

The situation with Gillyard does seem perplexing. For some reason, decent black preachers are promoted heavily in SBC circles, even when they aren't really as qualified as much as others. Larry Grays is another example of such.

Doug said...

Anonymous...i understand your point about the difficulty of "vetting" everyone who speaks at our churches. We have all been lied to and deceived at one time or another. However, individuals like Vines have a greater responsibility than your average pastor because of their stature, reputation and the ability to give people like Caner and Gilyard a very big and public platform. I do hope that Vines has at least learned from these mistakes and is taking much more care with whom he endorses.

Anonymous said...

Vines continues to remain silent on Caner. His silence is deafening. And incriminating.

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose that Vines is making sure that the facts are completely out before responding? I think that Vines was introduced to Caner by someone. He certainly was not the first person to invite Caner on to his pulpit.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Vines loves him some Jerry Vines. He should have let someone else write the book

Anonymous said...

Won't be long till this one makes it to tho shelves of the Dollar stores.

Anonymous said...

Who is Jerry Vines? I never heard of him. I guess my Methodist and Presbyterian background leaves me clueless. Is Vines a Catholic? Why should I care about him or what he says and writes? Sounds like a big fish in a very small pond. What has he ever done for society?

Anonymous said...

I am printing a link to this blog post, and I will insert it inside of every copy of this book that is on the shelf at both of our local Christian bookstores.
Everyone that buys the book will come here to read this blog post.

New BBC Open Forum said...

For some reason, decent black preachers are promoted heavily in SBC circles, even when they aren't really as qualified as much as others.

One of the most glaring examples of this phenomenon is Fred Luter. A quick Google search of his name two years ago resulted in story and story about "the first black president of the SBC." Little, if anything, about his qualifications, just that he's black. I thought we were supposed to be colorblind in this day and age.

The fact that he ran UNOPPOSED indicated several possible things to me.

1. He was not really qualified (not saying he was or was not as I don't know) and would have lost had a more qualified candidate run against him.

2. It was all a scheme concocted (by whom?) to insure that "the first black president of the SBC" would be elected. In other words, a publicity stunt.

If I were Luter I would be offended that TPTB in the SBC thought it necessary that I run unopposed. It wasn't a "courtesy" as some put it. I think they felt it was necessary to insure he won.

I would have wanted one or more worthy opponents just so I would know, if I were elected, that I had won because people thought I was the most qualified candidate for the job, not because of the color of my skin. Instead he had the job handed to him on a platter. Not a very sweet victory it seems.

All those people gushing over what a great day it was two years ago because the SBC elected an "African American" president and how this somehow erases over a century of discrimination and marginalization of blacks is baloney, and it's no more obvious to anyone than the black people they're trying to impress. It's no different than all the people who voted for Obama simply because he's black. (They ignore the fact that he's half white and actually less than "half" black. He "looks like us" and calls himself "African American," so he's "black.")

I've heard Luter preach. It was painful. Yelling, jumping up and down, and swinging a handkerchief around over your head doesn't make what you say any more profound. Quite the contrary, it makes you look ridiculous. Unfortunately, at least in the pulpit, that's about all he seems to have going for him. He's loud, and he can string together a bunch of words in a crescendoing, sing-song style with "uh" tacked onto the end of every word.

He couldn't resist bragging about Obama calling him after he "won" the election. And Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. What? GWB didn't call? You know good and well Obama didn't call Bryant Whatshisname when he was elected prez four years ago. (I'm sorry, but I can never think of that guy's last name. He was so unmemorable.) The ONLY reason Obama and Clinton called Luter was to congratulate him for being elected because he's black. I wouldn't be surprised if Jimmy Carter has called other president-elects.

New BBC Open Forum said...

As far as I can tell Luter has done absolutely nothing to address the issue of clergy sex abuse in the SBC. He ignored an invitation to meet with representatives of SNAP at the convention last year.

This black Christian organization got it right in regards to Gilyard.

We ran the sad and unfortunate article below last week. We showed great restraint by not commenting about this matter to this point, as we had made ourselves very clear about this issue two years ago, and we were hoping that a nationally known Baptist pastor or a leader from one of the national Baptist conventions would deal with this matter. Since no one has really responded to this tragic situation publicly, let it be clear, from an evangelical, Bible-believing, Baptist, Christian standpoint, while the church has and will forgive, work with, and restore a pastor for numerous sins and failures which some pastors have been involved in, child molestation and being convicted and registered as a pedophile/sex offender is not one of those sins that you can commit and expect to remain in the pastorate as the spiritual leader of adults or children.

Debbie Kaufman said...

BBC: We would disagree on Luter's qualifications. He has proven he was qualified by serving two terms well. His qualifications were much more than being black, although that was significant and a step in the right direction. Be careful that your comments do not become racist as they are bordering in that direction, intentional or not. And do not compare him to Darrel Gilyard and his qualifications for anything.

Anonymous said...

The comment stream from this post reveals a great deal about Tom Rich and his followers. Allowing racist, bigoted remarks like this speaks volumes. Any credibility you may have had has been lost. Calling Dr. Vines a liar and allowing a very well respected minister's reputation, regardless of his race, to be besmirched is inexcuseable- regardless of what you are writing about.

Anonymous said...

Scroll halfway down the left side of his Facebook page and you will see him in a group picture with Emir Caner.

https://www.facebook.com/DrJerryVines

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

My followers. LOL!!! Nice attempt Anon! Is that Tim, Peter, or Jon?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon @ 10:32 P.M. "It is nearly impossible for any preacher to do a complete background check on every potential guest speaker" Wow, well what else did a JSO detective previously do but investigate and release a bloggers name to the church, surely they could assist with a background check on a guest speaker! And Anon @ 11:25 A.M. today, that is by far the best comment yet, great idea, one could also print out the link to this blog and place it neatly in offering plates when they are being passed around.

Anonymous said...

I hope you gave your former pastor a courtesy call and an opportunity to respond to your question. It is the right thing to do. No man is perfect, and I really don't know a more humble man. He has done a lot of good and I truly hope that you are not trying put someone else's wrong doing on him.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Yes, I did attempt to speak to Jerry. He did not call me back. Left my email and my phone.

Anonymous said...

AMAZING THAT YOU ALL VILIFY PEOPLE WHO HAVE WON MORE PEOPLE TO CHRIST THEN ANY OF YOU WILL IN 10 LIFE TIMES.
For instance Jerry Vines vs the embittered little "watchdog". The "watchdog" Oooo I'm scared.

Anonymous said...

lyard for his Texas troubles. Also, a woman who says she resisted Gilyard’s unwanted advances when she was 18 says that she told her pastor, Jerry Vines, about it at the time. Nevertheless, she reports that Vines later spoke at Gilyard’s church, thereby giving continuing credibility to Gilyard.

Were their 2 involved or did somone get the age wrong?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:51...
So your CAPITALIZED point is?....
As long as I win people to Christ in public I can do or fail to do whatever I want in private? Please continue...And drop the caps!

New BBC Open Forum said...

And do not compare him to Darrel Gilyard and his qualifications for anything.

I beg your pardon? Thinking perhaps I'd misworded something, I just went back and read my comment. Other than one typo ("and" instead of "after"), I said nothing that could remotely be interpreted as a comparison of those two men! Why in the world would you think I was comparing Gilyard to Luter in any way? You know, Debbie, I agree with almost everything I've seen you write. I really do! But ridiculous statements like that one are precisely why you and I could never communicate.

I don't know if Luter has "served two terms well" or not. I don't know of anything he's done (which I could say of most SBC presidents... it's really a figurehead position) and I certainly can't say he's done anything bad, but I know one thing he has NOT done, and that's to publicly speak out against the likes of Darrell Gilyard and to address the problem of clergy sex abuse in the SBC.

I wrote about this in response to the question, "What good will it do if the SBC president did issue a statement on abuse?" I suggested an idea for a statement Luter could make which might have done a lot of good. (It begins right below his photo.)

The fact is, TPTB in the SBC wanted to elect a black man as president of the SBC to make a statement. Why did they ask no one else to run against him? If he was the best candidate (and he may very well have been... where did I say he was not?), why not at least give him the consideration of "winning" an election on his own merit? If anyone is "racist" in this situation, it's whoever decided someone should be elected based upon the color of his skin and then made certain he had no opposition. To me this is an insult to Fred Luter, and I would think it would have been to him, too. I know that's not politically correct to acknowledge the elephant in the room, but I really don't care. I try to choose my words carefully. I said what I meant and meant what I said. The last time I watched Luter preach I was literally embarrassed because of his preaching style and lack of substance. It wasn't a sermon; it was a performance. As I said, I do not know if Luter was/is qualified or not and did not pass any judgment on his qualifications to serve as president of the SBC. My critique was of his preaching only. Therefore, I'm not sure how you could disagree with me concerning his qualifications to be SBC prez since I didn't state an opinion.

I just know of one glaring issue he's never publicly addressed. Well, two issues actually. You used to blog a lot about the second one. I was in the process of catching up on your blog when you deleted it. In all sincerity, it sure would be helpful if you put it back up, maybe on Blogger or another platform that isn't so vulnerable to attacks.

Anonymous said...

Question: if sexual advances were made to a minor at FBCJ by Gilyard and the church leadership (Vines) knew about it, then legally it should gave been reported to DCF! Trinity chose to not do this and it cost them years later in law suits. Did the church report such behavior to the authorities?

Anonymous said...

WD - is the only one asserting 17. I have found only one citation of an 18 year old - undesired advances claim. Please substantiate your claim.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Not sure I understand your question. Stay tuned, more to come soon.

Anonymous said...

Your article cites an 17 year old from fbcj with unwanted advances. Ms. Brown says 18. Just wondering whip is correct or was there 2 separate incidents at fbcj?

Debbie Kaufman said...

BBC: No leader of the SBC has addressed any sexual issue, or any issue for that matter that is plaguing the SBC and as you know there are many. That is a problem as I know they are aware of them. It is frustrating but doesn't mean they are not qualified for leadership.

We needed to include black people in leadership roles. Fred Luter is not a token black, but fully qualified for the role of President and he has done his job well, although it does bother me that no mention was made of Mahaney or other sex scandals.


But...nothing was mentioned from past white Presidents either. Not one time. I don't know why that is, but it seems to be the pattern among all leadership to their detriment and the SBC's. He ran unopposed, so what? That means nothing. It was 2012 and it was time we had blacks in leadership.You admit that you do not know Luter's record yet it was something I followed. I would suggest looking it up, it is quite impressive.

I have nothing else to write about, which is why my blog was so easy to attack. I wanted to leave it up for the evidence on Caner, and other things I wrote about, but I wasn't always there to check it. It kept getting attacked and I felt deleting it was the right thing to do as there was well documented evidence elsewhere.

Thank you for the support BBC, this is the only thing I think I have disagreed with you on. And that's ok. One thing in all these years is not going to diminish the respect I have had for you and your writings as well.

Anonymous said...

I think that Tom can also make claim the way Vines did. As a former deacon during the Lindsay and Vines years I can tell you that Vines is like Al Gore---phony as a 3 dollar bill and as plastic as a credit card in your wallet or purse.

Anonymous said...

"Vines' book is completely silent on his role in the Ergun Caner affair, arguably the biggest scandal in the SBC in the past 10 years. "

Really? Even bigger than Al Mohler's promoting and defending CJ Mahaney of SGM? the guy fled Maryland "to be near SBTS" for crying out loud. There is a big class action suit for conspiracy to cover up child molestations. Nate Morales?

CJ's staff and family are hired at SBTS over SBC people. I mean, which part of that do you not get.

I cannot believe you think Caner worse than the SBC's involvement with SGM which has a ton of child molestation victims over a course of 30 years.

New BBC Open Forum said...

No leader of the SBC has addressed any sexual issue, or any issue for that matter that is plaguing the SBC and as you know there are many. That is a problem as I know they are aware of them. It is frustrating but doesn't mean they are not qualified for leadership.

If this doesn't disqualify someone from a leadership role, I don't know what does. This is a glaring lack of leadership.

Anonymous said...

Who has Al hired from Mahaneys clan?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Wonder who thi anonymous is?

Debbie Kaufman said...

BBC: I agree it should be addressed by leadership. No disagreement. But it's like Caner repenting, it isn't going to happen now. There is still going to be leaders in the SBC. Right now it has to be a point of muteness. Otherwise you are not going to have any leadership because no one is speaking out against it. None, Zero, Zip. Many who are layman, many who are going to be in leadership, it's just not going to happen. For now I expect and accept it, although I am going to still speak out. It can't disqualify for leadership.

When I am voting for a candidate, I know nothing will be said and based on that reality, I must choose based on other qualifications.

Anonymous said...

"Who is Jerry Vines?"

I assume since you are leaving comments on a web site that you are familiar with Google.

Anonymous said...

"AMAZING THAT YOU ALL VILIFY PEOPLE WHO HAVE WON MORE PEOPLE TO CHRIST THEN ANY OF YOU WILL IN 10 LIFE TIMES."

The TROLL is back and his caps lock is still stuck on his keyboard.

Anonymous said...

5:37

You have no idea what any of our ministries are in regards to the Kingdom

Anonymous said...

"You have no idea what any of our ministries are in regards to the Kingdom"

DFTT