"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.