Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines' bio

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Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines' bio

Postby William Thornton » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:39 pm

Since Fox completely missed the newsworthy aspect of this. I'll help out.

LifeWay's B & H Publishing just released the autobiography of Jerry Vines. Unfortunately, the publicity surrounding it is focused on an offhand mention in the bio of Vine''s relationship with convicted sex abuser Darryl Gilyard.

Gilyard was one of the shooting stars pumped by Vines and Paige Patterson. He was also a sexual predator who was eventually convicted and served in prison. Vines makes a reference to Gilyard in which he either glosses over or misstates Gilyard's behavior with a teen in Vines' church youth group. He uses the term "flirtation" but admits he may have misunderstood at the time. The victim contacted LifeWay and LifeWay agreed to edit the book in subsequent printings.

ABP has an article on the matter. Follow the links or Google the names and get all you want on the sordid history of this predator.

I like Jerry Vines but it puzzles me why he included any mention of Gilyard. Perhaps it was a case where if he didn't he would be criticized just as severely.

Gilyard, incidentally, is on the comeback trail but social media watchdogs will hound him mercessly. He should leave the ministry.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Sandy » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:59 am

I've got a problem with a pastor who thinks so highly of himself that he writes, and gets Lifeway to publish his autobiography. It probably would have been better to have someone else write a biography, but even then, it seems a bit self serving to me. Of course, Vines is a classic self-promoter, and got caught up in the Gilyard mess precisely because that old, Southern, good-ole-boy, path to prominence and prestige via the "kingmakers" was ingrained in his way of doing things. I think he mentioned Gilyard, and softened the issue considerably in doing so, because he thinks he can polish off some of the tarnish that has accumulated on his reputation as a result. He's getting his spin in print, downplaying the issue considerably in the process. He'll have to take the consequences of all of the discussion that results.

Vines sort of fell out of favor as a result of the Gilyard incident, and even before that, I got the impression that a lot of younger pastors and church leaders thought he was out of touch. Maybe he, Mac Brunson, Steve Gaines and Jerry Sutton could collaborate on a book about how Good-Ole-Boy pastoring can reduce a megachurch's attendance by more than half in a short period of time. :)
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:32 am

Ed: Sandy I doubt that Vines had any problem getting Lifeway to publish his autobiography, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if they invited him to write it.

Personally I prefer Autobiography to Biography be it a pastor or a politician. Claims in an autobiography seem to me to be easier to document or dispute.

As for his account of his association with Gilyard, I imagine he felt compelled to mention it because it is the most damaging thing in his history that detractors point to, and he thought he needed to get a jump on that criticism. I agree with William that it is a mistake for any one to to Judge the Book or the life and Ministry of Vines based on that factor alone.

In that I do not expect this book to shed new light on the take over, I probably will not invest in it. I may however spend some time over at the Mid America Seminary Schenectady extension campus, in the library reading it, after we get back from the ABC-USA Missions conference later this month.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:50 am

William Thornton wrote:
I like Jerry Vines but it puzzles me why he included any mention of Gilyard. Perhaps it was a case where if he didn't he would be criticized just as severely.

Gilyard, incidentally, is on the comeback trail but social media watchdogs will hound him mercessly. He should leave the ministry.


I'm too out of touch with the SBC to know anything about the Gilyard incident. But I was curious as to what you mean by him being on the "come back trail?" Do you mean that some church has hired him?
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Haruo » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:08 am

From one of the links it looked like maybe he was planning to plant his own new church. Sort of thing that cries out for an application of connectionalism. Though of course the recent Roman Catholic experience (not to mention many previous examples in many organizations) shows that connectionalism in and of itself is not a sure solution.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Timothy Bonney » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:23 am

Haruo wrote:From one of the links it looked like maybe he was planning to plant his own new church. Sort of thing that cries out for an application of connectionalism. Though of course the recent Roman Catholic experience (not to mention many previous examples in many organizations) shows that connectionalism in and of itself is not a sure solution.


No, like most systems, connectionalism only works if you follow the rules. That's true in any system.

As Williams says, he should be out of ministry. Whatever church ordained him should revoke his ordination.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:01 pm

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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:07 pm

I was on the same flight with Vines into Atlanta following an SBC. He spent most of his time glad-handing up and down the aisles with everyone he knew. Finally, a flight attendant had to tell him to sit down so they could complete beverage service. He was quite unhappy about that as he went about celebrating the convention. I was not impressed then nor would I buy his book.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Mrs Haruo » Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:25 am

:( Ewwwwww as in walking through a restroom where the toilet overflowed ewwwww. Why any church organization would let a known preditor behind the pulpit is beyond me. :blech:
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:23 am

I recognize that my mod/lib friends are not big fans of Vines but the point here was about the child molestor and Vine's remembrance in his bio of him.

They guy was Vines youth minister. They went on a youth trip. An 18 year old member of the youth group came back and said Gilyard attached her. She now describes it as attempted rape. She met with Vines. He recalls "flirtation" not "attack". The victim, Tiffany Croft, is one reason Gilyard is outed as a serial adulterer, predator, and child sex abuser. She and others, not Vines and Patterson, are more responsible for blowing the whistle on Gilyard illustrating the old practice of putting problem people away quietly so as not to draw attention to our church or our personnel decisions. One hopes that this has changed.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby KeithE » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:30 am

Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: Tim FYI, On Gilyard try http://www.christianpost.com/news/pasto ... ity-70039/

Good article Ed. Shows one can be a good speaker/preacher but still have failures in personal behaviors. “Though I may speak with gravest fire and have the gift to all inspire, but have not love...”

He can have no contact with minors, however, until he enrolls or completes a sex offender therapy program in order to be granted even supervised contact with minors.

This is why his sermons are "adult only" and parents are forced to leave their children at home if they want to attend services.


Despite his past, Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church has felt a beneficial effect from restoring Gilyard to the pulpit. His first service in January drew an estimated 150 people, up from a regular attendance of only five to 10, with dozens attending the most recent service on Sunday.

Why any family with kids would attend his services when their kids cannot worship is beyond me. Maybe the “novelty” evident in the first service in January has worn off.

That Vines would have “groomed" him for ministry at some point in Gilyard’s life can hardly be held against Vines. Neither can Vines’s apparent glossing over the Gilyard story in his autobiography be held too strongly against Vines - not a focus of his book.

But this by Dave can:
I was on the same flight with Vines into Atlanta following an SBC. He spent most of his time glad-handing up and down the aisles with everyone he knew. Finally, a flight attendant had to tell him to sit down so they could complete beverage service. He was quite unhappy about that as he went about celebrating the convention. I was not impressed then nor would I buy his book.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:09 am

If the reviewers are accurate in describing the way Vines handled this in his book, then he missed an opportunity to make a clear, biblical statement about this incident. I understand that mega church pastors, especially those who live by the use of their prestige and influence, aren't prone to admit to mistakes.

I'm not so sure that Vines is all that revered in the SBC any more. Will I read his book? No. Not interested. As far as Gilyard goes, while I personally don't believe he is qualified to serve in ministry any more, in Baptist polity, that's up to any church that wants to give him consideration. I've personally never met a search committee that would even give someone like that a second thought.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Timothy Bonney » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:19 am

William Thornton wrote:I recognize that my mod/lib friends are not big fans of Vines but the point here was about the child molestor and Vine's remembrance in his bio of him.

They guy was Vines youth minister. They went on a youth trip. An 18 year old member of the youth group came back and said Gilyard attached her. She now describes it as attempted rape. She met with Vines. He recalls "flirtation" not "attack". The victim, Tiffany Croft, is one reason Gilyard is outed as a serial adulterer, predator, and child sex abuser. She and others, not Vines and Patterson, are more responsible for blowing the whistle on Gilyard illustrating the old practice of putting problem people away quietly so as not to draw attention to our church or our personnel decisions. One hopes that this has changed.


Yes, the problem of putting people away quietly has almost killed some dioscese of the RCC. I understand there may have been times in years gone by when problem pastors (whatever the problem) might have just been shuffled to another church in the UMC. But the RCC's issues of abuse have been a huge big lesson to other connectional churches. Right now if you did what Gilyard did in the UMC you'd never see another pastorate. Not only does the denomination not want child molesters, but when the denomination is involved in placing the pastors it also becomes much more liable for what that pastor does.

As I've said above, this stuff happens in every kind of church system. But I wonder if Baptists can ever come up with some appropriate mechanism to keep local churches from hiring such people? Maybe not, there is no cure for stupidity. And that is what this congregation is showing.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:24 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:As I've said above, this stuff happens in every kind of church system. But I wonder if Baptists can ever come up with some appropriate mechanism to keep local churches from hiring such people? Maybe not, there is no cure for stupidity. And that is what this congregation is showing.


It would be difficult to imagine that this particular Baptist church, in Jacksonville, Florida, where there was tremendous publicity about Gilyard, would not have known anything, or enough to make a reasonable decision.

Your statement, especially the phrase "...if Baptists can ever come up with some approriate mechanism to keep local churches from hiring such people..." prompted me to get out Walter Shurden's book on the four basic freedoms that he considers to be Baptist distinctives, and examine something like this in light of what he says. There's no "system" among Baptists that carries any weight of ecclesiastical authority which places a church under the authority of a denominational organization, or of another church. There is no way to "keep" or prohibit a Baptist church from doing as it pleases, or as it interprets God's will. I can't imagine what would lead a congregation to choose an unqualified pastor with a past like Gilyard. It's not about redemption or forgiveness, but about the higher standard to which pastors and church officers are held. I've seen search committees that are ridiculously ill-equipped, and others that comb through such finite details that they are ineffective. In the long run, you have to hope that this is in God's hands, and he'll be glorified in the end.

I have noticed that African American churches in particular tend to give less scrutiny to their potential pastors than most other Baptist churches do. At my last church in Houston, we were approached by a couple of individuals who were "pastors" for a group of about 70 people who had left a large African American Baptist church a couple of miles away because their pastor had control of the church checkbook, and things were happening that indicated he was spending a lot of the money on personal needs, such as a home renovation, new vehicle, new clothes, etc. We actually sponsored them as a mission church that met in our building. They were the only ones out of a congregation of a thousand people who were concerned about the absolute power the pastor held, especially over the offerings, and the lack of accountability. Maybe it is a cultural thing, I don't know.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Timothy Bonney » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:33 pm

Sandy, American Baptists have a helping system of recognition for clergy. If a clergy person isn't recognized that is often a red flag that there is a problem. But even then the local church can hire whom ever.

I used to teach using Shurden's four freedoms book. I always thought it was a good book in teaching a basic Baptist perspective. The views now seem prety foreign to me. But that is because I've changed, not because Shurden or Baptists have changed.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:13 pm

Stephen, you are going to be on topic and relevant here or not comment. Thanks.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:05 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:Sandy, American Baptists have a helping system of recognition for clergy. If a clergy person isn't recognized that is often a red flag that there is a problem. But even then the local church can hire whom ever.

I used to teach using Shurden's four freedoms book. I always thought it was a good book in teaching a basic Baptist perspective. The views now seem prety foreign to me. But that is because I've changed, not because Shurden or Baptists have changed.


It's not that difficult for a search committee in a Southern Baptist church to pick up the phone and contact references or individuals who can give a truthful recommendation, or a red flag warning, on a pastoral candidate. But I am amazed at how things slip by. I was the "advisor" to the search committee at my last church in Houston, and there were lots of things they missed when they were going through piles of resumes. I had to explain to them the difference between the six SBC operated seminaries, state convention-related schools, and independent schools, and the differences between accredited and non-accredited seminaries, and diploma mills. One candidate that they focused on had a record of splitting churches, which could have been easily discovered by a couple of phone calls. Another one, the "ideal" candidate, 35 years old, four kids, trophy wife, had been divorced and re-married between age 18 and 21, and failed to mention that to the committee. They didn't discover that until a deacon at his current church inadvertently mentioned it. The attraction to both of those men was that they were "good preachers." To me, that's a subjective analysis. And I guess that Gilyard is probably in the category of being a "good preacher."

My wife and I go on retreat occasionally at a little country inn near Buckhannon, West Virginia, and when we're there on the weekend, we go to a little Baptist church about 7 miles up a "holler." It's a "half-time" church, sharing its pastor with another congregation. He came from a Southern Baptist church in Kentucky, and we thought the church was independent, since it didn't really give evidence of belonging to a denomination but it turned out to be American Baptist. He's apparently the first pastor they called who wasn't on the recommended clergy list for American Baptists, but that is apparently pretty common in West Virginia, where many ABC-USA churches have Southern, Southeastern and Liberty graduates as pastors.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Timothy Bonney » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:09 pm

The skill of search committees is quite varied. I've interviewed with some very insightful committees. And I've interviewed with a few who really didn't seem to know what they were doing.

As you say, a lot of search committee members know nothing about seminaries, accreditation, etc. I'm glad you were advising them. In the ABC the Area Minister often takes on that role. But even with good advise, search committees can really decide to blow it if they want.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:13 am

Most state bodies, some local associations, and all intentional interim ministers can train a search committee. A good interim can also serve as the advisor on process for a search committee. The problem often is that the churches do not avail themselves of the resources that are available to them. In the process, two things are essential. The first is to create a church profile in which the congregation articulates who they are. This is often the sticking point because many churches will tell you, "We know who we are." The written expression of that identity is a great help to candidates, and it often provides the church a look at itself that hasn't been taken in years, if at all.

The second task is to draft a candidate profile reflecting the needs and desires of the congregation. Then the congregation can match that profile to the people being considered. Trial sermons prove nothing. R. G. Lee refused to ever preach one, and he was right. Dr. Lee said, "Any fool can preach one." The emphasis needs to be on a far wider set of information. Also, congregations MUST invest in a criminal background check on any serious candidate. I would not want to serve a church that did not.

References are not the most reliable. All of us put the people on our resumes who will say good things about us. I teach committees to ask those references, "Can you give me the name and telephone number of someone else who knows this person with whom I could talk?" Those second (and sometimes third) tier people become the more reliable providers of information for the church. The lack of due diligence on the part of search committees is one of the greatest problems in Baptist life. It provides not only bad matches for congregations but introduces folks who come with agendas to change a church. Here in Virginia, that is especially true of some who come to churches affiliated with the BGAV with the sole purpose of getting the church to change its affiliation to the SBCV. Committees need to know the relationships of potential pastors to state bodies and their desires in that realm. I know one large church that got such a pastor and had 400 members go to another congregation over the way the change of state conventions was done.
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Sandy » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:02 am

I would guess that even after the search committee has done excellent work, most people in the congregation are going to vote based on what they think of the "trial sermon." I once asked an older member how he felt about the committee's choice after an open forum where they got to ask all the questions they wanted. He was pleased, thought the guy was good, but said, "I'll wait to decide after I hear him preach."
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Re: Convicted child molester dominates talk of Jerry Vines'

Postby Lou » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:04 am

Sandy makes a good point about the weight that is given to the 'trial sermon' that the prospective pastor preaches before a congregational vote is taken to call him/her as pastor. That might be due to the assumption on the part of Joe and Jane Churchmember that the Search Committee has performed due diligence in vetting the candidate on all other matters (an assumption that might or might not be true). And since the Sunday morning sermon is a lot of folks' primary (if not only) point of contact with the pastor's ministry, I suppose it's understandable--if not necessarily laudable--that folks might weigh an individual's candidacy with the scales tipped one way or another based on the strength of that single sermon.
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