Interview with Dr. Jerry Vines

February 13, 2008

Dr. Jerry VinesWe are privileged to bring you today an interview with Dr. Jerry Vines, Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville Florida, and founder of Jerry Vines Ministries. He currently resides in Georgia where, he assures us, he has not taken to riding Harleys (the picture above was used for a special event during his ministry at FBC Jacksonville).

He is a gracious man to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude. His faithfulness to the Lord’s call to minster to His people, to lead his family to honor God, and to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are lost, is a worthy example for us all to emulate.

In the course of this interview, Dr. Vines shares his thoughts and convictions regarding why he is Southern Baptist, the impact of the current trends of Calvinism in our convention, our response to the challenge of postmodernism, and other issues.

Enjoy!

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Tim Rogers

Brother Scott,

Great job! I know that you enjoyed your visit with Dr. Vines. Word has it that he is going to treat all of the SBC Today collaborators to a steak dinner in Indy–NOT!

He is a gracious person to be around. In Jax, he gave some of his books and tapes away from the pulpit. One young man came up and Dr. Vines asked him to pass them out. The young man began walking down the isle and throwing them out to the people. Dr. Vines became so enthralled in watching the tapes flying out to the people that he missed the last two steps and fell. He immediately announced that he was okay. I joked with him later that he saw those tapes flying out and he was so tight that he was trying to get out there and catch one of them. :>) He is a great man to get to know.

Blessings,
Tim

Scott Gordon

Tim,

That’s funny.

I enjoyed the time talking with him…and you can host the steak dinner treat :-)

Sola Gratia!

Bart Barber

Golden Corral, anyone? :-)

Scott Gordon

Dr. Bart,

Welcome to the table…but Golden Corral? OK. ;-)

Sola Gratia!

Tim Rogers

Brother Scott,

Brother Bart is referencing an inside joke that only he, Brother Robin and myself understand.

Blessings,
Tim

Scott Gordon

Tim,

OK. No problem.

Great post today on your blog.

By Grace Alone.

irreverend fox

Baptists in Ohio call Golden Coral “Sweet Beulah Land”.

Joe Stewart

To get back on task, I do appreciate the interview.
Blessings Joe

Tim Rogers

Brother Joe,

Thanks for getting us back on task.

To the Rest,

I tease Brother Robin because when we were in Texas, I told Robin that I wanted to eat a steak, since I was in Texas. He stopped me off at a Golden Corral. :>) Of course, I would have eaten a hamburger at “Whataburger”.

Blessings,
Tim

Jim Shaver

Scott, Where are you in Missouri?

Scott Gordon

Jim,

I am in NE KC.

Sola Gratia!

chadwick

Scott,

I discern that your [obvious] laughter when Vines told you he was reading Grudem’s Systematic Theology book was a “Non-Arminian Chuckle.” ;)

Only discerning “Non-Arminians” can “interpret” that chuckle. :D

My next post, in conjunction with SBCEnquirer, will be “Interpretting Sola Gracia’s ‘Non-Arminian’ Chuckle”

Still Chuckling,
chadwick

Scott Gordon

Chadwick,

In a-typical ‘Fantasy Land’ style, let me begin by saying it’s Sola Gratia!…not Sola Gracia!

;-)

What do you mean?…Dr. Grudem’s tome is a quite extensive and exhausting (I exhaustive) work.

I look forward to the made for TV movie ‘The Non-Arminian Chuckle: The Sola Gratia Story’, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Scott Gordon (I’ve been told C. Thomas Howel might be a better fit, but I must categorically disagree :-) )

By Grace Alone!

Robin Foster

Just to set the record straight, I offered Cousins BBQ. But Noooooo, Tim didn’t want that. Then I left it up to him. He said Whataburger. I thought, “Get real!” I then offered Golden Corral. I mean, when you chose Whataburger over Cousins, you can’t have that good of a palate and I figured Tim would have felt like a king at the GC. Anyways, they don’t know what good BBQ is on the east coast.

:-D

Scott Gordon

Robin,

My brother, you and the rest of the boys need to come over here to KC and get some REAL barbeque! Gates’, Arthur Bryant’s, KC Masterpiece, Jack’s Stack…

For my taste, the ribs at Gates are as close to ambrosia as we will get this side of heaven!

:-D

Sola Gratia!

Rory

Why did Mr. Vines preach at Gilyard’s church knowing what he knew about him? Why did he not warn the congregation?

Tone

Uhhhhh Rory, Gilyard’s church knew about his past misdeeds and they still chose to bring him as their pastor.

Since when is it another pastor’s job or responsibility to tell a church whom has already hired someone, knowing their past, about something they already knew about?

Go bark up another tree.

Tim Rogers

Brother Rory,

What should Dr. Vines have done if he were to believe that Gillyard were back on the straight and narrow?

Blessings,
Tim

Rory

Well, speaking there gives Gilyard credibility from a high and mighty SBC’er and affirms him.
So Tone, if the congregation says the sexual misdeeds are ok, then no problem? Where is his Nathan?

And considering this has been going on for a long time and they all knew it, how would they know for sure he is on the straight and narrow? He has proven not to be trustworthy long ago. Seems to me according to 1 Tim 2 he is not above reproach to the ‘outside’ and may not be qualified for ministry at all.

Nice to see how much you all think of the victims. After all, they are just women.

Tone

Nice thread hijack.

Again, please go bark up another tree.

Tim Rogers

Brother Rory,

Try making some sense in your next comment. If a preacher falls and refuses to get counseling and begins another ministry in another city, then stays but all public appearances straight; what should someone do when they are asked to speak in the pulpit?

Are you saying that someone should not speak in another person’s pulpit unless there is 100% agreement? Are you saying that if one disagrees with someone and goes to speak in their pulpit, then they are advocating everything the person has done, or is doing–even though they do not know it?

And some want to call me legalistic. :>0

Blessings,
Tim

A 10-40 Windows Missionary

Are we speaking of the man who alone tried to hijack the IMB’s work among Muslims with his ill informed and inflammatory comment about the man that Muslims consider a prophet?

Tim Rogers

Brother/Sister 10-40 M,

Are you saying that Mohammad did not marry a 9 year old girl?

Blessings,
Tim

Tone

“A skunk by any other name…”

Another IMB M

Tim,

Scholars and authorities are divided on what actually took place, but most think the existing custom, among both Christians and Jews was that this was an engagement, not a marriage. But, do not believe all you read, from me or the Caners.

Scott Gordon

Apparently those who are commenting here in a negative way about Dr. Vines have nothing they can say in disputation or refutation of his beliefs. Therefore, those people are left to try to twist circumstances from this man’s life in order to discredit him.

How horrible.

I doubt that anyone of us have done everything perfectly in our ministries…have never spoken and thought better of it later or spoken and been taken out of context. Here again we see people who do not like direct and concisely spoken truth so they must take to insinuation and various ad hominem attacks. I’d like to say that I have never been guilty of such thinking or actions, but I have.

Maybe it’s time to be reminded that the issues at stake are not whether you personally like men like Dr. Vines or Dr. Patterson or Dr. Mohler…the issues are about our faithfulness to the God of creation, who reveals Himself in Scripture, who asks us to call Him Father, and gave His only begotten Son to live a sinless life, die on the cross for our sins, and rise again from the dead three days later to prove that only in the name of Jesus Christ alone do we have any hope of salvation.

That, my friends, is the bottom line.

By Grace Alone.

Tim Rogers

Brother/Sister Another IMB M,

Ok, I will accept your argument of most other scholars. The 9 year old girl was engaged [sic] to Mohammad. When do most scholars say the marriage was consummated?

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother/Sister Another IMB M,

One other thing. There is no Christian tradition or culture, that I am aware of, where a grown man is engaged to a 9 year old girl–and it be acceptable

Blessings,
Tim
.

A 10-40 Windows Missionary

Tim,

I appre4ciate you answering my comment, but you focused in on the third word of Dr. Vines comment, not the first two…I would rather start at the first of his comment and then move on, rather than at the end and move backward.

Tone

We could all sit here forever and discuss what is right and wrong, 10-40. You believe what you believe, others believe differently.

It happened six years ago. What exactly is your point in rehashing it now?

Is it you have a bone to pick with Jerry Vines because of the Mohammed comments or is it really because of his theology and leadership within the SBC?

At least be honest with your intentions. If it is genuinely the former, again, it’s been six years.

stuart

When Pat Robertson made his comment about assassinating Hugo Chavez a few years ago, the mission work in that country was hindered. In many respects, it still has not recovered. And that is in a supposedly “open” country, where Christianity isn’t outlawed and where people don’t put their lives at risk for converting to the Christian faith.

So if a missionary in the 10-40 window–where countries are closed, where the work is hard, and where both missionaries and national believers put their lives on the line daily–still finds those comments regrettable six years later, I’ll not question his theological presuppositions or accuse him of having poor intentions towards Dr. Vines.

Granted, 10-40’s comments weren’t particularly germaine to this thread. But is it questioning Dr. Vines’ integrity to acknowledge that the commnets–even if historically accurate–quite possibly made advancing the Kingdom in that part of the world more difficult?

Anecdotally, I was more bothered the next year when he made derogatory comments about people with honorary doctorates since I was sitting next to Dr. Howard Hendricks, a man who I don’t think Dr. Vines would ever intentionally insult with the moniker “Tweedle Dee Dee”, when the remarks were made. I’ve gotten over it. But then, the comment didn’t make my job more difficult or put my life more in danger.

So perhaps we could all agree that if there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that we who trade in words should be careful when choosing them, even when they contain truth. The lines that might garner the loudest amens or the most applause aren’t necessarily always the wisest or most appropriate.

Thank you, Lord, that even the best preachers of a given generation are not perfect, and that their sinful human nature makes them no more or no less in need of a perfect Savior than the rest of us.

stuart

Scott,

More to the point of the interview, I wish you would have asked for an example or two of the “militant Calvinism” of which he speaks, especially since phrases like that could likely contribute to the “fear” you referenced in your follow-up question.

Tone

Stuart, you said…

“…the commnets–even if historically accurate–quite possibly made advancing the Kingdom in that part of the world more difficult?”

Even though I do believe the comments to be 100% accurate, I certainly can see the concern about causing problems in that part of the world for missionaries.

On that we can agree. I don’t think he or anyone would intentionally want to cause problems for our missionaries in any part of the world.

Scott Gordon

Stuart,

I cannot speak for Dr. Vines, but I can speak for myself.

I would concur with Dr. Vines about those I consider being militant Calvinists. This goes back to the time when I was settling for myself what I believed the Bible taught about salvation, sovereignty, and responsibility. I landed solidly in the reformed camp, but I soon became annoyed with at least one of my friends who espoused the same conviction but regarded anyone who disagreed with him as a heretic. That was precisely the term he used. I have no toleration for the Calvinist crusader who considers it his mission to stomp on all non-Calvinists and denigrates them by classifying them in the same boat as Benny Hinn or Charles Capps. I prefer to have the same relationship with my less/non-Calvinistic brothers as Whitefield had with Wesley…one of deep respect for the godliness of character I see in so many of my brothers.

Sola Gratia!

stuart

Scott,

Thanks for that response. It’s basically my sentiment too. I just find it equally unfortunate that often “militant” isn’t explained so thoughtfully or labels like “Hyper” get applied erroneoulsy, which can’t help but lead to the fear you referenced in your follow-up question.

Scott Gordon

Stuart,

True.

ABClay

Greetings all,
Let me start off by saying that I am what is commonly referred to as a “Calvinist” and I would like to mention a word or two about this interview.
It is unfortunate that Dr. Vines used the term “militant Calvinist”, but I think he sort of defined the term when he said that they “cause problems in the church” and “kill evangelism”.
I will try to address the latter statement first. How does a Calvinist “kill evangelism”? The only two things that I can picture here is either a “hyper” killing, or a killing that takes place when the number of baptisms go down. In a day and age where a successful sermon is measured by how many people “come down front” and perform a “Romanesque” ritual of saying a prayer and being baptized into the church, it is obvious how Dr. Vines could somewhat be vindicated in stating that Calvinists “kill evangelism”.
As for the former statement of “militant Calvinists” causing “problems in the church”, this one is a bit more difficult to understand. I look around the landscape of our convention and the problems that I see in our churches are not “Calvinistic” in nature. How can “militant Calvinism” be blamed for a “wide gate” easy-believism that causes our Church rolls to be filled with many people who show no signs of the Holy Spirit working in their lives to bring them to conformity with Christ? How can “militant Calvinism” be blamed for the near absence of doctrine in the preaching, for it has been replaced by “sermonettes for Christianettes” that more closely resemble a speech from Joyce Meyer than a sermon from Whitefield, Wesley, or (insert your favorite bible teacher here). How can “militant Calvinism” be blamed for the lack of church discipline that causes many Southern Baptist Churches today to more resemble the Church at Corinth than the Church at Philadelphia?
If any of you squirm at the thought of church discipline, I need it. I need brothers and sisters in Christ who will lovingly correct me and show me how I am violating my liberties in Christ or being unloving to my neighbor. This CANNOT take place in a church that is, to a great degree, unregenerate.
Maybe the problems that Dr. Vines is speaking of are related to the almost inevitable departure that the Calvinist must make from his church once he embraces the doctrines of Grace. It usually goes like this: The “militant Calvinist” actually begins to read the notes that are in his MacArthur Study bible and compares them to what his pastor is saying from the pulpit. It isn’t long before the “militant Calvinist” begins to ask questions about what is being preached and how it stands in light of what the scripture actually says. Soon the “militant Calvinist” begins to read about the reformers, the great evangelists and missionaries of the past, and visit the (dare I say it) Desiring God website. Then the “militant Calvinist” begins to be called names, like “hyper-Calvinist” and told that he needs to rid himself of his “intellectual pride” and repent for questioning the “man of God”. It isn’t long before the “militant Calvinist” cannot stand to attend services any longer because of the taste of vomit that he gets in his mouth every Sunday at church. Thus the plight of the “militant Calvinist”.
If my pastor were an Arminian and told me, “You are wrong, I love you, and know that every time you come to church you will hear a message based upon a system of synergistic soteriology and I will not cease to try and convince you that I am right”, I could handle that. At the very least, I can admit that Arminianism, when taught properly, is congruous in its thought and logical in its conclusions. (though I believe it is wrong)
This is not what we see, however. What we see in most cases (Thanks Dave Hunt, Norm Geisler) is a muddling of the two systems, and the resultant doctrine is one that can only make sense to the most undiscerning listener. In a desire not to be “labeled”, these “Southern-Baptist, Evangelical-Christian, Bible-Inerrancy affirming, Pro-Life, God-Fearing preachers” only confuse their flock with things that leave the layperson with no ability to provide a defense for the hope that is within them.
Oh, and if Dr. Vines happens on this blog, with all due respect I must ask him this. How does the “whosoever will” portion of John 3:16 deal with Calvinism? I am a Calvinist and I would not be saved if it were not through the grace of God allowing me to be one of the “whosoever will”. I personally rest in the affirmation that Jesus died for “whosoever will believe”. Praise be to God.
My grammar is not the best, and my understanding is not as great as most all of you, but I hope I have not confused anyone. May God grace us by ridding us all of our faulty understandings of His Word so that we may all be able to worship without any type of corruption in our understanding of who the revealed God of the Bible truly is. To God be the Glory forever.

Chris Johnson

Wow AB,

Who else did you drag behind the “Woodshed” ?

:)

-Chris

ABClay

To all: Sorry bout the double post. This is undoubtedly due to my inability to navigate properly around cyberspace. Perhaps the moderator will show mercy to me and delete one of them.

Chris,
I do not understand exactly what you mean by that. I do not recall taking anyone to the woodshed, though my father and I were very familiar with this place when I was a boy (and I can’t think of ever not deserving what was coming to me).
If, by the tone of my post, you perceive me to be antagonistic, you have my apologies as it was not my intention.
Building on the Rock…

Scott Gordon

ABClay,

Mercy has been shown…by grace alone!

Sola Gratia!

Rory

“Are you saying that someone should not speak in another person’s pulpit unless there is 100% agreement? Are you saying that if one disagrees with someone and goes to speak in their pulpit, then they are advocating everything the person has done, or is doing–even though they do not know it?”

Paul rebuked Peter publically about his behavior. He did not go and act as if nothing happened. Did Vines rebuke Gilyard when he spoke there?

It is amazing what you guys will ‘overlook’. But what they hey, the victims are JUST women.

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