Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vines Talking at Pastors' Meeting; He Says His Speech Won't Be Controversial like One He Gave Lambasting Islam's Founder in 2002

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vines Talking at Pastors' Meeting; He Says His Speech Won't Be Controversial like One He Gave Lambasting Islam's Founder in 2002

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF BRUMLEY

No controversy, the Rev. Jerry Vines says, not this time.

When Vines takes to the podium today at the annual Southern Baptist Convention pastors' conference in Nashville, Tenn., he said his sermon will be about the biblical King Solomon's search for happiness.

Vines, retiring pastor of the 28,000-member First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, acknowledged that the topic is quite tame compared with the one he delivered at the same event in St. Louis in 2002. That's when he set off a national firestorm by calling Islam's founder a "demon-possessed pedophile."

Expect nothing like that this time, he said.

"I don't anticipate there will be anything controversial in that message," Vines said last week.

Vines is part of a lineup that includes Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell and former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore -- an evangelical hero since 2003 when he was forced from office for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a state courthouse. Also speaking today is the Rev. Bobby Welch, a Daytona Beach pastor and president of the 16.2 million-member Southern Baptist Convention.

The pastors' conference is a prelude to the denomination's annual convention, which runs Tuesday and Wednesday in Nashville.

Vines, himself a former president of the denomination, announced in May he will retire from First Baptist Church in February.

During an interview in his office, Vines said his plans include speaking engagements, writing a book promoting biblical creationism and putting more energy into his Web site, jerryvines.com.

The Web site was launched about a year ago but will get more of his attention as a tool with which to inspire and educate pastors, Vines said.

The site includes a paid feature called VinesLines. According to the site, VinesLines costs $9.95 a month and includes a quote of the week, downloadable sermon outlines and "a newsletter from Dr. Vines -- including his views of the news, with special attention to news information specifically useful in sermon preparation."

Vines' 2006 calendar is full, and he's already scheduling speaking engagements at churches, seminaries and conferences "all over America" for 2007, he said. …

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