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Posted 6/18/03

Vines tells Pastors' Conference
'All religions not the same'

Jerry Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., speaks during the opening session of the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference June 15-16 in the Phoenix Civic Center prior to the SBC annual meeting, June 17-18.

PHOENIX–Just in case America didn't hear him the first time, Jerry Vines made a point of speaking clearly at this year's Southern Baptist Pastor's Conference: “All religions are not the same. All religions are not equally true.”

Vines, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, drew the ire of Muslims and others when at last year's Pastors' Conference he called the founder of Islam a “demon-possessed pedophile” as he marched toward declaring that Christianity is superior to Islam.

That led to a later segment aired on the “NBC Nightly News” in which anchor Tom Brokaw described Vines as “preaching hate.”

Speaking in Phoenix this year, Vines acknowledged the media waiting to hear whether he would address the topic again. He didn't disappoint, although he did not speak specifically of Islam.

“I'm going to give all you media what you came for, and I'm going to say it slowly, so that even Tom Brokaw can get it,” he said to a round of applause. “All religions are not the same. All religions are not equally true. There is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved except the name of Jesus.”

In a conference organized around a family emphasis, Vines preached on the Old Testament prophet Enoch, whom Scripture says “walked with God.”

He urged pastors to “walk on” and live “in step with God,” continually preaching the Bible rather than sugar-coating the truth.

God's children, like Enoch, will “walk out” of this world either through death or resurrection, Vines said. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you will walk with God, one day you will walk out.”

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