Criswell, Gregory, and Too Great a Temptation

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by PastorSBC1303, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    I just picked up an old copy of Joel Gregory's book Too Great a Temptation an account of his transition as pastor of FBC Dallas while WA Criswell was still there. I am about half way through it, and it is an interesting read.

    Anyone else read this book? Thoughts?

    Do you feel Gregory gives an honest account?

    What is Gregory doing these days?
     
  2. USN2Pulpit

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    Sounds interesting, since my church's former pastor is still among us.
     
  3. Alcott

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    I bought that book when it was new and read it right away, but I have hardly even skimmed any part of it since then. I certainly thought Gregory gave an honest account, but there were some narratives where he was at least a little bit gratuitous, as in his repeating Criswell's story that he liked to eat oranges in the bathtub and let the juice dribble all over him. Nevertheless, I did have a sense of understanding of his frustrations as I read the book.

    I know that for a while Gregory sold funeral plans. I don't know if he is still in that business, but I have seen his name listed a few times as a conference speaker or seminar leader, or as a guest preacher.

    ed. Doing a quick search for Joel Gregory, a Baptist Standard article turns up saying he "regrets his role" in helping conservatives grasp control of the Southern Baptist Convention, and that he then (1997) worked for a Fort Worth publishing company.

    http://www.baptiststandard.com/1997/10_15/pages/gregory.html

    A more recent article from Associated Baptist Press:

    http://abpnews.com/news/news_detail.cfm?NEWS_ID=81

    [ March 15, 2005, 08:01 PM: Message edited by: Alcott ]
     
  4. WallyGator

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    Joel Gregory is in high demand in black churches. Also, I see where he is doing some seminars.
    Read the book when it first came out, found it entertaining, but can't decide if its all that accurate.
     
  5. go2church

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    Most of the folks that support Criswell, support Criswell and would do so even if everything was true. Those that are looking for ammo so to speak would read it and say see I told you he was a creep. I have recently heard and talked with Joel Gregory and he seems like an honest fella to me.

    Did anyone write a book refuting what Joel said? If they did I am not aware of it.

    Note: Gregory is about as conservative as they get yet the only place he finds to preach or teach is within the "moderate" circles of baptist life. Nothing big just interesting. I guess Criswell was the godfather afterall and supporters have a very long memory!
     
  6. PastorSBC1303

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    Did Gregory go on and have other problems besides what happened at Dallas? I think I recall reading somewhere else that he had an affair and got a divorce? Is this true? Was it connected with the problems at FBC Dallas?
     
  7. StraightAndNarrow

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  8. go2church

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    Boy I sure don't know if there was and affiar or not but I found this article that might help Gregory article
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    I was at FBC Dallas in the "search" time. Sad that my name was considered! :eek:

    I used Gregory's video tape series on Homiletics when teaching college. He is GOOD.

    It is difficult for a pastor in a mega-church business to take over when the "former" pastor is still there. Loyalty is enhanced by years.

    BTW, usually there is a "sacrificial lamb" pastor for a few years after a big name, then a new man can step in. (That said, Gregory had some problems for certain sure and would not have been my choice)
     
  10. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Dr. Bob, I would love to see that video tape series, do you know where I could get a copy of it?
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    We had the set at Pillsbury BBC in the library. I will contact the librarian and ask who published it. But it is older, when he taught seminary like 1980.

    http://www.dovetapes.com:16080/Inventory/EKBA_2002.html have some EXCELLENT tapes, including 3 by Gregory on preaching.
     
  12. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Thanks Dr. B [​IMG]
     
  13. blackbird

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    A while back several years ago---I was attending a SB Convention--I believe it was in New Orleans---anyway---I was brousin' the bookstore stuff in the display halls---gathering free ink pens, pencils, trash bags, frisbee's, key chains, etc.---I happened to brouse the autobio's---and ran across Gregory's book and started reading it---read the whole thing while standing there!!!

    Reads like a Baptist "Soap"

    In the book, I recall, someone asked him why he would consider the FBC, Dallas position---and he answered with a question---"Why not?? Who wouldn't??"----Travis Avenue isn't exactly "Po-dunk-ville" either!!

    I can't doubt that what Criswell did wasn't right---but---Gregory wasn't exactly displaying the love of the Lord Jesus in return himself, either---that being---"When He(Jesus) was reviled, He reviled not back.

    The way I figure it---Gregory wasn't playin' "Solitaire"---but was playin' "Four Card Draw" Poker with Criswell---and Criswell so happened to "clean the table"---if you know what I mean!!!

    Gregory is a smart dude----but it don't matter how smart you are---you gotta back those smarts up with wisdom---or you will collapse like a house of cards in a Hurricane!!!
     
  14. CHatfield

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    Why do you say that?
     
  15. CHatfield

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    I think his life-style has affected his ministry more than anything else. Twice divorced preachers are not in high demand.
     
  16. PastorSBC1303

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    he was divorced 2 times?
     
  17. CHatfield

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    Yes. Divorced from his first wife shortly after leaving First Baptist. Remarried some time later. Local newspaper article reported the second divorce.
     
  18. Pitipat

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    Yes, I read This book several years ago and found it quite interesting from several view points.Number one I think it just reemphasized that most SBC churches have the same problems and opportunities. In fact when I loaned my copy to other brothers I requested that they mark no names in the margins on the pages to note similarities in our church. I think that this was probably like a divorce case, You have three sides; his, hers and the right side.
     
  19. Taxman

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    I was present when O.S.Hawkins the pastor who followed Joel Gregory said to a large group at Liberty University. "When I came to pastor the First Baptist Church of Dallas, I found Dr. Criswell was the same Christian gentleman I'd heard he was. The pastor who followed him didn't have the character to follow him so he collapsed. In his moral failure, which he chose himself to do,he attacked the church, Dr. Criswell and others. Not all who preach Christ, live like him." He never mentioned Gregory by name, but everyone knew who he was speaking of.
     
  20. Bicycle9

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    I recently heard about a play going around the community theater circuit called "God's Man in Texas" by David Rambo. Here is what the Dallas Morning News says about the play:
    "FORT WORTH – If there were more Southern Baptists in New York City, God's Man in Texas would have been a contender for all kinds of national drama awards. As things stand, David Rambo's play à clef about the problems of pastoral succession at a fictional (wink, wink) largest Protestant church in the world will remain the cozy little secret between Baptists who are fans of theater and theatergoers who know something about Baptists.

    On Friday, Circle Theatre opened a brilliant production of the piece, directed by René Moreno. If anything, it makes God's Man in Texas look even better than it is.

    The distinguished pastor to presidents, Dr. Philip Gottschall (Hugh Feagin), has reached the age of 80. To fend off his board's attempt to recruit a replacement, he names a scholarly co-pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Meers (Bill Jenkins). Reformed sinner Hugo Taney (Vince Davis) rigs up their microphones before they preach and is the church's best conduit for information of every sort.

    Those who remember a not-too-dissimilar situation at First Baptist Church of Dallas won't be surprised by the conflicts that arise between the two preachers – though they might come away dazed by the bitterness of it. In fact, what keeps God's Man in Texas from being a great play, rather than just a very good one, is that it takes sides in the combat. It sees the senior pastor's failings very clearly, but doesn't convey much of his faith or greatness."

    I haven't seen the play, but I hear it is pretty good.
     

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