Thursday, May 10, 2007
Running to Win or Running from the Truth?
On Sunday, April 29, 2007, Dr. Steve Gaines preached a sermon in the morning services entitled "Running to Win." He began by saying his family had attended the 7th Annual Country Music Marathon and 1/2 Marathon in Nashville the day before.
During the sermon they showed these photos of the men's and women's winners on the IMAG. He mentioned this year's wheelchair winner was a man from Germantown.
Unfortunately, there are several "problems" with this story. For one, it was the 8th Annual Country Music Marathon, not the 7th, but that could have been an honest mistake. If that had been the only error I'd have thought nothing of it. However, there's more.
The two individuals represented on the IMAG as this year's winners were actually the 2006 winners. Their photos and information are here. The 2006 wheelchair winner was indeed from Germantown.
However, this year's winners were a man from Kenya and a woman from the Ukraine. Their photos and information are here. This year's wheelchair winner is from Hoschton, Georgia, not Germantown. See articles from The Tennessean.
I figured I might have to explain this to someone, and one person has asked, so here's the point. The point wasn't that he didn't do his research on this particular issue but that if he isn't concerned about adhering to the truth in a situation as inconsequential as this, how can he be trusted in matters of greater importance? It really doesn't matter if his research assistant (if he even had one) is stupid or lazy (a 6th grader could have done a better job), or he didn't stay until the end of the event to see the winners (which means he is being willfully dishonest or at the least negligent), or that he doesn't do his own research -- the point is he didn't get the most basic of facts right, and that tells me he's not any more believable when he says anything else.
Personally, I think the sermon was prepared (by him or someone else) before Saturday, so the winners weren't known and that he (or someone) was just lazy and pulled this stuff off the internet thinking no one would notice. I think when he said it was the 7th annual event this was further evidence that the information came from the internet rather than firsthand knowledge.
So call it "nitpicky" or whatever. In the grand scheme of things it's not important that Steve Gaines was in error on this particular issue. It's the much bigger issue of which this is a symptom.
"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." Luke 16:10
You may watch the video of that sermon (and others) on Bellevue's site. To get to the sermon archives on Bellevue's site, go to the main page, click on "Watch Now" (under the "Bellevue Media - Live On Demand On the Go" logo is), and if you click on "Launch On Demand Player" you'll get a list of past sermons on video and audio, and the titles and Scripture passages are listed. You'll also see two little links in the upper righthand corner, one for "Dr. Adrian Rogers Archive" and the other for "Sermon Notes Archive." There's another link for the latter in the middle of that page where it says "Download Past Sermon Notes."