09 July 2010

Evangelical Bunko Artists

How I Learned the Hard Way that Pious Gullibility Is No Virtue
by Phil Johnson



y last temporary part-time job in college was proofreading at Moody Press. I was hired to work twelve hours a week for about four weeks in the summer of '76. I was getting my B. A. at the end of the short summer term, and after that I hoped to find work in some kind of local-church ministry for a year; then my plan was to enroll at Dallas Seminary the following fall.

But I loved the work at Moody Press so much that on the day before graduation I signed on to work there full time as an editorial assistant. That simple, unplanned, last-minute decision was the pivot on which my entire life and career have turned.

(Someday I'll blog a full account of how I was hired by Moody Press in the most unlikely of circumstances. I also have a hundred vivid memories of that summer and the following one that would make excellent blog-fodder. I lived in a brownstone walk-up two blocks from Wrigley, worked most nights in a downtown funeral home, ran the first Chicago marathon, sang in the Moody Church choir, and met and married Darlene. Those were the best of times.)


nyway, one of the first books I proofread for Moody was a biographical account of a young woman who said she had lived through a tragedy-filled childhood in utter poverty on a Kickapoo reservation, found Christ through a remarkable turn of providence, endured all kinds of persecution, but persevered to become a motivational speaker for evangelical women's groups.

Crying Wind was the name of both the book and the author. Within a year of its release, Crying Wind became Moody Press's best-selling book ever. It was an extremely well-told story, and a real tear-jerker. To read it was to establish a deeply sympathetic personal connection with the author.

I loved the book. Everyone did.

Crying Wind herself spent a day in the Moody Press office shortly after I finished checking her page proofs. She was there mainly to meet with our sales and marketing staff, but she went to lunch with the editorial team. In her book she had portrayed herself as shy and emotionally tender—easily intimidated. Our editorial staff was a sizable group of very strong personalities and sticklers for grammatical precision, not necessarily an easy group to warm up to all at once. Crying Wind had expressed misgivings about the unfamiliar big-city features of Chicago. So we were all keen to put her at ease.

At the time, she lived near Tulsa, literally in the neighborhood I came from. Growing up in Oklahoma, I had several Native-American friends and relatives, so I knew that she and I had a few things in common we could talk about. I had looked forward to meeting her.

Right away, many things about her surprised me. One was that I never would have guessed she had experienced all she described in her book. Nothing about her features, her verbal skills, or her mannerisms suggested that she was Native American or that she had grown up in abject poverty. For someone as deprived of education and as utterly isolated from Main-Street America as her book claimed, she was also amazingly conversant with pop culture. She looked and talked like a Wheaton College alum, which is not at all what I expected from her own description of life among the Kickapoo.

Having read her book, I was not surprised that she was a compelling story-teller. But what did surprise me about that was how many of the stories she told during lunch that day had the ring of familiarity. I had heard slightly different versions of at least three of her tales. For instance, she regaled us with the dead-cat-in-a-shopping bag story. I'd heard that story (with some slight differences) about a year earlier, but in Crying Wind's version it happened to someone she knew. That didn't trouble me a great deal, because I figured if it happened in Tulsa, I might have simply heard a third- or fourth-hand version. If Crying Wind personally knew the woman with the cat-in-the-bag, hers must be the canonical version of the tale.

I don't think the expression "urban myth" had been coined yet in 1977, but if I were going to describe her repertoire of stories today, I'd say it seemed like she culled them all from the pages of Snopes.com.

At the time I merely thought it a mind-blowing quirk of cosmic destiny that Crying Wind had so much personal involvement in so many amazing stories I'd already heard. At the time, I was young, naive, and no doubt willingly over-gullible. I wanted to believe her, and the almost supernatural serendipity of her tales merely increased the mystique of this amazing person.

Crying Wind—the book—became a runaway best seller. In fact, in less than two years it became (by far) the best-selling book Moody Press had ever published. Crying Wind wrote a sequel and by 1979 she was working on a third book. On the strength of her stories she had developed a thriving public ministry, speaking to large women's groups and churches. She always dressed in an authentic-looking native-American costume.

But by early 1979 a number of people were questioning Crying Wind's claims, including people from her own family. Moody Press investigated and soon learned that her entire story was fabricated. Crying Wind had no Native American ancestors. Her real name was Linda Davison Stafford. She had grown up and gone to high school in Woodland Park, Colorado, where she earned awards in creative writing.

Furthermore, many of the major plot points in her story bore an uncanny resemblance to another author's phony life story. If I recall correctly, in a 1979 Christianity Today article about the fraud, they published her photo from a high-school yearbook. She was clearly a product of white middle-class American culture, not at all what she had claimed.



To Moody Press's credit, they were the first to expose the fraud, and they immediately dropped Mrs. Stafford's books from their line, even though both volumes were still (at the time) atop the Christian best-seller lists. Warren Wiersbe (my pastor in those days and a good friend to me) wryly told me he thought Moody Press should simply change the book's title to Shooting Bull and keep it in their line as a fiction book.

He was joking, of course, but a few years later, Harvest House did virtually that. They picked up the book without changing a thing (not even the cover art), called it a "biographical novel," and re-released it. Crying Wind herself continued speaking to women's groups in her Indian costume. Most of them had heard all about the scandal, of course, but they wanted to believe her story. They wanted it to be true so badly that many of them convinced themselves that Moody Press (and others who had merely told the truth) were the real villains in the whole ordeal.

Crying Wind is not so well known today, but she is still speaking to evangelical groups under the pretense that her books tell "her life story as she remembers it."

Several Native American groups even list her books as valuable resources. The fraud she perpetrated, though definitively exposed and debunked more than thirty-one years ago, still lives on.

She's not alone. Over the past 40 years, the evangelical movement has given birth to dozens of flash-in-the-pan phonies, frauds, and bunko artists. John Todd, Mike Warnke, Alberto Rivera, Bob Larson, and Ted Haggard are a few names that come to mind. Todd and Rivera are both dead, but Jack Chick continues to publish their fraudulent claims as true. All the others, though now out of the mainstream, are still engaged in some form of public "ministry" today—still profiting off reputations woven with webs of lies.

This is relevant, of course, to the case of Ergun Caner, erstwhile Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. For most of the past decade, Caner has been making demonstrably false claims exaggerating his childhood involvement in Islamic fundamentalism, his early indoctrination in the politics of Jihad, and his post-conversion "debates" with Islamic clerics.

Liberty University investigated his claims, acknowledged that he had made "factual statements that are self-contradictory," demoted him from the presidency of their seminary, and issued a statement announcing that Caner has "apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements." But they kept him on their faculty, and the Liberty party-line seems to be that the investigation actually "exonerated" Caner.

Those who questioned Caner's honesty in the first place are clamoring for more precise answers to some very specific questions. Caner himself is saying nothing, and no less than Norman Geisler has issued a series of statements more or less in defense of Caner—basically suggesting that the whole controversy in the first place was a Muslim-Calvinist conspiracy to discredit Caner.

When I read Dr. Geisler's articles on the Caner scandal, it brought to mind a meeting I had with Dr. Geisler during the big Council on Biblical Inerrancy convention in San Diego in 1982. I was still working for Moody Press at the time, and Dr. Geisler was one of our authors. I needed to meet with him to discuss the cover design for Moody's re-release of A General Introduction to the Bible. That question was settled fairly quickly, and then we had a long discussion over dinner about the state of evangelicalism. The Crying Wind scandal came up in our conversation that evening, and Dr. Geisler expressed his dismay over the pious gullibility of evangelicals.

He was exactly right about that.

For the very same reason he is wrong about the Caner situation today.

However, the pathetic track record of evangelicals' consistent failure in dealing with frauds and bunko artists in our midst leads me to be pessimistic about any real resolution in the Caner scandal. The Liberty investigation most definitely did not "exonerate" Caner, but he remains on the Liberty faculty. Caner himself is stonewalling while a handful of his most outspoken supporters are doing their best to demonize his critics. If Liberty continues officially to offer sanctuary to Caner, he will eventually be able to weather the controversy without ever actually admitting any specific wrongdoing. Evangelicals—who have no stomach for protracted controversies and a 40-year habit of offering unconditional restoration to fallen leaders whether they truly repent or not—will soon turn against Caner's critics.

Of course, by this approach Caner, Liberty, and the little cadre of Arminian bloggers who are determined no-matter-what to defend Caner have already lost all credibility with those who love truth. That loss will most likely be permanent. Sadly, it is another major loss for American-style Evangelicalism, which has already made itself a laughingstock for all the wrong reasons.

Phil's signature

182 comments:

Sir Brass said...

And sadly I have to agree that you're dead on here, Phil.

Thankfully, there has been an outpouring of support by those who love truth onto those who have brought this to light. Praise the Lord for those dear brothers and sisters.

Mike said...

Very well written sir. A most unfortunate truth.

dan said...

wow, alberto rivera. i remember years ago when someone lent me a collection of jack chick magazines, the last four of which revolved around his amazing "life". i had always thought it was all overtly sensational but when you're a teenager growing up in a fundamentalist environment, this kinda stuff is magnetic. turns out he was a fraud - no surprise there i guess.

but yes, this whole caner episode definitely leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. i appreciate your clear thoughts on this phil and pray the church will be strengthened.

Lane Chaplin said...

Excellent post, Phil. How Geisler can condemn Crying Wind at one time then condone Caner at another is just egregious. I pray that Geisler lays aside the politics and admits the truth in this situation.

7drizzles7 said...

I feel like the little boy who sees the Emperor with no clothes...but no one dare says it because the Emperor's hench men have preferred to take the long walk down through the town square whistling 'much ado about nothing'. Christians awe it to God and the church to be honest and transparent...so did Ananias and Saphira learn the hard way.If situations like the Canergate are delt with a nudge-nudge, wink-wink mentality it wont be long for a whole theological institution's credibility to fall flat onto the carpet that has hidden many a nudge.-Acidri's Blog

Tom Chantry said...

...this kinda stuff is magnetic.

Yes, but why? Is it not because we have worshiped celebrity, allowed "testimony" about self to take the place of proclamation of the gospel, and winked while hundreds upon hundreds of preachers have stretched the truth in the various anecdotes they tell?

DJP said...

What a great post. Thanks, Phil.

I remember the rise and fall of Johnny Todd and Mike Warnke. I was breathlessly given Todd tapes (by a really good brother), heard about C. S. Lewis being a witch, and about the Illuminati.

...basically suggesting that the whole controversy in the first place was a Muslim-Calvinist conspiracy to discredit Caner.

Wait just a minute — are you telling me The Cabal had a meeting, and I didn't get an invitation? I hate it when that happens!

DJP said...

The Todd Phenomenon by Darryl E. Hicks (with an introduction by Mike Warnke)

Sometimes irony can be pretty ironic.

Tim Bushong said...

"Tom Chantry said...
...this kinda stuff is magnetic.

Yes, but why?"

Well, I must confess that ONE of the reasons that those larger Chick/Crusaders comics were so popular among teenage boys had to do with the way they drew their female characters.

'Nuff said.

olan strickland said...

Wiersbe was right then and it still applies now to Caner - Shooting Bull! :)

J♥Yce said...

Such artists named here or in the blogosphere/web haven't to me been known of or examples followed. When any such named causes a kerfuffle and clouded focus ~ a stirring of the dust elephants ~ that reinforces we must decrease and He must increase.

"Me, myself, I" stories, whether first or secondhand, perk ears up, gather steam, and too oft take on a life of their own perversion embellishment as they draw attention to self. One of the reasons they should be Biblically managed cum grano salis; whereas, we should desire above all to be consumed with inhaling/exhaling His Word.

I'm so grateful for the clarity of address in love by those chivalrous(like yourself) ~ reflecting that "there but for the grace of God go I". Truth matters.

Lynda O said...

Interesting, and sad yet not surprising.

I well remember Mike Warnke and especially Bob Larson, who was popular among my circle of friends in my early Christian days -- especially since Larson was broadcasting out of the local area (Denver). Often such personalities attract the younger, and less mature, less discerning believers. With the case of Bob Larson, after a while I grew tired of the constant begging for money and the overly emotional, sensationalist appeal. I didn't know about Crying Wind, but it sure fits with the general culture and reputation of Woodland Park (of 20 years ago), as a haven for paganism, witchcraft, and such.

dan said...

tim said:

...ONE of the reasons that those larger Chick/Crusaders comics were so popular among teenage boys had to do with the way they drew their female characters.

haha, very true!

but back to phil's post - what boggles my mind is how some Christians (so-called anyway) can actively lie on such a grand scale. to say you're a believer and then live such a protracted lie is perplexing to say the least.

Terry Rayburn said...

Really good, Phil.

Should we be cynical, then?

Well...yeah, sorta. Biblically.

We evangelicals often have the thinking, "Well, so-and-so proved untrustworthy, but at least I KNOW I can trust this other so-and-so. He's solid."

Unbiblical attitude.

Biblical attitude:

1. Love (brethren, the lost, enemies),

2. speak the truth in love,

3. trust no one but the Lord.

Whether a sociopath who can't not lie and manipulate, a lost person whose Father is the Father of lies, or a believer caught in a battle of flesh warring against Spirit for a time, men are not God.

Count on it.

Well, except for one Man who was God. Like the Expressway overpass graffiti says, we can trust Him.

And what a great thing that is. He is good, wise, right, loving, unchangeable, steadfast, never lacking in trustworthiness.

"It is better to take refuge in the LORD Than to trust in man." - Ps 118:8

"Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation." - Ps 146:3

"Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, But who can find a trustworthy man?" - Prov 20:6

"Thus says the LORD, 'Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD.'" - Jer 17:5

Eddie Eddings said...

I believe it was the late Patrick Sinry who said, "Give me integrity or give me fame...wait, make that fame!"

Thanks, Phil, for the exposé. It never ceases to amaze me how sin slithers its way into the lives of confessing Christians. (They need to do a lot more confessing.)

DJP said...

Terry, tag-teaming with you, I'd say that God obliges us to love everyone unconditionally, but not to trust anyone unconditionally — and not to lend our pulpits to anyone unconditionally.

Terry Rayburn said...

dan wrote, "what boggles my mind is how some Christians (so-called anyway) can actively lie on such a grand scale."

It's indicative of a "seared conscience".

Psychologists study those they call "sociopaths", whom they say have literally no conscience.

Psychobabble aside, I think it's more biblical to say their conscience is seared (1 Tim. 4:2).

The Pulpit Commentary entry is interesting, especially the last line noted here:

"...if the metaphor is from the cauterizing a wound...then the idea is that these men's consciences are become as insensible to the touch as the skin that has been cauterized is....The emphasis of tes idias, 'their own conscience,' implies that they were not merely deceivers of others, but were self-deceived"

Terry Rayburn said...

DJP,

Well said.

Respectabiggle said...

I think this is the Church version of "Stolen Valor" - men who claim to have been Navy SEALs, or to have been awarded the Medal of Honor . It never seems to start out as an intentional campaign of lies, but the praise and admiration that the first embellishment brings makes each one a little easier.

I think the searing of the conscience takes place a little at a time. Telling yourself that you're "doing it for the Kingdom" probably makes it even easier to lie to yourself - which is where it always starts.

pensees21 said...

Probably one of the better articles I've read defending why the Caner issue is important. The Crying Wind analogy is excellent.

Truth must be defended, even when it hurts. It will always create factions, but this inevitibly reveals hearts and what's really important to people (1 Cor 11:19)

Jay E said...

I just want to thank James White for his hard work in this matter. It's not always easy standing up for truth.

Weeks said...

My wife is attending Liberty College online, and I have been watching her coursework like a hawk. Every one of her books for her classes is written (or at least by-lined) by Caner.

I'm wondering just how worried I should be about serious theological error in her coursework. I mean, if he's willing to lie about his life like that, with no apparent remorse, how much more likely is he to simply dismiss doctrine he doesn't like?

J♥Yce said...

In this "specific" case and in others ~ for many folks far removed on such matters like this gal is...where is the Proverbs 17:9; 18:13; 25:23 line drawn? Most folks reading have had very wrong accounts spread about them in the real and global virtual realm and should rather deal with those of courage of conviction taking concern directly TO them.

On the other hand...if it looks like a skunk, smells like a skunk, and sprays like one...could be wrong ~ but it could be a skunk. If not, someone close to the matter clean it up.

gary dilworth said...

Dr. Geiser has argued that Dr. Caner does not teach false doctrine. But how does myth couched in gospel presentations adorn the doctrine of God?

"...we grieve, Lord, about those people who have been in spiritual leadership and have sinned and have lost their integrity and when their integrity was lost, Your honor was lost and they have dishonored You and they have not adorned the doctrine of God, but they've smudged it and smeared it with their iniquity.

O Father, may we be like David who shepherded in the integrity of his heart and the skill of his hands. We want to be skillful but with the skill must come the integrity. Give us leaders of integrity who are faithful. Make us Christians with integrity, for we too have a world of influence among believers and unbelievers. We too bring glory to Your name when we live lives of integrity, when we live what we say we believe. Keep us consistent, Lord, that You might be honored, that we might be offering up our lives as spiritual acts of worship to You. And, Father, we're so grateful that Your Holy Spirit can accomplish this in us which in our flesh we could never do, so we plead with You to be gracious and grant us the Spirit who alone can uphold our integrity, for Your glory in Christ's name. Amen." (That's all MacArthur on 2 Cor. 5:11)

rosemarie said...

Stories like Caner's are the natural byproduct of people who long to be entertained and not edified. While I hold him responsible for his words, where were the men and women of God who had the responsibility to confront him long before this? Gullible believers, wannabes and feckless cowards born of cheap grace too easily let desire for vicarious celebrity eclipse integrity.

Mark said...

Well said, Phil.

This does show another inconsistency on Dr. Geisler's part in addition to what I recently quoted him in dealing with Jehovah's Witnesses claims of Christ. He was careful to look at the context and the meaning of words.

However, it may be more telling of individual desires to want to believe these types of stories.

Warren Lotter said...

I have always wrestled with 'embellishments' in general and especially in Christian bios, and what I thought was a over-emphasis on the "Me, myself, I and even the them, we" stories. As an elder I noted that building a reputation, especially for being missional, became THE goal of our church, and that appears to have led to an unhealthy admiration of Christian celebrity, institutions and methods, especially of those who/that appear to be successful.

For three years I worked from the inside. Short story, I am no longer an elder and what breaks my heart is that most of the church body has moved on.

I now wonder if I totally missed the boat. The thing is on one hand I can see the fervent desire to reach the lost and to build the Kingdom but I often wonder if that is where the western 'evangelical' church has fallen off the bus. It seems that we've wrestled the responsibility of building the Church from Christ. And even though the initial motives are/were good, when we assume the responsibility beyond what God has commanded us to do, we begin to rely on strengths, gifting, personality, stetched anecdotes, special pleading, essentially whatever it takes for us to see kingdom building 'results'.

Looking at Caner it seems that the underlying issue really is how we view salvation and the Kingdom of God. I wonder if his "I am elected because I selected" statement is the shaky foundation he has built on.

On an aside I had a conversation with two Mormons on Sunday and they asked why I didn't believe Joseph Smith. My simple answer was that either Jesus is a liar or Joseph Smith is. Jesus said he would build his Church and the gates of hell would not previal against it. Joseph Smith claims that for 1700 years the gates of hell totally prevailed and if it weren't for him they still would be prevailing. Unfortunately that way of thinking is not that far from home.

So my question is how do I, how does a church practically maintain the biblical balance between obedience and trusting God with the outcomes? It seems a simple enough question in theory. But in practice..that's another story. Isn't this what we see with Caner?

John said...

Thank you for being honest about this scandal. And it is a true scandal.

David said...

Great post, Phil.

By their fruits we will know them.

Caner spoke at an SBTC Evangelism around 2003/4. I took a newly-converted Muslim friend. Embarrassing. He was mean-spirited, bombastic, you name it. And got a standing ovation and big hug coming off stage from the SBTC organizer. (Anti-Calvinist, of course, the organizer: He has never invited anyone affirming the Doctrines of Grace to speak at these conferences.)

On the way home I apologized to my former Muslim friend. Another embarrassing moment.

Please consider doing a follow-up post on the strong tie between these bunks and modern Fundamentalism.

Lightwalker said...

@Weeks

I finished my bachelors from Liberty Online and am currently (until Sunday) a LBTS online student. This controversy has convinced me to pursue education elsewhere. Actually that decision was started by my first hearing of the "Why I'm predestined not to be a Hyper Calvinist" "sermon" by Caner. Anyone who cannot look a few verses up for context I do not want to be the president of the school I attend.

Rest easy that soon the Caner books will fade away in her coursework. Not many of the classes use his stuff, which is a very good thing. I have not been impressed by anything of his, either spoken or in print. I would worry more about stuff by Elmer Towns. In his theology book there are more misrepresentations and incidents of quoting out of context than I can count. Towns should have stuck to writing devotional books.

I personally think that Liberty is a little more upset about this whole debacle than they are letting on. I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't been given another year just so they have time to redo the online courses that have him in them. You can't exactly have a class with a fired professor in them. I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't pursing other employment to start next summer.

Majestatic said...

Today I listened to a BBC radio show about track and field athletes who used drugs and won medals. The question was asked if those people felt like winners standing there on the podium, with medal around neck watching their national flag as their national anthem played. The man answering said yes they do feel like winners as they have deluded themselves.

Any honest person who looks objectively at the facts will see the lies and inconsistencies. Dr Geisler is seemingly deluding himself out of friendship with a colleague. Likewise some of the Liberty staff, alumni and SBC people have done the same. Some others who have crossed swords with Dr White et al. and have a dislike for Monergism coupled with a personal dislike for Prosapologians have joined in believing White can't be right.

Dr Geisler is one of the few that has attempted to explain away the lies. Others have turned this into a hatefest. Violence has been threatened along with litigation. Some of Dr Caner's supporters have talked of abusing alcohol to cope. Others have posted links to vile movie clips, made false allegations against the family members of those pointing out the evidence. Even Dr Geisler has sabre rattled litigation. Others like Dr Emir Caner have chosen to say nothing while making moves quietly behind the scenes

What of Dr Ergun Caner? Either Ergun believes public repentance will damage him or he is self delusional like the athletes mentioned earlier that he believes he has not intentionally misled anyone.

I sometimes am self-delusional about my sin. Indeed God challenged me personally over a year ago. We all need to acknowledge our sins before the God who graciously forgives us (see Psalm 103).

Peter Eddy said...

I'm also surprised when there's no disagreement in the comments section of the posts where there's huge controversy going on. I might be speaking too soon, here.

Anyway, I'm really grateful for this historical parallel. Thanks, Phil. And has been said above already, it's super interesting that Geisler finds himself on both sides of defending and opposing frauds.

Badgerland Bible Quzzing said...

I am surprised that old friends and classmates of Caner have not yet come forward, as they did in the Crying Wind saga. I realize that there is MORE than enouch evidence to show his trail of deception, but first hand accounts and more school pictures would go a long way toward revealing the truth. Just a matter of time, I think.

Sir Aaron said...

Phil:

Great article. I've had numerous experiences of Christian gullibility in my line of work. In twelve years as a federal agent, I've had countless investigations of people who called themselves Christians, were even elders in reputable churches, but yet committed terrible frauds or other crimes. That's not the worst part though, since I know Christians can and do sin. The worst part is the gullibility of Christians who continue to blindly defend said person even after my investigation has come to their attention (even after said person has confessed to a crime by pleading guilty). Also, I've had numerous cases where Christians blindly give their money to scam artists. On the one hand I feel sorry for people who've lost everything in a fraud. But on the other hand, I have to wonder if Christians ever actually read the Bible.

In summary, Christians could stand to be more discerning in every aspect of life.

Dr. James Willingham said...

A friend once told me of having an evangelist who told lies to get people to come forward in a revival service. I related that incident in a class on evangelism in seminary, and one of my fellow students said, "What does it matter? It worked. He got them forward, didn't he?" Those remarks made me feel sick at my stomach. The ethical renovation of the sinner in conduct and attiude is the primary aim of the Gospel, because it is in the change of behavior that the glory to God shines forth. Like the change in the sharecropper's home in Arkansas where I grew up in the forties and early fifties. The couple who had been threatenting to murder one another provided a strange contrast in their behavior after the man had been converted. I can remember Grandma going around, mumbling, "Well, I can forgive, but I can't forget." That must have made a tremendous impression on my subconscious, because the first person I wanted to tell afte I was converted from atheism some years later in St. Louis ws Grandpa. More years later I preachd his funeral and after I did, Grandma said, with tears, "He asked me to forgive him." I thought then, "Yes, and now you are able to forget." It is that concern to set things to right, to conform oneself to the model of truthfulness, integriy, wholeness and wholesomeness, set forth in the Bible and in the person of our Lord and Savior, that brings glory and honor to His name, moving one to desire to have that new life examplified in His children.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Phil,

Thanks for a well-written, well thought-out article. I'm probably just a few years younger than you, but it sounds to me like the Crying Wind incident happened while I was a very young Christian. I have no memory of it at all.

I do remember, however, the Mike Warnke affair. I had a couple of his records and enjoyed listening to him. But after his own scandal, since true repentance did not seem forthcoming, I dropped him like hot potato.

It grieves me to think that these guys just stick it to us again and again, and that so many of the brethren are so gullible, and as you say, want to believe in some person so badly that they'll kiss their brains goodbye to do it. Of course, I expect to see some of the rank and file believers take this route. But it's shocking to see how many of those we see as "authorities" in the church lay down and roll over for the sake of their pride, money, and whatever else motivates them.

Blessings in Christ,

Tim

Robert Warren said...

Dr. White has speculated that Dr. Geisler's involvement in Dr. Caner's defense is related to reaction to the publication of White's The Potter's Freedom as a response to Geisler's Chosen But Free. I took a second look at the blurbs in The Potter's Freedom, and right there amongst the endorsements is the late Dr. S. Lewis Johnson declaring that White took Geisler to "the theological woodshed". Ouch!

~Mark said...

This reminded me immediately of the very famous Roger Patterson Bigfoot footage. His partner in the film admitted everything publicly as a hoax, yet the footage is still frequently used as "evidence" of Bigfoot's existence.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Phil,

Perhaps when this whole sordid Caner affair is over you can write and publish your own book on the scandal and those who helped enable Caner's lies by unconditionally supporting him and justifying his sin:

Breaking Wind.

--Tim

Erlend said...

http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/liberty/

debbiekaufman said...

Thank you for writing this Phil.

Zaphon said...

What will be the effect on the next generation of young graduates, who will be leading the churches when they leave Liberty U?

They're watching their leaders, their examples, FAIL to name a spade a spade.

Zaph

Tom Chantry said...

Lothar,

Context, context, context. You read one thread that had nothing to do with Caner, failed to comprehend its reference, and you conclude that other, unrelated posts on Caner are a sectarian hatchet job?

Wow.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Lothair Of Lorraine,

"Exotic imagery" is used to help people understand better what you're saying, but it has to be true imagery, does it not? Please explain to me why using "a few tall tales" from the pulpit about the details of one's life and personal testimony is permissable? Show me from Scripture where our Lord Christ says it's all right to lie about yourself when witnessing/speaking to people.

If I were under a Pastor who spoke lies about himself or any other matter directly from the pulpit without apology or repentance, he would be out of a job quicker than you could say Egun Mehmet Caner.

And really, if you cannot, or will not (which is more likely, I expect) see the difference between a lie by Ergun Caner and a joke by James White, then I don't hold out much hope for you being able to resolve your alleged uncertainty over the Caner scandal, nor any other such scandal that may crop up in future.

Blessings in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

Larry Geiger said...

But Mike Warnke WAS funny.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I think it's a credit to Christianity that there's a willingness to criticize and hold accountable other professing Christians.

Of course, the "downside" is that it doesn't present a unified witness to a fallen world, but the upside is that the Christian community is willing to self-correct and self-admonish.

FWIW, another fraud is charismatice Todd Bentley.

Rob said...

Thanks for covering this Phil. I heard briefly about the Caner situation on the radio and I appreciate your insight into this.

Josh R said...

The real problem I see is that unrepentance is strongly tied disbelief.

Do they really thing they will be able to slip that lie past God in the end? If they do, they don't believe in the real God.

Many evangelicals don't want the real God either, so this isn't a problem for them, their books will still sell.

stratagem said...

Phil - did you know that "Ergun Caner" in Arabic means "Crying Wind"?
Amazing!

Brian Jones said...

Good post, Phil. You set this in context with other, frankly depressing, evangelical liars with whom I was unfamiliar. I wonder, though, why you have no reference or link to James White's writings on this. I believe he was the one to expose Caner, and of course you recommend White's blog in your blogroll. Why no link love for James?

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Tom:

You mean 'pretext, pretext, pretext'.


Truth be told, I have read far more than 'one thread', can comprehend all of this without any difficulty, and see much of the heat beging directed towards Caner as a bit dishonest and more than a little opportunistic.


By the way, according to James White, this whole thread is in reference to Caner, so the only thing I failed at is submitting to your diversion.

Peter Eddy said...

Do you have an example of something being dishonest?

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

I think that some of the intensity is dishonest. Critics of Ergun cite the Bible's many exhortations for honesty in the pulpit, but, ignore those that decry jealousy. And, I think there is at least some measure of jealousy at work here.

Jesus himself used parables, not all of which were historical. He used imagery of tenents, virgins and lamps to make allegorical connections to important teachings. Likewise, Jesus called the Pharisees 'like unmarked graves' [Lk 11:44]but they were standing right in front of him!

Ergun Caner created a persona of himself to illustrate the real threat that is emerging from radical Islam in a fashion and form that resulted in a sectarian hatchet job at the hands of a jealous mob, and little more.

I pity the current state of Christian Apologetics, led by folks like James White.

DJP said...

Oh this is ridiculous. We are talking about whether or not Caner made truthful or lying statements, and you want to crack open the hearts of strangers.

Leave that to God. Let's focus on whether he told lies or not.

Shouldn't a Christian care about that?

Folks, please, don't follow the silly dodge. Goodness.

Tom Chantry said...

Here's the thread:

http://aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=4043

Morpheus? Check. Lance Armstrong? Check. Ergun Caner? Anyone?

And for the record, DJP is exaclty right. The jealousy argument is so far beyond the realm of provability as to be absurd.

Peter Eddy said...

It appears you're allowing for the ends to justify the means. Yes, Islam needs to be confronted (as do atheism, pseudo-Christian cults, new-age spiritualities, and every other form of religion outside of biblical Christianity)! But I don't think that Dr. Caner should lie to accomplish that task.

I don't know how far into the issue you are, but Dr. White has always maintained that his main argument when he's dealing with Muslims is that they're inconsistent; if they were consistent they'd be Christians. If he is willing to call out Muslims for being inconsistent, and not Christians, he would be inconsistent. I think that this is fair.

Peter Eddy said...

(My comment was directed to Lothair, in case it wasn't obvious.)

Pilgrimsarbour said...

LOL! I knew you were going to liken Caner's lies to the parables of our Lord! I just knew it! But I had hoped beyond hope that you wouldn't.

Holy cow! Did I call that one (if only in my mind)!

Look, the parables were meant to be taken as truth but never as historical events. Do you really think Jesus intended us to understand that when we die we'll be living eternally inside someone's chest (Abraham's bosom)? Caner's "parables" are intended to be believed as actual, historic facts since he is speaking about actual events in his real life. He is not using parabolic language at all.

Really! You can't see the difference? Please, if you have to think at all, for Pete's (Lumpkins) sake, think clearly!

Warren Lotter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred Butler said...

very famous Roger Patterson Bigfoot footage. His partner in the film admitted everything publicly as a hoax, yet the footage is still frequently used as "evidence" of Bigfoot's existence.

Mark, being something of a bigfoot aficionado, and at great risk of derailing the comments, can you document that assertion? His partner, Gimblin is still very much alive and I have never heard him make such a statement. In fact, that super infallible source, Wikipedia, even affirms as much.

Sorry Phil, I would have emailed the guy with my question, but his profile is unavailable. Mark can email me at the address in my profile.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Hey now, that's interesting. I hadn't looked at his profile. I wonder what's so fascinating about this Evangelical scandal to a Catholic apologist?

Something's starting to smell just a bit...

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Tom:

James White is neither Morpheus nor Lance Armstrong, yet he imagines himself to be liken to both. Is he just confusing himself with the comparison? Maybe he is ignoring Biblical exhortations in order to edify his own ego? Perhaps Mr. White sees a value in adopting a persona that is not his to claim? Meanwhile, sectarian allies of his make special pleading for him while recommending Ergan Caner to Gehenna. I am just a little startled by the enthusiasm in consigning Caner to the heap. James White wants to replace Caner, not correct him.

Tom Chantry said...

Astounding. You were incapable of reading the link I sent with comprehension. You are incapable of reading my earlier criticisms and responding to them. Yet you read the human heart with so little difficulty.

J♥Yce said...

We are talking about whether or not Caner made truthful or lying statements...Shouldn't a Christian care about that?

Yes, and thanks, Dan. orthodoxy. orthopraxy. orthopathy.

He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

John 7:18

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Pilgrim:

You say, 'Look, the parables were meant to be taken as truth but never as historical events.'

Very interesting. You sound a bit like Marcus Borg or John Dominic Crossan arguing against the historicity of the ressurection. Truth, they would say, is not always an historical event.

So, if truth doesn't need history, as in parabolic language, then Caner is justified in creating a persona that illustrates a deeper point, just as Jesus had. And, James White can continue in his wishful thinking that he is a superb athlete in the image of Lance Armstrong, without adequate evidence. Lastly, If James White can conceive of himself as a fictional character in a computer generated world inside of an alien mainframe, then so can Ergan Caner.

Robert said...

I like the new coalition

Fundamentalist, Catholics and Muslims Together

Islam never could have done it better themselves.

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Tom:

I understand your personality, so your point in less important.

Unless I immediately concur with your point of view, it must be that I lack even a basic ability to reason through the data. So, I'll just have to muddle my way until you can finally break into the membrane that holds me in ignorant disbelief. Please, be patient.

Warren Lotter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Squirrel said...

Lothair is proving to be incapable of reading anything with comprehension without the help of the infallible Magisterium.

Lothair, as a Romanist apologist, has an agenda, not to seek the truth in the Caner situation, but to discredit James R. White. This make sense, when you consider what Dr. White has done to several Roman Catholic apologists in debates & what he's done to Roman Catholic doctrine in print.

What was that phrase, quoted above, that S. Lewis Johnson used? "Theological woodshed?" Hmm...

Squirrel

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Squirrel:

It couldn't be that I am pointing out some of the errors I see. No, it must be that I am a Jesuit spy trying to discredit James White. You accuse me of your own misbehavior.

By the way, I am a Catholic, not a 'Romanist'. And, the Church's history, power and future prosperity make the 'Reformed Baptist' denomination look pretty insignificant. By the way, when some disgruntled acolyte of White's splits off, will the new sect be called the 'Reformed Refromed Baptist' sect?

Anyhow, you'd be surprised at how well accuainted I am with the 'woodshed' and have no problem with taking down sycophants loaded down with self-puffery. There is nothing quite like a bully with a broken nose.

DJP said...

Lothair:

And here we all wait for your first cogent point.

Your next comment that will not be deleted will answer these questions:

1. Are you saying that Jesus expected people to believe that every parable was an actual historical event?

2. Is comparing oneself to [X] the same as claiming that you are, or did [X]?

3. Has James White ever said that he was any of those people, as Ergun Caner has said he was and did the things he apparently was not and did not?

That's for starters.

Also, all further comments by you about people's hearts or motives, which you do not and cannot know, will be deleted

Do not reply to anyone else until you respond to this.

Respond off-topic or inappropriately three times, and you will be banned.

Trevor said...

I just have to post a comment here...(forgive the mild immaturity)...

Lothar,
All I have to say to your comments is this:
http://is.gd/dlW2D

Lydia said...

".. personally think that Liberty is a little more upset about this whole debacle than they are letting on. "

Personally, I find it naive to believe that Liberty had NO idea of his many variations of biographical information over 9 years.

Perhaps they are upset that anyone noticed?

Phil Johnson said...

Dave Armstrong:

That's you, isn't it? I'd recognize that pettifogging style anywhere.

"Lothario." That's a good one.

Trevor said...

Phil,

Pettifogging / pettifogger.
Just learned a new word.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robert said...

Listen:
Phil please apply your logic fairly to persons like Debbie Kaufman. She worships Bunko Artists like William P. Young yet you dont attack her for her nonsense. I think it could be fairly argued that William P. Young has much more infleunce in the evangelical world then Ergun Caner.
I believe Norman Geisler was responding to her and not James White and she has continued to argue that Ergun was not a Muslim.
So the Geisler was correct when he said Ergun was exonerated from charges that he was not a muslim.

OnlyJesusSaves.com said...

Thanks Phil for being so clear. We've had enough dissembling from Liberty Staffers.
The sad fact for me in reading your article was learning about Mike Warnke's lies. I realized in reading his sad story that I had wondered what happened to him. I was moved by his stories as a youth, until the day he wanted a ridiculous payment to speak at our little church I was attending back in 1985-1986. I had smelled a rat then and nixed it with the pastor. YEARS later I find out he was a wolf after all. Wow.
Then I learned a Bible teacher I had trusted implicitly divorced his wife and ran off with his secretary. I cannot even remember his name now I was so angry about it.
It was with that betrayal I realized something was really wrong in Evangelicalism. It made me kind shaky.
Little did I know how corrupt we all were, how deceived I WAS.
As more and more leaders showed they were charlatans I started to wonder if maybe the Church in America wasn't totally apostate. I started to wonder what was true.
So when I found out I was myself a false convert I learned the truth about the two American Christian churches: One is a lie and I had believed that one. Thanks be to God alone Jesus got my attention with a couple of missionaries recently home from Peru. And then later a short little video by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron showed me how to preach the Truth effectively. I couldn't seem to find anyone in the Church who could explain that but them. Since then the Living Waters ministry has been a mainstay for me.
But betrayal reared it's ugly head again. The wife in that same couple who brought me to the Lord LEFT HER 70+ year old HUSBAND to live in a cult!
Is American Evangelicalism INSANE?
With hearing John Piper likes the heretic Rick Warren and Ergun Caner doesn't care he is sullying Liberty University's reputation, I'm starting to realize what Paul meant when he said "work out your salvation daily, with fear and trembling." He touched on the truth of what we are all seeing; Something John MacArthur hinted at recently. If King David could be such a blatant sinner and still be Born Again then can anyone can be trusted? "How far is too far"" is the warning I get from the Apostle James and all these happenings. WHO is WHO?
I say then let's look to ourselves, gentlemen, and lets make sure we have been, and remain, pure examples of what a Christian does. If you have not been, are not now, what Jesus would be like, and remain unrepentant, then take all the these fallen as the warning they should be taken for:

Your sins will surely find you out.

Jesus may yet save you but you will be received only as if through a fire. Is that the way you want to face Jesus, brothers?

I know I don't and I'm taking inventory!

Patrick Burwell, OnlyJesusSaves.com

DJP said...

That's one, Lothair.

Phil Johnson said...

Brian Jones: Why no link love for James?

Here.

James has been so meticulous in his coverage of the Caner affair that it's hard to know which post to link to.

However, I think Caner's zombie friends have unfairly singled out James as if he's the only one asking questions. He's not. Google "caner" and "lies," and you'll see this is by no means something James White has singlehandedly cooked up to needle Caner with.

Bobby Grow said...

I wouldn't doubt, as Lightwalker has noted, giving Liberty the benefit of the doubt; that Caner will be looking for a job next year.

I guess we'll see.

Sparrow said...

Lothair, I'm frankly appalled at your comparison of Jesus' parables to Caner's lies. Honestly, I find it reprehensible. Of course if that's how you justify sin, who am I to criticize? LOL. Your attack upon Dr. White is yet another diversionary tactic to avoid having to face the truth. BTW... it wasn't Dr. White who lied. Caner did. Dr. Caner could put a stop to this by facing the truth, and repenting. Instead he relies on people like Dr. Geisler to clean up his mess. I add a charge of 'coward' to Dr. Caner's resume.

I sent an e-mail to Dr. White a day or so ago and told him that what was really bothering me, was Caner's obvious belief that the work done in him by the power of the Holy Spirit, was not good enough. He prefers his own tall tale instead of the actual work of the Lord. When did it become fashionable to minimize the miraculous work of God in our lives, in favor of a foundation of lies?

Thank you Phil. The moral of the story for me is that whenever we take our eyes off Jesus and place them onto people, we'll be disappointed.

In His Grace.......

Robert said...

I just dont understand how why someone like Phil can join hands with Islamist to attack a an admittedly failed Christian brother.
I see that nowhere in Scripture.

I believe it must be the neo-anabaptism of modern day fundamentalist

Robert I Masters
from the Southern Baptist Geneva

Robert said...

Ultimately Phil and others here do not understand this Biblical principle.

http://tinyurl.com/37q8e8q

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

DJP said...

Isn't this normally the point at which that jolly elf Russ drops by to mention that he's a reformed Charismatic, and we're all a bunch o' sin-blinded weenies?

Mike Riccardi said...

...an admittedly failed Christian brother...

You mean an unrepentant and deliberately elusive liar.

It truly astounds me that anyone who claims to be indwelt by the Spirit of God would defend Caner's antics. The man lied. Repeatedly and unashamedly. He can make it right by repenting as publicly as he sinned. He refuses to do so.

This isn't brain surgery.

Is lying a sin or not? Is unrepentant sin a problem or not?

Phil Johnson said...

Robert: "Phil please apply your logic fairly to persons like Debbie Kaufman. She worships Bunko Artists like William P. Young."

I know nothing about either Debbie Kaufman or William P. Young, so you'll have to enlighten me about what you are talking about and why you think they are relevant to Caner's autobiographical embroidery.

Incidentally, I agree with most Muslims that secular atheism is evil. Does that make me a bad person too? Where do you stand on that issue?

Jugulum said...

Robert,

I hope that if I ever gain a public platform, no one will ever find cause to question my testimony about the facts of my life. But if they do:

1.) I hope that they will raise questions.
2.) It would be nice if they ask me privately first, to give me a chance to clear up any apparent problems before it becomes a public issue.
3.) But if I resist the effort to clear things up, or I remain silent, then I hope they will continue to call me to accountability.
4.) If it happens that a Muslim brings the issues to light first, I hope that my Christian brothers won't hold back from holding me accountable. (I hope they won't let their actions be affected by the worry that they'll be perceived as "joining Islamists in attacking a Christian brother".)

Robert said...

Mike Ricardi:
I saw that Ergun Caner made a public repentance on his website but that was not good enough for those wanted blood.
I realize it is no longer there but it does not surprise me due to the lack of Grace.
BTW--I consider myself a Reformed Baptist Southern Baptist but this continual relentless attack on Ergun is NOT advancing the Doctrine of Grace in the SBC. You cant force
your doctrinal commitments on people/institutions that are Dispy Semi-Pelagians at heart. To do so is Moralism.

Jugulum said...

Robert,

Ergun Caner did indeed post an apology for something. He denied committing the moral failures that Phil is talking about.

I don't have the links handy to give you--perhaps someone else does. So I'll ask you this as a hypothetical:

Suppose he apologized for "accidental misstatements & slips of the tongue", but denied any moral wrongdoing--and declined to give any explanation of how the various documented problems can be written off as mere slips of the tongue or misremembered dates.

If that is the case, do you actually think that it would be accurate for you to say that he repented of the problem?

Or would that be more like a teenager apologizing for accidentally denting someone's car (not a moral issue), when the actual question is whether he stole the car?

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Phil in answer to your question Debbie Kaufman is a Church member at Wade Burlesons Immanuel Baptist in Enid Oklahoma.
She has vicious pursued Ergun Caner for months and post after post against Ergun.
She is the one who reached out the Mohammed Khan in London. Even before approaching Ergun.
She is a Southern Baptist unlike James White.
She has always insisted that Ergun was not a Muslim.
Many of those posting here also post on her blog and she freq references men like Tom Chantry.
She has often enlisted the secular world to help attack Ergun Caner such as the Huffington Post , Washington Post because her circle of friends includes many disenfranchised "moderate " Baptist and even Roman Catholics(Christiane !} A whos who of ecumenical Ergun haters.

more on the The Shack part of my comment later......William P. Young is the author of the Shack.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

http://tinyurl.com/23cv9bo

Robert I Masters
From

The Squirrel said...

I am ashamed to admit it, but, having been a part of the attack machine against Ergun Caner, I must confess that it has all been a hoax

I'm so ashamed...

Squirrel

Majestatic said...

This was the full text of the disappearing statement. Note - "I have never intentionally misled anyone." and " This constant stream of criticism, blogging and berating is not acceptable between believers. I am as guilty as anyone else in instigating such things over the years, but these personal attacks are too much."

Recently a concerted effort has been made by a small group of professing believers, joined with a particular Muslim that posts videos, questioning my conversion, and the conversion of my brothers. And, what saddens my heart immensely is, this small band of professing Christians have now cited the Muslim’s videos as reason to attack my testimony as well. Indeed, the Muslims have used clips that attempt to show that through two decades of ministry and hundreds of sermons there exist discrepancies in my testimony. In all honesty, I probably could have saved them a lot of time and trouble. The truth is, I would be surprised if no discrepancies were discovered, given the hundreds of messages I have given during all that time!

Nonetheless, while normally it is wise to ignore these types of attacks, the Muslim’s videos- now surprisingly being cited by professing Christians- have sadly produced such ardor that I feel the need to speak to the issue. This has been done repeatedly to Muslim converts, but in this instance, I bear some responsibility to clarify.

MY TESTIMONY:
I was born in Sweden, with a Turkish father and our mother who was a Turkish citizen.
I was born and raised a Sunni Muslim, just like my brothers.
I was led to Christ at the Stelzer Road Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio, just like my brothers.

MISSTATEMENTS:
Now, on to the other issues:
Every minister has made pulpit mistakes. Being called a “liar,” however, is a serious charge, especially when it is made by Christians. That would indicate that (1) the accusers can know the motives of the accused person’s heart, and (2) the accused person intentionally misled people.

I have never intentionally misled anyone. I am sure I have made many mistakes in the pulpit in the past 20-plus years, and I am sure I will make some in the future. For those times where I misspoke, said it wrong, scrambled words, or was just outright confusing, I apologize and will strive to do better.

Majestatic said...

part 2

DEBATES:
A second question raised concerns debates. One gentleman believes it is misleading to call my interaction with people from other faiths and world religions “debates.” Since his definition of debate is limited to moderated, formal debates, that is his prerogative. He can call them whatever he wishes. My podcasts are readily available online through this website. If he finds them less than satisfying or helpful, then he does not have to listen to them. I do not offer them for his approval or his attention. Please feel free to look elsewhere. God has been gracious to call many Christians to practice evangelism and apologetics in a variety of ways.

The truth is, several evangelical apologists employ the “formal” debate template and are very effective in their presentations. Norman Geisler, Gary Habermas and William Lane Craig come to mind. Nevertheless, I will continue to do exactly as I have done. In fact, in order to attempt a measure of peace, I am more than happy to call my engagements “interviews,” or even “dialogues.” Since this is historically my method of choice, I shall continue to offer these podcasts here, for the edification of those who care to listen.

However, I would caution all evangelicals that no single method meets consensus. Nor is there only one exclusively biblical model. Certainly there is much good to be found in formal debates, and I also believe that there is enough room for all types of interaction. In fact I believe there is great value to be found in all forms, including conversational and informal methods.

Finally, there is a legitimate complaint which I must address, namely, referencing a Muslim scholar that I have never met. Listening to the audio, I honestly have no idea who I was referencing, but it certainly could not have been the man I referenced. For this unintentional but nevertheless horrible mistake, I repent for saying his name, and I ask the forgiveness of all those who heard it. Sin is sin, and if I am dumb enough to say something like that, I should be man enough to deal with it and aim to never make such a grievous error again. This applies to any time when I wrongly used names. I shall be more careful.

Majestatic said...

Final part
OTHER ACCUSATIONS:
As for the countless other volleys aimed at discrediting the work I do, I am unsure how to respond. If my pronunciation of Arabic phrases is not correct, then I apologize. The language of my lineage is Turkish, not Arabic. Even Arabic dialects differ regionally, such as Jordanian and Egyptian. Indeed, 80% of the Muslim world does not speak Arabic, so I doubt anyone will be fully satisfied at this juncture. I must add, however, the misguided attempt by Muslim apologists to discredit converts to Christianity is not limited to me; in fact it seems to be standard operating procedure. I do not believe I can do anything to stop these attacks. All I can do is continue to teach as I have for years, and continue to serve the Lord with the best I can give.

A FINAL WORD ABOUT THIS CURRENT SITUATION:
Criticism is many times helpful. In this particular instance, it has enabled me to correct the careless mistakes I addressed above. Nonetheless, I want to be clear about this current situation. This constant stream of criticism, blogging and berating is not acceptable between believers. I am as guilty as anyone else in instigating such things over the years, but these personal attacks are too much. I shall not participate in this anymore. This is absolutely of no interest to me.

So, may the Lord judge between us.

To all who are reading this, I want you to know– I am a clear example of a person who is constantly in need of God’s grace. Because Jesus Christ died on the Cross for the world, that includes all of us. He died to forgive my sin, and resurrected to give me life. He did the same for you. When I repented of my sin, and put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, He gave me new life. He can do the same for you. We are all sinners, and in need of forgiveness. If you will trust Jesus Christ and turn from your sin, you can find forgiveness and freedom from all the guilt that is upon you. Jesus loves you.
-Ergun Caner

Phil Johnson said...

I just noticed that my link to James White (above) inexplicably didn't register, and if you click on the link, it just goes back to the TeamPyro front page. I posted that comment from my iPad in the doctors waiting room, and I'm sorry it didn't work.

Here's a working link to James White's posts on the Caner scandal. Those posts are encyclopedic and enlightening. If you don't understand what all the buzz is about regarding Caner's "amplified" version of his own testimony, James will fill you in.

Majestatic said...

I hope none of the Pyromaniacs have a problem with me posting the Ergun statement. In light of the evidence collated it's interesting what it says and what it does not say.

Mike Riccardi said...

You cant force
your doctrinal commitments on people/institutions that are Dispy Semi-Pelagians at heart. To do so is Moralism
.

Dude.

What are you talking about?

The only relevant doctrinal commitment in this discussion is the commitment to lay aside falsehood and speak truth each one to his neighbor.

You speak of "public repentance" on his website, and folks "wanting blood." You sound seriously unhinged. No one wants blood. They want to remove the reproach that comes upon the name of Christ, and so they ask those who claim to follow Christ to do what He says.

Not, "I might have misspoken and I'm sorry if you misunderstood me," but "I confess that I have lied repeatedly because of my own lust for recognition. I am ashamed of my actions, and publicly ask for your forgiveness."

It just boggles my mind that you could be defending this. Doesn't your own conscience eat you alive as you defend an unrepentant liar in the name of Christ? Come on now man.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Lot Hair said...

So, if truth doesn't need history, as in parabolic language, then Caner is justified in creating a persona that illustrates a deeper point, just as Jesus had.

Jesus never created a false persona of Himself as Caner has done for himself. Are you for real?

Honestly, you're so far off the mark, not only do I think you're not an RCC apologist, I can't see how you possibly understand anything of a spiritual nature. You can't argue cogently, you seem to think that at the end of time we're all going to be literally transformed into either sheep or goats and be judged as thus--a kind of transgoatstantiation perhaps? I am dumbfounded, quite frankly, at the idiocy you have provided here for our amusement.

Thank you? I guess?

At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that if you are an RCC apologist, I can expect to see the Reformed ranks swelling soon.

Praise God!

Phil,

Lot Hair is not Dave Armstrong. I know Dave, and however we may disagree with him, he doesn't argue so stupidly and incoherently.

OnlyJesusSaves.com said...

Thanks Phil for being so clear. We've had enough dissembling from Liberty Staffers.
The sad fact for me in reading your article was learning about Mike Warnke's lies. I realized in reading his sad story that I had wondered what happened to him. I was moved by his stories as a youth, until the day he wanted a ridiculous payment to speak at our little church I was attending back in 1985-1986. I had smelled a rat then and nixed it with the pastor. YEARS later I find out he was a wolf after all. Wow.
Then I learned a Bible teacher I had trusted implicitly divorced his wife and ran off with his secretary. I cannot even remember his name now I was so angry about it.
...more here...
http://onlyjesussaves.com/blog/?p=1347

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"To all who are reading this, I want you to know– I am a clear example of a person who is constantly in need of God’s grace. Because Jesus Christ died on the Cross for the world, that includes all of us. He died to forgive my sin, and resurrected to give me life. He did the same for you. When I repented of my sin, and put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, He gave me new life. He can do the same for you. We are all sinners, and in need of forgiveness. If you will trust Jesus Christ and turn from your sin, you can find forgiveness and freedom from all the guilt that is upon you. Jesus loves you.

-Ergun Caner
"

Frank Turk:

"Inside my personal echo chamber, the me I see in there is the me who doesn't do what he ought, and does what he ought not to do, and who can save me from this wretched state? Praise be to God: it's the Lord Jesus Christ.

And I can see me that way. You can see you that way.

But the real trick in the Christian life is to see others that way. That is: just as you are Christ's in spite of your pitiable state, the other believers you encounter are Christ's in spite of their pitiable state."

Peace in Christ alone.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Robert and Lothair,

I want everyone here to know that last week I locked my car keys in my car.

A brother in Christ approached me privately about this sin and we had a good talk.

I have since renounced my sin, asked forgiveness of both my Lord and my brethren at church, and do hereby repent in public here before you all.

Thank you so much for your kind help during this time of great spiritual struggle.

And thank you, Dr. Caner, for your unswerving inspiration.

Sincerely,

Pilgrimsarbour

Robert said...

Mike Ricardi,
The image I have of a you is a jihadist with a sword over Erguns head saying repent then you will live.

1. I saw his website and read what he wrote from his heart. I believe that to be sincere repentance. Disagree ...fair enough but dont come here demanding I repent for what I believe. Your not God or even my elder.

2. Yes I believe and they have stated on her website that Debbie Kaufmans minions want blood. Blood being a metaphor for Erguns complete firing or Jimmy Swaggert type of public apology.

3.Lastly this a local church issue and they are responsible for his discipline. Despite what Tom Chantry states in his post. I am not a member of TRBC are you?

Have a nice day

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Jugulum said...

Robert,

The question isn't whether he was sincere in his apology. It's whether he apologized for the thing we're talking about.

Lydia said...

"1. I saw his website and read what he wrote from his heart. I believe that to be sincere repentance. Disagree ...fair enough but dont come here demanding I repent for what I believe. Your not God or even my elder.
"

Robert, I thought he took that "apology" down soon after posting it. Can you link to it on his site now?

Robert said...

Jugulum,
That may be your question but that is not a duty that I have been given by God to manage. I see it is a local church issue or an employee /employer issue. There is no office of seminary
president in Scripture.

christinalangella.com said...

I am not as pessimistic as you when I see articles like this!

As someone who, by God's grace, has been delivered from this kind of reckless, fraudulent theology that absolutely defies accountability, I pray that the Peter's and the Paul's in Christendom would take their stand (as you have, and several others have) when they see error. If they do not then others will be led astray by hypocrisy. It is when those of stature in Christendom stay quiet that the little ones are led astray.

I'm disappointed at how the Caner situation has played out, however I do get encouraged when I see things like this.

Blessings to you.

Robert said...

Lydia,
No I cant but I believe is was trying to address all the charges that he knew at that time. For the rest I am willing to give him Grace.

Mike Riccardi said...

The image I have of a you is a jihadist with a sword over Erguns head saying repent then you will live.

I think that says more about you than it does about me.


...but dont come here demanding I repent for what I believe. Your not God or even my elder.

I didn't demand that you repent for anything. I demanded that Caner repent for lying to me and thousands of others, bringing reproach upon the name of my Savior.

Yes I believe and they have stated on her website that Debbie Kaufmans minions want blood.

They're not here. In fact, no one here knows who they are. If you have a problem with them, tell them. Don't project whatever inadequacies you perceive in them with everyone who believes Caner still has some 'splainin to do.

Lastly this a local church issue and they are responsible for his discipline.

That's just ridiculous on its face. It most certainly is not merely a local church issue. It's a public issue -- and was made that way by Caner himself. While it's not less than a local church issue, and while they indeed do have a responsibility to guide Caner into repentance over this, it is bigger than the local church. Public sin, public repentance. And just because you don't like what Chantry says doesn't mean it's not true.

Jugulum said...

Robert,

But... I'm responding to you on this. You brought up his apology here, and in a subsequent comment:
"I just dont understand how why someone like Phil can join hands with Islamist to attack a an admittedly failed Christian brother."

And I'm making the point that he has not admitted the failure that's at issue. He has not repented of what we're discussing, as you said he did.

If you want to retract your earlier comment, and stick to "The whole issue isn't any of our business, anyway", then I'll leave you to argue that point with others.


Actually, on second thought, I'll ask you one question: If it's an employer/employee issue, then it's relevant to anyone who might consider employing Ergun Caner in the future, isn't it? Anyone who's organizing a conference on apologetics, and is considering inviting him to speak? Any church that might consider calling him to pastor their congregation? Any other university who might hire him?

Robert said...

Mike Ricardi,
Nonsense many of them are posting as we speak. Even Debbiekaufman posted at 10:47 am july 9th.
They are on a Jihad and link to anything posted in their favor. Wake up dude!

Robert said...

Jugulum,
It not relevant for me because I will never be his employer and it might be a positive thing for the vast numbers of Southern Baptist who really do believe the Doctrines of Grace are worse the Islam.
Your dogmatism only confirms that to many anti-calvinist in the SBC. So fan the flames of war all you want but dont be surprised if you get burned but those who truly want the SBC purged of Calvinist.

Phil Johnson said...

Robert: "Phil in answer to your question Debbie Kaufman is a Church member at Wade Burlesons Immanuel Baptist in Enid Oklahoma. . . . more on the The Shack part of my comment later......William P. Young is the author of the Shack."


Since I have never read, quoted, or referenced anything by either of those two, I still fail to see the relevance of your comment to this thread. No one on this blog had ever mentioned either Ms. Kaufman or Mr. young until you did. If I do someday encounter Ms. Kaufman's work and find she is guilty of dissembling on the same order as Crying Wind, Mike Warnke, or Ergun Caner, I will most certainly say so--especially if I become aware that people whom I pastor are in danger of being led astray by something she or anyone else has published.

That isn't the case at the moment, so that whole line of discussion is off-topic. Again, it would not have come up here at all if you hadn't brought it up.

Ditto with Young and The Shack. I haven't read (and probably won't read) the book. I've seen enough careful reviews to know I would deplore it. But that doesn't mean it's my duty to seek out and expose every blogger who didn't deplore it.

So there's no need to follow up your earlier comment with more about The Shack. To do so would be a rule-5 violation. (See our right sidebar.)

Mike Riccardi said...

Robert,

If there is a post on this thread at 10:47am, then blogger must be on the fritz (which isn't impossible), because it's not showing up on my computer.

But if you're referring to another thread, that's my point. Stop. They're not here.

Thaddaeus Caldwell said...

I recently graduated from Liberty University and let me assure you that most religion and seminary students were not pleased with Caner, and have not been for the last several years. Non-religion students, and those who were not concerned with the things of God, took his classes for the easy A. (And I mean super easy A, I don't think I knew a single person who did not get an A in his class)
And to show you the student body discontent with caner, Campus church on Wednesday night attendance was way down this last year, so far down that they were replacing him in that job before they even found out about this mess.
Don't let this color your perception of every Liberty professor or graduate

Ezekielscall said...

Phil,

Tangential to this sad situation, I would like your reflection on how 1 Cor 13:7 interacts with what seems to be a serious need for discernment and a sanctified skepticism. I have seen numerous instances in my personal life where a glib reference to this verse has led to a naivety that ends up hurting people and dishonoring Christ, but what does it mean that love "believes all things, hopes all things"?

Warren

Lydia said...

"No I cant but I believe is was trying to address all the charges that he knew at that time. For the rest I am willing to give him Grace."

So, the point is, his one and only response was published on his site and taken down quickly. Yet, you and others copied it and now use it as a formal response.
Now, I am really confused. :o)

Do you use it with Caner or Liberty's permission?

Jugulum said...

Robert,

OK, so you aren't interested in pursuing this issue yourself. But you came here criticizing other people for pursuing it--saying they have no biblical grounds to do so. And you say that you "see it is a local church issue or an employee /employer issue."

So in light of your criticism of other people here, I respectfully ask that you let me know: Would you tell someone who's organizing an apologetics conference and considering inviting Ergun Caner that this is none of their business?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Thaddaeus,

Thank you for your input. I'm sure that most folks don't think that most Liberty students support Caner (as a liar). On the other hand, as fallen human beings, the temptation is great to take the word of the University's leadership as reflecting the general will of the school and its students. Others like yourself coming forward and making similar online statements would be a great service in the cause of truth and greatly encourage all of us in the faith.

Blessings in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

Robert said...

Phil Johnson

My point is that Debbie Kaufman insisted/ still insists that Ergun Caner was not a Muslim. That is why Norman Geisler was/ has concluded that Ergun Caner was exonerated.
IE Liberty University exonerated Ergun Caner on the charge that he was not an ex-muslim.
Even you posted that there are many other sites other than James White addressing this issue. Hers is probably the most influential based on volume. Seems to me you would want to be well read before posting on this topic.

Mike Riccardi said...

Ah, it wasn't 10:47, it was 10:07, and the whole of Ms. Kaufman's jihadist, out-for-blood comment was, "Thank you for writing this Phil."

I think you need help, Robert.

icouldbe said...

It was actually rather common to spice up your testimony I never could but I lacked and still lack spiritual maturity. As for tear jerker stories I never quite got how to do it. Every time I ever mentioned something from my past, a death, physical tragedy abuse etc the reaction was one of open mouth insert finger. I dont expect sympathy, empathy understanding comfort or any other emotionalistic clap trap from the faith family but to not have the vilest of motives applied to a point I bring up would have been nice.

I guess my point is I cant really fault Dr. Caner as he is working the business, and business is good. It may be a flash in the pan but it pays the bills, which totally justifies anything done. Always has always will, Always.

Robert said...

Mike,
I apologize(repent for lying) that time was 10.07am.
Lydia,
I have not posted that statement only recall from memory.
Does say something about the ethics of people who posted it does it not?

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Robert: "Jugulum,
It not relevant for me because I will never be his employer and it might be a positive thing for the vast numbers of Southern Baptist who really do believe the Doctrines of Grace are worse the Islam."


You got to be joking.

There are "vast numbers" of Southern Baptists who really do believe that the Doctrines of Grace are worse than Islam???

I don't believe you.

If I were to take a survey of all SBC members and asked them to choose between:

(a) Islam

or

(b) Calvinist Christianity,

I seriously doubt that more of them would pick Islam over Calvinist Christianity.

Mark | hereiblog said...

Irony lurks among Dr. Caner's own words and his current non-response. In this talk Caner speaks very boldly. Just listen to the first 10 minutes about how he calls people out by name and is all about truth, etc.

In another talk, "Mighty Men of Valor" he challenges his listeners to not wait to speak in the face of conflict. Not waiting for others to lead and or to wait for a announcement. And also being willing to speak up if your job is at stake.

The consistency also fades when considering his definition of debating in light of Liberty having a nationally known debate school.

I just wonder what the purposes were for all of these statements for the past nine years. In context of all of his talks the intent seems clear. It seems like he was trying to present a certain persona of himself.

If he wasn't trying to build a certain persona then what was his intent for all of his statements for the past nine years?

Robert said...

Mark,
That is what happens when lawyers start running the discussion....pretty obvious to me.

DrOakley said...

Phil:

Thanks for the link! I wish the resultant list of materials was not so large, but in God's providence this has been something I had to engage. I hope and pray it will lead to further serious opportunities of ministry in the field of Islam, but that, of course, is all in God's hands. I know the serious Muslim apologists are now fully aware of the situation, and I hope they will see that at least some of those who profess faith in the truth attempt to live consistently in light of it.

Lothar:

Thanks for one of the biggest chuckles I've gotten out of this entire rancid situation. I recall your deeply insightful commentary from some other blog in the past two or three years, but I honestly do not even recall what it was I called you out on. But for the record, Angel Contreras created our blog graphic, and as with everything else Angel does, he did it on his own. He came up with the Morpheus persona, and I don't tell artists what to do. And as to the Lance Armstrong comment, you might want to try that little thing called fairness and context. I said, and I quote, "I look more like Lance Armstrong than Morpheus these days!" Morpheus is a big dude. I used to be a big dude. I am no longer. I have dropped a lot of weight (a friend called me skeletal this morning, which is far from the truth, as I still want to shed another seven pounds, at least, but I took it as a compliment), and hence look like a cyclist again (i.e., like Lance Armstrong) and not like a big denizen of the Matrix (Morpheus). Any semi-fair minded person knew what I was talking about (esp. those who have seen pictures on the blog or watched my videos of late), so the fact that you completely missed the point might well indicate a really bad case of "Romanist prejudice" on your part? I have a feeling that is the case.

To all:

This situation has been quite sobering. Aside from Lothar the Romanist, however, the vast majority of those who have taken up the ad-hominem bat and headed my direction have been...my fellow Baptists. And in the case of some (one particular man I truly feel is a danger to himself and others) have been willing to set new records for absolute vile nastiness. One man even took the time to condemn a friend to hell and, knowing my mother passed away earlier this year, added, "Say hello to White's mom while you are there." Yes, the fellowship of the brethren has indeed been sweet.

Which only leads me to once again reflect upon the oft repeated statement of Tom Ascol that our churches have lost the gospel. And when you lose the gospel, you fill your churches with unregenerate men and women. Anyone really shocked that such folks lack discernment or a concern about truth and integrity and holiness?

Lesson learned. Again.

James White

farmboy said...

My guess is that Mr. Caner is still quite shocked that so much has come from his playing fast and loose with the facts of his biographical record. Look at his, and his brother's, exchanges with Mr. Ascol and Mr. White leading up to the debate that never happened. Look at his attacks on Reformed theology. In all those instances Mr. Caner quite often played fast and loose with the content of Scripture, and nothing ever came of it. Well, I guess something did come of it: A rise in the status and stature of Mr. Caner within Arminian evangelicalism.

In the end, if someone is willing and eager to play fast and loose with the facts and circumstances of Scripture, why should it be surprising when that person plays fast and loose with the facts and circumstances in other settings?

Mike said...

Thank you Phil for the post. It was very revealing and unfortunately very true.

A few thoughts:

1) If Dr. White has said it once, it has been said a thousand times, this is NOT about Arminian Theology vs. Calvinist theology. That is a red herring issue and side-tracks from the most important point, which is that this is an issue of integrity. As John MacArthur points out in his book, "The Master's Plan For the Church," the key issue regarding whether or not one can be an elder or a deacon in the church is INTEGRITY (1 Tim. 3:1-8). On this basis alone, Dr. Ergun Caner is disqualified from teaching at a seminary set up to train pastors of Christ's flock. Dr. Caner, if you cannot tell the truth about your testimony for motives known truly to you and God alone (until one day you may tell us why you have made so many blatant "misstatements" in your testimony) and cannot come completely clean about what you have done and stop hiding behind official statements from your school and using terms that, quite frankly, only seem to indict you further, then you have no place teaching other men how to grow in integrity and honesty so that they may shepherd us. How do they indict you? Because anyone who is being falsely accused of something as intense as LYING and that to God's people whom He has purchased with His blood (not to mention the stumbling block you have erected for all those who need to come to the saving grace of Jesus Christ) will not do what you are doing. They will not take a demotion as an attempt to "quiet" the situation down politically. They will not remain silent when an Arabic person (a CHRISTIAN, not a MUSLIM, mind you, although just because a muslim sees your inconsistency and butchering of his mother tongue does not make him a liar) questions your knowledge of the language based on its utter intelligability (as Dr. White's tutor, the Arabic Christian, has done) and hide behind different dialects of the language (in other words, if it is Arabic, tell us what the words are, man!) What you are doing is damaging to Christ's bride and is robbing God of the glory He alone deserves. Please repent from this sin, for if you truly love Christ and are of His church, and you have truly been saved NOT just from the consequences of but also the love for sin, you cannot remain in this sin that God has repeatedly shown His hatred for (Rev. 21:8). Dr. Caner, if you truly be saved, you will detest this sin and turn from it. Please do so now, and I will be praying for you. But, let it be known, I will speak out against what you have done, because my love for Christ and His glory supersedes my love for you. Stop confusing the body of Christ...

Mike said...

For the posters here:

Keep the issue the issue. The issue is God's GLORY, not the TULIP. John Wesley would be APPALLED by this travesty and by the common allowance of licentiousness that seems to be par for the course in modern evangelical church; that is, par for the course unless it be a POLITICAL issue. No one would be arguing (unless you be a liberal "Christian," which is no Christian at all) if Dr. Caner was caught in some gross sexual immorality (as Dr. White so aptly pointed out). But these seemingly thornier issues of personal integrity and holiness seem to be more of stumbling blocks to the current CEO-mentality of the church and ministry than the sheer blessings and joy thet should be. If you are an Arminian here and you are reading what has happened at the compromised college and seminary known as Liberty (doesn't mean all who attend or teach there necessarily are, but perhaps the "powers-at-be" wish to be only that and not true ambassadors of Christ and His glory), you should be, if Christ's Spirit is indeed in you, just as apalled as the Calvinist, because you desire sin to be eradicated along with its effects and desire to see the return of Christ and a world of SINLESSNESS at His Second Coming. You want God to be exalted. And you certainly don't want compulsive lying in the pulpit/classroom, which unfortunately seems to be all that this is.

gospelandgrace said...

Well said Phil.

I think another effect on Liberty of the Caner Scandal is that the university itself will lose credibility. Their distance ed program is very attractive especially to military folks like myself. But given their lack of integrity in this matter, I am forced to ask, "Why would I associate myself with the institution?"

It should also not go unnoticed or without comment that this lack of scriptural integrity is spilling over to other areas at Liberty. The most glaring example is their recent choice to have a Mormon, Glenn Beck, speak at their commencement. Additionally they have "partnered" with him in a "save America" type campaign in which Mr. Falwell has said essentially that they can deal with doctrine later but first they must save the nation.

By the way it is great to see a fellow Oklahoman "make good". My journey is the opposite of yours though, early years in Southern California (Orange County) then transplanted to OKC in Junior High School.

For His Glory,
Terry

Robert said...

Really its a local Church issue so go mind your own local Church business and let TRBC mind Erguns. The log in your own eye is plenty big!
Also I suspect very few of you are even Southern Baptist although I know some that happen to be SBC.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

gospelandgrace said...

Robert,

With all due respect this is not simply a problem for TRBC. It would be had Mr. Caner only spoken there; instead, he stepped onto the national and even international scene and that makes it not simply a local issue.

Now, it is true that TRBC / Liberty should take the lead in dealing with the issue if in fact Mr. Caner is a member there. But the church universal must speak to this issue regardless of the TRBC/Liberty response.

Can you imagine the Apostle Paul not addressing this assault on the integrity of the gospel and the church? No, I can't either. I think he would do exactly what all of us should be doing. Humbly, Identify the sin that has beset a brother, and then call him to repentance.

The Armchair Geek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Armchair Theologian said...

Great article and wonderful insight as usual, Phil. I'm always amazed at how history repeats itself in such blatant ways.

Robert said...

GospelandGrace,
Actually I do not believe the Bible teaches that at all. Church Discipline is a local Church issue only...period.Paul was challenging the local church leaders to be Biblical but he was not going around being Pope Paul.

Clark said...

Having heard Dr. Caner on several occasions I appreciated his messages and thought they were Biblical, still do. I don't recall him saying very much about his upbringing except for a humorous aside or two referencing his early years as a Christian. I did hear a shot or two toward calvinists, which he claimed were at hyper-calvinists when I mentioned it to him. I think he was confusing the two because as a reformed Baptist I felt the brunt of his comments were aimed at folks like me.
Still he was friendly and gracious and I chalked it up to him not really understanding reformed baptist beliefs which is something I've encountered from some pretty smart folks over the years.
However, to see the evidence of his gross misstatements and contradictory comments I can't helped but be amazed that he doesn't just own up to intentionally "juicing" up his story and get it over with.

Writing from the Southern Baptist Holy land, Fort Worth, Tx.

Coram Deo said...

The alleged "Caner Embellishments Theory" just doesn't hold water.

After all it's not as if he has personally benefitted financially, professionally, or positionally from assuming a pseudo-jihadist persona within the theologically shallow, generally biblically ignorant, post-9/11 pathologically Islamophobic, cult-of-personality-esque SBC or anything, right?

I mean, wouldn't there need to be a motive or motives for attempting to pull off a confidence scam such as acquiring a cushy, high-visibility, well-paying job at a major seminary, or shilling ignorant Muslim stereotypes for pay at churches and conferences, or receiving offers to appear on television and radio programs for hire with well-respected Christian leaders, or obtaining potentially lucrative book offers?

Sounds like a bit of a stretch to me personally. Common sense and Occams Razor point to the controversy as being a Muslim-Calvinist conspiracy to discredit Caner.

With that I am...



In Christ,
CD

d4v34x said...

So am I the only reader who googled the Chicago Marathon and Warren Wiersbe to verify Phil's (alleged) biographical details?

So far his story is plausible; I remain open but cautious.

We'll know more when I see the copy of the marriage license I requested.

Robert said...

For many of us the reason that Ergun should be defended is because we believe this ......http://web.me.com/pandrewsandlin/New_CCL_2/Blog/Entries/2010/7/2_American_Exceptionalism_Is_Christian_Exceptionalism.html.

Robert said...

We believe this
unlike the pietist among you

http://tinyurl.com/2b38no5

Carla said...

Phil, thank you for this post. I had never heard about Crying Wind and found that rather interesting.

I have not read all the comments so my apologies if this has already been addressed. One of the commenters Lydia brought up a larger issue here that I also wrote about on my own blog 2 weeks ago.

Lydia said...
"Personally, I find it naive to believe that Liberty had NO idea of his many variations of biographical information over 9 years. Perhaps they are upset that anyone noticed?"

Bearing in mind Liberty's boasting of how enrollment has gone up triple, since Caner came along, you really do have to wonder about these things.

This is what I wrote at my own blog:

"This is pure speculation here on my part, but you just really have to wonder who, and how many people at Liberty knew all along that Caner had made all this stuff up, and who really didn't believe anyone would ever find out. It's outrageous to assume Caner was hired on with NO background checks or verification whatsoever. It's equally outrageous to believe he was hired on with folks in full knowledge of his phoney background, but hired anyway. Obviously however, one of the two definitely happened, and it's damaging to Liberty either way you slice it."

Caner is not the only guilty party here. You cannot be a man in Caner's position, lied your face off to get there, and have NO ONE know about it. Someone knew, and someone covered it up.

Dave Eagle said...

As a Native American (50% blood) and my wife being full blooded Native American I can't tell you how offensive I find such stories like Crying Wind's. Having observed the Native American Christian churches and my wife being a former full time missionary on the reservation, I can't tell you how damaging it can be for Native American leaders to embellish their testimonies. It's bad when people who are followers find out the truth about their leaders, but worse when this behavior becomes contageous. This only moves Christians towards sensationalism and looking to man, rather than looking to the infitely beautiful, and infinitely merciful fact that God desires to save anyone at all. Let us pray for truth in our Churches.

Dave Eagle said...

Further, I hope for the same reason, Muslim-to-Christian coverts and Christians in general will find Caner's claims to be offensive, because I think they are first and foremost offensive to God. Brother Caner needs prayer.

The Squirrel said...

Robert, do you want to know why I think this this mess with Ergun Caner is any of my business.

After September 11, 2001, E. Michael Caner ceased to be, replaced by a fictional character named Ergun Mehmet Caner, with a complex back-story that rivals any character in a Clancy novel. He then began to proclaim this back-story from church pulpits across the United States, from Florida to Hawai’i. When his pattern of lies was uncovered, he issued a statement saying that he “never intentionally mislead anyone.” That, too, was a lie. He has repeatedly been called upon to repent.

Dr. Caner has not repented publicly of his very public pattern of deception. It has long been accepted that private repentance is sufficient for sins committed in private. The circle of repentance should not exceed the circle of offense. The circle of Dr. Caner’s deception lies far outside of Thomas Road Baptist Church, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and Liberty University. Dr. Caner has spread his lies throughout the Southern Baptist Convention and, by books, podcasts, radio broadcasts, and the like, throughout the wider evangelical Christian community.

Indeed, the circle of his offense exceeds the Christian Church at large, as he has trained members of the American armed forces about Islam and the Islamic concept of Jihad.

As a Southern Baptist, I am inside the circle of Dr. Caner’s offenses. As a Christian, I am inside the circle of Dr. Caner’s offenses. As an American, I am inside the circle of Dr. Caner’s offenses. So, yes, it is my business (& yours, too).

And I did attempt to contact Dr. Caner before I published my first post about this. He did not reply.

Squirrel

Robert said...

wow Squirrel,
Your a brave soul, You dont even use your real name. As stated earlier I believe he has repented and you Moralist need to move on down the road.

Coram Deo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coram Deo said...

Robert,

If you'd bothered to click his hyperlink you might have learned something about The Squirrel, but since in your haste to call names you obviously didn't, as it stands your comment comes across as foolish and petty.

How sad for you.

In Christ,
CD

P.S. - I noticed that your blogger profile is blocked, therefore you're actually more anonymous than The Squirrel. I guess we can reasonably add hypocrisy to the list of your demonstrated character traits.

The Squirrel said...

Robert said...
"wow Squirrel,
Your a brave soul, You dont even use your real name. As stated earlier I believe he has repented and you Moralist need to move on down the road.
"

Robert of the blocked profile,

Well, as Coram Deo said, hyperlinks are handy things. Taking the time to click them can save you a lot of embarrassment. But, take heart, you're not the first to make that error. Doesn't excuse you, mind; but at least you're not alone.

Now, exactly when had Ergun Caner repented? And of what exactly has he repented?

Before you answer, you might be advised to review these:

Like Watching a Train Wreck...

If It Was A Song, CT's Article Would Be Off Key

The Caner File

Lynchburg, We Have A Problem...

Historiography, Primary Source Material, and Norman Geisler

Squirrel

(Phil, sorry for the excessive link-trollage...)

Lothair Of Lorraine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chaplain mike said...

Excellent article, Phil. I fail to see how things will change, however. Evangelicalism is so much a culture of personality, even in its most conservative forms, that Christians' identities tend to be formed by which preacher or Bible teacher they follow. Celebrities with testimonies are just another voice from the stage.

Sparrow said...

Robert,

Did you read Caner's apology?

1st. People don't make apologies for a slip of the tongue unless they said something offensive. Although, now that I think about his use of the following expression: "Sand Ni**er", that IS offensive. Since he claims that was just a matter of having misspoken, why should he apologize? Do people really misspeak when using that degrading, stereotypical label? Who knew?

2nd. How can this man say repeatedly that he never "intended" to mislead anyone, while repeatedly misleading people? Trying to cover up one lie by telling another really doesn't impress me as a sincere sign of repentence. It's more like the excuse of one my third grade students. Frankly, they do a better job.

3rd. TRBC should certainly discipline Dr. Caner. However, that would be for anything he did while functioning under the umbrella of that particular entity. To the rest of us to whom he lied, he needs to repent publicly.

4th. He could put an end to this by facing up to the truth about Ergun Caner. But his 'friends' are now coming to his rescue, so why should he bother to look us all in the eye and apologize? He'll let his own brother, Emir, take a little heat for him instead.

5th. What did Paul tell Christians to do, when one of their own would not repent? Oh yes, I remember. We are to CAST THEM OUT from among us. We shouldn't even sit down to a meal with them until they turn from this sin.

Carla, I'm with you. I think that the person who knew the most regarding this is also enjoying being the top guy at a SBC Seminary. At the rate this is going, the Caner's and friends will need to start their own 12 step meetings called 'Liars Anonymous'. Oh wait, that won't work. If I'm not mistaken one of the 12 steps is to take a fearless moral inventory of self! Then there is a little matter of making amends. Never mind. Their only hope is in Jesus. I hope they'll step up and get to know him.

Lydia said...

"My point is that Debbie Kaufman insisted/ still insists that Ergun Caner was not a Muslim."

Robert, Can you link to any other sites besides Debbie Kaufman and Mo Khan who have maintained that Caner was NEVER Muslim?

Many of us disagreed with Debbie and Khan's position on that yet still maintain that Caner lied about many facts of his bio.

The issue should never have been whether he believed he was ever Muslim or not. The issue is all the other lies that are verifiable.

J♥Yce said...

Read this morning ~ spot on.

Doctrine is critical. Let me put it to you very simply; you live your theology. You absolutely live your theology. Let me say it another way: life imitates doctrine. You are going to live what you believe, and the sounder, clearer, stronger, and more defensible your doctrine is, the more it is going to affect how you live.

John MacArthur
The Old Schoolhouse Interview on Home-school

icouldbe said...

The Squirrel posted some points, I dont get it, Dr. Caner leveraged his position and increased his market share, that cannot be wrong ever. He increased LU enrollment, that has to be of God, God is always about numbers, always. If Dr. Caner embellished his testimony it was for the goal of increasing student enrollment, book sales and other such important spiritual goals. This has to be the most important. God is always about increased enrollment, apologetic etc.

Why cant you folks admit it is a business, aways a business? Dr. Caner is working the business, that cant be wrong, ever. He fulfilled the primary component, increased productivity. Nothing else matters. I will admit I find this strange, I understand it but I find it strange.

Tom Chantry said...

Point of Clarification:

I have never seen this fully addressed off Debbie Kaufman's blog, so I'll address it here.

As I understand it, Mohamed Kahn's assertion regarding Caner's never being a Muslim is related to the definition of "Muslim" as "faithful one." To him, there is no such thing as an "ex-Muslim," because a true faithful one could never apostatize. His argument is similar to a Christian who believes in the perseverance of the saints saying "There are no 'ex-Christians.'"

Debbie Kaufman has accepted that definition for the sake of her witness to Kahn. While others (James White in particular) have conceded that Caner was a Muslim but disputed his claim to have been a "devout Muslim," Kaufman has stood with Kahn by insisting that there is no other kind of Muslim.

For my part, I think that is a mistake. If a person with a former testimony as a Christian became a Muslim, we might insist theologically that he was never truly saved, but he would be known as an ex-Christian. To dispute that he was ever a Christian in that public sense would be to take a position which cannot be substantiated. Similarly, to say that Caner was never a Muslim is to expect him to use terms in a way that his Christian audiences would not understand. It opens Kahn and Kaufman to ridicule, since the evidence demonstrates that Caner grew up in a Muslim household and followed that faith as a young child. Kaufman would probably do better to adopt the language that White and others have used.

However, those who read and criticize her should understand that when she says, "Caner was never a Muslim," she does not mean, "He never attended a mosque or believed in Islam in any sense." Rather, she is saying, "He was never a devout, committed, adult believer in Islam, and by the internal definition of that faith he could not properly be called 'Muslim.'"

I would not have chosen her way of arguing, but to hold her up for ridicule as the one Christian left who refuses to admit Caner's Islamic childhood is to miss the nuance of what she is saying.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

DJP:

1. Are you saying that Jesus expected people to believe that every parable was an actual historical event?

Using the Scripture, show me he didn't intend his lessons to be based on historical events. Historical or not, his parables captured the imaginations of his audience and enforced the important truths he came to share. By transforming simple word pictures into timeless realities, he made ordinary images and daily routines take on new and vibrant notions. The historicity is not as important as the teaching.

For example, Jesus [Lk 13:22-30] tells his disciples to enter the 'narrow door' [στενης Aθυρας]. If there isn't a real and visible door that is narrow and difficult to enter, then Jesus could be called a liar.

It could be argued that Ergun Caner used some of the same methods in his own sermons. While this would provide broad explanatory power, I agree it wouldn't cover him on every point.

2. Is comparing oneself to [X] the same as claiming that you are, or did [X]?

Yes, in most cases, though there are shades of gray and room for degrees. When comparing oneself to Lance Armstrong, the anology would assume a claim to his athletic prowess, which James White doesn't have.

3. Has James White ever said that he was any of those people, as Ergun Caner has said he was and did the things he apparently was not...'

James White publicly imagines that he and his team are computer generated superheros with James in the form of Morpheus. In this very thread he had the audacity to blame his artist. Why is the artist responsible for James' decision to use the image? Why can't White just come out and admit that he liked the image and used the artwork he commissioned to draw up a parable of his own. Instead, he blames some guy on his staff. James makes special pleading every chance he gets, and dodges whenever he has to.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

DrOakley:

I went over your post a few times, with the intent to parse your words out and look for errors. After all, it is a favorite hobby of your. Just a few points:

You said, 'I have dropped a lot of weight (a friend called me skeletal this morning, which is far from the truth, as I still want to shed another seven pounds, at least, but I took it as a compliment), and hence look like a cyclist again (i.e., like Lance Armstrong) and not like a big denizen of the Matrix (Morpheus.'

You didn't say you looked like a cyclist again, you said you looked like Lance Armstrong. You don't. So, you can be called a liar.

Also, you never looked like Morpeus, you looked more like Captain Kangaroo or maybe Mr. Magoo. Still, I am happy to hear that you have dropped weight.

And, alas, your loaded language once again labels your critics as 'unfair', simplemided person who 'completely missed the point' which of course confirms in your head that sectarian biases are the real reason for not lying down at the altar of James White.

Rick Frueh said...

In 2003 the Apostle Paul and I talked theology over lunch at Denny's.

(Exotic imagery alert!)

Chan said...

It's amazing how evangelicals seem so drawn to those "testimonies" where people were supposedly involved in all these overtly evil or overtly tragic situations (e.g. Mike Warnke's supposed involvement in Satanism). We like to hear all the sordid, salacious details of someone's life in the world before they came to Christ and the coming to Christ part of the testimony is so often relegated to a sentence or two. We then go on to turn the people with these "amazing" testimonies into the Christian version of celebrities.

What should so thoroughly amaze us is that God even extends His grace to any of us and brings us to Himself.

Rafael said...

FWIW .. I am the Executive Director of the Arminians Contra Hideous Evangelical Naivete coalition (ACHEN). I thought I would helpfully clarify the position that Arminians can be as concerned as Calvinists about things like truth telling.

Just saying ..

Tom Chantry said...

Were I an Arminian, only one thing would offend me more than Caner's apparent lies - and that is the repeated assertion by Geisler et. al. that this is a Reformed vs. Arminian issue. Given the known facts, to say that this is Reformed vs. Arminian is to say that Reformed Christians are characterized a love of truth, while Arminians are without exception characterized by a laxity with regard to the ninth commandment. I don't think that is so, but I don't see how anyone could read Geisler after looking at the facts of this case and come to any other conclusion. He is as much as saying, "We Arminians (the real Christians) don't care if you lie; that's a Reformed prejudice!"

Robert said...

Tom Chantry,
Thanks for that fair summary of Debbie Kaufmans position.

Honestly if the discussion was just between James White and Ergun Caner then I think it would not be so volatile.
My point to Phil was that probably most Southern Baptist are more upset with her then James White
2.Norman Geisler and John Ankerburg were clearly responding to her statements when they stated Ergun was exonerated from that specific charge.

Phil in answer to your question about whether I agree with muslim that secular atheism is bad ...of course I would agree but that is a different beast then the actions at Debbie Kaufmans blog.
She has from the start integrated Mohammed Khan into her "Jihad " to bring down a fellow Christian. I see that commanded NO Where in Scripture. While God sometimes uses the pagans for punishing his people He also condemned them for making un-holy alliances for the destruction of His own people.
What amazes me is that are outspoken on people who want to make alliances on non-gospel causes :read Manhatten Declaration but on Gospel issues like church discipline, repentance, lying you seem to think those alliances are acceptable.
If you think my facts are wrong I would encourage to notice how many Muslims post on Debbies Blog and how she often times agrees with and encourage them. It has gone far beyond just agree with facts about Ergun.

Tom Chantry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Chantry said...

Robert,

If that was what they were doing, they might have done it better by acknowledging what Kaufman was saying.

They might have tried, "We realize that to Muslim's, no one who left the faith was ever truly one of them. Ergun Caner grew up in a nominally Muslim home, but abandoned that faith as a young teenager after years of life in Ohio. He recognizes that Muslims would not acknowledge him as one of them, but he has spoken in a reasonably truthful way when he told Christian audiences that his background was Islamic."

But wait, that would leave them with a problem, wouldn't it? Because, while the above statement may be true, it doesn't account for all the things Caner actually said, the things for which he is actually being held to account.

Perhaps instead they might have fitted their defense to his sermons and said, "While we recognize that Muslims insist that no truly devout Muslim could ever convert to Christianity, Ergun Caner proves them wrong. He was as devout as any Muslim could be. In fact, he trained for terrorist activities against Christians while he was growing up in his Turkish homeland, yet now he is a Christian."

But that's a problem too, isn't it? Those pesky facts keep getting in the way.

That is the essence of this controversy, and I cannot believe that you do not understand it. There is a massive disconnect between what Caner said and what the facts demonstrate.

No, I suspect that what they were doing was attempting to misdirect people from the heart of the controversy toward a sub-point which they didn't even want to clearly express. The use of the language "extreme Calvinists" makes that clear. Debbie Kaufman alone cannot be referred to as "extreme Calvinists." (We can only get away with using plural terms about singular persons if those terms are Arabic and our audiences only speak English!) No, Geisler keeps using that term that he has used to attack White for years. He is trying to misdirect - to make people think that White and all other critics are saying something that they are not, and then smirking that they have been proven wrong.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

If there isn't a real and visible door that is narrow and difficult to enter, then Jesus could be called a liar.

Ah, I see. So Jesus really is a gate, a wooden door with hinges, otherwise He would be lying, and that can't be.

And we are all sheep. Real sheep. It must be so, otherwise Jesus would be a liar, and that cannot be.

And the list goes on and on...

I have waited all my Christian life to have these things cleared up and am grateful to have the opportunity here today.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Pilgrim:

Jesus used the imagery of a house, whose master is soon to shut the door to the evildoers. If this was a mythological house with a non-existent door, then Jesus could be called a liar. Jesus further confuses the imagery by telling his audience that behind this non-existent door is a Kingdom where all the Prophets eat in a great feast. Is it a REAL PLACE or not? If there is not a REAL door that leads to a REAL kingdom, then Jesus was lying about the facts.

I don't AT ALL have any problem with Jesus speaking this way, but the sectarian piling on of Ergan Caner defiles the Gospel. It doesn't help us live it. James White has lead a jealous sectarian mob. Nothing edifying or glorious will come from such a odorous and repugnant scene.

John said...

Well, I am certain that I am not the only one ROFL at the trolls that have come forth to demonstrate the point of Phil's post. Phil, I suspect you are more ingenious than we give you credit for. Also, the inclusion of your own (verifiable) biographic info was a good touch.

DJP said...

Phil is quite the criminal mastermind.

Without the "criminal" part.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Lothair,

I can hardly even respond to that without breaking my resolve to be more gracious to you.

However, I am not going to roll over as if dead and enable you to continue this outrageous line of reasoning either.

You don't seem to have any understanding whatsoever about how language is used, and especially the ancient languages. The imagery involved when God expresses something to us that we could not otherwise ever understand is never in any sense a lie even when the images do not literally exist. It is merely that our minds are too small to grasp the fullness of God. Yes, there could be a literal "marriage supper of the Lamb" in the consummation of all things, but if there isn't, God will explain what He meant. If at that point you wish to accuse Him of having lied to you, well, good luck with that.

No one that I know of has any reason to be jealous of a serial liar like Caner and his ilk.

No one.

And with this, I cannot, in good conscience, keep my promise to you to be more gracious in my remarks, so this is the last post here.

Blessings to all,

Pilgrimsarbour

lee n. field said...

"Evangelicalism is so much a culture of personality, ... Celebrities with testimonies are just another voice from the stage."

"Testimony" in evangelicalism doesn't mean confessing "Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead and this is what it means."

Fallen humans are naturally narcissists. We love to talk about ourselves. "Testimony" means "my story", usually what a wretch I was, how I found Jesus and how wonderful things are now. (Never mind that the "crucifying the old man" part means your life is probably harder now.)

They're looking for these kinds of testimonies, and, (all hail the invisible hand of the free market!) someone will provide them. A good story is more marketable. The temptation to embellish is obvious. Pray that we do not fall into that temptation.

Robert said...

Tom Chantry,
Do you really speak for Debbie or are you acting as her minder!Maybe you just dont like the way she has taken the debate.
I grew up Indonesia. I know how many muslims think and the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints not in way how the majority of them think concerning apostasy.
The Author Don Richardson had a conversion with Fuller Seminary regarding this issue after they received a multi-million grant from the U.S government to look at ways that the us could reach out to improve relation between Christian and Muslims in the post 9-11 era.
As Don clearly stated in his letter to them and in His book... Secrets of the Koran...that is a naive, ignorant, foolish position because Islam only has one goal.....total domination. Even Christian Re-constructionist do not hold to that goal in that same sense.
As I understand Debbie she believes you can love the muslims into the kingdom. The problem is they will never return the favor.
Mohammed Khan will never allow Debbie to teach her Christian beliefs anywhere in his religion---never will that happen.
The glocalization guy believes the same thing..Bob Roberts Jr.
Even my fellow MK that I grew up with in West Papua, Indonesia and author Ted Dekker believes in that approach. Thus the book he wrote Tea with the Hezbollah. He and Steve Richardson, head of Pioneer Mission, had a very intense communication going on concerning why Ted's approach to Muslims was
naive.
She has lost some support from at least one women because they recognize her failure on that topic
and tried to encourage to drop it...she banned her bud Lydia instead.
Lastly she continues to support Muslims in this manner just read her post on Dearbornistan. Again she condemms Christians and supports those who want Sharia.

Tom Chantry said...

I do not claim to speak for Debbie. I only clarified what the whole "not a Muslim" issue really is. Furthermore, I have been arguing that Debbie is absolutely alone among Christians in making her argument. I wrote above that I would not argue as she does - although I do think it is important (if you want to interact with her) to understand what she said about Caner's Muslim upbringing.

What I am trying to say is that the focus on one blogger's assertion that Caner was never a Muslim does two things: it misses the point of what she is actually saying, and - much more importantly - glosses over the far larger issues that a host of other critics are pointing out.

I would guess that Geisler may actually be very glad that Kaufman wrote her recent post on why Caner was never a Muslim. It gave him something to focus on - he could say, "He's been exonerated" and move on. Without that argument, what would he focus on? All the well-documented charges to which Caner has never responded?

No matter what one thinks of Kaufman's reasoning about the nature of being "Muslim" - or about her personality or beliefs - there is a larger issue regarding Caner. He has told a story for a long time which is demonstrably untrue, he has profited from that story, and he will not confess that he lied.

gymbrall said...

Lothair,
Your point is quite valid, and I think we all agree with you. When Jesus speaks of the door that was about to be shut on the evildoers, when He speaks of the vengeful king who is about to come and conquering, when He speaks of the wheat and the tares, He is either lying or He is telling the truth. I (and many here) believe Jesus when He says these things. We believe Him in the way they were said and we believe that we will understand Him better by and by.

It is much the same with Ergun Caner. But in his case, we do not believe some of the things that he has said, nor do we believe that we have misunderstood the way he meant them.

But you act as if one who believes the words of Jesus, must also believe every word of Ergun Caner and this is so foolish as to make me wonder if you are a liar or an idiot, and there is an irony there if you can find it.
There is an even greater irony in the idea that you believe there is no REAL door, and that there is no REAL kingdom. I pray that you will come to know them as REAL. It is all the difference in the world.

The Squirrel said...

icouldbe said...
Why cant you folks admit it is a business, aways a business? Dr. Caner is working the business, that cant be wrong, ever. He fulfilled the primary component, increased productivity. Nothing else matters. I will admit I find this strange, I understand it but I find it strange.

icouldbe,

I do believe you have put your finger on the issue. For way too many “religious leaders” all that truly matters is butts in the pews, which translates as bucks for the budget.

This overarching emphasis on worldly gain is one of the signs of false teachers. In 1 Timothy 6:5 Paul writes about “men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” Should we fail to heed these warnings from scripture, we do so at great cost.

Squirrel

Robert said...

Tom Chantry,
Your points are not well taken because
1.I believe he confessed albeit maybe not what you want him to confess
2. despite the protestations of you and others there is no "universal church" discpline. Your trying to take authority that God has not given you. To repeat my points you are not his employer and not even a member of TRBC.

You mean he profited by having his life continually threatened by Muslim. Wow talking about shooting your own!

Phil Johnson said...

Robert: "if the discussion was just between James White and Ergun Caner then I think it would not be so volatile. My point to Phil was that probably most Southern Baptist are more upset with her then James White"

1. That's hardly the impression I get. In fact, I think that claim is demonstrably wrong. The efforts by Caner's posse to demonize his critics have focused mainly on James White.

2. Once more, I had never read anything at Debbie Kaufmann's blog until yesterday when you brought her name up, so nothing about the above blogpost has anything to do with any claim she has made.

May I be candid?

3. I find your arguments in this thread and your stance in the whole matter baffling and fraught with illogic. Of all the comments posted in defense of Caner in this thread, yours have been the most mystifying. As far as I can see, you haven't helped Caner's cause at all. The only thing really clear from your comments is that you really have it in for Debbie Kaufman.

4. And I'd say that's evidence of messed-up priorities on your part.

Tom Chantry said...

Robert,

1. He confessed, but not to what he did. That is pretty evident. He may have misspoken when he said Shabir Aly was dead. He didn't misspeak when he said he grew up on the border of Turkey and Iraq.

2. I for one do not call this church discipline. It is rather, as Phil has written above, a warning to those to whom we minister that there is a propagator of falsehoods claiming to represent Christ.

3. Caner owes his enhanced reputation, the soaring book sales and prominent speaking engagements which come from it, and indeed his current job to the autobiography which he discovered in the fall of 2001. Most people would call that profit.

Mike Riccardi said...

It's absolutely maddening to read professing Christians' defenses of Caner. I need a "Someone on the Internet is Wrong" T-Shirt or my head might explode.

Lothair's point is refuted as simply as noting: Caner was not speaking in parables or metaphors.

We're not calling for wooden literalism. Any moron understands when the person next to him is speaking to him with a figure of speech. If they didn't, no speaker of the English language would be able to make sense of anything.

As might be expected, authorial intent is the key. Jesus did not intend for His disciples to understand that He was a literal door. He used a figure of speech that has proven to be quite effective to illustrate the truth that those who would be saved must come through Him, as one would walk through a door.

Caner, though, did intend for his audience to understand that he actually lived in Muslim majority countries for most of his early life (he lived in Ohio most of his early life), that he actually came to the US as a teenager (he came when he was 3 or 4), and that he actually wore the garb, spoke the language, etc., when childhood pictures and yearbook photos tell a demonstrably different story. Caner wasn't speaking in parables, or intending to illustrate truth by using figures of speech. He was making claims of fact that were, upon scrutiny, found to be fiction.

And, Lothair, your trouble with language is probably tripping you up about the whole Morpheus/Armstrong thing. I don't know what more you want. Dr. White explained exactly what your misunderstanding was, and anyone who wants to check him on that can read the original post. He was discussing the addition of a new member of Team Apologian, and that meant the graphic needed to be changed to include the new member (just as it was when TurretinFan and Summer joined). That made him think that he looked a bit different now than he did when that original graphic was made, and made a neither-here-nor-there comment about Morpheus and Lance Armstrong. For someone to say they look "more like Lance Armstrong than Morpheus" is simply a particular way of saying they lost weight. That's all James' intent was. And even if you think he doesn't look more like Lance Armstrong than Morpheus, the response you would give is not, "That's a lie!" but "I disagree." Even his statement was a matter of opinion. Caner's statements were not matters of opinion.

I'm sure you'll spend your entire Saturday going over with a fine-toothed comb everything everyone says to rebut your ridiculous blitherings, but seeing how lowly you regard authorial intent I'm not optimistic about the outcome.

Lydia said...

"She has lost some support from at least one women because they recognize her failure on that topic
and tried to encourage to drop it...she banned her bud Lydia instead."

Robert, I think this comment helps to explain where you are coming from. But I think you misunderstand me and perhaps a few others.

For me, this is not about "support" or "sides". It is about simple truth. I have had a few emails from frustrated bloggers wanting to know why I support so and so. Well, first of all, I am a nobody so I was a bit amused.

Secondly, I am a bit flummoxed as to why agreement with a particular view or point means I have blanket support for someone. Is this reverse guilt by association? :o)

And, just for the record, I have had numerous disagreements with Debbie before this scandal ever surfaced.

But your comment above brings up my third point...a larger problem: The need for many to make this about "sides". Whether it is a blanket 'you are anti Muslim' side as Debbie accused me of being or a "You have no Grace" side and the ever present Calvinist/Ariminian sides.

These are nothing but red herrings and straw men. What do they have to do with the fact that a seminary president and preacher of the Gospel lied about his background for 9 years?

Phil Johnson said...

Lydia: "These are nothing but red herrings and straw men. What do they have to do with the fact that a seminary president and preacher of the Gospel lied about his background for 9 years?"

Bingo.

With that, I think it's time to close this thread.