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Dec 30, 2013

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Caddiechaplain

obviously your bigoted opinion.

peter lumpkins

Well, no, not my "bigoted opinion" I'm afraid. The onus is upon you and Calvinists like you to justify following an unrepentent conniving murderer as a theological hero.

Andrew Barker

The lack of repentance is the most significant factor in this sorry saga. It shows a complete lack of personal accountability. What worries me, is that I see pretty much the same attitude in some of his adherents today.

Tim Rogers

Peter,

I am shocked and dismayed--NOT!!! Certainly having been the brunt of the attacks I can see Servetus going to the church for that Sunday AM to confront Calvin. Something I am looking for is the ones you mentioned defending Calvin in his decision to put Servetus to death. If I were a betting man, I would bet you a dime to a donut hole that one of the Calvinistas will come on here and try to defend Calvin's position to put Servetus to death. Oh, wait I believe http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/?itemid=3452>James White already has done that.

Tim Rogers

Peter that first link only takes you to the Alpha & Omega blog. http://thomastwitchell.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/serving-up-servetus-rick-patrick-is-in-good-company/>This link has a 9 minute YouTube presentation of White defending and even stating that Servetus broke the Law in Geneva thus implying he deserved death.

Steven

Bro. Peter:

First, let me say that you have been doing some much better research lately in your blog posts and I appreciate it. In this post (other than your footnote 1 documenting the financial performance of Dr. White's ministry, which really detracts from the force of the post, in my opinion) your citations are very good. Well done.

Considering the substance of the post, I agree that Calvinist should condemn Calvin's condemnation and actions to further Servetus' death. I believe that most Calvinists do condemn such actions. Nonetheless, for the Calvinist, Calvin's sin in this regard does not make his theological positions less compelling. Nor should they.

Similarly, Dr. Caner's actions in making "misstatements" (as he calls them) or "lies" (as Dr. White calls them) do not make Dr. Caner's theological convictions less compelling for those that share his theological positions. Nor should they.

Theological truth is not based on the person proclaiming such truth. That is why Paul said that "Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice." Phil. 1:18. Nonetheless, as you rightly point out with regard to Calvin, his actions do impact how others perceived (and continue to perceive) him. But that perception is of the man, not of the theology. If Calvin had come out eight years after Servetus' death and said "I am sorry that Servetus got hurt" people would still condemn him for being less than honest about his actions. Servetus was not merely hurt, he was dead!

Similarly, what many are saying about Dr. Caner is that his actions are impacting how others perceive him as a person. His apology for misstatements does not appear to many to account for the full impact of his previous testimony. It appears that he embellished his history to take obtain financial advantage and popular opinion. Dr. White and others are condemning him for being less than honest about his actions.

Dr. Caner does not owe Dr. White, you, me, or anyone else an apology. However, for his own reputation and for the sake of the watching world, it might be beneficial if he would simply acknowledge his past actions and express remorse for them. His doubling down on them, trying to claim copyright and suing fellow believers is not helping his case.

Just one man's humble opinion.

Steven

Dan staifer

If memory serves me, I remember silence on the issue until Caner started suing SBC pastor in good standing Jason Smathers this summer and the disappearance of audio from Caner of any kind from YouTube or Vimeo of full sermons from pro Caner churches (they brought him in to speak).

Plus, if I'm a Lutheran, will you accuse me of hating Jews? Since you are a southern baptist, I'm sure many of your theological hero endorsed Slavery (though the 2012 conversion repent of this). Either way, you are being anachronistic and imposing the 20th century on the 16th. C.s. Lewis (not a Calvinist) said the following (found here http://lexloiz.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/cs-lewis-john-calvin-and-michael-servetus/):

‘We must…take care not to assume that a sixteenth-century man who lived through these changes had necessarily felt himself, at any stage, confronted with the clear issue which would face a modern in the same circumstances.

A modern, ordered to profess or recant a religious belief under pain of death, knows that he is being tempted and that the government which so tempts him is a government of villains. But this background was lacking when the period of religious revolution began. No man claimed for himself or allowed to another the right of believing as he chose. All parties inherited from the Middle Ages the assumption that Christian man could live only in a theocratic polity which had both the right and the duty of enforcing true religion by persecution.

Those who resisted its authority did so not because they thought it had no right to impose doctrines but because they thought it was imposing the wrong ones. Those who were burned as heretics were often (and, on their premises, logically) eager to burn others on the same charge. When Calvin led the attack on Servetus which ended in his being burnt at Geneva, he was acting on accepted medieval principles.’

Differ with his theological views but be charitable as an historian.

Max

Andrew writes "... I see pretty much the same attitude in some of his adherents today."

It's not an "attitude" Andrew ... it's a spirit. Much of the current debate in SBC ranks today is actually a spiritual battle... something that Southern Baptists at large don't get - if they did, they would be praying right now.

Nate

Peter,

While I think it is appropriate to remind all believers of how easily power corrupts (Calvin and Servetus), I don't think the insinuation (implied or real) that only "Calvinists" are attacking Dr. Caner is wholly accurate. James White is certainly an example of a "Calvinist" doing so, but there are many Baptists, who, for lack of a better term, have a Calvinistic theology, that see the attacks as fruitless and un-Christian, myself included. And I'm sure there are "Traditionlists" that think Caner is guilty and didn't want Georgia to hire him.

Southern Baptists, it seems to me, are displaying the attitudes of the Republican party. Instead of showing solidarity publicly and discussing our differences privately, we want to stab, kick, and scream at each other while our opponent(s) never do so. This only gives our opponents ammunition to charge ahead. In the end, it will be to our own destruction, considering our differences are minimal (in my opinion).

I do not deny that there are factions on the fringes of SBC politics that may desire the other's demise, but I also think that each fringe should and could look at the other with more brotherly affection. The way to do this would be to call out one's own fringe for continuing to incite the other fringe and reach across the aisle (so to speak) with a willingness to work together.

Peter, I am not saying that you are a fringe-element, nor am I saying that you are inciting the fringe on the other side of the aisle.

However, I do think that one of your favorite words is "Calvinist" when you are speaking againt someone. Statements such as "Calvinists like James White" allow you to say that you aren't lumping all Calvinists into the same pile, but I don't know how charitable that statement sounds towards the other "Calvinists" who don't agree with White. In other words, I think you could have called out White without drawing a connection to Calvin and Servetus.

SVMuschany

It is my hope that in the rush to use Servetus as an anchor around the neck of John Calvin, we remember that it regardless how you view the soteriological teachings of Calvin, it was, in the end, Servetus who was indeed a heretic not John Calvin. We must remember that Servetus was not killed for his beliefs on baptism, and he should not EVER be used in Baptist circles as a early martyr for our cause. Indeed, if a man believing Servetus were to walk into a Baptist Church today, I would hope that all good baptists would rightly condemn his beliefs without a second thought. Or did you forget that Servetus clearly and expressly denied the trinity. A cornerstone of true Christianity that all protestants, indeed even Catholics, can actually agree on.

Second I would warn you to be careful about passing judgment on people of a different time and era using the moral system you hold to be true today. I sit daily struggling with liberal historical revisionists at the public university I attend. They particularly love to insert socialist dogmas of Marx into historical situations that occurred decades and centuries before Karl ever was born. They use their beliefs and morals that they hold today to judge and interpret the past. I shutter to think how a historian from 400 years in our future would judge us today based on our actions. Should we not be judged based on the standards of our actions in our current contexts? Would it be right for us to be judged based on the standards that are not even established yet? So too must we show the same respect for those who have gone before us. Indeed it should be noted that Calvin actually wanted Servetus to be executed by beheading as a traitor, NOT burnt at a stake as a heretic. Calvin's wish was overruled by the Genevan Council. Further, William Farel actually criticized Calvin both privately and publicly for being too leinent to Servetus. Is that truly the actions of someone to be labeled a murder?

Max

"... I would warn you to be careful about passing judgment on people of a different time and era using the moral system you hold to be true today."

SVMuschany - Regardless of time and era, there are moral absolutes which professed believers in Christ should live by. To allow time and era, current context, or cultural relevance to drive moral law is to drift into antinomianism, a concern about New Calvinism which many of us have.

Ron Phillips, Sr.

Interesting that those who don't want us to judge Calvin through the lens of history from our modern era. I thought God condemned murder when Cain killed his brother Abel. I also seem to see it condemned in Exodus in the the Law handed down to Moses and throughout Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. I believe all of which was quite sometime before Calvin.

So please explain how we're looking at it incorrectly through a moral system we hold true today, which is through the lens of Scripture, which existed long before Calvin murdered Servetus?

Blessings,

Ron P.

Lydia

The absolute worst thing for Calvinists is when people start researching John Calvin. How can they separate the tyranny, premeditated murder, banishments, imprisonments, etc for simply disagreeing with him FROM his "doctrine"? Wouldn't his behavior be a direct result of his "doctrine"? The man was a despot and I suspect seriously sociopathic/narcissistic.

As we see many try to stay away from the name with clever usage such as Reformed or Sovereign Grace. (Too bad Mahaney made that one about protecting child molesters). But Calvin's determinist god becomes obvious through the authoritarian behavior of those who follow his ST in the SBC.

Calvin's treatment of Castillio is also instructive as to his horrible character and lack of integrity. Remember, Calvin refused to visit plague victims because "he was too important to the church in Geneva to risk infection". Sounds like some Neo Cals today who think they are too good to visit the sick because their only job is "preaching" and "leading". I seem to recall one of our high paid employees at Lifeway who is also a "church planter" making that same declaration.

Such important men for the kingdom! (sarcasm of course)

Lydia

Guys, It would have been totally appropriate for Calvin to banish Servetus from Geneva and warn not to come back according to the laws at the time. He did not have to try and burn him. Calvin WANTED to do it. And some of it was also based on a letter Calvin wrote a while before after Servetus wrote margin notes in some of Calvin's writings and sent them to him. Calvin was furious and wrote a friend that if Servetus ever showed up in Geneva he would not leave alive. PREMEDITATED murder. Your guru.

Servetus was NOT a citizen of Geneva. The laws did not apply to him. He was not evangelizing there. He attended church. He was passing through. I doubt he ever believed Calvin was that cruel.

I should think a guy like Greg Boyd is thrilled burning heretics at the stake is illegal for Calvinists to do today. I have no doubt some would they are so into their "authority" and doctrine. Arguing "man of his time" is moot. There is evidence there were some who knew better.

dr. james willingham

Peter: It is sad that the theology of Sovereign Grace should necessarily be linked to one person, especially, as people were dying for their belief in predestination, election, etc., before John Calvin was born. Cf. John Foxe's Acts and Monuments for instances. As a believer in such teachings and preferring the term Sovereign Grace, I have ever, since I first learned of Calvin's role in the death of Servetus, condemned his actions. I also look with question at Ergun Caner's claim to terrorist fame, and no amount of explaining away will remove that blot except repentance. The folks writing in his defense are not doing him or themselves any favor, Many, no doubt, have downloaded the materials.

While Calvin deserves censure for what he did, so does Caner. Repentance demands that other believers must forgive and forget. That, it seems clear, is what has been absent from the whole revamping of Caner's public persona, an egregious error, to say the least. Who really cares? Let him repent and get on with the work of being president of the college in Georgia like his brother is president of Truet-McConnell.

The latter raises an interesting issue, showing that none of this is as simple Peter as you think. After all, Dr. George W. Truett was the main speaker at the Spurgeon Centennial in 1934 in London, where he was introduced by the Prime Minister of the British Empire. Truett spoke favorably of Spurgeon's Calvinism, and he paid that theology the highest of compliments, when he asserted that Calvinism presses down on the brow of man the crown of responsibility. Peter, you might find the address interesting. Cf., his The Inspiration of Ideals. Amazing what research reveals. They called America a "Calvinistic Republic" in the early American Histories, and that theology, like it or not, was the theology of the First and Second Great Awakenings from 1740-1820 and of the launching of the Great Century of Missions or the modern missionary movement as it is called. Just consider Jonathan Edwards, Andrew Fuller, William Carey, and Luther Rice, to name a few, with reference to the launching. Peter, you err like the fellow you criticize, because an immense amount of research is needed to really get an understanding of what is going on. God bless you, dear brother, as you try to get a handle on what this whole affair is all about.

peter lumpkins

Steven,

Thanks for the contribution. First, while I might offer my original rationale, I concede your judgment that my footnote containing A&O ministry info added no real help to the post but instead detracted from the force of it. Hence, I took it down. Thank you for your insight.

Second, as you can see from some of the comments, it’s hard to accept prima facie your claim that like you “most Calvinists do condemn such actions” as Calvin murdering Servetus. Rather my experience is, many if not most of strict Calvinists I engage either ignore on one hand Calvin’s devious behavior or, on the other, rationalize it. Some even outright agree with it. James White appears to be one of them.

Nor is it acceptable from my perspective to frame what Calvin did to Servetus as merely “Calvin's sin in this regard.” Calvin’s sin? Murder is no mere sin either in Scripture or society but a breach so morally deplorable it solicits capital punishment. Nor was it just killing Servetus that’s in view here as if that’s not bad enough in itself. Rather by killing Servetus, Calvin betrayed the Protestant principal still in effect at the time in Geneva; namely, contra the Catholic Inquisition, heretics were to banished not burned. Thus, I think you’re framing Calvin’s action much too lightly.

Nor will I walk down the path very far with you in suggesting “Theological truth is not based on the person proclaiming such truth.” While one might use this a a measure in some sense, to suggest either a murderer on one hand or a serial liar on the other might be detached from the theology he or she embraces appears to embrace some sort of antinomian gauge. Hypocrites standing in the pulpit of God’s church do matter it seems to me. More problematic, you appear to be implying the Christian faith is a sterile, propositional philosophy rather than the embodiment of Christ-life. Thus, I’m not so sure I want to absolutize “Theological truth is not based on the person proclaiming such truth” so quickly. Nor does Paul’s statement (Phil 1) seem refer to preachers who were living immoral lives.

You are correct if Calvin later said “I’m sorry Servetus got hurt” people might still condemn him. Nonetheless, to observe Calvin defending his extermination of Servetus as a model to exterminate the Anabaptists years later is supposed to make us feel warm and fuzzy about Calvin in what way precisely?

As for your judgment that Caner embellished his history to take obtain financial advantage, you have absolutely no actual proof whatsoever to concoct such a theory and actually you should be ashamed for even writing it. We rightly criticize celebritism when we see it. But we have no moral right to publicly charge another brother with godless profiteering—or non-brother for that matter--when all that is driving the charge is unnecessary inferences from questionable evidence.

Finally, Steven, for the 1000th time (not to you personally but overall), Dr. Caner did apologize and express remorse for the embellishments, misstatements, and confusion his conflicting words caused. While you and others may not like the words he used and suggest he did not “go far enough” or was much “too vague,” or wasn’t “remorseful enough” you really need to stop implying Dr. Caner needs to apologize when, in fact, he already has. He humbly conceded errors in sermons scoured over several years first by Muslim hate-sites and then later by James White and crew. While you might have wanted more, so what? You just asserted he owes nothing. Hence, can’t we drop this nonsensical “he needs to apologize” line?

But here is the bottom line: James White and his crew are not looking for an apology for misstatements, conflicts on places, dates, or wrong names. What they are looking for and which Ergun Caner will never give them—and rightly so I might add—is this: Dr. Caner intentionally fabricated his past life as a Sunni Muslim to deceptively dupe the American public and catapult his Christian persona and public career. In short, White, et al demands Caner confess himself to be a deceptive fraud, a theological huckster, a phony, his whole life a bonafide fake. This he will never do. This he should never do. Nor will those of us support him ever concede such a jaded, unfair, even ungodly assessment of the man Caner. These particular critics want Caner’s ministerial head on a platter. And, they appear to embrace the proverbial scorched-earth policy to obtain it.

Finally, nor is it fair, Steven, to suggest Caner is “doubling down on them” by “trying to claim copyright and suing fellow believers.” First, only one (perhaps two?) is named in the legal action over copyright. Hence, he’s not doubling down on “them.” White is not named in the legal filings (so far as I know) yet White and his hacking crew Caner’s biggest flamers and harassers.

Second, to suggest what Caner is doing is “suing fellow believers” is sheer over simplification. The point of contention is property rights. Who owns the rights to the property in question? After getting no satisfaction from Smathers, Caner exercised his legal right to contest. Is this necessarily contra I Cor. 6?  It’s hard to think it is for three reasons primarily. A) The OT clearly established laws concerning property rights. Therefore, we need very good reason before concluding Paul meant to abrogate property right law. B) The contextual factors Paul gave to Corinth definitively assumed local church authority dealing with the matter. However, how does one propose local church authority proceed in the legal contest filed by Caner? C) Paul seems to suggest not only is the context for his counsel local church turf, but between two or more believers within the same local church. Here’s where it gets a bit humorous even if it is tragic.Caner’s critics have made it clear Caner is hardly their brother. How is it then that they complain and whine when he proceeds as if they are not his brothers? What a Georgia hoot!  Moreover, to illustrate the hypocrisy of James White on this issue, check out the comment left by Rich Pierce, White’s ministry administrator for A&O Ministries when I posted a piece from White’s website on Youtube they found objectionable a while back. Why they protested I haven’t a clue. That they protested is very telling.

Thanks again for the contribution.

Lord bless.

With that, I am…

Peter               

Lydia

"If memory serves me, I remember silence on the issue until Caner started suing SBC pastor in good standing Jason Smathers this summer and the disappearance of audio from Caner of any kind from YouTube or Vimeo of full sermons from pro Caner churches (they brought him in to speak)."

It might be instructive to go over to the leading SBC blog, SBCVoices and use the search function to search for Caner posts. Then use the same function to search for CJ Mahaney/SGM lawsuit/protecting child molesters in the name of Jesus and see what you come up with. Perhaps they are afraid of offending Mohler? All I know is that on many blogs the SBC NEo Cal wing is quick to bring up Caner but eerily silent on Mahaney and his shepherding cult some SBC leaders are still protecting and promoting.

I am NO fan of Caner's (for many reasons including his crude remarks about women) and won't defend him but I know political strategy when I see it.

cb scott

Peter,

This may be one of the best posts you have ever written. I may be making such a statement because I took this same argument to a comment thread a couple of years back when someone tried to absolve Calvin of any guilt in the death of Michael Servetus. I remember one fellow named Rick (I think) stated that Servetus "got what he deserved."

You are also correct in your assessment of the narcissistic antagonist, paper-mill doctor, James White.

He, in my opinion, carries a strong resemblance of a fellow that John spoke of in one of his epistles, Diotrephes, who had a great love to "be first" also.

Ron Phillips, Sr.

Peter,

It is interesting to me that repeated untruth that Caner never apologized. I have accepted his apology, just as I have accepted Cracker Barrel's apology for offending Christians like me who hold to a biblical view of sexual morals. Another great example of forgiveness is Sarah Palin accepting the apology of Martin Bashir and even more recently the apology of Melissa Harris-Perry for her comments towards Mitt Romney's adopted grandchild, which I bet the Romney's will accept.

We could parse every one of these apologies and find fault with any and all of them. But it's not up to me to judge the intention of their heart and sincerity of their repentance. That is reserved for God alone. I can however judge their actions to see if their subsequent actions match their apology.

The problem is not with Ergun Caner being repentant enough. The problem now is the unwillingness to forgive a brother who has apologized and repented (unless someone can show he has continued to embellish or be unthruthful). It seems clear he has changed his conduct and thus meets the biblical definition of repentance (metanoeo). Thus it seems to me that the sin no longer lies at the feet of Ergun Caner, but at the feet of those unwilling to be gracious to a brother in Christ because of the hardness of their heart and the desire to take someone down with whom they disagree with theologically regarding Calvinism.

Blessings,

Ron P.

Steven

Bro. Peter:

Wow! A two page response! Good stuff!

I will try to reply in the order of your response. First, I think that we will have to agree to disagree with regard to whether most Calvinists condemn Calvin's murder of (more on that in a minute) Servetus. I would not call your commenting audience the mainstream of Calvinistic thought. Whether you realize it or not, you are a bit of a polarizing figure and as such, I think, attract strong passions at either end of the spectrum rather than in the middle, at least on these hot-button issues.

You are correct that what Calvin did was murder Servetus. My point was that any unrepentant sin is a serious issue. Nonetheless, you are correct that especially a sin of violence such as murder is especially serious.

Next, I agree that our theology should impact our lifestyle and our actions. If not, then our theology is not properly understood. But my point is that even when we fail to live appropriately, it should not and cannot dilute the meaning of the truths that we confess. If I hit my thumb with a hammer and make an obscene statement on account of the pain, my conviction that no unwholesome talk should come out of my mouth is not nullified. Rather, the truth remains and it is my responsibility, through the Holy Spirit working in me to convict me, to thereafter adjust my behavior. Hopefully I will make the necessary adjustments. I am not an antinomian, but I know that you were not suggesting that I am.

Thank you for your correction with regard to my statement concerning Dr. Caner's intention with regard to his misstatements. I should not have opined as to his intentions. I should have said that on account of his misstatements (I mean this in the logical sense -cause/effect - not intention/result) Dr. Caner did obtain a certain degree of notoriety, and was thereby likely able to obtain a decree of financial benefit which he might not have otherwise been able to obtain. I went back and looked at Dr. Caner's webpage, and there is a section that discusses that he does/did charge for his speaking appearances. I do not consider this to be profiteering.

With regard to the substance of Dr. Caner's misstatements, I believe that you are correct. I do not believe that he intentionally fabricated his past life to dupe the public or catapult his Christian persona. However, I do think that was the effect (again - cause/effect). He is not and was not a phony, a huckster or a fake. He was as he has acknowledged, wrong to make such misstatements.

We cannot judge his intentions, but only reflect on his actions. What I think many of Dr. Caner's detractors see in his actions is what troubles them the most: the number of times he made the same misstatements concerning things a person should know concerning their own personal history; "scrubbing" the internet of the misstatements, even resorting to legal process; the occasional statement that he did not do anything wrong. These are troubling to many people and to those people such actions and may show an inconsistency with Dr. Caner's apology.

Finally, while stating that Dr. Caner is suing fellow believers is indeed a very simple way of putting the situation, the fact is that he is the plaintiff and his brothers in Christ are the defendants in a legal action pending in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas. I agree that this situation is not covered by 1 Cor. 6, as this passage deals with those within the local congregation. (Maybe we should become Presbyterian in our ecclesiology to deal with such situations. I expect you to make that motion next year at the SBC!) However, do you think that we can agree that such is not a good testimony to the watching world (but then again, neither is all of the unnecessary name-calling and accusing going from both camps)? You are further correct to point out that some of the "Contra-Canerists" claim that he is not a brother in Christ but state that he should act in accordance with their view of the scriptures. However, equally paradoxical is the claim by some "Pro-Canerists" that some of the recordings of Dr. Caner are fraudulent but that he has protection of this intellectual property. The nonsense is being thrown both ways.

Thanks again for your sober reflections and interaction with my comments. We don’t always agree on all of the issues, but we both believe the gospel. That makes you my brother in Christ. I want only God’s best for you in the New Year (and I don't mean that the way that Calvin would have said it to Servetus!).

Steven

Paul Owen

I haven't said much about this whole debacle, but I think some important points are being overlooked. I've listened to all the alleged evidence. First of all, a lot of Caner's "lies" are a simple matter of story-telling generalizations, conflations, and topical chronology. The very sort of thing one finds repeatedly in the gospel narratives. Second, sometimes his grammar and sentence structure gets garbled when speaking extemporaneously. For example he speaks of debating particular figures when he is really referring to his critique of their positions. Sometimes Caner appears to have gotten confused while speaking, and rather than have the audience listen to the sound of crickets as he gathers his thoughts he just keeps talking. Sometimes there are real misstatements of fact involved in the process. Third, sometimes he puts rhetorical flourishes on his stories, precisely the sort that one commonly finds when people are attempting to entertain and keep the attention of an audience. The biblical narratives are full of lies if judged by the same standard. And finally, even if Caner were a blatant fraud and charlatan (which I really don't think he is) the treatment he has received at the hands of his obsessed critics for several years now has been shocking to say the least. The ugly, insulting language the Baptist paparazzi use as they stalk him all over the internet speaks for itself. They do not for one second want to see his repentance and restoration (as they so piously claim). They clearly want to destroy and ruin him. And they plainly do not have the slightest bit of Christian charity towards a Georgia Baptist college that is working hard to regain its footing and continue its mission to students. The last thing Brewton-Parker College needs right now is to have the crazed hounds of hell baying for Caner's blood at the gate. That agenda is NOT inspired by God's Spirit, but another spirit entirely.

Bill Mac

It's not an "attitude" Andrew ... it's a spirit. Much of the current debate in SBC ranks today is actually a spiritual battle..

Max: Could you expand on this a little? I want to know if you are saying what I think you are saying.

peter lumpkins

Steven et al

Promise I'll get back. Much good interaction. Lots better than the tweeter feeding frenzies. Struggling to keep it together presently. I have the worse cold I've ever known.

Lord bless...

P.S. Sorry Steven for the "two pages." Maybe that's what tipped me over the edge! :^)

timbushong

"First of all, a lot of Caner's "lies" are a simple matter of story-telling generalizations, conflations, and topical chronology. The very sort of thing one finds repeatedly in the gospel narratives."

One of the most egregious examples of equivocation I have ever heard...

Diana Penn

Love what Paul Owen said above.

To that point.... some might wonder why James White has stalked and persecuted Caner all of these years. I have a theory about this, and it's based on experience and long term recovery courses in co-dependency.

James White's obsession with Caner is not about Caner - anyone can see that; and your average Joe would ask the same question - "dude, why do you keep after this guy?" After so many years, why the continued discussion?

James White's persistence in persecution has everything to do with James White, and the relationship he has with sister over their pastor father.

Here it is simply:

Why does the molestation of James Whites' sister matter in the Caner / White fight? James White's molesting father was a pastor - a lying one. Make the connection...it's not a stretch.

James White's *obsession* with Ergun Caner is because White is still trying to persecute his father over the lying life he lived. It's deep seeded in him. He knows his sister is telling the truth. He knows his father was a liar, and continued to lead a "false prophet" type of life behind a pulpit - all the while committing the most vile of sins at home. Trust me, what is known at home and what is shown to the public is observed by the children in those homes. It leaves deep impressions and lasting scars. Those kids grow up with internal "rules" that they've made for themselves.

They create a personal rule that they'll never allow this or that - usually some behavior they observed that was in direct conflict with truth. In James case - you can see - clearly - his internal rule is that he will never allow a 'pastor' (evangelist, apologist, etc) remain in the pulpit if he's told a single lie. In fact, James is *so* obsessed with the truth, he has picked debating via apologetics as his main vocation. This is clear co-dependent behavior, that has long been unchecked, un-analyzed.

Dear James White - Caner cannot apologize for what your father did, or how he lived; no one can. Caner is not your father. Caner's "apology" or "repentance" will not satisfy White - ever.

James White needs to take an honest inventory of himself. If he did this, he would be so much more effective for the kingdom; because perhaps, he'd stop chasing after the liars and crying FOUL! FOUL! FOUL!; and start proclaiming what really matters - the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Now, James White, and his followers are going to think I'm being "vile" and "hateful" - but that's not true here. I know I have come across hate-filled before, and it was misplaced. I get that, and I apologize for that...really; but what I am saying here, I say in absolute truth....

James White needs to take a personal inventory - please consider it. I mean this in the most humble of manner you can perceive.

SVMuschany

Lydia,

In regards to your posts at 2:30 and 2:36.

First, as it relates to Calvin (and others) whom did not/do not minister to the sick. Please consider this. In Acts 6 we see that the Apostles chose to call seven men to serve, in this case, the poor Hellenistic jewish widows. They did this so they could "...devote [themselves] to prayer and to the ministry of the word." - Acts 6:4. Now I fully agree that this verse should not be used whole sale for elders/pastors/ministers/ect to forego ministering to their congregations and communities. That said, we must consider that as churches get larger, it is harder for pastors to minister and visit with the entire congregation. That is, indeed the whole point of a church calling other men and women from within the congregation to serve in various ministries. The senior pastors cannot do it all. Please consider, that regardless of how you feel about John Calvin, he was a city wide religious leader, and would preach on average "at least" one sermon a day, every day, for months at a time. Using his reluctance to visit with this group or that group cannot and should not be used to reflect on his actual ministry. Otherwise, the same standard must be applied to the Apostles themselves, and to large church pastors today, who simply cannot meet with every individual/group that demand their time.

My second comment is in regards to your implication that John Calvin wanted Servetus to be burnt at the stake. This is not true. Calvin tried to insist that Servetus be executed by beheading. This resulted in some people in Geneva, including William Farel, accusing Calvin of being too lenient. Now this does not take away from the core argument that Peter is presenting here, execution is execution. But to claim Calvin wanted Servetus to burn (literally) is a historical error, and needs to be avoided.

James

The Calvinists are doing the exact same to brother Caner that Calvin did to brother Servetus.

David

Peter, you are so sick in your sin. Repent and do something Christlike for the Kingdom.

Andrew Barker

SVMuschany

Should we not be judged based on the standards of our actions in our current contexts? Would it be right for us to be judged based on the standards that are not even established yet? So too must we show the same respect for those who have gone before us.

Your problem, one of many, in taking this line is that Calvin was demonstrably guilty of changing the rules to get the desired result ie Servetus was not going to walk away from this situation!

Ron Philips: Thanks for your comments. It set me to thinking that those who cannot forgive, perhaps have never really understood true forgiveness themselves. If you compile a list of Bible murderers, a good number seek and find forgiveness. It's the likes of Judas who don't understand it and it didn't end well for him!

Tim Rogers

SVMuchany,

I am not Lydia but from a Pastor's perspective I would like to respond to your response to her. Your first argument, while a valid point, is like the three leg stool. When you remove one supporting leg the entire stool falls. The leg that is easily removed is Calvin's activities. You are dismissing Calvin's lack of visiting with a group to a time factor. Truly we all only have 24 hours in a day. However, Calvin took time to write letters to Servetus and argue, privately, the finer points of theology. If he had this kind of time he had time to visit a group of sick people.

Your second point is one that, in reality, mystifies me. You seem to make Calvin to be a descent person because he argued against burning Servetus. Calvin actually argued it would be more humane to sever his head. According to J.T.McNeil, http://sbctoday.com/2013/01/18/incineration-vs-decapitation-what-to-do-with-servetus/>as explained by Rick Patrick, Calvin was arguing for decapitation as a traitor, not burning as a heretic. Thus, your point concerning the "historical error" is well taken but really is a mute one. Calvin's position for decapitation would have meant he would not need to re-write former writings for burning heretics.

Tim Rogers

@timbushong

Yea, that is the way to enter a debate. Find the most educated among the group, who is an accomplished academic, and just give your opinion his thoughts are "egregious". Yea, we are going to accept your one time comment as fact given you interacted so thoroughly with the argument--NOT!!!

Tim Rogers

Ron P,

The problem now is the unwillingness to forgive a brother who has apologized and repented (unless someone can show he has continued to embellish or be unthruthful). It seems clear he has changed his conduct and thus meets the biblical definition of repentance (metanoeo). Thus it seems to me that the sin no longer lies at the feet of Ergun Caner, but at the feet of those unwilling to be gracious to a brother in Christ because of the hardness of their heart and the desire to take someone down with whom they disagree with theologically regarding Calvinism.

One of the best summary statements I have seen in a long time.

Andrew Barker

cb scott: He, in my opinion, carries a strong resemblance of a fellow that John spoke of in one of his epistles, Diotrephes, who had a great love to "be first" also.

I've not had any personal interaction with James White so I don't know him as well as many of the contributors to this blog. I did manage to sit through most of White's latest video on Ergun Caner. It is rather poorly produced actually but at around 53mins in he uses a video insert as 'evidence'. It shows the Caner brothers being introduced as The evangelical worlds' most foremost authorities on Islam! White then goes on to say that HE is doing what Ergun Caner falsely claims to do! He never actually says it, but the implications are clear who White thinks should be seen as the foremost authority on Islam. His nose has definitely been pushed out of joint!

White appears to have no ability to distinguish between hyperbole when a speaker is introduced and a claim which to my knowledge has never been made by either of the Caner brothers.

White claims that HIS ministry is being damaged by Caner. Well, to be frank those of us who do not hold with Calvinist theology have an equal if not stronger claim to be somewhat affronted by what some of our 'brothers' put forward as the Gospel truth!


SVMuschany

Bro T. Rogers,

Perhaps I was not clear, if that is the case than I apologize. However I think I was, thus it is your post that "mystifies" me. At least in regards to your response to my second point. While I disagree with Peter's, and obviously your interpretation of events surrounding the Calvin/Servetus issue, no where in my post to Lydia did I state or imply that beheading was better than burning, or use that in any way to justify Calvin's actions. Indeed, if you go back and read what I said, I said very clearly that what I was saying "does not take away from the core argument that Peter is presenting here, execution is execution." Those are my exact words, I know I just copy and pasted them. My whole point is that in her 12/31 2:36pm post, Lydia implied that Calvin wanted Servetus to burn. That is what I wanted to correct. It may seem minor to you, but historical integrity is an important deal to me.

Now in regards to your first point, may I ask, what kind of ministry opportunities could you do in leu of participating in forums like this? Again, if Calvin's action or inaction in regards to who and how he ministers are enough to convict him in your mind, then we have to (that is if we wish to be intellectually honest) apply those same rules evenly to every minister/pastor/leader in the church. How many things do you do Bro Rogers that an outside observer might say is "wasted time" and condemn you for doing it when there are many poor sick masses whom you are not ministering too? Do you truly wish to be judged in the same manner you are judging John Calvin?

jesse

James White is one of those aging men who thinks he is intimidating, when point of fact he is unimpressive. I recently heard him boast that he approached some critic at a debate and the fellow ' nearly wet himself ' at the mere presence of White. Caner ought to just pound the *********** and flush him out to sea.

T. V.

Arminians are so amusing, it's priceless. Degrading a theological system because of errors made by fallible man.

Bill Mac

Happy new year everyone!

Honest question: Suppose you are right and Calvin did a monstrous thing by murdering Servetus (and I see no reason to doubt it). Suppose you are also right that we honor this man by calling ourselves Calvinists and it brings some kind of disrepute on ourselves. OK so far. But suppose also that we believe the doctrines normally associated with Calvinism. If we take your point and decide to call ourselves something else, will we not then open ourselves to the accusation of hiding our Calvinism?

peter lumpkins

Dan,

Your memory is playing tricks on you. White, et al has relentlessly harassed Caner since White backed out of the debate at LU. That’s actually the origin of this whole fiasco the way I see it. And as for the alleged “lawsuit” see my comment to Steven.

Nor would I accuse you personally of hating Jews if you were Lutheran any more than I would accuse Calvinists of being literal murderers. Where have I so much as implied such a thing?  I will, as a Baptist, always remain curious why anyone would want to have their theological tradition tied to a person (i.e. Luther or Calvin).

Nor is your point well taken concerning anachronism. For heaven’s sake, it’s not anachronistic to suggest murder is a capital offense now or in any past era, and we do so on solid biblical-moral grounds. Committing murder is one of God’s top ten no-nos recall.

Nor is C.S. Lewis necessarily the best light to shine on this issue. I love Lewis. Who doesn’t? But Lewis was not a Reformation scholar particularly but a Classics scholar generally. Thus, Lewis’ claim that Calvin “was acting on accepted medieval principles” when putting Servetus to death should be taken generally.

Lewis is correct to assume death to heretics was a Medieval principle—a Roman Catholic Church principle in fact. But Geneva did not embrace the Roman Catholic Church principle. Geneva at the time was thoroughly Protestant and embraced the Protestant principle of not burning heretics but banishing heretics. Calvin himself assisted Geneva in establishing this principle—until Servetus, of course. Because of Calvin’s determination to kill Servetus, Servetus became the first convicted heretic to die in Protestant Geneva. Many more would follow Servetus including a bloodbath on Anabaptists.

John Calvin betrayed the Protestant Reformation when he murdered Servetus. Luther’s 95 Theses was opposed in principle to death for heretics (cp. #90). And, one early historian on the matter, Benjamin Hodges, could write in 1724—“the Lutheran countries can glory in their not having shed the blood of any one heretic” (An impartial history of Michael Servetus: burnt alive at Geneva for heresie, p.24). So, appealing to Lewis as much as Lewis is one of our literary heroes just remains unpersuasive, Dan. Better to appeal to experts in the field like Naphy and Ozment as did I.

Nor is this about theological differences with Calvin. Calvin apparently was someone a wise person should not trust. He purposely turned over evidence to convict Servetus of heresy knowing full well the Catholic inquisitors would burn him at the stake and had the sheer gall to state in the evidence he did not personally think heretics ought to die for their doctrinal crimes. Calvin betrayed Servetus into the hands of their common enemy. What would we have thought of Servetus had he tricked Calvin into coming into France, sent the French Inquisition all of Calvin’s documents he’d written to Servetus under Calvin’s assumed name, Charles D' Espeville, staged a meeting place for the two where Calvin would have been arrested by authorities instead while Servetus escaped safely into the night? I know exactly what we’d thought of Servetus. He would be seen as indirectly guilty of murdering Calvin through an awful betrayal of Calvin’s trust. Hence, for my part Calvin was not the type of person I’d want as a close friend. But hey, each to his own..

Thanks.

With that, I am…

Peter

Lydia

"James White's persistence in persecution has everything to do with James White, and the relationship he has with sister over their pastor father."

Dianna, Thanks for having the nerve to write that. I was stunned to read his sisters side and how he has totally written her off as a wacko.

Lydia

"That said, we must consider that as churches get larger, it is harder for pastors to minister and visit with the entire congregation. That is, indeed the whole point of a church calling other men and women from within the congregation to serve in various ministries."

SMV

You are a real hoot. Are you serious with that reply? Is that really how shallow our seminaries are and what they are turning out as "thinking"?

So let me get this straight....If the church is big, the pastor should NOT make an appearance where many are sick/dying because he is too important? He should have men who do that dirty/nasty work. Like Calvin did even though the dying people were asking after him, wondering why he was not coming to pray over them?

Sounds like you are looking forward to that day when you don't have to deal with sick/dying people and rationalizing it by suggesting indirectly that since the Apostles appointed people to "wait tables" this meant they did not have to deal with sick or dying. I think you are stretching things to rationalize. But then one of the Lifeway guru (a church planter) is teaching this thinking to young pastor's skulls full of mush so why should I be surprised?

So very sad what is coming out of our seminaries and into our churches.

Lydia

"Your second point is one that, in reality, mystifies me. You seem to make Calvin to be a descent person because he argued against burning Servetus. Calvin actually argued it would be more humane to sever his head."

This one is interesting and shows how confusing/deceptive living in a church state structure can be. Calvin wanted a beheading mainly because that was the corporal punishment for civil crimes. Burning was for heretics. However, the civil crime would carry with it more cover for Calvin. That request was refused. (this was all going on/being debated while Servetus was in prison)

So the choices came down to burning, letting him go, or stay in prison forever. The one thing Calvin could not afford was for Servetus to be in good enough mental/emotional shape to mount a decent defense for himself. The whole trial was staged.

In the end, according to Verduin, Calvin ordered green wood so he would burn slower.

eric

The problem now is the unwillingness to forgive a brother who has apologized and repented (unless someone can show he has continued to embellish or be untruthful).

Unwillingness to forgive a brother who has apologized and repented is a sin as well. If you want to know if Caner is truly repentant.....we will have to wait and see over time.
I'm sure we will agree that until then, we need to give a person the benefit of the doubt.

I read Peters post that linked Caners apology, but in fairness, he didn't repent of the lies he told about himself.

Am I incorrect in understanding Biblical repentance when I say it requires addressing the specific sin I'm repenting of.


Lydia

Now in regards to your first point, may I ask, what kind of ministry opportunities could you do in leu of participating in forums like this? Again, if Calvin's action or inaction in regards to who and how he ministers are enough to convict him in your mind, then we have to (that is if we wish to be intellectually honest) apply those same rules evenly to every minister/pastor/leader in the church. How many things do you do Bro Rogers that an outside observer might say is "wasted time" and condemn you for doing it when there are many poor sick masses whom you are not ministering too? Do you truly wish to be judged in the same manner you are judging John Calvin? "

It is all these guys can do: Ad hominem. So since you do other things besides pastoring, then it was normal for Calvin to ignore the sick and dying of his MANDATORY church in Geneva. See Tim, you are just as guilty so therefore cannot judge Calvin.

This is the non thinking that is becoming the norm in the SBC.

Anything to prop up their gurus.

Lydia

"Arminians are so amusing, it's priceless. Degrading a theological system because of errors made by fallible man."

I am not an Arminian but I am amused you are admitting it is the ST (theological system) of a fallible man.

Lydia

"Should we not be judged based on the standards of our actions in our current contexts? Would it be right for us to be judged based on the standards that are not even established yet? So too must we show the same respect for those who have gone before us."

SVM,

This is better known as the Nuremburg Defense.

Can you spot the problem with your thinking? You imply certain ethical/moral standards did not exist so we cannot judge. Are you sure you want to prop up that thought?

Do you realize what you are really arguing for? This is such dangerous thinking it makes my spin tingle. It is the root thinking of every single blind follower of every despot out there from throughout history.

Lydia

"Honest question: Suppose you are right and Calvin did a monstrous thing by murdering Servetus (and I see no reason to doubt it). Suppose you are also right that we honor this man by calling ourselves Calvinists and it brings some kind of disrepute on ourselves. OK so far. But suppose also that we believe the doctrines normally associated with Calvinism. If we take your point and decide to call ourselves something else, will we not then open ourselves to the accusation of hiding our Calvinism?"

Bill Mac, How come it does not cause you to question his ST instead renaming it? Wouldn't living out his own ST have made him a more gentle, generous loving man? No? Guess it was the times. That is the excuse SMV gives him. Nevermind there were some at the time who were not "men of their time" and paid for it with their lives (banishment, prison, etc) for going against him.

peter lumpkins

Dr. Willingham,

I'll tell you what I told Steven: stop the perpetuation of a falsehood that Dr. Caner did not apologize and repent ("repent" *is* mentioned in the statement by the way). He most certainly did. But only for those actual times he 'screwed it up' so to speak (by the way, *all* of us without exception as public communicators 'screw it up'). What Caner will not do--and neither ought to do--is confess and repent of fabricating a past life, concede his testimony a fake, and confess his Muslim upbringing was intentionally staged all to deliberately deceive the American public. If you are holding out for that, don't hold your breath. He's not going to do it because it's not true. Caner has been very forthright in clearing up much of the hoopla to those who sincerely query him. But he's rightly been obtuse and resistant to reveal anything to men like James White, Jason Smathers, Mohammed Khan, et al for the simple reason they desire to hurt him. Do you honestly think these guys want clarity? Accountability? To the contrary, they want blood. White’s continued crusade demonstrates this.

The fact is, Ergun Caner was and is held accountable. He and his wife and kids tortuously endured an exhaustive background investigation performed by an independent private investigation firm hired by LU in 2010. People like James White perpetuate the falsehood that LU formed an in-house committee of "good ole boys" who were a priori going to white-wash the whole thing. Not so. James White doesn't know his nose from a hole in the ground what LU did. He only speculates and others take his word for it, and continue the myth.

What the professional investigation firm found was precisely what LU stated, and very similar to what Dr. Paul Owen concluded above in his personal survey of the evidence. While there were verbal discrepancies of names, places, dates, etc. nothing existed the investigators could find in Caner’s past or present to indicate he fabricated his testimony in any way. Again, what they found were verbal discrepancies concerning details like names, places, dates, etc. This excruciating discovery process LU did is what led to the supposed paradox (or, “contradiction” by some) that even though factual discrepancies were present, the investigators nonetheless concluded  "We never once found that he lied." There is no "contradiction." Discrepancy does not equate to actual contradiction either linguistically or morally. Dr. Owen was correct to cite the multitudes of instances in Scripture where discrepancy is present. Biblical skeptics continually harp about all the "contradictions" in the Bible. What do we do? We spend time writing page after page of explanations defending the rightful position of no actual biblical contradiction exists. Nor does discrepancy in one's personal testimony equate to intentional deception. This is Ethics 101. Why is this so thoroughly overlooked?

In my view, Ergun Caner has been thoroughly scandalized as a fraud by internet thugs mostly led by extreme Calvinists teaming with Muslim hate-sites when the very investigation—serious investigation--for which they themselves demanded concluded  "We never once found that he lied," a line even secular news media adopts contra the swarming internet thugs led by Calvinists like White and Muslims like Mohammed Khan.

In addition, trustees from two schools afterward—one not a Southern Baptist and the other a Southern Baptist in my own state with some trustees I personally know and will publicly state they are not naïve fools who are/were star-gazed with evangelical celebrities and hold the same reservations I have with a pattern of star-gazing taking place in the SBC right now; and consequently would not purposely overlook deception or flaws in moral integrity of a candidate they were considering—had the same evidence before them as you have before you; I have before me; and James White and Mohammed Khan have before them. Yet both sets of trustees, independent of one another, definitively concluded Ergun Caner has been scandalized by errant men and hence, whatever verbal discrepancies existed, his answers to their queries, coupled with what they examined on their own, sealed it for them that Dr. Caner is not and never has been a fraud.

It’s high time to ignore the poisonous rhetorical venom of those like James White, Mohammed Khan, and others who demand and even try to force us to judge Dr. Caner by their vindictive but unnecessary inferences they deduce from selective sound bites.

It’s time to stop it.

With that, I am…

Peter   

Andrew Barker

T,V, given that this is day one of 2014 I am mystified as to why you want so quickly to display your ignorance. For your information (and possible education) ..
1. the world does not revolve around Calvinists
2. those who do not hold to Calvin's theology/philosophy are not all Arminians.
3. Calvin was an unrepentant murderer, so yes, I do tend to view most of what he said with a great deal of suspicion. All actions stem from the heart of a person so his actions do provide some insight as to the type of man he was.

Happy New Year :-)

Albert

So let's suppose James White is a scumbag and evil incarnate. Even if that be trute, Ergun Caner still went around for years telling people he was raised as jihaddist, posed as someone who could give our servicemen and women a real understanding of the Islamic mindset from an inside perspective, said his father was a polygamist, and generally built his career and rep on a story that was about as real as the ones the wrestlers he idolizes conjure up on a regular basis. No one has to like White or ally themselves with Islam to see that Caner is a con artist selling his ever changing story to the highest bidder. So blast White if you like but please don't try to sell us on the used car salesman from Liberty U. If White can prove his point merely by playing video and audio of Caner, then that battle is over.

SVMuschany

Lydia,

In regards to your post at 10:50, in a way, you are right. I am not looking forward to ministering to the "sick and dying" but not for the reasons you think. You see, despite my relatively short life (I'm only 30), I have seen more than my fair share of death and dying. The loss of very close family members, the continued suffering of my own father who likely will never get to see grandchildren. Quite frankly I hate hospitals, I hate nursing homes, I hate funeral homes. I hate these places due to the experiences I have had. What is interesting is that it is these very experiences that will aid me when I reach out to my congregation and my community in the future in whatever manner God calls me to serve. I would kindly ask you to refrain from making assumptions about my life and ministry seeing as you do not know anything about what you are trying to talk about.

In regards to your post at 11:01. Please forgive me as my training in rhetoric was nearly 8 years ago, but I do not see how asking a question of a person is an ad hominem attack. Indeed, referring to every source I have as to the definition of the ad hominem fallacy, I struggle to see how that can even remotely be applied to the post you accuse it to be. I simply asked that if we are to hold John Calvin to a certain standard, we must hold ourselves to the very same standard. Bro Rogers (as we all are) do and are spending a lot of time on boards like this debating issues and situations and controversies. That in as of itself is not necessarily wrong. But if we are using our time unwisely, and forgoing the opportunities to minister in our communities, that is where we begin to fall into error. If we hold Calvin to a standard of certain priorities in ministry, then we must hold ourselves to the same standard. Asking Bro Rogers about his use of time is not ad hominem because I hold myself to the same standard. Indeed I would hope we all hold ourselves to that standard, questioning daily if we are using our time to the best of our abilities to the ministry and glorification of our Lord and Savior.

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