Selling Grandma: The Legacy Of Ergun and Emir Caner

Now, it would be easy to argue that Dr. Emir Caner simply misspoke. “I didn’t mean His name is used 93 times, of course, I know it only appears 25 times. I meant the wider idea of all possible references, allusions, etc.” That would make sense to me. However, taken together with the other issues just noted, it does raise serious questions concerning Emir Caner’s familiarity with primary sources relating to the study of Islam. It would have been easy to grant a mere misstatement, had Emir Caner not chosen to defend his statement.

I raised the question before about who wrote Ergun’s books. Or for that matter, any published work of his. One of his closest collaborators is his brother. The poor scholarship pointed out by Dr. White along with the ineptitude of publishers to review and verify and the same failures as well by administrators at Christian seminaries, point to the fact that it is all about what sells. And the Caners sell.

A failure to be familiar with primary sources may not be important in publishing. It is in education. Ergun and Emir, and their employers, it appears, never bothered to establish validity of claimed expertise, and thereby undermined the credibility that published work in academia make necessary. It is one thing for publishers take advantage to sell a product, to them its just business. It is an entirely different matter in education, especially when done in the name of Christ.

Note the high ethic embedded in the SBC’s BFM:

Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ’s people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute…

It should be obvious that education, to be education, must be grounded in right knowledge. More importantly, in Christian education, right knowledge in the pursuit of truth in integral to the Gospel. For the Gospel itself claims the ultimate pinnacle of all knowledge, wisdom and understanding in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Once the foundation of truth is taken away, all reasonable appeal of the Gospel is lost. The Gospel’s foundation is Christ, the Truth. To associate him with lies is close to saying he has an unclean spirit. The tactics of Liberty University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in employing men solely on the basis of supposed background and conversion stories is deplorable. How can they stand and claim that the education they offer is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence? Is the mission of the church selling used cars?

It is true that neither the institution nor its educational staff makes or breaks the serious student. As Dr. White has pointed out before, a student’s credibility is not attached to the institution or the kind of degree work, necessarily, or those who instructed him. At the college level, the best student is self-educated. Expertise is attached to a student’s first hand knowledge and experience. As far as we can tell, the Caners fail on both counts. What is a shame is that it appears that a multitude of students have paid for and trusted in expert knowledge based falsehood and a reliability that vested solely in the Caner name. That brings into question by way of association the validity of earned credentials. Not that the student doesn’t deserve them, but that the issuing authority for degreed work, has no credence.

If that isn’t bad enough, it appears the Caners threw Grandma under the bus when it became expedient.

Turretinfan writes,

…before 11 September 2001, what was Ergun’s testimony? …He was led to Christ by his grandmother…

and after 9/11 the testimony strangely adapts to the times and morphs to entertain audiences. One only can surmise that money and fame were the motivators.

Shame belongs to the Caners, but even more so to the seminaries which have exploited the sad sack stories manufactured by them and delivered with emotionally driven anti-Semitic fervor for the sake of fanatical excitations to increase numbers of adherents to generate income.

Caner And Geisler, and Lumpkins, Oh My! Who Next The Flying Monkeys?

…There are folks who should not debate. No two ways about it. I just happen to be of the opinion that if you can’t debate, don’t pretend you can. But more importantly, if you write something, and you publish it, and yet you know you have to “protect” it from criticism by silencing that criticism or just making sure you can duck it, what does that say?

Dr. White said this of Mr. Geisler because Geisler is known to defend the indefensible. And as White notes, Geisler avoids standing to defend what he himself has written, and cannot stand to be contradicted. So it would appear normal for Geisler to defend Caner. Both tend to avoid the lime light when it comes to explaining themselves.

In all Geisler is not a credible witness for Caner. He is in fact just like him. His willing false exegesis puts him in the same camp with Caner. Geisler just doesn’t get it but as an apologist, he should. It has already been established that Caner is a liar and not just a mistaker. As the link in the last post to Phil Johnson’s piece on Finney demonstrates, there isn’t a nickels worth the differenced between Caner and Finney. And as Steve Hays comments at Turretinfan, Geisler is just another good ‘ol boy hack.

We are not waiting for LU to determine whether Caner lied or defrauded his audiences. That we know. We are waiting to see if LU has any integrity left. Perhaps it never did. It was LU who hired Caner when it shouldn’t have. It was LU that had years to discover the facts. What we wait for is to see what LU will demand Caner repair. And we wait to see just what the mea culpa will be on the part of LU. Caner’s misspokenness defrauded people. But LU should have known who he was. LU is culpable, too. Dispensing of the Caner affair is only the first step in LU’s repentance. They are part of the problem by not doing the basic investigation of Caner’s life before hiring him, and for accepting his scholarship without verification. The only way Caner could get away with it for so long is: 1) LU was incompetent, or 2) they were complicit in what Caner was doing.

I would encourage anyone who wonders how Geisler could wiggle with the worms to go read and listen to all that White has to say about him. For any good Geisler has done in Christian apologetics, it has all been undone by his willingness to undo truth.

White writes: I confess Dr. Geisler’s confusing, contradictory contribution to the situation is not only unhelpful, but worse, I fear it might give us a picture of the defense being offered internally at Liberty. As we saw in the note from Caner from inside Liberty, the real issues are being ignored. Mere misstatements, or “ambiguity” seems to be the defense being offered. “Pay no attention to videos and audios and published works and legal documents—it’s just a matter of pulpiteering.” Will this be all we hear from Liberty? Let us hope and pray not. But surely, Dr. Geisler now needs to explain his statements. Can Dr. Geisler answer the questions that Dr. Caner refuses to? If so, he needs to do so, for the sake of the truth.

Yes the real issues are being ignored like why the self-interests of LU, the SBC, or any other evangelical entity, are more important than telling the truth. We wait to see just how far those interests are willing to go to hold on to the silver slippers.

Why the Ergun Caner Scandal Matters: Because Big Tent Circus Revivals Are Not About The Gospel

CRBC Pastoral Blog: Why the Ergun Caner Scandal Matters: a Plea to Pastors.

And it does really matter. Especially for the SBC which is struggling under the delusion that its failing numbers has to do with anything other than their failure of intergity. As more and more the information is available, the more and more people are aware of the grease paint and rubber noses, falsifications of history and doctrine, the more and more people are bailing out of the SBC. In a great commission resurgence one would think that the Finney center ring would have been abandoned. Instead, technique and phoney showmanship still dominate the landscape. And yes, with the recent release of Keathley’s book, heresy is still in vogue as a trap to entice the ignorant.

Finney himself was a proto-Caner in that when the truth stood in Finney’s way, his falsified experiences (his testimony), not to mention his false doctrine, became the whole filthy cloth of his fabricated ministry and his revival lectures. Scripture be damned, revival was all that matterered. How Great Commission Resurgence sounding it all is. Suck them in with fanfare, get them baptized, get them out of the way, retain only enough to keep the coffers full and panic when the donations decline and threaten the incomes of ministers and bureaucratic leaders. Forget the mandates of the GC such as teaching sound doctrine. Building a legacy, big churches and dedicating hero statues, is so much more important.

A pseudo-intellect and pseudo-theologian, a prolific writer, and a big tent carney, just like Caner, Finney’s success provided cover and legitimacy in Christian circles. If it were a secular enterprise, he would have landed in jail. Like D. L. Moody, a good salesman who could have cared less if the product crippled as long as large numbers of people bought his shoes, the SBC still exalts Finneyesques techniques over substance where showmanship such as the J316 conference and the pseudo-scholarship of Whosoeverwill, over reality and sound exegesis, permeate a docrinally polluted landscape dominated by egoistic narcissists. They do what they do because they think they have a right to get away with it. The secular authorities cannot interfere with selling fraud in religiouis garb. Caner’s benefactor Jerry Falwell loved Finney and embraced his folly fully. Is it any wonder that Caner would fit the mold? Any thing to pack them in, the larger the crowd the better, and retention of marginal numbers is all that is needed. Approach ten thousand, retain a thousand and the revenue of tithes, offerings and tuitions will pile high as mountains. Generated revenues can be large enough to start colleges and universities on which to place your name or plaster your portrait. The only question is how low do you go to maintain what has been begotten through whoredom in the first place?

We remember Billy Graham, the fraud that he turned out to be, doctrinally heretical, sickly ecumenical, and yet the SBC put up a statue in honor of the Finney of our times. Graham’s retention rate has been put at less than one percent. The SBC has lost most of those who have been on their roles since 1950. But they could care less. They care only to retain enough. Caner is just another in a long history of barkers in baptist circles selling tickets to see the sideshow with its amazing Bearded Woman. And LU is just another enterprise built upon the fanatical mirage of revivalism.

The deception is rife, as Chantry remarks, in all of evangelicalism. It is especially so among baptists. Some churches and para-church orgainzations have made an art out of dressing the part. But it is still the same old snake oil show.

Further reading on Finney: Here and here.

Can A Calvinist Ever Say Anything True? NEVAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Lament for Discernment

Dr. White compliments Walid. Darn, I wish I was a better writer. No doubt the charge of Caner the charlatan who defrauded the dupes at LU out of their money should enflame the diaper-rash bottoms of those who write the things that White reported on. But mind my question, also. How does LU escape culpability? How do Patterson, Vines, and the cadre of J316ers? Who now can trust a degree from LU, or any other school in the SBC that supports the gangrenous, Christ ischemic, doctrines of personality cult evangelicalism? How can any ever trust going to a Baptist church?

Hey, anyone wanna buy some Allahawk Bars?

Caner’s Duplicity Unchallenged Because No One Expected A Southern Baptist Preacher To Do Research

Walid Zafar: Ergun Caner, Ex-Muslim Evangelical Leader, Exposed As Fake.

Caner is not the only culpable party. LU and a host of others share it with him. And not just because they fail to vet individuals but because they have failed to do what is required to establish their claims to the credibility of their status. They have failed to protect themselves and those who are their charge from being subjected to the frauds that are so numerous in evangelicalism.

CRBC Pastoral Blog: Why the Ergun Caner Scandal Matters: a Plea to Pastors.

The Spirit Leading: Pink

As a compliment to the discussion at Pyromaniacs we want to have the right
to discern correctly what is meant by the supernatual leading of the Holy Spirit. To aid the convo, I offer a Pink paper.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). This verse presents to us another aspect of the varied work of the blessed Holy Spirit. In addition to all His other functions, He performs the office of Guide unto the godly. Nor is this peculiar to the present dispensation: He so ministered during the Old Testament times. This is brought out clearly in Isaiah 63, “Where is He that brought them up out of the Sea with the shepherd of His flock? where is He that put His holy Spirit within him? That led them by the right hand of Moses with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make Himself an everlasting name? That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst Thou lead Thy people, to make Thyself a glorious name” (vv. 11-14). Moses was no more able, by his own power, to induce the Hebrews to pass between the divided waters of the Red Sea and to cross the trackless desert, than by the mere extending of the rod he could divide those waters. Moses was simply the human instrument: the Holy Spirit was the efficient Agent.

Divinely Drawn

In the above passage we have more than a hint of how the Holy Spirit “leads”: it is by means of an inward impulse, as well as by external directions. Among his comments upon Romans 8:14 Matthew Henry says, “Led by the Spirit as a scholar in his learning is led by his tutor, as a traveler in his journey is led by his guide, as a soldier in his engagements is led by his captain.” But such analogies are inadequate, for they present only the external side, leaving out of account the internal operations of the Spirit, which are even more essential. “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). By nature we are not only ignorant of God’s way, but reluctant to walk therein even when it is shown us, and therefore we find the Church praying “Draw me, we will run after Thee” (Song. 1:4). Ah, we never seek unto God, still less “run after Him,” till we are Divinely drawn.

This humbling truth was well understood by David of old. First, he prayed, “Teach me, O LORD, the way of Thy statutes . . . Give me understanding” (Ps. 119:33, 34). But second, he realized that something more than Divine illumination was needed by him: therefore did he add, “Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments . . . Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies,” (vv. 35, 36). By nature our hearts are averse from God and holiness. We can be worldly of ourselves, but we cannot be heavenly of ourselves. The power of sin lies in the love of it, and it is only as our affections are Divinely drawn unto things above that we are delivered from sin’s dominion. Moreover, our wills are perverse, and only as supernatural grace is brought to bear upon them are they “inclined” Godwards. Thus, to be “led by the Spirit of God” is to be governed by Him from within, to be subject unto His secret but real impulses or strivings.

Not only are our hearts inclined by nature unto temporal, material, worldly, and evil things, rather than unto eternal, spiritual, heavenly and holy things, but they are by inveterate custom too. As soon as we are born we follow the bent of our natural appetites, and the first few years of our life are governed merely by sense; and the pleasures begotten by gratifying our senses become deeply ingrained in us. Moreover, by constant living in the world and long contact with material things, the tendency increases upon us and we become more strongly settled in a worldly frame. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jer. 13:23). Custom becomes a “second nature” to us: the more we follow a certain course of life, the more we delight in it, and we are only weaned from it with very great difficulty.

Natural lusts and appetites being born and bred in us from infancy, continue to cry out for indulgence and satisfaction. The will has become bent to a carnal course and the heart craves material pleasures. Hence, when the claims of God are presented to us, when the interests of our souls and the things of eternity are brought before us, when the “beauty of holiness” is presented to our view, they find our wills already biased in the contrary direction and our heart prepossessed with other inclinations, which by reason of long indulgence bind us to them. The heart being deeply engaged with and delighting in temporal and worldly things, is quite unable to respond to the dictates of reason and set itself upon that which is heavenly and Divine; and even the voice of conscience is unheeded by the soul, which prefers the insidious lullaby of Satan. Nothing but the Almighty power of the Holy Spirit can turn (“lead”) the heart in a contrary direction.

Now the heart is inclined toward God when the habitual bent of our affections is more to holiness than to worldly things. As the power of sin lies in the love of it, so it is with indwelling grace. Grace prevails over us when we so love the things of God that the bent of the will and the strength of our affections is carried after them. When the course of our desires and endeavors, and the strength and stream of our souls runs out after holiness, then the heart is “inclined” Godwards. And how is this brought to pass, how does God reduce our rebellious hearts and mold them to the obedience of His will? The answer is, by His Word and by His Spirit; or putting it another way, by moral persuasion and by gracious power.

“And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes” (Ezek. 36:27). God does this by combining together invincible might and gentle inducements. God works upon us morally, not physically, because He will preserve our nature and the principles thereof. He does not force us against our wills, but sweetly draws us. He presents weighty reasons, casting into the mind one after another, till the scales be turned and then all is made efficacious by His Spirit. Yet this is not a work which He does in the soul once and for all, but is often renewed and repeated; and that because the “flesh” or sinful nature remains in us, unchanged, even after regeneration. Therefore do we need to ask God to continue inclining our hearts toward Himself.

This brings us to notice the intimate connection which exists between our present text and the verse immediately preceding it. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13):—if we yield ourselves to the Spirit’s impulses to restrain our evil propensities and our proneness to indulge them, then Heaven will be our portion, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (v. 14). Thus Romans 8:14 is said in confirmation and amplification of verse 13: only those who are ruled by the Spirit give evidence that they are the “sons of God.” To be “led by the Spirit,” then, means, as the whole context clearly shows, to “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (v. 4), to “mind the things of the Spirit” (v. 5), to “through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body” (v. 13). Suitably did Calvin remark on Romans 8:14, “Thus the empty boasting of hypocrites is taken away, who without any reason assume the title of sons of God.”

Thus we are “led by the Spirit” both actively and passively: actively, with respect to His prompting; passively on our part, as we submit to those promptings; actively, by His pressing upon us the holy requirements of the Scriptures; passively, as we yield ourselves unto those requirements. The Spirit is our Guide, but we must obey His motions. In the immediate context it is His restraining motives which are in view, moving us to the mortifying of sin. But His “leading” is not to be restricted to that: He exercises inviting motives, encouraging us unto the perfecting of holiness. And this being guided and governed by the Holy Spirit is an infallible proof that we are living members of God’s family.

Active Guidance

It is the office of Jehovah the Spirit in the covenant of redemption, after He has called the elect out of the world, to place Himself at their head and undertake their future guidance. He knows the only path which leads to Heaven. He knows the difficulties and dangers which beset us, the intricate maze of life’s journey, the numerous false routes by which Satan deceives souls, and the proneness of the human heart to follow that which is evil; and therefore does He, in His infinite grace, take charge of those who are “strangers and pilgrims” in this scene, and conduct them safely to the Celestial Country. O what praise is due unto this heavenly Guide! How gladly and thankfully should we submit ourselves unto His directions! How hopeless would be our case without Him! With what alacrity should we follow His motions and directions!

As we have already pointed out, the blessed Spirit of God “leads” both objectively and subjectively: by pointing us to the directive precepts of the Word, that our actions may be regulated thereby: and by secret impulses from within the soul, impressing upon us the course we should follow—the evils to be avoided, the duties to be performed. The Spirit acts upon His own life in the renewed soul. He works in the Christian a right disposition of heart relating to Truth and duty. He maintains in the believer a right disposition of mind, preparing and disposing him to attend unto the revealed will of God. He speaks effectually to the conscience, enlightens the understanding, regulates the desires, and orders the conduct of those who submit themselves unto His holy suggestions and overtures. To be “led by the Spirit of God” is to be under His guidance and government.

A Caution

The wayward child and the self-willed youth is guided by his own unsanctified and unsubdued spirit. The man of the world is controlled by “the spirit of the world.” The wicked are governed by Satan “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). But the Christian is to yield himself unto “the still small voice” of the Holy Spirit. Yet a word of caution is needed at this point, for in our day there are many fanatics and impious people who do that which is grossly dishonoring to God under the plea that they were “prompted by the Spirit” so to act. To be “led by the Spirit of God” does not mean being influenced by unaccountable suggestions and uncontrollable impulses which result in conduct displeasing to God, and often injurious to ourselves and others. No, indeed: not so does the Spirit of God “lead” anyone.

There is a safe and sure criterion by which the Christian may gauge his inward impulses, and ascertain whether they proceed from his own restless spirit, an evil spirit, or the Spirit of God. That criterion is the written Word of God, and by it all must be measured. The Holy Spirit never prompts anyone to act contrary to the Scriptures. How could He, when He is the Author of them! His promptings are always unto obedience to the precepts of Holy Writ. Therefore, when a man who has not been distinctly called, separated, and qualified by God to be a minister of His Word, undertakes to “preach,” no matter how strong the impulse, it proceeds not from the Holy Spirit. When a woman “feels led” to pray in public where men are present, she is moved by “another spirit” (2 Cor. 11:4), or if one claimed “guidance” in assuming an unequal yoke by marrying an unbeliever, 2 Corinthians 6:14 would prove conclusively that it was not the “guidance” of the Holy Spirit. Divine Direction

The Holy Spirit fulfills His office of Guide by three distinct operations. First, He communicates life and grace, a new “nature”; second, He stirs that life unto action, and gives “more grace”; third, He directs the action into performance of duty. Life, motion, and conduct are inseparable in nature and grace alike. First, the Holy Spirit quickens us into newness of life, infusing gracious habits into the soul. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you” (Ezek. 36:26). Second, He moves upon the soul and assists the new nature to act according to its own gracious habits and principles: He “worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). Third, He directs our actions by enlightening our understandings, guiding our inclinations, and moving our wills to do that which is pleasing unto God. It is the last two we are now considering.

Divine direction is promised the saints: “The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way” (Ps. 25:9): and this not only by general directions, but by particular excitations. “I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go” (Isa. 48:17). Divine guidance is desired by the saints as a great and necessary blessing: “Show me Thy ways, 0 LORD; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day” (Ps. 25:4, 5). Mark the earnestness of this prayer: “show me, teach me, lead me.” Note the argument: “Thou art the God of my salvation,” and as such, pledged to undertake for me. Observe the importunity: “on Thee do I wait all the day,” as if he would not be left for a moment to his own poor wisdom and power. Even the “new nature” is utterly dependent upon the Holy Spirit.

Though the children of God are “light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8) and have a general understanding of the way of godliness, yet much ignorance and darkness still remains in them, and therefore in order to a steady and constant course of obedience they need to be guided by the Holy Spirit, so that their light may be both directive and persuasive. Though Christians have a general understanding of their duty, much grace from God is needed to perform it by them. If left to themselves, their own corruptions would blind and govern them, and therefore do they pray, “Order my steps in Thy Word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Ps. 119:133). The way to Heaven is a “narrow” one, hard to find and harder still to be kept, except God teach us daily by His Spirit. Wisdom from on High is continually needed to know how to apply the rules of Scripture to all the varied details of our lives. The Holy Spirit is the only fountain of holiness, and to Him we must constantly turn for directions.

But something more than knowledge is needed by us: the Spirit must persuade and incline our hearts, and move our wills. How strong are our inclinations to sin, how easily fleshly impulses override our better judgment, how weak we are before temptation! We know what we should do, but are carried away by corrupt affections to the contrary. It is at this point the Holy Spirit governs from within. First, by His restraining motions, bidding us to avoid and mortify sin; second, by His quickening motions, inviting us to the pursuit of holiness. And just so far as we yield to His “strivings” are we “led by the Spirit of God.” As moral agents we are responsible to co-operate with the Spirit and respond to His gentle sway over us. Alas, we so often fail to do so. But though He allows this up to a certain point—for our humbling—yet by His invincible power He prevents our making shipwreck of the faith, and after many chastenings, conducts us safely to Glory.

Knowing We Are Led by the Spirit

In conclusion we will seek to supply answer to the following question: How may Christians know whether they be among those who are “led by the Spirit of God”? In general, those who are directed by this Divine Guide are moved to examine their hearts and take frequent notice of their ways, to mourn over their carnality and perverseness, to confess their sins, to earnestly seek grace to enable them to be obedient. They are moved to search the Scriptures daily to ascertain the things which God has prohibited and the things which He enjoins. They are moved to an increasing conformity to God’s holy Law, and an increasing enablement to meet its requirements is wrought in them by the Spirit blessing to them the means of grace. But to be more specific.

First, just so far as we are governed by the Spirit of God are we led from ourselves: from confidence in our own wisdom, from dependence upon our own strength, and from trust in our own righteousness. We are led from self-aggrandizement, self-will, self-pleasing. The Spirit conducts away from self unto God. Yet let it be pointed out that this weaning us from ourselves is not accomplished in a moment, but is a perpetual and progressive thing. Alas, God has at best but a portion of our affections. It is true there are moments when we sincerely and ardently desire to be fully and unreservedly surrendered to Him, but the ensnaring power of some rival object soon confirms how partial and imperfect our surrender has been.

Second, just so far as we are governed by the Spirit of God are we brought to occupation with Christ. To whom else, in our deep need, can we go? Who so well-suited to our misery and poverty? Having severed us in some degree from ourselves, the Spirit brings us into a closer realization of our union with the Savior. Are we conscious of our filth and guilt?—the Spirit leads us to the blood of Christ. Are we sorely tried and oppressed?— the Spirit leads us to Him who is able to succour the tempted. Are we mourning our emptiness and barrenness?—the Spirit leads us to the One in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. It is the special office of the Spirit to take of the things of Christ and show them unto us.

Third, just so far as we are governed by the Spirit of God are we conducted along the highway of holiness. The Spirit leads the Christian away from the vanities of the world to the satisfying delight which is to be found in the Lord. He turns us from the husks which the swine feed upon unto spiritual realities, drawing our affections unto things above. He moves us to seek after more intimate and more constant communion with God, which can only be obtained by separation from that which He abhors. His aim is to conform us more and more to the image of Christ. Finally, He will conduct us to Heaven, for of it the Spirit is both the pledge and the earnest.

Southern Baptists And Blissful Ignorance

Ed Stetzer at Between The Times offers this report on SBC evangelism results: Will Southern Baptists Ignore the Ongoing Decline? I say evangelism results because the aim of the great commission is retention- to make disciples and to instruct them in all that Christ taught. In view of the push in the SBC for a Great Commission Resurgence, I think it would help the SBC to first rediscover the meaning of the commission.

Sometime back on Reformed Mafia I offered a view of SBC membership. There were things embedded in the membership statistics that I found truly amazing. So I offer this redux of Where Have All The Southern Baptists Gone, because nothing has really changed.

According to a Baptist Press news article from 1950 through 2007 the annual number of baptism bounced between 350 and 450,000 an average of 400,000 per year. If my math serves me right that is almost 23 million baptisms in fifty-seven years. The current membership enrollment in the SBC is around 16.3 million. The average worship attendance is 6 million.

The birth rate as reflected by baptism in the SBC is approximately 2.45% if we accept current membership enrollment and baptism reports. Crudely estimating, the death rate among Southern Baptists is approximates 36% if we consider the difference between 23 and 16.3 million over fifty years. About one death for every 3 births. But if we take into account the fact that only 6 million attend and perhaps 2 million others active but not in attendance, the death rate among the Southern Baptists explodes to about 66% or 2 out of every three births. The interesting statistic is a reported decline in membership of .24%. But wait, how can that be if the baptism rate is more than ten times that? Is the SBC baptizing and then throwing the baby out with the baptismal water? Is it effectively killing off more of its baptized than it is baptizing?

The difference between 23 million and 6 million is a whopping 17 million souls lost from the ranks of the SBC. Nearly as many as they claim are on membership roles. Even if the shut-in and excusable (travelers, sick, et cetera) are granted, and say the total numbers of active membership is 8 million and not 6 million, the total number of lost souls from the SBC is still nearly 2 times the annual number of its active members. You can kiss the Great Commission good-bye, unless of course all that you consider yourself responsible for is baptisms and not discipleship. And, we might mention doctrinal acuity of active membership, but that is another shame, a digression not altogether unrelated.

The current emphasis in SBC land is how to increase the annual numbers of baptisms so as to stave off declining membership. Wouldn’t it be better to try to figure out how to stop the bleeding? Or, is it the case that it really does not matter; who cares if the annual number of baptisms merely maintains a membership of 16 million if the powers that be are comfortable with the income generated by a third or a half of members’ active and giving? The renewed interest in regenerate membership must consider the fact that it appears that the SBC does not care about its members. Whether they lose them or not, does not matter as long as enough stay. How contrary to Scripture. Perhaps the disrespect and usury is one reason for the decline in membership. But, again, I digress.

Isn’t time the SBC reconsider that new members classes’ precede baptism as necessary confirmation of separation from the world and covenantal commitment to the local church? Isn’t it time that the revivalist fad be put to death for the earnest Gospel, one that requires a man lay down his life and dedicate it to life-long growth in doctrinal competency? It should be the thrust of the SBC to renew its commitment to its membership by requiring doctrinal foundations be instilled before baptism is offered. And then to insure that the Great Commission if fulfilled in all its parts.

The reason is simple: The disciples were schooled by the Master before they were admitted into his fold. Contrary to the common misunderstanding that baptism is the norm immediately ensuing upon a profession of faith, (the disciples were fond of professing faith they didn’t understand), the confession of the faith by the disciples did not occur and could not properly be given, until after the resurrection; after years of discipleship. To confuse John’s baptism with Christ’s call to discipleship and the baptism in the Spirit that He would grant them upon the completion of their training is to betray the essence of the Baptistic understanding of believers’ baptism. Establishment in understanding is the norm. We after all uphold believers baptism- a believer must know what he believes. The disciples did not know what they believed until after Christ had risen, it was then they were baptized in the Spirit as true confessors.

The current practice among the SBC currently is no different than that of the paedobaptist who baptizes before the child has an understanding and thereupon can make a reasoned confession of faith. The SBC would do well if it would reinstitute catechesis as confirmation to the inquiry churches should be performing before admission to membership through baptism and, when necessary, for the admittance of petitioners to membership who have been baptized elsewhere. Or, it can continue condoning aborting two-thirds of its children with callous disregard for whether or not they were ever born-again.

Ergun Caner’s File Pile: Woe To Those Standing Downwind Of Liberty University


A Squirrel in Babylon: The Caner File.

The link above is a great summation/time-line of Caner’s Skunk Ape.

You’ve heard the old dilemma: If a Skunk Ape relieves himself in the woods doit stink? Something like that is happening in Lynchburg. There’s a stench in the air and it is reported that a Skunk Ape doctored Caner’s bio. It really wasn’t Ergun’s fault, he is a victim. Or something like that… Maybe the Skunk Ape just misspoke? Yes Virginia, there really is a Skunk Ape in Possum Kill. But what yer smellin’, did not a Skunk Ape doo.

Hopefully LU will do what James White has asked. But don’t hold your breath until the Skunk Ape sings. On Dr. White’s DL, he points out what I have thought is fairly obvious. Caner didn’t write all of what is credited to him. That accounts for both the inconsistencies in his books and his performances. It also brings into question his academic record, the validity of his professorship and the degrees granted to those who were instructed by him.

It also implicates Emir and brings into question the credibility and worth of academics under him. It brings into question the greater possibility that much of the SBC is run on this kind of slipshod academic qualification.

In any case Caner has made Liberty’s privy over flow.

Such are the dangers to those who chase the foul winds of popularity cult leadership.