“The Jews as a race were no more or less blameworthy than the Gentiles.”
In fact John MacArthur quotes Acts 2:23 in which the Spirit places the greater blame on the Jews- “you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. You is the operative word, it is the Jews set over against lawless men. That both acted with evil is indisputable. The contrast made is those who have the Law and those who don’t. But this is in keeping with “to whom belong the covenants,” and who alone could sacrifice the paschal. To confuse the blame by making blameworthiness unilateral confuses the reason why Israel was chosen to bear the testimony to the nations. Israel alone had that responsibility, and Israel alone bears the responsibility for crucifying their Lord even though he was crucified by them on behalf of all men.
I know it is politically incorrect to say we worship Christ crucified by the Jews, but that is a historic reality without which there is no remission of sin. For only they were given the promise that by the shedding of blood is there remission. Ours is a historic faith with Israel the representative center of all it promises. They alone could perform the necessary sacrifice. Even in the Law, the Jews sacrificed the passover for the strangers among them. The strangers could not do that for themselves. We should pay heed, Acts 2:23 makes clear that it was by the hands of evil men that the Jews put to death the Christ, not that they joined hands in doing so. That there is the confluence of Jew and Gentile to carry out the required sacrifice doesn’t negate the fact that only Israel could offer a sacrifice acceptable. Even Saul could not offer sacrifice, to the contrary, it required a priest and so it is that Christ was delivered up by the council of Priests to the Romans, particularly, the High Priest (Hebrews 8:3), and this specific sacrifice was made according to the his council:
But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. (John 11:49-52 ESV).
The Jews involvement is not coincidental, it is instrumental and required by the Law that one should die for all, for that was meaning of the Passover. And though Rome is the sacrificial knife used, they were merely a tool in Israel’s hand, just as the Jews were a tool in the hand of the Father to carry out the determinate will of God.
JM further compounds the error by stating:
This was, in essence, a corporate act of sinful humanity against God. All are guilty together.
Again, not quite. The Jews bear their own blame, the Romans their own. Outside that, we must part with the corporate guilt trip. This is the way liberals speak when they want to incriminate all for the acts of a few and justify themselves. We were not there, in fact, the vastness of humanity was not there for the most part. There were a historic people in a historic place at a historic time, who were. To conflate it is to confuse the historicity of it and undermine it. We are all guilty of sin, but we do no bear the sins of others as culpable for their acts. It is feel-good commiseration, but not the faith once and for all delivered to the saints:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3 ESV)
We do well if we hold the full council of the Word of God “in accordance with the Scriptures.” JM’s emphasis on the corporate prayer blinds him to a verse he himself has quoted. And shackles others such as: “‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’” Jesus was the victim of his friends (see Matthew 26:50 ESV).
Why, we might ask, is it so important to share this “All are guilty together” guilt for the acts of a few? We are all guilty of being sinful, and of being the reason that Christ had to be crucified. That is one thing. But to say that we were participants? There is nothing in Scripture which makes that claim and nothing could be further from the truth. To spiritualize the historic claims of the Gospel puts in danger the whole of the history, including the resurrection, of being spiritualized. No, we believe in God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ in a historic frame of reference, who was crucified by a specific people for a specific reason, according to a specific revelation, and we are better off to exalt Him who has stepped out of eternity into his creation rather than massaging our egos in such a way that we not only void the revelation but make a mockery of the historic events which have direct bearing on our salvation. For, if Jesus was not crucified by the Jews according to Scripture for our sins, then neither did he rise from the dead. And if he did not rise, our faith is in vain.
In the video here, R. C. Sproul explains the Curse Motif. Most of what Dr. Sproul has to say is such a needed message to hear. R. C. Sproul is one of my favorite preacher/teachers. His work has had a broad influence on me and others and his lucid explanations generally bring clarity where other men’s do not. The video above contains an exposition of perhaps one of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture. And on this point I take exception to R. C..
We have to take into account not merely the emotional impact of this scene but exactly what is happening.
Jonathan Edwards said:
Then was Christ in the greatest degree of his humiliation, and yet by that, above all other things, his divine glory appears. Christ’s humiliation was great, in being born in such a low condition, of a poor virgin, and in a stable: his humiliation was great, in being subject to Joseph the carpenter, and Mary his mother, and afterwards living in poverty, so as not to have where to lay his head, and in suffering such manifold and bitter reproaches as he suffered, while he went about preaching and working miracles: but his humiliation was never so great, as it was in his last sufferings, beginning with his agony in the Garden, till he expired on the cross. Never was he subject to such ignominy as then; never did he suffer so much pain in his body, or so much sorrow in his soul; never was he in so great an exercise of his condescension, humility, meekness, and patience, as he was in these last sufferings; never was his divine glory and majesty covered with so thick and dark a veil; never did he so empty himself, and make himself of no reputation, as at this time: and yet never was his divine glory so manifested, by any act of his, as in that act, of yielding himself up to these sufferings. When the fruit of it came to appear, and the mystery and ends of it to be unfolded, in the issue of it, then did the glory of it appear; then did it appear, as the most glorious act of Christ that ever he exercised towards the creature.
How so, how is it that his divine majesty and glory shine forth so clearly if the abandonment were what R. C. says?
Let’s return to the texts:
For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
Why this if this:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
There is a song by Michael Card with the line: That one forsaken moment when Your Father turned His face away. The Psalm said that did not happen. The Psalm says that the Lord, rather than having abandoned him, never left him. That reality is the amazing comfort of this Psalm and the one that follows.
A large majority of the Psalms follow this pattern, a prophetic pattern, one that is reflected in the accusations of the enemies of Israel who derided her and cast aspersion upon her God, that is, that God had abandoned her. Even she elsewhere accuses him and he answers,
Where is your mother’s bill of divorce…I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near…
The typical plea in the Psalms is from that perspective of appearance of abandonment. God indeed abandoned his servant to this death though he never abandons him the Psalm says. Isaiah also confirms this. So, why is it that the typical teaching on the Cross pictures Christ abandoned in the sense of separation from God, when the testimony of Scripture is that he wasn’t?
He who vindicates me is near…,
Other Scriptural testimony to the fact that the Father didn’t abandon Christ, at least in the traditional sense it is taught, is found in these:
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption…I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken…The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial… Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage; for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers? If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence…
Truly Jesus suffered the terrors of death and died on our behalf, bearing the full burden of sin for us. By all appearances God had abandoned him, but his final statement and the first day of the week proves the opposite. The beauty of this Psalm as it is played out in the disciples as they view the Christ abandoned and flee, all hope gone, is that they will be corrected by God when they behold Him resurrected and confirms to them the promise that he would not leave them nor forsake them, ever. That is the reality of this Psalm, its greatness and its comfort. Christ’s last desperate plea is to a crucifying crowd was that they look to the Prophets and see the marvelous work of God who does not abandon his holy one, or his holy ones to corruption, who does not abandon those who cry out for mercy, who does not separate himself from his own. He ends his life preaching the Gospel with his last breath. With his last breath he preaches the hope of the resurrection. With his last breath he refers his enemies, in whose midst God has prepared for him a meal (Psalm 23), to:
The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it. Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more… In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
Christ did die, Christ did take upon himself our curse. However, our confidence in God’s faithfulness is not founded in anything less than that which accompanied Christ there:
For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him… Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God
Notice that Lumpkins relies on secondhand information. He continues his attack on Justin Taylor and others based, not on his own reading of Love Wins, but based on hearsay information–what Boyd says Bell says.
Is Peter Lumpkins’ recent supporting role in the defense of the sub-Christian cultus and its leading figures, hip and ho-hum, like Scripture twisting, prosperity teacher, Joel Osteen wannabe, Crystal Cathedral envying, Ed Young booty loving, Steven Furtick, and the established heretic, pseudo-intellect and truth redactor Rob Bell, nothing new? Is there reason to note his support of Molinist heresy-hawker “Who So Evah Will-o-the-Wisp” Keathley, a “leading educator” in the SBC who doesn’t have to keep his big mouth shut? Should we, or can we, forget Peter’s love affair and continued stupid endorsements supporting “I ain’t got no shame”, ever Geislerized, SBC champion liar, fake Muslim, language impersonator, part-time burqa presser, and lover of men of questionable character himself, Ergun Caner? Is it turning out that Peter just prefers bad company? It is not like he’s drunk on himself, is it?
At the end of this video Ergun in one of his most telling anecdotes, puts down his own son as being a deceptive little jerk of a kid hell-bent on rebellion. I don’t know what Ergun did that was so wrong, but none of my children would light the rags on fire. Not one. That confidence comes from knowing them because I trained them to obey. The answer to what went so wrong with Caner’s kid perhaps is revealed as you listen to Ergun.
You cannot help but understand him to say that God tempts his own children to sin- God gives them access? Meaning, as Caner has set the parameters, it is God who puts sin before his children so that they might choose it if they will. I cannot tell you how many times I have had Arminians say exactly the same thing. I have, in fact, had friends who discount Calvinism say they do these things purposely to their kids. My brother who as a member of the Way International was taught that this is the way you can test the spirits- set them up. I have even had SBC pastors tell me that God can do as he pleases, both good and evil.
Does God give us equal access? Check this out:
Genesis 20:6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.
Even though the king’s heart was determined to go into Sarah, God stopped him.
Now the opposite can be true:
Ezra 7:27 Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem,
Even what is not naturally in a king’s heart the Lord puts there:
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
Even where man is free to choose, God so directs his ways so that he will do as God decrees:
Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.
In all this though we know that:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
God always works in such a way that the heart of the man remains free according to its nature to choose according to its desire. God does not tempt, he controls the choice by the conditions so that the purposes of God will always be:
Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
The story of Jacobs kids is remarkable. The whole story is when we begin with Abraham and God’s defining the history by controlling all Abraham’s choices, even a bride for his son, Isaac and his blessing of Jacob, and of course, Jacobs son being sold into slavery to begin the saga that was given in a prophecy to Abraham. All these things, even to the birth and life of Moses, Pharoah’s hardened heart, all of it, done according to the foreordaining decrees of God. Yet, in all this, God does not once temp man with evil. Not once..
That is not what Caner said. In his example, God has allowed access by presenting before man both good and evil so that he may freely choose from one or the other. Caner is right, his evil little boy would have done the evil thing anyway. But he didn’t need Ergun’s temptation to do so, or so says James. He would have found the oil, the rags and the matches and torched the house even with mom and dad asleep in bed. That was his nature. Funny how Caner would not agree that man’s nature rules out his libertarian freedom to choose just anything, then, he falls into his own contempt when he says that his son would do according to his nature, what his nature dictated, and not as he could freely choose.
Yes God controls the desires, yes he orchestrates the circumstances, but never does he grant man the option of doing either evil or good as Caner’s god does. To the contrary, he always commands the good, and never allows free access to evil. It is the devil who has presented evil before man and that against God’s commandments. In Ergun’s scenario, his god commands abstention but purposely sets before a child the object of his evil desire. Ergun presents God as a man who is fallen, or worse as the devil, who tempts others to sin.
Jerry Falwell, ah, what can be said. The quintessential carny who got filthy rich manipulating the emotionally laden. James White is correct, there was nothing to amen. Lies, fraudulent exegesis, theatrics, manipulative speech, tools of a Christian evangelist? Not hardly. These traits we see exemplified by the Devil’s machinations revealed in Scripture. Mentor and minted, two chubby cherubs from the same father. “God has provided all you need…” so says Falwell. But he, like Caner, falls upon his own self-contradiction. As White notices, Jerry Falwell has to make the Calvinistic appeal about what that provision means in prayer so that Falwell asks that God would do as I demonstrated above, interfere with the free-will, cooperative, synergistic choices of man. Left to his free-will, (that is free-will as defined by anti-Calvinists), if God did not control the circumstances and yes, even put it into the heart, man would not choose Christ. So we can thank God, that through the Holy Spirit, even the Great Jerry Falwell could not pray without God sovereignly putting into his mouth even that truth which Falwell denied.
It is important that we do not let Ergun, his creators, or his handlers, get away with the fraud they have been perpetrating upon the vulnerable for so long. A follow-up post will explain more of why that is so very critical in today’s atmosphere. For now, James White says it rightly. This is not a man who was something good that went bad, he was bad, and continues to be so:
The Myth of Free Will by Walter Chantry.
It makes you wonder… he’s been lying since before 911… He gives so much credit to his wife it begs to wonder just what kind of woman would put up with that for so long?
I mean, how can she trust anything that he said, like “I love you. Will you marry me?” Who’s me, who’s I? Is it Michael or Memhet, Barack or Barry? Persona or person? Did she marry the phantom, or the opera?
Then again, if she trained him… ahem… what does that mean? That she trained him to perform the balancing a ball for fish act? Holy Mackeral Baptist Man! That she showed him how to glue a rubber nose on so it couldn’t be pulled off? Didn’t work! To be a quick change artist? To be a character actor? She did well, there, there is no doubt.
His wife is most likely a wonderful woman. She knows him best, right? Cooks him possum. Yummy! If anything we can surmise about her, if she is not complicit, is that she has more endurance and patience than Abigail. That’s her Nabal to bear… I suppose.
One other thing. It is amazing that he is speaking to a crowd that should eshew the hyphenated American motif. But there’s Caner, hyphenating all over himself.
His people? No. His past wasn’t one of an oppositional Muslim boy. He was raised, American. Probably to the consternation of his father. He was a typical, could-care-less American teen, as can be plainly seen by his fotos from that time. And now, he is an American revivalist selling his snake oil sermons. The components of the oil haven’t changed. He is still telling the testimony of a mythical life he never lived. The reality: he’s an over-fed, too well compensated, Finneyesque showman of the most common Southern Baptist algae ooze; a canival barker getting rich pulling the strings of emotionally laden, politically bound, marionettes whose spiritual fortunes hang upon how well America prospers. After all, how then shall they live in the style they are accustomed? Christ is the furthest thing from their minds. But, Christ makes a good draw at this kind of shamanic circus. Americanism is nothing more than a pseudo- Christian sect.
Yeah, Caner is still lying in wait for a buck.
You may think that I am mean, a profanely, juvenile slanderer. Yet, the fact is that Caner is back on the stage. He and his toadies, the shaman with roadies, making hay greasing palms, without ever repenting of ripping off his audiences for years. And about his wife… Remember, we asked this very same thing of Hillary and Bill. When a public figure, such as Caner, puts up his wife as a shield, she becomes a public figure open to the same accountability as he, and not outside the bounds of commentary. Beside that, go read 1 Timothy, and see if an elder’s wife is immune from the very same scrutiny to which he is subject.
So… if you want to take me to task for hammering him so hard, or implicating his wife, save your fingers and go listen to Tammy Faye. She just didn’t understand it either: “What did we do?”
Emergent, Charismatic Third Way, Word Faith, The SBC Great Commission Resurgence (in fact any of their Million More In ’54 schemes), scores of other how to get things from God schleps, The Values Voters- when it comes to church growth via the pop christian genre, it is all the same, and it is not the Gospel.
Oh! Pulpiteers. That makes sense. They’re entertainers. Church growth through emotional appeal manipulators, Finney clones, big tent, center ring performers. They’re not preachers, teachers, or evangelists in the biblical sense if the unrepentant Ergun Caner is on this list. Ergun’s rubber nose faux persona really does sum it up nicely. If those taking center stage with him don’t care about his refusal to admit purposed lies and deception, what else can be said except that this won’t be a conference, but a circus.
According to the News & Advance:
“The punishment was commensurate with the problem, so we’re ready to move on,” Towns said about Caner. “I really don’t want to talk about him. I want to look toward the future.”
Those who were previously touting the way Liberty handled the Caner situation as “exonerating” Caner – are they going to stick with that?
What I cannot figure out is why LU cannot find a more suitable replacement. My guess is that they weren’t looking. My guess also is that the officials included Elmer Towns in appointing Elmer Towns and most likely the Board was directed by Elmer Towns to appoint Elmer Towns. I have a feeling that there was no candidate search and Elmer’s large frame is merely meant to hold the seat open until Caner is fully restored to it. Otherwise, why not someone from LU’s teaching staff? Was there no assistant dean? No one in the wings? No one else qualified? Then why not go outside? The whole thing stinks.
Yes, the slip of the tongue is telling. It was punishment, at least that is what it appears to be, plain and simple, for lying. But they never thought he would get caught in the first place. As a supposed erudite scholar, are we to believe that Towns knew nothing of the falsehoods? He had no knowledge of Islam, none? He could not discern the discrepancies? By what fiat did he hire Ergun, then? The proponents of exoneration will remain silent, because to comment on the decision as punishment would expose their sycophantic support of Ergun as fact.
Elmer Towns has been for decades one of the leaders in the Church Growth Movement, allied with everything that is abhorrent in it, e.g., his friend and partner in crime in that realm, C. Peter Wagner, et cetera. His dabbling in the mysticism of that movement is well documented, by Towns’ own publications. He even published his own spiritual gifts survey to be used in relationship to it. Of his necessary compliments to growth is the visionary leader, ergo, Ergun. Charismatic leadership, not necessarily qualified leadership, is foundational to the CGM. Accountability is secondary, growth is the main thing, to parrot a title by Elmer.
What most characterizes Elmer is his methodological pragmatism, certainly not his exegetical expertise. Which accounts for his own form of Methodism’s perfectionism. But judging the size of Caner, Falwell and even Towns, his books on fasting weren’t their favorite reads. Manipulation of God through techniques for personal gain has been Elmer’s calling card all along. The reality, profits from books and publications has been his meal ticket. All this accounts for Ergun’s appearance as a revivalist and the compromise of Scripture in pursuit of the value in increasing the numbers of givers and buyers. There is no way that Elmer is going to sacrifice his child, LU, for his step-child Ergun. It pays too well. But the fact remains, Ergun is a large factor in the center-ring antics of the exploitive methods championed by Towns and Falwell. To turn Ergun out without at least the appearance of some form of reconciliation would be an admission that the whole scheme behind LU is a fraud. We can look for one of two outcomes: the silent slipping out the back door in a voluntary change of career venue, which is highly unlikely since Ergun was hand-picked by his mentor Jerry Sr., and because Caner holds the goods on LU’s knowledge of his history and methods- nothing more vengeful than a lover scorned; or, we will eventually see the concocted story that Caner has been through a restorative reconciliation process and upon its completion was fully forgiven. Then “punishment” will take on the a new nuance in the by-line as restoration. Caner will be presented as remorseful, contrite, repentant and even more humble than before. And the peeps will eat the cotton candy with relish without regard to the previous rot caused by it.
I think Dr. White puts it well… let the punishment fit the…
Just imagine if Caner came out and told the whole truth…
Or, as natallmc intimates, what if he was to make things up about LU’s complicity in the same vein as he represented himself or Islam, whoa… unholy jihad, Liberty Man. How might they defend conversations that took place off record, behind closed doors? I mean, he said, she said, and Caner’s the top draw, not Falwell Jr., or Towns. His currency, as we noticed with his defenders, far exceeds theirs. That’s the problem when you create a monster, he might just destroy the lab.
In other words, they better not pull the choke chain too tight.