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In Defense of Warning the Church About Unrepentant Teachers

A few months ago Ergun Caner was feeling “Tweeterific,” it seems, and went on a tear on his Twitter account. Let’s review what he said:

And I shall keep doing exactly what I’ve been doing for decades. Humbled before God & unrepentant before the Calvin boys
I neither seek their counsel, nor advice. Their charges, much like their degrees, are fraudulent. That is why such heroes stand w/me.
In summation- I categorically deny the charges & those who brought them
And I will NOT repent for their false accusations, nor sins I did not commit. Ever.
No need to prove anything. Certainly not u. Again, 3 schools looked at it all. Finding? Exonerated

Over the course of the past three years we have often had Christians, ignorant of the background and details of the Caner Scandal, object to our exposure of falsehood behind the pulpit and in the classroom. Because we are doing a seminar next Tuesday evening in Lindale, Texas, on the continuing, unresolved Great Evangelical Cover Up, some Christians are contacting us, and the hosting church, objecting to our warning others about Caner’s unrepentant attitude. I would like to respond to some of the objections being voiced in hopes of helping fellow believers understand the need for discernment and warning when seeking to honor the Christian ministry and the pulpit.

First, it is objected that we are not seeking reconciliation with Dr. Caner, but instead are vilifying him. Given that three years have passed with Ergun Caner refusing repeated calls to repent in light of overwhelming documentation of his publicly presented lies and falsehoods, and given that Dr. Caner refuses to dialogue or to answer direct questions about his claims, and given that Dr. Caner has produced fallacious excuses for his actions that are utterly without merit, and given that Dr. Caner has recently claimed to have been fully exonerated regarding all charges, what other options are left to us? We are the ones who have called for confession, reconciliation, and repentance on Dr. Caner’s part for three years now. He has refused. When do those who love the truth switch to a mode of warning, given the biblical teachings? Should anyone sound the call and warn the uninformed that there is a man in the ministry who has lied about his past, given great reason to the enemies of the cross to revile the truth, and yet refuses to face the facts and admit the truth?

The most often repeated assertion is that we have not followed Matthew 18:15-16. First, that text is not about public matters of teaching and integrity, it is about personal acts of sin between believers. Second, many people have gone to Ergun Caner privately, and he has rejected their remonstrance. Third, the local churches to which Caner has attached himself have refused to act on the information, just as the schools with which he has been involved. Fourth, when it became clear to me that Ergun Caner was lying about some of his claims in early 2010, I did, in fact, contact him privately before going public with the information. His replies showed he intended to remain defiantly unrepentant and to continue the charade he had promulgated since 2001.

Next, we are told that Galatians 6:1 exhorts us to restore a person in a spirit of gentleness, not do seminars about the person. Yet, years worth of attempts have been made to bring Dr. Caner to repentance. He has not only spurned all such attempts, he mocks those who have sought to bring him to repentance. With his recent public proclamation of his utter innocence, no choice is left but to “tell the church” and warn people concerning a man who refuses to acknowledge the truth and who refuses Godly counsel. Galatians 6 envisions a person who is actually seekingrestoration, and this is the very thing Caner refuses to do. He demands to be accepted in ministry without any repentance concerning his falsehoods and deceptions, indeed, without even admitting he lied, as the above tweets demonstrate.

Some folks suggest we have only listened to one side. One of the reasons we are doing this seminar is so that both sides can, in fact, be heard. The Caner brothers, and those assisting them, have done all in their power to squelch any discussion of the claims Ergun has made. A concerted effort has been made by Caner’s people to suppress video recordings and audio recordings that document Caner’s many wild claims. We are convinced that Dr. Caner cannot engage in a meaningful defense of his position, which is why he has not even attempted to do so. We are the ones who have, in fact, listened carefully to “both sides” and weighed the evidence.

Some have objected that the title to the seminar is too inflammatory, and that Caner would never seek to damage a Christian witness to Muslims. Yet, the truth is, Dr. Caner’s outrageous behavior has provided many Muslims with a wonderful excuse to reject Christian dialogue and evangelism. “Oh, you were a former Muslim who converted to Christianity? You mean like Ergun Caner?” More than one convert has reported this kind of retort to me. Caner’s many errors regarding Islam (he continues to make them), combined with his clearly fallacious claims to have been born in Turkey, raised in Muslim majority countries, speaking Arabic, debating Imams in mosques, etc., have provided the proverbial “black eye” to all Christians seeking to minister to Muslims, as I do regularly.

Another Comment from Jerry Walls

I was sent a follow up comment from Dr. Walls:

REGARDING JAMES WHITE

My good friend and philosophical ally Luke Van Horn informs me that James White has continued his critique of my lecture “What’s Wrong with Calvinism” on his podcast. While it appears he misses the point of my argument at times, and attempts to diminish its force by casting it as philosophical, I must say I appreciate that he is playing it on the air and at least letting me speak for myself before offering his rebuttal. And honestly, I kinda like the guy, and not just because he is bald. As someone who has been known to get intense about biblical, theological and philosophical issues myself from time to time, I appreciate his passion and desire to honor what he believes scripture teaches. So thanks James, bring it on.

I won’t bother with the comments this time—you all know how I feel about internet comboxes. But I am thankful for the kind words. I will have to reiterate, tomorrow on the Dividing Line, that part of my argument that Dr. Walls’ followers, anyway, seem to be missing, relating to the origins and starting points of our positions. I truly believe we differ on what we place in the first position as most important, and this determines much of what comes thereafter in our arguments. But in any case, after spending a few moments explaining our motivations for doing the Ergun Caner seminar next Tuesday night in Lindale, we will move back into a response to Walls, and then, as we must, spend that last half hour continuing our response to Yusuf Ismail as well.

Inside the Mind of a Conspiratorialist

A few months ago I ran into one of the writers for the “Do Right Christians” blog, a “Dr. Ach.” I discovered, very, very quickly, that logical thought and honesty is not a high priority on this particular website, and immediately dropped the non-discussion. I thought the background looked familiar when I was directed to an article today by a “Dr. Elisha Weismann.” It surely seems that the Dividing Line has a lot of listeners who listen for some other reason than to learn, that’s for sure. In any case, I read through an article titled “James White Amillenialism, Ecumenism and Curious Habits.” It is one of the most laughable “throw everything including the kitchen sink and see if your followers will buy it” type of screeds I’ve run into in quite a while. Of course, this is a KJV Only site, and KJV Onlyism produces the most wide-eyed forms of vitriol and slander on the Internet, so we should not be overly surprised.

I can tell there is no chance of a fruitful exchange with Dr. Elisha, that’s for sure. But let me just point out a few items.

1) Honest folks know that when I mentioned the eschatology debate (in reference to Alan Kurschner’s exchanges with others regarding different forms of pre-millenialism) I specifically indicated that there are key areas of eschatology, such as judgment, the existence of hell, eternal punishment, the return of Christ, etc., that are vital (and I have defended some of those truths in debate and dialogue in the past). But, of course, that very important statement got lost in the “hearing” of Dr. Elisha, who could write, “Apparently, the return of Christ is not something of significance in the field of apologetics according to White.” Amazing.

2) We are then given a very insightful explanation of why most Calvinists are amillenial (well, leaving aside those crazy posties!), and that is due to…Romans 9-11! Yes, see, we all know that if we were premillenial, then Romans 9 wouldn’t be about individual salvation! Ah, I get it now! Amazing. This is followed by paragraphs of, well, interesting diatribe about eschatology, sort of proving my point about how folks who put this first in their theology end up, well, a bit on the imbalanced side.

3) Then we come to a sub section titled “Other Issues We Have With White.” Oh goodie! Now we start into the “let’s create all sorts of associations and not bother to establish meaningful links” conspiratorialist thinking that we are running into with Chris Pinto as well. It works like this: “Minnesota recently approved gay marriage. James White was born in Minnesota. Therefore James White approves gay marriage.” That kind of thinking (though, normally, there are as many as five steps to the argument!).

4) The first shows the brilliance of this kind of thinking:

We stumbled on to a website called Defending the Faith, promoting a “Apologetics Cruise” featuring James White and Jerry Johnson. Ironically, the url for the Defending the Faith website is called “SovereingCruises.org”. So now apparently God is not only sovereign over man’s will, but also over $500 cruises as well. Jerry Johnson is a member of the Nicene Council organization. The Nicene Council is a NOTORIOUS Roman Catholic council that set the stage for many of the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.

Well, there you go! A few years ago we partnered with Jerry Johnson on a small cruise (I think it was our last one, actually, I don’t recall). Sovereign Cruises and my dear friend Mike O’Fallon put it on, as he did all the rest of our cruises going back to the late 90s. And Jerry is a member of the Nicene Council, and we all known the Nicene Council was a NOTORIOUS Roman Catholic council! So, I am an ecumenist!

Now, the absurdity of such thinking is astounding. Not a single person at the Council of Nicea would have had a clue what the phrase “Roman Catholic Church” even meant, and it is sad that these non-Roman conspiratorialists are always willing to grant to Rome far, far more than history ever does. The Council of Nicea was, of course, the place where the full deity of Christ was defended, despite the rise of Arianism in the decades thereafter. So Dr. Elisha has a very, very odd view of history, to be sure. But to take such an errant view of Nicea, transfer it lock, stock, and barrel to the modern Nicene group that Jerry is a part of, and by that accuse me of “ecumenism” is surely a wondrous example of why it is next to impossible to reason with these folks. But, why waste a wild-eyed accusation? Dr. Elisha can find more “connections”! We read, “Thus it comes to no surprise to us that James White aligns himself with such ecumenical organizations since he regularly supports their “Bible” versions. It is also no surprise that James White is now attacking Chris Pinto showing that the ESV and other Bibles are part of a Jesuit conspiracy.” Well there you go! Don’t worry about all those debates with Roman Catholic apologists! No, no, that was all a cover, you see! Unless you present KJV Onlyism, you are actually a Jesuit! See, there isn’t a fact on God’s green earth that can stop a conspiratorialist from reaching their goal.

5) Then we have a paragraph questioning why we are raising money for a trip to South Africa, all based upon the idea that A&O is “an apparently small radio and online ministry.” While we are definitely small, Dr. Elisha seems to have missed that the income listed for A&O is total, including all book orders, postage, mp3s, you name it. Take the costs out, and realize that we have two full time employees, who rely upon their wives for health insurance, and the need to raise the funds for the trip (not just including air fare but hotels and at least some transportation etc.) is pretty obvious to even the most jaded mind.

6) Well, if all of the above wasn’t enough to prove to you that that nasty James White character should be avoided, here comes the coup de grâce! You see:

Now I don’t know how many hours are spent riding a bike 1000 miles a month, but personally if I was an apologist that needed an enormous amount of funds that $15,000 a month does not cover, for the sake of defending the gospel, I certainly would not be spending THAT MUCH leisure time riding a bicycle. It is in my opinion poor stewardship of God’s time, as well as the people who are donating to his website.

First, I am sure Dr. Elisha has never sent us a dime, and never will. Secondly, I now have a better idea of what kind of folks follow me on Twitter! Third, if Dr. Elisha were to care about the facts (and it is obvious that is not the case), it is pretty easy for folks to realize how central my “bike time” is to what I do. I have no secretary, no research assistants, no readers. Everyone who listens to the DL knows how often I comment about how many books I just read while riding, how many debates I reviewed, etc. It is my preparation time, not only for the DL (which would be enough), but for preaching and debating as well. I would never, ever get as much read and studied if I were not able to ride. So while I do not answer to KJV Only internet gossips, I will point out that the investment of my “leisure time” to preparation and study has proven rather fruitful, for I surely do not see Dr. Elisha’s books on Islam, Roman Catholicism, justification, or the Trinity, being used in Bible schools across the English speaking world, nor do I find Dr. Elisha debating people from Bart Ehrman to John Shelby Spong to John Dominic Crossan to Shabir Ally to Tim Staples, etc. So not only do I reject Dr. Elisha’s judgmentalism, I also hereby challenge the good doctor to a bike race! That will settle it all!

Finally, I will simply allow this paragraph to speak for itself (for those who have been listening to the response to Walls thus far):

So far, White has done a terrible job at refuting Walls, and has merely paused several times to restate Calvinist views. White first states that it was several months, and then actually a year since he has known about the video, now decides to address it. His criticism follows a version of “Mighty Fortress Is Our God” where he makes fun of the now deceased Dave Hunt and his fans, and plays a quote where he continues to misrepresent what Hunt said. Hunt said that he was ignorant of the Reformers, not that he was ignorant about Calvinism as a theology.

Now remember, Hunt’s words about being ignorant of the Reformers were spoken to whom again? Yes, me. I was the one interviewing him. I well knew what he meant then, and anyone who has listened to that show knows very well what Hunt was doing, and what he meant.

And so we have a fascinating insight into the conspiratorialist KJV Only mindset, where the restraints that keep the rest of us from making wild, illogical and irrational connections are missing, and the result is a muddled mess of accusation and confusion.

James White: ARCH Calvinist

A friend sent me a comment by Jerry Walls, along with comments that were posted thereafter, I presume from FaceBook. First, I am so very honored to be an ARCH Calvinist now (I had been stuck at the “regular” Calvinist level for a very long time, and the promotion is very much appreciated!). Of course, the comments are, well, really troubling. The absurd link to the “child rape” accusation only shows the utter incapacity or dishonesty of anyone who repeats it, as we have demonstrated over and over again (remember, when Bryson first made the accusation we titled it “The Absurdity”). The other comments are likewise enlightening, especially the one from a lady complaining that Reformed theology is being taught at…a Presbyterian Church, of all places! Shocking! Compare the mind-set here with the actual level of the response that has been offered so far on the two programs.

Jerry Walls shared a link.
August 30
ARMINIAN COMRADES IN ARMS…..

Luke Van Horn has informed me that arch Calvinist James White is doing a response to my lecture “What’s Wrong with Calvinism” that I did at Evangel University. He is playing the lecture on his podcast, responding, in a sort of paragraph by paragraph fashion. It begins about halfway through this episode.

http://aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=5514

Another two-part Early Dividing Line
aomin.org
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Luke Van Horn likes this.

Patrick Stitt It’s hard to take anyone seriously who believes God is responsible for child rape.

Calvinism (and James White) Claims That God Decrees Child Rape – This Is Absolutely Disgusting
www.youtube.com
This is an excerpt from Bible Answer Man’s interview/debate with Calvinist apologetic James White. Also included is Hank Hannegraff and George Bryson. Record…
August 30 at 9:59am · 4

Andy Miller I would love for you two to have a live debate. Maybe that could happen on Unbelievable?, White has been on that show a number of time. I have often thought you would be a great guest on that show.
August 30 at 10:00am · 1

John Beavers I love James White’s work….. but, yeah, I disagree with Calvinism.

A debate would be cool to see!
August 30 at 10:35am

Mike Voigts I just can’t take listening to this anymore. He’s missing the larger picture of your positions.
August 30 at 10:52am · 3

Ricardo Martinez Use to really love his work but his Calvinistic leanings are a disgrace, can’t believe people believe these things
August 30 at 10:57am via mobile · 5

Nick Peters I just bear through it whenever James White is on Unbelievable? As far as I’m concerned, the guy is just obnoxious.
August 30 at 1:00pm · 3

Ricardo Martinez He has some sort of Obsessive disorder and goes on and on with it, many times he claims to be stating fact when in reality it is just ramblings of one who has problems when one disagrees with his viewpoint
August 30 at 1:06pm via mobile · Edited · 1

Judy Brown I listened to the entire first program and I can’t listen to him anymore. either. He needs a lot of prayer….I feel that he has a very strong mocking spirit. The “music” halfway through the program was disgraceful. My spirit is very grieved this evening because our church newsletter arrived today and our pastor will be starting a new Sunday School class, teaching Reformed Theology. The material he will be using is by RC Sproul. I really don’t know how much more of this I can take. Please pray for us here at Tabernacle Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
August 30 at 4:24pm · 2

Glenn Andrew Peoples He’s the Calvinist version of J P Holding.
August 30 at 5:17pm · 1

Glenn Andrew Peoples But honestly, if someone’s reaction is “What a disgrace, I can’t believe people believe these things….” then I suspect they are no more ecumenically minded than White is and they need to grow a little.
August 30 at 5:19pm · 1

Marius Lombaard calvinism is…. the return of the gnostics!
August 30 at 10:43pm

Radio Free Geneva (And Continued Review of Yusuf Ismail’s Comments)

Started off with Radio Free Geneva today, pressing forward with our review of Jerry Walls’ presentation against Calvinism. We got into the heart of his argument today. Not sure if I will do another on Thursday yet or not. Depends on what I run into during my study time in the darkness before sunrise in the morning! In any case, after an hour of that review we moved back to Yusuf Ismail’s comments, getting into the heart of his comments on textual criticism.