I am uncertain how many times I’ve said this, but I’ll say it again: there are lots of fine professors, scholars, and students, at Liberty University. Lots of godly men and women, lots of dedicated students. Even a lot of Calvinists, believe it or not (who, in God’s sovereign providence, are learning patience the hard way). So I found it ironic that we were sent the following note through our website:
I need to express that my heart aches over this attack on Dr. Caner. What must the Lord Jesus Christ think when He sees one brother attacking another as you are doing. How Christlike is this? How Loving is this? I was raised in the Reformed faith, but recently left a PCA church over issues similar to this–a total lack of love and caring about a brother. I am convinced that the Lord weeps when he sees this nonsense happening. I am tired of Reformed Theology and it’s THINKERS that constantly put down those who have different views. I am tired of Reformed pastors who drink alcohol like fish and claim they can witness to those they drink cocktails with. I am now convinced even more that those of you involved in Reformed Theology need to throw your philosophical ideas about scripture to the wolves and do as the Bible commands. Go into the world, preach the gospel, and love the lost. Have you ever gone to Liberty University and seen over 10,000 students worship the Lord Jesus, who help in the community, and who love the Lord and simply want to live for Him??? I challenge you to do so. Then go to some of your REFORMED colleges and see what is going on. Look at the liberal lifestyles going on, there is nothing out there that can TOUCH what is going on at Liberty. Please, LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
It is hard to know how to respond to such a note. I mean, Liberty is not the issue (outside of its current leadership having demonstrated an ostrich-like response to the initial documentation of problems with Ergun Caner’s story and claims and behavior). And Reformed theology has never, ever been the issue (many dishonest folks are making that claim on the net these days—it is as bogus today as the first time someone thought it up). Nor is it alcohol (can’t stand the stuff myself, but I’m not going to add to the Word and go beyond what it says by adding legalism to the faith either). Nor is it some strange, emotional appeal to some supposed superiority of morals at non-Reformed schools (an assertion so easily challenged it is humorous). The issue is truth, honesty, and integrity. The issue is whether Evangelicals will allow their leaders to make up stories in the pulpit and pawn them off upon unsuspecting people as if they are the truth. The issue is whether we will exalt men to positions of leadership without the first thought as to whether their stories are true. Love may cover a multitude of sins, but love never foregoes repentance. To every single person who has identified the demand that Ergun Caner answer honest questions about his own self-contradictory statements as an “attack” upon him, you have fallen for the same kind of weak-minded drivel that marks the political process in the West today.
The nastiness level spiked today, I note. “Pastors” (primarily Baptists, of course) have been busily concocting every kind of slanderous diatribe in a desperate attempt to deflect attention from the real issues. It’s sad to watch, knowing that a day is coming when the intentions of men’s hearts will be laid bare. But it has also been interesting to hear more and more from “inside” Liberty. The news has gotten out, and when any honest-minded person examines the facts, the conclusions are inescapable. There are lots of sharp students at Liberty, many who have been wondering for years about Caner’s behavior and the inconsistencies in his stories. Now they know why.
One of the most humorous items I’ve heard of late is this one: the reason I’ve raised these issues is because I want to get famous enough for someone like Christopher Hitchens to want to debate me. Believe it or not, that has been suggested by someone at Liberty. First, it takes incredible hubris to think that Christopher Hitchens could really care less who Ergun Caner is, let alone think that someone raising issues about Ergun Caner’s own self-contradictory claims would automatically become someone Hitchens would want to debate. But I have a further question for the person who thought this one up: aside from the documentable fact that after the debate stuff in late 2006 died down I mentioned Caner all of once from June of 2007 to June of 2009–one sentence in passing–could someone explain how I managed to debate Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong, Robert Price, and Shabir Ally? Who did I “attack” to get “famous enough” for those folks to “notice” me? That one made me chuckle, which, given the nastiness of much of what is flying about today, was welcome relief.