Of course, other things could intrude upon my thinking between now and then, but right now, there are a few items I want to get to. First an announcement, secondly a humorous item, finally a really important item.
Next Wednesday I will be joining Michael Brown on his radio program. No, no debates this time: they have recently gone on the air in Salt Lake City, so we will be discussing Mormonism! Should be interesting.
Next, James Swan just directed me to a Catholic Answers web forum thread about some comments I made on the last DL. It wasn’t so much what the fellow said (he has a long history of taking shots at me), though he did ignore the majority of my comments, context, etc. (standard fare for the folks who lurk in those forums, sadly), but what caught my attention was the other participants who were willing to comment without having actually taken the time to listen to the DL. In other words, “Well, one Roman Catholic listened to ten minutes, that’s enough for me!” The mind-set in those insulated little worlds is at times just frightening.
But far more important is this clip from Ergun Caner. This is the very end of one of the “interviews” Caner has posted as part of his classes for Liberty. He interviewed a local Oneness Pentecostal pastor. For those who have heard my debates on the Trinity, including the one with a leading Oneness proponent (you can see most of the debate here and here), the experience of listening to the entire thing is simply painful. The truth is never defended, falsehood is presented, and even though at one point Caner calls this debacle a “debate,” it is, of course, anything but. However, right at the end the associate pastor of the Oneness presenter asks Caner a simple question. A question that anyone who has done a single debate with a Muslim on the topic of the Trinity or the deity of Christ has had to answer over and over again. A question I had to answer three different times while standing in Leicester Square in London back in February with three different Muslims. A simple, basic question: if God the Father has eternally existed, and God the Son has eternally existed, how can a Father have a Son who is the same age? I have often commented that I had to deal with many of the same arguments back in 1999 when I did two debates within a few days, one with a Muslim, one with a Oneness proponent. Ironic. In any case, it is the basic question of the relationship of the Father and the Son.
Ergun Caner is the president of a theological seminary. He claims to be a former Muslim, to debate Muslims on university and college campuses literally all around the world. He is the head of the Global Apologetics program at Liberty. Global apologetics. Think of it. So here is an associate pastor at what seems to be a pretty rural little Oneness Pentecostal church asking one of the most basic questions you can ever field on the topic of the Trinity. This is the one, single time Caner had to try to present the orthodox position on anything in this interview (I refuse to call it a debate: words have meanings). The resultant flood of incoherent verbiage is simply shocking. Not only does he contradict himself, he clearly diminishes the concept of sonship to a merely incarnational term. I cannot possibly imagine how anyone can make heads or tails out of his response, and surely, the Oneness folks could not. And oh, what must the Liberty students have been thinking? Finally their great champion steps forward after all this time to present the truth and…what happens? I cannot help but think of the looks on the faces of the Roman Catholics in the audience in 2001 on Long Island when Peter Stravinskas got up to give his closing statement in the purgatory debate. It had been a rough night for him, and the cross-examination period had left the Protestants happy and the Roman Catholics disturbed. So when he launched into his closing statement, a statement that I could not begin to follow myself, I watched the people in the audience move from expectation to confusion to utter dejection. And that must have happened a lot faster during this three minute Trinitarian debacle for Ergun Caner’s devoted students.
My observations here are, of course, irrelevant to the issue of Dr. Caner’s myth-making regarding his background. However, they are clearly related. I have never heard him go in-depth in any kind of exegesis or preaching. He could not even hold his own against Nadir Ahmed in an e-mail exchange. And here we have him fumbling all over himself attempting to handle the most basic questions regarding the Trinity. What on earth is going on in Lynchburg? I am left without words.