As I have pointed out a number of times, the small cadre of Caner defenders seem to be drawn from the same circle of influence defined by Liberty University, Veritas Evangelical Seminary, etc. Yesterday on the Dividing Line I pointed out another connection that exists between one of the most emotional, vitriolic, and simply irrational of Ergun Caner’s defenders, Tim Guthrie. Here is the Google archive of what appeared just yesterday on the Watchman Fellowship website. You will note that it lists Tim Guthrie as a board member of Watchman Fellowship, right along with Ergun Caner. I had wondered what the connection was, and that seemed to explain it. I then went through some of the wild-eyed accusations Guthrie had posted on his blog, explained where he has once again missed the obvious, and moved on from there.
So I was just pointed to further commentary from Tim Guthrie, this time accusing me of bearing false witness. Why? Because he is no longer on the board of Watchman Fellowship. Well, isn’t that special? It is also irrelevant, of course, since my point was that there was a connection (no one is disputing that Caner and Guthrie served on the board concurrently) between the two, nothing more. Whether Guthrie has rotated off the board is irrelevant to the fact that this explains the connection between the two.
Now, as a professional courtesy I wrote to James Walker, the head of Watchman Fellowship, yesterday afternoon before the program and let him know I was going to be addressing the connection between Guthrie and Caner. He wrote back—the time stamp on the e-mail in my system is 3:55pm. The DL starts at 4pm, and as those who have operated the sound board know, I am normally in the studio well before that, as I have to set up the camera, hook up the sound, and engage in various other preparations. Hence, I got Mr. Walker’s e-mail after the program, not before. As I noted on the program, someone called, but did not stay on the line, who likewise said Guthrie is no longer on the board. As Mr. Walker indicated, his term had ended in 2009. All of which is interesting information, but irrelevant to the point I made, and that is that Guthrie, like everyone else coming to Ergun’s side, has previous connections that clearly cloud judgment and introduce partiality and prejudice.
Now keep in mind the facts: as of yesterday afternoon anyone going to http://www.watchman.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.staff would have seen a board listing (no dates were given) that included Ergun Caner and Tim Guthrie. That has now changed due to this incident. But, despite this factual reality, what has Tim Guthrie done today? Well, you can guess, given that he cannot see the obvious truth regarding Caner’s mythology: I have born false witness! I have attacked Tim Guthrie! Read this amazing outpouring of emotion and irrationality yourself. What is his case? It is easy to summarize in two points: 1) I based my comments on “a website” or an “Internet search” rather than contacting him personally, and 2) Guthrie never met Caner during his tenure on Watchman’s Board. My response is brief, and simple:
1) Guthrie never once in his entire long diatribe mentions one little devastating fact: THE WEBSITE I WAS REFERRING TO IS THE OFFICIAL WATCHMAN FELLOWSHIP WEBSITE! How devious do you have to be to refer to the official website of the organization under discussion as “a website”? Note his exact words, “He revealed that he had found a website that listed me serving on the Board of Directors of Watchman Fellowship with Dr. Caner.” Found a website? I didn’t have to search! The listing is provided right there! If you wanted to know who the board members of Watchman Fellowship are, well, you go to Watchman Fellowship! It’s public information, isn’t it? Not once does he admit, “Well, Watchman had not updated the board listing on their website, so it is easy to understand why someone would assume I am still a board member, and easy to understand why someone would think there is a connection between myself and Ergun Caner, as we both sit on the same Board.” Yes, that would be the logical result, but not for Tim Guthrie! No, it is MY fault that the website was a year out of date, and therefore I am guilty of bearing false witness! Remember, this is the same man who thinks Ergun Caner was “exonerated” by Liberty’s seven sentence statement. I’d love to see Guthrie quote “Hadith 2425” and explain its relevance to the Qur’an, too.
2) It is utterly and completely irrelevant whether Tim Guthrie is Ergun Caner’s bosom buddy BFF Facebook Friend Twitter Pal “He’s on my speed dialer and we talk every ten minutes” soul mate. Once again Guthrie demonstrates the same incapacity for simple logical thought that marks so many of those in his clan: he can’t seem to see how facts fit together into narratives. What point was I making? That those who are defending Caner are not unbiased, unprejudiced individuals who have examined the mountain of evidence against him fairly and fully. They are biased, prejudiced individuals who have been, to greater or lesser extents, influenced by those connections. Is Guthrie claiming he knew nothing about Ergun Caner prior to February of this year? Is he claiming he did not know Caner was on the board of the same ministry? That would be hard to believe. The fact remains that a connection exists: when you serve on a board, you had better know who else is on that board. That is one reason I have refused many invitations to do the same thing, as I simply do not want connections to exist that might come back to haunt me. You cannot completely avoid such things, of course, but some effort has to be made to check things out. So I don’t care if Caner and Guthrie have never met or not: I am closer to some people I have never met than to a lot of folks I have. I have never met TurretinFan, for example, but consider him a dear and close brother in Christ, in whom I would place implicit trust. Same with Gene Clyatt, and a number of other folks that I know only remotely, but with whom I have regular and fruitful interaction. Guthrie is simply blowing smoke across the real issue: his own grossly biased defense of the indefensible. Why not deal with the further “misstatements” we discussed yesterday? Why not address Caner’s continued Trinitarian struggles and problems? No, silence on substantive issues, but all the time in the world for more ad-hominem.
It is not surprising then that Peter Lumpkins passes over the obvious problem with Guthrie’s diatribe and instead demonstrates that there are, indeed, people who are out for personal destruction—but it is not I in reference to Ergun Caner (we have always sought the same thing: confession, repentance, restoration), but it is Caner’s defenders who seek my own. I will let Lumpkins speak for himself:
Already White lost his teaching privileges at GGBTS, one reason of which was over his insane obsession to bring EC down. And, I’m told by very reliable sources–I’m trying to get permission to go public with detailed info, a post I *would publish* if I can manage the permission–that there’s already significant fallout with James White’s ministry, including pulling his teaching materials, etc. from the data base.
Also, there is talk of invitations either being withdrawn or was going to be extended to him but, due to his ceaseless obsession with all things Caner, the consideration to invite him was dropped.
These are hints which suggest what I mentioned about James White shearing his own wool by insanely baa-baa baaing about EC.
With that, I am…
Who is out to attempt to destroy others? Lumpkins, Guthrie, Daliessio, etc. These are the kinds of people who will use every political tool available to them, to be sure. They may well succeed in making sure that the man who has debated Muslims on three continents and who has debated Bart Ehrman and John Dominic Crossan, etc., is kept away from teaching apologetics to a certain range of students, all for exposing a man who has lied for years in claiming to do the same things. Twisted, isn’t it? It is, but it is nothing new. Remember, we are given insights into the kinds of attacks launched against Paul, John, and Peter, in the early church. Paul often had to make reference to lies and falsehoods told about both his teaching and his own character. You cannot read Galatians or the Corinthian corpus and not encounter this. So it is to be expected, especially when you dare gore the sacred cow of Celebrity in certain circles.