I have just a few minutes before we have to leave for Heathrow and the beginning of the journey home (if all the flights are on time, I will get home eighteen hours from now). What a wonderful time of preaching and ministry I’ve enjoyed over the past two weeks here. I do hope and pray the work here has encouraged the fine believers I have met in the UK. I am grateful to all the pastors who have helped to make this time possible, especially to Jim Handyside in Glasgow and Jack Seaton and Nick Needham in Inverness. Of course, this entire trip, and indeed, all the ministry I’ve done in the UK (including last year), has been made possible by Pastor Roger Brazier of the Edmonton Baptist Chapel, along with his lovely wife Priscilla and his son Justyn. Roger is my guide while here, but much more, my dear brother and close friend. We get along like Rich and I do, and that is saying a lot. I have said we are brothers separated at birth, and I think there is much truth to that statement. I do hope my time here has especially been an encouragement to Pastor Brazier and the fine folks of the Edmonton Baptist Chapel.
Today would be a sad day parting from my friends were it not for a phone call yesterday. I will be headed back here to London in only four months! I’ve been kindly invited to speak at the School of Theology at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in July, and I am very excited about it. So while I’m leaving, Roger says I am a bit like a boomerang…he can’t get rid of me, as I keep coming back!
Two quick items. Yes, I hope to do the DL Thursday evening at the normal time. Lots to mention and report on.
Secondly, yesterday I had a marathon e-mail encounter with Dr. Ergun Caner of Liberty University. I have challenged Dr. Caner to debate a number of times in the past, as he is very vocally opposed to the doctrines of grace. I was very disappointed with the tone of the exchange, which in essence involved Dr. Caner saying “Geisler and Hunt refuted you” and my repeated attempts to get him to actually read my replies and cite even once from any of my own works. To make a long story short he has yet to accept my debate challenge (I have said I would gladly come to Liberty University and debate before an audience of his own students) but he said we could have a discussion of certain issues on our respective websites. I wrote the following yesterday:
So, I would propose the following:
Resolved: John 6:35-45 Teaches God Saves an Elect People Perfectly in Christ
Opening Exegesis should begin the debate, where both of us, concurrently, offer a full-on, fresh, exegesis of the text of John 6:35-45. What do you say, Dr. Caner? Shall we engage the text of inspired Scripture and listen to Jesus’ words in the Synagogue at Capernaum? I stand ready.
He replied this morning:
I am more than happy to excerpt every argument Geisler and Hunt used. We can talk in circles all day. More than happy to do it.
I have a number of topics I am more than happy to discuss, and shall say so. You will NOT pick the subject and “run the show.” YOUR exegesis of John 6 may not hold up to 2 Peter 3:9.
We shall see
In my response I pointed out the irony of choosing a text on the second coming rather than the text from John 6 which is manifestly on the topic of salvation. I think that speaks volumes, but I’m happy to point out the context of 2 Peter 3:9 and its meaning exegetically if that means Dr. Caner will then engage the larger text in John 6 as fully. We shall see what develops.
I do find it a bit odd that Dr. Caner, who presents himself as a strong defender of the faith (see his website here, and notice his bio here), would hesitate to back up his strong statements against Calvinism in front of his own students. I would travel to his location; I would allow the audience to be biased to his side; we would record the debate and provide him with an unedited master at no cost to him. There is really only one reason why someone who includes in his bio a description of himself as the “intellectual pit bull of the evangelical world” would not accept that challenge.