Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Cost of Following Men

The other day, pastor Tom Ascol tweeted the following, which I read and promptly retweeted:

"Preachers are not celebrities and Christians are not to act like groupies. 1 Cor. 1:12-13"

This is such a simple and obvious truth but that it actually has to be said by anyone, really speaks volumes about the mindset of our modern day culture, and Christian culture at that. As a society we have this really weird habit of turning anyone and everyone into a celebrity, and then blindly following and defending them at every turn. It happens in secular circles every day of the week, and it also happens in Christian circles as well. I remember not long ago commenting on a friend's blog (a friend who happens to be what the world calls a celebrity) and being called a "fan girl" for my comment. It's hard to put into words the level of disgust I felt at being called that, but this is the mindset so predominant in our culture: celebs and fans. Interestingly enough, we've all got blind spots and stepping over the line from "admiring" a person to blindly defending them at all costs, isn't that hard to do. We all need to be cautious of that one, myself included.

Not long after I read Tom Ascol's tweet, I read this post by Tim Rogers. Truth be told, my initial reaction was along the lines of "oh you have got to be kidding me, there is no way this man actually believes what he just wrote". Sadly, he most certainly does believe every word he wrote, and spent ample amount of time in the comment section to prove it. He closed the comment thread so I'm going to leave my "comment" here. Feel free to add yours as well, if you like.

In his initial post, he makes so many false accusations and bizarre or questionable statements that it's hard to believe he's serious. Such as:

"Dr. Ergun Caner states all of the time that he will debate anyone, anytime."

Yes, he does make that claim and there is even video evidence to prove it. Unfortunately, he doesn't really mean it. Him and his brother were set to debate Dr. James White and Tom Ascol once upon a time, and that never happened. Why? Simple, the Caner brothers decided to play fast & loose with the terms of the debate at the last minute after having agreed to the terms of a formal debate. You don't get to play games when you agree to a formal debate, but that's what they did and the event never took place. If you've never read what went down and what Dr. White and Pastor Ascol went through in trying to set this debate up, I would recommend that you do that (here) so that you can see for yourself just how willing Ergun Caner is to debate anyone, anytime.

In addition to this, Caner also makes the claim that he's debated all sorts of people from all sorts of religions. However, no one seems to be able to produce these debates in any kind of audio format. Not even his most staunch defenders who repeat his anyone/anytime standing offer. As well, no one seems to be able to locate the names of all these people he's debated so as to verify the claims. It seems to me to be a most reasonable request, for these debates to be made publicly available, does it not?

Rogers goes on to say:

"He (Caner) is very articulate in expressing the truth of the Gospel and this has cost him much in regards to his personal family habits."

I honestly can't speak to the personal safety and welfare aspect of what Caner does, but I do have a question that maybe someone can clear up for me. On the same day Rogers posted this article, there was another blog article that went up questioning Ergun Caner's many claims. You can read that here. If you read down the comment thread at that post you'll see this at #21:

I appeal to you, under the title of your blog, and as a follower of Christ. Remove this post as you have placed the lives of people in jeopardy.
Please remove it.
Comment by
Tim Rogers February 20, 2010

Going on the assumption that this is the same Tim Rogers, on the very same day he posts at one blog trying to get the blogger to pull her post about Ergun Caner, he goes to his own blog and opens up the whole issue there? How does that make any sense, if he is that concerned that the post was placing the lives of people in jeopardy, that he would then go and publicly blog about it all himself? That really doesn't make any sense to me at all, so any comments on that would certainly be welcome.

Rogers continues:

"The personal attacks (against Caner) range from the truth of their lives before Christ to the academic degrees they hold. See here, here, and here. You may wonder how anyone could call into question these issues. They drink the kool-aide pouring from the poisoned vine of the above links, this Facebook page, and the following videos."

I have no comment on the links only because I don't know if any of that information is wholly accurate or not, but I will comment on the "drinking of the kool-ade from the poisoned vine from the following videos". One of the videos he embeds is Dr. James White's response to the statements Ergun Caner made on the Calvary Chapel's "The Pastor's Perspective" show on January 22nd where he said in part:

"I like very informal ones. Formal debates have been taken over a lot by myopic Reformed guys, uh, they try to turn it into these little, uh, show ponies, it's like the Jerry Springer Show, basically, and there's really not any real discussion going on, there's rolling of eyes, its huffing and passive/aggressive garbage."

Please watch this video if you haven't already, and tell me which part of the video qualifies as "personal attack" or the "drinking the kool-aide pouring from the poisoned vine".

I've watched this video and what I see is a man defending his ministry against false accusations made by another man. Obviously Tim Rogers sees an attack and a poisoned vine since he describes this video as "You may think that no person who calls themselves a Follower of Christ would side with a Muslim to degrade and berate a Brother in Christ. I did also until I viewed the following video."

Rogers continues:

"Many do not like it when truth is revealed. Those that do not celebrate truth will try to use everything they can to silence those speaking truth. Then you have those that are jealous and envious of the Drs. Caner. Those envious and jealous will use the lies for a “gotcha” moment in order to accomplish the same ends–silence the truth."

No, many do not like it when lies about them are posted, so they refute those lies with evidence of the truth. This is what Dr. White did with this video response to Caner's accusations. I'm not at all sure who Rogers is accusing of being jealous and envious, not celebrating truth, and using lies for a "gotcha" moment to silence truth. If he's accusing Dr. White of this, why not just come out and say it rather than beating around the bush?

Rogers however makes it pretty clear he is in fact talking about Dr. White personally by his final comment in his post:

"May God bring conviction to the Brothers and Sisters that are accepting the lies of the ungodly in order to satisfy a jealous and envious heart."

So there you have it. Tim Rogers somehow believes Dr. White to be a jealous and envious individual who will accept the lies of the ungodly for the purpose of silencing the truth. Absolutely incredible accusation, and an absolutely outrageously false one, at that.

Tim Rogers called his post "The Cost of Following Christ" and then made his post all about his admiration and appreciation for the Caners. So much so, that without even addressing the points made in Dr. White's video, he just throws him right under the bus and makes his own false accusations about him. This is following Christ? No, this is blind devotion to the Caners. This is the cost of following men.

Tim Rogers, as far as I'm concerned, owes Dr. White an apology for this post, and should in fact retract it. Based on his final comment in the thread however, it's pretty clear this will not take place:

"It appears nothing short of my recanting this article and backing up to say that I beg your forgiveness and the forgiveness of all of the rabid hyper-Calvinist out there will satisfy you. However, that will not happen." - Tim Rogers

I guess you can classify me as one of the rabid hyper-Calvinists out there who read this post and the comments, and wondered what in the world it had to do with following Christ.

My dear friend Rosemarie (who is also a rabid hyper-Calvinist like myself, I might add) read all of this today as well, and has what I think to be a most thought provoking commentary on it. Please do read her insight here.

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