Monday, May 15, 2006

Update on the Caner "debate"

I have resisted posting anything about the prospective "debate" between Drs. Ergun and Emir Caner and Dr. James White and me over the last few weeks because I did not want to do anything that would muddy the waters as we were trying to work out details regarding format, thesis, length, protocol, etc. Silly me. I have finally been completely disabused of every delusion I previously entertained that the Caners were interested in a genuine exchange of ideas for the purpose of clarifying points on which we agree and on which we disagree regarding the doctrine of salvation.
While it is certainly true that love hopes all things even love cannot deny reality. And the reality is that Dr. Ergun Caner, and to a lesser degree his brother, have engaged in some of the most bombastic, mean-spirited obfuscation that I have ever experienced in any attempt to communicate about matters of the Christian faith. For the last several weeks, I have refrained from allowing myself to make that judgment because I kept hoping that at some point Dr. Ergun Caner would tire of his game and would deal honestly and respectfully with the repeated requests to finalize details in appropriate and mutually agreeable terms. After last night, I am convinced that such hopes were a mere pipe dream. Dr. White has posted the entirety of the email exchange (the bulk of which is between him and Dr. Ergun Caner as spokesmen for each side) on his website. Warning: it is not for the faint of heart nor for those who would like to believe that the top administrators of Liberty Baptist Seminary and The College at Southwestern Baptist Seminary are gracious, considerate men or that they sincerely want to debate the issues involved in our disagreements (of course, anyone who read their flamethrowing comments on this blog in February should harbor no such delusions). Furthermore, if you intend to read the whole exchange, you will need a large chunk of time.
Dr. White provides the details and he and I will be discussing this tomorrow on his Dividing Line program. Let me simply reveal the convoluted thesis that Drs. Caner are insisting we debate:
Resolved: That God is an Omnibenevolent God to all of humanity through salvation and opportunity.
Now, if you can explain exactly what is being asserted here, please let me know. We have repeatedly asked for such an explanation from the Caners and--as has been the case with numerous other questions--have been completely stonewalled all the while being accused of exercising "delay tactics" and having our willingness to debate questioned. Read the correspondence. It really is amazing.
As it now stands, the "debate" is set for October 16 at the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. They style that they have insisted on (finally, after much prodding that some formal style be adopted) is "Parliamentarian," which is based on the type of debate that characterizes the British House of Commons. Thus far, the Caners have not insisted that we be required to speak with British accents (though maybe we could persuade Dr. White to wear his kilt!).

345 Comments:

Blogger Christopher Redman said...

Dr. Caner has been a disappointment to me from my first encounter with him at Winterfest Jan 1, 2005. He "preached" to a couple of thousand teenagers but my wife and I were flabergasted when he used several racy, raunchy, getto, MTV like lingo on several occasions during his sermon. His manner on the Founders blog as well as this debate does not surprise me but I am disappointed that someone in his academic position would behave like this.

9:39 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger hashbrown said...

Tom,

I just read the entire file at AOMIN of the email exchange with the Caners. I have such a headache, one from squinting at small print and two from the banging my head against my desk.

I would suggest that you guys call the moderator and have a chat over that resolution. Don't accept that STUPID resolution. Is Ergun Caner the moderator's boss? If so, isn't that a conflict of interest?

They clearly want things so ambiguous that they can spend an hour throwing every bomb in their arsenal. Therefore causing you to have to pick one bomb out of a dozen to address, so they can say, "look at all these arguments they couldn't address."

Hashman

9:49 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Larry said...

It's fairly clear they don't want to really debate. They want to stand up there and throw one-liners and zingers and listen to the applause from their fans. We keep hearing how Liberty has this world class debate team so I find it interesting that they are balking at a true debate format. That combined with their unwillingness to accept James White's suggested thesis says to me they are unsure of their ability to defend their position. Kind of a surprising thing for the 'intellectual pit bull of the evangelical world'. All in all a very sad situation. Especially given that Caner is one of the SBC's 'rising stars'. How long do you think before he's mentioned as a canditate for SBC president?

10:06 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger DOGpreacher said...

Yikes!...aarrgghh, this is coming as no monumental surprise to me either. Somebody has informed Ergun Caner that he would be eaten alive by James White if there was an honest straightforward debate. Thus, we see what he is doing now.

Look, I am NOT one of those that believe that those not adhering to the doctrines of grace are unregenerate. I obviously DO feel that they are misinformed concerning these important doctrines. However, when someone (especially in noted positions)resorts to these sort of tactics, why do we refrain from questioning their honesty/integrity? This is a dishonest man, who is full of himself, and will resort to more things prior to the scheduled debate that will exemplify the fruit deficiency of this so-called 'spirit-filled' man.

This "theological bulldog" more closely resembles a HYENA!

...and if you think this a bit harsh, I just have one question...
Would you want this guy feeding (mentally/spiritually) YOUR children?

If you are a Southern Baptist...he is. From youth to young adults, this IS the SBC's man.

The really scary/sad part is that he will create more like him.

10:19 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sam Hughey said...

Tom,

The Caners stated, Resolved: That God is an Omnibenevolent God to all of humanity through salvation and opportunity and you asked, Now, if you can explain exactly what is being asserted here, please let me know. Having grown up in the environment of such language and after having spent the first nine years of my Christian life hearing and using the same verbage, it is really quite simple to understand what they mean. Simply this, Through the opportunity of having salvation offered as a choice, wholly dependant upon the 'willful' desire of the unbeliever with neither internal nor external causation affecting or influencing one's decision, God has shown His Omnibenevolence to all humans wherein God Himself is forbidden to interfere or actually 'cause' one to decide in favor of Him, thereby, showing God's love for the world.

Sam

10:22 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Jim from OldTruth.com said...

It wouldn't surprise me at all if this debate never happens. The Caners seem like the type that will either chicken-out at the last minute, or will insist on some incredibly outrageous demand that our side will not be able to accomodate, and thus torpedo the whole debate. I hope I'm wrong, but these do not seem like reasonable men.

10:23 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger hashbrown said...

dogpreaceher said,
"I am NOT one of those that believe that those not adhering to the doctrines of grace are unregenerate."

I don't think any one here believes that. Is that your assumption?

10:32 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

One observation: Not even the unbelieving business world stoops to the level of placing private e-mail conversations on a public forum to gain approval for their position.
I have read the entirety of the exchange, but refrain from any comments because of my concern of the ethics of taking private conversations between "brothers" in Christ and making it public. No matter where one falls on the issue of Calvinism, this is unacceptable.

Of course the statement "May the Truth be known," will inevitably be made - But may I encourage those who make it, to be consistent and ask Dr. Ascoll to avail us of all his e-mail correspondence between his spouse, his friends, and the signers of the Memphis Declaration - and thus let truth be known. While he is at it, avail us of all private phone conversations and for the search of Truth, let us not stop there, but share all his private thoughts also.

Perhaps the inability to grasp the meaning of the word “private” explains the inability to grasp the meaning of "Omni-benevolent."

I feel certain my views will be an anomaly on this Blog, which is telling, but Tom, I want to believe, if you looked at this objectively, the many frustrations you feel about the upcoming debate and the obstinance you feel the Caners are showing, does not excuse such an abuse of trust.
BR

10:33 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Brian Hamrick said...

After skimming much of the email archive, my brain is numb.

Like jim, I would be shocked to see this debate actually happen. But I'll be praying that it will.

10:36 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Brian Hamrick said...

I agree with Brad- I wish those emails had not been posted by Dr. White, especially since the Caners made that specific request.

It seems to enflame hostilities between the debate participants more than anything else.

10:38 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Brett said...

All that is lacking now is:

- an arena (the Vines Center will suffice)
- a cage
- Emir to shave his head
- the promotional genius of Vince McMahon (Falwell could probably fit the bill)

10:57 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger hashbrown said...

brett:
We need don king as well.

kbh

11:11 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Benjamin S. Cole said...

Brad:

You may rest assured that this Memphis Declarer is very careful with his email correspondence. In fact, I am careful with all correspondence. I'll be happy to forward you my correspondence as it relates to the Memphis meeting. It consists of travel information, hotel reservations, and general overview of the times for the meeting.

I understand your concern, however. And I know that your close friendship with the lesser Caner prompts, to some degree, your response. I suppose I would rally to the defense of my friends too.

All that to say that I remember the backroom discussions we used to have in Wake Forest -- some of which you were a part of, and others you were not -- and I'm wondering if you're willing to come clean about all those conversations? They were not really "private," because everybody at the Border talked. That's one of the reasons that the administration at SEBTS was frustrated by that round table in the storage room of a greasy spoon restaurant.

But back to my point. Are you willing to start talking about the conversations -- too many to count -- where you, me, two current SWBTS professors, and several current SEBTS professors used to discuss the political situation in the SBC?

I'm willing to be increasingly open about them as the days continue. I know that CB is too. You?

11:20 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger ScriptureSearcher2 said...

How sad! How tragic!
How sad! How tragic!
How sad! How tragic!

The self-acclaimed PIT BULL of the Liberty institution seems to be rather rabid and emotionally unfit to participate in a rational debate based upon the truth of Scripture and the facts of history.

I must ask, in pure jest, if the barking PIT BULL (his chosen nickname) has been vaccinated either for or against rabies!

The PIT BULL (his words) may be able to rant, rave, bloviate and intimidate some students at the Falwell school but.....

.....Caner will find the debate in October (if it occurs) to be so different, well, he may have his
biggest FIT of his young life and career.

How sad! How tragic!

11:31 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sojourner said...

I have the sickening feeling that there is a level of ugliness to this that goes beyond Scriptural disagreement and theological concern.

11:32 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Christopher Redman said...

Resolved: That God is an Omnibenevolent God to all of humanity through salvation and opportunity and you asked, Now, if you can explain exactly what is being asserted here, please let me know...

It is clear to me that the Caners want the sole focus of the debate to center on John 3:16 alone. I believe they will insist that the doctrines of grace are not consistent with "the most important verse in the Bible".

11:33 AM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Joshua said...

Originally, was there not a mutual agreement between Caner and White that their correspondence would be republished? I could be wrong... Search all the published correspondence from AOMIN very thouroughly. Maybe Dr. Gene Bridges or someone with more energy and time than I could look that up...
However, be not distracted. This is not the issue. This debate is won on the basis of the text of Scripture. This is what really matters. And that is where this interaction must be taken. One point that Ergun made I thought was especially revealing. He stated that he sees himself filling the shoes of Pastor Adrian Rogers, at least in terms of anti-Calvinism rants... Referring to his now famous/infamous sermon (however that may be interpretted), Caner writes,

"Since the death of Dr. Adrian Rogers, many of us have wondered who should stand against those hyper-Calvinists who have ceased to give biblical invitations, and embraced Protestant Scholasticism."

As long as he continues to merely rant and rave/ making emotional appeals while attempting to refute what he truly considers to be a heresy, the waters will continue to be muddy. If only this thing could be brought around the table of biblical exegesis... I know Dr. White has made this point before, but, is this how Caner would interact with a muslim? a mormon? an atheist? This debate must be brought to the point of actually debating passages of Scripture w/ cross-examination. To quote Bro. Johnny Hunt at the 2005 Southern Baptist Pastor's Conference in Nashville,
"...WE NEED TO GET BACK TO THE BOOK!!!"

12:06 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Ben,
You were gone when I came to SEBTS. And I have only had two conversations to my recollection at a restaurant with you and others. Based on those, the Admin had nothing to worry about.

However, whether a conversation was with two, four or ten, the number of participants does not define the privacy of it. Therefore, without the consent of all involved and a firm belief that it would edify Christ, my integrity would prevent such.

The point being - the definition of Private.

If you or others desire to make SELECTIVE private conversations, public, then that is your business, I have enough trouble keeping my heart pure without creating problems for others, because of something they said in private.

I fear you have misunderstood my concern...it was about making private conversations public - and therefore I would reach the apex of hypocrisy if I expressed that concern and then turned around and did it - whether those conversations were edifying or not.

I, for one, do not want all my private conversations or private thoughts aired - I am a wretched sinner and have failed my Lord numerous times and fear my private failures would cause shame on the name of Christ, yet His Amazing Grace has covered all my errors, and I desire with all my heart to not make the same mistakes.

I choose, to reframe from doing to others what I would not want done to myself, no matter how vigorously I disagree with them on matters, nor would I purposely do something that would hurt the cause of Christ.

And yes, I am friends with both the Caner's but my friendship with anyone would never compromise my ethics or practice - I certainly felt you knew me better. Were someone to post private conversations you had, my critique of it, would remain: I feel it is unethical.

Hence, my concern of Dr.s White and Escol.

I did not sign the Memphis Declaration but there seems to be a blindness of some who did, concerning the 5th declaration.
BR

12:12 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Pardon the mispelling of refrain. I got in too much of a hurry, and missed the mark:)
Praise Him for His Grace
BR

12:16 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Gavin Brown said...

This is my first up-close impression of the Caners, and I must say, I am stunned.

Does Dr. Falwell know or even care that the pres. of his seminary is engaging in this sort of ill-willed, immature correspondense?

12:20 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Gavin,

I e-mailed Dr. Falwell after the flaming anti-Calvinism thing a few weeks ago. No response.

Love in Christ,

Jeff

12:32 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Dr. Ascol,

Was there any kind of consent on the part of the e-mailers that their correspondence be made public?

Love in Christ,

Jeff

12:33 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sam Hughey said...

BR,

I certainly agree that it is unethical to present private emails for the public to read, especially if one asks to keep those emails private and another agrees to that request. However, is it not also unethical for you to read those emails you considered to be private between others? Shouldn't you have not read them at all or at least stopped reading them when you discovered they were meant to be private (although by one person only so far as we know)?

Is it ethical for Caner to falsely accuse brothers and sisters in Christ of being hyper-Calvinists when he knows they are not? Is it ethical to accuse someone of being a hyper-Calvinist if one truly doesn't know what a hyper-Calvinist is? I don't recall seeing any such condemnation against Caner for his unethical behavior or any repentance of your own for reading emails you know are private.

Please don't misunderstand me BR, I'm not attacking you but I am attacking the seemingly 'double-standard' you've presented.

Sam

12:38 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger jmattingly said...

1) Unless it was agreed upon by all parties at some point, I don't understand the rationale of posting those discussions. Love hopes all things- I'll wait to hear the reasoning for doing so.

2) Whatever happens from here forward (whether the debate happens or not), I would encourage Tom & James to continue to handle themselves in a God-honoring way- there is great temptation in these matters to retaliate in kind (I have been guilty many a time).

Jeremiah

1:10 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Tom,

I just read the email exchange between the Caners and Dr. White. Am I surprised? No! I going to make some statements to our fellow bloggers:

1. As I have mentioned before that I served at three of the largest megachurches in the SBC. I have seen this type of Character, Misrpresentations, Childish behavior, and dodging the questions as we have seen and heard form Ergun Caner with many of the men that line up in Erguns Camp" So to Speak". Except for James Merritt! Dr. Merritt always handled himself as a Christian gentleman around me. I wish Merritt and Akin would talk a little sense into Ergun. Though Merritt and Akin do not hold to Particular Redemption they need to help Ergun with some things( Not just theology).

2. Please don't forget that many of our churches have these men in their pulpits over and over. They do cause great damage with their false teaching on some doctrines and methodology. That's why we need to continue to confront these guys with scripture and let them know that we are not going to" Roll over" and let them mislead the SBC any longer.

3. Don't be fooled in thinking that many love the way Ergun is responding in email and preaching to Dr. White. I have heard these men in the past be ruthless about Calvinist and anybody who would confront them on things. They have this attitude of " Who are you to confront me". Again, I never saw this with James Merritt!

4. Dr. Akin and Patterson would you please help Ergun with being honest about the differences between Hyper Calvinism and Calvinism.

Danny and Paige,

You called us( Calvinist) to be upfront with churches and not hide our theology. Would you please do the same thing with the Caner brothers about how they act for one and for them to show Christian character by representing James and Tom correctly. Would you two write an article telling the noncalvinsits to represent us( Calvinists correctly)?

Paige and Danny,

Just look at the email exchange and ask who is acting like a 5yr old child!

1:10 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad, Jeff and others:

After spewing forth repeated abuse via email, Dr. Ergun Caner tacke on this gem at the end of an April 17th email to James White, copied to me:

"However, NONE- and I mean NOT ONE, of the exchanges between the four of us, is for public use. Neither Emir nor I want or give permission for these exchanges to be posted publicly in any form. In our initial exchanges, you freely posted these on your website, which is simply bad form."

I immediately responded with an email that included this comment:

"Why are you concerned that these exchanges be kept out of the public eye? Are you embarrassed by what you have written? You need to know that I make no such promise and your insistence to the contrary carries no weight with me. Given what you have written both publicly and in emails to James, I hardly think you have any ground on which to stand and call his shedding light on your exchange 'bad form.'"

I do not know why Dr. Ergun Caner so stridently tried to demand that his words not be made public. That is between him and God. But he himself did not keep the email exchanges restricted to the 4 original participants. Most importantly, I made it very clear that I would not acquiesce to his demand.

Justin Taylor and Tim Challies have some good, related thoughts.

Sam:

Thanks for helping with the definition. Yours is the most charitable explanation I have seen so far.

1:17 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger martyduren said...

Tom-
Thanks for going ahead and posting on this. I'm sorry that the Caners have responded in this way as it surely takes the prospective good that could have happened and tosses it in the toilet.

1:22 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger fred said...

The public release of private email?

No matter how you feel about the question. The bottom line is that Dr. Caner needs to be confronted and he needs to repent of his less than Christ-like demeanor and his deliberate misrepresentations of others.

My hope...is in the end this may turn out to help Dr. Caner to become more Christ-like in his interaction with those whom he disagrees with.

Dr. Caner, will you acknowledge that you have been less than Christ-like?

I will publicly admit that in my email to you that I was less than Christ-like in my calling you Luther's Erasmus. Forgive me for the cheap shot. As my brother, you deserve better than that and I am sorry.

1:29 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Tom
To selectively post some private e-mails and not ALL of your e-mails you have ever received is disingenuous of the position you have taken.

I for one will never be e-mailing you anything I do not want to be made public but I assure you anything you e-mail me will be between us unless I have your consent!

Sam
To read private statements that are made public for everyone to read is much different than making private statements public. It would be foolish to debate this issue, if it is not apparent.
BR

1:48 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:

I guess the force of Sam's argument escapes you, but it is very apparent to me. Furthermore, your selective application of your own principle must escape you, as well. You see nothing wrong in your reading what you argue should never have been posted. Yet, you falsely accuse me of stooping lower than the unbelieving business world by "selectively post[ing] some private emails" when, in fact, I have not posted any of the emails in question.

It is an interesting approach to ethics that you have taken.

2:01 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Fuller said...

I am glad that Dr. White has been so "open" by allowing us the priviledge of seeing the exchange of emails between himself and the Caners. I have seen several comments here that have frowned on this. To that I would like to offer the following quote:

"Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider "the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt," it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to souls "caught in the snare of the fowler"- how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting." -Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951)

2:12 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Stephen A Morse said...

Tom;

So... I have both you and Dr. White listed on my blogroll. As a matter of fact I visit both of your blogs daily for encouragement and instruction...

But I guess I will have to refrain from now on...

... if, in fact, you really aren't my Christian brothers, but are simply a virus in the body of Christ!

How sad it is that discussions on doctrines can lead to such a wretched example of 'brotherly love'.

Tom, thank you for your ministry. I am praying for you and your work.

I will be back...

2:35 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger ServinginRussia said...

To Tom Ascol - Can I just interject quickly and say that I appreciate you so much. This may brighten your day ever so little in this discussion, and I do have a point to make about Caner. However, if I could briefly state that I was an Elder and helped facilitate a new church plant of a reformed baptist church. I say WAS an Elder, because I am now a newly commissioned missionary with the IMB and now serving overseas. Imagine that...reformed and a missionary? It has to do with obedience...as you already know. Anyway, you might be interested to know that at least 30 of the 80 new missionaries with me at the learning center in Virginia were (and still are) reformed in their theology. This came up only after hearing one of the leaders go on and on about 2 Peter 3:9. This number includes everyone in my "house" (ie. cabin). We studied there for 7 weeks before going to our respective places of service. One night included a free showing (by me) of the Amazing Grace DVD. I had only viewed it 247 times but it had been almost 2 months since my last viewing so I was anxious to share it again with the others (who had not viewed it before, by the way). Also, a married couple in my "house" at the learning center had your brother as their pastor. If you would like to know who just drop me a note. You still have my email address, don't you? : ) Anyway, they were thrilled when I told them I knew Tom Ascol. I hope you don't mind that I tell people I know you -haha-. My brief point ragarding Caner is this. I listened to his sermon re: why he is not predestined to be a hyper calvinist. I find it hard to comment when something is said like...”God hated Esau for what he did." I don't get it? Anyway, as disturbing as that comment is I was more disturbed by his morning sermon which I listened to as well. Providence perhaps? Here are a few excerpts from Caner that morning..."I affectionately call my minivan my ‘castration wagon'"..."We have everything in our church the world has to offer" (how right he is, sadly). But the real hurtful one for me and the most shameful for him was when he was speaking about his parachuting effort. He described the instructor strapped to his back (so he could control the jump) as "...being to close for my taste." After everyone stops laughing, he reiterated (I am assuming so all the young children listening could be sure and ask their parents later what he meant as they wonder why everyone was laughing hysterically), he restates it proudly..."The instructor was too ‘brokeback’ for my taste". Unbelievable!!! This is not a sermon I would want to try to explain to my children. How would I explain this? Would I lie and say that "brokeback" is just a slang for being uncomfortable?...Would I be truthful and have to explain the homosexual issues involved...even before I or my kids are ready! Should I have to deal with this prematurely because of a sermon they heard? I respect your opinon Tom. Tell me this...Can you hear Spurgeon, Whitfield, Edwards, or any other great preacher (reformed or not) make comments like this! In my view, his morning sermon shows a prevailing lack of respect for God’s word and for the highest calling of exposing God’s word in the church today. This may reveal why he and others hold such a high view of man and his abilities. On a mere surface side note since I have your attention, all this theology talk is covering up a simple matter that Caner is asking us to believe. It appears that Mohler, Piper, Nettles, Sproul, Packer, Schaffer, Edwards, Whitfield, Spurgeon, Calvin, Luther, Augustine (and just a "few" others including Ascol : )) are wrong on the issue of election...and Ergun Caner is right? Does that seem odd to you? These titans of theology may have disagreed on many things. But if they all agree on one thing...shouldn't that "thing" get our attention? Thanks for your space and time my friend and keep up the good work.

2:42 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger David & Rose Ann said...

Let us move on, brothers, dismissing any anger or surprise at this development.

"Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings." — Jonathan Edwards, Resolution #15.

2:45 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Paul said...

Is the right to privacy in human, and especially Christian, conversation a Biblical right (or just an American one)? Should that make any difference in this discussion?

2:46 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Dr. Ascol,

Even though I had great enthusiasm about Drs. Emil and Ergun Caner when I first heard about them a few years ago, and even though I had been excited about their appointment to positions of service in Baptist colleges, I found their comments on that famous blog post repulsive. I could not even believe they had really written what they had written. After corresponding with Dr. Ergun Caner personally, however, I had to admit that two men in positions of trust in Baptist life are unwilling to engage in scholarly discussion of theology, and are perfectly willing to engage in the worst types of mud-slinging against their fellow Baptists.

During that time, I followed links to Dr. James White's website, read his materials, and found him to be the opposite. He is careful, scholarly, and precise in his argumentation. He is also generally kind to his opponents and critics.

Therefore, when I read this most recent e-mail exchange about the debate, I was expecting the worst from the Caners and the best from Dr. White. Indeed, I found Dr. White to be more rational and more kind that Dr. Caner and Dr. Caner.

I was disappointed, however, in some of Dr. White's comments, which I thought were goading. For instance, he wrote:

"you will be doing yourself no favors to be scattered all over the countryside throwing out every possible red herring or torching straw men left and right."

I had not expected Dr. White to resort to this kind of rhetoric. (Yes, "red herring" and "straw man" are legitimate terms, but he used them in a condescending, provocative way.)

He also wrote:

"I am immediately struck by the possibility that something has gone terribly wrong such as a family crisis that has caused both of you to completely lose your internet access and any time, or desire, to engage in correspondence."

In addition to using a split infinitive, :) Dr. White could have put his foot all the way into his mouth if the Caners had indeed been struck by some family emergency. If so, Dr. White's comment would have been very hurtful.

Please do not get me wrong. I appreciate Dr. White's approach in general, and I disapprove of Dr. Caner's and Dr. Caner's approach in general. But I do not think the blame for this e-mail exchange being unproductive is entirely one-sided.

You, Dr. Ascol, along with Dr. White, have a great opportunity to debate in favor of the Bible's true message of salvation. Thank you for your willingness to seize the opportunity, and for your long years of patient work that put you in such a position. So far you are winning the debate simply based on your attitude of Christian charity and of seriousness toward the Word. Please keep up that good work, and do not allow yourself to be dragged down toward their level.

Love in Christ,

Jeff

2:59 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger jbuchanan said...

I have had serious reservations about this debate all along and would strongly suggest Dr. Ascol that you remove yourself from it. I would love to think that honest, theological debate is a possibility at Thomas Road and Liberty University but the Caner brothers will not engage in that. I must also say in fairness that Dr. White has been equally wrong in this exchange and his posting of this correspondence is reprehensible. I do commend you Tom for making it clear that your correspondence would be public. You handled this in an upright and honest fashion. Dr. White on the other hand made no such attempt. He should be ashamed and publicly ask for the forgiveness of the Caners.

In my opinion, Dr. Ascol you have the most to lose in this debate and you carry with you the integrity of the Founders Ministry/Movement. Let me explain. Dr. Whire is not a Southern Baptist and has nothing to lose here. The Caner brothers have already shown that this is going to be a battle of cliches and one liners. They win not matter what because many in our convention will applaud such childish behaivor. But you have worked for years building the Founders and giving us a voice in the convention. We are making an impact on the convention and with patience and continued diligence we could see something amazing happen. Those who oppose what we stand for are looking for every reason to shoot us down. Dr. Ascol you have always behaved with dignity and integrity, for you to engage in this debate could be disasterous for this movement.

I realize that saying this may come across as arrogant and may make people upset. But I encourage you to back out of this debate while there is still honor in doing so. We have all seen what the Caner's will resort to in defending their positions. Now we know that Dr. White will not conduct himself in a worthy manner. Please consider this humble request.

Backing out will not harm the cause. The work of reforming the church must be done on a church-by-church basis. At this crucial hour we must stay the course and continue to do what has gotten us to this point.

3:14 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sojourner said...

I find it very hard to believe that this level of rhetoric is being generated simply because certain people find Reformed soteriology so abhorrant. There is an element of demagoguery and grandstanding in this that smacks of political expediency. The blatant and purposeful misrepresentations of the Doctrines of Grace and of them who hold to them seem to be nothing but tactics used to scare people away from boogey-men.

The bottom line is that a serious, Christ-honoring exposition of the Holy Scriptures threatens the power base of the Mega-Church, baptize a million mentality. This goes beyond the Calvinist/Arminian divide. Calvinsts are simply the easiest targets. I would hope that even the most ardent Arminian could see the foolishness of setting such a baptism goal. (Though I wish that God had given us 10 million to baptize!) I had hoped that when the smoke of the fireworks cleared, others might see that as well.

The trick here by the Caners, I'm afraid, is not to seriously discuss the theological issues at hand, something which surely any person has done here in a sane and rational manner. How many times, my non-Calvinist friend, have you discussed these issues without resulting to such antics? I know that I have, and I hope to do so again in the future.

So if serious discussion is not the goal, then what is? It is to label and caricature the Reformed movement in the SBC today so as to marginalize their voice and effectiveness. Period.

3:29 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Tom
To read in the NY Times a private conversation that the President had with a cabinet member (private now made public) is very different from the ethics of one who makes the private conversation public. If such difference is not agreed upon then I have played the fool in wasting my time here. And the fact you supplied a link to the posted material and deny the posting of it, is semantics (unless you are willing to say Dr. White was wrong in posting it).

Further, if you honestly believe this edifies Christ, then you and I will disagree on who the Christ of the Bible is.

And again to those calling for truth I look forward to the posting of all your private conversations and thoughts, until then, please stop removing the speck in others eyes.

BR

3:34 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Byroniac said...

jbuchanan:

You stated, "Dr. Whire [sic] is not a Southern Baptist and has nothing to lose here."

I would suggest to you that perhaps that statement should be reworded. It could be misconstrued as being elitist. Surely you don't mean that?

I say this as one who is in the SBC, but I realize that anything people do reflects (positively or negatively) on their professional and/or personal lives. Debating involves "risks" (for lack of a better term) for all involved.

4:12 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Brad,

Would you be so kind in answering (5 Yes or No questions for me) ? Before I ask them you may think my questions are not valid to the issue of the blog. You would be right but it will prove a point that I want to make later to someone( Not you).

Here are my 5 questions:

1. Brad,
Are you 5 point Calvinist? Do you support the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith?

2. Brad,

Do you think your "Boss" Dr. Danny Akin was really trying to help both sides with his April article on Calvinism in the SBC ? Do you think Danny was trying to help noncalvinists understand what true Calvinism is or Do you think Danny was trying to send out a message to Calvinists to quiet down?

I know some of you will say Scott you can't expect Brad to answer questions like these about his Boss publicly. Even though he would not be " Tearing Him Down" but that's not fair or you should not put him on the spot like this.

I'm trying to prove a point to someone about the state of the SBC. I have no intention of trying to hurt you Brad( I just want to prove a point). If you choose not to answer on the blog then that is fine. I will respect your reason!

4:21 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sojourner said...

Brad,

I wonder, in the last day when every idle word that men speak is called to account (Matthew 12:26), if the Lord God will be guilty of violating the "privacy" that you espouse. The bottom line is that if a man does not wish to be called into account for certain words, then he ought not utter them. This goes for me as well, and I have said some sinful, stupid things in private. The making public of such stupidity is not the sin, it was the uttering of the idiocy in the first place.

4:52 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:

We seem to be two men separated by a common language (much the way I feel in my communication with Ergun Caner). Let me replay some of the exchange in hopes that we might come to an understanding:

You said:
"But may I encourage those who make it, to be consistent and ask Dr. Ascoll to avail us of all his e-mail correspondence between his spouse, his friends, and the signers of the Memphis Declaration - and thus let truth be known. While he is at it, avail us of all private phone conversations and for the search of Truth, let us not stop there, but share all his private thoughts also."

So you think that consistency on my part would require publishing all my correspondence and private thoughts.

You said:
"I feel certain my views will be an anomaly on this Blog, which is telling, but Tom, I want to believe, if you looked at this objectively, the many frustrations you feel about the upcoming debate and the obstinance you feel the Caners are showing, does not excuse such an abuse of trust."

You have implicitly accused me of abusing trust.

You said:
"And yes, I am friends with both the Caner's but my friendship with anyone would never compromise my ethics or practice - I certainly felt you knew me better. Were someone to post private conversations you had, my critique of it, would remain: I feel it is unethical.

Hence, my concern of Dr.s White and Escol."

You call posting "private conversations" unethical and use that as your basis of concern for me.

I wrote:
"I do not know why Dr. Ergun Caner so stridently tried to demand that his words not be made public. That is between him and God. But he himself did not keep the email exchanges restricted to the 4 original participants. Most importantly, I made it very clear that I would not acquiesce to his demand."

This clearly declared to my correspondent that his acerbic comments had no expectation of immunity from public scrutiny simply because he tried to decree it to be so.

You wrote:
"To selectively post some private e-mails and not ALL of your e-mails you have ever received is disingenuous of the position you have taken."

This is a fallacious statement on its face, but I digress. You bear false witness against me by charging me with posting private emails. Will you please point me to the place where I have done so?

I wrote:
"You see nothing wrong in your reading what you argue should never have been posted. Yet, you falsely accuse me of stooping lower than the unbelieving business world by "selectively post[ing] some private emails" when, in fact, I have not posted any of the emails in question."

By this I tried to show you what you should have plainly seen, if your interest truly is in speaking truth. You have falsely accused me of something and then castigated me for it all the while claiming to take the ethical high ground.

You write:
"And the fact you supplied a link to the posted material and deny the posting of it, is semantics (unless you are willing to say Dr. White was wrong in posting it)."

You accuse me posting private emails. I correct your false testimony. Then rightly note that I "supplied a link tot he posted material" but try to divert attention away from your violation of the 9th commandment by charging my distinguishing what I did from what you said I did as simple "semantics." I find that an interesting ethical two-step.

You write:
"Further, if you honestly believe this edifies Christ, then you and I will disagree on who the Christ of the Bible is."

I am not sure what "this" is, but let me assure you that I certain that the making of false accusations does not honor Christ. He magnified the law of God and made it honorable. Bearing false witness cannot possibly honor Him. Doing so and failing to admit it only compounds the sin.

Brad, you are wrong in your accusations. No amount of ducking and weaving in your efforts to avoid this will change the easily documented facts of the case. We ought to be able to agree on this...unless we are not using the same dictionary.

5:07 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Sojourner
If you think that things uttered in private should be made public PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't ever take a job for our CIA, or for that matter any job within the defense dept.
Further, if you feel the revealing of things assumed to be confidential is not sin then our understanding or Harmatiology is quite different.
The defense of such actions is most telling to objective readers. Thank You.

Scott
My Soteriological beliefs are Biblical. I fear I would be using the time God gave me unwisely if I were to enter into a Calvinists debate on a Calvinists Blog.

Concerning Dr. Akin I would never presume to judge his motives.
BR

5:20 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger centuri0n said...

I don't really have anything to add except that I am really sad that there isn't one SBC baptist who will publicly castigate reformed doctrine who will not also publicly and rationally defend what he says he believes in a meaningful way.

Sheesh.

5:33 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Brad:

You think defense department secrets are in the same category as e-mails between porfessional men on the topic of a public debate they are scheduling?

Dude. Have a glass of water or something.

5:34 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Aaron said...

Perhaps this is an opportunity for you not to answer a fool according to his folly. Maybe the debate shouldn't even be held.

5:43 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Tom
If my accusation of abuse of trust was implicit I apologize...let me make it explicit - You abused the trust of the Caners.

Forgive me for assuming that the posting of a link to private conversations you had with these men was equivalent to posting these conversations (we shall disagree on the semantics here and yes I still believe it to be unethical)

The fact that you denied the Caners their express wishes about private correspondence AFTER a large part of the correspondence took place does not excuse either the action itself or the dishonoring of their wishes.

Your defense of this action is amazing and telling...while this Blog is very homogeneous and may not be the most read, what is posted here is Public. Thank You.

Also, thanks for the English lesson, perhaps now a lesson on the etiquette of which private conversations should be made public would be in order.

Waiting on a link to your other private e-mails.

If in anyway I am sounding unChrist-like, please forgive me, that is not my intent and many times the spirit of what is written is not expressed in type. But I do want to be clear where I stand and what I feel to be inconsistencies and unChrist-like behavior.– my flesh certainly desires to defend the implication that I made false accusations but that is unnecessary.
BR

5:56 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Centurian
Confidentiality is confidentiality whether in small or large matters. If my desire for fidelity in the small areas offends you I apologize, but will not repent of such desire.

The ability to publicly and rationally defend what one says has nothing to do with the wisdom of doing so when it appears the time would be wasted. On this Blog, I feel the time would be wasted, (as the current conversations validate) in a public hearing at perhaps, oh let's say Liberty University it would not (I believe that is what is happening)
BR

6:04 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

Not even the unbelieving business world stoops to the level of placing private e-mail conversations on a public forum to gain approval for of Calvinism, this is unacceptable.

A.Notice the knee jerk appeal to the motives behind the posting of these emails. Why, Brad, do you consistently attack others motives? As I recall, when casting aspersions on the motives of others came up v. Paul, he said:3But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.

4For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

5Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.

Ah well, what's a little thing like Scripture to stop folks from casting aspersions on others' motives, right?

B. The "unbelieving business world" does not post emails in public in order to protect copyrighted trade secrets. They have something to hide. Are you saying that the Caners should be allowed to hide their methods?

C. Posting the contents of emails in full does not self-select for the approval of any one party over another. It's rather like the Grammatical-historical method. The GHM does not self-select for any single type interpretation of words. That's why we use it and not, say, allegory or the Quadrigz. In this case, the words of all parties involved are posted in full view, opening up all 4, not just Ergun to criticism.

D.They were told that their emails might be posted in public, and before saying that they didn't want the entireity of their exchanges posted Ergun himself requested the entireity of their exchanges be posted, Dr. Caner asked to quoted correctly, when discussed.

He wrote on 2/20:

Dear Dr. White:

Having seen your references throughout the Founders' blog, and knowing that this is a subject of particular interest to you- let me respond. I am sure I shall see and hear of this exchange. However, when I am quoted, please be assured that I ask I be quoted correctly:
(emphasis mine: GB).

So which is it, does he wish to be quoted correctly when commentary is made on what he has said or not? Emails are fair game for purposes of public commentary or criticism when they serve a public interest/audience, per the copyright laws in the US. In addition emails are private in a multiple party discussion with public interest, when all 4 correspondents agree to it. That is not the case.

What's more: Dr. White told him he would blog about the challenge to debate in the future, and Ergun Caner gave him express permission to post their email exchange. I would add that we know this, precisely thanks to Dr. White's posting of the material. Here's the exchange from 2/21:

Sir, you seem to be seeking any reason to avoid facing serious interaction. I am leaving to preach now here in London. I will blog tomorrow about my challenge to you to debate in writing the subject of John 6. I hope you will step up to the challenge.

James,

Now THAT is funny.

Blog away. Including e-mail correspondence would seem to be in keeping with the general tone of your "logic?"

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.



That first request followed by the second as well, immediately forfeited their copyright on their private emails, and Dr. White did not post a single word until that point. Moreover, the accusation that the posting of those emails (despite Ergun telling Dr. White he had permission) was not called "bad form" and objected to until 4/17...nearly 2 months later. They have no right to subsequently claim Dr. White has violated their right to privacy or that their conversations are confidential. They need to keep up with what they have said. It is by no means for Tom or James to do that for them.

What prompted this change of mind on his part on 4/17? You appear to know the motives of others, so perhaps you can give us the scoop. You're also the one claiming that Tom Ascol and you differ on identity the Christ of Scripture. That's a rather strong charge, as that assumes that one may be possibly unregenerate. So, apparently it is okay for the Drs. Caner to disparage others and you to disparage others but not for others to disparage others if that is, indeed what they are doing.

E. You have accused Tom Ascol of posting private emails. James White, not Tom Ascol posted the emails.

F.You write, "To selectively post some private e-mails and not ALL of your e-mails you have ever received is disingenuous of the position you have taken.

I for one will never be e-mailing you anything I do not want to be made public but I assure you anything you e-mail me will be between us unless I have your consent!"

1. So, apparently, Brad, they are private enough not to be posted, but not private enough for you not to read. Just so we're clear here.

2. Notice the conflation of categories. For you, it is all or nothing, a false antithesis if ever there was...but an email exchange about a public debate in which one of the 4 involved told the other that he had his permission to post the exchange and then changed his mind isn't in the same category. Emails between spouses are not in the same category and serve no public interest. The emails over the Memphis Declaration, per Ben, are very available.

3. There is no prohibition for posting the substance of any private email, per US copyright laws, and, since you are the one discussing the business world and its reasons for not posting private emails (which have to do with the copyright laws), it seems you need a lesson into what kinds of email exchanges are included and what kinds are excluded. You see, there are category distinctions recognized by the law, and, if we should be modeling our behavior after the unbelieving business community, then it seems we should understand, per your own yardstick, what those regulations are.

There are exceptions to copyright protection that fall into the area of fair use. According to Sec. 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include --

(a) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(b) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(c) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(d) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

I call you attention to this list of Fair Use Provisions:

Criticism
Comment
News reporting
Teaching
Scholarship
Research

This looks to see if the work is for one of the purposes that are mentioned in the preamble of the fair use provision. It should be noted that this list is not restrictive. However, the burden of showing fair use is somewhat easier if the work is for one of these purposes.

Source:http://www.benedict.com/info/Law/FairUse.aspx

Now, we have at least two those reasons lying behind Dr. White's posting of them.

FAIR USE - Fair use are exceptions in copyright that are allowable for such purposes of teaching, research and scholarship functions, in the function news reporting, and critiques, reviews or comments on the work provided that the value of the copyrighted material is protected and is not diminished.

There are five basic elements in determining fair use:

• the purpose and reason for the use
• is it commercial vs. non-profit or educational
• the nature of the copyrighted work
• the amount or portion of the work used
• does the use of the work diminish the value

Fair use also includes "parody" or a work that mocks or ridicules a work by imitation. It uses elements of the original work to create a new work, that in some way, comments on the original work.

Is this or AOMin a for-profit site? No In fact, dare we say that us bloggers serve a niche of a niche audience.

Is the email being reproduced being reproduced as a news item and comment? Absolutely.

Just in case folks are under any illusions as to what is favored and disfavored under Fair Use:

Uses that advance public interests such as criticism, education or scholarship are favored -- particularly if little of another's work is copied.

What is not favored:

Uses that generate income or interfere with a copyright owner's income are not. Fairness also means crediting original artists or authors. (A teacher who copied, without credit, much of another's course materials was found to infringe.)

Commercial uses of another's work are also disfavored. For example, anyone who uses, without explicit permission, others' work to suggest that they endorse some commercial product is asking for trouble! Yet, not all commercial uses are forbidden. Most magazines and newspapers are operated for profit; that they are not automatically precluded from fair use has been made clear by the U.S. Supreme Court.

http://www.piercelaw.edu/tfield/copynet.htm

In addition, the trend with respect to emails is currently for the author to publicly state the copyright, not merely assume it.


Notice.
For several years, copyright notice has not been required in the U.S. Until then, however, that was not true; notice may be needed to rebut lingering notions that works published without notice can be used by others without restriction.

** Web pages.
Again, web pages are simpler. Although a formal notice is not required, it is best to provide a notice such as appears at the bottom of this page.

** Email.
Notice on individual email messages (if blanket notice is not provided, say, in a welcome message) may also be useful. Something as straight-forward as "Please do not forward this message without permission" should be legally adequate as well as honored by most recipients. It is hard to see any advantage to traditional notices.

--Do these emails intefere with Ergun and Emir's income? Well, they claim that SBC Presidents have emailed Ergun in support of him. If we believe Ergun, these emails should further establish his position. If you ask me, that is more beneficial for him where he is, since he says Calvinists have no place at Liberty, so one could argue that these emails help him and do not hurt him. No commercial purpose is being here served. Criticism, education, scholarship, and commentary are all in view here, and we have a request by Emir to be quoted correctly, and written permission to post emails when discussed on Dr. White's blog, and the material falls well within the standards of the "unbelieving business world's" definition of fair use, so nobody has sunken beneath the business world at all. If Dr. Emir Caner objects to this, then he needs to have a chat with Ergun about what he says that gets them into a bind. This is what happens when you don't watch what you say or mean what you say.

4. If you wish to email persons and be certain your privacy is protected, there's a little thing called a notice that you can put underneath your signature. Here is the one that an editor of a Baptist state newspaper whom I know uses regularly: Please pardon the disclaimer, but I request that all e-mail from me be considered personal, and not forwarded or disseminated in other ways without express permission.

6:25 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger James White said...

Greetings:

I wish to make a brief comment in response to the few who have objected to my posting of the correspondence regarding the debate preparations.

I posted the first exchange between myself and Dr. Caner a few months ago. As he himself had said, he expected his comments would be posted, and asked only that the exchange be posted in its totality, which is what I did. Obviously, the response to those e-mails was not what Dr. Caner expected. They plainly and clearly exposed his behavior for what it was.

When this second "round" began, the issue of posting the exchanges had honestly not crossed my mind. I remained hopeful that we would not have a repeat of the "ignore every question asked, behave like an angry teenager, demonstrate you really haven't a clue what you are blustering about" scenario. And until the Caners purposefully, willfully, maliciously, "went silent" for three weeks, I still hoped it would not be necessary. However, please note in the file that this topic came up. As soon as the Caners started "arguing" their points they said they wanted to keep this all private. Tom Ascol *immediately* rejected this caveat. He *immediately* said this conversation had to be kept open and above board, and everything else written has been written with that understanding. Once again, I have included *everything* that has been written so that there is no editing or spinning on my part.

Now, these were not e-mails that are in any way, shape, or form, parallel to e-mails to my wife or members of my church. I cannot begin to understand how such a parallel could be drawn (as it was in the comments I read). This is similar to the closed meeting/open meeting situation in government, with the added reality that we are speaking about an ostensibly *Christian* event. There is no secret that four men, whose identities are all known, who are all public figures, are supposed to be debating Calvinism on a given date in a given place. Tom and I are not quietly trying to get Ergun and Emir to see the error of their ways. While I have bent over backwards to seek to befriend these men (to no avail), the purpose of our exchanges is no secret nor is it "personal." People who will attend that debate deserve to know who tried to provide them with a meaningful debate and who did not. If these e-mails are hidden away in secrecy then all we can do is say "we tried" and they will say "we tried" and nothing is accomplished. Christian leaders should be held to a higher standard. Indeed, this issue goes to the heart of not only why I debate at all, but why I debate this kind of issue: in our "personal rights" crazed culture we tend to think the personal feelings and rights of individuals are significantly more important than great and eternal truths. I, as a person, am irrelevant in this situation: the issues we wish to debate were relevant long before I was born and will be long after I am gone. I am simply blessed to be able to be used of the Lord to make God's truth known in my day. These issues are so much more important, so much bigger, than I am, that to focus upon me, or personal issues, or to worry about "private e-mails" that were anything but private to begin with, is to completely miss the point. I find it ironic that Ergun Caner has said that "our churches hang in the balance" of the issue of the debate---if that is so, why would he not want what he has said, and how he has behaved, to be seen by all? I will tell you why. It has nothing to do with private e-mails. It has everything to do with the fact that he has done all he can to derail the debate and has engaged in the most incredible behavior toward men who are ostensibly his colleagues (though, obviously, he and his brother do not even believe me to be a Christian). Unless I can trust that Ergun Caner will honestly inform his own students of his attitudes and actions, the truth must be told. Remember, this debate is no secret. He's announced it in chapel while trying to rev up the audience to show up for it (in the context of bashing Calvinism). God's people deserve to know what is going on and why the debate is taking the form that it is.

6:30 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Sparrowhawk:

DUDE! That is the funniest line that has appeared on this blog in a long time! Thanks for the Edwards lesson.

6:38 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

Oh, and one more thing...since I happen to know a thing or two about email as a PT Network Admin...if the Drs. Caner are using their .edu email addy's for their correspondence, they really aren't private at all. They are owned not by them, but by their respective institutions. So, they are actually very subject to others reading them, gleaning information from them, and using them for public or even private, personnel related reasons. This is *also* common practice. This is one reason that certain seminary professors with whom I correspond about personal matters use their private, home emails and not their .edu addresses. When we speak on those emails, we both agree to keep the conversation on particular topics. Big Brother, for whatever reason, can certainly have a looksee whenever he wants on those email addresses. It doesn't mean anybody has anything to hide, rather it means that you shouldn't say anything to another you wouldn't want repeated anyway. As Alice said, say what you mean and mean what you say."

Finally, let's all realize here that this would not be an issue if (A) the Caners had not colluded together like 2 adolescent schoolboys going to shoot cats in the dark Georgia night a few months ago on this blog to apparently rile up some Calvnists, and (B) not continued their behavior in private emails not only to James and Tom, but to others of us.

This is precisely the reason why at Strange Baptist Fire, when I created the rules there, I posted this:

Speaking for myself, I will not entertain spam emails, rants, and other such items. In the spirit of openness, this means if necessary, I will, speaking strictly for myself, post the contents of emails if they display a pattern of abuse, mean-spiritedness, misrepresentation, unresponsiveness, or willful ignorance. This is to draw your attention to the way you sound, and I say this because I respect you and believe you capable of better behavior, but sometimes it is necessary to do such a thing to make a point.

Correction to spelling in my last post: Quadriz should be Quadriga.

6:38 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Brad,

Thanks for responding! I guess by your comment you are not a Calvinist( However you did not say that). This is my guess.

6:39 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger jbuchanan said...

Byroniac,

I did not mean to come across as elitist in saying that James White has nothing to lose in this debate because he is not a Southern Baptist. Perhaps I should say that he has less to lose than Dr. Ascol has. The Founders have been working for years to raise awareness in the SBC about our historical roots in Calvinism. This debate could do a great deal to hurt the work that has been done. That is all that I am trying to sya.

6:39 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Gene
Thanks for the lesson on law, you are well-versed...I am certain many will read it carefully. I however, do not base my actions on man's laws.

The rest of your Blog I have already addressed.

And you are right I did imply that Tom's motive was to garnish support for Calvinism. I honestly, would like to thank you for pointing that out...that was clearly wrong on my part and is sin. The fact, I did not see that when I Blogged bothers and concerns me and I will try by God's grace to avoid it in the future.

I have asked forgiveness from my Lord and now,
Tom, I want to ask you to forgive me. Will you forgive me?
BR

6:46 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sojourner said...

Brad,

If someone comes to you, confidentially, and then tells you that they know that the neighbors children are being sexually molested, will you keep silent? That would not only be irresponsible, but illegal and appalling.

I suppose that your understanding of secret keeping would change under that circumstance. Just like I am not beholden to keep this sort of statement a secret, "I think that the neighbor is a big idiot." I may just inform you that I'm going to call a conference and tell the neighbor what you said.

6:51 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger CB Scott said...

Brad,

You need to consider what you are saying here. If you really believe what you say you need to openly rebuke your current boss, your former boss and Tim Lewis who served as chairman of trustees in 2004 along with several of your co-workers.

Please stand down. Tom has done nothing worthy of such rebuke from you. For you to attack Tom and at the same time defend those that you do is in no way balanced and proper. I am your friend. You have said these things in public, therefore, in public, I again, ask you to stand down.

IN CHRIST FREE,
cb

6:55 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Sojourner
If you can't see the difference in private correspondence being made public without the consent of those involved and reporting the private conversation about the abuse of a child to the proper authorities (not placing it on a Blog but reporting it to authorities) then again my time is wasted.
BR

6:57 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

CB
You may have evidence those men made confidential conversations PUBLIC without the consent of all involved, but I do not know this took place other than your word. I am not saying you are not being honest here, for I do not know, but I am saying I am unaware of such. And you can call me a fool but I have known my boss for almost 20 years and trust him totally, in reference to my interim boss and the Trustee I don't know these men real well but I have no reason not to trust them!

I appreciate your friendship. I do love you and appreciate you.
BR

7:07 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Brad,

Since you are a professor at SEBTS you are required to sign the Abstract of Principles ? Right?

I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS :

1. WHICH GROUP IS CLOSER IN THEIR BELIEFS TO THE ABSTRACT OF PRINCIPLES( CANERS OR ASCOL AND WHITE)?

2. WHICH CANIDATE FOR SBC PRESIDENT WOULD YOU VOTE FOR:

A. RONNIE FLOYD

B. ANY CANIDATE THAT EITHER BELIEVES ALL THE ABSTRACT OF PRINCIPLES OR ONE THAT IS CLOSER THAN RONNIE FLOYD TO THE ABSTRACT ?

I FIGURE SINCE JAMES WHITE AND TOM ASCOL COULD EMBRACE FULLY THE ABSTRACT AND WE ALREADY KNOW THAT THE CANERS DO NOT WE(BLOGGERS AT THIS SITE) CAN HAVE FULL CONFIDENCE THAT THE ENTIRE SEBTS FACULITY WILL BE SUPPORTING JAMES WHITE AND TOM ASCOL OVER THE CANERS? RIGHT ?

SINCE WE HELP PAY YOUR SALARY I FOR ONE WANT FULL CONFIDENCE THAT THE PROFESSORS AND PRESIDENT WILL " LIVE OUT" WHAT YOU GUYS SIGN AT THE SCHOOL. CAN WE HAVE YOUR WORD THAT YOU AND DR. AKIN WILL FULLY SUPPORT JAMES AND TOM AND WHOEVER IS NOMINATED AT THE CONVENTION TO BE PRESIDENT THAT YOU GUYS WILL VOTE FOR THE ONE CLOSEST IN THEIR BELIEFS TO THE ABSTRACT OF PRINCIPLES ?

WE DESERVE TO KNOW THAT YOU GUYS ARE HONORING WHAT YOU SIGN !

7:12 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sojourner said...

Brad,

For clarity, I will say that the conditions that you are presupposing apparently never existed. There was never any sort of agreement that these emails would be kept private.

Secondly, I will say that if Christian leadership is acting unbecomingly in private or public, then we are beholden to take them to task. This is Scriptural. That is what has apparently happened here.

I will also say that I seem obstinate against correction in this, and I will not change my mind. So, I believe that you do indeed waste your time. However, just for conscience sake, I can tell the difference between the two conversations.

7:16 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Scott
1. Dr. Emir Caner signed the Abstact of Principles, I'm not sure you can get any closer to affriming them then by signing them.
2. My concern on inerrancy is of far greater importance than the minor (in my opinion) soteriological differences that concern you.

And I am and do honor everything I sign by the grace and strength of God including the BFM2K and the Abstract.
BR

7:25 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Sojourner,
If Christian conduct is unbecoming in private it should be confronted in private.
Any e-mail (or for that matter phone conversation) I recieve I will not share publicly without the express consent of the one I conversed and in total belief it honors Christ.

But I am fine with your continual defense of such, it really is telling.

Again, in what way did this glorify Christ?
BR

7:32 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Brad,

Are you saying that Emir embraces fully the definition of Election( Some persons)? In otherwords are you saying that Emir does not believe that God has chosen "All" unto Salvation ? Also, are you saying that Emir believes that Regeneration precedes Saving Faith ? If you will notice the order of the Abstract of Principles it clearly shows that Saving Faith flows out of Regeneration. So, Emir believes this?
I think you may want to check with Emir about Election( Some Persons). If he dosn't believe only " Some" are chosen then I want a full explanation as to why he was on staff at SEBTS including Paige Patterson? I have Paige on tape shooting down the SEBTS position of Election. Why was he not dismissed? We clearly know Ergun does not believe in the Abstracts teaching on Election or the order of Regeneration and Saving Faith.

SO WHO ARE PULLING FOR IN THE DEBATE ? CANERS OR ASCOL AND WHITE ? WILL YOU AND THE SEBTS FACULTY AND PRESIDENT VOTE FOR THE SBC PRESIDENT WHO IS CLOSER THEOLOGICALLY TO THE ABSTRACTS ? MY QUESTION IS NOT ASKING TOO MUCH IS IT?

7:44 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger farmboy said...

As with his previous comments on the post about the fire engine baptistery, Mr. Reynolds has again succeeded: succeeded in diverting the thrust of the comment thread from the point of the post.

Last week Mr. Ascol posted on the fire engine baptistery that FBC Springdale uses in its children’s ministry. This post revisited a topic from the past. This was timely because Mr. Hunt had recently announced that he was nominating Mr. Floyd, the pastor of FBC Springdale, for the presidency of the SBC. Given that right practice follows from right theology, use of a fire engine baptistery in its children’s ministry reveals much about the theology of a church and the theology of the pastor of that church. With Mr. Hunt’s announcement, Mr. Floyd’s theology became relevant to all who care about the SBC.

Mr. Reynolds turned the comment thread on its side by questioning the propriety of reporting on the fire engine baptistery. In the end it was verified that the fire engine baptistery in fact exists and that it is in fact used for baptizing children who have made a profession of faith (i.e. believer’s baptism), voiding all questions as to the propriety of reporting on this topic. Yet, Mr. Reynolds succeeded in having many if not most of the comments focus on the veracity of the report instead of focusing on the theology of Mr. Floyd and the church he pastors. The importance of a critical examination of Mr. Floyd’s theology remains. It is right and proper to examine all evidence that is relevant to this topic.

Now, Mr. Reynolds has turned another comment thread on its side by questioning the propriety of reporting on the preparations for a debate on Reformed and Arminian perspectives on soteriology. The extent to which proponents of these two perspectives on soteriology can deal honestly with each other and work together will very much influence the extent to which the SBC can be an effective organization. Thus, this topic is also relevant to all who care about the SBC.

The e-mail record indicates that all parties began the exchange with the expectation that the e-mail record would become public. The e-mail record also indicates that several months into the ongoing exchange the advocates of the Arminian perspective requested (although the request was stated in the form of a demand) that the e-mail record become private. This request to modify the original terms was rejected by the advocates of the Reformed perspective. This rejection was right and proper as the e-mail record goes a long way toward helping interested parties understand the Reformed and Arminian perspectives and the approaches of the advocates of these perspectives.

Christians from the Reformed and Arminian camps can effectively work together provided there is a foundation of honesty and respect. Yes, real theological differences exist, but real cooperation is possible in spite of these differences because of equally real theological points that are held in common. However, when members of one camp habitually and willfully caricature the positions of the other camp the basis for cooperation may be destroyed in the process. Remember that Whitfield and Wesley effectively worked together for a time, until Wesley willfully caricatured Whitfield’s position. Whether such a point has been reached in the SBC is an important question. If this point has not yet been reached, then it is important to consider how we can avoid such a point being reached.

7:48 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Scott

I do not speak for Emir.

I will be pulling for truth in the debate.

I am aware of only one nomination for President of SBC at this time and my concern for inerrancy supercedes (for me) your concerns
BR

7:50 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Farmboy,
Thank you for calling me Mr. Reynolds and you give me way too much credit.
BR

7:53 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger CB Scott said...

Brad,

I will never call you a fool.--very hardheaded maybe:-) Brad the evidence is in Baptist state papers. It is public knowledge.

I know you trust your boss. You should. This is not about trusting your boss. This is about your taking Tom to task for no reason. My illustrations were to call your attention to the smallness of your attack on him.

It would also be the low road for you to attack those I mentioned. You would not do that. Thusly, I ask you to let this good man be. I do not know him well, but in the time I spent with him I know that if he wanted to he could scorch the earth with his opposition. He really did hold back.( as have we all ) He has taken the high road. Please do the same.

From one hardhead to another, take it from me, this is no hill on which to die.

IN CHRIST FREE,
cb

8:20 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Stephen A Morse said...

Ummmmm....

Gene? Man you are amazing! Not to change the subject (oh... wait a minute... there is a subject?) but could you use this incredible ability that you have to find every single piece of relevant information available to the world and answer my question about the Cooperative Program?
I asked it a couple of blogs ago: When did the Cooperative Program get its identity as the 'tithe of the church'?
I had always heard that it was in the early 60's.

(I figure I can ask this here since I believe we have left the general direction that Tom intended when he posted.)

8:36 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger James White said...

Dear Dr. Reynolds:

I am afraid you have the advantage at this point as obviously others on the board know you well, and I do not. Be that as it may, you wrote to my brother Tom:

"Further, if you honestly believe this edifies Christ, then you and I will disagree on who the Christ of the Bible is."

May I point out, sir, that it seems odd to me that you would be so focused upon the *posting* of e-mails both sides knew, at the time I posted them, *would* be posted, and the *content* of said e-mails? Evidently you feel confident to accuse me of sin in this matter. That is your right. I can assure you I have experienced no conviction of the Holy Spirit. I stand by the defense I offered a few hours ago. But may I ask you, sir, about what is found IN these e-mails? May I ask where your righteous indignation is at the behavior of Ergun Caner? Is it edifying to Christ for him to deny my Christian confession, an elder in a Baptist Church, without his having the first knowledge of my personal life and ministry? Is it edifying to Christ for him to ignore repeated and direct questions that are valid, showing gross disrespect for myself and Dr. Ascol? Is it edifying to Christ for him to behave in the fashion illustrated in those e-mails? Is it edifying for both to go silent for three weeks, ignoring repeated pleas to respond, and then to turn around and dishonestly accuse those who have been trying to get them to discuss these matters in a timely fashion of "delaying tactics"? Is it edifying for Ergun Caner to turn Romans 9 on its head while allegedly preaching to the people of God? To engage in constant misrepresentation of a position about which he refuses to even learn? Is it edifying to Christ for Christ's perfect capacity as Savior to be constantly subjected to the all-powerful will of man, sir?

In all honesty, Dr. Reynolds, where is your righteous indignation about these far more weighty matters?

8:43 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:

You most certainly have my forgiveness for "imply[ing] that [my] motive was to garnish support for Calvinism." However, I must confess, that in the presence of your more egregious false accusations, this peccadillo escaped my notice and I took no offense whatsoever.

However, I cannot offer the same forgiveness that you hypocritically request when you write this:

"Forgive me for assuming that the posting of a link to private conversations you had with these men was equivalent to posting these conversations (we shall disagree on the semantics here and yes I still believe it to be unethical)"

1. Brother, you did not assume, you asserted.
2. If you believe it still to be a matter of mere semantics and unethical, then you cannot legitimately desire forgiveness. From what do you think you need to be forgiven?

Be assured that I have forgiven you for your false accusations and bearing of false witness. I harbor no ill will toward you and certainly have no grounds to hold any kind of grudge against you. We are both dependent on the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ and it hardly becomes those of us in such positions to be unforgiving of others.

With regard to you other qualified and carefully parsed flirtations with words that kinda, sorta have the appearance of an apology, let me simply refer you to my thoughts here.

8:56 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger SavedandSure said...

Some of us plead with Dr. Reynolds to respond to the letter addressed to him by Dr.White and posted at the bottom of the pile.


Please let no sleep come to your eyes until you have answered, one by one, each of White's questions!


You are guaranteed a wide readership!

8:59 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Brad,

Sorry, but you sound like a Democrat ! You are a minister of the gospel why can't you just answer my questions ? Stand strong ! If you can't answer my questions then " WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING TEACHING STUDENTS AT SEBTS " ? REALLY ! QUIT PLAYING GAMES ! I CAN ALREADY SEE WHERE YOU STAND ON MY QUESTIONS SO:

YOU NEED TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND RESIGN YOUR POSITION AT SEBTS BECAUSE YOU SUPPORT MEN WHO OPENLY TEACH AGAINST SOME OF THE POINTS OF THE ABSTRACT OF PRINCIPLES ! AM I WRONG ABOUT YOU ?

IF YOUR PRESIDENT SUPPORTS THE CANERS OR WILL VOTE FOR A CANIDATE WHO IS NOT CLOSER TO THE ABSTRACTS THAN SOMEONE ELSE HE NEEDS TO RESIGN AS WELL ! REALLY:


BECAUSE YOU GUYS MAKE NO SENSE AND IT SHOWS THAT YOUR SEMINARY CONFESSION REALLY MEANS NOTHING TO HONOR PRACTICALLY ! THIS IS WHY THE SBC IS IN THE MESS THAT IT IS BECAUSE NOTHING SEEMS TO MATTER !

YOU SAID: "I WILL BE PULLING FOR TRUTH IN THE DEBATE". OK THEN WHO IS CLOSER TO THE ABSTRACT OF PRINCIPLES CANERS OR TOM AND JAMES? PLEASE DON'T TELL ME YOU DON'T KNOW. I WANT YOUR ANSWER!

IF YOU CAN'T SUPPORT TOM AND JAMES THEN I'M CALLING FOR YOU TO RESIGN FROM SEBTS! THE BLOGGERS ON THIS SITE KNOW WHERE THE CANERS STAND! I WILL WRITE TO THE TRUSTEES OF SEBTS AND MAKE A HUGE DEAL OUT OF THIS. THIS IS NO JOKE ! GET OUT OF THE SCHOOL IF YOU CAN'T LIVE OUT WHAT YOU SIGN!

I'M NOT TRYING TO BE UGLY TO YOU. BASED ON WHAT SEBTS SAYS " IF YOU CAN'T AGREE WITH THE ABSTRACT THEN YOU SHOULD NOT BE EMPLOYED". IF YOU CAN'T SUPPORT TOM AND JAMES THEN YOU ARE NOT CARRYING OUT PRACTICALLY WHAT YOU SIGN DOCTRINALLY!

9:00 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Jbuch:

I appreciate your thoughts and observations very much and will take them to heart. I must disagree with you, however, in your assessment of James White's "guilt" in the email exchange. Some of the things that you quoted may have struck you as sarcasm on James' part, but from what I know of him, I do not think that is how he meant them. In my estimation, he has handled himself with grace and restraint while being clear and forceful in not allowing the issues to be completely hijacked. Quite honestly, I do not know if I could have exercised such self-control had I been in the lead on these email exchanges.

9:03 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Dr. White
Allow me to state again what I said in my first comment "I have read the entirety of the exchange, but refrain from any comments because of my concern of the ethics of taking private conversations between "brothers" in Christ and making it public."

I feel I must keep my word
BR

9:55 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Tom
You said "You did not assume, you asserted."

Actually, I did assume and then assert.

If my repentence for judging your motives seemed a kindof, sortof apology, it was not intended as such. It was sincere, I have no control over how you recieve it.

Your comments on sincere apologies were good.
BR

10:07 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Scott
Answered Previously.
BR

10:10 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sam Hughey said...

BR,

It is commendable for you to stand by your ethical commitments, however, how do you explain the ethical commitment of claiming a private email is not to be read by those other than for whom it is intended yet you had no problem reading the same email when it is clearly not intended for you?

How do you explain the ethical commitment of criticizing Tom Ascol and James White while you refuse to address the false accusations made by the Caners? Why have you been silent on this BR?

Is your silence a show of support for their false accusations or an attitude of not caring about their unethical behavior? I'm not accusing you of anything but your silence clearly doesn't show your disagreement with the Caners' unethical behavior, considering you are the one criticizing Tom Ascol's and James White's alleged unethical behavior.

Sam Hughey

10:15 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

CB
Thanks for your sincere concerns for me.

I love you my brother
BR

10:15 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Sam
All addressed in earlier comments
BR

10:17 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:

You wrote:
"If my repentence for judging your motives seemed a kindof, sortof apology, it was not intended as such. It was sincere, I have no control over how you recieve it."

Go back and reread my comment. I accepted your apology for judging my motives and sincerely expressed my forgiveness to you. It was your other words ("If my desire for fidelity in the small areas offends you I apologize, but will not repent of such desire.") to which I was referring.

10:17 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Tom
Thanks for your quick response...the words to which you refer were addressed to Centurian not you.

And I did not seek his forgiveness for I stand by my statement of fidelity, but I am sorry it offends him
BR

10:23 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

If it offends him, which it may not.
BR

10:24 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sam Hughey said...

BR,

You stated you addressed each of my questions in earlier comments. Actually, you did not but I suppose that's the best answer I will receive from you, so be it.

Sam Hughey

10:30 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Brad,

Real Sad ! What good is a Confession if it does not help us practically ? I really hate to say this but your lack of comments to my questions proves several things to me about the SBC:

1.BFM 2000 and the Abstracts mean nothing to most Southern Baptists.

2. How can we expect our churches to live out their confession if their Pastors and " Seminary Professors" don't.

3. Brad is another example of how the present day Convention affects a man( They are scared to express their beliefs because of what it might cost). The SBC is not above God and His Word! Go with the numbers( There is safety ).

4. Where are the PH Mell's , John Dagg's, James P Boyce, Nettles, Ascol's, and Reisingers? These men stand and claim their Confession and guard it!

5. The SBC has become a place where some Seminary Presidents and Professors are afraid to take a stand because they either won't comment or give answers like a canidate does that runs for the President of the United States.

6. We are a Convention that fears man!

7. We are hypocrites ! We attack Disney, Speak Out against the gay lifestyle of Sin, but our own leaders can't honor what they sign and support men who publicly attack what we sign to confess and live out!

BRAD,

WHO IS THE ONE HIDING IN THE CLOSET ?



I

10:36 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger hashbrown said...

I think EmailGate should be brought to a close. This horse is dead.

Tom,
have you all heard anything from the moderator about a compromise on the theme?

10:37 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Sam
These are cut and pasted from my earlier discussions. Addressing your questions.

1. To read private statements that are made public for everyone to read is much different than making private statements public. It would be foolish to debate this issue, if it is not apparent.
2. To read in the NY Times a private conversation that the President had with a cabinet member (private now made public) is very different from the ethics of one who makes the private conversation public. If such difference is not agreed upon then I have played the fool in wasting my time here.
3. I have read the entirety of the exchange, but refrain from any comments because of my concern of the ethics of taking private conversations between "brothers" in Christ and making it public.

BR

10:42 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Andrew said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:48 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Andrew said...

Tom, James, Sam, CB, Gene, Sojourner…

I feel that I have learned a much about integrity from reading this blog tonight. You have caused me to think deeply about my own weakness in this area. Seriously, you guys don’t know how your insightful comments have provoked this (less mature) Christian to conduct a thorough self-examination. I followed Tom’s link to “Apologies vs. Repentance”. The significance of 2 Cor 7:11 wrought terrible conviction in my heart about an ongoing situation in my life... I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

10:49 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Scott
I believe my presence and thoughts expressed here should relieve any concerns you have about any lack of boldness...I am the minority.

Your concerns about my soteriology can be expressed directly to my President if you desire. His understanding of the Abstracts were made clear in the Blog between the Caners and the Calvinists earlier on this site.
BR

10:50 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Sojourner said...

Brad,

You have plenty of people admonishing you besides me. That, to me, is what is "telling."

10:54 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Sojourner
Thanks for your admonition...and you're right...this is an extremely homogenous site.
BR

10:57 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger dlfj said...

I guess it should not suprise me that, so called, "men of God" would be so over the top in their behavior. The Dr.s Caner seem to think that they can say whatever they want with impunity, since the Holy Spirit only talks to them. Anyone who disagrees with them must be beaten to a bloody pulp, verbally, at least.

I seem to recall that one day we will all stand before the Living God and give an account of ourselves. Our works will be judged and we will be rewarded in Heaven for our works here on earth. I know that I'm a wretched sinner, and hold no illusions as to how devastating this reckoning will be for me. Only by the grace of God, and the Blood of Jesus will I even be allowed in Heaven's gate; let alone receive any reward. But I fear that their are some, who believe that they have done great and mighty works for the Lord, that are going to be very surprised when all their works are burned up on the altar and they are left with nothing. How terribly sad to realize that you wasted your entire life pursuing the wrong things. We should all earnestly and sincerely pray for these people. None of us deserves the grace that God has given us in Jesus. No one will stand in that day. Only then, will we truly understand how amazing God's grace really is.

Thanks be to God!!!

11:41 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger Nathan White said...

BR said:
Dr. White
Allow me to state again what I said in my first comment "I have read the entirety of the exchange, but refrain from any comments because of my concern of the ethics of taking private conversations between "brothers" in Christ and making it public."
I feel I must keep my word


That sure is convenient. Especially since countless men on this thread have exposed your contradictory position that it is OK for you to read the entire thread, but it’s not OK for White to post it. Apparently now, it's OK for you to read on it and comment about it in order to condemn Tom and James, but you cannot comment about the content, since to do so would clearly reveal your double-standard. Obviously you're the one making up the 'rules' here.

If you truly believed that it was indeed wrong for White to post the thread, then you certainly sinned against your [misinformed] conscience by reading it.

Talk and condemn Tom and James all you want, but you showed us where you really stand by saying: “I have read the entirety of the exchange…”. Action speaks louder then words my friend.

If you had any real concern for ‘ethics’, you’d start to question how a professing Christian and a man that thousands of kids look up to as a leader, could make such a mockery out of Ephesians 4:29 -in private and in public.

Needless to say, as James pointed out, the only reason why the Caner's wanted to keep the emails private was to hide their sin. I praise God that not only did James and Tom first challenge them on it personally, but James posted it publicly when they refused to change their tune. We can all now call the Caner's to repent for their rhetoric; we can now all know for sure who is honestly concerned about truth here.

SDG

11:53 PM, May 15, 2006  
Blogger VinYahesed said...

brothers let us look at this as outsiders. as pagans who just happen to stumble upon this site. what are we arguing about really? now we're bickering back and forth about emails and the like? doesn't this look a bit childish? i'm a five point calvinist and i'm finding myself disliking the caners more than the pagans that I witness to at work. brothers should this be? I am addressing the calvinists at this site. say the word 'caner" to yourself and look at the words that come into your head. Since none of us here would condemn them as heretics, is this the way our lord feels about them? just a thought

1:20 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger pastorleap said...

Being as I have spent the last 2 hours reading all of the referenced material, I felt that I deserved the right to speak my opinion about a few matters.

1. Though I was once enamoured by the passion, zeal, and boldness of the Caners (in their apologetics toward Muslims), I am now equally disappointed at their lack of integrity, academic credibility, and gracious spirit toward Christian brothers. I am a Calvinistic Baptist who is not bitter toward my non-calvinistic brethren. I work together with them to the degree that my doctrine is not compromised, and except for rare instances (like fire-engine baptistries!) simply rejoice that the gospel is being preached, or at least a recognizable semblance of it (I like Tom's comment about God using a crooked stick). Reading of their recent attacks on calvinistic brethren through sermons and comments has caused me to LOSE A GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT FOR THEM. I have been a student at SBTS for 4 years now (soon to graduate and applying for a PhD program) and everyone on campus knew that Drs Mohler and Akin disagreed on some points of soteriology, but they debated the issues scripturally and openly in a spirit of love and edification that was apparent to all involved. The type of ugly rhetoric and empty emotional appeals that the Caners have used toward brethren are unbecoming of mature believers and especially those being groomed for leadership in the SBC (if that is indeed true). I for one have great love for, and high respect for men such as the late Dr. Rogers, Dr. Akin, Thom Rainer, etc...and have concluded that we must agree to disagree but not be disagreeable. The Caner's breech of this basic principle has really knocked them down a notch in my personal opinion.

2. I walked away from a background of Independent, KJV-only, fundamentalism and willingly sought a home among Christians who were more fair-minded and interested in truth as supported by the witness of the church throughout history as well as sound exposition of the Word. I have found that (for the most part) among Founders-friendly Southern Baptists. I am a friend of Tom Nettles. He preached at my (2nd) ordination last year. I continue to love and embrace the dialogue that takes place on this blog and others. The type of inflamed rhetoric that the Caners are engaging in is more typical of the "Sword of the Lord" crowd, and it should lead us to question whether or not Dr. Falwell's "re-union" with the SBC is really a blessing or a curse.

3. I cannot help but agree with the earlier brother who questions the wisdom of this debate even going forward. It will NOT be held in a neutral environment (Liberty?) and the crowd will be there NOT to give truth a fair hearing, but rather to "cheer-on" their side, regardless of the content. The Baptist papers will pick up on the opportunity to hail the debate as a victory for the Caners, and to once again, pigeon-hole reformed theologians as an isolated, wierd, sect better suited for Presbyterian circles than "true, old-fashioned Baptist life." I support the Founders, Tom Ascol, James White, and the aim of reform-minded Southern Baptists, I just question how this debate can in any way further our cause.

4. I cannot believe that the integrity of Drs. Ascol and White are under attack for the "EMailGate" episode. What expectation of privacy was there for open exchange about a public debate on theological issues? It would be different if there was sensitive information about someone's marital problems, or confessions of sin, but that was CLEARLY not the case. It seems that the only ones crying "foul" are those who are upset about the revelation of the true character of the Caners. They are clearly combative, disrespectful, and relying wholly on rhetoric rather than the merit of their positions. Strange things happen when people's true character is exposed. I for one commend Drs. Ascol/ White for their graciousness in the exchange. I don't know that I could have been so patient in the face of such malicious assaults void of any substance. Did anyone else notice the changing tone of the Caners emails once it was clear that their comments and attitudes were going to be made public? It was almost as if they had a consultant writing their e-mails for them to do damage control and tone down the rhetoric. (I am NOT saying this occurred, merely that the tone took a decided turn after Drs. White/Ascol informed all involved that they would bring every detail out into the public arena.)

5. This whole exchange, along with the recent controversies surrounding "fire-engine baptistries," presidential nominations, and other issues have only reinforced the thought in my mind that the time will come when reform-minded Southern Baptists will have little choice but to abandon convention life altogether and instead choose to TRULY fellowship cooperatively around a statement of faith that they not only SIGN, but also BELIEVE and PRACTICE without shame and reservation. I will continue to pray for reform in the SBC. I will be in Greensboro, and I will vote. I will be at the Founder's Breakfast. I will continue to be active in my local and state association, pushing for reform. Most importantly, I will stay the course in the church I pastor. However, my hope that there will ever be genuine reform in the present climate is growing more and more distant. Issues like the one we have been discussing makes it more clear than ever (to me) that who we elect as SBC president REALLY IS an important issue.

At this point, I suppose what we must do is pray more fervently than ever.

Pastorleap (Terry Leap,FBC Grayson, KY)

2:36 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Elias said...

“Dr. White
Allow me to state again what I said in my first comment "I have read the entirety of the exchange, but refrain from any comments because of my concern of the ethics of taking private conversations between "brothers" in Christ and making it public."

I feel I must keep my word
BR”

Mr. Reynolds, you have done all BUT “refrain from any comments” because of your “concern” for ethics. Don’t you know how silly this looks, you quoting what you said in your very first post 15 POSTS LATER! Not to mention having the gall to post 10 more times (…and counting).

Your view that says every conversation is a private conversation that cannot be brought before the body unless the consent of all parties involved agrees seems to me to place you in a little box.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:15-17a
"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church;”

What if your brother sins against you via e-mail? How can you bring before the church an e-mail exchange that brought about the sin (as Jesus commands we are to do) if that person refuses for anyone to read his “private conversation?” It seems to me that what Dr. White did in taking action to post his email exchange with Dr. Caner to show to the body his blatant disrespect of fellow believers is what the Lord would have had him do.

2:42 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Nathan
Questions answered...read my comments.

Concerning your statement about James saying the only reason the Caners wanted their e-mails kept private was to hide their sin...allow me to encourage you (and James, if applicable) not to judge their motives...I think the Bible speaks to that.

Elias
I refrained from commenting about what was contained in the private conversation made public not about the ethics of doing so.

Gentlemen and Ladies
This has been most enlightening, extremely enlightening...and I have tried to address all who have addressed me but at this point, a Proverb comes to mind, and thus I honestly believe my time would be more wisely spent elsewhere
BR

7:26 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Stewart said...

I don't see the issue that some on this post have with James White and the posting of the debate correspondence. The emails in question are not "private" nor should the Caner's have any expectations that they should be. This correspondence is about the logistics and planning of a "public" debate about issues already in the public eye. Ergun Caner even asked James White to quote him correctly...well, he has. We have complete context. James White posted both sides. If Caner is embarrassed by his correspondence, he should be. A theological pit bull shouldn't be so whiny about a theological opponent quoting him in toto. He needs to be exposed for the unbiblical attitude he has towards fellow believers. Caner's website, videos and still shots that I have seen display pride and arrogance. In my eyes he is modern Charles Finney (not a complement). I think that a few of the individuals posting here would have told Luther to sit down during the Reformation; Spurgeon to be quiet during the Downgrade Controversy; and John the Baptist that he had "bad form" when confronting the Pharisees. Truth is tough, but it is truth that is at stake, not silly internet and correspondence etiquette.

8:47 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

I greatly appreciate the insights posted above. I have read every one and been challenged and helped by much of what has been said. Andrew, I praise God for the ministry of his Word to you. Though repentance in itself is bitter, the Gospel makes it sweet. The person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ sets us free to keep honestly owning up to our sin without being overwhelmed with despair.

I have not heard from Dr. O'Donnell who, I am told, is the moderator for the debate. In any other context that would seem highly unusual to me. Given what we have experienced thus far in our efforts to move toward this debate, I suppose it is par for the course. Perhaps he will yet respond.

10:01 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger jbuchanan said...

Tom,

Thank you for your response to the comments that I posted earlier. You have the advantage of knowing Dr. White and I trust your judgement on the matter. I hope that you will prayerfully consider how this debate may affect the progress that is being made by the Founders. This debate could very well devolve into a shouting match and what would that do to the image of the Founders. It is just something to consider brother. I will be praying for you as you tread through these treacherous waters.

11:43 AM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger jmattingly said...

Tom,

I have truly been pondering this issue regarding James’ posting of the emails regarding the setting up of the debate. I’ve been rummaging through Scriptures in my mind. In thinking about the issues, I was reminded of a situation I faced several years back in the midst of leaving our church.

There were many things that were done & said by the existing leadership that culminated with my family’s departure, but one thing that stands out to me was that one of the leaders (after realizing that we were leaving) said something like, “All that I ask is that you don’t speak negatively about the leadership of the church.” Now it was certainly not my intention to go on a mission to undermine the character of the leaders. In that sense, I could find myself saying, OK. But I had to add to him, that if people were to question me about why we left, what our reasons were, etc., I would have to tell them the truth. Keeping things a total mystery would not have been helpful to the body of Christ. At the same time, I don’t think it was necessary for me to provide them a transcript of our conversation, unless of course that level of detail was necessary to give evidence of the truthfulness of what I’d said.

With that said…to the Law and to the Testimony!

1) “Argue your case with your neighbor,
And do not reveal the secret of another,
Or he who hears it will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.” (Proverbs 25:9-10, NAS)

These verses clearly speak to the necessity of keeping a “case with your neighbor” to yourself. The result of publicly revealing something that occurred between you and another is gossip and will do nothing but bring reproach on your own person in the end. However, in this proverb the situation seems to be one where the offense was committed in private.

If there is a public accusation brought against someone, it would be appropriate to wisely and prudently disclose those private details that serve to acquit the party. Again, it would seem that discretion would be important, in order to reveal only so much as is necessary for the manifestation of truth and “only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

There are some things in the chain of emails that were posted that may not be essential, however I believe Ergun Caner insisted earlier that whatever of his that was posted be posted in its entirety. Only James knows his true motives in posting the emails, but I can’t see that the act itself is wrong if indeed there is a biblical necessity to expose truth to acquit him from an accusation of “delay.” There is a sense in which we should allow ourselves to be maligned by the world (Matthew 5:38-48) and not feel the need to always prove that we are right, but when it involves a Christian brother and the rest of the Church is watching, making your integrity evident can be critical so that the Church is not defamed (Acts 16:37-39).

The more I think about this, the more I see that it is not always so straight-forward. My inclination is still toward the view that the publishing of the emails was not necessary, but I am not willing to accuse James of sin since I do not claim to understand all the issues surrounding this debate and his reasons for posting the emails.


2) “Jesus answered him, "I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret.” (John 18:20)

Notice the example of our Lord. He had nothing to hide. His message was clear. Again, please don’t take me to mean that all of our conversations should be broadcasted to the public. But in terms of his ministry, Jesus had nothing to hide. He was not one thing in public and another in private. Our Lord was transparent- godly in his public demeanor and godly in his private conversations. He did not have some secret plan to overthrow the existing Jewish leadership (as some seemed to think). He was not masking his real intentions with godly language in public.

To quote John Piper from T4G, “Where is the spirit of Jesus?” I commend Tom & James for being unashamed to have their emails about the details of the debate read by all. Why would they care? It is telling to me that the Caners would make such requests. I think we all have written things by email (or on a blog even!) in haste and have regretted our words. But I am saddened by the constant flow of accusations in these emails from the Caners that do not reflect the character of our Lord. This removes much hope that there will be a meaningful debate at all.

I do not blindly defend Tom & James as if they are incapable of sin in these matters. They, like myself, are not exempt from biblical criticism. I find it insulting that a statement was made that this site is “homogeneous” (or was it homoousios?- sorry, early church course is dominating my thinking lately). Does this imply that “we” therefore do not think critically about these matters, but just kind of ride the Calvinist train? One would only have to read the recent discussions on the Lord’s Day to see that this is not the case (maybe homoiousios?).

Tom/James, I’d like to echo Jbuchanan’s words earlier. I get the sense that the tone of the debate would not be conducive to showing those in attendance the glorious grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, you are much older (not an insult!) and wiser in these matters. May God give you wisdom in these things.

In Christ Jesus,
Jeremiah

I didn't type more than Gene, did I?

12:06 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Nathan White said...

Brad,

You said: Concerning your statement about James saying the only reason the Caners wanted their e-mails kept private was to hide their sin...allow me to encourage you (and James, if applicable) not to judge their motives...I think the Bible speaks to that.

No sir, judging motives and judging reality are two different things. That is, there is no legitimate reason to want to hide any of that conversation. There is no sensitive material there; there are no private conversations of confessed sin, marital problems, etc. We have a case here of some who want no accountability, and you, sadly, are attempting to give this to them. Perfect love casts out all fear, sir.

I wonder if Jesus had ethics in mind when He said: “If he refuses to listen, tell it to the church…” That is, didn’t Jesus know that many people request for their sin to remain private? Didn’t Jesus know that airing dirty laundry violates that person’s privacy? It appears that Jesus wasn't up to date on the issue of ethics, or that you are more interested in following the unwritten code of your colleagues than the commands of your Lord.

Where is your scriptural support for your position? I cannot find ‘private email rules’ in my concordance, maybe you can help us out with that? However, I do find Ephesians 4:29. I also find 1 John 4:8 and 4:19-21. In addition, I also find Matthew 18, which, ironically, the majority of Southern Baptists have edited out of their bibles. There has been one encounter, there has been two brought in, and now James has shown it to all.

SDG

12:26 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Larry said...

Nathan, bravo! Best, most concise, most Biblical post on this e-mail issue I've read.

BTW, I think we all need to get over this fantasy we have (at least some of us have) that a creature called 'private e-mail' exists. If its in cyber-space, it ain't private. If you wouldn't want to see it on the front page of the paper, don't send it to someone in an e-mail. :-)

12:43 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger James White said...

Greetings:

Just a few quick comments as I get ready to do the DL and have Tom as my guest.

Dr. Reynolds: others have already pointed out that your response to me was unacceptable. Upon what principle can you accuse me of sin but then hide behind the cloak of "privacy" when all of the questions I asked you are about what is now public knowledge? I'm sorry, sir, but that leaves you open to the conclusion that you lack the same righteous indignation over the Caner's behaviors simply because you are prejudiced in your views. And so one must ask, is that the appropriate attitude for a servant of the truth? I am truly left without words at such a stance.

May God's truth be known....

1:35 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger The Sinner said...

All other reasoning aside, it seems that when Dr. Caner accused Dr. White and Dr. Ascol of delay tactics, that he slandered them, pure and simple. For Dr. White to then publish their correspondence to vindicate himself is no doubt justified.

Another point of interest is that Dr. Emil Caner signed the Abstract of Principles. Question: does Dr. Emil Caner believe article V of the Abstract or not? If he does not, he should either repent or resign. Period. Southern Baptists should not return to the days when seminary professors could sign the Abstract when they clearly did not believe it. Of course, maybe Dr. Caner doesn't understand Article V. If so, maybe he should read the corresponding chapter in J.P. Boyce's Abstract of Systematic Theology. I'd venture to say that Dr. Ascol would gladly send him a copy.

2:01 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Deb Jones said...

Well hello, Tom, it is an honor to be posting on your blog! :) My dad is Marvin Jones, who has been keeping me updated on this whole situation, but I have also been watching yours and Dr. White's blogs constantly.

I am unsure if you know this or not, but I am a student at Liberty University, and a former (thank the Lord! ;) ) Theology 202 student of Ergun Caner. While trying to take enough information in to pass his class, I also endured much Calvinist bashing, but I survived with only a few bruises.

When I heard that the Caners had gone silent and it looked like there wasn't going to be a debate, I was very disappointed, so I thought I'd try to raise awareness on my campus. I don't know if you have ever heard of Facebook (www.facebook.com), but it is a web community that links college students in a big community. Ergun Caner has his own facebook, where all his sheep gather 'round to sing his praise.

Anyways, I started a group on Facebook called "Hey Caner, don't be a chicken, debate the Calvinists already!" trying to appeal to his ego. I have no idea whether he knows about my group or not, but I'm fairly certain he probably does, as there are a lot of people at LU who are very loyal to him. Immature as the name might sound, I thought it might grab his attention. Anyways, to my point--a few students posted on the message board of my group a few things that interested me:
1) That Caner was the one trying to get a debate happening, and
2) That Caner couldn't get Dr. White to agree, because there was a problem where Dr. White was upset he wasn't getting paid enough.
Now, I have absolutely no idea where they got these ideas from, but I can only guess that they came from Dr. Caner himself.

Another thing I wanted to write about was a letter that my boyfriend wrote to Dr. Caner, concerning what he witnessed both on the Founders' Blog and on Dr. White's page of email correspondence. My boyfriend used to hold a high amount of respect for Caner, and loved to listen to him speak in convocation and the like. However, he was absolutely appalled that a member of the leadership at LU--a DEAN OF THE SEMINARY, even--would behave as he did. I don't really know what else to use my blogger account that I created just to comment on this for, so maybe I will use it to copy and paste the series of emails. Dr. Caner's response to my boyfriend was appalling, as expected, so my boyfriend (Jared) emailed back, to which he has gotten no response thus far.

I just wanted to write this, because I know precious few of you get to know what goes on inside of Liberty, and I appreciate your insights. You are welcome to comment on my blogger account and come to view the series of emails. :)

-Your sister in Christ,
Deborah Jones

2:38 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Mike Miller said...

Oh, my. What I just read on Deb's blog speaks volumes. I am shocked.

3:15 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Reformed1 said...

I have to admit that I had never heard of Dr. Caner until I saw his name posted on aomin.org. So I'm not sure why, but for some reason I actually believed that he would bring something different to the table in the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism. Needless to say, I'm already disappointed, and the debate is still months away. I actually emailed Dr. Caner when all the talk began, and encouraged him to please do the debate, and to please not make the same mistakes that everyone makes in debating Calvinism. I suggested that if he believes Calvinists are in error in their exegesis of John 6, then please show them where they are wrong. Use the same portions of scripture that Calvinists use to affirm their position, and show them point by point how they're in error. If his position is correct, this should be easy to do. Saddly his email exchanges with James White only prove that he will not interact with those texts in any meaningful way. If the debate actually takes place, I predict that it will be frustrating to watch, as one side will be clear and concise, and the Caner side will be all over the map. Ergun is behaving like a bully, but it will take more than a high IQ and a sharp tongue to win a debate against Calvinism--he'll actually need to prove his points instead of just asserting them. We've seen the pit bull, now show us the intellectual.

3:15 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger PFK57 said...

I had a thought running through my mind. It probably is so way off as an application of truth, however, here it is: Does not the scripture tell us after having privatly dealt with a matter between us, to take several people and go to the person and seek a resolution and if that does not work bring it before the whole body? I realise this is quite a paraphrase of what the scripture has to say. From having listened to Dr. White and also reading the email exchange, Dr. White had no choice but to make a broader audience aware of the strange way the Caners are going about this debate business. Having listened to the way Hank Hanagraff seemed to treat Dr. White's attempts to answer questions and explain scripture on a "Bible Answerman" program some time back, it seems the Caners use similar tactics to get out of interacting with scriptures.

3:26 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Jimmy said...

If Dr. Ergun Caner is the "Intellectual Pit Bull of the evangelical world," why not do a one on one debate with James White to begin with? Why all the squirming like a pig on pork day?

Just in passing, why does he have so many photos of himself on his website? Does that strike anyone else as odd? A 3 hour debate? No thanks. More photos? Yes please!

3:29 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger steve said...

"Resolved: That God is an Omnibenevolent God to all of humanity through salvation and opportunity."

The email exchanges: I have read the email exchange and have come to the judgment that fingers can be pointed at both sides. Move on.

As far as the debate title, I think it means what it says, namely, that God is "all loving" to every person who has ever been born shown in the fact the gift of salvation has been offered to all humans and all mankind has the same opportunity to receive or reject his omnibenevolence offered in the Gospel.

3:41 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger mark said...

deb:
just by chance, did your boyfriend, jared martin, go to atlantic shores christian school? if so, i was his Bible teacher when he was in 7th grade. tell him i said hello!

3:41 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Deb Jones said...

I would also like to say to some of the people encouraging Dr. Ascol and Dr. White not to debate--I really feel that this debate is necessary. I think that you underestimate the minds of Liberty Students. You have no idea how many students here blindly follow Caner, no matter what he says. I think that it would be good for him to debate against two Biblical Scholars such as Drs. White and Ascol. There are VERY few places on Campus you can go to hear Calvinism talked about in a positive way. Most of these students learn about Calvinism from Dr. Caner, and you can see for yourself, this is NOT a positive thing.

What if Calvin had decided not to debate because the skewing of the facts on the other side might hurt his ministry? Wouldn't that have hurt his ministry more? I mean, I'm only a 20-year-old Accounting major, but I KNOW that this debate needs to happen.

3:45 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Deborah:

Thanks for this information. I would seriously doubt that Dr. Caner was the source of those rumors. Love hopes all things. Please tell your mom and dad hello for me. Your dad and I were in seminary together and endured lots of interesting times (ask him about the Anabaptist seminar!). He is a stand up guy. It looks like his daughter inherited that trait, too.

3:46 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Deb Jones said...

Tom,
I look forward to meeting you, if the debate does happen.

It probably was too presumptuous of me to assume the rumors came from Caner. It was just my assumption, but I probably shouldn't have assumed without proof. However, it does make you think where the students got the idea...;)

I REALLY hope this happens...to me, this just seems like it is SO important to the church today, and will be very revealing to both sides of the debate. Most of all, I look forward to more people (fellow students, especially) seeing Calvinism in a positive light...that is, ANY light that is not furiously bashing it! :)

3:53 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Stephen A Morse said...

I wonder, at the risk of getting my theological head cut right off, if we are to read Matthew 18 in the context of the local church or are we, the blogging community, church enough?

Presumably when one brings an argument before the church it would actually be before a church.

Not making an argument really, just wondering.

(I have seen enough motive-bashing in this blog to last for a while. I have been a commenter here before and probably fit into BR's description of the homo-whatever he said so don't read this as an outside personal attack. Just wondering if Matthew fits here)

5:04 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger The Sinner said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:16 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger The Sinner said...

One more comment:

When Luther nailed his 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg, what caused the Reformation to take off was a new little invention called the printing press. Whether those in the SBC who oppose the Doctrines of Grace like it or not, in 2006, there is a little thing called the internet. Just google "Ergun Caner" and "Calvinism." If he thinks he's behavior toward Dr. White and Dr. Ascol is unknown, he's got a surprise waiting for him.

5:21 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Scott Hill said...

Did anyone else notice if you google the word "omnibenevolent" very few theology sites pop up. You find a million philosophy sites and many atheist sites, but little theology.

I may be showing my ignorance here, but I have never heard the term omnibenevolent until today. Am I alone in that?

7:08 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Deb Jones said...

I've heard it...but then again, I took Caner's theology class! ;)

8:04 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Tim said...

Tom,

I realize that men are passionate on both sides, but doesn't Dr. Caner fall into a completely different category form some other men? The responses I've heard are sophmoric and pride filled rhetoric. He has been corrected and rebuked over and over from the email posts of Dr. White.

I am not often found leaning this way, but it seems appropriate that Titus 3:10-11 have some bearing here.

10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,
11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

John Gill in commenting on this said, "Knowing that he that is such is subverted, &c.] Or overturned and demolished; he is like an edifice, that is not only decaying, and falling, but is entirely everted, and pulled down; so that there is no hopes of a restoration or recovery; he is in a desperate condition, having opposed the person, or office, or sacrifice of Christ; having either trodden the Son of God underfoot, or counted his blood common, or done despite unto the spirit of grace; in either of which cases there is no more sacrifice for sin: and sinneth; not practically, but doctrinally, and wilfully after he has received the knowledge of the truth; by denying the truth he received, in which he continues, notwithstanding the evidence of the word of God is against him; and; notwithstanding the arguments taken from it by the ministers of the Gospel, to convince him; and notwithstanding the admonitions of the church to recover him out of the snare of the devil: being condemned of himself; not that an heretic is one that is convinced in his own conscience that he is in an error, and that that is a truth which he opposes; and yet he obstinately persists in the one, and continues to set himself against the other; for then, none but an hypocrite, that conceals his true sentiment, can be an heretic; nor can any man be known to be one unless he accuses himself; since no man can know the heart of another; and it would be impracticable in a church to deal with heretics, or reject and excommunicate them: but either the meaning is, that he is such an one, who by his own practice has condemned himself; for whereas he has separated himself not only from the faith of the church, but from the church itself; by so doing he practically condemns himself, or judges himself unworthy of the communion of the church, and so justifies the church in their rejection and exclusion of him: or rather, an heretic is one who having professed Christianity, and received the Scriptures as the only rule of faith and practice, and still professes to abide by the same, and that all doctrine is to be tried by them, and to be approved or condemned as that agrees or disagrees with them, stands condemned by those Scriptures, which he himself allows to be the rule of decision and determination; and so may be said to be self-condemned."

I wonder if the presence of the debate might be that the true biblical gospel might be heard by those who are pridefully exalting the cross rather than those who are humbled by the God who saves.

8:09 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Timmy said...

Scott,

Arminians and Open Theists hold to the omnibenevolence of God as a "control belief" which factors into their hermeneutic. Let me encourage you to check out

David Basinger. “In What Sense Must God Be Omnibenevolent?” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (1983).

Basinger and his brother (Randall) are edited the counterpoint book called Predestination and Free Will: Four Views of Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom. While both are Open Theists, they have also argued for Arminian soteriology. See The Grace of God and the Will of Man edited by Clark H. Pinnock.

Also, in The Grace of God and the Will of Man, there is a chapter entitled "The Universality of God's Love" by Fritz Guy. In this chapter, Guy writes about the "scope of God's love" in which he argues that the "whole humanity is the object of God's love." His reasoning follows:

A. God's love is for the entire humanity (scope)

B. God's love carries the intention for humanity's universal potential to be saved (unlimited atonement)

C. Since universal love predicates universal possibly for humanity's salvation, thus the scope of the divine invitation is also universal.

8:20 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Mopheos said...

Proverbs 18:19 - "A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle."

This explains Ergun Caner's position with respect to Calvinism as concisely as any verse in the Bible. Listen to his sermon at TRBC, and it becomes all too clear that this man has been deeply offended (probably in more ways than he would admit) by statements such as the one he heard a preacher declare in a chapel service he attended. He is not interacting primarily intellectually, nor exegetically, because his animosity is not fundamentally rooted in issues pertaining to either of these areas. It is his (emphasis "his") sense of justice, fairness and compassion, which has been ravaged in connection with an understandably traumatic event in his own life (loss of a precious child in miscarriage)that has made his perception of Calvinism so odious, repulsive and worthy of every mischaracterization and reprobation.

He is not unlike Saul on the road to Damascus, breathing out murder against those of the Way whom Saul sincerely believed to be guilty of blaspheming the character and word of YAHWEH. Christians were not an idle curiosity to Saul - he intensly hated their monstrous theology of the cross. Saul took such sermons as Stephen's in Acts 7 as a personal offense, as Ergun has taken personal offense over the continued existence of what he believes to be a monstrous theology of sovereignty.

All of this does not bode well for a charitable, God-fearing debate between men who have been humbled by the terrible freedom of God as it is explained in Romans 9 (taking special notice of the two questions asked and answered by Paul in vss. 14 & 19).

We doctrines of grace people should be seriously petitioning heaven for those questions to find their mark in the deepest recesses of these men's hearts. Otherwise, this debate may be perceived as little more than sound and fury, signifying nothing more than the usual internecine warfare of Christians who can't seem to get along with one another... (yawn). Considering what's at stake, that would be a genuine travesty.

8:22 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Elias said...

I think Matthew 18 does fit here, Stephen. If you think of the church not as a building or organization but as a living organism, indeed as the body of Christ where we are all members, then you can understand that what Dr. White did was not only absolutely appropriate, but necessary.

Just to be clear, when I brought this point up, I was addressing the “box” that Dr. Reynolds put himself into, when he insisted that sins against another brother through email be kept private even if Christ tells us to bring it before the body. If you notice he never addresses the question:

What if your brother sins against you via e-mail? How can you bring before the church an e-mail exchange that brought about the sin (as Jesus commands we are to do) if that person refuses for anyone to read his private conversation?

Dr. Reynolds, if you disagree with me that Jesus did mean the local church, then please answer my question (if you can,) using your logic, within the context of the local church.

8:23 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Timmy said...

One more thing about omnibenevolence, this reasoning is more logically consistent and tenable for universalism than Arminianism (which Arminians are forced to distance themselves from).

Case proof of this is Thomas Talbott and his argument for biblical universalism.

See his article “The Love of God and the Heresy of Exclusivism.” Christian Scholar’s Review 27/1 (1997): 99-112.

Also see the recent work called Universal SAlvation? The Current Debate which Thomas Talbott debates with others the viability of universalism.

Talbott arguing is as follows:

God's attribute of love is not accidental but essential.

Therefore, God's love cannot be restricted to a chosen few. "It is logically impossible that the person who is God should fail to love someone or fail to seek anything other than the best for those whom he does love."

Finally, one must ask, "What is best for those whom he does love?" Answer: salvation, thus everyone must be saved.

Anyway, Talbott goes on to argue that Romans 9 argues for "inclusive election" and that the "perennial heresy" of the Christian Church is exclusivism.

Crazy I know. But that's the logic.

Ironically, I decided that I am going to write an article called "Omnibenevolence and the Purpose of Parables" in which I hope to show the dischordant nature of "omnibenevolence" as purported by Arminians, Open Theists, and Universalists.

8:33 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Lance Roberts said...

It doesn't apply to this situation since the Caners originally gave permission for the posting, but email is like conversation, in that a certain amount of trust should be attended to. I certainly wouldn't talk to someone much, if he was just going to spread all our private conversations around. I may not say anything sinful or innapropriate, but no one but me and the party I'm talking too, know the complete context of what I'm saying.

Do you really want your best friends posting all of your conversations?

9:14 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Stephen A Morse said...

Elias, I think you are right and I do agree with that... except... who said that Dr. White's blog readers were 'the church' that needed to be presented with the evidence?

I wish I could make this hypothetical so as to keep from making it personal but as it is... I can't.

How is Dr. White's blog (and I am not against his actions here after reading his purposes and Dr. Caner's express request to keep everything in context) the proper venue to apply the matthew 18 passage in this situation?

I would think that a venue that Dr. Caner is in regular attendance (am not certain how to say that) would be the application.

Am not being bombastic, just curious.

What do you all think?

9:17 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Elias said...

'...who said that Dr. White's blog readers were 'the church' that needed to be presented with the evidence?'

No one 'said' Dr. White's readers were 'the church,' what was said was 'Let the People of God Judge.' The way I’ve interpreted this is the Lord moving a brother to bring before the ecclesia (the called out ones) a situation where a brother has not only NOT demonstrated the patience, kindness and love Dr. White has shown to him in trying to arrange the October debate but who has shown himself to be dishonest as well.

10:09 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Jeff Wright said...

I honestly do not see how someone can characterize James White in positive terms in this interaction.

(Please note, I did not write that Caner has been the one on the moral high ground either, just that White has no claims to that territory.)

Tom is a wonderful example of how to handle oneself in a Christlike manner. Tom - if you even see this now that we're over the 130 mark - let me say that reading that chain of correspondance makes me appreciate even more how you conduct yourself on issue relating to the Doctrines of Grace.

James White, on the other hand, is not. White is more calculating and passive/agressive than Caner's full-frontal bombardment but he is no less venomous.

I simply do not see how anyone can read White and come to the conclusion that he handles himself in a manner more gracious than Caner. Not as loudly perhaps but not any more gracious either.

Anyway, I wouldn't turn this into an ad for my blog but I simply don't feel like re-writing my reasons for these statements. Feel free to drop by (link in profile) if you think I'm an idiot.

Let me close on this note: Thanks again Tom. You, of all the people involved, mananged to handle yourself forcefully, with integrity, and a Christ-like spirit. I appreciate the example.

11:32 PM, May 16, 2006  
Blogger Uncialman said...

Greetings Jeff,

Instead of just making an empty assertion of how venomous (Your words) James White was in his exchange with Ergun Caner, could you please provide us with some solid, contextual examples?

What I am viewing here is someone who at first refused to debate, then agreed, then began to set *all* of the parameters, and now is playing a ridiculous game of posturing with the other participants.

8:25 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Gary said...

To all who are worried about the confidentiality of their e-mails,

A simple solution to the issue of privacy is to include the something similar to the following in your signature file:

"Confidentiality Notice: This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message."

It isn't fool proof - but you have covered your bases and made your intentions obvious.

9:23 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Rhology said...

A non-5-point-Calvinist mbr of an SBC church, having read the exchange .pdf file and kept track of Dr. White's updates via the DL webcast more or less, hereby registers his disgust at the Caners' conduct in this matter.

Respectfully,
ALAN

9:39 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Stephen A Morse said...

Elias, the next phrase of verse 17 says that "if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.'

How does that apply here where he is already viewed by most as even less than a Gentile and tax collector? He has no fellowship here by his own actions and admission. He has no connection to Dr. White's blog and is apparently not interested in one iota of fellowship or even brotherly love.

I am not saying that this verse couldn't apply to this situation. If it were to be applied here I would be of the opinion that James would take it to at least a neutral gathering of called ones who could make some form of appeal to Drs Caner.

It just seems like it is a stretch to apply this passage to this situation in any other way.

I'd rather stick with passages like Titus 3:10-11 or most of the Proverbs dealing with the way a fool talks and a wise person responds.

11:02 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Sam Hughey said...

Gary,

Your advice is well taken but, as you stated, it is not fool proof. For example, if you sent me an email with a confidentiality notice included, am I automatically obligated to adhere to whatever you place in that notice? Do you see my point? As with the Caner's communications, if either Tom Ascol or James White never agreed to a confidentiality notice, are they obligated by the mere fact of a request to keep them private?

True, your intention is made clear to me that you don't want me to make that email public and depending upon the contents of that email and any other peripheral circumstances shouldn't the decision be mine? After all, it might appear that if I agree to keep it private I am condoning sinful behavior. Wouldn't Tom and James be equally (if not more so) criticized for that?

If you had a teen in your church who wanted to discuss something of a confidential nature with you and asked if you would keep it secret, would you? Would you be ogligated to never repeat what that teen told you merely because the teen requested you keep it private?

Sam

11:43 AM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Nathan,

Just because you do not know their reasons for not wanting private e-mails made public does not mean you do you know their reason. It could be a firm belief that private e-mails should remain private, and hence it is judging their motives.

Alias,

Discipline in a local church handling the sin of a brother in love is so different than this situation it boggles the mind. But three glaring differences should be sufficient: first, not a lot of love going around on this Blog for the Caners; second, there is a covenant relationship between members within the AUTHORITY of the local church; third, even then the church does not take the persons sin (or purported sin) and plaster it on the web.

To All

I feel I have answered your questions about what you believe to be inconsistencies sufficiently: It is wrong to take private e-mails and share with the world. And to discuss the content would be inappropriate and would fulfill my grandmothers saying about the “more you stir (things) (not her exact word), the more it stinks.” I can’t see how the discussion on the content in any way honors Christ or reveals Christian love to the lost world.

For those claiming truth to prevail, please post all private conversations and e-mails even if it may not honor Christ or is against the express wishes of those to whom you converse.

Honestly, I confess I can be very blind to my own inconsistencies and sin and therefore I have sought outside advice from two colleagues who have not read any of this, both affirmed my position and one is much further on the Calvinist spectrum than I am. My questions to them was “should someone take personal e-mail and share it publicly against the express wishes of one of the parties, even if one feels the e-mail displays an unbiblical or unChrist-like tone?” and “is it wrong to address that action without addressing the content of the e-mail?”

Dr.s Ascol and White I have been more than a little disappointed at your continual defense of this action – while the hurt to the kingdom can not be undone, fellowship among brothers can be restored. I know my position seems inconsistent to you but my desire to be pleasing to Christ in spite of what others think of me is paramount (that is why I sought outside advice), so with your strong feelings of my error please pray that God will reveal it to me (if I truly am in error).

Gentlemen, as I am most capable of blind spots and may be in one…so may you. May I encourage you to ask perhaps Dr. Mohler, I feel he is further on the Calvinist spectrum than I (although he and I have never dialogued about it) or Dr. Dever, (I think he is speaking at the Founders luncheon), if they believe “one should post e-mails from another person publicly against the express request from the other that the e-mails not be posted, especially if the e-mails could contain any adverse dialogue among brothers or present one in a bad light.” And then ask them “in what way does this glorify Christ and is a testimony to the lost world of Christ’s love” – which is a question that still remains unanswered. I think if they were to take the same position as you, which I have my doubts, then it would lend credence to such position, in my opinion the homogeneity of this Blog does not. I will await your posting of their answers.

Dr.s Caner the fact you have not tried to defend yourself, whether one sees the actions are wrong or not, is a witness to me. Thank You.

Finally, to those who have falsely accused me or attributed motives, it is under the blood. I have no ill-will at all.
BR

12:19 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Cary Loughman said...

Brad,

I find it quite presumptuous to feign the ability to know the position of two people who have not entered the discussion, unless of course, you can provide direct evidence whereby mssrs. Mohler and/or Dever have taken positions on this matter. Absent that , I would not be aware of a Biblical principal that makes this sort of presumption a part of Christ-like discussion.

12:58 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Cary Loughman said...

Brad,
Honestly, I confess I can be very blind to my own inconsistencies and sin and therefore I have sought outside advice from two colleagues who have not read any of this, both affirmed my position and one is much further on the Calvinist spectrum than I am. My questions to them was “should someone take personal e-mail and share it publicly against the express wishes of one of the parties, even if one feels the e-mail displays an unbiblical or unChrist-like tone?” and “is it wrong to address that action without addressing the content of the e-mail?”

Proverbs 18:17 ESV
(17) The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

It would seem that the advisor to you should only draw a conclusion based on the evidence, which is available for his examination.

1:05 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:
Your last post is a classic example of the maxim that he who frames the question can dictate the answer. Have you stopped beating your wife? How about asking your colleagues this question:
"Should a person feel compelled to submit to the demands to cover up scandalous accusations made by a highly regarded religious leader when those comments where made in an email exchange that began with 4 people but which the accuser expanded and when the accuser had previously requested that any public disclosure include all the comments in their entirety?"

Also, Brad, ask your colleagues this:
"Is it just to castigate a man for posting emails that he did not post but simply linked to?" This is exactly what you have done.

Your appreciation for the way that the Caners have conducted themselves in this is very telling. If you really believed what your grandmama said then you would never have come and stirred the "things" on this blog. Your words ring empty when you stand there holding the stirring stick.

Furthermore, you might want to heed this old Puritan adage: he who speaks unrighteous words has the devil on his tongue. He who listens to them has the devil in his ear. You can claim the moral high ground in this all you want but the fact is, you purposefully read communication that you are convinced was sinfully made available. No matter how you try to justify it in your own mind, to me--and to the Puritans who coined that adage--it appears to be simple hypocrisy.

In the spirit of your earlier comment to Sojourner, "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE" tell me that you are not teaching ethics at SEBTS! I would hate to think of my cooperative program dollars being so misspent. :-)

1:14 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Elias said...

Dr. White is holding Dr. Caner to a higher standard as he should. He has done what he believes God led him to do which was to reveal the truth of this man’s disrespect for others on his own blog which, as you probably know, does not allow for comment.

Mr. Reynolds, since you went ahead and violated your personal ethical standard and read White and Caner’s ‘private conversation,’ you should’ve noticed from the very beginning who was purposely setting out to offend the other and who was trying to be respectful. In only Dr. Caner’s SECOND email to James he wrote the following:

2. THESIS- Dr. White, we agreed to a full-fledged, no-holds-barred
debate. We do not want an artificial limit placed on a debate,
especially one birthed in an historical context. ‘Baptists and
Calvinism’ is fine, but if you insist on the ‘pro’ and ‘con’
categories, we will have to chew on that. Especially given your website
and writings. Perhaps we can represent the ‘love of God,’ and you can
represent the ‘hatred of God?’ Or perhaps you can stand for
Hyper-Calvinism,’ and we can stand against it?

In my opinion, Dr. Caner is a man who has dangerously high levels of pride and who has shown himself to be a person who is in desperate need of correction. He is very full of himself as you can see in his website. I am personally thankful to men like Dr. White who have self-control and patience when dealing with people like this. And I am especially thankful Dr. White read how ugly the Caner’s got on this very blog back in February which caused him to email Dr. Caner and expose him for who he really is.

1:54 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Cary
Thank you for the reference in Proverbs. Proverbs are always good to hear and it blessed me…I will try by God’s grace to heed it.

Tom
I defended the Caners not defending themselves, I have not defended them or you in the e-mail conversations…I refuse to address it. I certainly did not intend to imply I had the moral high-ground…for my weaknesses are plenty…but I feel I have addressed what I believe to be a consistent position.

Waiting on your answers about how this honors Christ and how either one of the men I suggested would respond.

If you are concerned at all about my ethical understanding, please address my superiors. I certainly would never desire to bring shame on Christ or my employers.
BR

2:03 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:

Have you checked out Ergun Caner's website where he posts email exchanges he had with Nadir Ahmed? Caner offered to enter into an "email debate" about Christianity vs. Islam. In an email dated Oct. 28, 2005, Caner wrote:

"If, however, you would like to DEBATE the issues of Christianity versus Islam, then I believe we might have an interesting opportunity. Here is what I propose:

THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE: Take the money OFF the table - I do not do this for money. I am interested, however, in a debate via e-mail."

On Oct. 31, 2005, Caner received the following response from Ahmed:

"Ergun Caner, you have conducted probably one of the most intense media propaganda campaigns against Islam appearing on countless radio and television shows beamed into the homes of millions upon millions of people, but ... when knowledgeable Muslims calls your views into question, you restrict him to some email exchange? I'm sorry, but we will have to decline your offer."

Now, Brad, with the heightened ethical sensibilities about this kind activity that you have widely paraded on this blog repeatedly the last few days, I assume that you will immediately go to Dr. Caner and correct him in the same strong terms that you have employed against Dr. White and me. After all, this is a man whom you have publically declared to be a fine witness to you in the way he has conducted himself.

If you correct him, I think the readers of this blog would certainly like to know about it--not so that we can take any glee or pleasure in the thought of him being so addressed (I, and many others, do not, in fact, think he needs such--but then again, we are not operating by your standards of ethics), but that we might see the consistency of your ethical beliefs and practices.

2:05 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Tom

I will certainly check this situation out. I stand by my words to take private correspondence and make it public is wrong. Period, no matter who does it, especially if it does not honor Christ or if one expressly ask that it not be done.

I do believe the airing of Christian conflicts is different from the airing of Muslim/Christian confrontations, but I stand by my above statement.
BR

2:11 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Still Waiting your answers?
BR

2:11 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Brian Hamrick said...

I just want to go officially on the record as saying I have become fully convinced posting these emails was appropriate. This is contra my comment near the top of this page. Thanks brothers for all your insights in this.

2:24 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:

I have searched in vain for a question in your last long post. Perhaps you are referring to questions you asked earlier and I have simply forgotten and do not have time to go back and retrieve. At any rate, I will try to address what I *think* you want to know. If I miss it, please clarify. I have no idea how Al Mohler, Mark Dever, or anyone else would answer your slanted questions. Why don't you ask them yourselves and not expect me to speculate on that? I am interested in knowing how your colleagues answered the question that I suggested that you put to them. Please ask them and inform us.

I gather that the 2nd thing you want addressed has to do with your failure to see how the publishing of the emails honors Christ or helps the kingdom (or something along those lines). Men love darkness because their deeds are evil. Shining light on evil deeds done in darkness exposes them--as happened with the publication of the emails. Now, you are convinced that the mere publication of them was immoral. I do not, for the various reasons that have been cited over many comments on this thread. Obviously, with your presupposition that that was wrong, you will not be convinced that the act honored Christ or helped the kingdom. I assume that you and I agree that it is never right to do wrong to do right. I and many others, however, do not think that it was morally wrong to post them. I will not try to speak for James' motivation in doing so, he can speak for himself quite well. Christ is honored whenever honesty and integrity are upheld and men are held accountable for their actions.

Brad, you say that this action has hurt the kingdom and hindered fellowship among brethren. Please explain exactly how this has been done.

If I have missed some question you put to me, please let me know. Also, please note the specific requests that I have made of you in this and the previous comment. Now that I have answered (at least attempted to answer) your questions, please answer mine. I particularly look forward to hearing how you respond to Ergun Caner's posting of an email exchange when Nadir Ahmed specifically declined to have that done.

2:42 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:

I have searched in vain for a question in your last long post. Perhaps you are referring to questions you asked earlier and I have simply forgotten and do not have time to go back and retrieve. At any rate, I will try to address what I *think* you want to know. If I miss it, please clarify. I have no idea how Al Mohler, Mark Dever, or anyone else would answer your slanted questions. Why don't you ask them yourselves and not expect me to speculate on that? I am interested in knowing how your colleagues answered the question that I suggested that you put to them. Please ask them and inform us.

I gather that the 2nd thing you want addressed has to do with your failure to see how the publishing of the emails honors Christ or helps the kingdom (or something along those lines). Men love darkness because their deeds are evil. Shining light on evil deeds done in darkness exposes them--as happened with the publication of the emails. Now, you are convinced that the mere publication of them was immoral. I do not, for the various reasons that have been cited over many comments on this thread. Obviously, with your presupposition that that was wrong, you will not be convinced that the act honored Christ or helped the kingdom. I assume that you and I agree that it is never right to do wrong to do right. I and many others, however, do not think that it was morally wrong to post them. I will not try to speak for James' motivation in doing so, he can speak for himself quite well. Christ is honored whenever honesty and integrity are upheld and men are held accountable for their actions.

Brad, you say that this action has hurt the kingdom and hindered fellowship among brethren. Please explain exactly how this has been done.

If I have missed some question you put to me, please let me know. Also, please note the specific requests that I have made of you in this and the previous comment. Now that I have answered (at least attempted to answer) your questions, please answer mine. I particularly look forward to hearing how you respond to Ergun Caner's posting of an email exchange when Nadir Ahmed specifically declined to have that done.

2:43 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Elias said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:45 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Elias said...

Forgive me for posting this again as I've finally figure out how to get rid of “

Dr. White is holding Dr. Caner to a higher standard as he should. He has done what he believes God led him to do which was to reveal the truth of this man's disrespect for others on his own blog which, as you probably know, does not allow for comment.

Mr. Reynolds, since you went ahead and violated your personal ethical standard and read White and Caner's "private conversation" you should've noticed from the very beginning who was purposely setting out to offend the other and who was trying to be respectful. In only Dr. Caner's SECOND email to James he wrote the following:

2. THESIS- Dr. White, we agreed to a full-fledged, no-holds-barred debate. We do not want an artificial limit placed on a debate, especially one birthed in an historical context. "Baptist and Calvinism" is fine, but if you insist on the "pro" and "con" categories, we will have to chew on that. Especially given your website and writings. Perhaps we can represent the "love of God," and you can represent the "hatred of God?" Or perhaps you can stand for Hyper-Calvinism," and we can stand against it?

In my opinion, Dr. Caner is a man who has dangerously high levels of pride and who has shown himself to be a person who is in desperate need of correction. He is very full of himself as you can see in his website. I am personally thankful to men like Dr. White who have self-control and patience when dealing with people like this. And I am especially thankful Dr. White read how ugly the Caner's got on this very blog back in February which caused him to email Dr. Caner and expose him for who he really is.

2:53 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Cary Loughman said...

Brad,

I believe this is the question for which you are desiring responses:
if they believe “one should post e-mails from another person publicly against the express request from the other that the e-mails not be posted, especially if the e-mails could contain any adverse dialogue among brothers or present one in a bad light.” And then ask them “in what way does this glorify Christ and is a testimony to the lost world of Christ’s love” – which is a question that still remains unanswered.

If so, one thing that immediately stands out is an assumption that disagreements between brothers in Christ can never glorify Christ. Yet, I read in the book of Acts a detailed description of the Jerusalem Council which involved disagreements and in Galatians where Paul confronted Peter in front of an audience about his hypocrisy in eating with the Gentiles until the Judaizers started sniffing around.

At first glance, it seems that airing dirty laundry will always come off as unloving, or be perceived negatively, both within and without the church. Yet, there we are, with church discipline being called for in Matthew 18, which will inevitably spill over into a testimony to the lost world. So, are we shooting our own, or holding Christians to a standard?

What about the effect of Ananias and Sapphira? Did this negatively impact the world's perception of the church? Perhaps. In fact, it would have been a public relations nightmare for the church, I dare say. But, what side does Scripture favor, the purity of the Bride of Christ, or concern for public perception of happenings in the church?

While none of these may be specific applications with respect to making public certain communications, in whatever format, that were desired by some to be kept private, God seems to want us to be consistent, whether we think just a few people are watching, or if it is our public behavior. I think that this has been a reminder to me, as I can be quite an aggressive debater myself, that I am accountable for every idle word, and that I never, as a child of God, have an expectation of privacy, but that God may bring my deeds to light at any time he sees fit.

And on that note, I had better get back to work.

3:07 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

I'm wondering if Dr. Caner ever answered Dr. White's question as to whether or not the good Dr. Caner considers Dr. White and Dr. Ascol brothers? A "screaming silence" on the part of the Caners is duly noted.

No one can argue that Drs. Ascol and White have been more than patient and amazingly reserved in their repsonses to the Caner brothers.

For the Caners? Please "let your speech be seasoned with salt". You, gentlemen, are the ones who are blemishing the name of Christ and His Church.

Drs. White and Ascol are providing all of us with a worthy example of how one should defend the truth and silence the talk of foolish men.

Thank you gentlemen (Dr. White and Dr. Ascol) for bearing up under the wrath of angry men. Better to bear the wrath of angry men than the wrath of an angry God.

Tom

3:21 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Elias said...

Very well put, Cary!

3:27 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Tom
I have gone outside my subjectiveism and sought advice form others, I encouraged you to do the same from one speaking at your luncheonyou have not.

Thank you for addressing my question. We shall agree to disagree and I state publicly you have NO Scriptural grounds for taking disputes among brethren and exposing it to the world even if you feel darkness has infultrated.

Withn the church is different, Which adresses Cary.

Thanks for the sweet spirit. I must take leave now...a busy evening and day tomorrow.

PS - I told you my reponse concerning Dr. Caner, perhaps you can re-read it. He is a very busy man, leading a seminary and consistently speaking all over and it is hard to reach him...but I continue to try
BR

4:08 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Please pardon the misspellings in the last comment...I am a hunt and peck typist and was trying to hurry out of my office, without reading over it.
BR

4:11 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:

I have asked several people--including those who are less Calvinistic than me--about this. They do not all have the exact same point of view but what they do all have in common is that your view is inconsistent. None of them believe that I have acted wrongly in this.

I am still waiting for you to answer my questions.

4:41 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Cary Loughman said...

Thank you for addressing my question. We shall agree to disagree and I state publicly you have NO Scriptural grounds for taking disputes among brethren and exposing it to the world even if you feel darkness has infultrated.

Brad,

It seems by that standard, we would have to lock up and throw away the key for items like Luther's response to Erasmus, or more drastically, take down anything on the internet that addresses a dispute among churchmen (how many of Spurgeon's sermons would be gone, or Luther's writings?). Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door for all to see. How could we leave for the world to see Augustine's disputes with the Pelagians?

In other words, that the world may happen onto such disputes because something is displayed in a public forum does not mean that it is being "exposed to the world." That would be akin to saying that books such as "Debating Calvinism" should be privately published and only made available to Christians.

Similarly, there may be lost people in a meeting where church discipline is taking place. Should we insist (not suggest, noting we have nothing to hide, but just to give them an out) that they leave before we take care of internal business?

Perhaps this is an issue similar to the overuse of "in house discussion" to preclude talking about certain elephants in our sanctuaries (a general comment, not an insinuation of Brad's motives, just to be clear).

4:44 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger L.A. Pastor said...

Gentlemen,
And I use that term loosely! THis is my first blog. I have refrained from getting involved. However, I like so many other pastors in Alabama (and other states too I am sure), am concerned at the amount of rage and venom I see from this website. I never thought that I would live long enough to see godly sincere Calvinists stoop to such mudslinging as you have done. I have ashamed of you Tom for allowing such trash on your website.

These two Caner men seem to be fine examples of Christlike disciples of our Lord. How can you degrade them in such a manner?

May God have mercy on your soul!

L.A. Pastor

4:54 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Eric said...

Ever live in an abusive environment where it was wrong to step up and speak the truth about the abuse that was happening?

When Drs. Ascol and White make the abuse public, why are they the ones to be blamed?

And, as far as being the one who has behaved more Christ-like by not defending himself - at just what point would Ergun Caner defend himself? Would he defend his arrogance? Would he defend his lack of response to a direct question about Dr. White being a brother in Christ? Would he defend his unwillingness to use the Biblical text as a source for his answers? Would he defend his hatred and propaganda in calling Calvinism a virus?

Please, by all means, let us hear a defense, but let us not blame the ones who are speaking up when abusive actions take place.

Eric

5:01 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

LA Pastor:

It surely has not been my intent to degrade the Caners or anyone else on this blog. I am very sincere when I ask you to please show me where I have done so. Since you are new here perhaps you might find my guidelines for commenting to be of interest. I know they are not above criticism and I certainly am not above criticism in my application of them, but they do set forth the boundaries in which I try to operate this blog.

5:11 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Uncialman said...

Greetings LA Pastor.

You stated:

Gentlemen,
And I use that term loosely!

I reply:

I'm not sure if ad hominem insults fired upon your intended audience are the best way to make a "Christ-like" entrance. :)

You stated:

However, I like so many other pastors in Alabama (and other states too I am sure), am concerned at the amount of rage and venom I see from this website.

I reply:

Instead of making a blanket assertion, could you please give us an example of the "rage and venom" that you have viewed flowing from this blog? While compiling your evidence, could you please review the statements and actions taken by the Caners in the past 4 months in correspondence? Thanks.

You stated:

I never thought that I would live long enough to see godly sincere Calvinists stoop to such mudslinging as you have done. I have ashamed of you Tom for allowing such trash on your website.

I reply:

In my understanding "mud" would be tantamount to someone stating an untruth or making an unverifiable assertion. Sorry to say that every claim that has been made by Drs Ascol and White are quite verifiable. Do you possess any verifiable evidence for your assertions? :)

You stated:

I have ashamed of you Tom for allowing such trash on your website.

I reply:

The "trash" that I see on Dr. Ascol's blog is provided by those individuals seeking to criticize Drs Ascol and White and glorify the silly, sophmoric, and downright ugly tactics of the Caners.

You stated:

These two Caner men seem to be fine examples of Christlike disciples of our Lord. How can you degrade them in such a manner?

I reply:

Would you define as Christ-like someone who:

1. Jumps onto Dr. Ascol's blog several months ago full of boastful pride and ridiculous claims?
2. Refuses several debate offers
3. Claim that others who have been soundly refuted in their molinistic leanings have "refuted" Dr. White
4. Refuse correction on even the simplest Historical errors
5. Refuse to debate until called out publically
6. Refuse to acknowledge those whom you disagree with in soteriology as Christians
7. Demand that they have total contral of the debate parameters
8. Set ridiculous, non-conclusive debate parameters and then accuse your opponents of "dodging" the debate

Would you describe these actions as Christ-like?? Wow. I would describe them as immature and desperate.

You stated:

May God have mercy on your soul!

I reply:

Certainly God has shown me mercy even though there was nothing good within me that deserved salvation. I am saved only by his sovereign election and grace!

5:23 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger ServinginRussia said...

Brad - At 7:26 AM you close an entry by stating..."Gentlemen and Ladies, This has been most enlightening, extremely enlightening...and I have tried to address all who have addressed me but at this point, a Proverb comes to mind, and thus I honestly believe my time would be more wisely spent elsewhere
BR

And then, approximately one day later at 12:19 PM, you close another entry with the following..."Finally, to those who have falsely accused me or attributed motives, it is under the blood. I have no ill-will at all.
BR

Two questions:

1.In the first entry above, did you "honestly believe" your time could be better spent elsewhere or did you just "think" your time could be better spent elsewhere?

2.In the second entry above, did you mean "finally", or just "finally, until my next post...which will be in a few minutes...because I honestly don't have anything else to do"?

See you tomorrow BR.

Can I just share one of my favorite Spurgeonisms before I go? When I heard Dr. Falwell pray after Caner's infamous sermon, his prayer reminded me of what my great grandfather (just kidding...I think?) once said:

"Your fallen nature was put out of order, your will, amongst other things, has clean gone astray from God; but I tell you what will be the best proof of that; it is the great fact that you never did meet a Christian in your life who ever said he came to Christ without Christ coming to him. You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say, but you never heard an Arminian prayer-for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He cannot pray about free will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying, 'Lord, I thank thee I am not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists. Lord, I was born with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, and others did not-that is the difference between me and them.' That is a prayer for the devil, for nobody else would offer such a prayer as that. Ah, when they are preaching and talking very slowly, there may be wrong doctrine; but when they come to pray, the true thing slips out, they cannot help it."

***This post is confidential and the reposting of the said material hereuntofor is strictly prohibited without express written consent from the original author of the material in question.***

5:32 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Eric said...

servinginrussia, you said...

"************ ********** ******* ******* ******* * * ********** ******** ****** ********* **, etc."

I agree, thanks for the post!

***Please feel free to quote this post any and all places it will make me look good, otherwise see the disclaimer in servinginrussia's post that I am not allowed to quote or post.***

5:42 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Mike Miller said...

LA Pastor said (anonymously, I might add), "I like so many other pastors in Alabama (and other states too I am sure), am concerned at the amount of rage and venom I see from this website."

So I will say that I, like so many other pastors in Alabama (and other states, too, I know) appreciate you and your ministry. That doesn't mean I agree with everything written on this blog. In fact, there have been times that I found even some of the Calvinists' posts out of line. But if this is an open forum (in keeping with posted guidelines, of course), then I think you have to allow all kinds of voices to be heard.

As far as the "rage and venom," I suggest LA Pastor check out Dr. Caner's sermon against Calvinism (he can find it on aomin.org) or Dr. Caner's response to one of his own students (see Deb's first post above). And perhaps he should check out his own words when insinuating that you are not a gentleman, when stating that others' words are "trash," and when implying that you are not even a Christian ("May God have mercy on your soul!").

Anyway, brother, I have been silently monitoring this thread for a while, but I felt LA Pastor deserved a response. Oh, and as I believe I heard Danny Akin once say (If it wasn't Dr. Akin, I apologize. He was my doctoral advisor, and I have tremendous love and respect for him.), an anonymous letter was written by a coward.

5:58 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Nathan White said...

I'm not sure why all you guys are surprised at Brad's position. After all, we’re talking about Southern Baptists here. A biblical understanding of love, accountability, and church discipline aren’t exactly strong points in the SBC. After all, I’m sure the Caners have prayed the prayer; therefore, we should just trust that they are true believers who are ‘backslidden’ and leave them alone -despite what their sin testifies of them.

At least Brad is consistent with the vast majority of the Arminian side of the SBC...

Seriously though, the issue of church discipline and how to confront sin are the real issues here. Talk ethics all you want, but for some reason I still cannot find a reference to that in my concordance.

6:03 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger James White said...

Greetings:

My, the comment thread here may help us define "olam" in Hebrew class someday.

To the two drive-by comment writers who launched undocumented ad-hominems my direction: bless you and your ministries. :-) I can only give as much weight to such comments as the writers provided foundation and documentation. I would very much like to see examples of my "venom" from the first writer, but I learned many years ago now that to expect that level of documentation is about as realistic as hoping the AZ Cardinals will win the Super Bowl.
I am still, however, utterly befuddled at Dr. Reynolds. Unless I have completely missed this point, it seems he is saying that it was sinful to take e-mails that the Caners knew we had not agreed to keep secret and to place them, in their totality, not edited, not "spun," on the web. These are e-mails about a public event and a public issue, one that the Caners themselves have mentioned in chapel services and in talking to students , just as I have spoken about their contents on my webcast, updated folks on my blog about the on-going discussions, etc. And when Dr. Reynolds is challenged concerning the consistency of his stated condemnation of my action, he refuses to respond on the basis that he will not discuss the contents of the e-mails that everyone here, including himself, has read? Likewise, though his attempted parallel between truly private e-mails to one's spouse, for example, and the five-person e-mail list (now six) that the Caner correspondence entailed, has been thoroughly exploded, he continues to use it? Is this a fair summary? If so, I would have to conclude that Dr. Reynold's complaint that he is disappointed we continue to defend my action is empty and vacuous, lacking in any weight or meaning. And until Dr. Reynolds will stop hiding behind self-created walls of silence so as to interact with the material fairly, I see no reason to take his comments seriously.

Meanwhile, I continue to seek to get ANYONE at Liberty to talk to me. I continue to experience great amazement at the lengths to which some will go.

James>>>

6:06 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger Elias said...

If only the Caner's would become serious about this debate, see the need for the suggested 3 hours that is obviously necessary for a four man debate, and simply chill with the negativity, maybe then can you all can get somewhere.

7:11 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger brist7 said...

If you guys haven't heard from the moderator yet, I'm a bit skeptical as to his future fairness in the debate. He seems to "agree" with the Caners a little too much (including grammar, which is an odd thing to ask the expertise from a debating coach instead of a linguist or English teacher anyway). I worry that this guy's silence is due to his being Caner's lacky. How well would you moderate your boss if he was as hot-headed and irrational as Caner?

10:04 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger brist said...

Secondly, has anyone here watched the British parliament when it debates? It is a shouting match between the two sides. I think they just want you in this format so that they can shout the loudest and just mock Calvinism with their little one liners. I would be very cautious about this "debate" format.

10:15 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger peterfrank said...

Whew! I am glad that's over, Bros. Perhaps I can move on reading something else...

10:23 PM, May 17, 2006  
Blogger North Georgia Pastor said...

Dear Brothers in Christ,

Tonight I am deeply disturbed. My dear friend L.A. Pastor, a humble servant of God, unwittingly entered the Blogsphere and feels as though he has been crucified in his attempt to point out that Christ should be exalted in even the world of blogging. He was not prepared for the onslaught of attacks. I am not sure which one of you emailed him and made such accusations, but God knows. I seriously doubt he will dare enter again. But then, perhaps that is best.

As you will soon find out, I am not as up to date as many of you concerning the Caner brothers. However, I assure you by this time next week I will be well read on these two men. What little I do know of them, especially the one you call the Lesser, is that they are men who speak their minds. Yet they are men of integrity and sincerity.

I too share the concerns of L.A. Pastor, which stems from the amount of unChrist-like language I see on this blog concerning these two brothers of ours. There appears to be a good mixture of arrogance, pride, and jealousy in some of your comments.

Also, I just noticed that many have been overly critical of Mr. Brad Reynolds. Is he an associate of the Caners, or just another dear brother who is seeking Truth and Harmony? And why do you question his ethics and motives?

Even though I am somewhat ignorant of the Caner emails, I too agree with Mr. Reynolds that their appearance on your website is not producing an environment of Christian love.

And finally, Dr. James White why did you refer to L.A. Pastor as a driveby? He never mentioned your name, He called no one out by name. Although he referred to the” trash” on this website. Are you claiming the trash on this site? Perhaps your guilty conscience led you to respond is such a manner. Maybe not, but perhaps?

May the LORD be honored in ALL that WE do,

NorthGeorgiaPastor

12:00 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger YnottonY said...

Hi Dr. Ascol,

These comments appeared on White's blog:

Resolved: That God is an Omnibenevolent God to all of humanity through salvation and opportunity.

Here is my (White's) proposed thesis:

God Seeks to Save Every Person Equally and Without Distinction


I have a question on this issue. Now, I think James White's thesis is a fair description of the actual position of the Caners, whether they admit it or not. One of the fundamental flaws of non-Calvinists is that they think God EQUALLY wills the salvation of all mankind. In antithesis, there are at least two alternative "Calvinistic" positions, and they are: 1) God wills the salvation of all, but ESPECIALLY the elect (classical Calvinism) and 2) God only wills the salvation of the elect (high Calvinism). Now, some people use "save" in different senses, but I am talking about it in the evangelical sense, not merely physical preservation or some such idea. With that in mind, What is your position and the position of James White? Do you opt for position #1 or position #2 within the Calvinistic tradition of soteriology? Since both of you want to be precise in your understanding and description of the Caner views (which is good), I am curious to see what the views of you two are as well.

Also, White said on his blog:

"The fact is the Caners are doing all they can to make sure to protect themselves from serious interaction and examination in this "debate."

This is exactly right. Since I have had a class with Ergun Caner before, I could have said this years ago. If they want a "debate" format that does not allow for a direct Q&A cross-examination time, I think the "debate" won't be a debate at all. I will go ahead and announce the conclusion: NO ONE WON THE DEBATE. As I mentioned on my blog awile back, the "debate" will seem useless if it becomes a side by side sermonic comparison time. No direct cross-examination time will result in it being a personality or character comparison, which is what I think Ergun would want. I don't know his brother (Emir) at all, but I have spoken with Ergun face to face and in class to know. He's not one that would want to be pinned down on the issue, especially in public.

The bottom line is: If there is no direct Q&A time, buying a plane ticket or driving there seems useless to me. Plus, 2 1/2 hours is lame for a four man "debate". The format and time makes it seem useless already.

12:12 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger brad reynolds said...

Tom
Just got in, thought I would post before I went to bed. Long day tomorrow.

I called Ergun and finally caught him, he of course was extrememely busy but gave me a few minutes...he said Nadir Ahmed gave him his full approval to post the e-mail exchange publicly, in fact he agreed with Ergun that it would become an e-mail debate for both sides to post publicly. I'm assuming the differences are evident, especially since it honors Christ.

Waiting to here the response from your speaker for your Luncheon.

Cary
If you can't see the differences in: 1)the Church-State situation in which Luther found himself, 2) the local church today, and 3) this situation, then I fear I cannot help you...Perhaps it was predestined that you not see:) - a little Calvinists humor here, perhaps to lighten the mood:)

James
When I began this dialogue I assumed some things would change through truth in love...they have not. I am no longer under such an illusion. I realize I am a lone voice in a room filled with deaf ears (please don't be offended - I mean no ill-will at all. I am sure that this Blog is full of fine Christian people who share Christ with others daily and whose lives and comments are exemplary lights of Christian kindness and love. I am simply expressing my frustrations that all to whom I have spoken who have read this Blog or who I shared the situation with, agree with the wrongfulness of posting the e-mails, but the homogenous unit here does not.

Also, I have not asked you to agree with my convictions but I will ask you to honor them, to do otherwise is wrong!!! No pleading or false claims of hiding will cause me to compromise here!, so to continue to do so would be to do what I fear I am doing - typing in vain.

James again your other questions answered, refer to the 170 comments above...if I have to I will cut and paste....again.

Sadly, I feel you may not have taken the comments seriously the entire dialogue, although I could be wrong and that only apply to my disappointment (which was serious)...but I do honestly thank you for your time - the busy schedule You and Tom keep is a testimony to you, I do not know how you do it. Numerous proverbs address laziness and your lives are anything but lazy.

Thank you and all...this has been a learning experience for me in many many ways.

Finally, I feel certain the e-mails were wrong...I have voiced my concerns and expressed in the best terms my simple mind could find, now I leave it to you and the Holy Spirit. You have voiced your concerns about me also, and should do likewise also.
BR

12:13 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Brad:

I am glad you spoke with Dr. Caner about the published emails on his blog. Too bad you did not extend that same courtesy to Dr. White. Why didin't you call him before simply castigating him publicly?

Also, as I have said before to you, if you want Mark Dever's opinion, ask him directly. Why would you ask me to speculate about his opinion?

Further, when will you answer my other questions? It is beginning to appear that you have no interest in answering them. For your convenience, let me repeat them:

"I have no idea how Al Mohler, Mark Dever, or anyone else would answer your slanted questions. Why don't you ask them yourselves and not expect me to speculate on that?"

"How about asking your colleagues this question:
'Should a person feel compelled to submit to the demands to cover up scandalous accusations made by a highly regarded religious leader when those comments where made in an email exchange that began with 4 people but which the accuser expanded and when the accuser had previously requested that any public disclosure include all the comments in their entirety?'" I am still waiting to hear how your colleagues answer this question.

And this one:
"Is it just to castigate a man for posting emails that he did not post but simply linked to?" This is exactly what you have done.

"Brad, you say that this action has hurt the kingdom and hindered fellowship among brethren. Please explain exactly how this has been done."

If you are unwilling to answer these questions it would be nice if you would have the courtesy to admit it--especially since you have been so persistent in seeking answers to all of yours.

Still waiting for your answers.

12:29 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Northgeorgiapastor:

Welcome to the blog. I am sincerely sorry that your friend LA pastor got his feelings hurt. I don't know how anyone could send him email via this blog. My efforts to find his identity failed. He appears to be as anonymous as you are (unless I simply have overlooked your name in your profile).
You are welcome to come share your opinions here and you might want to check the guidelines that I linked above in my response to LA pastor. They simply outline the way that I approach the comment section of the blog.
Also, I am sure that, as one new to this issue you simply mistyped when you stated that the Caners' email exchange appears on my website. Brad Reynolds, who I am sure is a fine Christian man, has repeatedly made that same false accusation, although his charge is not made in ignorance but through asserting the moral equivalence of actually doing an act (posting the emails) and calling attention to it (linking to the site where they appear). To my mind, and to the minds of every person I have asked, that kind of ethical reasoning deserves to be challenged as it has been.
I hope this addresses at least some of your concerns.

12:47 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger brist77 said...

I'm sorry in the Kabillion posts I think I must have missed something. Was there Biblical warrant for condemning the posting of the emails or is this just a "feeling" of it not being right. Please include any and all responsible exegesis as well as the logic of the application. I'm not sure where the Bible states a theological and procedural exchange between two men must be kept between them.

3:12 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger eric opsahl said...

Cant we all just…….. get along, just kidding
It can be frustrating to see two brothers communicating without truly communicating because one doesn’t think the other is answering questions. Don’t we owe each other the simple respect of answering a question- not a political two step? For instance if I ask when we are meeting so I can buy an air ticket, you say “sometime next week”. I reply please answer the question, you say I did, you just didn’t like the answer. (of course one problem with my question is not being specific)

Perhaps a rule on these forums should be that when we ask specific questions, the person is required to give a direct answer before moving on to the next …whatever. This current issue has become a free for all. Before you know it you have brothers fighting brothers.

7:27 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger eric opsahl said...

Cant we all just…….. get along, just kidding
It can be frustrating to see two brothers communicating without truly communicating because one doesn’t think the other is answering questions. Don’t we owe each other the simple respect of answering a question- not a political two step? For instance if I ask when we are meeting so I can buy an air ticket, you say “sometime next week”. I reply to please answer the question, you say I did, you just didn’t like the answer. (of course one problem with my question is not being specific)

Perhaps a rule on these forums should be that when we ask specific questions, the person is required to give a direct answer before moving on to the next …whatever. This current issue has become a free for all. Before you know it you have brothers fighting brothers.

7:27 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Cary Loughman said...

Cary
If you can't see the differences in: 1)the Church-State situation in which Luther found himself, 2) the local church today, and 3) this situation, then I fear I cannot help you...Perhaps it was predestined that you not see:) - a little Calvinists humor here, perhaps to lighten the mood:)


Yes, that was nearly as funny as as Caner's sermon title that has been noted for its humorous content. I have a wonderful sense of humor, but potshots are normally not appreciated.

The parallel, since you seemed to have missed it, is that you are distraught that communications between churchmen is available for the "world" to see. Yet, there are many such things that have been published in books, have been digitized and are posted for all the world to see, believer and unbeliever alike. So, it would seem that any type of controversial discussions between believers, or professing believers as the case may be, should not be available for public scrutiny because of the impression it might leave on unbelievers.

9:41 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Brian R. Giaquinto said...

I know I will be blasted for this, but, here goes...

Winning an argument (or a debate for that matter), doesn't mean that one is right. Even if 100% right, one has lost if he hasn't won his brother. Isn't that the point of a Christian debate? If a brother is hurt by the way a person has argued the truth, it's the truth has been harmed the most.

I am not implicating anyone in particular. These things just came to mind.

10:08 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger peter lumpkins said...

OK, Guys,

I am new to this gig and quite frankly, I do not know if I want to play my fiddle here. But I will give it a try even if only a song or two.

Just a little history: While I stand a "calvinist" by deep conviction as perhaps most all of the participants on this blog, I possess almost no incentive to convert christendom to my soteriological conclusions, which, by the way, seems to me to strike at the core of exactly why so many non-calvinists view our theo-family as prude, arrogant and just a bit snobby. I need to remind myself everyday it is His grace that enables me to now enjoy the sweetness of His sovereignity when I on my own would sadly insist on dwelling in selfgrown illusion. Enough of that...

I have posted on blogs exactly two times prior to now (one of which is already posted here). Four years back, I logged-on to a wildly popular evangelical posting station and typed a total of, to my recall, 22 and 1/2 words. The 1/2 word was a mispell which alone produced 6 rebuttals--huge, serious questions about my intellectiual acumen. The remainder of the comments parsed every syllable of my naive post leaving me scratching my head as I stared at the monitor.

Not that I do not answer questions. To the contrary, I perpetually invite questions (mostly from my teachings, sermons, etc) but in an old fashion way of person to person socratic dialogue. Rather it was not only the volume of the questions toward my itsy, bitsy post, but the pettiness of them and the sheer taunting the challengers offered as if we were in a do or die debate about absolute truth, the deity of Jesus or some other theoprofundity. That said, I have remained "off the cyberair" so to speak. And, I have found deep satisfaction in my comfort zone of one-to-one-socraticism. where non-verbal nuances can almost instantly reveal whether or not each participant is satirical, angry, frustrated, stumped, evasive, challenged, funny, reflective etc etc etc. Unfortunately, I have found it remains for me all but impossible to be either humorous or satirical in dialogue on cyberspace (including emails)--especially between cyber-acquaintances. How many times I have had to explain a remark I made simply "in jest" but the other took it serious. An example on this post serves my point well. Someone was so upset because James White referred to a commenter as the "driveby" as if "driveby" is some evil, slanderous, dispicable, non-christian name to call someone. Frankly, I thought it an amusing metaphor that I would use both toward my self and others. Ah, but better to rethink that...

Now to why I created a blog just to post here (actually I do have another--a fun one--on myspace :)

I have followed James White for years, appreciating so much his contribution to God's Church via Apologetics. I can hardly believe how any thinking person could ever question his scholarship, his depth, his intellect, his almost exhaustive preparation for issues he tackles. I think his committment to honestly engage issues with virtually anyone who desires to dialogue about them is forged in every mind who has read him and followed his ministry. If I knew half as much as he does about many issues with which I engage, I, no doubt, would be a better man. Thank you Dr. White.

With that said, I have, at times, taken his blog out of my bookmarks for periods of time. Because his depth was getting to me? Or was it him Greeking me to death? No. I want to be challenged (somewhat:). Rather I simply could not go on and on reading his personal defenses of himself. I'd rather harvest Dr. White's non-personal defenses of our Lord and His Word and glean from them. Great virtue, I believe, exists in silence of the Lamb.

For me, it is rather unfortunate that Dr. White felt compelled to post a series of self defense here. You guys have done a more than adequate job defending his actions and character as, I think, Dr. White openly implies. Thus his posting here in self defense lends itself, I think, to exactly what I mentioned in the beginning about calvinists appearing arrogrant, prude and condescending (understand: I am NOT accusing Dr. White of being any such thing. I am saying the apparent necessity to defend onesself itself lends to others' negative perception about calvinists).

I want to make one comment about the Caner/White correspondence: aside from whether or not it was proper to post it, volumes were revealed about dialogue between Christians & Christians. I can only hope this is definitively not the norm for correspondence between Christians. If it is, well then...oh my.

As for the Caners, I wish them the best in the debate--if it happens. Yet, I feel for both of them. I know what it is to badly lose an engagement with someone. Makes you feel kinda nauseous, really. Oops! Sorry. I am devolving to fleshly snobbiness...

One final comment: I know very little about Dr. Brad Reynolds. But my assumption is, he is a great man of God, a worthy professor at one of SB's impressive institutions. And, I further assume that, though, I obviously have not followed his ministry/writings, he too packs impressive credentials and, given what I have read from him, would be not a little thirsty to know more about him.

In total, I found Dr. Reynolds posts to be--while forthright, courteous-- and certainly non-condescending. He seemed to state honestly his views on a post where he obviously remains an immigrant. On this, he and I are probably next of kin.

Giving that little background, I simply wanted to say this: for me, Dr. Reynolds last post is telling and stands quite indicative of exactly why I very little play my fiddle at gigs like these. Dr. Reynolds wrote:


...I have voiced my concerns and expressed in the best terms my simple mind could find, now I leave it to you and the Holy Spirit. You have voiced your concerns about me also, and should do likewise also.

For me, I took that as a surrender...a white flag... Not that Dr. Reynolds was giving up his convictions or conceding his views--which, he said he could make no clearer--but that he was giving up this particular converstion under the impression that he felt it was going to get little further down the pike in understanding or agreement. When I read his post, I thought "here is a classy guy that I would like to know more about." I liked his spirit. Leaving the issue in others' hands and in the Wonderful Holy Spirit. What a great ending. Not!

The next post was equally telling. Before my perceived gracious surrender of Dr. Reynolds had warmly soaked in, along comes a series of questions that absolutely must be answered by Dr Reynolds. Why the audicity of this man, Reynolds! Who do you think you are?! "I've posed questions you have not answered and I wait for a reply" appears to be the implicit response dripping from this post. This kinda reminds me of the strategy I have encountered from some guys I call the "Where did Cain get his wife?" method--answer it for them but expect a dozen more similar to it. The point? Sometimes it best to leave some questions unanswered--at least for the time being. After all, there may be other opportunities to explore it. But not if you push too hard for you definitively run the risk that the person with whom you dialogue will completely bow out of any meaningful conversation. That is, they will stop singing their song. And that, my fellow "calvinists" is tragic.

I am...peterfrank

10:22 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Dr. Ascol, North Georgia Pastor, l.a. Pastor,

The e-mail you refer to was likely from me. I posted a comment on his anonymous blog. You can click on l.a. Pastor's name to access his blog and read the comment for yourself. There is no "attacking" going on in my post. I'm guessing that "North Georgia Pastor" is referring to the fact that the blog owner receives an e-mail from blogspot.com when a post is made on his blog. At any rate, here is the post and its "accusations" in toto:

"Are you kidding? Venom from the Calvinists on this blog... I admit that I have not read every single blog. But, I did read the e-mail correspondence between the Drs. Caner and Drs. Ascol and White, and it is obvious who the venomous ones are. So, where do you pastor in lower Alabama? Just curious."

I do not see how this is an "attack". I do apologize if this hurt l.a. pastor. It was not my intent to hurt anyone. It was simply my intent to defend these gentleman and to challenge l.a. Pastor to re-examine his own "gentlemanly" entry into this blog. I thought it best to post my response to him on his own blog.

Also, I do not think that it is fair to call 2 or 3 well thought out responses (mine excluded) to l.a. Pastor "an onslaught of attacks."

l.a Pastor would be wise to re-evaluate his earlier comments and to accept the correction offered by sincere brothers. It would be advisable as well if he would be specific about the "rage and venom" he references. Certainly an apology is in order for l.a Pastor's first line, "Gentlemen, and I use that term loosely!"

l.a. Pastor and North Georgia Pastor, please accept my apologies if I am the one who wounded this brother. I welcome any correction from you and the brothers here.

Sincerely,

Tom Robertson

10:36 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger SavedandSure said...

PLEASE! Would someone (anyone) tell BRAD REYNOLDS how easy it is to start his very own blogspot?

Hopefully BRAD REYNOLDS would take the easy instructions and then we could RUSH there to learn his views on life, death, time, eternity - and everything else he wants to discuss - without being bored with his VAIN REPETITIONS.

This brother should put his ideas in book form and allow those who are interested to purchase it.

If his publisher permitted him to be as REPETITIOUS as he has been on this and other blogpots, I do not think his book would sell very well.

10:48 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Peterfrank:

Welcome. I appreciate your thoughful comments. You make some valid points about the drawbacks of this type of forum. It has it strengths, as well, but your thoughts are good reminders that this form of communication lends itself to an abruptness and edginess that isn't as quickly allowed in face-to-face dialogue.

For what it's worth, Brad and I have engaged in a spirited back and forth on here over the course of the whole 180+ comments. He repeatedly pressed me for answers to questions (some which I am not sure he even asked) while forgetting to answer those asked of him. The comment you referred to with a series of questions posed to Dr. Reynolds was from me. You may have missed my purpose so let me restate it here: Those questions were simply restatements of what I had previously asked Dr. Reynolds in earlier comments--questions that he ignored while repeatedly pressing me and others to answer his own. I listed them all in one place to make it easy for him to recognize what had not been addressed in our ongoing dialogue.
I hope you will free to post again anytime. If I read you right, we already have 2/3 of all your blog comments here, so, you might as well work to up your percentage! :-)

10:59 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Sam Hughey said...

Brian,

I don't think you will be 'blasted' but expect a few comments, hopefully edifying comments. You mention an excellent point that is sometimes either forgotten or just simply lost in the exchange of communication but something of which we must constantly remind ourselves.

The purpose of a debate can have varying defintions. Some want to just merely win an argument, some want to defeat an 'enemy' (an assumed enemy and an assumed 'victory') and some want to present an argument designed to show the weakness of an opponent's reasoning for the purpose of edifying the opponent to change their faulty reasoning. This should be the goal of The Christian Apologist. One can 'win' the argument in this process without the deliberate intent of just merely winning an argument. Hopefully, a brother in Christ is also won in this exchange but that depends upon the heart of each and especially the one who's reasoning is shown to be faulty and this is at the heart (no pun intended) of the issue of winning a brother. No doubt, if a brother is determined not to listen to sound Biblical reasoning, perhaps through the sin of pride, that brother will not be won but we must still attempt to show where another's reasoning is faulty. This is what we find commanded in 1 Peter 3:15. We must not forsake truth because it might offend a brother. If a brother is offended by truth then there is a problem in the heart of that brother. Jesus offended many people with the truth but His intent was not merely to offend but to proclaim truth.

Sam Hughey

11:16 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Brian R. Giaquinto said...

Sam,

We must not forsake truth because it might offend a brother.

Totally agree. I certainly didn't say this, and I hope I didn't imply it. My thoughts were focused on how we present our case. This is where our flesh must really be kept in check. When we are confident that we are right, sin tempts us to be condescending, triumphalistic, or down-right sarcastic. Most of all, the flesh tempts us to think that WE are the ones who must change this person's way of thinking.

In Philippians 3:16(NASB), "Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you"(emphasis mine) Of course, we remember the Lord's words that the Spirit guides us into all truth. As with salvation, we preach the good news - passionately, lovingly and correctly; however, we don't do the saving. The Spirit must enlighten - regenerate. Our methods, if hurtful or triumphal, can hinder the presentation of the Gospel to an individual. Since we are still vessels for His use, persusading a fellow Christian in doctrine is no different. We present the truth passionately, lovingly, and correctly; however the Spirit must enlighten the mind. If we present our case in any other way than gently, lovingly, yet passionately; we become a hinderance.

2 Timothy 2:24 (NASB): "The Lord's bondservant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth...

You said:
Jesus offended many people with the truth but His intent was not merely to offend but to proclaim truth.

Totally agree! However, it could be said that those who were offended, were not part of His sheep (church). (John 10:22-42, especially vs. 26)

We do have precedent in regard to a believer in error who refuses to be corrected. After going through the steps that the Lord gave us, if they refuse to change and/or respond harshly, we don't fellowship with them any longer. We do this for two reasons, either their conversion is in question, or they need the discipline of excommunication. Harsh, but a reality. I remind you that I was not implying that anyone was guilty. Let the chips fall were they may. I believe that Tom is an exceptional model of how to handle oneself in these situations. He has managed to respond lovingly and gently.

11:56 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Elias said...

"Sometimes it best to leave some questions unanswered--at least for the time being."

To expand a little on what Eric Opsahl has said already, its one thing to leave things unanswered, its another to do so without letting the person you are speaking too (typing too) know. To not acknowledge a person's question is rude and can be frustrating, just ask Tom.

Peter Frank, imagine having a discussion with a friend and you ask him a question that might, on his part "need to be left unanswered," is it right for him to suddenly become silent, as in not say a single word - just silence? Don’t you understand that that is exactly what Dr. Reynolds has been doing in not acknowledging at least the question posed to him from a brother he is having correspondence with? And he has done this not just with Tom but with others as well (including myself). This is why, I believe, we find Tom saying to him recently "If you are unwilling to answer these questions it would be nice if you would have the courtesy to admit it." When he posts his answers for one question leaving the more important ones unanswered without so much as an acknowledgement such as: "Tom, I’m not going to answer that particular question right know because…" you have to ask the question why? All you have to do is put yourself in Tom’s shoes for 2 seconds to not only be able to empathize with him a little more than you do, but also with the situation Dr. White and Dr. Ascol are having to deal with with the Caner’s and (apparently) with those at Liberty as well.

Mr. Frank, you said:
"For me, it is rather unfortunate that Dr. White felt compelled to post a series of self defense here...the apparent necessity to defend onesself itself lends to others' negative perception about calvinists."

Respectfully sir, I have to disagree. To not defend ones self, in my opinion, is a sign of weak convictions, it shows you aren't willing to stand up for what you believe. I see what Dr. White has done, addressing what Dr. Reynolds has said about him, as totally appropriate! I think I speak for most of us here when I say I wish Dr. Reynolds would do likewise and not simply come into this forum, say what he wants working other peoples emotions and sympathy as he ignores questions while appearing persecuted. Do you even realize how much he has posted here? You - 2 times. Dr. Reynolds - 34 times! He has said his farewell 3 times already.

12:41 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Sam Hughey said...

Peter, you stated, ...the apparent necessity to defend onesself itself lends to others' negative perception about calvinists. How very much untrue Peter. The anti-Calvinist has negative perceptions about Calvinists because they follow the teachings of men like the Caners (among many others) instead of Christ's teaching to speak truth everyone with his neighbor. The Caners (among many others) have deliberately misrepresented and distorted Evangelical Calvinism for a long time. To do this 'knowingly' is nothing short of being a false accuser of the brethren and to do this in ignorance is simply being foolish. Either way, the Caners (IMO) have disqualified themselves as being leaders of anything but the foolish and false accusers. Yes, I know that seems a bit harsh and perhaps even non-Christ like but the Caners will have their opportunity to prove their accusations true when (if) they debate Tom Ascol and James White.

I truly mean no disrespect Peter, but defending oneself is not only necessary, it is imperative. Scripture does not teach us to lie down and become door mats upon which the false accusers wipe their distortions and misrepresentations. We are commanded to speak the truth and not lie. How can the truth be spoken if it is not proven to be true? How can we know if a lie is indeed a lie if it is not challenged?

Sam Hughey

1:48 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Shane said...

Does anyone know what Dr Caner's dissertation was on? Or his major focus in his doctoral work? I am wondering....

2:28 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger peter lumpkins said...

Brother Elias,

Thank you for your post concerning my little script (by the way, my middle name is Frank, so you can just call me Peter if you wish). I so appreciate your spirit and passion for both truth itself— expressed by your desire to defend your deeply held convictions—as well as your able defense of your honorable brethren, White & Aschol. In fact, you better make one of the points I attempted when I wrote that others on this site capably defended Dr. White without Dr. White necessarily having to post defense himself. Thank you for underlining that for me.

I have tried the mental exercise, Elias, as you suggested, and thought of an imaginary discussion with a friend, who, having received a question from me became suddenly silent. This is my mental picture: it may be, if I know my friend, he suffers ADD, as do I, and simply wasn’t even listening to me, but to the contrary, possessed a collage of unrelated ideas swirling in his brain such that he could not repeat the question were I to ask him. Or, maybe he was internally struggling with any number of things—cancer, lust, marital problems, etc. The point is, if he were my friend, I would definitively cut him some slack, and refuse to insist on an answer—at least presently. Understand, however: the analogy, Elias, is a tad different with my imaginary encounter and the AK47 approach I observed on this blog. What if we changed it to say, “Imagine, Peter, you asked a friend six-essay-type-questions (no Y/N) and your friend just looks at you with a blank stare” If this is more similar to the situation on this blog—and I think it may be—I would not blame him. I too may be silent and wonder if it is remotely productive to tackle all the questions.

Perhaps we could sum up the difference I observe this way: Justice demands answers to all six--I answered your ten, now by George, you answer my six! Fair’s fair. Mercy, on the other hand, may ask, but it seems reasonable to me that Mercy may rarely—if ever—demand. Admittedly, Dr. White rightly expects answers pertaining to the debate. Who would argue otherwise? But we are not referring to what must happen in formal contracts. Rather we are talking of free dialogue between at least two persons. For me, in my relationships with others and attempting to dialogue with them about the stuff of life, I like to think I work more from the Mercy grid rather than the former. I simply affirm mercy in dialogue…I desire to cut my brother some slack…

In conclusion, Elias, I guess we just disagree on one of the final comments you made:
To not defend ones self, in my opinion, is a sign of weak convictions, it shows you aren't willing to stand up for what you believe.

Besides being a little overkill if one desires to use that as a working moral principle by which to live (that is, if it is so, it appears our speechless Lamb oozed weakness not strength as He stood before His shearers), though others have every right to think how pitifully impotent I am, I do not at all feel weak because I refuse to repel every bomb thrown at me by launching a series of endless self-defenses. And, of course, I do understand how this can become tricky. After all, I certainly may be charged at this very moment for blatant inconsistency in defending my view on how one should not defend one’s view. But of course, I do not believe one should decidedly not defend one’s view and, if I remotely implied that, I, without any delay whatsoever, recant in double sackcloth and triple ashes.

For me, it is not my views or my convictions that cannot be defended. Surely Scripture is crystal in this. And, Elias, you stand most certainly correct: believers must defend the once for all faith given to us. Rather, I absolutely will not make a habit of defending my integrity, my character, my person, my soul, my motives, my heart to the hordes of challenges that come toward it. I learned this lesson well while a Pastor. I am who I am and that’s all I am. Others may defend me…even I may defend me. But when I do— and evidently, contrary to you, Elias—I do not feel so good about it. For me, it solicits pride, which some feel—not you, my brother—but some feel is strength. Not me. I’d rather look weak.

Grace to you, I am…

peterfrank

2:29 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger North Georgia Pastor said...

Dear Tom and Fellow Brothers,

Due to my extremely busy schedule I will be unable to blog daily. As most of you know the daily life of ministry is quite time consuming. However, I feel the need to lay aside my duties temporarily and briefly respond to your responses to my first blog as well as my friend L.A. Pastor.

At the outset let me say that several bloggers have been fair and Christ-like in their assessments of the Caner’s. Even though I may disagree with you. You have honored our Lord with your comments. However, below are some comments less beneficial to the Kingdom.

First, some of you wanted documentation of venom and mudslinging. When Preacherdog says ‘This "theological bulldog" more closely resembles a HYENA!” that is certainly mudslinging! And Scripturesearcher2 says “The self-acclaimed PIT BULL of the Liberty institution seems to be rather rabid and emotionally unfit to participate in a rational debate based upon the truth of Scripture and the facts of history” as well as other remarks about Dr. Ergun Caner’s need for vaccination surely qualify.

Additionally, Scott shows his disdain for Drs. Patterson and Akin when he addresses them as Paige and Danny. Is there no respect for these men and their contributions to God’s kingdom?

Then sojourner accuses the Caner’s of trickery. Where is his proof?

And of course Dr. James White says “And until the Caners purposefully, willfully, maliciously, "went silent" for three weeks, I still hoped it would not be necessary”. Who is he to determine WHY the Caner’s were silent. Perhaps they were busy dispensing God’s word! Did that even cross his mind? Has God given Dr. White the ability to determine motive?

Genembridges refers to the Caner’s as “2 adolescent schoolboys going to shoot cats in the dark Georgia night.”

These are just a few of the remarks that appear to be venomous and filled with hatred. Not to mention the remarks calling Dr. Ergun Caner “a pig on pork day” and other demeaning comments.

Second, Dr. James White has failed to comment on my earlier question, which was “, Dr. James White why did you refer to L.A. Pastor as a driveby? He never mentioned your name, He called no one out by name. Although he referred to the” trash” on this website. Are you claiming the trash on this site? Perhaps your guilty conscience led you to respond is such a manner. Maybe not, but perhaps?

Dr. White I have provided evidence of venom and mudslinging. None of which had your name attached. Why did you get so offensive at my friend? He never named you, but you attacked him.

Also your comments “To the two drive-by comment writers who launched undocumented ad-hominems my direction: bless you and your ministries. :-) I can only give as much weight to such comments as the writers provided foundation and documentation. I would very much like to see examples of my "venom" from the first writer, but I learned many years ago now that to expect that level of documentation is about as realistic as hoping the AZ Cardinals will win the Super Bowl.” are about as sarcastic as I have seen anywhere. Perhaps comments like this prohibit the Caner’s from dialogue with you?

Third, Some of the comments surrounding this professor at Southeastern Seminary 9Brad Reynolds) are just wrong. I find his questions to be interesting, thought provoking and refreshingly honest. I do not view this man as a trouble-maker, but rather a genuine brother in Christ concerned with the way the image of our Lord is being portrayed by the posting of confidential emails. I think this man has a point.

Lastly, Dr. Reynolds, my dear brother Please forgive me for referring to you as Mr. Reynolds. I intended no disrespect. I will refer to you as Dr. Reynolds in future references. May the Lord bless you as you teach our young SBC minds. Fill them with the love of our Lord.

NorthGeorgiaPastor

2:31 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger peter lumpkins said...

My Brother Sam,

Thank you. I do hear your heart and do not at all feel any disrespect whatsoever. The comments I just posted to Elias, I believe, may be worth a peek. I sense they may shed some light on your post to me. With that, I am...

PeterFrank

2:35 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger James White said...

I am truly in a quandry here. I have been challenged to defend myself by "North Georgia Pastor." But "PeterFrank" thinks that is all I do...defend myself. So, it would seem if I respond to North Georgia Pastor, PeterFrank will have me! But if I don't, well, then North Georgia Pastor will say I can't answer his accusations! What is a man to do?

First, I will point out to PeterFrank that an apologist gives a reasoned defense of the faith, and the vast majority of my published works, and my blog, are focused on just that. The idea that my blog is constantly filled with nothing but personal defense (against what, I wonder?) is, I believe to any unbiased observer, a misrepresentation.

So, having removed that objection, to NGP (North Georgia Pastor)...

When folks jump into the middle of a lengthy conversation, shoot up the place with a varied group of accusations offered without the courtesy of substantiation, in the majority of instances, that will be the last time you see them. And, ironically, that seems to be what you are indicating here, too. Hence, it is a "drive-by" posting. Folks who do "drive-bys" have no intention of sticking around and actually doing something meaningful like backing up what they have to say. They are just passing by. Take a few pot shots, leave. Hence the description. Even PeterFrank thought it was appropriate. :-)

Now, you wrote,

And of course Dr. James White says "And until the Caners purposefully, willfully, maliciously, "went silent" for three weeks, I still hoped it would not be necessary”. Who is he to determine WHY the Caner’s were silent. Perhaps they were busy dispensing God’s word! Did that even cross his mind? Has God given Dr. White the ability to determine motive?

There is no question that the silence was purposeful. They received our e-mails. They chose not to respond to them. There is no question of this, is there? And in the context of then accusing me of "delaying tactics" after they *chose* to stop talking to us for three weeks...can you not see the reailty of the situation? I'm sorry, but any person in their situation "busy dispensing God's Word" can take a moment to respond to an e-mail. They purposefully chose not to (notice, *both* did this at the same time, showing clearly that there was collusion on their part). I think most clear-headed folks can see what took place in that situation, don't you? You went on to say,

Dr. White I have provided evidence of venom and mudslinging. None of which had your name attached. Why did you get so offensive at my friend? He never named you, but you attacked him.

The double standards here are amazing. This is the extent of my "attack" upon L.A. Pastor:

I would very much like to see examples of my "venom" from the first writer, but I learned many years ago now that to expect that level of documentation is about as realistic as hoping the AZ Cardinals will win the Super Bowl.

Now, if you are offended by the reference to the Cardinals, I can fully understand. Being likened to that group of less-than-mediocre misfits led by an owner who will never, ever allow them to be a winning team *would* be quite offensive. So I sincerely apologize if L.A. Pastor never again comments in the blogosphere because of a terrible case of Cardinalparallelophobia. I should be ashamed of myself.

I might add in passing...a number of your "rage and venom" examples (none of which fulfilled by request) had to do with Ergun Caner's own self-promotion. I'm sorry, but if you put up a tremendously sharp website in your own name that has as its main feature---your own face (replete with Glamour Shots, fully downloadable in 4-6 meg file sizes, suitable for desktops, framed pictures, Ergun Caner Fan Club t-shirts, you name it!) in various pensive poses, all with slogans about how fearless you are, how unflinching you are, how you've engaged in a zillion debates, and how you've been identified as the "intellectual pit bull of the evangelical world," well, you are sort of inviting a bit of refutation when you flinch, duck, and in general act opposite to your personally produced public persona.

James>>>

4:13 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Jon Unyan said...

Greetings everyone,

Well now, this appears to have gotten out of hand a bit. Careful brethren. I would say that neither side is lily white in regard to this whole matter, but Drs. White and Ascol have definitely (although not perfectly) shown restraint and Christian maturity. Any objective reader can clearly see this. Now let's wait for the debate, shall we? By the way, ynottony asked a very good question a few rows back. I would be interested in Dr. White or Dr. Ascol's response. Thank you!

--Jon Unyan

4:18 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Tom said...

Ynot and John Unyon:

I believe that God desires for all people to be saved but has purposed to save His elect. I see two (at least two) dimensions in God's will: revealed and decretive. Failure to make this kind of distinction is a failure to read the Bible's teachings on the will of God accurately.

4:32 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Nathan White said...

I am shocked to hear North GA Pastor say: “Additionally, Scott shows his disdain for Drs. Patterson and Akin when he addresses them as Paige and Danny. Is there no respect for these men and their contributions to God’s kingdom?”

Sir, will you please identify yourself? I live in North Georgia, and I would honestly like to know who is making these accusations. Have the conviction to stand by your words.

Now as to your comments above: failing to call these men Dr. or Pastor is a sign of disrespect? May I remind you of the words of our Lord?

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

You won't see Tom Ascol and James White offended at being referred to on a first name basis. When titles are demanded as a sign of respect you have joined company with the pharisees.

In addition, have you even considered that Scott may be on first name basis with these two?

5:12 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger peter lumpkins said...

Dr. White,

I did not ever think I would be in conversation with you--even cyberconversation. Greetings! I feel humble that words I penned solicited your response. Thank you.

May I repeat what, in essence, my comments were pertaining to the contirbution your ministry has offered to Apologetics, Dr. White: surely no one--even with surface familiarity with you could honestly question your committment to Biblical truth, scholarly opinion and fair critique of the ideas men devise to overthrow truth. For this, I can only say thank you once again.

I am glad that you set the record straight on exactly the role of God's Apologist--to offer reasoned defense of the faith. For it ever seems we sometimes carelessly confuse defending the faith once given--which is non-negotiable--and defending ourselves which, from my view,is.

Nevertheless, I must mention the post you just logged, Dr. White, is the most perfect thing on earth for which a man such as I could presently long. For it represents precisely--even better still than the Elias' post--what I so miserably failed to accomplish by my own post: this seemingly non-quenchable urge in us to defend ourself. But, I must concede to you, Dr. White, if, in the end, that floats your boat, do it. I don't think I'll again, shall we say, "have you".

Finally, while it would be most embarrassing were I to find myself in the awkward position of defending myself--especially here and now :-)--I just wanted to point out that what is concluded from comments I posted pertaining to the works you have accomplished does not precisely follow. The only way, it seems to me, that it follows, that the comments I posted is a "misrepresentation" of your works, is that the "idea that my blog is constantly filled with nothing but personal defense..." reflects the words I posted. The old If-Then rule.

But, happily for me, I only wrote, to my recall, that I removed your blog from my bookmarks for periods of time because of continued personal defense. Maybe some days were worse for you than others and you felt you couldn't take it anymore so you started blasting back. Granted. And while I simply do not know the circumstances or pressures you feel or compulsions you possess, that does not mean I have to read lenghty personal defenses. I'd much rather focus on your brilliant doctrinal defenses. Thus, my reasoning for staying away from your site for a spell...

May our Lord continue His grace on your ministry. With that, I am...

PeterFrank

5:39 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger YnottonY said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your reply. Do you know whether or not Dr. White would agree with what you've said? Or would he think that God only "desires" to save the elect? This will make a significant difference in how one approaches the Caner debate.

Basically, the Caners and other non-Calvinists have taken a half=truth (that God desires to save all of mankind) and absolutized it as the whole truth, as if there is no special, unconditional decree that concerns the efficacious salvation of the elect alone. So, someone like Ascol can say, "Gentlemen, you have some truth, but not the whole truth on the matter of God's desire to save."

However, if one thinks that God only desires to save the elect, then they will have to say that the Caners have no truth on that salvation issue. That's a significantly different perspective. I tend to think that the Caners believe their Calvinistic opponents hold this strict and high Calvinist view, i.e. that God only desires to save the elect. If that is not the case, then both parties, including White as well, should make that clear and explicit.

p.s. I would agree with what you've stated Dr. Ascol. I would also say that the revealed "desire" to save all mankind is an "active principle," as R. L. Dabney argues. I mean, this desire is not merely something passive and constitional, but God acts on this desire. That's also a difference between a classical conception of Calvinism and high Calvinism that Dabney effectively addresses.

Grace to you,
Tony

5:53 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger bristo said...

So Peter, do you take the Apostle Paul off your reading list because he defends himself way to much? Perhaps you haven't experienced this, but often when people want to undermine your credibility, so people do not listen to the message you are speaking, they will attack you. As Paul is example, when this occurs, to defend oneself is not only acceptable, but a divine mandate (since you are not trying to defend from merely a personal attack, but from an attack indirectly pointed at the message via attacking you). I think your critique would be of the apostles as well and therefore think that this is more a case of your opinion (perhaps gained from a "feeling" of what should be) of what is Christ-like as opposed to the examples of Christ-likeness we have in the Scripture.

6:11 PM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger bristo said...

Just to add, I think Paul defends himself in just about every letter he writes (the Corinthian letters having the most material in them).

6:14 PM, May 18, 2006  

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