Friday, May 21, 2010

Ergun Caner and the exposure of the Evangelical celebrity zeitgeist

I am sure many of my American readers would have known about the Ergun Caner saga, in which Liberty University president Ergun Caner has been outed for having embellished his testimony and biography at the very least, as serious contradictions have emerged from conflicting dates in his biography, exposed initially by a Muslim by the name of Mohammad Khan, whose Youtube account has since been deleted through pressure tactics from certain *ah-hem* 'Christian leaders'. The "evil bloggers" are here to stay as they attack... call Caner to come clean regarding the many contradictions he has made on various subjects.

The New Evangelical flagship magazine Christianity Today has proven itself again in its spin on the situation in an article by John W. Kennedy entitled Bloggers target Seminary President, where the typical New Evangelical spin machine worked overtime to cast the entire issue as one of the "nasty unaccountable bloggers" who have a personal grudge against poor Ergun Caner, persecuted by those who are supposed to be fellow Christians, a fact that Dr. James R. White (certainly no *mere blogger*) pointed out. Gene Clyatt aka "Squirrel" likewise pointed that out in his blog post addressing the biased CT article.

Since then, this story has been picked up the Huffington Post. With that the issue has now been gotten out of supposed Christian circles, and little good would come out of this mess.

Prof. R. Scott Clark over at the Heidelblog has posted an excellent piece addressing the Evangelical sub-culture of revivalism behind the entire Caner fiasco. The distrust in God's sovereignty in salvation and evangelism, the maturation of the [Charles G.] Finneyist Pelagian paradigm of salvation being brought about by the mere proper usage of natural means, and the emphases on the importance of strong antithetical conversion experiences and testimonies (a sharp contrast between the "before" and "after" of Christian conversion experience) — ideas that lie at the foundation of revivalism — has brought about the fertile soil necessary for the celebrity cult and the embellishment of Christian testimonies to come about. Caner is merely the person caught in the act this time around; the victim and perpetrator of the entire revivalist tradition that is sadly strongly based in the New Evangelical movement and has influenced others outside it as well.

On the other side of the Evangelical sub-culture, the celebrity cult and the lack of doctrinal teaching and discernment has created the vicious culture of "pastor/leader-worship" where defenders of Ergun Caner have decided to attack all have even the audacity (according to them) to raise questions about their hero. The entire cultic mentality prevalent in various segments of so-called Evangelicalism shocked Dr. White who posted quite a few of these responses that are basically variations of the theme "my hero Ergun Caner right or wrong". One person, Craig Daliessio, has even decided to personally attack and insult Dr. White (with profanity included), in a email message worthy of the AODmers — those self-styled watchblog of watchblogs.

The point in bringing up that particular sub-culture is that this is the prevalent "culture" in many unorthodox churches. Try criticizing the Antinomian Joseph Prince and his supporters react EXACTLY the same way, a fact I have personally experienced. Try criticizing the Word-faith movement, the NAR or whatever groups that are probably not on the radar screens of ill-informed Reformed folks and you would have stirred up a hornet's nest in their followers. Unfortunately, the effeminate Evan-jellyfishes have embraced more and more of this sub-culture, exacerbated by them having embraced the postmodern zeitgeist also. Is it any wonder that we find a significant number of such professing Christians around?

May God have mercy on us as the New Evangelical movement, and even it seems her sister the New Evangelical Calvinism, accelerates at full throttle towards destruction.

Add: TE (Teaching Elder) Brain Carpenter over at Scott Clark's post posted an excellent sarcastic comment on this issue as follows:

Not to go off on a tangent, but….

He was outed by bloggers. This is more proof that blogging is evil and “blog” is a four letter word! It is imperative that we throttle the flow of information and restore the information monopoly that those in power have always enjoyed. How else can we get anything strategically planned?

Anything less than a total return of information dissemination to those in power is to violate the Ninth Commandment, to engage in “blogsip”, and be unloving and just plain not nice. Especially if they’re Calvinists

Absolutely hilarious!

5 comments:

Ergun Caner Conman said...

This Ergun Caner saga can not be a product of an individual Caner. The context(s) demands an Ergun Caner size lies and exaggerations.

First, the American culture in general is hungry for shallow sensational rhetorics. Daily gossips and cheap journalism such as National Enquires, etc exist to satisfy the other side of American psyche which is hungry for the unbelievable.

Actually there are around 15.000 Moslems per day convert to the Christian faith (acc. Al Jazeera TV). So why the Ergun Caner's lies?

If you check Caner's website you can see this Baptist preacher and seminary president selling T-Shirts, Mugs, etc. This guy is out to make money. He just found the Baptist groups are the more prone to his exaggerations and lies.

Second, Baptist churches and leaders of SBC are responsible to promote this guy Caner as their mascot to draw Baptist crowds and bring in profits. Baptist culture is responsible for the production of this 'monster' this Frankenstein they now wanting to avoid or to destroy.

Where are these people and leaders who helped to create this 'Frankenstein?' Where are the Pilates of SBC?

Denise said...

I notice that those who attack bloggers are often bloggers themselves. Even CT has their blog called "Out of Ur". LOL. Ah, the hypocrisy eh?

"A little plain-speaking would do a world of good just now. These gentlemen desire to be let alone. They want no noise raised. Of course thieves hate watch-dogs, and love darkness. It is time that somebody should spring his rattle, and call attention to the way in which God is being robbed of his glory, and man of his hope.

For the present it behoves believers to be cautious, lest they lend their support and countenance to the betrayers of the Lord."

~Spurgeon

PuritanReformed said...

@Denise:

consistency is not a virtue of these people - that is for sure.

On the other hand, there are indeed those who do not have blogs who attack bloggers. If I'm not wrong, JI Packer belong to that category.

Lydia said...

Daniel, I so agree about the celebrity cult of personality you write about. But I have seen much the same thing on both sides of the debate. Piper, Grudem, Mohler, Dever, CJ Mahaney are all cult of personality types. People follow them, too. Blindly, I might add.

PuritanReformed said...

@Lydia:

I agree. Celebrity Christianity is quite ubiquitous on both sides, as the recent Warrrengate scandal showed