A Christian Bumpkin met a Lumpkin on the road to Oz
Said the Bumpkin to the Lumpkin, "Would you kindly pause?
Could you please explicate the meaning of exonerate?
So that the pounding in my pate, you may help alleviate?"
Said the Lumpkin to the Bumpkin, "Sir, I have no time.
A Caner said some silly things and some say it’s a crime.
For Caner I must formulate excuses they will tolerate.
Allowing us to obfuscate and forever more to exculpate."
And so the Bumpkin left the Lumpkin to find a better way
The Bible always speaks the truth, beating nonsense any day
(With sincerest apologies to serious writers of verse)
Until recently I have been a fan of Norm Geisler. His book, “Baker Encyclopedia of Apologetics” is both extensive and helpful. His “Big Book of Biblical Difficulties was particularly helpful in answering questions that I had about hard verses in the Bible.. I would heartily recommend both books.
But, my opinion of Geisler has taken a nosedive in light of the Ergun Caner debacle. Geisler has written two letters on the subject and reportedly asked that they be widely distributed. Both letters were published on Wade Burleson’s site, Grace and Truth to You.
However, both letters can be read at Peter Lumpkin’s site and Norm Geisler’s Facebook page. They are reprinted here for your perusal. Please note that I have highlighted some words in bold.
“To Whom It May Concern:
I am familiar with the slanderous charges that have been made against Dr. Ergun Caner generated by some Muslim groups and other extremists. I have looked into the matter, talking with Ergun and other principal parties at Liberty, and am convinced that the charges are libelous. I am also convinced that whatever ambiguous or misstatement that may have been made, Dr. Caner has done nothing heretical, immoral, or illegal. I stand with him against these vicious attacks. He has taken a strong stand on important issues that stir up controversy, but to my knowledge has done nothing unorthodox or malicious. I urge all to consider him innocent unless proven guilty. He has welcomed an inquiry from the Liberty authorities. Let’s await their findings. Christians have a bad habit of shooting their wounded. Let’s pray for and encourage our brother.” Norm Geisler
"An extensive independent investigation has exonerated Dr. Ergun Caner of all the false charges made against him by extreme Muslims and others and has been retained as a Professor at Liberty University. In spite of a few misstatements (which we all make and he has corrected), nothing has diminished his testimony and orthodoxy as one of the great Christian voices of our time. I totally support him." Norman Geisler
Now, lets add a statement by Peter Lumpkins, an apologist for Caner who authors a site called SBC Tomorrow
“No matter how honest one may be with one’s words, some people will call you dishonest and a liar. They will ridicule, mock, and dismiss.
Great leaders make verbal errors, misspeak, convolute facts, and have memory lapse. No scholar, preacher, apologist, or pastor can stand publicly week-in and week-out without slips of the tongue, confusion of facts, wrong dates, wrong places, wrong timelines, etc. etc. It will never be done by anyone. Period. Some are more gross than others. Nonetheless, the best we can do is propose to be better, to be more careful, to be humble.
Standing on principle remains a non-negotiable aspect of my life in Jesus Christ. I absolutely refuse to cater to the herd mentality. Throughout this exchange, I continued to sing one single song—innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. And, as I said earlier, on the one hand, Dr. Caner was fully vindicated concerning his life testimony. On the other hand, and far less significant, Dr. Caner was found guilty of verbal discrepancies–discrepancies for which he sincerely offered his deepest regret. The investigatory committee spoke, and I am publicly obligated to accept their findings”.
Since it seems cool to issue an open letter to…. whoever, here is my open letter to Geisler and Lumpkins.
7/3-I apologize for three minor errors that Junkster, an alert reader, pointed out. I have made some corrections demarcated in bold. I attributed one statement to Geisler that should have been attributed to Lumpkins. Two statements were attributed to both but both statements were quoted directly from Lumpkins. However these two statements were but also implied by Geisler.
I did, however, place the text of three statements from Geisler and Lumpkins at the start of this post. I apologize for the confusion and want to be sure that Peter Lumpkins gets all of the credit he deserves. But, the corrections in no way change one iota the statements that were made nor my assessment of them. I disagree profoundly with both gentlemen.
I have been an admirer of Mr. Geisler for many years. I have only recently begun to read Mr. Lumpkins thoughts. Here are a list of claims you have made and my responses.
1. You, (Geisler) claim that slanderous and libelous charges have been made about Caner from Muslim groups and other extremists.
I am a middle-aged mother who has lived a traditional and conservative Christian life. How shortsighted of you to call me, as well as others "extremists" before extensively investigating the backgrounds of those of us who objected to Caner’s lies.
I assume that you do not have a legal background and would suggest that you do not make legal judgments about those of us who made certain claims against Caner. The word slander means “ a false and damaging statement.” The word libelous means “false and harmful to somebody’s reputation”.(Word reference tools). Please note the word false is joined by the words "and damaging/harmful". This means that we said something that was not true. It means that we said something dishonest in order to damage someone’s reputation.
The only one who said something fallacious in this situation was Ergun Caner. Let’s get something straight, once and for all, CANER WAS NOT A JIHADIST, PERIOD!!!!!!!!!! What he said was not only false, but it was damaging to the faith. Why? Because the world watches this stuff and rejects us as a bunch of liars. Never forget that Satan is the author of lies and Caner's prevarications were doozies.
2. You (Geisler) said the following: "In spite of a few misstatements (which we all make and he has corrected), nothing has diminished his testimony and orthodoxy as one of the great Christian voices of our time".
Perhaps you are living in a different world than me. But I no longer trust one word that this man says. If he can’t get his own biography straight, how in the world can he convey the biography of our Lord? What does it matter if you get the theology straight when you don’t practice its precepts? Didn’t Jesus say “I am the Truth?” So do we tell the world that Jesus tells the truth but we humans kind of fudge it but that’s OK?
If a man who has lied about his past is “one of the great Christian voices of our time,” then the church is in real trouble. By the way, has he ever corrected the fact that he wasn’t a jihadist, after all? In fact, where has he extensively amended anything? Did he send a letter to the churches in which he spoke, clearing up the record? Didn’t he recently stand in classes at Liberty claiming he was innocent?
3. You (Geisler) claim that he did nothing heretical, immoral, illegal, unorthodox or malicious.
Well, I know you don’t beat your wife. Why do I bring that up? Does it have anything to do with my disagreement with your statements? Such a tactic is meant to change the subject so that the more awkward issues won;t be discussed.
You brought up the issues of heresy, orthodoxy and legality. These were not the concerns of those who were upset with Caner. They were irritated because he was telling false stories. I know that I am not a great Biblical scholar like you are, but I was taught that the Bible says that lying is a sin. Sin is immoral. Knowingly telling a lie can be construed as malicious unless the guy is mentally ill.
4. You (Geisler) ( Correction 7/3- Lumpkins) said ““No matter how honest one may be with one’s words, some people will call you dishonest and a liar.
Can you please tell me how hard Caner was trying to be honest? Please give me some examples. If his testimony as a jihadist is any indication of his veracity, I would say that Caner barely broke a sweat trying to be sincere.
5.(7/3 correction Lumpkins said ) but both of you implied that “Great leaders make verbal errors, misspeak, convolute facts, and have memory lapse”.
Are you really saying that Caner is a “great” leader?! Here is a list of some great leaders: Luther, Calvin, Polycarp, Wesley, Liddle, Graham, and Wilberforce. Are you actually implying that Caner measures up to these truly great leaders? If so, pack up the babies and head for the hills because Christianity is definitely on a downward slide.
If my child consistently forgot where he grew up and made claims that he was raised as a jihadist, I would seek help for him because he either had a brain tumor, was mentally ill or, even worse, a liar. Sir, this is not verbal error. It is a consistent misrepresentation of the facts that began, suspiciously, around the time of 9/11. Could it be the Caner was playing to our fears?
6. Both of you claim he was exonerated and fully vindicated by Liberty University and that he expressed his sincerest regret for his “verbal discrepancies ( 7/3 correction- or misstatements)
Are you both living in a different country than me? Where are his “sincerest regrets?” Were they sent to the churches and schools where he made these “ambiguities?” I know that a local school who hosted said former jihadist did not receive an expression of regret. They are waiting patiently.
A demotion is not exoneration. You both are guilty of doublespeak and so dishonor the transparency and forthrightness of our Lord. You both should be ashamed for calling honest brothers and sisters in the faith, “extremists”. You have diminished your good names in demeaning decent people and covering up for a one of your own. Are you both so used to deep sixing indiscretions that it has become second nature to you? Has the culture of Enron invaded the faith?
Both of you have left me most confused. Are you saying that I should not be concerned about someone who lies? You seem to be calling consistent falsehood, a minor misunderstanding. Are you saying that a great person (I guess if you say it, it must be true) should be allowed some latitude to tell tall tales so long as its in the service of our Lord?
This is why one of our readers, Lydia, admonishes all of us to read the Scriptures for ourselves. Something is very, very wrong in Christendom and I am rapidly losing my trust in you and others. I reject what you both have written as some New Age gobbledygook. However, there is One who will never fail me or lie to me. His name is Jesus.
I leave you with this quote by C.S. Lewis-"It matters enormously if I alienate anyone from the truth."
Dee for The Wartburg Watch Ladies