We are oft to blame in this, -'tis too much proved, – that with devotion's visage,and pios action we do sugar o'er the devil himself.” Shakespeare
Dee on Vacation 11/8-11/19
I will be taking my elderly mother and her husband to fulfill their lifelong dream to cruise through the Panama Canal. I have bought 200 minutes of Internet time for $100 on the cruise. Needless to say, my input will be minimal. I am prewriting my posts, etc. Deb will post them. Friends and family will be staying at my house to care for my dogs, etc (This is to notify all criminals as to the secure status of my house!) My prayers will be with you all. Trust me, I will need tranquilizers to deal with my sudden withdrawal from the blog!
I knew that Ergun Caner would not go silently into that dark night. For those of you who do not know the story, here it is in a nutshell. TWW wrote a series of posts on Caner who used to be the President and Dean of Liberty University Theological Seminary. He claimed to have been raised to be a jihadist until his conversion to Christianity. TWW believes he used the 9/11 tragedy to launch his career as a speaker and author. Even the US Military invited him to speak to the troops about terrorism! So much for vetting! Well, it appears he lied, big time. He was not raised as a jihadist in Turkey but was born in Sweden and raised in Ohio. He was removed from his position and eventually left Liberty to became Provost at Arlington Baptist College which does not speak well for that institution.
Sadly, a Muslim student first exposed him. The thing that tipped him off was Caner's improper pronunciation of his native language and improperly recitation of Islamic prayers. Thankfully, Debbie Kaufman of Wade Burleson’s church believed the student’s story and assisted him in exposing the lies. She was excoriated and threatened during this time. Tom Rich of FBC Jax and TWW quickly jumped on the bandwagon along with the national media. There is little question about the whoppers that he told. Unbelievably, some groups still invite him to be a speaker!
Here are some links if you wish to get caught up on this story.
TWW believes that Ergun Caner lied about his background and we do not think that he should be allowed to speak to any Christian groups until he repents. We have not seen any evidence of remorse on his part. I have embedded a video at the end of this post that documents both Ergun Caner’s embarrassing history and the incident at CCCM.
To the subject at hand!
I believe that some Christians are becoming better educated due to the information available on the internet and are far less willing to tolerate baloney! Let me introduce you to Nick VanderLaan, a former pro ball player who is(well, most likely was) a member of Chuck Smith’s venerable Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa (CCCM). I read about this story on the Ephesians511, Calvary Chapel Abuse and BGBC blogs here, here and here.
According to Ephesians 511, in the month before Ergun Caner was scheduled to speak at CCCM on 10/29/11, a couple of members of the church, including VanderLaan, wrote and called the leadership of CCCM asking them to cancel Caner’s speaking engagement due to Caner’s dubious history. They were blunt, calling Caner a liar. The 511 blog has posted copies of the correspondence along with many legal documents for the events that transpired.It is important to note that VanderLaan was a long time donor to this church. (You know, putting your money where your mouth is).
There was allegedly no response to their concerns and the meeting went on as planned. Frustrated, Nick decided that he needed to attend the meeting and warn the attendees of Caner’s past.
From Ephesians 511 we learn that, as Nick entered the sanctuary, he heard Ergun Caner say to the crowd to “Twitter me” with questions. Nick spoke out and said
“I have a problem with you. You’re are a liar, you’re a fraud and you need to repent.”
For what it is worth, Dee concurs. Here is the You Tube recording of the actual incident. In the recording, you will hear Nick talking about another You Tube video exposing Caner. That video is embedded at the end of this post.
At this point, 6 men reportedly grabbed Nick, handcuffed him and brought him to the church gymnasium and made him kneel while waiting for the Santa Ana police to arrive.
The men told Nick that he had sinned. He asked how. They said he disturbed the church service. He retorted that Jesus had overturned the tables in the Temple. He was told he was not Jesus and “This is Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.” (Well, Dee is so impressed, CCCM!)
The police arrived, took Nick to the station and Calvary Chapel lovingly “pressed charges.” According to the Calvary Chapel Abuse blog (please continue to pray for Alex Grenier who is being sued by his father, a CC pastor)
“Adding insult to injury, Nick has tried many times to address the issue of both Caner and the detainment and subsequent arrest with Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Leadership…with “no attorneys”…basically Nick wanted to follow Scripture and deal with this in a Matthew 18 manner.”
One year later the charges were dropped, most likely due to the obvious fact that this was an internal church matter.
Julie Anne Smith, at BGBC, had this to say about the incident.
“But as I was reading this article, what struck me was how fast police were involved in this situation. As we've been reading about so many abuse cases where pastors or church leaders refuse to report crimes (including cases at Calvary Chapel), look how fast they reported this church disruption as a CRIME by getting civil authorities involved and consequently Nick arrested.
So disrupting a conference is worse than child rape or sodomy, or spousal abuse? Give me a break, people. I see how it is – they call the police when it benefits them, but when there are real crimes like sex abuse in the church or spousal abuse, they do NOT call authorities at all.”
Here is my short take on this situation. Churches, such as Calvary Chapel, must understand that they cannot conduct business as usual. That business was made possible by the control of information by the church leaders. However, due to the Internet, information is easily obtained. Christians are beginning to question the hypocrisy exhibited by hyper-authoritarian churches. CCCM fits that bill. They are into heavy-handed, authority based leadership that they try to sweeten by calling it the “Moses Model." I call the “Mini-Moses Model” since it is obvious that they are admirals in rowboats. (They are not Moses by any stretch of the imagination).They are not used to be questioned by the church membership and have functioned in isolation.
Those days are over. Questions are being raised. This incident is an example why people are fleeing evangelical churches around America. Calvary Chapel is contributing to the rise of the "Nones.” You can read about it here.
You can be sure that times are changing. The average church-goer is becoming frustrated with being blown off by egotistical, stupid leadership. I predict that we will be hearing of more and more incidents like this one. Nick VanderLaan did the equivalent of pounding the 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Door. May God give the church the ears to hear.
I leave you with a link to several songs written by Jeff S, a commentor here at TWW. They are beautiful!
Lydia's Corner: Leviticus 19:1-20:21 Mark 8:11-38 Psalm 42:1-11Proverbs 10:17