Calvary Chapel Has Former Pro Ball Player Arrested for Speaking Out Against Ergun Caner

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

Ephesians511_Nick Vanderlaan, wife baby and Chuck Smith
Nick and his family with  Chuck Smith 
Ephesians 511 blog

 

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!


He's baaaaaaaaaack!!!!

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.

  • Debbie Kaufman’s blog link
  • TWW story link
  • Tom Rich-FBC Jax link
  • Wade Burleson link

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

Comments

Calvary Chapel Has Former Pro Ball Player Arrested for Speaking Out Against Ergun Caner — 80 Comments

  1. I’m sorry he had to go through all of that. From an attorney’s perspective however, that would be an interesting case to litigate on a variety of levels. Besides arresting someone for speaking out at church? Seriously?

  2. Pingback: Ergun Caner: He’s b-a-a-a-c-k | Civil Commotion

  3. Big “churches” often have a close relationship with the police and the police are available at their beckoned call. Why? Many churches hire off-duty police officers (who often wear their uniforms even though they are technically “off-duty”) as security guards. These part-time gigs as church security officers usually pay very well and do not involve any really risky situations – they are “cream puff” jobs. The officers often get to walk around with their sidearms, tazers, handcuffs and radios fully functional. If some poor sucker gets uppity, like Mr. Vanderlaan allegedly did, those cops can be there in seconds for a “take down.” Not saying that happened in this situation, but it certainly could happen in others.

  4. Ted S

    I assume you are aware of Tom Rich and how the sherrif’s department was involved in outing his name on his then anonymous blog. The deputy was a part-time employee of the church at the time. The sheriff’s department lost in Tom Rich’s lawsuit. Insert big fat smile here.

    I do not know who those burly guys were but I did pick up that they had handcuffs at the ready. You may  be onto something.

  5. Some of Wade’s posts on Ergun Caner are missing. I do not know the cause. Looks like as you mentioned earlier Wade’s blog is in some kind of transition.

  6. 1. “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.’”

    Does this mean Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa is on par with (or even holier than) the Temple?

    2. “The police arrived, took Nick to the station and Calvary Chapel lovingly ‘pressed charges.’”

    What on earth could they possibly have charged him with?! I can’t see anything that looks remotely like a crime here.

    3. I never did know what the backstory was on Ergun Caner…now I know. Sounds a lot like this guy.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/kamal-saleem-former-terrorist-islamophobia

  7. Thanks for linking my songs, Dee. They were recorded about 7 years ago, but I’ve just started writing again and hope to put out a new CD soon (“soon” means a year from now most likely- I’m recording them all in my apartment in my spare time). If anyone is interested, the whole existing album is available on iTunes under “Steady On” and I just put up a FB page a few weeks ago.

    //end shameless self promotion

    On topic- it is VERY telling how quickly churches can get the police involved when they want to and hold them off when they don’t.

  8. Jeff S

    Can any of the you tube songs be embedded? If you send me an embed code or link, I will try to embed it in one the posts I am working on for my absence. I think it is awesome to showcase the talents of our readers!

  9. Ephesians 5:11 blogger, William Saunders sent me an e-mail with an updated video on this situation where you can see the real background of why Nick spoke out at the meeting. Check it out here: http://ephesians511blog.blogspot.com/2012/11/video-document-of-ergun-caner-why-nick.html

    Dee – this was NOT a church service, but a conference in which Caner was asked to speak and that makes it even more of a reason why this arrest is troubling. The California law cited on the police report was: CPC 302(a) “Disturbing a religious meeting”. It’s questionable if that arrest was appropriate within the legal definition of “religious meeting”.

  10. The use of Matt 18 in the CCA is at best a worthless endever.I spent a quarter century in the movement and never once did Matt 18 work.

  11. 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.

    Just like Mike Warnke in the Eighties, except then it was SATANISM instead of Jihadi Islam.

    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.

    Again, just like Mike Warnke when Cornerstone exposed him as a complete fraud. Debunk The Conspiracy and you have proven yourself to be part of The Conspiracy. The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

    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!

    Again, just like Mike Warnke. Fifteen years after being exposed as a complete fraud, and there are still churches paying his speaking fee “because Souls Will Be Saved(TM)”. (My writing partner once had to break off contact with another church whose pastor invited Warnke to preach KNOWING the guy was a fraud!)

  12. 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.”

    He couldn’t be Jesus because Chuck Smith already is?

    Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa is about ten miles south of where I’m typing this in right now. In the Seventies and early Eighties, they dominated local Christianese AM radio. I have always gotten a “bad vibe” from them; nothing I could put my finger on and say “AHA!”, but a general disturbing feeling of something WRONG. Locally, they seem to epitomize the Independent Fundy Church-with-the-Cult-feel, almost the archetype example. And Calvary Chapelites DO seem to have an ammunition hopper of proof-texts and thought-stoppers ready and charged (“SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!”) if you try to broach any concern that “something is just WRONG” with them.

  13. 2. “The police arrived, took Nick to the station and Calvary Chapel lovingly ‘pressed charges.’”

    What on earth could they possibly have charged him with?! I can’t see anything that looks remotely like a crime here. — Hester

    With a handle like Hester, How about WITCHCRAFT?

    Were any of the cops or DAs involved members of CCCM? I have heard in other cases of abusive pastors getting on the good side of the local cops by having some of the local cops in their church and moonlighting as Armorbearers (enforcers).

  14. B.B.G.

    Standing ovations for this statement. 

    “The use of Matt 18 in the CCA is at best a worthless endever.I spent a quarter century in the movement and never once did Matt 18 work”

    Truer words never spoken. 

  15. So disrupting a conference is worse than child rape or sodomy, or spousal abuse? — Julie Anne

    Of course it is.
    He got uppity to the Manogawd.
    Ees POLITICAL Matter, Comrade.

  16. HUG

    MIke Warnke-now there is  blast form the apst. For the uninformed, ol Mike pretended that he was the head warlock of a coven and make a killing off speaking at churches who believed him. He had incredible stories about covens and “what they did.”  When he was found out, he morphed into a comedian, rising like a phoenix from the ashes. Mike Warnke is the CJ Mahaney of the “I was a witch” circuit.

  17. HUG

    You said 

    “Were any of the cops or DAs involved members of CCCM? I have heard in other cases of abusive pastors getting on the good side of the local cops by having some of the local cops in their church and moonlighting as Armorbearers (enforcers).:

    See the ultimate saga of Tom Rich’s successful lawsuits against the machine!!!

  18. @ HUG:

    You’re forgetting ADULTERY! (It starts with A!) I suppose with a history like that, they wouldn’t even think I was qualified to judge what was and was not a crime. ; )

  19. Is there some sort of disorder that can be readily diagnosed in these cases?

    1. Ergun Caner
    2. Mike Warnke
    3. Johnny Todd

    Any mental health professionals out there care to address this?

  20. WTH kind of church needs a security team of thugs with handcuffs?! You would think that people would see that there’s something terribly wrong with a ‘church’ like that right off the bat.

    WTH kind of ‘religious’ college hires a fraud like that as provost? Obviously one with no integrity.

    I get so sick of these examples of purveyors of a Gospel of Oppression. They hire charlatans and then use the power of the state to oppress those who speak the truth.

    What is wrong with so many people that they follow these false prophets?! I truly fear for Christianity.

    I hope VanderLaan sues them for unlawful restraint.

    Here endeth the rant

  21. Dee – I’m unclear as to what you mean by “Sadly, a Muslim student…”

    “Sadly”? We are all human, we depend on each other – this student helped out (in a very crucial way) re. exposing Caner as a fraud.

    I would have started that sentence with something like “Thankfully…,” but that’s just me.

  22. Numo

    My intent was good if the words were not. What i meant by that is that it took someone outside of the faith to call us on our hypocrisy and it was man from the faith that Caner claimed he was raised in. It is sad to me that it took the honesty of a Muslim man to show up the dishonesty of the Christians.

    This is what I harp on all the time. We are being viewed by people outside the faith all the time. We keep claiming that we are morally and spiritually superior and we get called on it regularly. I am friends with a Hindu cardiologist who feels he can ask me hard questions. So, he said that Christians are always talking about the correct view of marriage yet their divorce rate far exceeds that of Hiundus which is in the single digits in India. Sadly, it takes an ousider to tell us our sins. We should be the first to point to our failings. If we really believed Jesus then we should be willing to be the first to confess our sins to the world and then deal with it. But, we don’t.

     

  23. My intent was good if the words were not. What i meant by that is that it took someone outside of the faith to call us on our hypocrisy and it was man from the faith that Caner claimed he was raised in. — Dee

    Not so much “someone outside the faith” as someone who would have been VERY familiar with “the faith that Caner claimed he was raised in.” As a cradle Muslim raised in that faith, he would have been the first to notice any discrepancy that Caner’s Christian audiences (without that insider familiarity with REAL Islam) would not.

  24. MIke Warnke-now there is blast form the apst. For the uninformed, ol Mike pretended that he was the head warlock of a coven and make a killing off speaking at churches who believed him. He had incredible stories about covens and “what they did.” — Dee

    Warnke’s whole shtick was that He Had Been a Satanic High Priest with Secret Insider Knowledge (“Occult Gnosis” in Greek) about a Vast Satanic Conspiracy to infiltrate and Satanize America. (Starting with ritual child sacrifice and ritual pedophilia as part of Satanic Magickal Workings.) Along with others such as Constance Cumby, Johanna Michaelson, and John Todd, he founded a cottage industry of Satanic Cult Experts who not only dominated Christian Culture War activism in the Eighties but hired themselves out to law enforcement as paid “consultants” — “Witch-sniffers” in all but name.

    The period was called “The Satanic Panic”, characterized by PROOF that Everything in pop culture — including Cabbage Patch dolls, My Little Pony, and Dungeons & Dragons — were all weapons of this Conspiracy, commanded and planned and orchestrated by Satan himself. A Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory that explained why nobody had ever heard of it before (Satanists run all the media), why there was no evidence (Satanists run all the police and government), and why only Mike Warnke and his ilk KNEW what was REALLY going on (protected by the Holy Spirit).

    Satanic Ritual Abuse (ritual child molestation) and Child Human Sacrifice was an especially prominent part of this Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory — Janet Reno startd her political career as a Dem machine DA prosecuting Satanic Ritual Abuse using “Recovered Memory” spectral evidence, another fad of the time. Some of those she prosecuted are still in prison as “short-eyes”, and she wasn’t the only one to do so. More fallout included sexual molestation by the hypnotherapists “recovering these repressed memories” themselves.

    And a Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory is literally impossible to disprove. Lack of evidence for The Conspiracy is PROOF of The Conspiracy (so powerful THEY can silence anyone); evidence against The Conspiracy is PROOF of The Conspiracy (disinformation planted by The Conspiracy). The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs and Won’t Be Taken In.

    And Warnke was the point man for it all.

  25. For further information on Mike Warnke and the Satanic Panic, Cornerstone did an expose on him; the book-length version was published under the title Selling Satan and is available at Amazon.

  26. Not so much “someone outside the faith” as someone who would have been VERY familiar with “the faith that Caner claimed he was raised in.” As a cradle Muslim raised in that faith, he would have been the first to notice any discrepancy that Caner’s Christian audiences … would not.

    Exactly, though I know some xtians who can read classical Arabic, have lived in predominantly Muslim countries long-term (etc.) who would have spotted this.

    Dee – I’m not meaning to be critical of your word choice so much as to highlight what HUG said here )and he said it *much* more clearly than I did!)

    I think most US-based evangelical audiences know very little about other religions and are quick to swallow just about anything anyone says about other faiths – including that they’re all somehow “demonic,” etc. (Been there, done that, seen the terrible wreckage that results: fear, prejudice, outright hatred *and* – as if that weren’t enough – propagating these same wrong ideas/concepts about other religions and those who follow them.)

  27. JeffT “WTH kind of church needs a security team of thugs with handcuffs?! You would think that people would see that there’s something terribly wrong with a ‘church’ like that right off the bat.

    WTH kind of ‘religious’ college hires a fraud like that as provost? Obviously one with no integrity.”

    It’s a sure sign that you’re a regular TWW reader when you see “WTH” and your brain translates it as “Wenatchee the Hatchet”, not “What the H*ll”. ;)

    Seriously though, I agree with the sentiment. I’m reminded of the story of the little old lady who was removed from the church she attended for x amount of years by security… was that reported by TWW? My memory is failing me. Anyways, it’s just sad when churches have to resort to using Bouncers.

  28. Searching,

    We wrote a post about the elderly lady who was arrested in church shortly after we launched TWW. It’s still one of my favorite posts.

  29. This guy is a con. This is his MO. This is why I don’t ever see him truly repenting. This situation (compiled with the others at CC) is just exposing CC for who they really are.

  30. Exactly, though I know some xtians who can read classical Arabic, have lived in predominantly Muslim countries long-term (etc.) who would have spotted this. — Numo

    Again, because they were more familiar with it than Caner’s usual audience.

    I remember a common preacher/tract illustration from years ago, usually used to plug Bible Study. The punch line of it was “You recognize a counterfeit not by studying the counterfeits, but by becoming familiar with the genuine article.”

  31. Hi everyone,

    I’ve been following TWW for a few months now and this is my first comment: I’ve been a bit intimidated by the size of the comment threads that can happen here.

    To introduce myself spiritually:

    As a young child, I was unchurched (though I seem to recall a few Bible-inspired stories and maybe like an illustrated Bible story excerpts).

    I spent my adolescent years in a small “Indpendent Fundamental Baptist Church”, which my new stepmom attended with her family. Though in my recollection, the church wasn’t nearly as bad as the name makes it sound to me. For example, women were regularly involved in the church (Treasurer, Sunday School teachers, etc.). They’ve since changed the name, too, I think to distance themselves from ultra-conservatism. While there, I managed to destroy the relationship I had with my best friend (who was Jewish) at an “Acquire the Fire”. My youth group and I pressured him to accept Christ, and he eventually succumbed to our pressure, probably to avoid how awkward the situation was getting. I recall that his mother was furious–I regret that incident deeply.

    I went to college at a non-denominational but mostly-Mennonite (BIC) school, which was much more liberal than anything I had experienced prior. This resounded with me greatly. I came away from that with the opinion that Christ’s most important lesson for us was to teach us to be humanitarian–to promote the love and service of one another.

    From there, I moved to Washington and spent a few years without a church. I now (somewhat begrudgingly) attend a Calvary Chapel–the denomination my wife grew up in.

    With that out of the way, the meat of my comment:

    The Nones post you linked to says this:

    “The author introduces the reader to a group of people who call themselves, “Not Church.” They gather on Sundays to discuss spiritual issues, pray, serve the poor and help each other.”

    That sounds amazing! Do you have any resources for this sort of thing? I’d love to join this kind of group. I’d rather attend something like this than a church that seems to focus its energies on protesting gay marriage and blustering about the state of the theory of evolution 150 years ago.

  32. JeffT “WTH kind of church needs a security team of thugs with handcuffs?!

    (Assuming there is nothing like being in the middle of a high-crime area and/or receiving credible threats from actual enemies…)

    A church run by a control freak who’s throwing his weight around and paranoid about security threats to his own position. Same dynamic as a lot of Third World dictators. (And if “Security” is used like that, stop calling them Security or Armorbearers — they’re the Big Boss’s ENFORCERS.)

  33. Is there some sort of disorder that can be readily diagnosed in these cases?

    1. Ergun Caner
    2. Mike Warnke
    3. Johnny Todd — TedS

    Oh, yeah. John Todd. One WEIRD dude. Glenn Beck to Warnke’s Rush Limbaugh. There’s an urban legend that the two came to blows backstage at old Melodyland over “You Stole My Shtick!!!!”

    Cornerstone did another expose on Todd, around the same time they exposed Warnke. Though Todd seemed more outright delusional than a fraud. Now HIS Satanic Conspiracy was Hunter S Thompson-level WEIRD. My writing partner got taken in by it and showed me his old Todd literature about Jimmy Carter as Antichrist and Charles Manson leading Helter Skelter and heavily-armed Christian Survivalist Refuges; that’s how I was able to confirm it was John Todd material. You don’t get that weird this side of Francis E Dec rants.

  34. Pretzels

    The “Nones” movement is elcectic and unorganized. I do not know of any specific groups in the states but I think you will be hereing more and more abut this in the coming 2-3 years. That is one of the reasons that we started our E Church. I also think that is why we have such a nice group of folks who come here. Many of them have alos left the church but are still believers.

    Tell you what. Keep checking in. If I hear of such groups, I will post their locations.

  35. Dee – I have quite a few regular “Nones” readers, too. I had no clue that so many people out there have been hurt by spiritual abuse and no longer go to church. No wonder I had so much support when I was sued. They all could relate to some part of my story. One thing about those who have been spiritually abused, they sure have compassion. I have been so blessed to meet these folks.

    Nice to “meet” you, Pretzels.

  36. Julie Anne

    I did some calcualtions based on the article. I believe that there are apporxiamtely 16 million Christian “nones.” We are seeing them on our blogs. I believe we are defining a new movement and the movement is being caused by the Neo Cals and the guys like Ed Young Jr. 

    BTW, got a call from a man today who told me of a run in that he had with Bill Shannon. If I have time I will call you before i go. If not, let’s talk when i get back.

  37. Kudos to Nick Vanderlaan for standing up and speaking out for truth. I admire him for his actions. This past week my pastor recommended C.J. Mahaney’s book “The Gospel Centered Life” from the pulpit. He held a copy of the book up and said he highly recommended it. This in spite of the fact that I have had numerous discussions with him about C.J. being a blackmailer and all the numerous other ethical issues. I was disgusted and wanted to scream, but kept silent. Maybe it was good to exercise restraint, maybe it was weak, I don’t know. Maybe now that CLC is leaving sovgracemin.org my pastor will take me seriously, but I doubt it. He is a disciple of one of the T4G boys. Due to my location I don’t have much in the way of choices for church, if I did I would be gone. I really feel that as a Christian I need to attend church, but maybe I will withdraw for a season.

  38. TW

    It is my observation that the NeoCals have a lock on many of the evangelical churches. It is a trend that is resulting in a loss of people attending church. We have withdrawn our membership in one and do not plan to rejoin a church but will attend faithfully. I can no longer support the agenda. Just remember, if you leave one local gathering of Christian, you have not left the Church. In fact, as ou comment here, you are fellowshipping with the Church!

  39. Dee, Do you know how many posts I have started on that situation with Bill Shannon and the pastors I spoke with at Grace Community, but haven’t hit “publish”? That situation really touched a nerve with me that I never knew existed. I’d be happy to talk to you when you’re free. Have a wonderful trip if I don’t talk to you beforehand!

  40. Eagle, It sounds like you were “love-bombed”. That is a popular technique used to get someone hooked in a church quickly.

    Sorry to hear that you’ve had this confusing and dishonest church experience.

  41. @Juniper on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 02:59 PM said:

    “From an attorney’s perspective however, that would be an interesting case to litigate on a variety of levels”.

    I would have thought so. I’m not familiar with the intricacies of US law, but how does the treatment of Nick VanderLaan not constitute assault and holding someone hostage? I’m sure there’s a few more you could add.

    From Dee’s post above – 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.

  42. Eagle

    Do not judge fully from a church website. As I can testify, from working on this blog, there are many things that need cleaning up but, due to lck of time, sit around. Unless a church is wealthy, like Mars Hill, and has a full time “Pastor of Tecnhnology,” old stuff on sites can sit around for years. I would point blank ask them why that is there. 

  43. Haitch

    ’”I’m not familiar with the intricacies of US law, but how does the treatment of Nick VanderLaan not constitute assault and holding someone hostage? I’m sure there’s a few more you could add.”

    There are many approaches to this and that is why i think this thing got dropped. He could claim false imprisonment. The church could claim that they thought he was a danger to everyone present. There have been some church shootings in the recent past. That is the problem with the law. there are so many angles and so many lawyers and so much money could be thrown down the drain. Kudos to the judge who said (I think I am correct) that this was an internal church issue.

     

  44. Dee, I love your response to Eagle about mentioning it to someone. See how they respond to a situation that they could view as criticism, especially if it is said to someone in a position of authority. That could be very revealing: positive or negative.

  45. Eagle -

    Since it was the Pastor who made the statement about people having concerns about Piper, I would go straight back to him with your concerns about the link in the churches website :) But what Dee said about information on the website is true. Most churches have a hard time keeping up with the web information . . .

  46. Eagle – When I was reading your comment, I was just dealing with stories of spiritual abuse and so that’s where my comment came from, and sadly, that sometimes happens when we’ve been burned. Guilty as charged. If you felt you had a good response initially, it would be good to give the benefit of the doubt. I know there are still some good churches out there. I was recently thinking about the church we went to after the abusive one. I loved that place and the people there – it was a place of refuge after such a bad experience. I remember going in the church library and seeing some questionable books. I took them to an elder and shared my concerns and he immediately said he was going to remove them. I would be interested in a follow up to your meeting, Eagle.

  47. TW:

    It’s your church, too.

    I would encourage you to stay in your church. I would guess that you and your pastor share most views. If that’s not the case, you may want to consider leaving.

    But if your primary concern is that your pastor has not come to the same opinion of Mahaney as you, I would encourage you to stay, continue to engage the pastor in a kind way – but say what you think, and be vocal when it is appropriate.

    You may actually have more of an impact than you think.

    But you have to keep your cool. The goal is persuasion. People who yell and become argumentative rarely persuade.

    If you maintain a sweet, confident spirit, and you are right (as you are in this case) you will eventually win the day.

  48. Haitch

    You have proper concerns about this incident as a lawyer.Lets take a look at this from another view point.Here in America church shootings are on the rise.A few years ago a church in Texas came under attack by an angry local man.I don’t have the time or space to give you other examples on the subject.Chuck Smith knows this .Vanderlaans arrest was simply overkill.There is no dissent in a Calvary Chapel fellowship at all.The moment Vanderlaan chose to confront the issue he was out the door.whether it was by handcuffs or other..

  49. Anonymous

    I think you are witnessing the creation of the “nones” as you read the comments on the blog.  ”If you maintain a sweet, confident spirit” is, of course, correct but I would contend that he will get walked over by any church that “highly recommends” books by CJ Mahaney.There is a reason that pastors continue to push Mahaney’s book and it isn’t for his deep insight into the “Gospel.” It is his view of a hyperauthroitarian priesthood that leads to abusive behavior as exemplified on the SGM Survivors site.

    People have tried to be sweet and they have been pushed aside in the Calvinistas march to greater control over the lives of the people who attend their churches. However, the people are on a march of their own-right out of the church.

    I’ll make a bet with you. TW’s pastor will not be impressed with TW’s concern.The Nones (and in particular those who still have faith but will not step foot in a church)have doubled in the past 10 years.(I estimate 16 million). I  predict a doubling of that number in the next 5 years.(32 million) That is what i told the reporter from ABP when they did a story on E Church.

  50. .Lets take a look at this from another view point.Here in America church shootings are on the rise.A few years ago a church in Texas came under attack by an angry local man. — BBG

    Don’t forget the machete attack on Bee Jay Driscoll that nobody’s ever been able to find documentation or other eyewitnesses to.

  51. TW

    I was Lutheran – Baptized and confirmed – BUT then I got saved – Sunday School Teacher –
    Tried talking to the pastor about some stuff – We had lunch 2-3 times a month almost a year.
    Folks talked me into staying – And praying – If you leave who will tell the others?
    So I started talking to others – About Salvation – And became “Publick Enemy # 1 – Ouch!!!
    Most thought – I’m okay – I attend church – I was baptized and confirmed – I try to be good…
    Why do I need this “Blood of Jesus” for my Salvation?
    NOPE – That didn’t workout so well.

    Wound up in a Charismatic home group – We started to grow and bought a building.
    8 years later we grew to over 300 – I became second in command – Ordained – NOT paid…
    Gave lots and lots of time and lots and lots of money. Kinda like Nick in this post.
    “Tried talking to the pastor about some stuff.” We had become best friends.
    “Folks talked me into staying – And praying – If you leave, what will happen to the others?”
    Yup – You guessed it – Public Enemy # 1 again. “Had” to leave. (This is starting to hurt Lord)
    NOPE – That didn’t workout so well.

    There were a few more tries – Big Mega church where I could hide, NOT get involved…
    Small home groups, gettin to know the folks – but always the same end…
    When push came to shove – Those with the “Titles/Position” – Power – Profit – Prestige…
    Push and shove you out the door – Especially when you challenge their Power…
    Nothing really worked well – NOT when you have questions they can’t answer….

    MY advice for you NOW is – Run for the hills – Tell them why you’re leaving – then leave…
    Do NOT pass go – Do NOT collect $200 – Jesus will receive you – And teach you…

    Your hope is in Jesus – And Christ in you the hope of Glory…

    Get to know Jesus – Read the gospels over and over again – Get to hear His Voice.

    You’re blessed – Jesus is already showing you what’s wrong – Trust Him for the rest.

    Jer 17:5
    Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm…

    Ps 118:8-9
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

  52. What bothered me most when I first read about this was the fact that church security had this much power to detain someone. It makes me want to question a friend, who is a police officer, who serves as security at his church.

  53. .
    .
    When you live the lie – You die slowly – day by day…
    .
    .
    Jesus is the “Truth.”

  54. Dee and Deb, is it ok if I post a Facebook page on here that talks about who these people and what we are dealing with.

  55. Stormy

    We allow full reprints, links, etc to all of our posts so long as it is attributes to us. We don’t want anyone else to get in trouble for what we say. You may also post just about anything. :)

  56. Pingback: Linkathon 11/7, part 1 » Phoenix Preacher | Phoenix Preacher

  57. ok. I hadn’t heard of this ergun caner scandal until this post… and now i am fascinated. After watching tons of you-tube video of his teachings, I am utterly shocked that any Christian organization would continue to provide him platforms.

    Just so you all know, I have lived in the Middle east for the past 8 years in full-time ministry and have become very fluid in Arabic. Watching him literally speak gibberish, and attempt to pass that off as Arabic to an uninformed audience on multiple occasions is SO DISHONEST. Just to reiterate, almost all of the things he uttered, claiming to be speaking Arabic, were total nonsense! He was not speaking Arabic, or even attempting to speak broken Arabic with a bad accent— those multitudes of words were nothing close to ANY Arabic words!! (With the exception of the three words Aisa bin Allah – Jesus son of God – in which had poor grammar, pronunciation and then mistranslated it to the audience as “I believe in Jesus”) In all the multitudes of other sentences, however, he was simply making up words in an attempt to captivate his audience. That is utter deception and manipulation. This is indisputable. Ask ANY Arabic speaker in the world. Really he must need psychiatric help in this day and age of media, records, and information to think he can be that dishonest and get away with it. Honestly, it is unfathomable. The Arabic deception alone, without any of the other multitudes of lies about birthplace, heritage, etc. are enough to convince me that his issue really must be pathological or some sort of deep psychosis.

    My assessment is that Churches that continue to provide a platform for him to speak are so in awe of his fleshly abilities for charm and persuasive public speaking that they are willing to disregard his obvious sin-issue of pathological lying and deception, which really is undeniable at this point. Christian leaders: you are doing him no service in protecting and elevating him. His character and soft heart before God will inevitably be worse off.

  58. Eagle, by way of personal testimony, church websites can be quite, um, hit or miss. When CM put up my interview the other day, he included a quote from my own church website that shocked me. It was attributed to me, as if I said it, but not only was it inaccurate, but I disagreed with it very strongly. Any number of people could have put that silly thing on our site!

    All that DG link on their site really says it that at one point in the churches history, at least one John Piper fan was a member. There’s no guarantee he’s even still around, but then again, there’s no guarantee it isn’t the pastor either. Keep us posted!

    I gotta say though, it seems a bit odd that with all your negative experiences from Calvinism, when you do pop into churches for a visit, they quite often seem to be of the reformed variety! You have guts man, but had I gone through your journey, I might be a bit more interested in Eastern Orthodoxy.

  59. I can a firm what Teds said about security an doff duty cops in mega churches. I can also tell you that in mega churches I was involved in a consulting manner, plain clothes police men or laypeople trained in security are situated throughout the very large sanctuaries looking like regular worshippers for each service.

    I was in attendance want when a heckler got up at the beginning of the sermon…… yelled out something about hating gays…… was surrounded in no time by 6 people, taken downtown and was booked before the end of the service.

  60. Oh…… one more thing….. the same churches that have all this security almost always have bodyguards or ‘walkers’, as they call them, for the pastors. these are the same people who will tell you that God will protect you when you need help. it is amusing when you find out they believe that for other people but not for themselves.

    I don’t think the guy in the story realized that it wasn’t really his church. I think he probably gets that now as so do many of us..

  61. “Walkers” or ENFORCERS?

    And why not only for God’s Anointed CELEBRITY Pastor(TM)? In the heresy of Clericalism, only the Priest is important to God, NOT the people. They can all go to Hell.

    “All Animals are Equal
    BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.”
    – G.Orwell, Animal Farm

  62. After watching tons of you-tube video of his teachings, I am utterly shocked that any Christian organization would continue to provide him platforms. — Rachel

    Mike Warnke still gets church speaking gigs. How many years has it been since he was exposed as a complete fraud? My writing partner has told me of one church which invited Warnke (who doesn’t speak for free) KNOWING he was a fraud. Probably something about “Souls being Saved” as justification….

    He was not speaking Arabic, or even attempting to speak broken Arabic with a bad accent— those multitudes of words were nothing close to ANY Arabic words!! — Rachel

    Either it’s a bad attempt at glossalalia (scat-singing in Arabic instead of the usual Hebrew) or he’s getting a lot of mileage out of hacking consonants and wailing vowels. How well did he simulate the characteristic sounds, phonemes, flow, and rhythm of actual Arabic (or any Semitic language)? If the audience doesn’t know the language but have heard it spoken somewhere, a similar sound and rhythm would be enough. Actors do this all the time when they have to simulate a language on-the-fly.

    And again, Rachel, just like the Muslim listener who blew the whistle on him, you are familiar with the language he was claiming but his audience wasn’t.

    P.S. In the English portions of his performance, was he telling the audience what they wanted to hear? That also would get him a LOT of mileage and credibility. Just ask any flatterer or con man.

  63. The Arabic deception alone, without any of the other multitudes of lies about birthplace, heritage, etc. are enough to convince me that his issue really must be pathological or some sort of deep psychosis. — Rachel

    It just struck me who/what Ergun Caner is –
    A present-day Psalmanazar the Formosan Cannibal.

  64. “But you have to keep your cool. The goal is persuasion. People who yell and become argumentative rarely persuade.

    If you maintain a sweet, confident spirit, and you are right (as you are in this case) you will eventually win the day.”

    Who gets to define what is argumentative, sweet and confident spirit? The pastor? Hee Hee. You know how many times I have seen very irenic people approach the leadership with a concern and pay for it later? Guys who think they are “God’s appointed agents to teach the ignorant”** are not real open to such things and think they define what is irenic or not.

    **Paraphrased from Al Mohler teaching a room full of pastors

  65. @B.B.G on Tue Nov 06, 2012 – it’s an interesting way for a church to handle dissent no?

    I’ll admit I find it difficult to comprehend operating in a society with so many firearms. But I’m just trying to work out the logic: ‘guns are so prevalent because it’s my liberty to have one, but the fear of someone exercising that liberty is what causes me to overreact’. So really, where’s the liberty?

    There’s liberty in being a bobblehead…

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  70. James White has posted several statements on the Ergun Caner being so called misstatements on you tube.

  71. The small kingdoms that are the independent church scene are classic examples on how groups operate when the leadership are transmitters of metaphysical desire for their flock.

    In volved in the Shepherding/Discipleship movement of the 70s and 80s I’m only too aware of how things can go wrong. Integrity tends to go out the back door to keep such movements afloat once Spirit has moved on to a humbler and broken group of individuals who are aware of their own flaws.

    My own story ‘The Prodigal Prophet’ might be of help to those of you who are thinking of leaving or have already left such a microcosm of charismatic or evangelical Christianity. It’s a somewhat scary yet ultimately healing story of how skewed desire draws leaders and flock into a position of rivalry.

    x Dylan

    http://theprodigalprophet.com/the-prodigal-prophet

  72. That’s an unusual way of looking at an abusive/dysfunctional church. I think it has a lot of merit.

    There’s a very interesting book by Robin Skinner and John Cleese (yes, that John Cleese) called “Families and how to Survive them” in which the co-authors discuss scapegoating, whereby all the badness in a family is projected onto one person, typically a supposedly “problem child”. Thus the illusion can be maintained that we’re actually a very good, healthy family apart from little Johnny/Sally.

    The arresting point made by Skinner, a psychologist by profession, is that even though the scapegoat is made to take the blame for all the relational difficulties in the family, “the scapegoat is always to some extent a volunteer”. (Cleese’s reply is “… You’re joking!”). Skinner’s point is that even the scapegoat derives some kind of meager comfort and security from knowing that, by taking the blame, s/he is keeping the family together. He bases this on long experience of treating such families, and the key to understanding something very important here lies in being willing to get one’s head around the fact that he is not “blaming the victim”.

    This is difficult because you can’t force it on someone; they have to get it for themselves. For myself, and returning to a point Dylan made, a crucial realisation concerned how all the time I spent in an abusive church, I was – in a subtle way – using the leader even while he was overtly using me and others. The best way I can describe it is by saying that it was somehow easier to stay in a setting where I was despised, and hold onto a quiet but hard resentment about it, than to stand up to it and take responsibility for my environment.

  73. Okay, next to my family and my kids, this is my Passion topic! It’s what gets my jeucis flowing.First and foremost, I believe that those statistics are proof that the church has fallen asleep. The church has narrowed itself into a corner and unless willing to adapt to some change, this statistic I fear will grow. Churches have been doing what they do because that’s the way it’s always been done. Some churches hold tight to Tradition. The church can never compete with culture. They will never win. Its just the way it is. But the church can certainly change from “doing” to having a strategy.If You read my “About” section on my blog, you’ll see a line where I wrote, “I bleed Orange.” I encourage you to check out http://www.whatisorange.com to learn more about that and to see where my firm stance on what the church should be doing.We (as in Us, Moms, Parents, etc) put So much responsibility on the Church for those poor statistics. I see it as a 50/50 deal. Parents need to wake up and realize that they are the primary spiritual leaders in their kids lives. The church is a “Partner” to you as a Parent. Or at least it should be. There in lies the problem. Churches are failing to see that they need to come along side of us as parents and support us and understand that what happens at home is far more important than what happens at church. I am a product of Christian parents, christian private schools and church all my life. I saw friends come and go within the church. From my experience, The leadership within the church are all on different pages. Nursery, elementary, youth and “big” church are all doing their own thing. There is no strategy. They are silo’d. I beg of the church to align themselves together with parents and have a strategy for how to get a child from birth through college not ever wanting to leave the church! It is possible. It just means people are going to have to adapt to change and let some things go. Sorry for the rant. I warned you that it was a Passion area for me. I could say so much more…. : )