A Fraud Preaches at FBC Woodstock; Whistleblower Member Removed from Premises

Ergun Caner–who is to evangelicals today what Mike Warnke was in the 1980s–preached at FBC Woodstock this past Sunday, July 27.

Some may wonder, “What is so monumental about that?” Ergun Caner has a great story: he was trained to be a Jihadist, but eschewed that life for Christianity. His resultant notoriety has gained him academic position, as well as numerous writing and speaking gigs. He has been a hot draw for churches for more than a decade.

The problem is, the whole story is bovine ejectus.

Seth Dunn, a blogger who is a member of FBC Woodstock, has spoken out forcefully against Caner, opposing his invitation to preach at his church.

For his diligence in telling the truth, Dunn was forced to leave the premises of FBC Woodstock on Sunday. The security team did not even allow him to attend Sunday School.

As Russ Westbrook–who occasionally drops in here–pointed out,

a church member in good standing (not under biblical discipline a la Matt 18 or I Cor 5) has every right to be on their church’s property; they in fact ARE the church! This seems to be a crime against Heaven and probably Caesar as well……..

Well, that would be an insult to Caesar. At least Caesar didn’t claim a Christian faith.

Youth Pastors and Youth Groups

My sister has been going to a fairly bible-grounded, mega church. They’re having a huge back-to-school invite-thing for youth. Given that her son is not comfortable in church, she went by to see what it was about and to see if they would reach out to him some. After sharing this with the middle school youth pastor, he simply told her, “Just tell him he has to go to church. Make him go. Tell him it’s good for him.” She was appalled. She grew up in church. She was made to go to church. And as she told me, “Yeah, and I was the ten-year-old making out under the church steps cause I was made to go to church.”

Really? Is that how youth pastors are *reaching* our youth today? My sister said to me, “I guess I just expect too much.” I told her no, she just expects them to develop a relationship with him.

My daughter went to church camp with their dad’s church this summer. It’s a good church, and she had made friends there over the years. They told her at the funeral they’d love to have her come to camp and stuff. So we took them up on their offer. She had a great time! When I asked her, though, if she learned anything new [about God, the Bible, Jesus], she said no. The good part of that is … I’m doing my job. The sad part is … she was bored during their Bible study times. I told her that maybe next year she can go to more camps. She said, “I don’t want them to all be church camps, though. The Bible study was boring and made me sleepy.”

Sovereign Grace Ministries in More Trouble

This time, even the otherwise-cozy fellows at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary have decided SGM is too much of a hot potato.

Make no mistake: this is a very big deal.

Here’s how it typically works: in order to get into an MDiv program, you generally have to obtain a 4-year degree from an accredited college. Your major is not of prime importance: your baccalaureate degree can be in engineering, science, humanities, psychology, or even basket weaving, but it has to be a 4-year degree.

Even then, the MDiv program at SBTS required up to 94 credit hours of graduate-level work. (It’s 91 if you have a background in Greek or Hebrew.)

However, since 2012, the Pastor’s College–an arm of Sovereign Grace Ministries–had a sweet deal with SBTS: you could transfer 35 credits toward that MDiv. This gave SGM’s PC grads a leg up on other MDiv students, even those who were Southern Baptists.

Now, that deal has been terminated, and the developments that have surfaced from the Nate Morales trial are a large part of the reason for this.

Moreover, As Brent Detwiler pointed out, one must consider the tuition racket that SGM was running with PC: PC administrators and “faculty” were receiving six-figure salaries for managing small groups, all while getting preferred treatment from SBTS that many Southern Baptists WISHED they could get.

Color me cynical, but I’d also question the level of academic rigor involved at PC. You’re going to have a devil of a time convincing me that the SGM model is producing better pastors, teachers, counselors, and scholars than any competing model.

I’m glad that SBTS is ending its preferential relationship with PC, although–like Detwiler–I can’t help but wonder about the motives. This could be a case of SBTS doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons.

Still, it’s long past time that the Christian world–across the board–dismissed SGM for the racket that it has become.

Mahaney is running out of places to hide.

MH-17: My $0.02

Either (a) someone majorly screwed up or (b) the shootdown of MH-17 was a false flag op designed to stoke backlash against Russia and, more specifically, President Vladimir Putin.

While I would give either of the scenarios a 50/50 chance, for the sake of this discussion I am going to operate on the premise that (a) is correct: that this was a catastrophic screw-up, that pro-Russian separatists shot down MH-17 using an SA-11 missile battery. Functionally-speaking, we won’t entertain the false-flag op for now.

Many conservatives have used the occasion to lash out at President Obama, contrasting his lack of moral clarity to that of President Reagan in the wake of the Soviet shootdown of KAL Flight 007 in 1983. While that contrast is a great illustration of two fundamentally-different leadership styles, there are some complicating matters that Obama faces today that the Gipper did not face in 1983:

(a) It’s not like we have never accidentally shot down an airliner mistaking it for a combat craft. Google “USS Vincennes” if you don’t believe me.

290 Iranian civilians died when the USS Vincennes shot down an airliner over the Gulf of Aqaba. And guess who was President at the time? As much as I hate to say it–as he was an otherwise excellent President–that was on the Gipper’s watch.

(b) It’s not like we’ve never given dangerous weapons to parties–who were allies at the time–only to have those weapons used against innocents (and even our own troops) at a later date.

(c) It’s not like we’ve never taken sides in a localized civil war–or even started one–in a country within our region.

Putin is guilty, but of what? Doing things that we have also done over the years.

He is exerting the degree of influence in his region that we have historically exerted in our region. Don’t believe me? This goes back over 100 years, and it’s no respecter of political parties. Putin is doing nothing that Roosevelt and Wilson and Bush and Obama and even the Gipper haven’t done.

Spanish-American War anyone?

How about Iran-Contra?

How about El Salvador?

How about Afghanistan?

Don’t forget Libya.

And Syria.

And Iraq.

And Iran.

Yes, Putin needs to exercise better control over the weaponry that he delivers to his allies. One can reasonably argue that his aggression in that region is unwarranted. The same can be argued for no small numbers of aggressions on our end.

Ultimately, not only have American Presidents been guilty of the same transgressions as Putin, Obama is himself in a pickle, as there is a mother lode of carnage–from Mexico to Africa to the Middle East and I would even argue Ukraine–that is directly on his hands.

This makes moral clarity somewhat difficult.

Culture Wars in the Baptist Ranks

During my days at SBTS, the conservatives were gaining strength while the liberals were making their last stand. To put it charitably, the place was a battle zone.

The opposition I encountered typically fell into two groups:

(1) those who were completely opposed to all things Biblical;
(2) those who were otherwise conservative, but didn’t like some of the Pharisaical power grabs at the SBC.

Examples of the former included people who (a) demanded inclusive language translation of the Bible, (b) ridiculed as “sexist” anyone who expressed a Biblically-based concern about women pastors, (c) demanded that God be addressed with feminine pronouns as well as “Mother”, (d) supporters of abortion, supporters of sexual perversions, (e) rejection of the Atonement, (f) rejection of anything resembling a high view of Biblical authority (to include Biblical miracle accounts), or (g) any combination of the above.

Still, there were folks–otherwise conservative–who simply didn’t want Al Mohler and Paige Patterson to be the faces of the new conservatism.

In 1991, some of the liberal/moderate Southern Baptist churches formed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF). At first, it was championed as a missions organization–more moderately-run–that would be a complementary alternative to the SBC’s missions organizations that were being stacked with conservatives. Most observers called it what it was: a new denomination. Eventually, the CBF would break off from the SBC.

At the time, I saw the CBF as a mixed bag. While there were some very conservative churches who simply didn’t appreciate the polity of the SBC, the CBF was overwhelmingly a haven for many churches that were closer to Unitarian than anything remotely Christian. I figured that, in time, the CBF would be overrun by liberals.

That has definitely happened.