Defending Caner: Cognitive Deficiency, Poor Discernment, or Abject Lostness?

“Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:32)

As the dust settles around Brewton-Parker College and as Ergun Caner settles into his new gig, we see certain individuals bold in their celebration that restoration can be made without repentance. Not only are the Caners inexplicably without remorse, there are many that applaud their unrepentant defiance of spiritual accountability and basic human decency.

First, and let it be unwaveringly said again (for the upteen-millionth time) that there are no logical explanations for the lies documented on video or audio, told repeatedly by Ergun Caner (and never refuted by Emir Caner) over the course of several years about the facts concerning their life that no one could mistake or misspeak unless they were battling biographical schizophrenia. In case you have avoided the Internet for the last however-many years, I would suggest you ‘Google’ Ergun Caner and see (on video and audio) the lies for yourself…lies that in his own words disagree with his biography in the Brewton-Parker press release announcing him their new president.

It’s a simple mathematical equation: Ergun tells lies on video + Ergun never confesses to the lies and sues people for posting evidence of his lies = Ergun is an unrepentant liar. And most probably, Ergun is not a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s a tough statement. And yet, there’s as much evidence that Ergun is regenerate than there is that he was born in Turkey and raised in Jihad.

On Twitter today, Tim Rogers (you know him mainly from the comment section on Peter Lumpkins’ blog) encouraged a young man to attend Brewton-Parker because Ergun is now serving as its president. Thanks to Rogers, we see precisely what’s at stake. Our young people are being subjected to who is most likely an unregenerate man to receive their Christian education. In the back-and-forth, Rogers said that Caner had been “exhonerated” by three “investigatory committees.” [Note: You may have to click screen-shots to enlarge]

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By “three independent investigatory committees,” Rogers means one college that demoted him and two that hired him:

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What’s inherently at stake is the credibility of the Southern Baptist Convention. While the decision to hire Caner was that of Brewton-Parker trustees, it has denomination-wide consequences. Here are the ways that Caner’s defenders defame the reputation of Christ and the Convention.

Possibility 1: Those that defend Ergun Caner – in spite of the overwhelming mass of unexplainable and inexcusable recorded evidence –  are cognitively deficient. Notice, I’m not calling them stupid. There are lots of mental issues that can prevent someone’s reasoning skills from flourishing. But to call a person innocent of their crimes because two small and struggling colleges hired them might be the result of an intellectual inability. Neither does it follow that because an institution hired Caner that they did due diligence and research into the man’s fabricated past. Neither does it follow that if they hired Caner after researching the man’s fabricated past that they exhibited any type of institutional integrity in the hiring process; in short, it’s possible that these colleges didn’t care for any number of misguided reasons. Nonetheless, to call a man “exhonerated” because one college demoted him when two others haven’t given any indication a so-called “investigatory panel” took place might be explained by undiagnosed cognitive issues.

Possibility 2: Those that defend Ergun Caner – in spite of the overwhelming mass of unexplainable and inexcusable recorded evidence – might be guilty of an egregious lack of spiritual discernment. Although discernment is a spiritual gift parted out by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11), all Christians will develop at least the most basic level of discernment over time. To see a man lie and lie repeatedly in documented and verifiable ways and not discern his guilt is shocking (assuming that the individual is presuming the innocence sincerely and isn’t doing it for the reasons presented in Possibility #3). With such a dangerous lack of discernment, it seems this would makeTim Roger’s church susceptible to other similarly-terrible dangers. What false teacher couldn’t find a way into a church that can’t see Caner as a liar?

Possibility 3: Those that defend Ergun Caner – in spite of the overwhelming mass of unexplainable and inexcusable evidence – do so knowing full well of his guilt, and in doing so, give evidence that they are unsaved men. There might be reasons why those who know full well that Ergun is guilty might continue to assert his innocence. Some (no doubt Rogers, Lumpkins, Hadley are in that number) who despise Monergism have a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” concept of ethics. Caner’s rabidly anti-Calvinistic rhetoric has earned him a following among those who similarly despise the notion of God not partnering with man in his salvation. One wonders if this is the reason for Geisler’s defense. And if this is a reason, it is certainly no excuse. To purposefully proclaim lies for the sake of a denominational political agenda or to rage against a particular doctrine is still to proclaim lies. I really don’t perceive that Lumpkins, Rogers and crew don’t think that Caner is guilty of fabricating his life story. Lumpkins, in particular, seems bright. It would be better for them that they be guilty of the first option – a cognitive deficiency. If indeed they know Caner is guilty because they’ve seen the evidence and their mind can process it, and still continue to defend him, the Holy Spirit is not within them. Indeed, they sin and give license to others to sin. They are emboldening Caner in his unrepentance and helping to harden his heart.

And that, my friends, is a scary proposition. If there is another possibility than the three presented, please feel free to enlighten me.

[Contributed by Jordan Hall; Tim Roger’s tweets were used in a discussion recorded for the Daily Downgrade segment, airing on the December 13th Pulpit & Pen Program].

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