The Pen

Eric Hankins Leaves Connect 316; Fallout via Tim Rogers and Ergun Caner

I tweeted out the news tonight that Eric Hankins had left the board of Connect 316 a very short time after the former ‘doctrinal director’ was removed from the website. For those that don’t know, Connect 316 is described on their website in the following way…

C316 is a theologically driven ministry fellowship with three goals:

  • sharing¬†God’s unconditional love with¬†everyone on earth
  • promoting¬†theological resources in the Hobbs-Rogers tradition
  • sponsoringevents that facilitate networking opportunities
Many theologically driven ministry fellowships promote a reformed view.
Now those of us embracing a different path have a network of our own.
In short, Connect 316 is a group meant to bolster an explicitly synergistic understanding of salvation, a position that one of their board members calls being a “savabilist.” The organization boasted five board members, each with a different function and title. Standing out like a soar thumb from the beginning was Sinner’s Prayer resolution-crafter and Traditional Statement proponent, Eric Hankins. Hankins, unlike the other four that are mostly known as regular commenters on Southern Baptist blogs, seems to have a bright future in the Convention. Having recently been invited to speak at Southern Seminary, it seems his star is rising.
Next in this story, enter another Connect 316 board member, Tim Rogers. As you know, Rogers said some pretty disturbing things to Dr. White, in a misguided attempt to protect Ergun Caner from further scrutiny.
The Pulpiteers were alerted to this tragedy, and the Pulpit Notes section of this website listed contact information for Rogers’ church and that of the Connect 316 board members so that concerned Christians could call those in a position to call Rogers to repentance to do so. Apparently, this strategy worked. Although Rogers was viciously reluctant to apologize last Sunday evening for his tone and for several days after, after my radio program addressing Rogers’ egregious behavior, he then posted a non-apology apology in which he stated regret for having “caused embarrassment to [his] staff, friends, and those associated with [him] through Connect 316.”
We know that the Pulpiteers (and others, no doubt) came through to express concern, as Tim went on to express that even the deacon of one Connect 316 member was called – a number that we did not give out.
So why, then, did Eric Hankins resign from Connect 316? A better question – how did I know to be waiting and watching the Connect 316 website to see Hankins’ information be pulled down? Answer – it’s a small world. Sources told me that Hankins had resigned over Tim Rogers’ defense of Ergun Caner and subsequent behavior in social media toward James White. Perhaps the source was wrong and this was incredible coincidental timing. But I personally find it hard to believe that these sources were correct about Hankins resigning but not the reason why.
In real truth, Hankins will most likely not comment on the reason why he resigned, and yet another Caner-related incident will be flushed down the memory hole. Nonetheless, we know what the real reason was.
Let this serve as a lesson for a few different things:
1. Caner is indefensible. When one defends Ergun Caner (by the way, in the comments section of the hyperlinked blog entry from Tim Rogers above, he says that Caner’s “creative” story-telling is “the same type of thing you find in the Gospel narratives), they make a laughing-stock of themselves and those they’re associated with.
2. People know that Caner’s years of false testimony is going to receive more and more exposure and they know that Caner is going down (so to speak). They don’t want to be around when he falls, lest he take them with him. Eric Hankins is smart enough to realize this. Tim Rogers…well, I’ll let you make up your own mind.
3. As more people hear about Caner’s lies and unrepentance, particularly with the forthcoming “Caner Project” documentary, the number of the concerned will quickly outnumber those who don’t care or are willing to ignore it.
Given that the other Connect 316 board members, unlike Hankins, have nothing really to lose, don’t expect them to jump ship. But thank goodness that in this day and age, a few phone calls still help.