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How To Answer Questions About Your Testimony

News Division

* This photo is from the Arkansas Baptist State Convention annual meeting in 2002, taken by ABSC employee Ricky Lee. I was asked to speak because of my work in church planting.

In Synergism Tomorrow’s post comparing me to Fred Phelps (yes, you read that right), someone who I don’t know except for social media, challenged the authenticity of my testimony. I commented on Lumpkins’ post, pointing out to observers that this man is literally paid by Ergun Caner to engage in this level of assault against those calling him to repentance. In the past, Lumpkins has reveled in disagreement in the comment section of his blog, but since having his seat handed to him by the #pulpiteers (and Chris Rosebrough and Brannon Howse) for mocking my claim of listeners for my Modern Day Downgrade message, he apparently has changed his comments policy. Not only was my comment not published, but many more that I’m aware of have gone unpublished from others.

In a comment posted by [some guy who is so insignificant I’m not going to give his name], my own testimony was challenged. This is a strategy consistently employed by Caner-defenders like Tim Rogers and Peter Lumpkins. They cannot defend Caner. Instead, they attack. Lumpkins has fallaciously and sinfully lied about the status of Dr. James White as an adjunct professor in a Southern Baptist seminary, attacked his scholarship, belittled me for trite reasons, and for some reason harped on the Calvin-Servetus scandal for the last month all for the same reason – attack those that call his employer to repentance. Rogers’ tactics have been even more disgusting. As I’ve stated before, when major media outlets begin to call the new Vice President of Miscommunication at Brewton-Parker College, they’re not going to care about James White, JD Hall or John Calvin. So…get your shots in while you can, I suppose.

I considered shrugging my shoulders at this comment’s bizarre, out-of-left-field attempt to scandalize my testimony. In a clear “maybe you’ve lied about your past, too” strategy, the man has now put my Gospel credibility at stake for all seven people who read the comments in Lumpkins’ blog. Instead of ignoring these claims, I’d like to demonstrate to Peter Lumpkins and Ergun Caner how one can take the time (for the sake of Gospel credibility) and answer accusations about their testimony.

I’m curious about what church JD Hall pastored when he was 18 years old. I was a little curious why a website such as Pulpit and Pen did not have any staff testimonies on it, so I did some digging on the Way Back Machine.

Hall’s Testimony is MISSING from the current Pulpit and Pen website, and has been replaced with a short comment about Ergun Caner dated Jan 9, 2014“>/about/”>

I’m not sure what a “staff testimony” is or why my website would have them, but…In the summer of 1999 in which I turned 18 (beginning while still 17), I was the interim pastor of the Hickory Ridge Baptist Church in Texas County, Missouri (it was a very small, unincorporated community known as “Upton”) near my home town of Houston. If you would like to email me directly, I can give you information to locals who can substantiate this. In the year 2000, still 18, I was the associate pastor of a church plant called the “South Hoxie Community Church” which was done in cooperation between the Black River Baptist Association and other partners. That church failed after I left it to serve on staff at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Annieville, Arkansas after I had turned 19. I’ve often talked about this experience as an adventure for why typical Southern Baptist church planting methodologies don’t work. It was a good lesson for a young man who thought the Convention had all the answers. Once again, if you email me I can give you numbers of locals in that church that can substantiate all of that.

Considering my testimony being missing (the shock! the horror!) from my website, when Peter Lumpkins linked that page on a blog making fun of me and then refused to publish my comment on his blog, I posted that comment so people clicking it can see the truth about Ergun Caner. You can compare that date with the date of Lumpkins’ post. Concerning it not being found on the header, that changed as my web designer was working new, additional tags such as “Pulpiteers”, “The Pen,” “The Pulpit.” If you email me I can give you his number and you can talk to him about why and when my website was rearranged.

Why from October of 2013 to January of 2014 did JD Hall remove his testimony from his website? Well, I think there’s a few explanations:

*Hall claims to have been the pastor of not one, but several churches at the age of 18. Not only does he claim to have been a pastor, but also a “church planter”. So at 18 he was not only pastoring a church, but planting others-at 18.

As stated, that’s correct. Shortly after getting married, we became church planters working in cooperation with NAMB and the Arkansas Baptist State Convention after completing Basic Training for Church Planters and we had success in a rural church re-start. Think of it as “flipping” a church like people flip a house. I’ve also often talked about this in regards to how the church plant numbers are “fudged” in NAMB reporting.

*Hall says he came to Montana at age 26, but spent 10 years in Northeast Arkansas first. This at least means he was in Arkansas from age 16 to 26.

That’s mostly a correct assertion. I left high school a semester early, having already received my necessary credits for graduation, to attend Williams Baptist College in January of 1999 at the age of 17. I came to Montana in June of 2008. That’s a little more than 9 1/2 years in Arkansas.

*Jordon left the ministry at to become a successful record setting and award winning marketer/business man, but yet claims that he did not find financial success. Pretty odd for someone that started numerous award winning businesses in “various locations in the Mid-South”.

This is a part of my testimony that is painful because it involves sin for which I’ve had to repent. Yes, I was very successful. I broke records in that sales business. The records I set are probably still unbroken. As a young man, I had businesses in multiple locations in multiple states. But as I’ve shared on many, many occasions, how this brought me far from God. After I had completed my Masters Degree, I was forced in a position to earn more income so that my wife, who was finishing our degree and had our first child, wouldn’t have to work. I took a position in sales. After discovering talent for it, I changed course in life, left the full-time ministry and threw myself into business. That was the biggest mistake of my life. It’s not fun being outside of God’s will. Millions of dollars came into my hands and left. I was absolutely miserable, in spite of my worldly “success.” I pulled over on a lonely stretch of highway between Poplar Bluff and Willow Springs Missouri and prayed that God would take my business away and put me back into ministry. When my second child was born months later, I had a mental breakdown (that’s the best way I can describe it) and my business began to suffer literally over night. My best friend served as my general manager but with locations in several different states, we were unable to turn the ship. After that business failure (which I believe was a gift and by the design of our sovereign God in accordance with my prayer), I slowly over the course of a year and a half was spiritually healed on my wandering. I’d like to reiterate that I didn’t develop a drinking problem or cheat on my wife or anything like that, but I was out of God’s will. That takes healing. Thankfully, we found a good church to attend while I began managing a local business. That is when, if you’ve heard my testimony before, I read Romans 9 and God renewed my spirit. As I saw the Doctrines of Grace for the first time jump out at me from the Sacred Text, I suddenly saw God in a way that I had never seen him. Whereas before I served in the ministry because I knew I was called, for the first time I had a desire to serve in ministry because I saw it as worship. I gradually and step-by-step waded back into ministry from that time up until 2007.

Do you see? Do you see why I believe in repentance and restoration? I am freed of that spiritual wandering by the blood of Jesus Christ and I plead that blood over my guilt and shame. Worldly sorrow leads to shame, but Godly sorrow leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).

*Jordon went to Williams Baptist College in Arkansas earning a BA in education, and then a MA in History from Arkansas State University. Now if Jordon went to Montana at age 26, and figuring in at least 5-6 years for a Masters degree, how did Jordon become a successful award winning business man starting several other business locations at age 22, while attending college courses toward a BA and MA at the same time before moving to Montana at age 26????

I earned a BA in Religious Education from Williams Baptist College, not an BA in education. Considering this guy is spelling my name wrong, I doubt that he cut-and-pasted it from any bio that I’ve provided. If, by chance, somewhere on a bio that I provided it says “education” and not “religious education” it would be inadvertent. My MA is from ASU, however. If you email me, I’ll be glad to provide you unofficial transcripts (I’m not paying money to give you official transcripts). I got my Master’s Degree very quickly and acted against the wishes of my faculty adviser who said the coursework would be too much. It takes 30 hours (approximately) to get an MA in history. I did it in two semesters. Although 15 hours per semester is common in undergraduate work, it’s usually not advised in graduate work. Nonetheless, that’s what I did. As previously stated, I started my business after I earned my degree and after my income ended from teaching several undergraduate courses in World Civilization and U.S. History. I had enrolled to begin a Masters in Political Science, but dropped those classes to pursue work that could provide a better income. Do the Math – college was completed in 4 years, beginning at 17. Then, a year of graduate courses completed at age 22 which is when my business career began. It’s not complicated.

Me thinks JD Hall has some splainin’ to do, but I see why he removed his testimony from the Pulpit & Pen website. No wonder Hall is screaming so loud about “Canerizing”, looks like he did the same thing to his own testimony right before announcing the “Caner Project”. Curious timing for the removal of his testimony indeed!

I stand before you as a man with nothing to hide. I am a sinner. I am a wretched sinner. But, I am a wretched sinner who has been radically saved by Jesus. My sin is an open testimony before a condemning world so that I will not be condemned by God. My sin in leaving the ministry for a short time to pursue worldly gain is a testimony of the saving grace of Christ. He paid for those sins with his blood. Only a man who doesn’t truly have faith in the grace of Christ hides his sins. This is, in part, why I want so desperately for Caner to repent. Forgiveness can be so freely given by God – but not without confession.

Now, I realize (and so do you) that these preposterous charges are a juvenile – and sinful, slanderous – attempt to deflect attention away from a man whose lies still remain un-confessed, un-repented and therefore, unforgiven. I realize that very few people read those comments from the few who care to engage Peter on his blog and my reputation or ministry is not at stake. But I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to show Caner and Lumpkins how a Gospel preacher must care enough about the credibility of his preaching to answer concerns when they arise about his testimony.

So thank you, Lumpkins, for the slander. Might this heap loving coals upon your head to bring you and if God is willing, Ergun Caner, to repentance.