“…they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12).
While I grieve over the effect that the Saga of Ergun Caner’s Mountain of Lies has had on American church and the Southern Baptist Convention in particular, I grieve even more over what professing Christians’ reactions to his Mountain of Lies has revealed about them. Yet the worst part of all of it may well be the gross sin and evil taking place within the Caner family.
Emir Caner and Ergun Caner are acting like they hate each other.
Of course they would never say out loud that they hate each other. Ergun is an excellent liar and plays to the crowd better than all but a handful of people in this world. He is obviously really good at playing the politics of the SBC’s powerful Good Ol’ Boy network, such that he has gotten such well-placed men as Norm Geisler, Paige Patterson, and Richard Land on his side, to cover for him and pretend like it’s all good. Emir, if he cares for his position at Truett-McConnell, would never endanger his comfortable position by going around saying such an offensive thing. Yet is love measured in words, or in action?
Let me explain what I mean. Emir Caner is in a position to know with certainty that Ergun continues, to this day, to pump his Mountain of Lies full of steroids. Emir knows when the Caner family moved to Ohio. He knows that Ergun was not a jihadi youth, that he didn’t dress differently, that his transformation from “Michael ‘Butch’ Caner” to “Errrrrgun Mehhhhhmet Caner” occurred well into his adult years, that their mother did not remove her veil in the baptistry, that Ergun’s gibberish “Arabic” is not Arabic at all. He knows, and he is without any possible doubt aware of Ergun’s behavior and statements in recent years, the controversy and the cover-up.
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).
What is the end result for a man when he perpetuates a lifestyle of unrepentant sin for years? Whether his sin is atoned for by the blood of Jesus because the man has been born from above and regenerated or whether he is lost, the end result is nothing good. Severe discipline and painful correction for the believer, or more intensified torment in Hell for the unbeliever.
Love, meanwhile, is a commitment to the true good, indeed the true best, of the object of one’s love. The best thing that could happen in Ergun Caner’s life is repentance, as the Lord Jesus will, despite all the damage Caner has wrought in His Body, still forgive and cleanse him. Ergun can have a testimony like the Apostle Paul of Jesus’ mercy:
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:12-16).
Emir is not only not calling out the sin of his brother; he is enabling the perpetuation of that sin. He knows his brother is an unrepentant liar, and he is furthering his brother’s sin. His behavior is no different in quality than a drug dealer, who helps draw addicts further into destruction.
“The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:9-11).
True brotherly love demands that the one who has a close relationship with and direct access to the truth of an inveterate liar actually confront that liar and call him to repent and believe the Gospel, and obey the Law of Jesus Christ. It does not leave a brother in darkness for the sake of temporary, worldly gains at the expense of the soul. Love demands a devotion to the profit and benefit of the beloved; Emir is enabling Ergun to continue to gain the whole world and lose his soul. As Emir is best-placed of anyone else in the world to call Ergun to repent, and he has refused to do so for over a decade of lies, Emir is guilty of leaving his brother in darkness, of helping him dig his pit. He is acting in hatred.
How does one recognise faith? By words, or by actions?
How does one recognise love? By words, or by actions?
[Contributed by Rhology]