I am a firm believer of understanding an opponent. In a competitive situation, it helps you to win. One of the best strategies is to know how you will be attacked so that you can effectively defend yourself and/or pull of a counter attack. But what do you do when you’re in a situation where your weakness gets continually exploited, and there is no appearance of a sound counter attack available?
I don’t handle failure well because I hate to lose. If I fail at something or do it wrong I over analyze, over criticize, and then come down hard on myself. While all of us have very different lives, different challenges, and different successes we all have one common opponent. Our opponent is relentless, ruthless, and cunning- the kind of opponent who is a win at all costs kind of guy. He will outright lie to you, exploit your weakness, push you to the brink and tell you half truths. The opponent I speak of, Satan.
I probably lost some of you with the very use of the word Satan. Bear with me on this. Up until a few weeks ago I had never given Satan much thought. I understood what he represented at a conceptual level, but had never really pursued it beyond that. To me, Satan was something in the Bible that had caused Adam and Eve to sin, and tempted Jesus. I guess you could say that I thought of him in more of a historical context rather than something that was operating in the here in now. Even from a social context, the look you get on most people’s faces is bewilderment when you mention the word Satan, or Devil… I’ve even gotten this “you’re weird” look a spiritual conversations!
The Set Up…
For the last few years God has been really working on my life. During this time my understanding of Christ has grown immeasurably! I guess that I first grew in my knowledge of Him from a business perspective (Many thanks to Liberty University’s MBA program).
Since graduating, however, I have had time to get to know this God that I serve on an even deeper and more personal level. I wanted to get to the heart of the matter and not have a vague understanding of Christianity… I wanted to know Him. Kevin recommended that I dive into a personal study of theology. So, I got a theology book by Charles Ryrie for Christmas, and away I went. To say that I have been blown away by the amount of material that is in this book is an understatement. While a number of things have changed, as far as my theological approach and general understanding, one of the biggest impressions left on me has been the chapters on Satan.
For those of you who believe Satan is some sort of metaphor for bad things, the Bible tells us you are wrong. If, like I did, you think that Satan is an entity that only acted in ancient history but is no longer present and active, I care about you too much to not tell you that you are mistaken. Satan is real, he hates us, and he is very much alive and active – that little booger is running around wreaking havoc on everything! Here’s how the Bible describes him: Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Your doubt and misunderstandings plays right into Satan’s strategy for ruining your life. In John 10:10 Jesus told us the bad news about Satan… “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” But Jesus didn’t stop there, he went on to tell us the good news: “[but] I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” What Jesus is saying here is that He wants us to know the strategies of Satan so that He can help us fight back and have a GREAT life, in Him!
Factual statements that are self contradictory…what does that mean!?
Kevin and I have been following the Ergun Caner controversy since it popped up. We haven’t’ posted anything on it because we wanted to allow Liberty to do its job and make a decision. The decision has been made and… Even now, we disagree on exactly how we should respond to this news… Kevin would prefer to leave it all alone and silently disassociate with the school, but I believe that we need to take a definitive stand on this issue. While we applaud Liberty for taking some action and also in trying to do so with a measure of grace and forgiveness, I have to admit I am very disappointed by the statement offered up by Liberty. In fairness, this fiasco played a major role in Kevin and my decisions to not return to LBTS in the fall – The lack of a definitive statement in the official statement cemented the decision.
Before I continue lets get everyone filled in. Ergun Caner is the Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary (through June 30, 2010). He proclaims to have been a converted Muslim, and a staunch Apologist for Christ. About a year ago someone started putting videos on YouTube claiming that Ergun Caner was lying about his past (Part 1 starts here). So that we are up front about this… the YouTube videos are presented by a Muslim and, at some points, come off as being condescending, and sarcastic. I watched all of these videos and there were some clear contradictions in some of the things that Ergun Caner was saying. Without diving too far into it let’s just say that he had three or four different versions of his childhood, move to America, and his testimony. Each different story was a contradiction to the other. If you watch the video (and I suggest you do) you can see the clear contradiction. As I watched them, I wondered… this either had to be intentional, or he has lost his mind. I started to look into this because this is a story we have all seen too many times. I found a press release from Caner. Caner saw fit to call into question the sincerity of one’s Christian faith for challenging him and asking questions. I immediately e-mailed Chancellor Falwell to ask for clarification. I found it hard to believe that that the school would endorse such a thought. I received a response from Falwell himself saying that they take these matters seriously. We just found out how seriously they take it.
Ergun Caner’s contract will not be renewed on June 30. He has been asked to stay on as a professor. In Liberty’s announcement they make the following statement: “After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Ergun Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory.” Factual statements that are self contradictory? What does that mean!? That is incredible. How can you make a factual statement that is self contradictory? Can someone help me out here? How can anything contradict truth?
Caner was offered and has accepted a position as a staff professor at the university. I wonder what he will be teaching? Truthfulness is critical when teaching anything, ESPECIALLY the Bible and even more so, for apologetics (which is what he has historically taught). Is this what happens when Universities become too big? Do they all become political in the way they handle their business? I would have expected Liberty to have been the exception! But it seems like they have fallen into the same trap as secular schools. Rather than being completely up front and honest about the situation, we get a tap-dancing type statement… “factual statements that are self contradictory.” Liberty’s statement is reminiscent of political correctness, and an effort to sweep things under the rug. Once this enters into a school it is hard to stop this type of secular thought. Rather than facing the truth they have decided that a half truth would protect their image, and protect their pocket book. Does this honor God?
Again, we are glad that Liberty is attempting to show some grace and mercy – that is to be commended… However, the statement they have released and the current lack of a public statement of contrition by Dr. Caner (this should probably have been required by LBTS for Caner to stay on staff) is a little weak from a conservative Baptist Seminary.