Friday, July 16, 2010

September 13, 1969

On September 13, 1969, (according to this document that Jason Smathers has unearthed) Acar Caner, aged 35 (nearly 36), came to America. At that time, his eldest son (Ergun Caner) was only two years old, though nearly three. Both of these dates/ages are based on an assumption that the birthdays we've been given for Acar Caner and Ergun Caner are correct. Furthermore, if the birthday we've been given for Emir Caner is correct (namely August 1970), it would appear that Emir did not come to America as an unborn child.

Also interesting is the fact that Acar Caner appears to have been granted U.S. citizenship on July 13, 1976, and that he claims he was not out of the U.S. for any more than 6 months at a time between then and (apparently) 1980 or 1981.

Another item of note is the fact that Acar Caner apparently changed his name (from Martin to Mehmet or vice versa is a little unclear to me from this document).


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Circumcision Ended Without Scripture?

In the discussion between Matt Slick and Robert Sungenis, Dr. Sungenis made the following comment:
In Acts chapter 15, where the debate over circumcision arises. And Peter stands up and says, "We're no longer going to practice circumcision." And he had no Scriptural precedent to do so.
(see 53:51 in this mp3 recording of Dr. White's partial review of the discussion)

Dr. White provided some responses (as you will hear in the mp3), but I'd like to provide six of my own:
  1. The debate in Acts 15 was really a debate over sola fide, which the Judaizers opposed, claiming that circumcision was necessary for salvation. Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. Compare Acts 15:8-9 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

  2. Peter stood up, but what he stood up to do was to argue for faith alone and against the burden of circumcision: Acts 15:7-11 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

  3. Peter's comment was not the announcement of a decision. The decision was pronounced by James. Acts 15:13 & 19 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: ... Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: ... And then by all the church at Jerusalem, not just the apostles and elders. Acts 15:22-23 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: and they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: ... .

  4. The decision of the council was specifically directed to Gentile converts, not to Jews. (see the verses in the previous bullets) It was not actually a call to end circumcision, just a recognition that circumcision is not necessary for salvation. Jews continued to be circumcised. Act 16:1-3 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

  5. Peter's argument itself refers to his experience with Gentiles such as Cornelius. That experience is recorded in Scripture, whether or not an as-yet-incomplete book of Acts had been written. So, the precedent on which Peter relied is in Scripture, although it may not yet have been in Scripture at that time.

  6. The decision of the church of Jerusalem, however, was based on Scriptural precedent. Specifically, as James explains it we can see the Scriptural precedent, I'll provide cross-references in brackets. Acts 15:15-18 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: [Amos 9:11] that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, [cf. Hosea 3:5] and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. [Amos 9:12] Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. [cf. Isaiah 46:10]
So, for at least these reasons, I would have to respectfully disagree with Dr. Sungenis' argument.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thomas Road Baptist Church Sermon Extracts

"Declaration, Revolution" by Dr. Ergun Caner, Thomas Road Baptist Church April 9, 2006 (AM)

18:31 So looking in the camera, I said, "Yeah, I'll give you some statements." "So, when did you come over?" "Well, we finally settled in 1978."

"Why I Am Predestined Not to Be A Hyper Calvinist" by Dr. Ergun Caner, Thomas Road Baptist Church April 9, 2006 (PM)

There are a lot of issues with this sermon, but the issues are not autobiographical, as far as I could tell.

"Racism in the Face of Diversity" by Dr. Ergun Caner, Thomas Road Baptist Church July 30, 2006 (AM)

16:05 I am one - please pay attention - I am one who was raised to hate Israel. As a Muslim, we were taught that the Jews drink the blood of the Palestinian children. I was raised to despise them. In Arabic the speakers in the mosques and the masjids will stand up and say, "We will push them into the peninsula."

"Personal Testimony" by Dr. Ergun Caner, Thomas Road Baptist Church September 17, 2006 (PM)

9:30 My testimony is no different than yours. Because my testimony shares the exact same thing as yours. It always ends, "and then Jesus Christ saved me." Mine just happens to begin from a position of animosity. I hated you. I am twenty-one generations a Turk. I am the oldest of three sons of an Islamic muezzin. My father, Acar Mehmet Caner, was in my eyes a giant. He was a man that I believed could do anything. He played rugby, soccer, any sport where you could kick somebody else. My father was a man. My father feared nothing but he was devout as a Muslim. And in Turkey, Istanbul, Ismir (sp?) we came America with an express purpose. My father was an architect by trade. And we came to America to build mosques.

We went to Monclova (sp?) Ohio, Toledo - the largest mosque in the Midwest was there. And having received orders, my dad moved us to Columbus, OH, where we began the Islamic foundation on Broad St. That's how I got here.

I learned English here. I learned culture here. But I was raised devout as a Sunni Muslim. And I hated you.

Everything we ever knew about Christians - everything we ever knew about Christianity - we learned from the mosque, the masjid, the madrassa, or our imam. Our training, our Sunday school, our Pastor.

Everything we knew about you, we knew only because we were taught from outside.

I had no contact with Christians - I had no contact with Jews. Because the Koran teaches expressly, Surah 5, take no friends from among the Jews and the Christians for you bring their judgment upon you.

That was my world. We came to America, having lived in countries where we always the majority, and now I was the minority.

We dressed differently, spoke differently, worshiped differently, ate differently, and now we were surrounded by you. This was a difficult adjustment. We were devout.

There are two types of Turk who come to America. There are the devout and then there are the not-so-devout.

Let me lay aside some of your worries. I have never in my life, ever driven a taxi. I don't have a single silk shirt that I wear open to the navel with my fake gold chains turning my neck green entangled in my chest hair. I don't slick back my single eyebrow with my designer impostor perfume. I don't have a basket full of snakes, flying carpet, and I don't work at 7-11. But there are many of our people who do come to this country, and they are not devout. They come here as Muslims casting off Islamic legalism, and then they come to America and they become nothing.

And then I was the second kind. We came suspiciously. We came devout.

Every Muslim on the planet be they Sunni or Suffi, Shia, Ismali, be they Nation of Islam, a subset of the Sunni, be they Wahabi or Alluhit (sp?) - every Muslim knows there are five pillars and six foundations.

There is Abinadab [sic for ...], Salat, Zakat, "Swan" [sic for sawm], Haj.

But all of them can be summarized in one simple concept - work till you're good enough to make it in heaven.

The 23rd chapter of the Koran, Surah 23, verses 102 and 103 say this: he who finds his scales heavy will find perdition, he who finds his scales light will find blessing, paradise.

We are taught that from the moment you are born, your mother takes the fig and rubs it in your mouth, your father whispers the Shahada in your ear. And from that moment, every word, every deed, every desire, every motivation, every act, every will, every thought, every emotion, everything goes either on good scales or on bad scales, so that at the end of your life you you've got to have more good than bad to make it into paradise.

You have to be 51% righteous. It's why we pray five times a day, facing Mecca. It's why we roll out our prayer rug and begin "bismillah ah'rallahim, wa'hamdullah ah'rallahim" [attempted phonetic transcription]

It's why we live by the dietary restrictions of halal and haram. Eating things that are allowable, and avoiding the things that are not allowed - and avoiding pork and avoiding anything that was like lobster and crab - we did not eat these foods because Allah would hold it against us.

And there is only one eternal assurance in Islam - only one eternal absolute. The only people who ever know, according to the words of the Koran - we would read it, kiss it, place it to our foreheads, put it on the highest shelf - according to the Koran, according to the Hadith, the only people who would know where they were going to go. The only people who were absolutely sure were those who died in an act of Jihad, in a signed Fatwa, they were the martyr. It's why now five years following 9-11, it's why there is no shortage of my people willing to get on planes. It's why there is no shortage of us willing to do whatever it takes. It's not just an act of devotion it's an act of desperation.

We fear - we fear - that we will die with the scales unbalanced. We believe that by shedding our own blood and shedding the blood of others, it will get us the one thing that eludes us: forgiveness.

Even this week, the irony is seen. The pope says something that offends the Muslims, he says that - quoting from an Islamic scholar - that paradise is found in the shades of the sword. And they begin to riot. In other words, stop saying we're violent, or we will kill everything you know. That is the most retarded thing I have ever seen the media talk about.

How I found out that my blood was not needed is the point of this story.

It wasn't a massive church. It wasn't a beautiful people. It wasn't a guy on TV hawking Peter and Paul loincloths. It wasn't a magnificent choir.

What reached me for the gospel is a series of anonymous, singularly persistent people. One obnoxious boy who wouldn't shut up. One tiny church. One people.

For three years, Jerry Tackett chased me. I dressed differently, looked differently, yet in Gahanna Lincoln High School he made me his project. Trying to earn an AWANA badge or an RA badge, the guy wouldn't leave me alone. Invited me to everything - invited me to lock-ins, and pizza pig-outs and hot dog hog-outs. And he kept inviting me, and inviting me, and inviting me. And by the way, if you've ever worked a lock-in - I believe it is a tool of the devil. Nothing else would keep me up at 3 a.m. in the morning except trying to find kids hiding in the stairwell trying to make out when I should be asleep. It's the Protestant equivalent of Purgatory.

Three years - no - no - no - no - no - three years - no - no - no. Finally, I give in. Finally, I tell him I will show him. And I walked into the Stelzer Road Baptist Church in Columbus, OH - little church that had one aisle. Little church that had 80 people if everybody was skinny. And they loved me to the cross.

I had never been in a church, never seen other Christians, knew nothing about their service.

I walked in with a Koran in my hand. I walked in thinking I will show them. I sat in the back - eight of them sat with me. The meaner I was, the nicer they were. The more cynical I was - callous, jaded - the more they smiled and overlooked my sin-sickened soul.

It's amazing to me. If you've never been in a Baptist church, it is a bit of an adjustment. It's the reason I'm as non-traditional as I am - I have no baggage. I didn't know when to stand - and to sit. I didn't know what a hymnal was, or the Bible was. I didn't know what a bulletin was, I thought it was the Bible. Some of you still do.

I didn't know when to do anything. Stand, sit, turn around, hug a neck, shake a hand, listen to the choir, grab a baby - it was just so much. Feel the burn - feel the burn - it's Jeezercise. And yet they loved me all the while.

As soon as the service was over, Jerry Tackett dragged me to Clarence Miller - one singular pastor. Clarence Miller had a sixth-grade education. Clarence Miller had sideburns like Elvis. Clarence Miller would wear these green suits with brown piping and he would preach, man, hard and hot.

When he'd get to preaching, I noticed that people would all take their handkerchiefs out, and when they agreed with what he said, they'd wave their handkerchiefs. I thought it was because he was spitting. You see, Clarence used to say if you ain't spittin', sweatin', and slobberin', you ain't preachin'. Man, he'd preach hard. Sometimes he'd preach so hard he'd unclip his tie. But it stayed pinned to his shirt, so it would just flop - right in the front - like that.

Tackett dragged me to Clarence and said, "Clarence - here he is!" (like you had to point out the boy wearing the dress)

(around 20 minutes)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Norman Geisler on Lying as a Moral/Ethical Issue

A friend of mine pointed out to me that in his book on Christian Ethics, Norman Geisler seems to call lying a moral and ethical issue (link to sample of book). On page 19, for example, lying is provided as example of an ethical issue which is decided by moral laws. So, it's not clear how Norman Geisler can justify his apparent belief now that the issue of a preacher allegedly lying is not a moral issue.


Is Lying a Moral Issue?

Dr. Norman Geisler seems to have the impression that lying is not a moral issue. Here are some verses that would suggest otherwise.

Psalm 119:163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

Ezekiel 13:19 And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Hosea 4:1-2
Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.

Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.

Isaiah 30:9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:

Provers 13:5 A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.

- TurretinFan