Saturday, July 24, 2010

Campus Church - 2008

Campus Church - 2008

2008.08.27 Diary of a Slacker - Part 1

(0:50) What Skinny - what McKinney and the guys just did was tame compared to what we end up doing throughout the semester. We like to sort of slowly marinate you into industrial goth. Before we're done, you'll be doing Skillet and Archetype.

(6:38) And for a guy like me, it makes total sense. I wasn't raised in the church, I didn't enter a church until I was almost in college. I was not only a skeptic and a critic, I was a vociferous antagonist against the church.

(6:53) I hated you. I didn't like Christians. I was raised as a Muslim, and I assumed you were going to hell, and I assumed you wanted to send me to hell.

(9:00) I am a towel-head. I am a sand-monkey. I am a camel jockey. I am olive-skinned. Now if those words offend you "that's just wrong" Shut up!

(10:01) I'm not saved 'cause I'm Baptist. I happen to be Baptist. I was saved Independent Baptist. I was in a church where if I'd come in dressed like this, they'd have given me a gospel tract.

(10:26) But then I joined a missionary baptist church, a black baptist church. I was the - Black Baptists? got some of y'all Missionary Baptists, National Baptist Alliance? I wasn't the only white guy in the church - there were a couple of white girls who were in the choir. Every black church has a couple of white girls in the choir, who are dating some of the guys. And, ironically, the white girls talk more black than the regular black people around them. They all sound like Bon Qui-qui. You're looking at them, and they're going "uh-huh let me tell you sumthin'" and you're like, "you're from Amherst, where'd you get that accent from?"

(20:27) Ergun M. Caner: What is your favorite part about playing football? Braxton Paige Caner (9 years old): Hitting and hurting people. (laughter from EMC and crowd) EMC: (in fake voice) See that's just not Christian. (regular voice) But we're Christians, Braxton! BPC: Oh, and then I'll pray for 'em. (laughter from EMC and crowd) EMC: Who do you want to play for when you get in college? BPC: Liberty EMC: (over some applause from the Liberty students) Yeah, seriously? That's cool. Didn't mean to embarrass you by bringing you out here. Anything you want to - you got a shot - I'll give you the mic - what do you want to say? BPC: If there's any hotties, call me. (lots of applause from the Liberty students) EMC: I'm gonna get fired. How do you recover from that? Who told you to say that? Did somebody tell you to say that? Was that Johnny Ray?

(23:26) Now, I didn't start well. I mean, I started as a Sunni Muslim, and lived until I was seventeen and a half - but once I got saved, I have tripped into everything I've ever gotten. I'm an accidental, whatever-I-am.

2008.09.17 Diary of a Slacker - Part 3

(5:09) This list comes from 1988, which was my first senior year. Do the math. I started Cumberland College in 1984, didn't graduate 'til '89. Yeah, I squeezed four years of college into five years.

I didn't bring this up because it is false, but because I think it is true. He graduated from high school in 1984, which is why he started at Cumberland in 1984.

Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology

Nick Norelli has posted a review of Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology (link to review). The upshot of his review is that he feels he wasted $75 on the set (retails is apparently about $165). I'm sure that Dr. Geisler especially won't like that Norelli ends up suggesting that Grudem's single volume (very hefty, but bound as a single volume) Systematic Theology is better.

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Odds Rebuttal

Not an odd rebuttal - a clever rebuttal - but one that deals with the question of odds (link to rebuttal). The explanation is important: it shows the silliness of simply assuming that a large number of alternatives (for example, the large number of alternatives to the the truth that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the one true God) is an argument against the truth of a proposition.

The fact that there are 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 false religions is of no more significance than the infinite number of wrong answers to 2+2.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Debate" with Norman Geisler Regarding Ergun Caner - Index

Given the wide latitude that Dr. Norman Geisler has given Dr. Ergun Caner in using the word "debate," I don't think that Dr. Geisler can reasonably complain if I now claim to have "debated" Norman Geisler on the topic of Ergun Caner. It's not a real debate, and I'm not claiming it is, but there was some interaction. Here's an index of the interaction.

1) (Geisler) Norman Geisler's Alleged Comments
2) (TurretinFan) Response to Norman Geisler's Coments
3) (TurretinFan) When can We Expect our Apology?
4) (Geisler) Further Comments from Geisler
5) (TurretinFan) Dr. Norman Geisler Digs Himself a Deeper Hole
6) (Geisler) In Defense of Ergun Caner
7) (TurretinFan) Intro to Response to Geisler
8) (TurretinFan) Response to Geisler Regarding Caner Part 1
9) (TurretinFan) Response to Geisler Regarding Caner Part 2
10) (TurretinFan) Response to Geisler Regarding Caner Part 3
11) (TurretinFan) What Dr. Geisler Overlooked
12) (Geisler) In Further Defense of Ergun Caner
13) (TurretinFan) Rebutting Norman Geisler
14) (TurretinFan) Is Lying a Moral Issue?
15) (TurretinFan) Has Norman Geisler Acknowledged that Lying is a Moral/Ethical Issue?

Although, of course, there was a lot of work that went into this interaction with Norman Geisler (from both sides, I imagine), I think it would be unwise and misleading to go around saying that I "have debated Norman Geisler" (or for Dr. Geisler to say the same about me). That's why I have "debate" in quotation marks in the title of this post.


Ergun Caner Faith and Family Interviews

Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "More than a Prophet - I" August 27, 2007, with Dr. Ergun Caner (link to mp3)

(3:48) We were the equivalent of PKs in that we were in the church - so to speak - in the mosque every time the doors were opened. And this was our background.
  • Is this an accurate statement? I guess it is hard to know for sure, but it gives the impression of a rather high level of devotion.
(4:19) Interviewer: Now, Ergun you and your brothers were in Islamic Youth Jihad in Ohio, is that right? Ergun: Yes, sir, of course - but also before that in Turkey. The youth teachings - the youth groups are - take on various folds - different works that you do. Ours happened to be that of jihad, and so the jihadeen, up until I became a Christian when I was almost 18 years old.
  • Notice how in this instance, the interviewer gives Caner the opportunity to limit his claim about being in the Islamic Youth Jihad to Ohio. Caner, however, insists that "before that" (not "sometimes, during that") he was in the Islamic Youth Jihad in Turkey.
  • Also notice Caner's use of the apparently made up word "jihadeen."
  • Notice further Caner's claim that he was "almost 18 years old" rather than "15" or "16," which would appear to be more accurate, based on his book Unveiling Islam.
  • Additionally, notice that Caner is suggesting that there are a variety of different kinds of Islamic youth groups, and that his just happened to be one focused on jihad.
(12:41) One of the number one lines that Shabir Ally, the Muslim apologist, gave me at the debate which took place in Nebraska was "Why does one man have to die for me? What does one man's death have to do with my life?"
  • While Ergun Caner and Norman Geisler appear to have conceded that this claim is not true, they insist that Caner was not intentionally misleading anyone. It's hard to understand such a claim, unless Caner was maybe debating someone else with a similar name or appearance in Nebraska. Can Caner or Geisler identify the mystery Nebraskan debater for us?
Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "More than a Prophet - II" August 28, 2007, with Dr. Ergun Caner (link to mp3)

(2:04) Jesus is one of the twenty-five major prophets, along with Baruch and Ibrahim and Ishma'il.
  • I have no idea where Dr. Caner got "Baruch" as one of Islam's prophets from. This just looks (to me) like a mistake - not a lie. But this mistake suggests that Caner may not be as familiar with Islam as the claim that he was a essentially a PK would make one think.
(3:00) My father was invested in the jihadeen, trained in the madra - the Islamic training schools. We came to America to build mosques. And while here in America I came to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, and God. And subsequent to that, of course, I was disowned by my family. And in the years that followed, both of my brothers accepted Jesus, my mother became a Christian, and my grandmother became a Christian. So that, even though I'd lost all my family - slowly - through the testimony of one young man, a friend of mine - that my family came to faith in Jesus Christ.
  • There's that word "jihadeen" again. There is nothing to indicate that this is a word that means anything that would fit Caner's usage of it.
  • Likewise, "madra" doesn't appear to be a real word, although possibly "madra" is an aborted attempt to say "madrasa."
  • Notice the claim to have have been disowned by his family. Notice also that in the immediate context, he talks about getting his family back through the conversion of his mother and grandmother. However, as far as we can tell, his mother and grandmother did not disown him.
(3:58) And we always challenge them, in the Arabic or in English, to take us on.
  • I don't think, at this point, that anyone believes that Caner can do a debate in Arabic.
(7:44) Religious freedom is defined as, I believe, and I would fight for, and I would die for a Muslim's right to build a mosque in my home town. To build a mosque here in Virginia and to worship Allah. I believe this because religious freedom means you have a right to be religious, or irreligious, or anti-religious. But it also means I have right to stand in front of that mosque and tell them that Jesus Christ loves them.
  • I just included this one, because I think it is interesting. I don't share Dr. Caner's views on religious freedom, but I think that it is important for Muslim readers to see that he is willing to stand up for what he perceives to be their rights.
(17:28) Absolutely. Hadith, volume 9, number 50, says that a person cannot be killed - that a Muslim cannot be killed for killing an infidel.
  • This is just an example of Dr. Caner citing the Hadith without providing the name of the collection - sort of an equivalent of citing the Bible without identifying the book of the Bible.
Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "Why Churches Die - I" January 14, 2008, with Dr. Ergun Caner (link to mp3)

(Apparently Re-run as) Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "Why Churches Die - I" October 2, 2008, with Dr. Ergun Caner (link to mp3)

(Apparently Re-run - again - as) Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "Why Churches Die - I" June 19, 2009, with Dr. Ergun Caner (link to mp3)

(1:37) I was raised as a Sunni Muslim, more specifically, a Sunni with a Wahabi mother. And - uh - came to America in our teenage years to become - uh - missionaries. The term we use is different, masjidatos. But the masjid is the building of the mosques. And we built mosques in Toledo, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, and it was while I was here in America that I was - uh - a teenage boy and became a believer in Jesus Christ, he would not let go of me - for three years he was relentless in not taking no for an answer. And became a Christian, and lost my family of course, my father - my mother - and my church became my family. It was from there that I started to preach, and brought me on this journey eventually up to Liberty.
  • The claim that his mother was a "Wahabi Muslim" seems unlikely. I wonder if Caner would try to defend that claim today?
  • Notice that he claims to have come to America in his "teenage years." If he came in 1969, he came in something closer to his "toddler years."
  • Notice the claim that he was evangelized for three years.
  • Notice that he again claims to have lost his family, and specifies not only his father, but also his mother.
(4:13) The only two things we've ever given was we have this Turkish coffee which is you eat the grounds. You marinate the grounds in water and that's what I was raised with. I mean its in our baby bottles. And so I come to America and its like this is colored water. And so, yes. I order my coffee and I get it very strong. My wife hates it - she says it peels the paint off of cars. The second thing is that my mother being - from her background - is that the Sufis in Turkey believe that if you lose your mind, you come into union with Allah. It's sort of mysticism, Buddhist concept in Islam. And so we brought to America, the hookah, which is the bong. And so one of my earliest memories is my mom with the munchies, you know, smoking the pipe. Between the two things, I'd rather drink the coffee. That's the short of it.
  • Just a few minutes before he was claiming his mother was Wahabi. Now she's a Sufi?
(6:46) Well, my brothers and I - we all three were saved - our father had many wives, but father and my mother, they had three sons, all three of us got saved - and of course we leave Islam, immediately. And don't know where to go. All three of us became ministers of the gospel.
  • One of many times that Ergun Caner has claimed his father had "many wives," and by "many" I don't mean "two" which is apparently the number of wives Caner's father had, one at a time.
(9:46) They say, "Oh, you know, jihad is not found in the Koran," hey - I'll give you 500 verses. They say, "You don't know the Arabic," well no - actually I do - let's dance.
  • In another clip, I thought he used the expression "let's dance" but it could have been "what's next," so I flip-flopped in my transcription. Here, I'm pretty sure it is "let's dance."
  • Being able to read Arabic phonetically, without understanding its meaning, is not knowing Arabic, certainly not for the purposes of debating a Muslim.
(9:59) They're not 'insurgents,' they're 'jihadeen.'
  • There's that "jihadeen" word again. Can anyone find that word as a plural noun meaning anything like "warriors" in any Arabic dictionary?
(21:05) I tell people, "I fear no man," I feared my grandmother. Five foot tall, never learned English, you know - little Muslim woman coming to America and lived here - and she could never - toward the end of her life - she could never forgive those that hard hurt her.
  • What's this stuff about his grandmother being Muslim? Wasn't she Swedish Lutheran?
  • She may not have learned to speak English well, but her language was Swedish, was it not?
(22:05) You know the hardest thing for me was to forgive my father. Being disowned - and he cut me out of all his pictures - he would send - I would write him five times a year: I'd write him on Father's Day, his birthday, Christmas and Easter, and then one random time - and they'd always get sent back. You know - it's hard. My grandmother taught me to shave. Being Turkish kids you have to shave - you have a time when you learn how to shave your face, and then your eyebrows, and your back and so she taught me by showing how she used to hold the razor - and so I cut my face into ribbons, and the whole time thinking, "If I had a father, I wouldn't have to do this." But God can - But there was only so far that God could take me until I learned how to forgive - because even if he would never speak to me, me forgiving him was not contingent on him hearing it - it's contingent on me voluntarily releasing him.
  • Individually, all these stories may be true. Being disowned was doubtless something very hard to forgive. I believe his story that his father returned mail that Ergun sent. I also believe the story about the grandmother teaching him to shave, etc.
  • What Caner suggests, however, is that the grandmother's aid was needed as a result of the disowning. This shows, of course, that Caner was not a virtual orphan that was disowned by his entire family.
  • More to the point, however, based on other things we have seen (here for example), it appears that the grandmother's raising of her grandsons is something that took place as a result of the divorce between Caner's parents, not the result of Caner's father disowning him. I have no idea whether Caner had already hit puberty by the age of 15 or 16, but one would expect it.
Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "Why Churches Die - II" January 15, 2008, with Dr. Ergun Caner (link to mp3)

(Apparently Re-run as) Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "Why Churches Die - I" October 3, 2008, with Dr. Ergun Caner (link to mp3)

(2:34) When I went to Bible College, I had been saved eight months.
  • I don't see how this claim could possibly fit with Caner being saved when his book, Unveiling Islam, says he was saved.
  • I also don't see how this claim could possibly fit with Caner being saved on November 4, 1982, since Caner didn't graduate high school until Spring 1984.
(2:49) Interviewer: There were liberals at Criswell College? Ergun: No - there - no sir, I went to another college before. Interviewer: Oh, I was going to say - I can't imagine we had any liberals at Criswell College. Ergun: No, we had - um - We had - uh - We had issues we had to deal with at the college I was going to beforehand.
  • This is the first time I've ever heard about some Bible college that Ergun Caner went to before Criswell College. Can Ergun identify it for us? I wonder if he means Cumberland College, which is where he got his B.A.
(18:06) But for your listeners, so I can be clear, I am an immigrant, I am Turkish, English wasn't my first or my second language, and I can say this, and if they don't like it - tough - I don't care.
  • As far as we can tell, Ergun Caner came to America as a young child. Even if he wants to claim that English was his third language (after what - Swedish and Turkish?), he clearly speaks English natively, and apparently does not speak Turkish fluently (I'm not sure about his Swedish - perhaps it's excellent).
Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "Voices Behind the Veil - I" January 31, 2008, with Dr. Ergun Caner and Jill Caner (link to mp3)

(Apparently Re-run as) Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "Voices Behind the Veil - I" March 23, 2009, with Dr. Ergun Caner and Jill Caner (link to mp3)

(8:26) I'll give you a great "for instance." When we came to America and came through New York we were stopped at the border because my father had listed my mother as property.
  • I would love to see some documentation of this claim. I'm not sure we can ever disprove it, but are we really to believe that a guy who had been to school in Sweden, Acar, would list his wife as "property" on a custom's manifest?
(9:31) In my family, being the classic Muslim orthodox family, that is, we followed the Koran and the Hadith, my Father had multiple wives, and when the men sat at the table, the women stood. And then only after the men were done, even the youngest boys were done, we got up from the table, then the women could eat.
  • In context does "multiple wives" mean "two, one after the other" or does it suggest that Caner's father was a polygamist?
  • Again, what "women" are intended here? Is Caner speaking of his mother and grandmother or of these supposed "multiple wives" that his father allegedly had?
(16:04) I still have in my collection of things that I had as a child those evil eyes that my mother was told to put around my neck as a child - the fig that my father rubbed on the inside of my mouth to ward of the evil - they're called the injeel - you know the demons - the followers of al-ajal - who are supposed to be following you all through your life - you ward them off with these superstitions.
  • One normally tries to ward off "evil eyes" - not wear them (evidence). A nazar is what one might use to try to ward them off, as an alternative to trusting in God (link to discussion of nazars). I don't doubt Caner has some nazars from his childhood, whether or not he knows what they are called.
  • The term injeel is the term for the gospel - not the term for evil spirits.
  • I have no idea where Caner is going with his "followers of al-ajal" - al-ajal apparently means "hasten" (link to evidence).
Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "Voices Behind the Veil - II" February 1, 2008, with Dr. Ergun Caner and Jill Caner (link to mp3)

(Apparently Re-run as) Faith & Family Interview (Richard Land, Interviewer), "Voices Behind the Veil - II" March 24, 2009, with Dr. Ergun Caner (link to mp3)

(0:0) She had three sons who were believers in Jesus, three sons in the gospel ministry. Do you know what reached my mother for the gospel of Christ? Not one of us - it was a woman - a Christian woman. We forget the fact that if it is not the Christian woman who reaches the Muslim woman, it will not get done.
  • This appears to simply be a montage of comments that were later made in the show. I present it here simply as evidence of the effect that Caner's words had on the producer of the show. I submit that the impression given was that Caner's mother was a Muslim woman who was evangelized out of Islam by a Christian woman.
(14:58) If I could say this as clearly as I can, without becoming emotional: I became a Christian in 1982. My brothers became Christians in 1983. But our mother did not become a Christian until 1991. She had three sons who were believers in Jesus, three sons in the gospel ministry. But she remained a woman behind the veil. She remained a woman in the chador. Do you know what reached my mother for the gospel of Christ? Not one of us - it was a woman - a Christian woman.
  • Unveiling Islam clearly states that Caner's brother Emir got saved in 1982.
  • There is good reason, from court documents, to believe that Caner's mother was not a practicing Muslim woman. Caner has provided at least one photo of her, and she was not wearing a chador in the photo.
(19:26) Jesus strapped a cross to his back, so I don't have to strap a bomb to mine.
  • This is one of Caner's favorite catchphrases. However, there does not appear to be any evidence that he was on the verge of doing something precipitous, as the catchphrase suggests.

California Christian Apologetics Conference, 2006, Ergun Caner

Stand for Truth Ministries, California Christian Apologetics Conference, September 22, 2006 (link to partial video)

(referring to the time stamps in the partial video)

(0:10) I cannot be President. I came in 1978, when I was getting ready to go to college.
  • Did he mean to say that he came in 1969, when he was getting ready for preschool?
  • Did he mean to say, "I became a citizen in 1978, when I was getting ready to go to college"?
  • Caner was about 11-12 years old in 1978. Was he getting ready to
(0:58) I live in the country now, but I have - my entire life - lived in the cement jungle, I've been an inner city person.
  • From what we can tell, he grew up in Gahanna, Ohio. Does Gahanna even have an inner city? (See its website, noting that it was considered in 2007 to be one of the best places in America to live.)
(1:06) I learned English on Sesame Street. Held back a year from school, so I could learn English, so I could follow along better.
  • Sesame Street began airing on November 10, 1969 (documentation), so it is possible that he did start learning English as a 3-year-old on Sesame Street. It's even remotely possible that he was held back a year from entering school so he could learn English better. However, he graduated high school at age 17, so if he was held back a year, it seems he found a way to catch up.
(2:35) I hated you. That may be harsh, but as Dr. Hayes told you, my madrasa - my training center - was in Beirut before I came to America. We came as missionaries to you.
  • When did Caner study in a training center in Beirut? What year approximately?
  • If we assume Caner did not in fact ever train in Beirut, is his statement an understandable, innocent misstatement?
  • What Islamic missionary activity was the Acar Caner family ever involved with?
(2:59) [speaking of his father] Five times a day he would climb to the top of a minaret.
  • What minaret? There's no visible minaret at the Islamic foundation building on Broad St. that apparently served in place of a mosque for the Caner family.

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(3:18) And so we came to America - it was '78.
  • Again, is he just misspeaking "1969" as "1978"?
(4:03) I was the oldest. My father brought his wives with him. Yes, polygamous Muslims do come to America. We call it the Abraham lie. They say, "This is my wife, and this is my sister."
  • This seems to pretty clearly state that Ergun Caner's father was a polygamist, who had more than one wife at once. Is that true? The evidence seems to suggest that Acar Caner had only two wives, one at a time.
  • If it is not true, is this just a misstatement?
(5:11) So I, as a high school boy, moved to Gahanna, Ohio.
  • Again, is he just misspeaking "high school" for "pre-school"?
(6:49) And I walked in to the Stelzer Road Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio in full gear - full keffiyeh - and a Koran.
  • We have yet to see him wearing any true keffiyeh - and it may be that Caner does not even really understand what the term keffiyeh is, since he seems to think it means an entire outfit.
(7:21) I went home and told my father, "Abi, Isa Messiah" - Jesus is the Messiah. And my father faced Mecca and prayed the prayer of disownment. And it was done - it was the last I saw my father.
  • "Abi" is the Turkish word for "older brother." (evidence) That seems like a strange thing for someone to call his father.
  • The Koran repeatedly calls Jesus "the Messiah." (link to discussion)
  • What is this "prayer of disownment"? Can Caner provide it to us? Can anyone even find a transcription of such a prayer on the Internet?
  • Does the Sunni version of Sharia law even permit the disownment of children? Perhaps someone more well versed in Sharia law can tell me.
  • Caner saw his father again, at the end of his father's life, according to his own testimony elsewhere.
(7:41) (speaking of his mother) She got saved and in the baptistry took off her keffiyeh - took of her chador. She's a church planter in Elephant Butte, New Mexico.
  • Notice again that Caner seems to use the term "keffiyeh" now to refer to other Islamic clothing - in this case an chador.
  • From what we can tell from the court records, Caner's mother was not a practicing Muslim during his youth. Was she wearing the chador in the baptistry just for dramatic effect?
  • And why would she need to take off a chador except symbolically? The Scriptures not only permit but encourage women to cover their heads, and women in most Christian churches did, until the last 100 years.
- TurretinFan

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why Paul is not Welcomed in Thessalonica (while other "Christians" are...)

I read with disgust an absurd posting at (link to post). I thought it worthwhile to parody the posting by substituting Paul (as described in Acts 17, 14, and 2 Timothy 4:10). I suggest you read the absurd posting first, and then my parody below, in order better to understand the parody.

Last week Paul, an evangelical Christian, was arrested at or near the synagogue in Thessalonica. Since then Jason, who lives in Thessalonica, and some of his colleagues have been sounding the alarm- calling Christians to voice their concern over the persecution of believers in Thessalonica and the complicity of the Greek Police in denying the rights of Christ's followers.

This isn't the first time we heard this kind of thing. Not long before, Paul visited the nearby region of Lycaonia and was stoned! He and Barnabas described the incident as: "much tribulation."

What is happening in Greece? Are the Jews taking over? Is Mosaic law coming? Are we at the precipice of the Judiazation of the Roman Empire? Nothing could be further from the truth.

What is happening in Thessalonica is the mobilization of a community against a group that is confrontational and aggressive.

Christians are not banned from preaching the gospel in Thessalonica. Consider this: Demas had a booth in Thessalonica this year. He was not escorted to the rulers of the city and the community did not rise against them. Why? The answer is love and respect. Demas listened, conversed, and had an appreciation for the perspectives they were offered. He had a love, and a respect, for their audience and his audience of Jews and Greeks responded in kind.

Paul has a confrontational style. Now, he claims he was not confrontational and that the testimony of certain devout women of the Greeks will bear this out. Let's grant this. The problem is last year's "outreach" to Lycaonia was so outrageous that the apostle wore out his welcome in that region. The community does not want Paul there and his mere presence is considered a threat to the public peace.

You cannot harass and accuse the ones you are trying to reach with the love of Christ- it simply does not work. Headlining your video entries with "assaulted the house of Jason" is alarmist at best and does not accurately portray the events at the synagogue.

Moreover, if you speak to Thessalonica's residents, you will find that the last thing they want is Mosaic Law. Mosaic law is not coming to Thessalonica. I grew up in the Antioch, and in Thessalonica, and have Jewish family members living in Thessalonica. Thessalonica's Jews do not want Mosiac law. Did anyone notice the support the Jewish community offered to the temple prostitutes this year? Is this a community seeking Mosiac law in Greece? How do you think Jews who see and hear about Paul's epistles and Luke's "Acts of the Apostles" react?

Paul is not unwelcome in Thessalonica because of his faith or because of his attempts at evangelism. He is unwelcome because he is abrasive, denigrates the ones he is trying to reach, and inaccurately represents Thessalonica's residents. Paul did not form relationships with his audience and somehow missed the high value Jews place on relationships and respect.

In short, Paul lost the right to be heard.

(End of Parody)


Plagiarism in the Pulpit

Let's say I find two sermons that look like they have been plagiarized by Pastor X from the sermons of Pastor Y. Suppose I contact Pastor Y and he doesn't seem the least bit concerned - has no interest in the matter - or perhaps is just not that fond of dealing with pseudonymous folks on the Internet.

Do I, as a Christian, have a duty to spread the word about the apparent plagiarism to anyone else besides Pastor Y?

May I, as a Christian, spread the word about the apparent plagiarism to anyone else besides Pastor Y without being a gossip?

May I, as a Christian, remain silent regarding the apparent plagiarism?


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Plagiarism in the Pulpit - Some Further Conditions

In my last post, I gave some general questions regarding pastoral plagiarism (link to post). People provided a variety of responses, but let me add a few more constraints to the question.

Suppose that one came across two sermons from Pastor X, an experienced "senior pastor" type person, which appear to consist to a large extent of the same thoughts and expressions in the same order as two corresponding sermons from Pastor Y, who is geographically remote (i.e. not in the same town).

In other words, in this imaginary situation, there are two sermons from Pastor X that look as though they are essentially just a slightly altered edition of the sermons from Pastor Y.

Let's assume that the differences in terms of rewording things, omitting things, and adding a few new thoughts are enough to avoid any charges of copyright infringement.

Let's assume, however, that the level of similarity is enough that if Pastor Y turned in these sermons as part of a seminary assignment, and Pastor X turned in his sermons to the same professor, the professor would be inclined to view the situation as "cheating."

Let's further assume that the sermon, in its edited form, was really good and greatly blessed the congregation of Pastor X.

Is this sort of behavior acceptable? Does that final stipulation that the sermon was a great blessing make a difference? Does the fact that the number of "plagiarized" sermons is 2 not 1 make a difference? Does the fact that the number of "plagiarized" sermons is 2 not 5 or 20 make a difference?

What if it turned out that Pastor Y had told Pastor X, "it's ok to use my sermons, and don't worry about crediting me"? Would that change matters?

Alternatively, what if Pastor X's rationale was this: "I'm busy - it's a good sermon - and there is no reason to reinvent the wheel." Would that be a sufficient rationale? If not, why not?


Monday, July 19, 2010

Pulpit Plagiarism

Pulpit plagiarism is a phenomenon in which a pastor takes a sermon originally by another preacher and re-casts it in some way or another for his own congregation without informing them of this fact. I've conversed with a number of people about this topic. Recently someone directed me to the definition of plagiarism found on John Piper's website (link to definition - article by Matt Perman).

Perman seems to think that plagiarism, where it is intentional, is stealing. I'm not sure that's necessarily the case, though I see the point that Perman is making. Let's apply that issue to the situation of sermons. Is it plagiarism if a pastor essentially borrows another sermon he heard on-line without crediting the original author?

What if the pastor reads a great sermon by one of the Puritans and decides to make it his own by updating the language and shortening it by 50%? What if he does the same thing with the sermon of a living pastor?

Finally, how should we Christians react to discovery that a pastor has been engaging in plagiarism? Is this is a Matthew 18 situation? Are we required to keep our knowledge of the fact that something is plagiarism a secret until we have attempted to provoke repentance on the part of the preacher?


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Update on Dearborn

The video of the "disorderly conduct" (so called by many of their critics) is now available. (link to video) Does anyone seriously think that these guys are doing anything wrong - anything for which they should be arrested?

Acar Martin Caner

Dr. Ergun Caner's Father legally changed his name from Acar Martin Caner to Acar Mehmet Caner (link to evidence provided courtesy of Jason Smathers).

I suspect that this was not the first name change in Acar's life, since "Martin" sounds like a nod to Acar's wife's Swedish Lutheran heritage. Likewise, I cannot help but wonder if the legal name change back to something more Turkish-sounding was motivated by Acar's second wife, who was apparently Turkish. These suspicions are just that - suspicions.

What the evidence does suggest, however, is that while Acar may have a devout Muslim to some extent (and perhaps increasingly so in the late 70's and early 80's), at some point he seems to have gone along with using (as his legal name) the rather "Christian" name Martin. That does not sound like the sort of thing that an extremely and zealously devout Muslim would do, particularly if that "Martin" were replacing the name "Mehmet" (a Turkish form of the name Mohamed).

Then again, perhaps there is a way that someone's name could be changed against his will in the immigration process - or something like that. This evidence is just evidence, it is not proof.