Looking at the Ergun Caner debacle, one of the things that is most astonishing is the complete lack of discernment in the church and its failure to exercise Church discipline. Here we have a man who in spite of his repeated lies faces neither sanctions for his behavior or any kind of Church discipline.
Sadly this phenomenon has increasingly plagued the Church for years. When a Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard is caught in a gross sin he is, after laying low for a while, back to peddling his wares. Recently, while browsing on of my favorite weblogs, I encountered this quote "I recently spoke with a friend from another state (another SBC minister) who told me of a man who presently pastors in his local Association. The man has served 3 other churches in that county over the last several years. At each of those 3 churches, he committed adultery and left his wife to marry the adulteress. 3 affairs, 3 resignations over the affairs, 3 divorces, 3 remarriages (he's presently on wife number 4 and serving church number 4). The Associations Director expressed concern to my friend, but said that due to local church autonomy there is absolutely nothing he can do to prevent, remove, or discipline this man."
What can we make of this. Firstly I think that in many modern Churches size is the definition of success. If a Pastors presentation gets people in the Church, he is successful. His personal morality can be considered secondary. Caner increased enrollment and the kids just love him so its all OK. Also I think that many people are inclined to enjoy leaders whose moral failings are known. Certainly the "pastor " above was not going to be preaching about adultery. Much the same way as Clinton's popularity rose after personal immorality was revealed. Clearly many are more comfortable both in the Church and in society in general with leaders who's morals are as low as their own.
Imagine how Caner, in his academic position could crack down on students for plagiarism, cheating, or lying in their academic lives. What could he possibly say to them? We should pray for Caners repentance. far more we should pray for the repentance of those who have abetted him in his lies, and for the institutions that continued to hire him in the face of those lies.