Saturday, December 21, 2013

Caner, dispensationalism and turf defense

Looking at the Ergun Caner Situation, the question one faces is how the institutions which Caner is involved in and the individuals can ignore his record of lies. Having examined the situation I can argue several possible causes.

  • Institutional loyalty: Caner is a popular figure in the Southern Baptist Convention and is associated with Its institutions and its stars like Norman Geisler. Institutions create loyalty among their members. I witnessed and example of this several years ago. When I was in school I met a fellow student who was a disciple of the late R. B. Thieme. Thieme, had many strange ideas, (eg., the soul residing in the Kidneys.) He was known for using profanity from the Pulpit and held a cult-like leadership among his followers. I studied up on Thieme, and read one of the leading works about him. While it found many of his ideas strange it defended him. The only reason I could see for this is that both the author and Thieme were from Dallas Seminary, and it was clear the author was defending Thieme to defend the Seminary.
  • Dispensationalism: Caner, and the vast majority of his supporters are pre-millenial Dispensationalists. For all too many of those who support this position everything revolves around defense of the state of Israel. To them Israel is central and the Church is subordinated to it. Caner strongly champions this position. I believe his success, sadly, has been because of his opposition to Islam, and it's opposition to Israel than a desire to further evangelistic outreach to Muslims. It doesn't really matter to Caner supporters that his lies have damaged Christianities truthfulness, as long as his criticisms Support Israel. A further example is  Walid Shoebat. In spite of his credibility problems he is still put forward by the dispensationalists. 
  • Throwing good money after bad. Many of Caners supporters see that they have staked their own credibility in supporting Caner. Faced with this it is obvious that they feel that they have to double down and continue to back Caner and hope he doesn't continue to self-destruct.
At any rate it's a tragedy that Caners supporters feel they must drink the kool-aid on his behalf.  

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