He delivered a sermon that was typical Caner: expository, filled with humor and self-deprecating stories about himself and his family. A good sermon, except that I can't take some of his admonitions seriously given the revelations over the past 6 months of how he has lied to and misled so many audiences of his background. He preached about the importance of maintaining one's integrity and character, and to not be preoccupied with notoriety - which is strange coming from him given how one can only assume he was seeking notoriety after 9/11 when he transformed himself from E. Michael Caner to "Ergun Mi'khael Mehmet Giovanni Janel" vaulting him to instant notoriety in the SBC. Nothing "authentic" about that.
The crowd seemed to fully embrace Caner. When he took the platform he was greeted with a standing ovation, and prolonged "hoots and hollers" from what sounded like mostly younger worshippers. When it was over, he received another standing ovation.
He is a talented speaker, there is no question, and this sermon shows he does not intend on missing one step or backing down one bit from what he feels he is called by God to do. While he didn't directly address his tribulations this summer resulting in him losing his job as president of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary - his remarks made it clear to me that he will not back down from the mantra that he was unfairly attacked and that HE took the high road by not responding to his critics. He will be preaching this weekend at Jerry Vines' Bible Conference, so this was a good warm-up for 'ole Ergun.
One of the most notable quotes from the sermon, about teaching your kids through adversity:
"What you teach them when you are attacked is far greater than what you teach them when you are applauded. You will teach them by how you respond, and you will teach them by how you recover....Don't you ever, even when justified, return fire. Never take the bait, never escalate. Let them say all manner of things about you. Why? Because that's what Jesus said"
"At the end of the day I gotta serve God and serve my family. If I do those two things I can lay my head on a pillow even if the pillow is a stone."
At the end of his sermon, he thanked the Thomas Road congregation: "Thank you for being my family".
If you want to watch this sermon, visit the Thomas Road Baptist Church website here. Note: the sermon title on the website is "God the Bounty Hunter" - a reference to a story of how he likes to watch "Dog the Bounty Hunter", and he compared "Dog" and his bounty hunting to how God pursues sinners.