All reporters and bloggers, with the exception of the SBC Today Bunch and Tim Guthrie, are viewing the Liberty action as punishment against Caner for being untruthful. Some agree with the LU decision, many think it didn't go far enough.
But no where, anywhere on the Internet will you find a claim of "exoneration" except at the SBC Today Bunch website and Tim Guthrie's blog. "Delusional" is how Chantry characterizes Guthrie's position. Not surprising, the Baptist Press has been silent so far (Correction: Baptist Press did have an article on Monday 6/28 here), as has Peter Lumpkins. In fact we're all eagerly awaiting Peter's next "vlog" - donning his cap and sleeveless shirt - to tell us of Caner's victory, just as much as we are anticipating the fake Ergun Caner's next episode at YouTube - both with be very entertaining I'm sure.
Tim Guthrie's blog posts are embarrassingly painful to read as he first declares total exoneration for Caner, then posts a total of four blog posts in three days, with the last one yesterday backtracking a bit in a confusing post in which he is so flustered he wasn't able to number his points correctly (1, 2, 4, 5).
When sampling the various news accounts and blog writings of the Caner scandal, I think we see very pointedly the value of Christian blogging. Sadly Liberty was only interested in the truthfulness of their seminary president if the secular media was interested. The secular media acknowledges that it was the Christian bloggers who kept the pressure on this story, posting video and audio evidence of Caner's deception which finally resulted in the media paying attention and then LU was suddenly concerned. Do real universities behave in that manner concerning their presidents - they're concerned only when the media is concerned?
Gone are the days when lay people get spoon fed from their pastors or from "Baptist Press" what is going on in their convention. Information and insightful and controversial analysis abounds, and this is a good thing as we have seen here.
On a side note: one quote that caught my attention was in the Associated Press article that I don't think had been confirmed before: AP reported: "...[Caner] asked friendly organizations to remove damning clips from their websites." We all suspected that he did, but the AP confirmed it.
I know the Ohio Free Will Baptists eventually did remove from their website the four very damning sermons from a 2007 men's retreat where Caner was in absolute rare form, prior to the completion of the LU investigation, but they told me they were not asked by Caner or Liberty to do it. I archived copies of the four sermons before their removal, and provided copies to one of the LU committee members during the investigation. After I blogged about those Caner sermons in April, an Ohio Free Will Baptist staff member contacted me and demanded I remove the audio excerpts I posted, and that I remove their logo from my blog post. I did remove their logo, but kept the audio excerpt clip which is still here, claiming it was allowable under the Fair Use doctrine.
A compilation of news and blogger accounts in the past few days that are worth reading:
Associated Baptist Press: Liberty Demotes Caner
Associated Press: Muslim-Turned Preacher Out as Dean
BeliefNet: Caner Sacked as Dean
Examiner: Liberty Removes Caner as Dean
Christianity Today: Liberty Cuts Caner as Dean
News and Advance: LU Won't Renew Caner Contract
NEW: Christian Post: LU Demotes Caner
[Lots of "demotes", "cuts", "sacked", but I couldn't find any news reports stating Caner is "exonerated", but I'm still looking!]
Some of the best blogs giving analysis of what the Caner decision means to evangelicalism:
Tom Chantry: Declaration from Liberty (most insightful and balanced, a must read)
Wade Burleson: Caner and the Liberty Honor Code (pointing out LU hypocrisy in Caner decision)
Wade Burleson: Celebrity = Integrity in SBC
Wade Burleson: SBC Today = "Bagdad Bob" (painfully hilarious)
James White: The Full Liberty Statement (White not impressed with LU statement)
Gene Clyatt: Lynchburg, We Have a Problem (Most hard-hitting, critical analysis of LU's actions)
R.A. McGough: A Christian University? Liberty is Neither (Just as hard-hitting as Clyatt)