I dug back into the Watchdog archives and have found the sermon Ergun Caner delivered at the 2007 Georgia Baptist Evangelism Conference on September 7, 2007.
But give Caner his props - it was a real humdinger of a sermon. He he had them rolling in the aisles, and he had them amening and hootin' and hollerin'. Caner's sermon that day was a prime example of why Caner is such a popular circuit speaker.
However, in the 6 years that have transpired since he delivered it - four parts of his sermon are worth noting given recent events. There was some irony, some hypocrisy, a little bit of prophecy, and as in most Caner sermons, there was a serving of baloney.
Let's take them one by one. We shall start with the prophecy.
Prophecy: Caner warned the pastors about the bloggers "attacking" pastors.
In a bit of prophecy and foreshadowing, Caner warned about the dangers of bloggers "sowing seeds of discord among the brethren". In September 2007 when this sermon was delievered, this blog had just begun a few weeks prior, and there were several other bloggers out there such as the NewBBCOpenForum, Saving Bellevue, and another one dedicated to Two Rivers Baptist in Nashville. Caner was one of the first to be out front warning of the "evils" of bloggers. He even made a reference to bloggers in their parents' basement.
Here is an excerpt from the 51:15 mark of the sermon:
"Everybody in our church is demanding their rights and believe that their opinion is worth hearing, and they BLOG US TO DEATH. Now you need to listen to me. I've got a blog, and many of you do too. But there are those that have become infected with this narcissism. They've developed this focus on their own opinion and thus they have a spirit of dissension. They sow seeds of discord among the brethren." (51:15 mark)Who knew when these words were uttered that it would be Caner himself who had the most to lose by those nosy and "narcissistic" bloggers? Perhaps Caner saw the day coming where HE would have his fibs posted on these same blogs and thus he decided to take a pre-emptive strike. Imagine Caner's horror when he realized that ordinary, non-ordained Christians obtained some measure of power through the blogosphere to disclose and discuss the misdeeds of pastors.
Or perhaps Caner's words above were just a divine prophetic moment, now revealed by God on my blog. Or is that just me being narcissistic?
Irony: Caner warned about the evils of Christian lawsuits.
"Everybody is obsessed with their rights. You know why we know this? Because everbody is suing everybody else. We're a litigious society, aren't we? Everybody's got a right to sue!! I got a right to get me some cheese!!! I'm gonna get me some cheddar!!! I'm gonna get me my money!! Why? Because it can't be my fault! It's not my fault, I'm a victim...if I'm a victim, I'm not culpable. If I'm not culpable, I'm not responsible. If I'm not responsible, it's not sin. So what we do instead of bowing our knee in repentance, is we demand our rights. And it has infected the church." (50:10 mark)I guess Ergun Caner had a change in heart on lawsuits replacing repentance and responsibility and culpability.
Baloney: Caner claimed to debate various groups, and that they are available online.
"You can get everyone one of my - I have two rules when I debate. Number one, no money. You know why? Because they say we're always after money. And I work for Jerry Falwell. Right? The second rule is no Christian can ask me a question. No money, you can download all my debates. I debate the gay church, I've debated B'Hai, Buddhists, Shintos, Orasthean (?), Muslims." (48:45 mark)So here it is, unmistakable - Caner is claiming not to have had informal debates, as in one-on-one conversations. But these would have been recorded, uploaded, available for downloading, debates with multiple religious groups.
Where are these formal debates? Did they ever occur? Was this just a simple "misstatement"? He thought he had debated but forgot that they hadn't occurred yet? He had a few dates wrong? Or was he purposely misleading the Georgia pastors about his debating prowess? I think we know the answer.
Hypocrisy: Caner claims his debates are free, offered online, and would not want any money for them.
The rest of the quote from above:
"The second rule is no Christian can ask me a question. No money, you can download all my debates. I debate the gay church, I've debated Baha'i, Buddhists, Shintos, Orasthean (?), Muslims. You get 'em all. They're free, they will always be free. Why? Because I like a good debate, and I like the church in culture."That is great! He doesn't want to charge for his recorded debates, and he claims to want them available to everyone everywhere, available for downloading on the Internet. Thus, he wants them to have as wide of dissemination as possible, unhindered by the need to pay for them. He throws in the point that he is already being paid a salary so why try to charge more money.
If he claimed in 2007 that he wants his debates to be spread via the Internet unhindered, why would he object to sermons? Why would he object to his excellent speech given to the Marines in 2005 being posted on the Internet? And more importantly: why would he now claim that he wants compensation from Jon Autry and Jason Smathers for doing what he said he himself does or rather claims to do: puts his debates online for free for anyone to download?
So there you have it. Something for everyone.
And I'll leave you with one other quote from the Georgia Baptist Evangelism Conference of 2007, that only Ergun Caner gets a pass on:
"I don't think the Tele-Tubbies are gay. I think Barney [the dinosaur] is queer." (48:45 mark)
And did the Georgia boys ever yuck it up over that one.
And listen to the sermon for yourself right here: