Perhaps what is even sadder than Peter's posts and re-tweets of others who are all but blaming James White and J.D. Hall for the death of Braxton Caner - is the silence from anyone else in a leadership position in the SBC, allowing Peter to continue playing this blame game.
I read what Peter is writing and what he is favoriting and re-Tweeting on Twitter, and I can scarcely believe those in power in the SBC haven't given Peter the hook, or at lease told him to cool his rhetoric and blame. Peter is a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a vice president of one of the Baptist colleges in Georgia. He is on the payroll of the GBC. He is the Caner family "spokesman", according to Baptist Press.
Make no mistake, Peter Lumpkins IS the voice of the SBC right now in the wake of this tragedy. And you have to ask: why is the SBC not reigning him in?
Johnny Hunt, Bucky Kennedy - someone in the GBC - if you can get Matthew Lehew - an employee at Shorter University - to take down his blog post critical of Brewton Parker within 24 hours of it posting, surely you can get Peter Lumpkins - Vice President of Brewton Parker - to calm down, stop the blame, and concentrate on doing his job and addressing the accreditation problems at his school instead of being on a vendetta to punish and accuse his boss's critics.
Despite Ergun Caner himself this past Sunday telling the congregation of Northside Baptist Church in Tifton, GA that he doesn't know why his son took his life, that a note wasn't left, that he wished he knew why his son was in so much pain - Peter STILL - every single day but one since Braxton's funeral - Peter has been on the attack to pin the blame of Braxton's suicide on J.D. Hall, James White and the "cyber bullies" that are located "in several states including Arizona, Florida, California, Virginia, Georgia, and even foreign countries like Canada."
Bloggers mostly HAVE been silent out of respect for the Caner's during this period, but that doesn't stop Peter from attacking. It seems Peter views it as a bit of a sport, to take down bloggers now that he has an opportunity. Look at this Tweet from Peter on August 9th:
Yes, "1 stalker down, 1 to go - JW" - and a warning shot to James White on August 9th, that Lumpkins is now setting his sights to bring him down. And for good measure, former SBC President Frank Cox favorited Peter's Tweet.
And just how will James White be taken down? That's easy. Just go on social media and declare that he was - or ask "was he?" - the cause for Braxton Caner's suicide.
For example, fundamentalist, KJV-only IFB blogger named Dr. James Ach, has written several posts laying blame for Braxton's suicide at the feet of JD Hall. On August 8th, Ach declares White is not implicated in Braxton's death - but after Peter declares a day later it is time to take down James White on August 9th, well, Dr. Ach knows just what to do.
Here is the headline of Dr. Ach's post on August 13th, after Peter's call to take down James White:
Wait, I thought Dr. Ach said on August 8th so "graciously" that Jame White was NOT implicated. Now he revisits the topic, and just maybe, that James White character DID cause Braxton's death. I guess Ach wasn't listening to God closely enough on August 8th. You just have to shake your head at these pious, pompous "men of God" and how they think they know the deep secrets no one else knows.
But why am I drawing attention to these articles by James Ach? After all he's just a KJV-only, IFB'er, not affiliated with the SBC. I'm only bringing Dr. Ach into this because Peter Lumpkins is pushing this guy's theories that we need to at some level be blaming Braxton's death on James White and J.D. Hall.
Here is Peter Lumpkins "favoriting" Dr. Ach's tweet to the article above! "Yes, thanks Dr. Ach, for getting the message and going after Dr. White!"
So there we have it. A leader in the SBC, the vice president of one of the Georgia Baptist Convention's colleges, the "family spokesman" for the Caner's, is on social media pointing people to read an IFB'er blame the death of Braxton Caner on White and Hall. These are wonderful days in the SBC.
And Peter doesn't stop here. Every day since Braxton's funeral except for one Peter has been using social media to play his blame game. He does it from his hypocritical high horse of calling for an end to "social media abuse" or "internet bullying". Peter has it wrong. Critics of Caner or other SBC celebrities are not abusing social media, they are not bullying. Hall's interaction with Braxton was inexcusable, no doubt - and I called out J.D. Hall to leave the kids out and to stop engaging Braxton the very day he did it. But bloggers have, and will continue to use their only means to voice dissent, and to criticize, and to hold powerful men accountable for their actions and words. I know Peter doesn't like this, nor do the powerful men being criticized, but that is too bad. If we are to believe Tim Guthrie, sure, then all Christian bloggers and "watch doggers" should be arrested for hacking into accounts, planning attacks with Muslims, "partnering with thugs" and bullying women and children everywhere. But that is Tim Guthrie - another SBC pastor by the way- and well, I've written about his attacks of bloggers in the past. Nothing new there with Guthrie
James White did post a statement on social media about whether he will stop calling Caner in the future to account for his past lies. He didn't attack anyone. He didn't attack the Caner family. Just because Peter says White attacked the family doesn't make it so. White stated his views in the context of his own ministry in debating Muslims. Peter Lumpkins went absolutely ballistic, claiming yesterday that White is "back to slamming the Caner family". Warning: you are going to read the most vile, hate-filled, bullying rhetoric when you read Peter's article. Ironically, Peter is himself engaged in the same activity that he is accusing others of. Hard to believe Peter is a seminarian who is trained on all things Christian. Hard to believe he is a leader and spokesman in the SBC and GBC.
What does all of this hate and blame from Peter - the SBC spokesman right now - what does it generate? It generates more hate. It is inciting violence and threats of violence against the people who Peter and others are accusing of being the cause of Braxton's death. J.D. has received veiled and not-so-veiled threats via email and phone. One pastor from Texas left him a voicemail wanting to speak to J.D.'s wife and children. I know who this pastor is and I won't give his name here, but the authorities have it. As J.D. receives these, he turns them over to law enforcement as he should.
And dare I mention Craig Daliessio's tweets? Craig is a friend of the Caner's, and a follower of Lumpkins. If you want to see what happens when a man gets riled up with hatred in his heart toward J.D. Hall and James White, just browse Craig's Twitter feed over the past two weeks. He has called Hall a "whining cowardly scumball", has said that Hall's "blood on [his] hands gives a whole new meaning to Red Letter Edition". Craig tweeted "Maybe God would allow me the privilege of making JDs millstone necklace." Craig wants J.D. to die.
And after Peter posted his latest against James White, it inspired Craig to re-Tweet Peter's rant, and call for someone in James White's family to commit suicide - and hoping that God is the one to bring it about.
And this is from a man who's tagline in Twitter describes himself as "All About Jesus"...yes, Craig is all about Jesus, isn't he?
And not just social media: a prominent SBC pastor here in Jacksonville even told his congregation from the pulpit the day after the funeral that the suffering of Braxton's dad (i.e. the criticism) was too much for Braxton to bear, causing the suicide. How low can the SBC go in playing the blame game?
So this is what we have in the SBC. Peter Lumpkins - baptist college Vice President, SBC pastor and author - inciting hatred and vitriol.
Where is Johnny Hunt? Why can't Ronnie Floyd do something to reign in Lumpkins? They need to do something quickly, as he is spinning out of control. Peter has been in a long running battle with James White, and has spent considerable time on his blog in 2010 and 2011 belittling and attacking James White, much of it ad hominem. So it is obvious Peter had an axe to grind with White long before this tragedy, and the SBC heavies need to see that sadly Peter is still grinding the axe, and is now swinging it ferociously at his foes.
I don't fault Ergun one bit, even though Peter is the family spokesman. I can’t imagine Ergun would truly want this to be what Peter is spending his time doing. I choose to believe that Ergun is unaware of this and is spending his time in personal grief and helping his family walk through these dark days. I believe Ergun would be be appalled that Peter is using the death of his son to destroy of the reputation of others, blaming them for something that even Ergun says he cannot explain why it happened. I am sure that Ergun would be sad to know that his friend Craig is calling for God to cause the same tragedy in James White's family that he and his family are enduring. To even consider something so sick and sinister - and to call on God to bring it about - much less put it on on social media, is just beyond sick.
I think James White said it well earlier this week:
"Lumpkins has the gall, being the one who is using tragedy as a baseball bat, dishonoring the dead in a despicable fashion, to accuse ME of doing what he well knows he is purposefully doing himself. I asked that everyone give the family time to grieve---who has refused to honor this request? Who created a story out of whole clothe so as to attack Lumpkins' boss' critics? Who has been putting out "cyber-bullying" memes and accusations? Lumpkins well knows what he is doing, and I cannot imagine what it is like for him to try to live with himself. And for what? Money? Prestige? Nothing could be worth the cost of such actions."Pull the plug on Peter, SBC leaders. You did it to Matthew Lehew at Shorter. Do it to Peter Lumpkins at Brewton Parker. He is hurting himself, the Caner's, and the SBC.