The church's youth minister, Asa Walker, announced Thursday night via Twitter that the youth camp next month for grades 6-12 will feature none other than Ergun Caner as the "Camp Pastor", fresh off his two failed lawsuits he used in an attempt to wipe the Internet clean of the Marine video tapes in which Caner lied to our Marines about his background as a trained Jihadist.
From Westside's website:
Ah yes, the "Ergun the Warrior" pose. Notice the use of the Gothic letter "O" in "Thrones". See the "Youth Camp is Coming" tagline, played off of the "Winter is Coming" tagline of the "Game of Thrones" TV series as shown below:
"Youth Camp is a week-long retreat for students grades 6-12. We'll travel to Mount Vernon, Georgia where we will stay on the beautiful campus of Brewton-Parker Baptist College. You'll hear from Dr. Ergun Caner, one of America's most sought-after youth speakers, as he joins us as our campus pastor"
Really? Caner is one of America's "most sought-after youth speakers"? I would challenge that assertion. Will Asa Walker, Pastor Gary Crawford, and Rev. Phil Young let the parents know of Caner's propensity to fib in the pulpit about his past as a trained Jihadist, using 9/11 as the launching point for his hoax? Will parents be told about Caner's repeated use of racial, ethnic, and gender stereotypes in the pulpit? What about Caner's pathetic performance in front of the Marines that was the subject of his two failed lawsuits (here and here) against the Christian pastor and layman who dared post the video of his worst lies? If the parents of Westside knew this about Caner, would they STILL want to send their kids off for a week to be preached to by Ergun Caner?
This is particularly sad to me, to see Westside Baptist do this. We have friends at that church. We have gone there to see their excellent Christmas drama in recent years. This is the church where my wife and I met while in college at the University of Florida, and we were married by the pastor, Gary Crawford. People at that church probably have no clue about Ergun Caner's past. They are very fine people and they trust their church leadership to make right decisions on something as important as who will speak to their youth at camp. The leadership at Westside Baptist Church is betraying the trust of their people.
I did attempt to contact youth minister Asa Walker and administrative pastor Phil Young via phone and email on Friday. Phil Young did email me back and tell me he was on vacation and would call me in June, but did say this in his email:
"I am well aware of both sides of the Ergun Caner story and we are confident in the Lord's leadership in our decision to have him at our Youth Camp. Thanks for your concern." Phil Young, Senior Associate Pastor, Westside Baptist Gainesville
I don't doubt that Phil is aware of the Ergun Caner controversy. But the important question I want to ask Phil is this: are the parents of the WBC youth aware of the Ergun Caner controversy? And what "both sides" of the Ergun Caner story is Phil referring to? Maybe the both sides are the two federal judges that ruled against Ergun Caner in his attempt to suppress the release of his Marine training video? I find it repugnant that Phil says they he is "confident in the Lord's leadership" in exposing their youth to Ergun Caner for a week at youth camp.
Phil, was it also "the Lord" who led Westside to use the "Game of Thrones" TV series as the theme of your youth camp?
Parents and members at Westside Baptist, I hope you contact your church leadership and express your disgust over their plans for the youth summer camp. Let Phil Young know - let Pastor Gary Crawford know - that you are not confident that it was "the Lord" that led the church in this direction. And maybe Phil will take time out of his summer vacation to let you know what was the reason for Caner and the "Game of Thrones" theme choice for camp.
I am confident, Westside members and lay leaders, "in the Lord's leadership" in your decision to avoid sending your kids to the Westside Baptist Church youth camp this summer. And I'm confident that you can provide the leadership for your church that is so lacking in the paid, professional ministers that should be the ones making the right choices.
To paraphrase another mega pastor: "If their Lord leads them to select Ergun Caner and Game of Thrones to minister to and lead their youngest Christians...then I don't know the same Lord they do."
Perhaps it is "He may be a liar, but he is OUR liar." Years ago, polling in a gubernatorial race showed that a majority of the electorate thought that the incumbent was a thief who had become wealthy while in public office. But they thought he was a known quantity and was "one of us", and so re-elected him!
From Wiki on Game of Thrones...
...it has recieved widespread acclaim by critics, although its frequent use of nudity, violence and sexual violence has drawn criticism...
I guess only criticism is from "the world"??
Where are these pastors heads? Oh yea... Focused on vacation. "Screw the kids...we'll talk when I get back!"
What is wrong with this church, their elders and with the parents of these children? Game of Thrones graphically portrays protracted incest, orgies, prostitution, violent and repeated rape, incredibly gruesome violence, zombies, Satanism, polytheism, witchcraft, torture porn beyond the imagination and I am sure much much more. I saw that from only a very limited viewing after hearing rave reviews about this show. There is no way this “theme” choice was guided by the Lord God as claimed by that youth pastor suggesting that he is also engaging in blasphemy when he claims the Lord is leading his decisions in relation to this sacrilege. Regardless of the Caner speech, whoever put forth this theme as appropriate for children ages 11-18 who are seeking to grow their relationship with God, should be defrocked and fired. Jesus had such a strong opinion about those who would lead children to stumble or fall into sin that this subject shows up in Matthew, Mark and Luke (it involves millstones and deep water). These men are not fit for any Christian Ministry.
I would not send any of my children to Brewton Parker nor the church camp. I would warn everyone in my church about the camp and college.
The men and women who support Caner should repent and do the right thing. Caner to date has not repented of his many lies.
Ergun Caner has no credibility:
What do you expect? When God has been leading His people out of the apostate harlot religious system for the past several years, those that do not belong to Him have to act like the world, entertain the world, and relate to the world in order to attract the world. And none of these things are hard for them to do since they ARE of the world.
The mystery of iniquity is being revealed, but the Lord will consume it when He gets here, and these apostate leaders will say to Him, Lord Lord, look at the works that we did in Your name. But they will hear, "Depart from me ye workers of iniquity. I NEVER KNEW YOU".
Plot Twist: Maury Povich is the Father.
And with as many posts about Ergun Caner as you have, it wouldn't take a genius to notice you are insatiably obsessed with him.
I have checked both sides of the situation involving Dr. Caner. He is a well established academic and author. I cannot reach any conclusion of whether he was devout or a Jihadist type. As far as I know, he is the only one that could possibly account for that teaching. Clearly, he spent a good amount of time in Turkey. He wrote his book in 2002 and there was a demand for the book. It did propel him in his career. I think it was due to the circumstances and he is an expert on the subject matter. To some extent, even his harshest critics agree that he is educated and has the credentials. His studies - leading up to the book - were accumulated before 2001. I do not know of any dispute of the books accuracy or any claims of plagiarism. I see no moral displacements in his character. He seems to enjoy embellishment and to tell colorful stories. I think many of the stories are simply intended humorous. He did apologize in 2010, by the way. Anyway - reprint this if you like, I would be interested in learning more. I don't hold it against anyone who has a contrary opinion. He is rife with controversy, but he has done much good along the way. After all, God is sovereign and even uses Satan to accomplish his purpose. In all fairness, you really do not make your case with a body of evidence. By evidence, I mean hard indisputable facts.
Just an anonymous nobody.
Received this 2nd email from Phil Young, one of the pastors at WBC Gainesville:
I'm at my son's college graduation so unable to call. Just an FYI, our camp theme was originally regarding "Thrones" and some thought we were referencing the HBO series referencing "Game of Thrones" which was never intended, so our theme has been changed to "Hearts" and all promo pulled and replaced.
Beyond that, I would certainly trust that you would speak to Ergun and hear his side of the controversy before you would post anything.
Thanks for reaching out. I'll be praying for you.
I did email Phil back, expressing my doubt in his assertion that there was no connection intended between their "Thrones" theme and "Game of Thrones" - it is a ridiculous assertion, given the promo pieces and the crests and the use of the tagline. But I do give Phil and WBC credit for pulling the theme.
However, the larger issue is why is Ergun Caner the best choice for their kids' youth camp pastor, how did the "Lord's leading" take them in this direction, what are "both sides" of the issue that Phil mentioned in his first email.
I suppose Phil is unaware that Ergun Caner will not talk to any of his critics, so telling me to talk to Ergun to get "his side" I think shows Phil doesn't know who he is dealing with in Ergun Caner.
And notice Phil's reference of James 4:12 in his email to me, which is:
"There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?"
Not surprising that when pastors are questioned about bringing Ergun into their church, they play the "who are you to judge" card....two judges already judged, Phil.
And Dog, the Bible clearly teaches that we are to be discerning about those who preach/teach, to determine if they are preaching and teaching the truth. Caner is NOT. And that has been documented, demonstrated, and now adjudged by the legal system of this country. Caner is a liar, plain and simple. There is no truth in the man.
To any sincere followers of Jesus Christ who are wishing to know more and understand better the controversy surrounding Ergun Caner, here is some helpful information: http://turretinfan.blogspot.ca/search?q=caner. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. (Eph.6:24 - Paul).
I guess if we are all fair minded about the matter:
I do not know Norman Geisler, but his case for Caner seems accurate.
Phil makes a good point - Perhaps you should invite Dr. Caner to guest write. You never know. At least you give him the opportunity to face his accuser(s).
This might be a good forum for Caner to repent or apologize once and for all. If I knew that I had offended so many, I would at least apologize even if I were or felt that I was right.
JAAN (just another anonymous nobody)
The SBC house organ, Baptist Press, has no, zero, coverage of the Morales trial or the fallout at SGM or TGC.
There is also zero coverage about the court cases involving Caner, which he lost by summary judgment (meaning no jury could ever agree with his claim!) with language by the federal judges that suggest that Caner had lied.
Not trying to be harsh... Pastor Phil that is one of the weakest, lame apolo...no...excuses Ive heard. So your church is to say..." Oh. Well Im glad thats fixed?"
If a biz started advertising remotely this close to a competitior it would be sued. As a parent I would be in your office asking you if you think im that stupid. I would want to know MUCH BETTER the leadership that began to even think down this road. What exactly do you do w your spare time? What do you consider entertainment? Are you very fimiliar w this sort of show or just trying to stay Hip w/out knowledge on it? Either way BAD.
Another case of pastors being given the "godly man of the cloth pass".
Also...WD - Americans are no longer in for the long struggle. Ergun IS wrong. People are obviously already growing tired of hearing about it...as posts are now giving a pass or worse support?? Stay true on The subject of Truth in our faith!! Maybe not pinpointing him exactly? The Lord Can still open eyes to himself over/under/around Ergun and maybe even through him/this.
Have a dog treat...on me!!
Anon 5/19/2014 at 1:30p
Compare the Norm Geisler fact sheet with what TurritanFan produced. See what Caner actually said versus what Geisler thought he said.
Look at the court rulings at Wittnessuntome.com from the two court cases Ergun participated in and has yet to repent of or comment on.
"Beyond that, I would certainly trust that you would speak to Ergun and hear his side of the controversy before you would post anything."
ROTFLOL!!!! Yeah, Phil, why don't you ask Ergun to check his calendar and see when he might be open to meet with Dog to have an open, honest dialogue about this whole thing, so he can explain his side of the story and put this thing to bed. In fact, I have an idea - why don't you tell him that he needs to do this in order to be the speaker at your camp? I'm sure Dog is more than willing to sit down with him. If you do ask him, though, and impose such a condition, I'll go ahead and bet you dollars to donuts that you will be looking for a new camp speaker.
Pastor Phil's hopelessly naive comments about getting Caner's "side of the story" reveals what the problem is - so many people out there just have no clue what Caner did and how he has responded to being confronted with the undeniable truth of what he did. They unfortunately just mindlessly accept the baseless characterizations by Caner and his cronies of his critics as internet crazies. Very sad that so many clueless people like this are in positions of leadership in the SBC.
Thanks for the link. I used to think Geisler was accurate also. I recommend watching the both Marine lectures and seeing if they square with Geisler.
Geisler provides no sources. If you would like sources, I can provide them, but I do not want to be over bearing. One, it was not well known that Ergun gained his citizenship in 1978. Caner wrote twice that he gained his citizenship in 1982. I know of no other source before 2010 saying that Ergun received it in 1978. Even if that was the case, it is not the impression he left. The Marine videos are great for this. How did he not know anything about America before he gained his citizenship in Junior High?
Two, I do not know how Geisler could possibly know that Ergun only mentioned his half brother once. I found multiple reference including his mentioning where they live and once he put up a picture of them.
Three, on the Duke of Hazzard point, I ask that you watch the Marine lectures and see if you think he was only joking.
@550 - Phil actually makes another good point. In rare events when I get picked on, the journalist always gives me the opportunity to respond. Sometimes, I just dismiss the matter as unimportant or lame. Other times, I respond. It is a courtesy that most professional journalist, biased or not, affords both parties in the interest of getting the story "right." Not to fail to mention that both sides of the issue buy news or click ad links.
Caner has had years and thousands of opportunities to respond. And he did respond, with threats and lawsuits. And even there, he did not tell the truth.
If you have a rattlesnake in your yard, do you give the snake an opportunity to cease being a snake and become a frog? Asking Caner to "explain" is less likely -- what you would get is more lies. And the snake is more moral!!!
I would love to present Ergun's side and I tried to present it as accurately as possible. It is important to note a couple of things. He withdrew his apology in 2010. Also there are conflicting rumors on whether he repented at all at Liberty or Thomas Road. Ergun himself currently claims to have been exonerated.
Also, on contacting Ergun; I tried to contact him, but the first response I received was a contact from his lawyer. Google is a thing, so you can read all about it. Even in that case, Ergun hardly responded and when you do not respond to an argument legally you concede it. Therefore he conceded most of our arguments. Peter Lumpkin has stated publicly that Ergun never sit down with his critics to clear the air.
If you see Ergun, you can remind him that my offer still stands. I am willing to make any corrections that he thinks are libelous or at least present his side.
My skeptical sense believes that they pulled the promotional materials because they ripped of the copyrighted logo of the show. Unless they had permission for use, those materials they put out were ripe for a lawsuit with pockets much deeper than Westside Baptist.
Do we have "thrones" in our hearts? If so, is there someone sitting on the throne? Otherwise, asking the question to young people "Who sits on the throne of your heart?" makes no sense.
And finally, EVEN IF, Jesus somehow is sitting on that throne, what does that actually mean in a real world, practical way to children 11 - 18 years old? Jesus will heal them so they no longer have to go to the doctor? Jesus will provide them food, clothing and shelter so mom and dad don't have to anymore? Jesus will help them get good grades so they don't have to study? Will their morals and actions be impacted in any way other than the way any law abiding, moral person would act? Couldn't just a good camp of ethics, hard work, study skills and integrity along with education on alcohol and drugs and sex be more beneficial?
I just don't get some of the "churchy" nonsense the older generations think is helpful. Might as well ask these kids if they have been "washed in the blood of the lamb?"
Maybe they will pick up an invisible friend at the camp. Some of the younger, not as well adapted ones, may still have invisible friends from childhood they can replace with Jesus.
I honestly don't get the need for Ergun Caner and his menacing stare on a Game of Thrones banner.
If you are going to rip off and mimic a television show, make sure that it is without too much controversy (i.e. adult themed).
Talk to Ed Young. He does it all the time. Find out what the dos and don'ts are all about.
I used to like Norman Geisler. "Chosen but Free." But I have serious doubts about his credibility and mental awareness if he's supporting the likes of Caner. IMO, Ergun Caner is a farce for the face of anything Christian (or Muslim).
Your blog post breaks my heart. I find it extremely interesting that all of you keep saying how the world is "attacking Christians," and yet, here you are...attacking Christians. Do you not think that maybe you should spend your voice and resources and the platform that you have to express your opinion BUILDING UP the Kingdom of God and His people instead of tearing them down? Do we not have a hard enough time as it is trying to show God's love to others WITHOUT expressing hateful comments to each other on the internet?
Let's say all of the claims you have made about Caner ARE true...is this the biblical approach to handling them and trying to bring repentance? Do you not think that our God is powerful enough to remove Caner from his leadership positions if he is doing damage to His Kingdom if He so chooses? What are you accomplishing exactly by expressing your opinion this way? How much time to you spend PRAYING FOR CANER instead of TYPING ON YOUR KEYBOARD ABOUT HIM.
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1
"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
"From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,these things ought not to be so." James 3:10
Maybe you should spend more time on your knees, and less at your keyboard.
I cannot speak of the validity of your claims against Caner, but I can speak to what I have witnessed God do through the lives of teens and other individuals as a result of his ministry, and I can speak to what I know to be the right and biblical way to approach these type situations. Your hateful slurs and sarcastic comments on an internet platform, instead of going to your brother directly...is not it. Praying God softens your heart.
Am I correct in assuming that you have never gone to Ergun with such criticisms? Can I assume that you at least have not done so publicly as you have done here?
If WD is guilty of something, Ergun is also guilty. It is going to end up costing him tens of thousands of dollars after he took a year to falsely accuse me and another Southern Baptist in court. More to the point Ergun has threatened to do so again.
Ergun does not approach us directly, but accuses us on internet platforms. If his communication director is to be believed, he will never contact us directly.
I have treated Ergun far better than he has treated me. I suggest that you be fair and contact Ergun publicly as you have done here and make the same comment.
You mention that you cannot speak of the validity of the claims against Ergun Caner. This is a deliberate decision on your part. It takes only a few minutes of listening to EC talk about himself to become absolutely convinced that what he says is simply impossible--and about 5 seconds to become just as convinced that he knows that.
If you choose to remain ignorant when it is this easy to fix that problem, perhaps you should remain silent also.
This made me laugh:
And what "both sides" of the Ergun Caner story is Phil referring to? Maybe the both sides are the two federal judges that ruled against Ergun Caner in his attempt to suppress the release of his Marine training video?
Good example of someone who believes that the ends justify the means:
"I cannot speak of the validity of your claims against Caner, but I can speak to what I have witnessed God do through the lives of teens and other individuals as a result of his ministry."
"Your hateful slurs and sarcastic comments on an internet platform, instead of going to your brother directly...is not it.
Friend, this just shows how ignorant you are of Ergun Caner and his behavior in this matter. He WON'T LET anyone "go to him directly" about it. He refuses to talk to anyone who confronts him with his obvious lies. Not only does he refuse to talk to them, he bad-mouths them, calls them "white trash" and other distasteful names, and proudly proclaims he has nothing to repent of. Moreover, he filed two lawsuits (which he lost) against fellow believers over this matter, because they dared post a video of him lying to U.S. Marines about his background.
I would caution you against believing that Caner's ministry is being used by the Lord just because it appears to be by all outward signs. And even if the Lord is using it, that is really irrelevant as to whether Caner is unrepentant and whether his conduct has been contemptible in this matter.
I would encourage everyone to go over to ratemyprofessor.com and read the student reviews of Ergun Caner when he was a professor at Liberty. Almost all of them were written prior to 2010, before the whole fake background scandal broke and before there was any real negative chatter about him on the internet. If you read the reviews of the students who had a negative opinion of him, they are very telling, and predictive, as to the manner in which he has behaved in this matter.
Here's my personal favorite from the ratemyprofessors site: This very prescient and insightful review from March 2007:
Great speaker, can and will feed you complete BS but will keep your attention doing it. As long as you agree with him your good, don't agree and your wrong. Also just know that he is the center of the universe and don't cross him.
And this one from all the way back to February 2005:
Some of you guys are so ignorant it's sad... People love Caner just because he's funny and then blindly believe everything he says... he doesnt really say anything... all he does is insult which is a sign of stupidity and ignorance.
I know plenty of long time members of Thomas Road Baptist Church and they said they never heard any kind of apology from Ergun Caner.
"Maybe you should spend more time on your knees, and less at your keyboard."
Please take your own advice.
Am I the only one that's noticed how these days Ergun Caner seems to be speaking with somewhat of a Southern twang in his voice? I heard a recording of him speaking recently and noticed this. Completely gone is the phony Middle Eastern accent with the rolled R's and such. Looks like yet again Caner, though, is putting on an act to try and be what he thinks will endear him most to his audience. Now instead of selling himself as a former terrorist he wants to pass himself off as a South Georgia good-ol-boy.
I have to laugh at some of these religious clichés: "spend more time on your knees." Really? Anyone want to try and claim that a person getting on their knees makes any difference to the Creator, or to anything, when it comes to real life. People: here is an update from the real world...no need to get on your knees for any religious purpose other than churchy clichés. Thanks.
"Do we have "thrones" in our hearts? If so, is there someone sitting on the throne? Otherwise, asking the question to young people "Who sits on the throne of your heart?" makes no sense.
And finally, EVEN IF, Jesus somehow is sitting on that throne, what does that actually mean in a real world, practical way to children 11 - 18 years old?"
Or to adults, including Christian adults.
Did Phil ever call?
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