Thursday, February 07, 2008

New name, same historical revisionism

On December 21, 2007 Ergun Caner sent me an announcement about the name change of Liberty Theological Seminary to Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. I gave it only passing notice. From all that I know, Liberty may be the finest Fundamentalist seminary around and I don't care how many times they extract and reinsert the name "Baptist" on their letterhead.

When Caner became dean of the seminary in 2004 he took the name "Baptist" out. The rationale given for reinserting it I found mildly amusing, but again, not worth much more than a raised eyebrow. He wrote,
[S]ince 2004, much has changed, both here at Liberty University and in the Southern Baptist Convention. Too many schools have Baptist in their name but not in their doctrine. Some have drifted into liberalism and cultural relativism; still others remain orthodox, but have drifted toward non-Baptist reformed doctrine and cultural isolationism. For us, this was our line in the sand. We want to build bridges to a lost world without burning the bridges of our doctrinal heritage. We are putting Baptist back in our name, and taking back a term that has been misused [emphasis added].
He further explained their vision:
We want to train students from across the evangelical spectrum, in the classic Baptistic stance of our Anabaptist tradition and Sandy Creek revivalistic heritage.
I remember thinking at the time that if Caner is the one defining the "classic Baptist stance" of our heritage at Liberty then any student there who wants an accurate understanding of Baptist history should definitely make sure he has access to the internet so he can verify what he is taught by reading primary sources that are now readily available online.

I was content to keep these thoughts to myself and had forgotten about them until Wednesday night. While sitting in the Newark airport due to weather-related flight delays I took the time to listen to an interview with Caner conducted by Wes Kenney over at SBC Today. It is a very good interview. Kenney does a good job of raising issues pertinent to Southern Baptist life in a very brief span. The whole interview lasts about 17 minutes. I encourage you to listen to it.

Some of what Caner says is encouraging and informative, such as the story of his conversion and the account of how Dr. Falwell "tricked" him into becoming the Dean of the seminary at Liberty in 2004. He describes the recent transitions of leadership at Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church how smoothly they have been due to Falwell's clear instructions that his sons were to take over responsibilities upon his death.

Caner then explains the reason behind the recent reversion to including "Baptist" in Liberty's name.
I am a classic Sandy-Creeker-Anabaptist-history-Baptist and there just didn't seem to be a voice for that on the east coast. There is a great [voice for this view] in Southwestern Seminary....But on the east coast we had guys building bridges toward Geneva.
This is an obvious slap at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary's co-sponsorship with Founders Ministries of the Building Bridges conference last November (get the audio here). I suppose this means that I could claim to have a hand in the renaming of the largest Fundamentalist seminary in the world. :-)

Commenting on the Building Bridges: Southern Baptists and Calvinism Conference, Caner commends Malcolm Yarnell for doing a "masterful job of defining the rest of us," by which he means those who are not part of the "small" and "tiny" portion of the SBC that are not committed to the doctrines of grace but who are the "stump-winders"(?) and "saw-dust-trail boys."

Dr. Caner both hates and misrepresents historic Calvinism. He is concerned with the undeniable resurgence of evangelical Calvinism among Baptists. I can certainly understand that and have no quarrel with his desire to debate renounce it. I do regret, however, that he consistently handles the historical data so poorly.

He can call himself a "Sandy-Creeker," but at some point he must deal with the abundant evidence that within the Sandy Creek, Separate Baptist tradition there is a significant regard for Calvinistic doctrines. Even his mentor, Dr. Paige Patterson, publicly acknowledged this fact in the dialogue he held with Dr. Mohler at the 2006 Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference.

Caner further muddies the waters and exposes both a pugilistic demeanor and untrustworthy historical assessments when he makes this observation about the current resurgence of Calvinism in the SBC:
The whole fight started when they started saying, " ...we've always been Calvinists, both strands [presumbably he means both Charleston and Sandy Creek traditions]." That's a lie. That's not just a misstatement. That's just an outright historical fallacy....To say that ... Southern Baptists have always been in one way or another, Calvinists, is not only short-sited, it is just poor theology and poor history.
First, who is fighting? There are some in the SBC who are drooling for a fight over Calvinism. That tends to be endemic to certain strands of Fundamentalism. Without some boogeyman to battle they are without a raison d'etre. I am hopeful that a growing number of Southern Baptists are seeing through this tendency to demonize those with whom we disagree and not allow those who are itching for a fight to dominate the denominational dialogue. That was a large part of the motivation for the Building Bridges conference.

Second, who has ever said that Southern Baptists have always been Calvinists? This is a very unhelpful misstatement at best and gross misrepresentation at worst. Of course Southern Baptists have not always been Calvinists in a universal sense. No one believes that. But the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that this convention was founded by those who affirmed the sovereignty of God's grace in salvation.

Timothy George has noted that each of the 293 delegates who met in Augusta, Georgia in 1845 to establish the Southern Baptist Convention came from churches or associations that embraced the Chaleston/Philadephia/Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. Caner may not like this fact, but it will take more than gratuitous assertions to make it go away.

The final excerpt from Caner's interview illustrates the cautions that one ought to have in following his historical assessments. When asked about whether Calvin would approve the so-called 5 points of Calvinism, Caner made the following historical gaffes while trying to distinguish Calvin from the Calvinists.
During the life of Calvin a guy named Amyraut...Moise Amyraut said Calvin believed in general atonement. And his fiercest opponent was Theodore Beza, the guy who took over for Calvin.
So historian Caner would have us believe that Amyraut disagreed with Calvin during Calvin's lifetime and was fiercely opposed by Beza. Calvin (1509-1564) died 32 years before Amyraut was born and Beza (1519-1605) died when Amyraut was 11. Those must have been some fierce debates between the octogenarian Beza and the pre-adolescent Amyraut!

It was Shakespeare who wrote, "What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." In the final analysis I do not care much whether an educational institution calls itself Baptist or not. What matters to me is that those who lead and teach in such institutions be honest with their subjects and not try to rewrite history simply because they don't like the way it happened.

37 comments:

David said...

Very well said Dr. Ascol. As a Pastor in a small community church, I am worried that the anti-Calvinism fever will distract us (SBC/local churches) from our first priority. But I am also a Pastor committed to Jesus Christ and the doctrines of Grace. It seems to me the first step in ongoing dialog is to get the facts right and teach them correctly.

D. Williams
Pastor

Brent said...

The clear evidence of Caner's historical revisionism continues to grow. The sad part is that I've talked to some of his students that seem to think this man is one of the greatest scholars alive.

I get frustrated that Caner and so many like him are willing to be so blatantly divisive. It just goes to show some of the true ugliness fundamentalism is capable of.

Nathan White said...

What a great post. Thanks for the breakdown, Tom.

I've lost count of how many unsupportable or inaccurate statements Caner has made on this issue. But I think we can be confident that this helps the cause of the gospel among those who are truly interested in the truth.

Wyman Richardson said...

Tom,

Thanks for this post. It's all so very mind-boggling.

Reminds me yet again of Simon and Garfunkle: "All lies in jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

Thanks for keeping us posted.

Wyman

Obed said...

"What matters to me is that those who lead and teach in such institutions be honest with their subjects and not try to rewrite history simply because they don't like the way it happened."

I agree with you Tom.

PB

John O said...

What a shame. It is one thing to disagree with the doctrines of grace, but quite another to engage in the sort of distortion that Mr. Caner does. Obviously he is beyond correction.

As one who is an alumn of Liberty, I have to confess that I am greatly embarrased by the school, and cringe anytime I have tell someone what school I got my undergrad degree from due to the lack of scholarly credibility that Mr. Caner has brought to the institution. It truly is sad.

I really wish that debate had taken place back in October 2006 (you can read my thoughts at the time here: http://www.geocities.com/johnandursula/nodebate). Obviously it would not have swayed Caner or others like him in the least. But, at least those at Libety would have heard the other side of the story in their own "house," and I believe that when the Word of God is opened and these truths are so clearly articulated and ably defended as they most certainly would have been with Drs. Ascol and White, many of God's people would take notice as the Spirit of God moves upon their hearts.

Anyway, I have written too much already. May we never tire of standing for and defending these great truths, and, as always, with gentleness and respect.

Grace and Peace,

John O

Todd Crosby said...

Thanks for this post Tom. Eventually Dr. Caner's inaccuracies are bound to discredit him.

chadwick said...

Dr. Ascol,

AMEN! "Butch" made it sound like the SBC has its roots in "The Trail of Blood" and none in the Reformation.

Also, I found it striking that Butch denied "Perseverance of the Saints" as being a Reformed doctrine. (He did not explain his reasoning) . . . very confusing to say the least.

If Butch wants to be correct in his labeling, then he needs to re-re-re-name Liberty: Liberty Anabaptist Seminary.

Finally, it would be fitting for Butch and "Lil' Bro" (Emir)to have the "Trail of Blood" "pamplet" as their main History Textbook.

chadwick

Pastor Jim said...

Dr. Ascol,

Thanks for the post—I appreciate your ministry. Here’s for full disclosure—I am a LBTS grad and current distance learning student while serving as the pastor of a small SBC church. I have had two classes with Dr. Caner, including the very first one he taught on campus (Islamic Doctrine) and Baptist History. Both classes were tremendously beneficial and did exactly what they were supposed to do—spark further interest and study.

I attended the Building Bridges Conference and was angered by Dr. Caner’s press release of the same name. Understand that the press release was very consistent with his modus operandi. Dr. Caner doesn’t debate—he provokes emotional confrontations. The passion that makes him a thrilling professor and the boldness that enables him to openly confront jihadists who threaten him does not serve him well in public theological forums. To understand his vehemence toward Calvinism, one has to realize that he equates it with the fatalism of the Islamic doctrine he grew up with.

However, understanding him doesn’t excuse his mischaracterizations. Those on all sides of the Calvinism debate would be well served to characterize the facts properly and fairly (as most presenters did at the Building Bridges Conference). HISTORICAL FACT: Many of the early magisterial reformers sought to base their doctrine on the accurate interpretation of the Word of God as they themselves read it. HISTORICAL FACT: Many of the early radical reformers sought to base their doctrine on the accurate interpretation of the Word of God as they themselves read it. Neither group was perfect in their interpretation nor did either develop perfect doctrine. Many of their followers exacerbated their imperfections. Rather than exclusively recognizing Baptist heritage in either Geneva or in the home of Felix Manz, we should move one step further back. We should move back and seek our heritage in the “vulgar” translations of Scripture and the influence they had in spawning both the Reformation and the Radical Reformation.

While there will always be theological differences among us based on our hermeneutical variancies, we should still recognize ourselves primarily as people of the Book—the inerrant, infallible Book. That is the only bridge that is truly worth building.

Jim

Fred said...

I would like to contrast Dr. Caner with Dr. L. Russ Bush.

Dr. Bush was one of my professors in Seminary. One particular day after class, I began to ask him about the doctrines of grace and the history of Baptists. However, rather than giving me his opinion or sharing with me his knowledge on the subject, he looked at me intently and said, "Go read Dagg. Go read Boyce." And that is exactly what I did. Dr. Bush consistently challenged us to go to primary sources. I shall always be indebted to him for that. I hope the students at Liberty will do the same.

Lastly, I wonder if Caner knows that he shares a lot in common with liberalism when it comes to the subject of Calvinism. Read my article Swimming Against It at reformedmafia.blogspot.com (Jan 23,08)

Worship Leader Ron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Worship Leader Ron said...

Fred said:
"Lastly, I wonder if Caner knows that he shares a lot in common with liberalism when it comes to the subject of Calvinism."


I can't agree more. I graduated from the same "BINO" college as Dr. Caner. The religion department was firmly "moderate." On fridays in 2nd semester greek, we would read a chapter together that was chosen by the students from anywhere in the NT. We would sit as our professor translated it and we would identify/parse what we knew to that point as we went along. One young presbyterian asked for Romans 9. It's sad to say that the explanation and exegesis was just as poor on that day as it was in Dr. Caner's famous Thomas Road Sermon. The same disregard for the words of scripture were shown by both men. Same arguements. I heard the same comments by students who laughed at me for believing the bible was inspired and completely true that are used by the Caners brothers here on this blog.

John O said...

pastor jim said: "While there will always be theological differences among us based on our hermeneutical variancies, we should still recognize ourselves primarily as people of the Book—the inerrant, infallible Book. That is the only bridge that is truly worth building."

I appreciate pastor jims comments. But if I may, I'd like to add to them a bit because I think it strikes to the heart of the issue, namely, what does the text *say.*

First, I think all sides do view themselves as people of the book. Lord knows Mr. Caner does; after all, he is a "biblicist!"
:-)

The problem, obviously, is that the conclusions reached in terms of what that infallible and inerrant Word *actually* says are so radically different.

Hence, building a bridge where we are people of the book will only work when all parties (and I do mean all without excpetion :-)) are more concerned with "what sayeth the Lord" then they are with their own traditions and philosophical presuppositions through which they funnel the infallible and inerrant text through (which serves far too often as the hermeneutical method that is being employed).

As far as I have been able to discern, with a few exceptions, only one side has consistently been willing to open the text and interact with the other side in a respectful dialogue/debate concerning what the text actually teaches.

Mr. Caner, when given the opportunity, backed out. Not only that, but James White even offered to go to Liberty with his Greek NT and discuss these things with the self-proclaimed "Pitbull" of Evangelicalism, yet, for all of his bark, the silence to that offer was deafening. To date, all Mr. Caner has in fact done is bark. When challenged, he "bites" with ad hominen attacks and provacative rhetoric instead of offering a reasoned response from the Sacred Text.

Anyway, this is why I believe, with all due respect to my non-Calvinistic brethren, that as others have said, the strength of Reformed theology is its exegesis and exposition of the *text.*

I am not trying to be dramatic or callous when I say that I have yet been able to find a non-Reformed response that deals sufficiently with all of the Scriptural data, and interacts sufficiently with Reformed exegesis of the texts in question (I recognize some might disagree with that assessment; people can see for themselves).

This is why when the offer goes out to build that bridge as people of the Word, where we seek to submit to its teachings regardless of how it sets with us, really at the end of the day that is almost impossible for one very simple reason: philosophical presuppositions, traditions, and human pride do not die easily.

So, when confronted with the *absolute* sovereignty of God and the radical depravity of man, the necessity and invincibility of God's sovereign grace, the perfection of an actual (not merely a potential) atonement, and then the preserving work of a gracious God who will (not might) complete that good work that He began us, man finds no room for his self-reliance. He finds no room for his self-glory. He finds no room for boasting within himself. He finds, in essence, his sovereigny and autonomy completely demolished, and, being the sinners that we are, we really hate that.

By His Grace and For His Glory,

John O

kingofbleh said...

Fred said:

"Lastly, I wonder if Caner knows that he shares a lot in common with liberalism when it comes to the subject of Calvinism."

Correct. Unlike monergism, synergism in any form does not require a commitment to sola scriptura.

Lucas Defalco

irreverend fox said...

as I read this great article I had one set of lyrics running in my mind:

"BOOM! Here comes the BOOM!
Ready or not, here comes the boys from the South!
BOOM! Here comes the BOOM!
Ready or not, How you like me now?"

LOL

I don't believe if Dr. Caner had not been a former Muslim that he would have the office or influence he has. That is a terribly severe thing to say...but...I'm sorry...I honestly believe it and his radically absurd statements and constantly inflammatory rhetoric supports and validates such a severe statement.

the sad thing is that every time that man tells of his stunning conversion all I can think is, "how can this man, of all men, not only deny the doctrines of grace...but hate them so much?" I don't get it, honestly. Dr. Caner's testimony is the BEST extra-Biblical evidence for all 5 points that I could ever think of!

GUNNY said...

This anti-Calvinism 'cause we're Baptists is becoming tiresome.

It reminds me of what happens over the course of time where people hear something enough they begin to think it's true (e.g., the US Constitution or the First Amendment calls for a "separation of church and state").

chadwick said...

Butch also stated in the interview:

"You can’t define us by somebody’s grid they want to put over it . . . "

From what I can tell, Butch hates any type of "systemized" teaching.

With that said, Butch is a full-blown dispensationalist. Dispensationalism is a very, very, systemized teaching. (Yet I believe it is extra-bibilical:))

DOCTRINE: a set of beliefs or principles held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group. (Oxford Press)

Any type of doctrine (i.e.,teaching) we have is systemized, no matter how "unsystemized" it may be! There is no way around it.

chadwick

Timmy Brister said...

Since the Anabaptist movement is now in full force, from the cowboys of Texas to the bulldogs of Lynchburg, can we examine the theology of the Anabaptists?

I am no expert of the Anabaptist movement, but did not many of them deny the Chalcedonian definition and held a docetic Christology where was not really human by had a "celestial flesh"? If they believe that Jesus was not fully human, and rejected the Chalcedonian Definition, then they cannot be considered orthodox.

Not that the our own Baptist Faith and Message (2000) is the defining text for orthodoxy, but it is worth considering what the SBC confesses. It says:

In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin.

Furthermore, did not the Anabaptists reject the moral inability of man, adopting a semi-Pelagian view of salvation? If that is the case, then again, they cannot be considered orthodox.

Instead of going with the BF&M 2000, let's try the Sandy Creek Association and their Principles of Faith since Caner considers himself a Sandy Creek-er. It says:

[We believe] that Adam fell from his original state of purity, and that his sin is imputed to his posterity; that human nature is corrupt, and that man, of his own free will and ability, is impotent to regain the state in which he was primarily placed.

Now, pray tell, how does the Sandy Creek view of man and his depravity line of up with the syncretistic position of the Anabaptists? They are by their doctrines mutually incompatible with one another.

Here are some questions I think we should be asking then:

If it is true that Anabaptist theology teaches doceticism and semi-Pelagianism, then shouldn't the churches of the SBC know about it?

Should all the pastor search committees demand that the Anabaptist put all their cards on the table, lest they be considered deceitful and dishonest?

Should not the Anabaptists in the SBC be held to the same standard as the Calvinists?

Should not their "grid" be examined to the same extent the "five points" of the doctrines of grace have been scrutinized?

It's no little thing for sure align yourself to a movement where the full of humanity of Christ is denied and the depravity of man acknowledged. When Caner calls himself a "0" point Calvinist, he is right. If you reject total depravity, you will reject the rest of the four points. Yet I cannot remember a time when being a "0" point Calvinist became a doctrinal position to be proud of.

A Man from Issachar said...

Tom:

Great post! I have made a link to it on my blog.

Please warn us the next time you intend to post something so funny!

Blessings!

ECR

Tom Bryant said...

Tom,
Good post. It is unfortunate that sometimes our differences make us say things we shouldn't say about another's positions.

Pastor Jim said...

Bro. Brister,

To imply that Anabaptists were homogenous (or even normative) in the heretical teachings you mentioned is comparable to the venomous anti-Calvinist rhetoric that all Calvinists are fatalists or are anti-evangelistic.

Muntzer or Hofmann is no more representative of normative Anabaptist teaching than Skepp or Gill is representative of normative Calvinism. To purport so is intellectually dishonest. Throughout history, aberrant doctrine has been preached by those claiming Calvinist heritage as well as by those claiming Anabaptist heritage. Just as Calvin’s theology is far from inerrant (eg. paedobaptism, magisterial view of the church, etc.), so is Hubmaier’s. For that matter, so is mine—and so is yours.

In all theological debates it is best to remember that the best of men are men at best. Attacking a caricature with a caricature does nothing to further the discussion—it only serves to discredit your argument as well. Theological debate is good, healthy and God-honoring insofar as it forces both sides back to the Word in order to further understand God’s truth. On the other hand, it is dishonoring and destructive to the Body of Christ when debate descends into distortions, mischaracterizations and ad hominem attacks—from either side.

Jim

Tom said...

Thanks for the observations and comments. If we are going to move forward without acrimony in the family of Southern Baptists then we must take seriously the command of Colossians 4:6 and admonition of Ephesians 4:15. Speaking truth lovingly is simply not an option for followers of Jesus.

When we fail at this we not only provide more fuel for unhealthy and unrighteous anger we also rob each other of one of God's means of grace in the lives of brothers and sisters, namely, to be challenged and corrected to see things more biblically.

I hope that the few who consistently distort and misrepresent will become increasingly irrelevant to the rest who care about living and growing together in our common commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This hope crosses doctrinal divides.

Let's keep encouraging truthful, loving dialogue even as we, when necessary, expose the pugilistic distorters of truth that prefer to see brothers divided in a fight than united in a common pursuit of the truth.

Press on,
tom

Timmy Brister said...

Jim,

You illustrated my main point beautifully. You are right to say that those like Simons and Hofmann are not representative of the entire Anabaptist movement. The caricature was intentional to make this simple point.

For as long as I have been alive, Calvinists have been represented and caricatured in the SBC, being labeled as anti-Great Commission to hyper-Calvinist to baby killers you name it. Caner himself loves to come out and play the Servetus card. Geisler wants to paint anyone who is a consistent Calvinist an "extreme" Calvinist while those like himself are supposedly the more "moderate" (and biblical) kind.

So thanks for seeing my point. I hope that others see it too. Those holding to Anabaptist theology need to be treated accurately and fairly, and so do the Calvinists. I suspect that the average non-Calvinist knows no more about Calvinism as a non-Anabaptist knows about Anabaptism.

Nevertheless, what little I do know makes me wonder how Caner can reconcile the theology of the Anabaptist with the Sandy Creeks, especially when it comes to total depravity.

Jesse said...

While today's Baptists have a few things in common with the 16th century Anabaptists, today's Baptists are certainly not descendants of Anabaptists.

However, the descendants of Anabaptists are alive and well today. If I'm not mistaken, some of them are known as Mennonites (named after Menno Simons), Quakers/Brethren, and others.

Jesse

GeneMBridges said...

Tom,

Perhaps in a near future issue of the Founders Journal, you could get Dr. Renihan at WTSCA to give you permission to publish his article on the First London Confession that was published in the RBTR. As I recall, the 1LC is generally the one used by those who like to draw distinctions between Baptists in the 17th century under the theory that Baptists began as "Anabaptists" and became "Presbyterianized" (within the same generation...sorry, pardon while I giggle at that thesis). It's true that the 1LC does contain some reference to Anabaptist tradition on the ordinance of baptism but most of it hails from the True Confession of 1596. At the very least, perhaps you could invite him to write an article on Baptist history vs. the "Anabaptist roots" view, or even, and I realize this would be ambitious, a point-counterpoint article or two (eg. thesis, counterthesis, and two rebuttals) for the FJ. You could even try to get Dr. Emir Caner and Dr. Renihan to do it together, acting as each others foils. Alas, it's just a suggestion.

Also, Founders Press might want to get the rights to republish the standard monograph on the First London Confession that is, at present, INCREDIBLY hard to find (so hard I think I bought the last available copy a year or two ago and I don't think anybody else has it available right now, hint, hint, do this, there's a real need for this, can I be any less subtle?), eg. A Discussion of the 17th Century Particular Baptist Confessions of Faith by Richard Belcher and Anthony Mattia.

Timmy,

I believe you and I have discussed beforehand, and Dr. Caner has now again proven for us, that there is a systematic attempt winding its way out of Liberty and SWBTS to rewrite Baptist history in line against the "Whittsetites" that have dominated the historical landscape since the 19th century in favor of the Anabaptist tradition. Mark my words, that's exactly what's happening in response to the rise of Calvinism once more in Baptist life. By the way, it's also implicitly high churchman, for it appeals to "Baptist tradition" in order to exclude what those holding the historical theory find acceptable and unacceptable in Baptist doctrine in the present day; and this would equally apply to those who might want to appeal to Baptist tradition, to support Calvinism, so, lest anyone think otherwise, I am an equal opportunity critic, though I am an avowed "Whittsetsite."

3. Back to Tom,

Another funny thing about that statement about Beza and Amyrault... Dr. Caner doesn't know what Amyrault actually taught or if he does he has never articulated it accurately in public.

1. Remember this? "Elected because I selected." Followed by "For Moises." Of course the School @ Samur NEVER embraced such a view of election.

2. Amyraldian atonement is by no means "General Atonement." Dr. Caner is confused. Amyraldian atonement involves a foedus hypotheticum. The atonement Jesus secures satisfies the terms of that covenant. That value is then transfered to the elect through the decree of election. Say what you will about Amyralt, "General Atonement" is not "Amyraldian" atonement at all. "General Atonement" is an atonement which has an extrinsic efficacy that makes men saveable or makes a provision for a way by which they can be saved. It secures nothing at all. Dr. Ware's view of the atonement is closer to Amyralt's than a theory of "General Atonement" of the sort that Dr. Caner has in the past attempted to articulate, and in order to posit a true Amyraldian atonement, you have to also posit the order of decrees and the things those decrees address, most if not all of which Dr. Caner has flatly repudiated.


In my opinion, and these are strong words, he has no business teaching these things in the classroom if what he's teaching there matches what he says elsewhere.

Caddiechaplain said...

Muslims would kill for their faith, yet as followers of Christ we should die for our faith. It would seem that the sword should be pointed towards us. Where is Canner's sword pointed? Is he still suffering from the residual effects of his former faith? His defense would be believed if he defended the whole truth of scripture and history!

Sparrowhawk said...

No one mentions Liberty Seminary during any discussion of the reliable seminaries. Caner is a factious man, unteachable, and would be removed by any reputable Board were it anywhere else.

Will Shin said...

In response to Timmy Brister's question: "Since the Anabaptist movement is now in full force, from the cowboys of Texas to the bulldogs of Lynchburg, can we examine the theology of the Anabaptists?"

Read the Anabaptist's confession: The Schleitheim Confession.

threegirldad said...

Also, Founders Press might want to get the rights to republish the standard monograph on the First London Confession that is, at present, INCREDIBLY hard to find (so hard I think I bought the last available copy a year or two ago and I don't think anybody else has it available right now...

Looks like you can get a copy here.

SS&SG said...

It seems to me that Caner and others like him want desperately to have a tradition that they can look back on. The problem is that their theology does not comport with a historical tradition. Caner,s theology is not really anabaptistic, it also does not comport with the sandy creek tradition. So Caner hijacks a few names in the past and claims a lineage to that theological tradition. I feel sorry for him because I really think that he believes that his theology corresponds to these traditions. I do not think he knows that he is hijacking these traditions. I could be wrong but, I think he is just that uninformed.
Stephen

GeneMBridges said...

That's the only outlet I can find for it. I also checked Amazon.com and it does not list at all, which is really odd, because they list out of print books too from time to time. If Founders could secure the actual publishing rights to this booklet it would make finding it much, much easier.

walter price said...

To Caddiechaplain:

Nice picture. You out-punted your coverage.

Darby Livingston said...

I think Liberty Historic Fundamentalist Anabaptist Theological Seminary and Dr. Caner are a perfect match for one another. I can't imagine someone so intellectually sloppy being the president of any other type of institution. I've heard Dr. Caner speak several times, and come away with less respect for him every time, even though I always begin with great hopes. Usually about half way through whatever he's saying, the Calvinist cheap shots come flying to great applause from the crowd, and I again have to go home and duct tape my head back together.

ronnie_l_jones said...

Hi Tom,
Thanks for the post. Dr. Caner has always seems to me to be a bit attack like rather than level headed discussion oriented when it comes to any topic in which his opinion varies. I do not agree with Dr. Caner but I would like to comment on this comment in your post Dr. Ascol, you said

"Second, who has ever said that Southern Baptists have always been Calvinists? This is a very unhelpful misstatement at best and gross misrepresentation at worst. Of course Southern Baptists have not always been Calvinists in a universal sense. No one believes that."

I think Dr. Caner and the interviewer were referencing back to the interview with Dr. Mohler where he said that exact thing. He explained it in a way that is to say most believe the principles of Calvin even if they would deny being classified as Calvinist's or as adhering to a certain number of TULIP point's.

Just wanted to clarify that, now the question is, would you give the same answer the question the interviewer posed to Dr. Mohler?

Tom said...

Ronnie:

Thanks for your comment. I am not sure I understand what you are asking of me. I listened to Dr. Mohler's interview. As I recall, he was addressing a general question about Calvinism in the SBC or perhaps his own views in light of the announcement that he would be nominated for President. His comment made the point that all Southern Baptists are Calvinistic to some degree. He went on to explain that within the SBC even the most Arminian among us believes in some kind of eternal security. Final apostasy has been ruled out of bounds by our confessional standards. That was his point. On that point, he is generally correct, in my estimation, though I would not be inclined to state it that way.

Blessings,
tom

Martin said...

As a graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary allow me to say that Dr. Caner in no way represents all of Liberty University's faculty, staff, students, and alumni. When Dr. Falwell appointed Dr. Caner to be president of the seminary I knew a big mistake had been made. Dr. Caner simply does not have the spiritual and academic weight needed to be a seminary president. His statements on Calvinism serve as perfect examples of this problem.

I graduated from Liberty and I am a Reformed Southern Baptist.

I thank Tom Ascol, James White, and others for their hard work in defending the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Martin.

FBCW said...

There is an intense "dislike" by these "East Coast" pastors. I recently attended a men's event at our church and a Real Evangelism event at the same locale. During these events there was a strong push to sell cd sermons attacking the positions of grace and biblical doctrine by their authors Johnny Hunt and Jerry Vines. The stance is so strongly against that talk, reason, or even healthy dialogue seems impossible.

One Pastor told a story that went like this - A lady riding with her husband in a Pick up truck - sitting all the way against the passenger door said to him; I remember when we sat next to one another, we sat so close there was no room betwixt us....He looked at her from the driver's seat and said; "I aint moved"

Then he went on to say when people's minds are made up there is no reason for dialogue. He described himself; he has grown in every area, but this area - unteachable - no talking because his mind is made up.

It is hurtful when the great doctrines of the Word are attacked and labeled like Calvinism are mischaracterized and described in a false way that - if that was actually what Calvinism is - who would want to embrace the truth...

Make no mistake about it there is EXTREME PREJUDICE against the doctrines of grace....but it is noteworthy that Paul address the same ridicules and attacks, thus he was moved of the Spirit to pen the Epistles.

I feel like Jeremiah - All the pastors are man centered - "Its all about you" "Its all about man" - they espouse being a good daddy, a good husband, and how to handle the finances while repentance and holiness are overlooked.

But to bring balance - I truly believe these men love the Lord and are doing His work - this aspect of their "upbringing" is so chock full of emotional baggage and "so many things said that they cant take it back" affects them. That bias blinds their vision.

I pray for my pastor every day - May we all pray for all these men as well as ourselves - Perhaps, maybe.......just possibly…..