Caner's Stumble

Dr. Ergun Caner will no longer be the Dean and President of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary; but he is being retained as a professor for the 2010-2011 school year.  For some, this seems unfair or unjustified.  But others are still on the offensive, thinking Liberty has not done enough--they want blood.  In reality, it seems like a good decision by the school and a good demonstration of one aspect of the gospel. 

Long before the Christianity Today article, I was thinking about the claims made regarding Caner's dependencies.  On the one hand, they were compelling claims, presenting potential problems.  On the other hand, it seemed as if some people were zealously hoping to bring down Caner and run a sword through his heart, placing one foot victoriously on his chest.  I saw trouble on both hands.

As the problem continued to play out publicly, things spiraled downward.  Those on the offensive grew vicious.  They dedicated hours and hours to videos, tweet after tweet on Twitter, and thousands upon thousands of words to blogs about the problem.   It some cases, it seemed to consume them.  And there were those who blindly defended Caner, attempting to ignore or hide potential sin issues.  They would make ad hominem attacks arguing that the claims couldn't be true because they were being brought to light by a non-believer.  It got even worse when they attacked Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism rather than dealing with the issue at hand.  And by behaving in this way, they told the world that dealing with sin and seeking sanctification and restoration with God is not what Christianity is about.  

However, Christianity is about restoration to God through grace from God.  And in that, we too are to call people to repent of sin--which requires us to identify sin, including our own.  And we also must show others the love and grace in Christ.  We should seek restoration and forgiveness for those who have wronged us just as God shows grace and restoration for those who have sinned against him.  Of course this is not some kind of automatic thing, there is repentance AND forgiveness in restoration. Liberty's board looked into the allegations and now Caner has been removed of his leadership role.  However, it appears he is being given an opportunity for repentance and restoration.  He is not being completely cast out but also not remaining in his leadership role.  There is opportunity for others come come along side and help him walk the bumpy, messy, dirt path of sanctification.  We should be thankful these issues came into the light and are being dealt with--that is how sin is put to death.  Let us watch and pray for this situation, that it might bring us all a little closer to Jesus.

And we can all learn from Dr. Caner and Liberty University.  The most important thing is our relationship with God, not our egos or reputation; not who is right and who is wrong.  This means that we search ourselves for any sin and repent.  From every little exaggeration to any blatant lie, and our desire to tear down another or build ourselves up, and any other sin that the Holy Spirit shows us.  I know that daily I have much to repent of, but I am thankful that God is bringing me closer to him through this process.  And we must seek restoration in the body of Christ through grace and love.  This is my prayer for me, Dr. Ergun Caner, and for all of us.