Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ergun Caner's Predestined Sermon

This past weekend, Dr. Ergun Caner of Liberty University preached a sermon titled, "Why I'm Predestined Not To Be A Hyper-Calvinist". Now, this is the same Ergun Caner that showed up at the Founder's Blog recently and "kicked the hornet's nest" so to speak, and this has led to the upcoming October 16 debate between Dr. Caner and Dr. James R. White. The reformed community has been buzzing with anticipation ever since the announcement for the debate was made. I commented previously about Dr. Caner's behavior over at the Founder's blog and how this would make the upcoming debate interesting to say the least. Caner's sermon also gives the outlook of an interesting debate as well. Caner launched immediately into the old straw-man argument of equating historic Calvinism as Hyper-Calvinism and hammers away on 1 Timothy 2:4 as if no Calvinist has ever discussed this passage before and the sermon only gets worse from there.

One thing in particuliar that caused my jaw to drop was Dr. Caner's statement that God did not hate Esau from before the foundation of the world but that God's hatred was based on Esau's works. Dr. Caner was of course refering to Romans 9 and I only need quote that particuliar section to show how badly tradition can blind a man to how a text actually reads:

for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER." Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED BUT ESAU I HATED". Romans 9:11-13 NASB

May October 16 come swiftly!

UPDATE:

James White responded to Ergun Caner's sermon here. Anyone who has listened to Caner's sermon is incouraged to hear Dr. White's rebuttal. Also, when I first listened to Dr. Caner's sermon I stopped just short of Jerry Falwell's closing prayer. I wish I had kept on listening because Falwell proved Charles Haddon Spurgeon correct when he noted that Arminians do not pray in accordance with their own theology. After stating that God "will not force you against your will to come to the cross", Falwell trips over his own tongue and prays this:

Do not let one person say ‘no’ to your precious will. Save the lost, reclaim the wayward.

Obviously, the question is raised," how is this statement consistent with the theory of libertarian free-will?" (I think Calvinists everywhere already know the answer to that one ;-)

14 comments:

Mike Ratliff said...

I listened to the DL broadcast of that "sermon" last week. I was appalled. It was not exegetically sound at all. If that is the best he can do then Dr. White and Dr. Ascol will shred his and his brother's arguments like lettuce. I got the impression he was trying to get all of those deceived souls in his audidence to get on the strawman bandwagon with him. It's a sad day when "Christians" are more in love with their traditions than they are with their sovereign Lord.

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Mike,

Yeah, judging by a couple of the caller's comments on James'show yesterday, I would say that all Dr. Caner has done thus far is cause the reformed community to doubt his ability to handle any of the issues that have been raised by James and others.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! All this wears me out!! I am sick and exhausted of all this debating, etc. For me, I will follow the Lord Jesus Christ! I want to be available to hear His still small voice. How can this happen if I jump on every bandwagon that comes along in Christianity? Can we come together in the essentials of the Word of God and eliminate all this debating? No wonder the American Christian Church is going down the toilet!! The drug addict whose life is transformed by the Gospel of Christ couldn't care less about your debates. Mike Ratliff is correct when he says, "it's a sad day when 'Christians' are more in love with their traditions than they are with their sovereign Lord". I might add: it is a sad day when "Christians" are more in love with their "interpretation of theology" than they are with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Anonymous,

Response here:

http://conversationsincalvinism.blogspot.com/2006/05/anonymous-response.html

Anonymous said...

QUOTE: One thing in particular that caused my jaw to drop was Dr. Caner's statement that God did not hate Esau from before the foundation of the world but that God's hatred was based on Esau's works. Dr. Caner was of course refering to Romans 9 and I only need quote that particuliar section to show how badly tradition can blind a man to how a text actually reads:

for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER." Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED BUT ESAU I HATED". Romans 9:11-13 NASB

My comment; I hope you realize that Paul was quoting a SUMMATION of Esau's life and not a prediction. The quotation is taken from
Malachi 1:2,3.

God's "hatred" of Esau is based on Esau's despising his birthright.

God hates no one before they are born. The hatred expressed is in contrast to the love Jacob experienced. Jacob was accepted and Esau was rejected for their faith in Christ or lack there of, which is consistent with the Biblical way of salvation..

The Sovereignty of God is exercised in His choosing their earthly roles, and has nothing to do with their personal salvation. Failure to see that Paul is addressing the nation Israel's present condition in regard to the new creation, the church, is the reason these passages are so often misunderstood.

Succinctly put, God rules the earth; He puts up one and puts down another. Various examples are given in Israel's history to demonstrate this truth.

The subject matter excludes personal salvation, as God has ordained that every creature shall have the right to be saved or to refuse to be saved.

Dennis Clough

J. Matthew Cleary said...

"God's "hatred" of Esau is based on Esau's despising his birthright."

There is no mention of God's hatred being based upon Esau's rejection of his birthright in Malachi 1:1-5. So you are reading things into Malachi's words as well as Paul's.

"Jacob was accepted and Esau was rejected for their faith in Christ or lack there of, which is consistent with the Biblical way of salvation.."

So Esau was rejected because he rejected someone whom he was never aware of?

"Failure to see that Paul is addressing the nation Israel's present condition in regard to the new creation, the church, is the reason these passages are so often misunderstood."

Paul himself refutes this notion when he differentiates between God's Israel and national Israel. Paul is arguing that God's promises to national Israel are still valid because they were meant for God's Israel all along. This is plainly laid out in Romans 9:6-9. The charge that Romans 9 refers only to national Israel does not stand in light of these verses.

"The subject matter excludes personal salvation, as God has ordained that every creature shall have the right to be saved or to refuse to be saved."

So you're saying that Romans 9 refers only to nations? Then how can nations be referred to as "twins"? How do you explain Pharaoh? It was not Egypt's heart that was hardened.

Bartimaeus said...

I to have posted a blog on Dr Caner's coment on Calvinism. It is absolutely unbelievable that man with background and education can say such things.

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Bartimaeus,

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I just recently visited yours via the link on James Whites blog. Good stuff!

Bryan Brammer said...

I must say that for this debate on Calvinism it is oging to be interesting. If James White is representing the Calvinistic side of things, then you are in trouble. I have read his books and the reasoning and Biblical application is so false I wonder what Bible he is reading.

Second, It is unfair to mention that just because someone is not a Calvinist does not automatically make him an Arminian. Take about jumping the gun.

The entire theme of the Bible is Christ's redemptive work for mankind not particular individuals. Take that context and apply the verses.

If a calvinist were to live consistenly with his philosophy then there would be no need for witnessing. (since we can niether add or take away from God those he has taken by our works) How can those that believe in this system of thought (which is unbibilical) ever be assured of their own salvation. You may have security but no assurrance for you will not know if you are truly elect until you are judged at the end of your life.

What a futile system to put your faith in. All Calvinists (as well as srtong Arminians) need to get off their intellectual soap boxes and see the hurting needs of the people. Love the sinner as Christ did, not the mind.

Chris said...

After stating that God "will not force you against your will to come to the cross", Falwell trips over his own tongue and prays this:

Do not let one person say ‘no’ to your precious will. Save the lost, reclaim the wayward.

Obviously, the question is raised," how is this statement consistent with the theory of libertarian free-will?" I think Calvinists everywhere already know the answer to that one...

I would have to say that you are grasping at straws to say, "Falwell tripped over his own tongue". It was clear in Dr. Caner's sermon that it is indeed the will of our Father for us all to come to His son for salvation. I believe his prayer reflected that of one who desires that the lost be saved. I understand his prayer as asking the Spirit of God to strongly convict the sinner so that they would repond positively to the gospel.

I am one who allows the Spirit of God to guide me through prayer and Bible study. I believe in eternal security because it is a doctrine that is clearly spoken of in the word of God not because someone I look up to told me I should. I do not accept the doctrine that says God has predetermined and ear marked certain souls for Hell. I believe that according to what I have read and studied. I wanted to establish that because it is also my take that those who consider themselves "Hyper Calvinists" appear to be very hateful. I suppose you feel as if you can be because you have been preselected for Heaven and your sinful attitude doesn't really matter to God seeings that you are part of the club. I guess I would have to wonder; if what you say is true of God really is, then what's the purpose? I mean, why experience life; so you can try to make everybody agree with your point of view? You paint a very grim picture of our God and for that you should be very ashamed. You people suck the hope right out of the old old story. Your point of view makes grace and mercy a myth and the prayer of the saintly Grandmother a waste of time. Do the world a favor and just keep your doctrine of destruction to yourself. Atleast then those who are supposedly on their way to Hell without a chance can enjoy the life they are living here on earth!

J. Matthew Cleary said...

Hi Chris,

I'll be responding to your comment in full within the next day or two on my blog. But for now, all I can say is, well, wow. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I think it's ridiculous that Christians have made a webpage completely dedicated to arguing fighting with other Christians. This is honestly absurd. Everyone knows that there are highly educated Christians on both sides of the "Calvinism" fence. Debates like these only feed into the unsaved world's opinions that even Christians can't get along with eachother... I have many friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, who stand on both sides of this, and many other issues. Believe me, to agreeing disagree can be lead to edifying and strengthening discussions and leaves a much stronger testimony in the eyes of the unsaved.

beowulf2k8 said...

Calvinism is Satanism. Whosoever will baby! It's a shame that Egrun Caner is so weak against Calvinism, however. I mean if he were a real man, he'd kick all of you devil worshipers out of the SBC.

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