The Theater of the Absurd: Southern Baptists Desiring Leaders With No Integrity
Wade's Question: "Since the IMB already prohibits missionaries by policy from publicly speaking in tongues, and if that policy is violated, the missionary is fired, why is there any need to enter into a person's private prayer closet to determine if the missionary candidate has prayed using a private prayer language?"
Answer: "Because what someone does in private will eventually cause problems publicly."
Wade's Question: "But have you considered that when you ask a missionary about their private prayer practices, you are dependent upon their integrity for honest answers?"
Answer: "Yes. So?"
Wade's Question: "We have two missionary candidates. Both have used an unkown prayer language in their private communion with God. They are asked about their private prayer practicise. One candidate honestly answers the question "Yes, I have used a private prayer language" while the other missionary candidate dishonestly answers the question "No, I have never prayed using a private prayer language." Have you considered that our interview process regarding this issue only allows us to appoint the dishonest person with no integrity instead of the honest person with integrity to the mission field?"
First Answer: Crickets
Later Answer: "We would rather have a dishonest person on the mission field than risk sending person who uses a private prayer language to the mission field."
Now fast forward to 2010. We have Professor James White of Golden Gate Seminary who is teaching various subjects for our Southern Baptist seminary located in San Francisco. James White, an apologist who has legitimately and officially debated Muslims, has been raising questions about the lack of integrity in Ergun Caner's biographical, professional and ministerial claims regarding his apologetics ministry. Dr. Caner, the President of Liberty Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia has been heard in an abundance of internet video and audio material making either contradictory or outright false claims about his past (birthplace, native language, professional ministry, etc...). Whether or not Liberty attempts to clear the President of their seminary from any wrongdoing will be a matter of public record on June 30, 2010. Whether or not Ergun Caner has lied about his past is already a matter of public record, thanks to the Internet. We all can forgive a man who says he has lied and repents. What we can't do is act like integrity doesn't matter among evangelical Christians.
What is astonishing to me is how a few Southern Baptists, people like Mr. Peter Lumpkins, propose that James White should no longer teach at Golden Gate Seminary, but Ergun Caner should keep his job. The professor who actually debates Muslims and speaks of himself with integrity should be fired, but the one who lies to others about his background and his "debates" with Muslims should stay.
It reminds me of 2005. "Fire the people with integrity, and keep the people who lack integrity. We should care more about one's ideology than one's integrity. It's not character that counts, it's loyalty to a cause that matters." We definitely live in a confused world. It just baffles me how some Southern Baptists seem more confused about morality and integrity than the world is.
In His Grace,