Thursday, October 19, 2006

Calvin Akbar!

Since 9/11 Americans have become all too familiar with the shout Allah Akbar!. It is Arabic for “God is great,” and is often uttered shortly before an Islamic terrorist crashes an airplane into a building or pulls the fuse on a bomb-vest killing himself and dozens of innocent victims. While the phrase is regularly uttered during a faithful Muslim’s daily prayers, the exclamation of praise to their god has taken on an evil infamy. Sadly, most Westerners have only become familiar with the term as a battle-cry of Muslim terrorists.

According to Ergun Caner, however, there are some new and more terrifying Jihadists among us. Their battle-cry is Calvin Akbar – “Calvin is great!” Ergun, President of Liberty Theological Seminary, and himself a former Muslim who converted to Christianity at the age of 13, has recently engaged in a war-of-words with James White over the Doctrines of Grace, more commonly known as Calvinism. James White is the founder of Alpha and Omega Ministries and a Christian apologist. The two, including Ergun’s brother Emil and Tom Ascol, Executive Director of the Founder’s Ministry (a ministry devoted to teaching and promoting the Doctrines of Grace among Southern Baptists), were scheduled to deliberate the topic on October 16, 2006 at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg , VA. in a long-anticipated and what was sure to be a closely-watched debate. The debate never took place. Rather than go into all the reasons here, I’ll leave it to the reader to Google for answers and drawn their own conclusions.

In response to the ‘great debate that wasn’t’ Caner wrote on his blog that “Calvinists are worse than Muslims,” and referred to Southern Baptist Calvinists as “Calvinist Jihadists.” In the on-gong debate concerning Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Caner has now – very openly and very publicly -- accused the Calvinists within the convention of spiritual terrorism. This kind of vitriolic diatribe is uncalled for does little to foster honest intellectual and theological debate among Southern Baptists. Frankly, I resent such outlandish accusations!

Convention leaders need to just as openly and just as publicly distance themselves from Dr. Caner’s remarks.

Does Ergun really mean to imply that pastors and laymen in the Southern Baptist Convention would actually resort to a violent take-over of the SBC? Isn’t that what Jihadists do? Does he really mean to imply that our loyalty is to our theology and not our Theos? I can only hope that Dr. Caner is being his typical bombastic self when he makes these kinds of statements.