Personal reckoning with our mistakes and failures is the only way to restoration with the God who made us and those with whom we do life.
I refuse to throw stones. I am certainly as guilty as anyone else. My guilt was proven last night, even. My wife had a patient who made her a pound cake, a slice of which made it home. While she and the middle child were at the movies, I ate some. "Some" was more than I intended, which I quickly realized when my wife came in and asked about how her pound cake had not-quite-but-almost disappeared. Sometimes things just run away quicker than you know. I've already blogged about one experience where a story got out of hand and I had to stop it and repent. So, no stones to throw.
For everyone's information who cares, Liberty University has unseated Ergun Caner (previous thoughts about this here) from the presidency (they call it dean below, but it's been president up to this point) of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, retaining him as a professor for the 2010-2011 school year. Here is the official statement from LU:
After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Ergun Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory. However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence. Dr. Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review. Dr. Caner’s current contractual term as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary expires on June, 30, 2010. Dr. Caner will no longer serve as Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. The university has offered, and Dr. Caner has accepted, an employment contract for the 2010-2011 academic year. Dr. Caner will remain on the faculty of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary as a professor.
Many on the blogosphere have ripped LU for this lawyer-speak: "factual statement that are self-contradictory." That's sanitized for "not telling the truth." So I have a couple of thoughts that all seven of you who read this blog will I'm sure find really obvious and probably have thought of them yourself already.
First, LU made a tough call and are trying to make the best out of a bad situation. By necessity of the world we live in, lawyers craft (or at least edit) the PR statements. LU has dethroned the king of their world, who has led LBTS to unprecedented levels of enrollment and national exposure. LU has endured, yet again, significant media scrutiny. LU is trying to overcome some foolishness by their leaders on the front end of this investigation. On and on we could go. I don't know that I feel bad for LU (after all, they hired the guy and obviously let this run for quite some time). But I also know that leading is hard and cleaning up messes is hard and I'm really glad I'm not them right now.
But as hard as LU is trying, they can't make this go away. They don't have the power. And this leads me to my second thought.
Second, the one person who has the power to make this all go away and good Kingdom stuff come is the offender, Ergun Caner. Because this is a spiritual issue and not a political one, you can't just keep standing up and preaching and going on with life. You can't hide behind the word "misspoke" or "misremembered" or any other "mis-" words. You can't even hide behind the craftiness of the press release. The one and only way this goes away and the Kingdom comes is this: Ergun Caner stands up and says, "I lied to make myself seem better than I was. For that, I apologize and confess my sin and ask forgiveness from my brothers and sisters whom I deceived." A reasonably short restoration process should probably follow and then he could (in my humble opinion) be restored to ministry. Problem solved, Kingdom advanced, humility expressed, grace received.
In the realm of politics, litigation, legislation, and other societal areas of that ilk, covering it up and moving on is a real possibility. In the Kingdom, those who walk in the light experience forgiveness and fellowship with one another (1 John 1.7).
I close with where I started. I'm not throwing stones. Far from it. I'm grateful for daily mercy given to me by God and others. I also know that living life as He says is best really is best. God grant it to me to be that kind of follower, man, husband, dad, pastor, and friend.
That's me thinking thoughts...