In Ergun Caner is a real ex-Muslim, I challenged the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia to be wise stewards of God’s cooperative program resources and prayerfully consider if Liberty University is bringing God glory. I did this because I assumed that the SBC of Virginia was supporting Liberty University financially. I was wrong. Brandon Picket, Director of Media Services for SBC of Virginia has contacted me to correct my misunderstanding of the relationship between SBC of VA and Liberty University.
Since 2000, Liberty University has been a ministry partner of SBC of VA, approved as such by the executive board. No money is provided by the SBC of VA to Liberty University. Liberty University operates under the authority of Thomas Road Baptist Church. Picket informed me that the “SBCV is grateful for the ongoing relationship [they] have with this church” and that they “believe that God’s hand is on [Liberty University].”
Although the SBC of VA is grateful for Thomas Road Baptist Church and believes God’s hand is on Liberty University, I see no indication that they support fairy tale testimonies from their leaders. Baptist polity dictates autonomy of the local church, however SBCV maintains the right to sever ties with ministry parters that deviate from their convictions. The SBCV has been in contact with Liberty University concerning this matter and is hoping and praying that Liberty University’s inquiry into Caner’s embellishments will result in Liberty University taking appropriate action. I think we can all join them in this prayer. If however this does not happen, I pray that the SBC of VA has the courage to stand for honesty and integrity when their ministry partners do not. They have made it clear that they have options, I hope this means they intend to use them if required.
Please join me in prayer for our brother Ergun Caner, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Liberty University and the SBC of Virginia. This is a difficult time and I pray that God gives each person the strength and faith they need to persevere. I pray that honesty and integrity prevail and God is glorified. I pray that God will use these men and these ministries powerfully in the time to come to bring many to faith in our Lord, Jesus.
I believe if Ergun Caner were to humble himself, repent of his sins and tell an honest testimony to the world that Christians all over would treat him as a brother and happily open their arms to him. I can think of no better outcome and no better expression of the brotherly love we can display because He first loved us.
-Jason Smathers. * Subscribe to my blog. * Follow me on Twitter.