Podcast Episode 21

February 3, 2010

Timid. Reserved. Reticent. All of these are fine adjectives, and none of them describe our guest on this week’s podcast. Dr. Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, joins us for a conversation that ranges from apologetics to camels to task forces. Also this week, we welcomed our newest team member at SBC Today, David Worley, though he found out it’s difficult to get a word in edgewise. He’ll be more prepared next week, I’m sure.

Listen to the podcast using the player below, or visit our iTunes page to subscribe. A click on the link in the sidebar (or on the image in this post) will take you there, and while you’re at it, write us a review or give us a rating. And as always, we welcome your comments here on issues we discuss or on how we can improve the podcast. Thanks for listening.

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From the Middle East

Well, I suppose integrity would compel all of those who agree with Brother Ergun (that the Camel Method is heresy and that the “IMB is teaching heresy”) to withdraw their funding from the organization that is spreading heresy.

May God have mercy on us all,
From the Middle East

Wes Kenney

Or at least to pray and work for change. He did say that they’re not heretics, just that this one item of teaching is in error.

Baby, bathwater, etc…

From the Middle East

Brother Wes,

He said they were not heretics, but were teaching heresy. Split them hairs any which way ya wanna, but I, for one, would not even consider giving money to a so-called church planting organization that I thought was teaching heresy. If we use that strong of language, we should hold fast our integrity by acting accordingly.

On second thought, let me ask you this way:

1. Would you recommend any of the congregants at your church give to an organization that teaches heresy?
2. Would you consider bringing before your congregation a motion to add “A Church Planting Organization – that also teaches heresy” into your church budget?

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

Wes Kenney

No, I certainly wouldn’t recommend we go out looking for groups that are teaching heresy in order to support them. But this isn’t some independent group, it’s our mission board. I don’t know how many churches left the SBC over the issues that led to the Conservative Resurgence, but I’ve more respect for the ones who stayed in order to see the problems corrected. Similar situation here, in my book.

Les Puryear

Wes,

I have a suggestion. It’s rare that I have 20-30 minutes to sit and listen to a podcast. Would it be possible to include a transcript of the podcast as an option as well? I can read it a lot faster. Maybe it’s just me, but I think a transcript along with the podcast would be very helpful.

Just a thought. Thanks.

Les

FTME

Brother Wes,

Please allow me to rephrase your comment number four above:

Since we are already connected with the IMB, we will continue to support it and strive to move it in the direction of not teaching heresy. However, if we were not involved with the SBC or IMB already (listen up newer congregations and church plants), I would not support the IMB because they teach heresy.

Brother, this is honestly what I am hearing. A charge of heresy is quite weighty from my perspective. Am I missing something? Heresy? Don’t we excommunicate heretics? Would you recommend a church planter affiliate himself with our convention knowing this group teaching heresy would become “his” mission board?

Well, I guess inflammatory language does make for a comment or two on a blog…

And, no offense intended, but I think my time will be better spent focusing on sharing the love of Christ with the Muslims around me. So, apologies for getting all stirred up over Brother Ergun’s rhetoric and the last word to you, brother.

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

Wes Kenney

Les,

I’m reminded of an old Saturday Night Live skit from when I was in high school. It was some sort of talk show spoof, and at the beginning, a voice-over said, “If you’d like a transcript of today’s show, simply write down everything we say.”

The only way I know of to produce a transcript would be for one of us to do that, which seems unlikely. It’s a great idea, but I’m afraid it’s just not practical for us to do. I subscribe to several podcasts, and do most of my podcast listening in the car.

Wes Kenney

FTME,

For obvious reasons, I prefer my original comment to your paraphrase, because I only intended to say what I said, and not what you heard But I do appreciate you fighting our overzealous spam filter in order to participate in the discussion.

You’ll be in our prayers as you labor for the gospel.

volfan007

FTME,

Would you not agree that the Camel Method is deceptive at best? It really smacks of trying to trick Muslims into getting saved, or in the least, deceive them so that you can befriend them, in order to witness to them. I really dont see the Apostles doing this in their culture. Now, I know that Paul addressed them on Mars Hill in a way that was culturally relevant to them, but Paul brought in Jesus as Lord and Savior very quickly to this crowd; as a matter of fact, it was in the initial sermon…the first one! It was the same thing in the synagogues, while dealing with the Jews. They preached Jesus. They preached the Gospel. They didnt try to trick anyone into the Kingdom of God. They simply preached the Gospel and trusted the Holy Spirit to convince the heart of man and save people.

I really think that the Camel Method is a very poor, deceptive method for reaching the Muslims. It’s erroneous.

David

Scott Gordon

FTME,

One thing is certain, Ergun has never been shy about clearly articulating his convictions…and in this case ( :-) ), I agree with him.

I also wonder if you have made it to the link of endorsements for the Camel Method? Would you care to take Dr. Garrison to task for words like these:

“Every great work of God provokes a predictable backlash from Satan, as his domain is threatened. The Camel method has been no exception.”

Dr. David Garrison, editor of the Camel Workshop

Hmm?

Sola Gratia!

rastis

Volfan,
One common misunderstanding concerning the Camel is that it is a method of evangelism. It is not an evangelism method. It is a method for finding a person of peace.

When you actually get to his “Korbani plan of salvation” it is simply a truncated chronological Bible storying presentation which highlights different sacrifices in the OT and brings it forwards to Christ. That is something used in all parts of the globe and in most, if not all, people groups.

I do not personally endorse the camel, but for much different reasons than men like the Canners and Yarnell offer. Perhaps I should write a defensive critique from a different perspective some time…

rastis

volfan
addendum:
An interesting note… at the areopagus, Paul never referenced Jesus by name [he referred to him as the “one” whom God appointed and raised from the dead]. It is an interesting omission. I am still trying to figure out what to do with that.

From the Middle East

Sucked into the blogworld yet again!

Brother David (007),

For the record, I am not a fan of the Camel Method. Have you read the entire book? Including the Korbani plan of salvation Brother Rastis referenced above? What did you think about the plan of salvation? Maybe that could be your first post here at SBCToday… a critique of, not the Camel Method, but the “Korbani Plan of Salvation.” I would love to get your thoughts on it…

Brother Scott,

First, regarding your question about Brother David Garrison’s quote: I took his quote to be a reference to the persecution our Muslim-background brothers and sisters are suffering under. How did you take it?

Second, I trust that you will lead your local congregation in integrity to cease giving to an organization that teaches heresy. Or, if you, like Brother Wes, want to stay in it for the long haul and fight against this heresy… at the minimum, you will warn other church planters or congregations not already connected to the IMB not to help them in any way shape or form until this heresy is purged.

Finally, no, Brother Ergun has not been shy about articulating his opinions…

Peace to you brothers,
From the Middle East

Scott Gordon

FTME,

The comment is ‘broad’ enough to involve application such as you have stated and: ‘those within Christendom who are critical of this method as unbiblical are actually doing Satan’s work.’ If Dr. Garrison wishes it to be limited to the former statement, he should reword it.

As to your second comment, I guess I’ll have to buy my books elsewhere, too, since our beloved LifeWay carries and sells The Shack. I have not. In fact, I just bought a few books produced by The Way of the Master ministry…now there’s a witnessing approach with a solid foundation! So, in the same way which I speak out against The Shack and criticize LifeWay for promoting such aberrant theology and yet buy Bibles, music, and other books, I will continue to do the same with our IMB–criticize use and promotion of The Camel while supporting multiple friends who are serving around the world through the IMB.

SG!

From the Middle East

Brother Scott,

First, I unknowingly do Satan’s work all the time… just like the Apostle Peter did… but that does not make one a heretic. Second, I do, now, publicly encourage Brother David Garrison to reword his endorsement of the Camel Method for clarity’s sake.

Now, trying to compare LifeWay – a bookstore that sells all kinds of “Christian” products – to an organization charged with planting churches is silly… so I have no further comment whatsoever on that… okay, maybe you could compare it to a church plant your church is supporting or considering supporting, but not to a store that sells everything from paintings to books on theology to books on politics to testamints to movies of a “Christian” nature.

And, finally, on Way of the Master we agree. I have enjoyed teaching the course several times and find it to be a highly contextual method of sharing the Gospel with rule of law-oriented Westerners.

Peace to you brother,
From the Middle East

Josh D.

Thanks for the cast. I have the utmost respect for The Caners. I am in agreement with Dr. Caner that the Camel method is heresy. There are other methods of reaching Muslims without losing the integrity of the Gospel. I was at a loss for words when I heard that the IMB is teaching this method to its M’s. This is the first time I have heard mention of it being taught. Does anyone know where it is being taught? Is it at ILC? I have had friends over the last few years and months going through the process (now on the field) and they have never mentioned this method being taught or even as a viable option. They also do not use this method and frankly would never consider it.

As a student at Southeastern this method was never once taught to us. I am a graduate of the International church planting program. I have taken all the missions courses and the Camel method has never been a part of the curriculum. It saddens me to hear that M’s from SEBTS are using this method when we have been taught to do otherwise.

In speaking with many M’s on the field in CA I can say that this method is detached from any sort of EV. I can only speak confidently of CA and not other regions. However, having set under the Regional SC in class for NAME he was very much against this method as well. I am certain it is being used and pray that it will come to an end for the sake of the Gospel.

However, this is not going to change my view on the IMB. I still feel that the board is doing a great job with getting m’s to the the field and preparing them to share the Gospel…not to mention financing them so they are able to stay for longer periods without having to return to raise money. My wife and I are hoping to be sent in the next few months and don’t worry we won’t use the Camel method.

Thanks again.

Josh

Brent Hobbs

From the Middle East is exactly right. Using the term heresy is over the top rhetoric. But do we expect anything less from Ergun Caner? Can’t we disagree with each other without this kind of immaturity?

David Worley

Brent,

Not all BI guys agree with each other on every little ole thang. :)
So, just because Ergun Caner went so far as to call it heresy, doesnt mean that all BI guys would call it heresy. Some might call it error. Some may call it stepping across the line of trying to be culturally relevant. But, Ergun Caner is a good man, who has very strong opinions, and I’d imagine he and his brother would have the inside insight on this…seeing that they used to be Muslims! Muslims who now lead Baptist schools of higher learning. Maybe they have insight that should be given heavy thought?

David

Chris Johnson

Brother Wes,

Good topics today…..

With respect to the Muslim “How do you minister to them” question, one of my favorite professors of OT Theology, Dr. William Barrick, has a fantastic outline of how he had the privilege of addressing the Muslims in Bangladesh where he ministered and translated scripture for about 15 years. The MP3 of the outline (about 70 minutes done in 2009) is worth the listen. I will try to find a link to it.

In the meantime, here is the link to the written outline in pdf form…..

http://audio.gracechurch.org/sc/2009notes/Barrick,%20The%20Gospel%20According%20to%20Mohammed.pdf

Blessings,
Chris

Ken

I enjoy mission conversations. Let me say up front I did not listen to the pod cast. I would also say I agree more with FTME just so you guys know where I am coming from.

The question comes to my mind in reading all this is, “ok you do not like or use the Camel, no problem with that. Use what you think is biblical and theological correct. But my question is:

How many of you have shared the gospel with a Muslim in the last year? 2 Years? Ever? I honestly do not mean this mean spirited but what I find is that many who argue such things have never shared with , much less spoken to a Muslim. I could be wrong among those here.

Tim Rogers

Brother Ken,

First, thank you for reading the comments. However, to read the comments without listening to the podcast is like saying you do not like a preacher because of the comments you heard others say about his sermon. I do not believe you would do that, would you?

Second, as to our witnessing opportunities I believe you will note that all involved in this blog believe in and practice personal evangelism. Some do not have the same opportunities as others but that does not negate the fact that we regularly share our faith. Some live in less populated areas than others. For example Brother Wes lives in an area of Oklahoma that it took him two hours to get his wife to a hospital where they could do surgery. Not quite sure hos many Muslim compounds there are in that area for Brother Wes to target, but I can assure you that if he were to meet a Muslim in that isolated area he would share the truth of the Gospel with him/her.

Third, for those of us that live in a more populated area, such as me, we witness as the opportunity presents itself and even direct conversations to move to the direction of sharing the Gospel. Do we target Muslim communities? I cannot say that I do. Have I witnessed to Muslims? Yes I have. Do I use the camel method? No I do not. Do Muslims get mad at me? I will say some get agitated. Does that stop me from sharing the Gospel with Muslims? No, it does not. Have others become mad? No they have not? Why do I not target Muslim communities? I try not to target any certain group because of the location we find ourselves. I witness to people as the Lord brings them across my path. For a better understanding of this, I pray every morning the following prayer; “Lord, bring someone across my path today that I can share the gospel with, give me the wisdom to know that person when You bring him/her across my path, and give me the boldness to share the truth of the Gospel.” If that person is a Muslim then I witness to him/her. In the area I live there are multiple opportunities for me to cross paths with Muslims. For example I have a Physician that comes from India. He has heard my testimony and then gave me his testimony of how he came to Christ. I have a person at the local store that is from Pakistan. He is not a Christ follower, but He knows I believe in Jesus because I shared the Gospel with him.

Fourth, when was the last time you witnessed to a Muslim? Was in in the last year, two years, when? Also, if the Camel Method is a bridge, then why does it give the same authority to the Koran that it does to Scripture? If the Camel Method is a bridge, then why does it affirm the Isa of the Koran is the same as Jesus of the Scripture? Isa of the Koran is a created being, but would you say the same about Jesus of the Scriptures? Is the Allah of the Koran the same as Yahweh of the Scriptures? If Allah of the Koran is the same then please find me a Muslim that will affirm that Isa is Allah.

Blessings,
Tim

volfan007

There are not too many Muslims living in the part of TN that I live in. I have witnessed to Muslims before, though. And, the Lord willing, if I have the opportunity to witness to Muslim people again, I pray that I will do it…by presenting Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

David

Mark

Below is a link to one of the Camel Method tracts. This should make it pretty clear where they stand.

The IMB has formally condemned C5, so it seems to me that now all the insider types that they support are now vehemently claiming to be C4. I see this as nothing more than an attempt to keep their funding. If you want to know what they really believe, read their material below.

A few things to notice in the tract:

1. How much the Qur’an is quoted, with specific references, and how readers are encouraged to find a Qur’an in their language (pg 3)
2. How little the Bible is quoted, often without even a reference to which book or whose words the verse is.
3. Sonship of Christ is entirely missing.
4. Muhammad is a prophet, about whom they incessantly say “peace be upon him”
5. Isa is a prophet, about whom they do not even once say “peace be upon him”
6. Jesus is portrayed as scapegoat-saviour, but not as Lord.
7. Their goal is to create “Pakka Muslims” (true, or completed Muslims), not Christians.
8. There is no call to repentance or holiness.
9. The main conclusion is “if you want to go to heaven, say this prayer and Allah will put your sins on the prophet Isa” The tract ends with this:

“Today you, too, can become a Pakka Muslim. All you have to do is to believe that Allah gave the korban for you, substituting Isa for you. Stop now, hold your hands up before you, and humbly tell Allah that you receive His korban and thank Him for placing on Isa the punishment for your guilt and sins. In this way, Allah will forgive you of your sin and remove its curse from you. When you are cleansed of your sins, then you can go to be with Allah after you die. You can now live your life in peace knowing that after death you can go directly to be with Allah.”

My analysis is that they are advocating a superstitious belief that the Prophet Isa can give you a free ticket to paradise. This fits in great with the multitude of “folk-islamic” beliefs and superstitions that permeate the uneducated masses, but it’s not the true gospel. It’s disgusting how they are deceiving ignorant Muslims by twisting the Qur’an to say things that contradict itself.

C5 or not, this is heresy. Heresy, while a strong term, is exactly what this is.

Here is where you can find their tract: http://www.camelmethod.com/downloads/Ruhullah_English_eBook.pdf

Pierre Houssney

Ken,

As an Arab Christian who regularly shares the gospel with Muslims in Lebanon and in the US, I would like to encourage you to question your finding that “many who argue such things have never shared with, much less spoken to a Muslim. ”
If you want to know the truth, you will find that the ones who DO use the Camel Method are predominantly people who have NOT grown up around arab/muslim cultures, and began studying Islam academically as an adult. In fact, the Camel Method was invented by Americans, and is rejected by a vast majority of real cultural insiders, because besides being theologically twisted, it is based off of a complete misunderstanding of eastern culture and Islam.

It is as if a Saudi came to America and started a Bible study with some nominal Christians and convinced them that the Bible actually says we should follow the prophet Muhammad. Then, if some of these ignorant Christians actually followed him, they began calling themselves “Christian followers of Muhammad”. Doesn’t it sound ridiculous when you picture it within your own culture? Yet this is what well-meaning Americans are taught to do in my culture, and it’s truly sad.

Ken, it is not about “lik[ing] or us[ing] the Camel”. Even if many of the critics of this method do not know the culture well, the more you know the culture, the more clear it will be to you that this method is truly preaching an incomplete and twisted gospel. That is why the word “heresy” has been used, and unfortunately it is accurate.

I, along with Tim Rogers would love to know where you are coming from, and what your experience is with Muslims. Have you found success with the Camel, or similar methods?

Paul Pierce

Jesus said it this way:
Mat 23:24 “You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”

Paul said it this way: “1Co 9:19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.”

Luk 15:10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Amen

Pierre Houssney

Hi Paul,

Thank you for being the first one to bring a single verse of scripture into this discussion!

For the clarity of all, could you explain how you think these scriptures apply to the conversation? Forgive me for not being able to understand what you mean by those particular verses.

Blessings!

Simplydannygirl

Hope it stopped this blasphemous heresy cold.

God Bless Dr. Ergun Caner. It must stop here. MuslimS and Christian do not worship the same God. Allah is not God of Israel. Even he will not say that. He will not Say he is the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Which God handed down the Law.

And just so anyone would like to know. Isa is not the name of Jesus in Arabic. It’s Esau. Meaning “Jacob I loved Esau I hated. So the rolls have been reversed.

Blessings Gentlemen…………

Danny

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[…] Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, in Lynchburg, Va., said in a recent podcast, “There’s nothing that the two gods — the god of the Koran and the god of scripture — have […]

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[…] Dr. Ergun Caner’s disagreement with The Camel Method.  This came to their attention through our podcast #21 where Dr. Caner made some bold statements and even had to apologize because his passion over rode […]

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