It amazes me how many people in our post-modern culture take everything personally. Instead of saying "I disagree with you," or "you're wrong", the first answer some give is along the lines of, "You're being mean," or "You're lying!"
And this seems to crop up even in conservative Christian circles. James White has posted an e-mail received from a Caner defender that is sadly all too typical of a certain sort of person. Instead of replying to White's arguments, he attacks White personally. The amazing thing is that in the course of this diatribe he describes White as a "fraud". Now, the reason I am amazed by this is simple. The Caner Controversy is over the allegations that Ergun Caner is a fraud by some measure, as he has fabricated a back-story for himself that does not fit the facts. Yet instead of answering the charges, Caner has been silent, and those who are "defending" him, having no real answers (since Caner has not deigned to give us any), are therefore left with the temptation to resort to insults.
This is very much what "the Puritan" has done with my criticisms of Gail Riplinger. Instead of showing where I am wrong, and how Mrs. Riplinger's flagrant dishonesty in abusing the words of a dead man is really justified, he accuses me of "defending the devil", as if the worst sin in the world was daring to defend Westcott from flagrant lies. Gail Riplinger herself prefers to abuse her critics rather than engage with them. In her latest rant she suggests that the only reason anyone disagrees with her is pride - not the fact that her research is piecemeal and shoddy. To say that C.J. Vaughan sat in the House of Lords as "First Baron of the Realm" is incredible, and I am literally at a loss to think where she could have got such a ludicrous idea!
Both Mr. Daliessio and "the Puritan" have in common is this - they are attached to a leader in such a way that they take any criticism of that person very personally. Rather than attempting to show that the criticism is wrong, they attack the critic. Yet in both cases they do so with a double-standard. "The Puritan" criticises me for noting details in Riplinger's books, yet Riplinger herself majors on the details in the books of others! (What is more, how on earth can you criticize poor research without giving examples of individual problems?). Mr. Daliessio calls James White a "Fraud", when Ergun Caner is a documented fraud.
Neither actually helps. I have no anger towards Mrs. Riplinger, or Ergun Caner. They have both done things they should not have done, both have lied to the people of God in order to sell books and make a name for themselves. But what they need is prayer. They must come to repentance for what they have done. However, the manner of bringing men to repentance is not an easy one, and may require excommunication, not in a censorious spirit, but "in a Spirit of gentleness."