Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Very Disappointing

What is? This is. Now, I am just a pastor in a small Church in a small city in the Midlands. They call it 'The Church next to Tesco', and Tesco is due to move this year. But then, perhaps I'm representing all small-church pastors, especially those with a small mosque round the corner, where the second largest religious group (though by quite some way) is Islam (3.2% at the last census).

As Islam becomes more visible in the UK, and minarets start to join the spires and church towers in our cities, pastors and other Christians look around for books and resources to help us to understand this newcomer religion (the oldest mosque in Britain is only about 100 years old) in our land. The tragic thing is that some people will do what I did a few years ago, and buy Unveiling Islam by the Caner brothers on the basis that these two men are former devout Muslims. The trouble is, they're not! Ergun has pretended to speak Arabic, but has in fact been speaking gibberish. They pretended to be experts in Islam, in fact they are not. The use of references to 'Hadith such-and-such' should prove that - as I now know, there are no fewer than 6 authoritative Hadith collections, all different!

The facts are known now. But Ergun Caner is, according to this article, quite unrepentant. To be honest, it saddens me. First of all, and most importantly, because Dr. Caner shows his own condition to be bad. He has not repented of bearing false witness, and therefore shows that he is in a morally precarious position. He needs our prayers. Secondly, it saddens me because it affects our witness to Muslims. They already believe a lot of nonsense about us (my fellow ministers and I in this city have to reply to the assertion that we are paid by the government!), the last thing we need is Ergun Caner making things up about them!

This man is not an expert on Islam, he pretends to be. Avoid him, and tell your Muslim neighbours that he does not speak for you - he certainly does not speak for me!
[Additional note: I am reading right now the Autobiography of R.F. Horton, a noted Congregational pastor in London about 100 years ago. In it he refers to a difficult period he had when a cousin of his decided to become a Roman Catholic, and repeats, a statement this young man made when confronted with an example of deceit by a man who was in the process of becoming an RC. The cousin said, "But you may deceive in the interest of Religion." Now, I hope that today no Roman Catholics would agree with that statement. "Love hopeth all things". In 1917 Horton could count on all Protestants to agree with him. But by approving Ergun Caner, many Evangelicals have practically affirmed the sentiment of Horton's cousin. This is why I have been one with Dr. White from the beginning on this controversy, unless I condemn unequivocally the lies of Dr, Caner, I cannot hold up my head as an Evangelical. Those men like Norman Geisler who continue to give Caner a platform and credibility are bringing disgrace upon Evangelicalism. Had I been a Roman Catholic in the room with Horton and his cousin, I would have hung my head in shame at the statement. Now I say this - you may not deceive in the interest of religion. And if any man does so, let him beware of falling into the condemnation of the father of lies.]
Illustration: The former Bedford Chapel in Shelton, now a mosque

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