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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Caners Renege - Debate Over

Over the past couple of days, it has been formally and finally announced that the debate which was to take place at Thomas Road Baptist Church between the brothers Caner and James White/Tom Ascol on October 16 is OVER. It is not going to happen. Here’s the cliff notes of what occurred:

  1. Tom Ascol wrote a blogpost about Johnny Hunt and the next president of the SBC in which both Ergun and Emir Caner showed up in their bombastic fashion. James White then offers to have a debate between them, to which they initially denied but later accepted, given that they could control the format, thesis, place, length, etc.
  1. After the debate was agreed to take place, many emails were sent back and forth between the participating parties, many which were not responded to from the Caners. James White kept a running PDF document chronicling all the emails and correspondence for the public to see for themselves what was (and was not) taking place.
  1. The Caners cried foul for the emails and correspondence being made public which resulted an a climatic moment where Ascol bowed out of the debate. The ugliness and crass comments were beyond reconciliation.
  1. At a surprising turn of events, the four corresponded with one another, compromised and agreed to make things work out, beginning with a statement explaining their regrets for the past handling of the issues and a desire to repent of such actions so that they would not take place again.
  1. Two weeks before the debate, the moderator, Dr. O’Donnell, unilaterally and arbitrarily changed the debate and its details (one which included the Caners being given the first and last word of the debate) and added that they were “non-negotiable.” Emir Caner consented to the changes, a reneging of the agreement made just months prior when the four came together to make this debate take place.
  1. Ascol, upon arrival back from his mission trip to Brazil, shared his disappointment over the failure to see this debate ever take place.

There are tons of questions in the air that are legitimate but I don’t think will ever be answered. For instance, why does Dr. O’Donnell hold the trump card as to how the debate is going to taken place, especially after the four unanimously held to an agreement to ensure that things would work out? What, if any, role has Falwell played in the changes which have taken place? How could such a long saga of emails, announcements, changes, etc. result in reneging that forfeits any debate ever taking place?

As many, I am sure, were looking forward to this debate, it looks like it will never happen. At least we could enjoy a little promo video produced by Josh Chavers. Honestly, I am tired of reading and writing about this. I have followed this whole ordeal from the original post back on February 14, and I think it is time that the blogosphere move on (at least I will). Enough of the Caner brothers, Liberty shenanigans, and unchristian squabbling. The only thing I have gained from this ordeal and the past seven months is a headache and sadness in my heart. I do want to extend my gratitude for White and Ascol bending over backwards to try to make this work out. You two have demonstrated patience and tolerance beyond what is necessary, and although you will not be given the opportunity to present the doctrines of grace to the folks of Liberty and Thomas Road, there is every reason to hope that the good people in that area will see past the events of the last seven months and investigate the matters for themselves. May God, inspite of ourselves, be pleased to grant His people a vision of Himself and His great salvation that exalts the free grace of Jesus Christ and dethrones the prideful, self-determining, and autonomous self which pervades man-centered theology so rampant today.


Blogger Gavin Brown said...

I think outrageous statements and moves are a Liberty thing. You know how some universities require profs to publish articles, etc...maybe Liberty requires periodic outrageous statements and actions :)

Seriously, though, I dod not know that was how you spelled "renege."
I always just assumed it was "renig." I guess thats just one of the consequences of living in a place where phonetics cant be trusted (AL)

Last word: stinkin' Arkansas Razorbacks!

10/07/2006 02:52:00 PM

Blogger Mathew Sims said...

Thanks for pointing this out. I had not heard anything about the debate in a while. It's kind of sad b/c of the recent turn of events (for the good) where the debate was going to take place. I think this debate would have opened a lot of people's eyes to Scripture.

We can only pray.

Soli Deo Gloria

10/07/2006 06:55:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...

@ Gavin: 3 words: Roll Tide Roll.

@ Matthew: I agree that the debate would have opened a lot of eyes (and even hearts), and that could be a reason why the agreement was reneged. You might also know that it was mentioned that Falwell back in 2001 made some comments about Calvinism and Calvin that were not helpful for his current anti-Reformed stance. With the T4G movement, recent CT article, Founders Movement, and other rises of Reformed Theology, I guess they didn't want this debate to be yet another platform for the beauties of sovereign grace to be on display. Our brothers and sisters only need the Bible, an open mind, and a submission to the sovereingty of the Spirit to see reality of the doctrines of grace and the glorious gospel. Indeed, we should pray and continue to pursue biblical reform in our churches and a posture of humility as we stand before the God of grace.

10/07/2006 07:41:00 PM

Blogger Wayne Hatcher said...

Just one word: Integrity. At least it looks that way. Unless some revelation quickly emerges to adequately explain it all, I think it will be pretty obvious which side lacks it.

Slow and steady wins the race. Be faithful, trust in God, and He will bless. I am confident that this new Calvinism, let's call it Piperism, has a much more gracious flavor to it than the Calvinism I grew up with, and will eventually win the day in the SBC.

If we would use the doctrines of grace like salt and pepper to flavor the meat and potatoes of the person and work of Christ, instead of laying the meat and potatoes on top of a plate full of salt and pepper, then I think more people would find the whole dish quite appealing.

I do enjoy your photos. I can't wait to see Mark Driscoll. Do him next after Piper.

Blessings on you,
Wayne Hatcher

10/08/2006 05:28:00 PM

Blogger Timmy said...


I have actually already posted some of Driscoll (last Sunday). The URL is:


(you have to copy and paste it because I am HTML deficient).

After Piper, I will post a few random/miscellaneous shots and then a few of the speakers that I have overlooked. Then I will post a few from the backpacking part of my trip.

10/08/2006 10:14:00 PM

Blogger Wayne Hatcher said...

Thank you. I don't know how I missed the Driscoll post, but that was what I was looking for. I have listened to all of the audio from the conference, and wanted to post a brief word about Mark Driscoll, and I knew you would have the best photos of him (or anyone).

Another thought about the debate: I never really thought it would happen. I think most are really not surprised that it fell through. And, I don't think it would have been profitable. I have no doubt that White and Ascol would "destroy" the Caners. They would be gracious, kind, and Christ-like but I am afraid they still would have come across as a couple of mean-spirited Calvinists. Like I said, slow and steady wins the race.

Wayne Hatcher

10/09/2006 10:11:00 AM

Blogger settlemoir said...


I was very disappointed in the news about the debate, but on the positive side, Arkansas 27, Auburn 10!!!

10/10/2006 09:37:00 AM

Blogger Jackson Magazine said...

I feel it is unfortunate the debate will not occur. I have often felt Ergun Caner had a temper but am disappointed James White and Tom Ascol will not allow the moderator to change the format a little. In my view the changes were significant; yet, the debate remained fair. The Caners, White & Ascol have disappointed a lot of people.

Final Statement: THe Vols are back!

10/10/2006 11:52:00 AM


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