I’ve been following the conversation following the interview that Debbie Kaufman posted on her blog, Ministry of Reconciliation, with Mohammad Khan regarding the Ergun Caner videos. You can read her post, and the now accumulated total of over 300 comments here, http://debbiekaufman.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/interview-with-mohammed-kahn-creator-of-ergun-caner-fake-ex-muslim-videos/ and her original post on the subject http://debbiekaufman.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/the-truth-the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth-is-ergun-caner-being-truthful/. Both the posts, and most of the comments, are worth reading. I haven’t posted a comment, and probably won’t at this point, simply because I am reading about the same thing from other sources, and I haven’t drawn my own conclusions. Dr. Caner has also responded to all of this, and I want to read his response as well.
What I find interesting about this particular post of Debbie’s is not necessarily the content. It is not really unusual, given the lucrative nature of the Christian media market, for writers and speakers to tweak the content of their work to make it more marketable or appealing, for whatever reason, but usually to increase sales and speaking opportunities at conferences and seminars. Sometimes that “tweaking” involves either stretching the truth, or replacing it with something that has more emotional appeal and drama.
The interest I’ve developed in this particular set of posts has come from the comments, over 350 of them collectively. Whether or not Dr. Caner is credible on this issue is up to you to decide, I’ll not tell you what I think either way. But there is a very distinctive tone in some of the comments, especially among those who are defending him, that I think needs to be addressed. There’s an anger, a sense of “jiggling with rage” among some of those who think that, regardless of whether Dr. Caner is straight up or not, Debbie shouldn’t have called this to anyone’s attention. The idea that a Christian leader, especially one who has a following among conservatives, shouldn’t be held accountable for errors made in the process of attempting to either “defend” the Christian faith against heresy, or in a battle between “right” and “wrong” religions is being promoted by some of those leaving comments. The tactic of turning on, and attempting to discredit the messenger rather than examine the facts and admit that it is possible a conservative Christian leader messed up is quite evident among some of the responses. That is exactly the kind of mindset which contributes to the license some Christian media personalities take in order to get their story out and publish and sell their work.
Personally, I believe that there is no question of what is true, and what is not, when the subject is Christianity as opposed to Islam. I believe the Bible, not the Koran, in Christ, not Mohammed, in God, not Allah. However, that does not mean that I can take a machiavellian approach toward sharing the gospel with Muslims, or that I should not be held accountable for a lapse in integrity in the process. And if someone called me out because I hadn’t been completely truthful in something I had said or written in an attempt to be more persuasive, it wouldn’t be their fault if the issue caused a Muslim to stumble, and not accept Christ, it would be mine.
“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for the reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience so that, when you are slandered, those that revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” I Peter 3:13-17
Here’s the bottom line, in light of what the scripture has to say. Would a Muslim see enough hope in you to ask you about it? And if so, would there be enough of the love of Christ in your heart for you to see him as someone who needed to hear what you had to say, rather than create an “us versus them” circumstance to justify hatred? Muslims are God’s created beings, too, and he loves them as much as he loves us. The only difference is that we’ve found grace through Christ, and they haven’t. So who is going to have the opportunity to share a genuine Christian testimony to a Muslim, someone who vents bitterness and anger at a fellow believer for calling someone to account for inconsistencies in their account of their conversion from Islam, someone who sees Muslims as “the enemy” and treats them as such, or with contempt as if they are not quite so bright children, or someone who loves them because they are God’s children and they stand in need of the same grace that has so abundantly blessed their own life?
I think the answer to that question is obvious.