14 May 2010

"Did God Really Say....."

Embellishment. It is in the top three things that set mankind on its backside on the outside of the Garden. My old cowboy friend always told me that before a horse does something, it gets ready to do something. Things line up and then the horse bucks or kicks. Before Adam and Eve fell, things lined up.

It took one question put together by the best wordsmith the world has ever known. It probably happened something like this: "Did God really say.... ?" Adam, who was given instructions directly, let the first bit line up when he relaxed his place of leadership and let Eve answer the question or rather let her answer it incorrectly. Eve embellished the answer. She told the serpent not only can't they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they can't even touch it! That's the next bit that lined up. I think it's important because it is a twisting of what is true and it sounds so dramatic. It sounds as if Eve is an authority on the subject... as if she is the one who got the instructions directly from God. But she didn't and she knows she didn't. That probably made the serpent's next statement seem more plausible to Eve. She knew she had exaggerated a bit, perhaps that exaggeration could happen in reverse too. Perhaps the serpent was right, they wouldn't really die if they ate from the tree. Because he [Adam] had already relaxed his leadership role, abdicating completely was made easier.... so when Eve offered, Adam bit.

Very few of us start out diving into the cesspool of sin headfirst. We dip our toes in what seems to be a comfortable spa. A little white lie... procrastinating on something unpleasant.... the unkind word said almost inaudibly. The pressure relief valve for our flesh. Instant gratification. Most of the time we avoid major consequence... so we do it again... and again... we begin to wade in. All the while we ignore the fact that the water is bad because the immediate relief is good. Read the first chapter of Romans. Sin works like that. Our flesh likes it and unless our consciences work well, we feed our flesh what it wants.

I don't think Ergun Caner started out to deceive people. I don't think he woke up one morning and said, "I think I will now portray myself as an expert on Islam, write a book, potentially earn money, gain notoriety, become a seminary president and mislead students by perpetuating a persona derived from partial truth and embellishment" I think things lined up and he was wading before he realized it. He's been shown where the ladder is, he knows how to get out. I think it would take a supernatural effort on his part now to do it. I cannot imagine how painful and humiliating it would be to climb out of a cesspool you have been calling a spa and hoping everyone else would see it your way... only to have the blinders taken off and have most everyone see what you have been wading in. But that's the wrong way to look at it.

When we stay in unrepentant sin our souls drink from springs of fetid water. We develop the maladies of bitterness, anger and fractiousness. We confuse the truth with the lies we have become to believe. Our thoughts are anxious and fearful or paranoid and hateful or a mixture of all those things. If we could see sin for what it really is and how much it really stinks, what would compel us to stay in it? What pride would we take in ignoring the stench? David said when he kept quiet about his sin, it made his bones rot. It's hard to stand firm with rotting bones.

I read a blog today that I am not going to link here. I don't recommend the writer's content. In fact I wouldn't mention it all except that it was the impetus for this ramble. The blog's author is a staunch supporter of Dr. Caner's veracity and believes he [Dr. Caner] is being targeted by unscrupulous villains masquerading as Christians. That's not a direct quote but it is the intimation. Now, I can totally understand how emotions can come into play and the desire to come to the defense of your friend can make it seem that lines are being drawn in the sand. The 'are you for us or against us' mentality bubbles to the surface. Some have gone so far as to suggest Dr. Caner's entire family is being attacked. That is the sort of nonsense that makes us look ridiculous. Yes, this is a difficult time for Dr. Caner and his family. No one has attacked his family. For that matter, no one is attacking him. He is not an enemy. He is a professing believer who appears to be in sin.

Why must these staunch supporters reduce the situation to name calling and emotional battle-cries? Why must they assume that those of us who are looking for the truth are not supporters of Dr. Caner's? Imagine what a testimony the man [Dr. Caner] could have if humbled himself enough to either demonstrate his claims are true or humbled himself enough to admit they were not. And imagine how it might look if we all humbled ourselves enough to remember that we all are capable of error and self-deception. I know who I am without God's intervention. I have done the butterfly stroke in the cesspool of sin and I am grateful to the men and women of God who didn't give a rip about my pride, reputation or standing and told me what I was swimming in.

Genesis 2:16-17
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."

Genesis 3:2-3
2 And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'"

Psalm 32:3
3 When I kept silent {about my} sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

Psalm 51:2-4
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when Thou dost judge.

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