Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Last night, I wrote about my personal involvement in the Geisler’s Christmas Carol video. I do appreciate my in-laws taking the time to comment last night and thus, one can see that they have no problem with the video. It is amazing that after all that Geisler has done to us, that he expects us to take down the video and to apologize.
However, Geisler did put up another response today. Apparently, someone has been reading my blog and wasn’t too happy that my in-laws both commented and spoke about how proud they are to have me as a son-in-law, something I take great delight in, and their hopes for the future.
Yes. Terrible things to say about family after all. Apparently, Geisler would have preferred that I be told to never do such again.
Sorry. It doesn’t work that way. Let’s remember what it is that we have all seen happen in this. We’ll use the letter from the SES president as a start to this that Geisler refers to.
“It has come to the attention of the President of SES that a student has made a video about the controversy between Dr. Licona and Dr. Geisler. We believe this video was totally unnecessary and is in extremely poor taste. At SES we demand a high standard of conduct in the way we interact with others. Whenever there is a disagreement on any issue, there is a respectful way to handle it. As Christians, as brothers in Christ, there are occasions when we may have differences, but as members of one Body, we need to resolve our differences according to Scripture. Publically embarrassing anybody is totally unacceptable….” (emphasis is added in all these quotations). — Acting President of Southern Evangelical Seminary
First off, the report wasn’t checked too well. Anyone could have spent a few minutes researching the issue and seen that I did not make the video. In fact, no one at all contacted me and asked if I made the video. No one contacted J.P. Holding, who did make the video, and asked if he made the video. Instead, what we got was just an immediate response that did not bother to examine the case.
The video was unnecessary and in extremely poor taste? So let’s see what charges are not unnecessary and not in extremely poor taste.
Making a man lose his source of income twice.
Damaging his reputation by saying he’s denying Inerrancy.
Calling other Seminaries and telling them to not support him.
Sending a petition behind the scenes to have it shown that he is denying Inerrancy.
Putting psychological stress on all families involved.
Cutting off income that could be used to support others who are also struggling in this economy.
Uninviting him and his friends from speaking at conferences.
Devoting practically one’s whole home page to attacking someone for one section in a book.
Refusing to meet someone at a scholarly conference to discuss your accusations against him.
Apparently then, none of these are unnecessary and in extremely poor taste, but to make a video about someone is.
Let’s suppose for the sake of argument it was. What should have been Geisler’s response? Ignore it. I’ve had atheists say far worse things to me on the internet and I have just laughed about it. Instead, an issue was made over it. Could it be Geisler himself put on the pressure on SES to send out this memo and then points to the memo to demonstrate his point?
Next, we are told there is a respectful way to handle disagreement.
See the above list. I suppose sending out open letters against someone is a respectful way. If there is anything that has not been respectful, it has been Geisler’s treatment of an evangelical champion that just wrote a monumental work defending the central truth of the Christian faith.
As C. Michael Patton said, Geisler and Mohler should have sent twenty letters of commendation before sending one letter of condemnation. This might sound like a shock, but we are to make people disciples of the resurrected Christ and not of Inerrancy. I’m not opposed to Inerrancy, but it seems that priorities are out of sync here.
Over and over, it seems however in this debate that Geisler can run roughshod over Mike and do whatever he wants, but as soon as something ruffles Geisler’s feathers, that is unacceptable. For all the talk of what needs to be condemned, I would love to see someone from the Geisler camp come out and be willing to even say “I agree with Geisler that Mike is violating Inerrancy and needs to change his view, but I disagree in the techniques of using open letters and petitions behind the scenes and think that Geisler has not handled this in a Christlike manner and needs to apologize publicly.”
Anybody else hear crickets chirping at that?
What do we see said in response?
Dr. Geisler has written a personal appeal to Mike Licona asking him to condemn the video and restrict the discussion to the theological issues involved, rather than approving of demeaning attacks on the character of other scholars who are seriously attempting to defend the inerrancy of Scripture. Pray that he has a change of heart.
Meanwhile, I have my own personal appeal. I believe that we should have had a scholarly debate at the start, but that option went out immediately and it certainly wasn’t because of Mike. I believe it’s wrong to cut off someone’s income for something like this, to damage their reputation, to have their orthodoxy questioned, to send petitions behind the scenes, etc.
I call for such bullying behavior to be condemned.
In fact, our requests to have the video taken down were clearly pointed out in the blog, but they have gone unnoticed.
“Pray that Mike has a change of heart.”
It’s so ironic Geisler says this when it quite exemplifies the attitude given in the video of Mike being kicked out the door and told “I’m just doing this because I love you brother.”
No. The change of heart is on the side that’s going after Mike and his reputation, family, and income. In fact, my wife and I have prayed for this regularly. What has happened to us has been a hurtful and betraying time, but it seems that those in the Geisler camp are sadly blind to the effect that Geisler is having in the evangelical world with this.
By the way, Geisler in all of this does not name me or give a reference to my blog where people can see that I put up counter-arguments or that Max Andrews has them or that J.P. Holding has them. Keep in mind this is being done while saying that Mike should be reading the critiques of his opponents. Looks like that rule doesn’t go both ways.
Rest assured, I will not be doing the same thing. I will most certainly be putting up a link to what Geisler has said.
I also call other evangelicals to this. I don’t really care at this point if you think Geisler is right or if you think Mike is right or if you just don’t know. What I ask at this point is let the bullying stop. Do we want to settle this issue? Then have another meeting where both sides can argue their position in a scholarly manner before other scholars.
The open letters should never have happened, but it was Geisler who opened Pandora’s Box. It does no good now for him to complain because he doesn’t like the results of that action.
Finally, let me say this about my family. My father-in-law in all of this has not to my memory said one remark that I would really consider insulting of Geisler at all. He has been very easygoing in all of this and has said publicly on Facebook that if Geisler just apologized to him, he would hug him and act like nothing happened. However, he does think that Geisler’s approach is harmful to the evangelical movement as do I.
If Geisler has further problems with the video, he is absolutely free as well to contact my ministry partner and complain to him about it. Why has this not been done? My ministry partner also has a debate challenge up for Geisler on whether the gospels are Greco-Roman biographies or not. That link will be included at the end.
What will it take to get all of this to end? Does Licona have to agree with Geisler even though he doesn’t see the evidence? Does everyone else have to be shut down, and does that include myself? What will it take?
It could all end with a simple act of repentance on Geisler’s part, but most of us sure aren’t expecting that to happen.
Geisler’s Website can be found here where there is a link to his statement on my father-in-law’s words.
J.P. Holding’s challenge can be found here.