Ethics: Guest Preacher Calls Muslims “Towelheads”

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What would you do Wednesday!

Today’s scenario involves you witnessing to one of your nominal Muslim neighbors. You’ve been witnessing to him for a while. He is nominal in the sense that he doesn’t go to Mosque that much, but he still considers himself a Muslim. He was raised in a Muslim household and is sensitive to issues related to Islam.

Well, your church is having a guest preacher. The guest was a former Muslim who converted to Christianity. This seemed like a good opportunity to invite your Muslim friend to church so he could hear the testimony of a former Muslim.

You cautiously approach your friend. You tell him about the guest preacher hoping to get his attention. Surprisingly, he agreed to go with you that Sunday morning.

Sunday arrives. You’ve been praying and hoping for a great conversion testimony with a clear gospel presentation. You’ve been praying for your friend’s conversion.

During the sermon the guest preacher refers to Muslims as “towelheads”. Turning to look at your friend, his eager face drops to a surprised, angry look.

A hint of grief over shadows his face as he looks coldly into your eyes.

What would you do?

  • Whisper an apology and politely ask him to give the rest of the sermon a chance.
  • Apologize and walk him into the foyer to talk with him.
  • Apologize and tell him you all are leaving now.
  • Tell him that the truth hurts, but the Truth can set you free.
  • Or…
Tags: , ; Categories: Christianity,Church Issues,Culture
The above article was posted on January 30, 2013 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peter February 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I’d apologize for having Ergun Caner as a guest pastor….

2 Peter February 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm
3 Jacob A. Allee February 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I’d have some words with the guest preacher afterwards, you’d better believe that.

4 mburatov February 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

A combination of choice two and three. The preacher made a racist statement, pure and simple. I would not stand for it. I would leave. I would also take my friend with me and take him to lunch and talk to him. I would also write a weighty letter to my pastor and object in the strongest but most loving language possible that there is no way a guy like this should occupy the pulpit. While I am as filthy as sinner as he is, as an elder he is called to a higher standard. He should not be in the pulpit and he should be barred from it for that comment.

5 Larry February 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Clarification, is the guest preacher a real former Muslim or a pretend one? :-)

6 Les February 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Wow! What a slur. What kind of preacher would do that? He really should look for another vocation. I would go with “Apologize and tell him you all are leaving now.” Then I’d get up and walk out with the Muslim friend. Then, go to the pastor and urge him to never have that preacher back.

7 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) February 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Peter, It it time to put up or shut up. Point me to a sermon where Ergun Caner has used such a term.

8 Moses Model February 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Give me a day or two and I can have several examples put together in a video. Until then, I have this one,

9 woodlandbaptists February 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm

This is a hard one…what would one do? Maybe we can learn, as preachers, to use our words in a meaningful way. Peter, I am not sure what particular quote from Ergun you might have been refering to if any, but I had to chuckle when I scrolled pass your response. I actually thought of his name in reading the article, not that I have heard him say that particular remark at all. Just a little irony there I guess.

10 Les February 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I suppose that Tim might be technically correct that Caner didn’t use the slur in a direct way as he spoke in the video. i.e. not in a sermon. I suppose too that your statement about having Caner as a guest preacher was a bit of projection on Caner, based on the tweets.

But, and I didn’t know this until you pointed it out, Caner referring to Muslims as “towel heads” in tweets would be a distinction without a difference. That looks to me like a direct slur if I ever saw one. Has he apologized for those tweets?

11 Moses Model February 3, 2013 at 2:19 pm

OK Tim, this is my first attempt.

12 Chris Roberts February 3, 2013 at 2:46 pm


Caner apologize? Thanks for the chuckle.


Hard to say. I don’t think I’d walk out, though I would certainly apologize to my friend and try to talk with the pastor later. If this sort of thing was at all persistent in the sermon, I’d be much more likely to leave.

13 Moses Model February 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm
14 Bennett Willis February 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Looks like Tim has gone away. I was hoping for more information. You would think that he would check back here from time to time since he had put up a challenge.

15 Moses Model February 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm

It’s a silly challenge. Everyone knows that Ergun says “towelhead” from time to time. I have more examples.

16 Bennett Willis February 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I clicked on Tim Rogers name/link (above) and got what is apparently a long list of tweets. There in the middle was one from Ergun. I thought that was interesting. Group loyalty vs truth loyalty is an interesting competition. I wasted way too much time in the original discussion about EC and came away disgusted with a few people who pretended that facts don’t exist.

There are several people around who have chosen to ignore the egg on their face rather than wash. I still wonder who was the first that Butch tried out his new identity on. It must have gone well.

17 Mark February 17, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Bennett, it’s sad that some of us think the time on the original EC discussion was wasted. I recently had a face to face talk with a Caner supporter. He truly believed that Caner’s words were simply exaggeration that got away from him. That is my description of what he said to me. I have no idea how anyone can believe that Caner’s misrepresentations were not intentional.

An interesting coincidence is that EC seemed to begin using his Muslim name right after 9/11. But why not prior to that incident?

18 Moses Model February 18, 2013 at 12:03 am


I obviously am no defender of Ergun, but his use of Mehmet is defensible. One, I have several immigrant friends and they generally have anglicized names or multiple names. Two, his father, Acar Mehmet Caner, died in 1999. He took the middle name to honor his father. 9/11 happened a couple of years later.

Now I will be the first to point out that he said some horrible things about his father, but I have no reason to doubt his taking of his father’s middle name.

19 Mark February 18, 2013 at 8:19 am


Perhaps my observation goes too far. Bennett’s comment about the past and using the name “Butch” just reminded me the name issue. I was reminded of the research here:

But I get your point.

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