A Baptist preacher who has a long history of berating Brewton-Parker College President Ergun Caner, has recently confessed that he regrets debating with Caner's 15-year-old son, Braxton via Twitter in a brutal manner.
Braxton committed suicide last week, mere weeks after the Twitter episode, but did not leave a note explaining why.
J.D. Hall, the Baptist preacher and radio host who often expressed his disapproval of the Caners, admitted that it was a "sinful" decision to spread a rumor that Ergun Caner and his wife are separated during the Twitter dispute.
"As I said on Friday's [radio] program, I regret pointing people to the material or behavior exhibited on Caner's son, Braxton's Twitter account. That was a distraction, and I should have contacted Caner about it. I did reach out to one of Caner's associates, but apparently didn't give enough time for him to amend the situation. Again, I should not have done that," said Hall in a statement on his blog.
"I've asked for people 'chapter and verse' why it's wrong to point out publicly his already-public behavior. I've thought a lot about it. Proverbs 17:9 says, 'Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.' Well, Caner and I are not exactly, 'close friends' but the point is salient. While it was in no way an 'attack,' Braxton wasn't a public persona even though his tweets are public, and now even more are aware of the various things mentioned in the above blog post. Likewise, I shouldn't have interacted with the boy those couple times once the original tweet was made," he continued.
"Finally, I gave credence to the rumor in a tweet relating to Caner's marriage which I should not have mentioned, even in passing. That, I will go so far as to say is sinful So, thinking my email address already blocked, I've reached out to a mutual friend of Caner and myself to give an apology to make sure he gets it. If someone wants to beat me over the head with this apology or the way it's worded, then I apologize for that, too," Hall ended.
Hall, who is the co-founder of Reformation Montana and the lead pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church, has engaged in a longstanding feud with Ergun Caner, recently accusing him of being an "unrepentant liar" for not speaking truthfully about claims that he was once a devout Muslim trained as a terrorist. He also attacked Braxton in July for showing "gross immorality" when the teen posted photos of himself kissing his girlfriend.
"Why is @ErgunCaner's son, @braxtoncaner89 posting make-out pics and profanity on his Twitter? The immorality surrounding Caner is astounding," tweeted Hall.
Braxton responded with this tweet to both Hall and his father, writing:
"First off, that is called a kiss not 'making out' it's a sign of love that couples do nowadays. Second, if you have nothing better to do then [sic] go through a 15 year olds [sic] twitter then you need to get a life," Braxton wrote.
At the time, many Christians expressed horror that Hall dragged Braxton into a dispute between himself and the elder Caner.
"Was with you right up to until you dragged the family in. An apology is in order, brother," tweeted The Worst Christian on the thread.
Another user named Paul wrote: "You have no invested interest in this child... You have no God-given authority over this child in any way."
"It is not surprising to me you did this - it is typical JD and generates more publicity for you and your radio program. But I am somewhat surprised how quickly a few people came to your defense and tried to justify it.
For someone who loves to call people to repentance, you sure have a tough time acknowledging when you crossed a line."