Irony of Ironies

During the Dividing Line today the UPS man came by our offices. Upon completing the program, which was focused upon the Caner Scandal, I opened the box to discover my brand new copy of The God of Calvinism by our ol’ buddy, Louis Ruggiero. I had not ordered it for the content of the book, as we saw Lou’s exegetical modus operandi years ago (and have noted his boasts about his abilities a few times since then). No, the only interest I had in yet another anti-Calvinistic screed was noted right on the front cover: Foreword by Dr. Ergun Caner.

Ergun Caner’s detestation of Reformed theology is well known. His utter lack of balance in his anti-Calvinism, at the time I first experienced it in 2005/2006, was difficult to understand (oh, how clear the issues have become since then!). So it is hardly surprising that Caner would put his name on a work by a non-scholar whose grasp of basic exegetical principles, systematic theology, and historiography is significantly less than minimal. But note the first words from Caner’s pen, now permanently inscribed in Lou Rugg’s book: “For the first half of my life, I was raised a Muslim. My father, an ulema (that is, a scholar in Islam) drove home the key concepts of Islam that guided every single step of our lives” (vii). We have seen that this is an improper use of the language. Ulema (علماء) is a plural form; alim (عالِم) is the singular form, “a scholar.” So Caner is basically saying, “My father was a scholars.” What is more, being a muezzin is not the same as being a scholar or a cleric: anyone can be a muezzin, one who calls to prayer. Once again, the Caner penchant for myth-making comes to the fore. No evidence has been produced that Caner’s father was part of the ulema or was anything more than a regular Islamic layman.

Caner’s foreword is brief, and predictable. It contains the standard straw-man misrepresentations that Caner is well known for. It is signed “Dr. Ergun Mehmet Caner” and he is listed as the President of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.