Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
"The language of my lineage is Turkish, not Arabic." --- Ergun Caner, 2/25/10
05/27/2010 - James WhiteMany people have asked me, "How could Ergun Caner think he would ever get away with all the tall tales he told in the pulpit?" Good question. I have no idea. If I were to make up fake Arabic while speaking before an audience (not just slaughter it, as I have in the past!), I would always be in fear that someone in the audience would recognize this. Ergun does not seem to have that problem. Or if I was telling different stories to different groups, I would always know it was being recorded, and the Internet is a big place, and someone might compare my statements and document that I was making things up on the fly. But again, Ergun Caner does not seem to have that worry.
Here is my take on this video just posted by Mr. Khan. In one of the instances provided here, I think Caner is trying to repeat something he had memorized (that being the inscription on the wall of the mosque in Afghanistan). I ran that quote by my Arabic tutor over the phone and he recognized a portion of the first word, and a portion of another, but the rest of it just didn't make any sense. Sounds like Caner read about the inscription, tried to memorize it, and then when he gets into his "persona" (remember, all the accent stuff is about as genuine as any other kid raised in Ohio whose mother tongue was originally Swedish would be) he just lets it fly with lots of glottal stops. There is no question that he is completely in the dark in regards to "strike/beat" in Surah 4:34. The phrase is وَٱضْرِبُوهُنَّ, wadhribun huna. You don't even have to be able to read Arabic to figure that out (there are sufficient resources on line to do so). I intend to meet with my tutor (a Christian pastor from Syria) next week to go over each of these examples very carefully.
But once again, do you see the real damage being done here? One example is immediately attached to the atonement, the sacrifice of Christ. Another is put in the context of allegedly witnessing to Muslims in Jerusalem, and their allegedly responding with a call to "shut him up." What if Caner were to actually start blabbering in a tongue he was never taught or studied? What a glorious testimony to any Muslims who might be there! But what kind of mind can make that kind of thing up just to impress an audience?
The title of this entry was taken from Caner's own "apology" from 2/25/10. His father was Turkish, not Arabic. His brother says their mother tongue was Swedish, not Arabic. Ergun was in the US from 1969 onward. I did not have any idea, until today, how often Caner claimed Arabic fluency. I had heard him make the claim, at least twice. Mr. Khan has collected many more examples than I had encountered. And the saga continues....
Norman Geisler Comments on the Caner Saga
05/22/2010 - James WhiteI was informed this afternoon that Dr. Norman Geisler has spoken out on the controversy concerning Ergun Caner's refusal to openly and publicly answer direct, honest questions concerning the documented contradictions in his public pronouncements and claims concerning his past. The material, posted by Peter Lumpkins, is prefaced by Lumpkins' claim that Dr. Geisler invited him to "spread it far and wide." Here is the statement:
To Whom It May Concern:
“I am familiar with the slanderous charges that have been made against Dr. Ergun Caner generated by some Muslim groups and other extremists. I have looked into the matter, talking with Ergun and other principal parties at Liberty, and am convinced that the charges are libelous. I am also convinced that whatever ambiguous or misstatement that may have been made, Dr. Caner has done nothing heretical, immoral, or illegal. I stand with him against these vicious attacks. He has taken a strong stand on important issues that stir up controversy, but to my knowledge has done nothing unorthodox or malicious. I urge all to consider him innocent unless proven guilty. He has welcomed an inquiry from the Liberty authorities. Let’s await their findings. Christians have a bad habit of shooting their wounded. Let’s pray for and encourage our brother.”
Sincerely in Christ,
Dr. Norman L. Geisler
One is immediately struck by the incoherence of the statement. First, we are told Ergun Caner is innocent; then we are told to wait for the findings of the inquiry. We are told asking honest questions of Ergun Caner amounts to a "vicious attack," and that those who have asked these questions are "extremists" guilty of slander and libel, yet, at the same time, we are told that Christians have a bad habit of shooting their wounded. How can we make sense of such contradictory material?
My first thought upon reading the statement was, "If Dr. Geisler has talked to Ergun Caner, and can conclude that directly contradictory statements such as "I was born in Istanbul" and "I was born in Stockholm" are merely "ambiguous" statements, then it is now morally incumbent upon Dr. Geisler, who did not need to involve himself in the matter, to answer the questions that Ergun Caner has so far refused to answer." If he possesses answers to all twenty two questions I posted earlier (click here), then a moral obligation is upon him to provide these answers to the rest of the world, in light of Dr. Caner's refusal to do so. He says he is "convinced" of his conclusions. Wonderful! Now he needs to convince the rest of us.
Of course, there is reason to be worried about the depth of Dr. Geisler's knowledge of the situation. Note the inaccuracy of his first sentence. Mohammad Khan is not a "Muslim group," nor have these "slanderous charges" been generated by anyone other than Ergun Caner. When a speaker produces self-contradictory statements on matters of fact that bear directly upon his self-claimed expertise and then refuses to answer honest questions about why he is contradicting himself, then that person is the source of the problem, not those asking the questions. But we are truly left wondering who these "other extremists" might be. The use of such language as this is highly unwise, given that it only adds to the confusion; it in no way provides clarity.
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SB 1070 and the Ad-Hominem Defenders of Canerism
05/21/2010 - James WhiteSB 1070 is "Senate Bill 1070," passed a few weeks ago here in Arizona. I am one of the very small percentage of human beings on the planet who has actually read the entirety of the legislation (it is not, like a certain "health care bill" rushed through Congress a few months ago, thousands of pages long). It only took a few minutes to read it. It is not difficult to understand. It says that if you are stopped by the normal actions of police officers (pulled over for traffic violations, apprehended after a crime, trespassing, etc.) and you cannot produce a driver's license or other official identification (something we are all accustomed to doing), they have the right to inquire as to whether you are legally in the United States or not, and if not, they can begin the legal process leading to deportation.
Now, if I had not read the bill myself, I would never come to the conclusion that SB 1070 says what it says by watching a very wide variety of people on television, from the President of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States (neither of which had taken the time I did to actually read the bill), movie stars, entire sports teams (including the Phoenix Suns, who lost a supporter in yours truly when they injected politics into sport a few weeks ago) etc. and etc. The wild-eyed behavior of people I have observed is simply shocking in its excess, and its ignorance. Not only does California have a similar law on its books already, but the scolding of my home state by the President of Mexico (and the groveling applause he received in so doing) set new records for gross hypocrisy in that Mexico's laws relating to illegal entrance into their country (combined with the massive corruption of the federal government of Mexico) makes Arizona's law look like a rule from the local cookie bake off competition. The talking heads on television who mock the rule of law by adopting a Nazi-esque accent while saying, "Your papers, please!" only shows the utter lack of thought behind the action. How many times do I have to produce identification in my regular life? Every time I get on a plane I have to prove who I am. Every time I check into a hotel, cash a check, file official papers. Goodness, I remember how my parents had to provide my birth certificate just so I could play Little League Baseball back in Pennsylvania in the early 1970s! Nobody dreamed that amounted to "Your papers please!" There is so obviously something else going on in the reaction to SB 1070 that it makes me wonder how any clear-thinking individual cannot see that. On one side calm factuality based upon such basic questions as "Have you actually read the bill?" and on the other side red-faced angry denunciations and constant ad-hominem argumentation in the form of charges of racism, etc.
By the way---I raise this as an illustration. If you are one of those red-faced, emotionally driven folks who have not calmly studied the issues, read the bill, and considered both sides calmly, please, do NOT write to me to argue about it. I haven't the slightest interest, believe me.
It finally hit me this morning what has been so eerily familiar about this situation. It is a tremendous parallel to the prosecution of the defense of Ergun Caner. Think about it. One side calmly points to legal documents that give dates and locations. They point to video tapes where Caner says X, then Caner says not-X. They point out he could not possibly be living in Ohio AND Turkey at the same time. On a biblical level, they provide a biblical basis for the need for integrity and honesty in the pulpit and in Christian leadership. And they continue to ask him to address these issues openly and honestly, always raising the opportunity for forgiveness and redemption upon the appearance of confession and contrition. ...
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A Note to Craig Daliessio
05/20/2010 - James WhiteYesterday I noted some of the comments showing a high level of devotion to a personality (and a low level of concern for the facts of the case) from a particular Facebook page. When I pulled the text I decided to remove the names, as I was not responding to individuals, but making a general observation about a group of people, and I did not wish to appear to be "picking" on any one person (especially since many of them are obviously young folks without a lot of background).
Well, one of those so quoted was a man by the name of Craig Daliessio. Evidently, he did not like the fact that I quoted his publicly posted material, for he just sent me this e-mail (slightly edited):
Message: Listen jack*** if you are going to quote my facebook entry USE MY NAME and quote me in context! I'm nobody with nothing to lose. I don;t have to worry about what the SBC thinks like the gracious Dr. Caner does. My South Philly upbringing and my righteous indignation coupled with my detest for frauds like you would not hinder me in the LEAST from showing up at your next public appearance and sticking a boot in your a****. You sicken me, you harm the body, and you offend the Spirit of the God you claim to serve but are wholly unfamiliar with, except on dusty pages of endless technical theology that you have likely not ONCE seen in real, God-breathed action. Your veil is thin, my arrogant reformer friend. You should sign all your writings "Mrs. Turpin"
There is, of course, no reason to attempt to reason with Mr. Daliessio, given that e-mail, and given what he has written in defense of Dr. Caner on the Facebook page. Nor is it my intention to seek to paint all of Ergun Caner's defenders with such an example of non-Christian thinking and behavior (though, when you join him with the likes of Diana Ruth Penn, Peter Lumpkins, and Tim Guthrie, you really do start seeing a very disturbing pattern of behavior and thinking). My reason for posting his words (aside from letting folks know just what you end up facing if you dare attempt to hold to a standard of godliness and truthfulness in the modern evangelical church) is to ask if anyone knows if Mr. Daliessio is a member of a church. If he is, which one? I would like to get in touch with his elders. As I am an elder in a church, Mr. Deliessio has engaged in sinful behavior with his words and threats, and this should be addressed by mature believers who have the duty of oversight over his soul. If he makes a profession of faith (as he seems to), then he needs serious spiritual correction. If he is not a member of a church, then he needs to hear the gospel and be called to repentance and faith.
I hope this kind of violent anger and hatred will not find a counterpart in all of those who have patiently sought to call Ergun Caner to a position of accountability. There is, of course, no place for such behavior in the Christian faith, period. As redeemed sinners in need of constant grace none of us can be puffed up with pride at the fall of another. That attitude of humility and recognition of redemption must always be present lest our proper zeal for truth and purity in the pulpit become a cover for self-righteousness and pride.
Oh, btw, if you want to understand Mr. Daliessio's final insult, see here.
How to Defeat Calvinism
05/20/2010 - James WhiteI just saw this video (I may have seen it before, hard to remember), but I noticed it has more views than anything I've ever done on YouTube. I find that humorous. Apologies to Erasmus who gets burned instead of Servetus. :-)
A Lament for Discernment
05/19/2010 - James WhiteI will admit, I have not taken a lot of the "cult of personality" stuff very seriously over the past number of years, mainly because I am a member of a small church, in a group of churches that really tends to shy away from that kind of thing, at least as it appears in the broader spectrum of evangelicalism. I'm sure we have our own problems, but in general we recognize that the pulpit is a special place, one in which a man is to seek with all his might to be a servant, never, ever to promote himself. It is a serious place of proclamation, of worship. Being Reformed is more than believing five points: it involves the application of those truths to all of life, including worship and the purpose and function of the church.
So seeing the "cult of personality" in action at Liberty and in the broader "Baptist" world has been startling to me, I must admit. The utter lack of discernment or the application of fundamental principles of honesty and integrity has truly been disappointing, at best. I cannot help but think, "Well, if this is what the world sees of those who call themselves Christians on a regular basis, it is no wonder our witness is not taken seriously."
This morning I saw quotes scrolling through our chat channel in support of Ergun Caner. I finally jumped in and asked where they had come from. I was directed to a Facebook page titled "Standin and prayin for Dr. Ergun Caner." As I scanned down the entries the same themes kept coming up over and over again: "Hey, this doesn't really matter, Dr. Caner is a great guy, he loves Jesus, he's a great preacher, I've had a spiritual experience because of him, so all this other stuff doesn't matter, and the people attacking him are all jerks." That was the basic gist of the commentary. There was nothing relevant to the real issues, and, in fact, it seemed like most of those commenting are ignorant of the facts and have only heard second and third-hand reports of what is going on. I did not read all the comments (I did not have time to), but in what I did read I saw no one expressing the slightest concern about the Christian witness to Muslims, the integrity of Liberty Seminary, or the university as a whole, or the sanctity of the pulpit as a place where truth must be supreme in all things. It was a paean to the cult of personality in glowing letters.
Just a few examples in support:
To those concerned about the silence: For the record (and NOT comparing the two other than to make this point), Jesus never defended himself ree: the many accusations, allegations and claims against him either. Dr. Caner and the university are in a "no-win" situation here when it comes to the haters, anything they say or do will be held against them in the court of public opinion. Truth will prevail as it alwasy does... [This seems to be Caner's current theme, fitting into the "persecution" theme---Jesus didn't respond, so I won't either! Of course, Jesus was sinless and the Son of God. Ergun Caner is neither, and Christian leaders have particular standards laid out in Scripture to which they are to be held accountable.] ...
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Once Again, No, No, and Again, No
05/18/2010 - James WhiteJust read this:
So, did a fight over Calvinism lead to the questions about Caner’s background? That certainly seems to be a possibility. A fascinating one, too, although if Caner truly has fabricated his background, his theological leanings may not make a lot of difference at this point.
The article is referring to the comment in this source hinting that a conflict over Calvinism is behind the questions aimed at Ergun Caner. This canard has been raised many times (part of the feeble defense offered of Caner by some). Let me put this to bed once and for all.
Is there a relationship between Calvinism and Caner's exposure as a myth-maker? Sure---in the sense that I had never heard of Ergun Caner until he posted what he did on Calvinism back in 2005, which led to the exchanges we had, and eventually to the Liberty Debate Debacle. So, if that amounts to Calvinism having "something to do with it," great. But the reality is (documented, ironically and unwittingly, I think, by one of my critics of late) from the time the dust from the Liberty debacle settled in late 2006/early 2007, until last Fall (2009), I paid almost no attention to Ergun Caner at all. It had not entered my thinking back then that Caner was making things up about his past. In fact, I assumed his rabid Arminianism was due to a misplaced connection between the Islamic concept of qadr and Reformed theology arising from his Muslim background. In any case, the idea that I would have let a "Reformed" myth-maker slide but am now picking on an Arminian one is simply silly.
One other note (as I wait for the video of a portion of today's DL to finish rendering so I can start uploading it and get the DL blogged at the same time). I was sent a "sermon" from January 17, 2010, called "Rip the Roof Off." It was another "30 minutes of story telling, 5 minutes on the text" type sermon, but this time there was a twist. This time Ergun said he was converted in a black church. Yes, you read that right, a black church. Now, think for a moment on the description of the pastor of the Stelzer Road Baptist Church that he's given in other contexts, and ask yourself, did it ever occur to you he was talking about a black church? Me either. Of course, that was just a few days before Ergun appeared on the Calvary Chapel program that led me to post this video, which was the immediate precursor to my discovery of his Shabir Ally fable, and, well, the rest is now history, as they say. I doubt we will be hearing too many more whopper-filled "sermons" like that in the future.
This Wednesday: R.C. Sproul will be on Iron Sharpens Iron
05/17/2010 - James SwanOn Wednesday May 19, R.C. Sproul will be on the Iron Sharpens Iron radio program. Dr. Sproul will discuss Tough Questions Christians Face (the theme of Ligonier Ministries' 2010 National Conference).
Iron Sharpens Iron is a live broadcast airing daily 6 to 7 P.M. (Eastern Standard time) on WNYG 1440 AM in the New York City area. You can listen live to WNYG here over the Internet. Tune in at 6 P.M. to hear Chris Arnzen interview Dr. Sproul.
You can also call in to Iron Sharpens Iron with your own questions during the first half-hour of Dr. Sproul's interview (6 - 6:30 pm) at (631)482-8300.
If you miss the live broadcast, a free archived mp3 recording will be available shortly after the broadcast at sharpens.org. Free mp3's of previous Iron Sharpens Iron show are also available, many with Dr. James White.
2002 AP Article Unearthed
05/17/2010 - James WhiteMany thanks to WMG who sent me the AP article from 2002 that, it seems, yesterday's AP article referred to in regards to Ergun Caner's honest communication of his story (minus the embellishments that have accrued since then). The sad thing here is, this is a touching and powerful story, which has now been forever marred by the attraction of power and prestige. May we learn the lesson...again.
Convert brothers take heat for message that Islam is hardly a peaceful faith
BYLINE: By ALLEN G. BREED, Associated Press Writer
SECTION: Domestic News
LENGTH: 1408 words
Ergun and Emir Caner sat in the cavernous domed stadium with hundreds of other preachers in St. Louis and listened intently as the Rev. Jerry Vines thundered about the difference between Christianity and Islam.
"Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-posessed pedophile who had 12 wives - and his last one was a 9-year-old girl," the Florida minister shouted to attendees at the pastors conference of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"And I will tell you Allah is not Jehovah either. Jehovah's not going to turn you into a terrorist that'll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people."
When angry Muslims confronted the former SBC president about his remarks last month, Vines said he was merely citing their own texts - as quoted in the Caner brothers' book, "Unveiling Islam."
The Caners intended the book as a tool for Christians seeking to reach out to Muslims. Instead, the brothers, who converted to Christianity as teen-agers, have been vilified by many prominent Islamic groups as hostile, sick and hateful. In recent weeks, they received what Emir considers threatening inquiries from overseas.
"Our whole purpose was an act of love," says Ergun Caner, a Southern Baptist minister and theology professor at The Criswell College in Dallas. "Because I WANT to see Muslims in heaven with me."
But this was not the first time the Caners had been condemned for their religious beliefs. Two decades ago, their devotion to the "Son" cost them their father.
When the Caner boys came into the world, their Turkish-born father, Acar, the man who called the faithful to prayer at the mosque, whispered in their ears the words they were to live by: "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah."
But they were living in Columbus, Ohio, far from Acar's Sunni Muslim origins. After their parents separated, others were soon whispering in the Caner boys' ears.
Ergun Caner, the oldest of Acar's three boys, was the first to convert. He was 15 when he accepted a friend's invitation to a weeklong church revival.
To him, his relationship with Allah was impersonal, ritualistic. The message he got at Stelzer Baptist Church was something completely different.
"Christ died for man. That was one thing for me to hear. It was quite another thing for me to hear that Christ died for me. Ha. Then it becomes personal," says Ergun, now 35. "I thought this was good news for all Muslims."
Instead of welcoming the news, Acar Caner told his son he no longer wanted to see him. When younger brothers Emir and Erdem (who now goes by Mark) went for visitation with their father, there was no talk of Ergun; their elder brother's face had been cut from family photographs.
Despite that, the two younger brothers soon followed Ergun's path, with the same results.
While still in their teens, Emir and Ergun said they were called to the ministry.
Both studied at Criswell, where they met Paige Patterson, a driving force in the nation's largest Protestant denomination. When Patterson moved to Wake Forest, N.C., to take over Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Caners followed him.
The two earned master's degrees from Southeastern, then went on to receive doctorates. They had no contact at all with their father until August 1999, when they learned he was dying of cancer.
The three brothers rushed home, not knowing whether their father would let them in. At the urging of his wife, Acar agreed to see his sons.
Ergun, who was pastoring a church in Colorado, laid his 4-month-old son, Braxton, in his father's arms, a tradition from Acar's homeland. He introduced Acar to his wife, a "Southern belle from North Carolina."
As he watched his "earthly hero" waste away, Emir knew Acar would die as he had lived, a devout Muslim. And according to the son's reading of Scripture, Acar would not be waiting for him in heaven.
Acar died four days later, on Emir's 29th birthday.
"That was, for me, a clarion moment," says Ergun, a bear of a man with shaved head and jutting goatee. That is when their mission came into "sharp focus."
No Turkey. No Jihad. No Dukes of Hazzard, broken English, Islamic garb, prayers in bathrooms. Sons of a broken family with a Muslim father in Ohio, redeemed and saved. It was a great story. Sadly, Ergun's theology was not sufficient to allow him to remain faithful to it. He had to embellish, expand, mythologize. Theology matters.
Associated Press Story Posted
05/17/2010 - James WhiteAs soon as I got into my car after spending over five hours on Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson last Wednesday, I got a call requesting me to speak with an AP reporter on the Caner saga. So as I was driving across Tucson (note to Tucson: you really, really need an East/West corridor aka freeway. Really) I was on the phone with the reporter. Anyway, a friend in the car commented as soon as the phone call was finished, "All of that will end up as two sentences in the story." And, as you can see, that observation was spot on.
Most interesting item in this story? This paragraph:
He told The Associated Press in 2002 that he was born in Sweden to a Turkish father and Swedish mother, who brought the family to Ohio in 1969, when he was about 3 years old. He said he accepted Christ as a teenager at a Baptist church in Columbus, and then pursued ministry, getting a degree from Criswell College, a Baptist school in Dallas.
I would love to see a link to this material, personally. If that is the case, then isn't it ironic that the very conclusions we have come to in our inquiry into Caner's past is what he said to the AP in 2002? And doesn't this provide final and absolute evidence that all of his claims since then about Turkey, moving his arrival in the US back so he can become a jihad-trained Muslim from Turkey, etc., are false? I mean, if Ergun Caner isn't a good enough source for documentation on Ergun Caner, what, pray tell, would be?
Meanwhile, Tom Chantry has provided another pastorally relevant exhortation based upon this situation. I appreciate Pastor Chantry's contributions, since he is working hard at making something good come out of what is otherwise a very troubling and at times very nasty situation.
Finally, Hussein Wario continues on his crusade to major on the minors and tilt at the proverbial windmills. He still thinks it is just fine for Muslims to pray in bathrooms, despite the fact that the reality is they are prohibited from doing so by direct statement from the prophet. As I noted in an earlier blog entry:
The Hadith of Al-Tirmidhi, 242, reads: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited the observance of prayers in seven places: on a dung hill, in a slaughterhouse, in a graveyard, in the middle of the road, in a bathroom, in the watering place where camels drink and sit, and upon the roof of the House of Allah. Likewise, we read in Fiqh-us-Sunnah 4.53a, "...they cite the Prophet's hadith: "The entire earth is a mosque except for a graveyard and a bathroom."
Now, as I pointed out on the DL, Caner made his comments about praying in the school bathroom not by way of demonstrating his ignorance of Islamic law, nor by way of admitting he was ashamed to be a Muslim, or afraid for his life (the only reasons anyone has come up with for offering salah in a bathroom), but in the exact opposite context: he was asserting how devout he was, not how ignorant he was. So why do prayers in a bathroom? Why not out on the front lawn of the Gahanna Lincoln High School, in full Islamic garb? But this kind of reasoning is lost on Mr. Hussein, who seems to feel that if any Muslim has ever offered salah in a bathroom, then Ergun Caner must have, too! It is this kind of reasoning that prompted me to warn our brother earlier, "You have completely lost your balance, brother. You are becoming a spectacle along with EC. Consider your ways."
And Finally...the Yearbook Pictures
05/15/2010 - James WhiteI knew a few folks were working on this, but just now TurretinFan posted the results of his examination of the yearbooks from Gahanna Lincoln High School, 1981-1984. Click here for photos and documentation. As one would expect, Ergun Caner looks like any other kid who grew up in Ohio in the 1970s and early 1980s. In fact, he and I looked a lot alike even back then, oddly enough. Then again, big glasses and lots of hair...anyway. I should track down my high school yearbooks and post a few pictures just to be fair. In any case, no, you will not find any pictures of Ergun Caner in Muslim garb. You will find him dressed like any other regular high school kid of the day, which makes sense. We now know, from court records, that he grew up in middle America, son of a divorced family, sadly, but just as much an American kid as anyone else. Yes, I'm sure his dad spoke to him about the scales, as I said in the previous post, but the Ergun Caner of history and the Ergun Caner presented by the current President of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary who grew up in Turkey thinking Christians hated him are two very different people. One of them existed, and we can prove it. The other, sadly, only seems to exist any longer in the mind of one lonely man in Lynchburg. Let us pray he will drop the pretense and confess the truth.
A Comparison, and Two Appeals
05/15/2010 - James WhiteI ask that our regular readers work through this short piece, especially those of you who are tired of a particular subject. I wish to make an appeal to you.
I mentioned yesterday that the "nastiness" level spiked. Ironically, the very people who have been screaming about how wrong it is for Christians to "cooperate" with Muslims are---themselves repeating Muslim charges now (without, of course, checking the facts, something that marks Caner supporters pretty regularly). At the same time, I have been getting a lot of contact now from within Liberty. While it is fascinating (and sad), and I appreciate those who have reached out to me, I really wasn't looking to learn this stuff. I guess it comes with the stand I've taken. In any case, as you run across the wild-eyed material coming from the desperate defenders of the Caner regime, compare it with what has been actually presented here and elsewhere in reference to our examination of Ergun Caner's claims. TurretinFan just posted another excellent example. Contrast the thoroughness of the documentation, the fairness of the analysis, the concern for factuality, with the emotionally-driven conspiracy theories you will find being tossed around in hopes of quieting the voices calling for Ergun Caner to openly answer the questions that have been put to him for the sake of the gospel. Fair minded people realize that many of us have bent over backwards, seeking to keep this focused upon the issues of integrity and ministry. Sadly, it seems those who do not believe such questions should be asked have no problems getting very personal in their desperation.
I would like to make an appeal to those of you who are sick and tired of this situation: first, I am far more sick and tired of it than you are, I assure you. I would like nothing more than to have it over tomorrow. But you have not read the e-mails I have received from people thanking me for taking a stand, encouraging me to see it through. We live in a microwave society where people get "tired" of topics very quickly. I think Liberty has been banking on the short attention span of most folks all along, hoping this would just die down on its own. Commitment to truthfulness for the sake of the gospel, however, cannot be a short-termed thing. It has to have some staying power. I cannot, and have not, allowed this to become something that is all-consuming. I respond when need be, link when need be, but I am very focused on other things (right now, the Qur'an and my two Islamic debate opponents in June). And so I appeal to those of you have have expressed a desire to "move on." Please be patient. This is not a matter of Baptist politics (though oh my, the world of Baptist politics is just as thick and nasty as anything in Washington or London). It is not merely an American thing, either. I realize we have readers from all over the world. I appeal to you not only for patience, but to once again understand that part of my motivation here is to provide much needed correction to the concept that Christians have one standard when speaking to Muslims ("You must listen to the truth, you must examine Mohammad, you must consider the problems with the Qur'an!) and another internally ("Go ahead and let leaders lie about their backgrounds, especially when it helps to convert those Muslims!").
Which brings me to the second appeal. I wish to appeal to Ergun Caner. Dr. Caner, you know the truth of this situation. You know you have made up a life you never lived, all to enhance your appeal to audiences. You know you were making things up on the fly when you claimed to debate Shabir Ally and Abdul Saleeb---Arabic sounding names that you thought no one would challenge you on. You know you have claimed Arabic as your first language, when you know your mother tongue was Swedish. You know you have been living a fantasy in all these areas. But you say you were converted to Jesus in high school, evidently sometime in your late sophomore or early junior year. You say you feared the scales, and rightly so (Surah 21:47), and found redemption in Christ. Then I appeal to you, sir, on the basis of that profession of faith, to do what is right for the Kingdom and end this controversy right now. Answer, openly and honestly, the twenty-two questions I have posted that simply must be answered. I extend an open invitation to you to appear on The Dividing Line, where you will be treated fairly and respectfully, to offer your explanations. If not, then I ask you to publish, in full, your replies on your website, or on Liberty's. Explain how these claims arose, give us what was motivating you, and seek the forgiveness of all those involved. For the sake of the gospel, sir, apologize to the Muslim people, not for the truthful things you have said, but for the untruths you have packed around them for show and effect. Apologize to Liberty, and more importantly, to the students, who have looked to you for guidance and leadership. Confess that your words have been better than your actions, especially when you said to them:
"It's hard enough starting college. But if you came here hoping you could switch around and change and make yourself into something you ain't, it will kill you. Because number one, it's inauthentic. And number two, you can only maintain a facade as long as everything is calm and cool. But when turbulence comes, the facade shakes and cracks, and people see what's beneath it. And number three, hypocrisy never reached one person."
Seek the forgiveness of the broader evangelical community in that your actions have demeaned the conversion stories of anyone who had just a "plain old testimony." I cannot say what the Liberty leadership would do in such a situation, but I know it is the only right thing to do. I appeal to you, sir, for the sake of the gospel, to end this now. It is in your power. If you continue to hide behind such excuses as "I don't have any idea why I said I debated Shabir Ally," and "It's just a conspiracy of Muslims and Christians to get me!" you will needlessly drag this on all to the damage of Liberty and the cause of the gospel. I appeal to you to do the right thing, now, not after the investigation. May God grant you insight and grace.
It Isn't About Liberty Per Se
05/14/2010 - James WhiteI am uncertain how many times I've said this, but I'll say it again: there are lots of fine professors, scholars, and students, at Liberty University. Lots of godly men and women, lots of dedicated students. Even a lot of Calvinists, believe it or not (who, in God's sovereign providence, are learning patience the hard way). So I found it ironic that we were sent the following note through our website:
I need to express that my heart aches over this attack on Dr. Caner. What must the Lord Jesus Christ think when He sees one brother attacking another as you are doing. How Christlike is this? How Loving is this? I was raised in the Reformed faith, but recently left a PCA church over issues similar to this--a total lack of love and caring about a brother. I am convinced that the Lord weeps when he sees this nonsense happening. I am tired of Reformed Theology and it's THINKERS that constantly put down those who have different views. I am tired of Reformed pastors who drink alcohol like fish and claim they can witness to those they drink cocktails with. I am now convinced even more that those of you involved in Reformed Theology need to throw your philosophical ideas about scripture to the wolves and do as the Bible commands. Go into the world, preach the gospel, and love the lost. Have you ever gone to Liberty University and seen over 10,000 students worship the Lord Jesus, who help in the community, and who love the Lord and simply want to live for Him??? I challenge you to do so. Then go to some of your REFORMED colleges and see what is going on. Look at the liberal lifestyles going on, there is nothing out there that can TOUCH what is going on at Liberty. Please, LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
It is hard to know how to respond to such a note. I mean, Liberty is not the issue (outside of its current leadership having demonstrated an ostrich-like response to the initial documentation of problems with Ergun Caner's story and claims and behavior). And Reformed theology has never, ever been the issue (many dishonest folks are making that claim on the net these days---it is as bogus today as the first time someone thought it up). Nor is it alcohol (can't stand the stuff myself, but I'm not going to add to the Word and go beyond what it says by adding legalism to the faith either). Nor is it some strange, emotional appeal to some supposed superiority of morals at non-Reformed schools (an assertion so easily challenged it is humorous). The issue is truth, honesty, and integrity. The issue is whether Evangelicals will allow their leaders to make up stories in the pulpit and pawn them off upon unsuspecting people as if they are the truth. The issue is whether we will exalt men to positions of leadership without the first thought as to whether their stories are true. Love may cover a multitude of sins, but love never foregoes repentance. To every single person who has identified the demand that Ergun Caner answer honest questions about his own self-contradictory statements as an "attack" upon him, you have fallen for the same kind of weak-minded drivel that marks the political process in the West today.
The nastiness level spiked today, I note. "Pastors" (primarily Baptists, of course) have been busily concocting every kind of slanderous diatribe in a desperate attempt to deflect attention from the real issues. It's sad to watch, knowing that a day is coming when the intentions of men's hearts will be laid bare. But it has also been interesting to hear more and more from "inside" Liberty. The news has gotten out, and when any honest-minded person examines the facts, the conclusions are inescapable. There are lots of sharp students at Liberty, many who have been wondering for years about Caner's behavior and the inconsistencies in his stories. Now they know why.
One of the most humorous items I've heard of late is this one: the reason I've raised these issues is because I want to get famous enough for someone like Christopher Hitchens to want to debate me. Believe it or not, that has been suggested by someone at Liberty. First, it takes incredible hubris to think that Christopher Hitchens could really care less who Ergun Caner is, let alone think that someone raising issues about Ergun Caner's own self-contradictory claims would automatically become someone Hitchens would want to debate. But I have a further question for the person who thought this one up: aside from the documentable fact that after the debate stuff in late 2006 died down I mentioned Caner all of once from June of 2007 to June of 2009--one sentence in passing--could someone explain how I managed to debate Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong, Robert Price, and Shabir Ally? Who did I "attack" to get "famous enough" for those folks to "notice" me? That one made me chuckle, which, given the nastiness of much of what is flying about today, was welcome relief.
And On to the Next Debate...
05/13/2010 - James WhiteSo that is yours truly yesterday morning on the 26 mile ride to the top of Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson, Arizona. I had been planning this since last fall when I rode up (but not back down) Mt. Lemmon. Some good friends from Tucson accompanied me (via car) and took some shots (I posted one of the shots from the descent on Twitter this morning). So what does a picture of a brightly clad old cyclist on a desert mountain at the beginning of a 52.41 mile ride (climbing 6,711 feet) have to do with the next debate? Because, I am studying for it in that picture. OK, I know, you can't see the iPod Nano or the bluetooth headphones, but they are there. I was listening to a debate with Sheikh Awal as I headed up (no use even trying to listen to something coming down! Wind noise at 25-35mph makes that impossible), and I will be playing some portions of that on the DL this afternoon. Listen in! (photo: WL)
An Open Letter to Dr. Falwell and Dr. Godwin
05/10/2010 - James WhiteAn Open Letter to Dr. Jerry Falwell Jr. and Dr. Ron Godwin, Liberty University
In February of 2010 I contacted Dr. Ergun Caner to ask him to please explain inconsistencies in his publicly made statements regarding his debates with Islamic leaders, specifically, in reference to his (at least) twice made claim that he had debated Sheikh Shabir Ally. I had been provided with two audio clips of Dr. Ergun Caner making this claim by Mohammad Khan, a Muslim in London. In one of the public speaking situations Caner even said he debated Shabir Ally in Nebraska. As I was at the time traveling to London to debate Abdullah al-Andalusi at Trinity Road Chapel, I had to wait until I arrived to listen to the audio clips. As soon as I verified that indeed Dr. Caner had made these claims, I contacted Shabir Ally personally, as he and I have debated in both the United States and the United Kingdom. He informed me that he had never debated Ergun Caner, and, in fact, had never, to his recollection, even met him. With this information I wrote directly to Ergun Caner personally. He identified the issue as one of “misspeaking.” So I asked the most logical question I could in light of this claim: if he had just misspoken (twice), then who was it, in fact, that he was debating in Nebraska? Dr. Caner did not give me a response to this request for information: he instead directed me to the “not really an apology” he posted, briefly, on February 25, 2010. This “apology,” which admitted he had never debated a particular un-named Islamic apologist, was removed from his website a matter of days after it was originally posted.
This incident led to further revelations of simple untruths in the public statements of Ergun Caner regarding his past, who he has allegedly debated, his knowledge of Islam, etc. I had begun making inquiries into Dr. Caner’s alleged “debates” about which he spoke frequently as long ago as 2006. At that time he said they were mainly in colleges and were not recorded. I had found that odd, but at the time had not dreamed that there was any issue relating to the entirety of Ergun Caner’s claims relating to Islam. But in October of 2009, as I was sitting in the Denver airport between flights, I noted the claim on Ergun Caner’s Twitter page that he had debated Islamic leaders (and other leaders of various religious groups) in eleven countries and forty states. This caused me to put out a call on Twitter, and on my blog, asking for help in finding these many debates. That is when I encountered Mohammad Khan’s videos and related materials, all calling into question Dr. Caner’s story.
After the Shabir Ally incident others began to get involved in digging for information. As I listened to more and more of Ergun Caner’s public talks, I became more amazed at what I was hearing. As a student of Islam myself, having debated numerous Islamic apologists in the US, the UK, and recently in Australia, I found his statements very troubling. He would confuse basic Arabic phrases and Islamic concepts. He claimed Ramadan was 40 days long (it is a lunar month); he confused the Shahada and the beginning of Surat al-Fatiha, both Arabic phrases every practicing Muslim would repeat often during the daily prayers (which Caner claimed to have engaged in all the way up to the time of his conversion in high school). Both he and his brother, in their published works, made reference to the Islamic belief that apostates should be executed by referring to “Hadith 9:57.” Anyone who actually works in the field of Islamic apologetics and research knows this is not a valid reference, similar to my saying something like, “You will find that in Bible 3:16.” The Hadith collections have specific names, hence, the correct reference would be “Sahih al-Bukhari 9:57.” No one could find “Hadith 9:57.” How would the Caners, who claim to be experts in Islam, not know this?
Then the chronology issues began to arise. Ergun Caner’s life story is a mass of self-contradiction. His stories strike one as being made up on the fly for the exigencies of the situation, the desires of the audience he is seeking to impress. On the one hand he often mentioned that Emir, his brother, could be President, while he could not, because Emir was born in the United States. But at the same time he claimed to come to the United States in 1978, or 1979, depending on which talk you listen to. But Emir is only four years younger than Ergun, so, that would be impossible. This aspect was particularly troubling, because Ergun would often make this a part of his gospel appeal, claiming he had come here as a young Muslim trained in jihad, a teenager who had always lived in “majority Muslim countries” who thought “you hated me.” He has claimed his English was broken when he came to know Christ, having learned what little English he knew watching the Dukes of Hazzard (a program that did not even air until 1979). He claimed to live in Ankara, Turkey, and then on the border of Turkey and Iraq, and that he came here “via Beirut and Cairo.” He claimed to have trained in the madrassa. He has claimed to know Arabic, and to read the Qur’an. But the reality, as seen in the court documents that have been obtained, is that Ergun was in Ohio at 2.5 to three years of age; while still young a court order was filed that precluded leaving the United States. How would his English be “broken” at his conversion if he was raised in the US educational system?
Gentlemen, there are a large number of direct questions Ergun Caner must answer. Nothing but open and clear explanations, not excuses, will do. I strongly suggest that you ask the following questions of Ergun Caner, and then publish, openly, the responses, for all of these questions flow from his public pronouncements.
1) When did Ergun Caner live in Turkey? Dates, locations, must be provided.
2) What madrassa did he train at in jihad? Where was he a member of the Youth Jihad? When? For how long?
3) Why has he claimed in public to have been born in Istanbul, Turkey, when he was born in Stockholm, Sweden?
4) Why does he claim to be 100% Turkish when his mother is Swedish?
5) Why has he plainly implied he could speak Arabic (in response to the Islamic claim that unless you can read the Qur’an you cannot criticize it) when his mother tongue is Swedish, and he cannot, in fact, read or speak Arabic?
6) How does he explain his presence in Ohio by at the very latest age four, and possibly as early as 2 and a half, as indicated by legal documents?
7) How does he explain his claim to have always lived in Muslim majority countries before coming to the United States? Sweden is not today, and surely was not in 1969, a majority Muslim nation.
8) How does he explain his often published claim to have come to the United States in 1978 or 1979? How can this be seen as anything other than a purposeful distortion necessary for his “I came as a jihadist from Turkey” rather than “I came as a son of a Muslim father and a Swedish mother to Ohio as a small child” persona?
9) Can Ergun Caner prove he was a devout, active Muslim in high school? One that even wore traditional Islamic garb (though that is unusual in Turkey)? Does he have evidence of this in the form of pictures? Some of us have seen pictures of Ergun in his high school yearbook, and none of them show him wearing Islamic dress.
10) Dr. Caner claims in some of his talks that he learned English in Brooklyn. When did he live in Brooklyn, rather than Ohio?
11) How does Dr. Caner explain the fact that he claims to have done his prayers in the bathroom in high school, though that would be highly unusual and in fact either the act of an ignorant Muslim or one in fear of his life?
12) Why did Ergun Caner say Ramadan was forty days long when in fact it is a lunar month in length? If he had ever fasted during Ramadan I can assure you he would know the difference.
13) Why did Ergun Caner on video confuse the Shahada with the opening words of Surat al-Fatiha? Given that both are part of the Islamic prayers, and would have been repeated thousands of times during his youth as a devout Muslim, how could he be confused about such a basic thing?
14) Emir Caner says their mother became a “hippy” upon coming to the United States. Yet Ergun says she wore Islamic clothing until he baptized her. Which is true?
15) Dr. Caner often uses derogatory terms like “towel head” and “sand nigger” of himself, excusing these racial slurs because he claims to be of these ethnic groups. Yet, these are slurs mainly of Arabic people, not of Turkish people; and beyond this, he is only half Turkish, as his mother is Swedish. So why does he engage in this behavior?
16) Dr. Caner has repeatedly said “his family” disowned him upon his conversion. Yet, court records indicate he lived with his mother as custodial parent, not his father; and Emir says that while his father did disown his sons who converted, their mother was basically ambivalent, as she was no longer a Muslim anyway. Is having your non-custodial parent, who has remarried, disown you identical to being disowned by your (entire) family?
17) Dr. Caner has claimed to engage in more than sixty Muslim debates. Where is the evidence of these debates? Who has he debated? What are their names? When did the debates take place?
18) Dr. Caner claimed to have debated Shabir Ally in Nebraska. Caner admitted in February, 2010, that he never debated Shabir Ally. Who, then, did he debate in Nebraska? When? On what topic?
19) Dr. Caner claimed to debate Abdul Saleeb. Abdul Saleeb means “servant of the cross.” So why did he claim to debate a Christian along with Shabir Ally? Was he simply putting Arabic-sounding names together in a line as a means of impressing his audience?
20) Ergun Caner has often, in talks, and in print, referred to “Hadith 9:57.” Since any meaningful citation of the hadith literature requires the use of the name of the actual collection (in this case, Sahih al-Bukhari), does this not show a fundamental ignorance of the most basic elements of scholarly inquiry into Islamic studies on Ergun Caner’s part?
21) Ergun Caner holds a Th.D. in Theology. Why has he often changed the degree to a Ph.D.?
22) Dr. Caner heads up the Global Apologetics program. His claim to have engaged leaders of numerous religions in debate in many foreign countries and all across the United States is directly related to his recruiting of students. Why should his false claims about his past, and his apologetic work, not be considered false advertising and fraudulent?
Gentlemen, I believe nothing less than an open and public explanation of these issues is necessary. If Dr. Caner has meaningful, fair, honest explanations for all of these issues, we will gladly hear them. If he does not, we hope for his confession and apology. Given that the world is now watching (not only the secular world, but the Islamic world as well), nothing less than a full Christian commitment to truth is in order. It is not the “Christian blogosphere” that awaits your report, but the church in general. Thank you.
In His service,
Alpha and Omega Ministries
Update: Gene Clyatt has provided an excellent summary of the issues surrounding the Caner saga here.
News Out of Liberty
05/10/2010 - James WhiteCommittee formed to investigate Caner statements
May 10, 2010 : University Advancement staff
Liberty University’s Provost Dr. Ron Godwin is forming a committee to investigate a series of accusations against Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
The allegations have questioned public statements Caner has made regarding the details of his personal life story.
Godwin is forming a committee to conduct an official inquiry with a goal of issuing its conclusions by the end of June.
Following inquiries from several members of the mainstream media, Liberty decided to initiate its own investigation.
“In light of the fact that several newspapers have raised questions, we felt it necessary to initiate a formal inquiry,” Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said.
05/10/2010 - James WhiteJust a few quick notes, as the day after long trips that end very, very long weeks of ministry including debates are normally spent catching up on life. Yes, tomorrow I will go over the Price debate in more detail. Here's a picture of us at the "book signing table" after the debate. Note that he is wearing the tie I gave him during my closing statement (a rather striking tie, I must admit, with the text of 1 Cor 15:3-11 from Codex Sinaiticus on the front in a nice blue/white reversed form). He had pulled his tie off and put mine on, as did Hank Hanegraaff. I think I'm about to sign a copy of The God Who Justifies judging by the size of the book. Once again, I think Dr. Price was amazed at how kindly he was treated by all, and most especially by the fact that I debated his views, not someone else's. He has often debated where folks had not read his books, listened to his presentations (believe me, I know that feeling), so I think he took it as a sign of respect that I invested so much time and energy in my own preparations. That made the evening go quite well.
I saw another article on the Caner situation, one that was rather balanced and fair. I likewise hear that some of the flat-earthers/9-11 Truthers/Ergun Caner hasn't lied about his past folks (all seem to live in the same make-believe world) are trying to make it sound like the ONLY criticism of Caner is the claim (made by Muslims primarily) that Caner was never a Muslim of any sort. The depths to which some will go is truly amazing. In any case, I listened to a talk by Emir Caner at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and I may play some clips of that. He made some basic errors regarding Islam that trouble me, and if we have time, I may get to those as well.
Finally, we still need your help to cover all the costs of the summer debates (two in Dearborn, and the late August one with Christopher Hitchens). I have placed a few more items on the Ministry Resource List as well (specifically, the Teaching Company version of a class by Bart Ehrman I want to respond to on YouTube). Few things are more encouraging than to see those items on the MRL disappear, I assure you.
A Blurry Eyed Quick Note from Tampa
05/08/2010 - James White
I am speaking again this morning so I have to be brief. Just wanted to thank all the Lord's people for their prayers for last night's debate with Dr. Robert Price here in Tampa. I could not imagine how the debate could have gone any better than it did. I knew Bob Price would be a personable fellow in conversation, and he was. He was thankful I actually addressed his arguments, not someone else's, and did not use the argument from authority, either. As a result, it was a great exchange. Everyone enjoyed it---except for some of the radical atheists who had more of the "let's go to the colosseum and see someone chopped up" attitude. I will give a full report on Tuesday on the DL, and hopefully a little longer note later today after my speaking responsibilities are fulfilled. But once again, my thanks to all who made this encounter possible. It was of benefit to all who were there.
Dr. White's Voice of Sovereign Grace Program, Circa 1999
05/06/2010 - James SwanA few days ago I posted an mp3 recording of Dr. White from his 1999 AM radio broadcast in New York City. Thirty minutes once a week, Dr. White aired The Voice of Sovereign Grace program.
I don't live in New York, but I do live within the signal range of the station (well, barely). Even though the signal crackled a bit, I managed to record some of the shows. Since Dr. White is away, I took some time to convert some of these programs over to mp3, so, sit back and revisit Dr. White, circa 1999.
Voice of Sovereign Grace #2 Dr. White discusses and applies Jeremiah 9:1-9 to the issues of culture, truth, and lying.
Voice of Sovereign Grace #3 Dr. White discusses Titus 2:11-13- Is grace particular?
Voice of Sovereign Grace #4 Dr. White preaches a sermon on the importance of the church. Recorded at a church on Long Island, New York.
Voice of Sovereign Grace #5 Dr. White discusses the April 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
Voice of Sovereign Grace #6 Dr. White broadcasts from the General Conference of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City.
Angelz to the Rescue
05/04/2010 - James WhiteWe don't get to see our friend Angel Contreras very often in channel anymore. He's busy with...life. But, once in a while, right when I need some encouragement, some relief from a particularly troubling episode (and that is the case right now with the Caner and now Liberty debacle, all immediately prior to a major debate), up pops an e-mail with an attachment from Angelz. He's still out there, listening to the DL, seeing things from an angle that is...always uniquely his. And so today, his epistle arrived at just the right time. See, Mr. Kennedy, the author of the CT article, called me. Seems some rabble-rousers out there contacted Christianity Today and told them I do not teach for Golden Gate. So he had to do "due diligence." I asked if he had called Golden Gate, and he hadn't (I invited him to do so, and gave him the proper people to contact, by name). So I read to him the following list:
Beginning Greek, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001
Greek Exegesis of Ephesians, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2001
Beginning Hebrew, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1996, 1998, 2000
Hebrew Exegesis, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1997, 1999
Christian Philosophy of Religion, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1998-2003
Christology, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1997
Systematic Theology, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 1996, 1998, 2004
Apologetics, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2003-2004, 2009
Development of Patristic Theology, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2004
Current Issues in Apologetics, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2005, 2007
Islam, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2008
Atheism/Islam, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, 2009-2010
Then I pointed out that, unlike Ergun Caner, I had returned his call, and, unlike Ergun Caner, had provided him with a direct response to his inquiry. I do find it ironic that he was fact checking me---when the issue is what Ergun Caner has claimed, and cannot document. But I was happy to provide the documentation.
So right on the heels of this up popped the e-mail from Angelz. And once again he nailed it. Some might remember his classic piece from 2006 when the Caners threw their credibility under the bus and disregarded their own signed agreement, leading to the cancellation of the debate at Liberty University:
But now he has provided another "Angel Classic."
Of course, Angel quotes from Colossians about not lying, and he should take into consideration that Liberty has pronounced Dr. Caner free from having done anything "theologically inappropriate," and that myth-making about your own past is not a moral or ethical issue! So, all is well.
Thank you, Angelz. I needed that.
CT Fumbles, Liberty Obfuscates, Truth Languishes
05/03/2010 - James WhiteA sad day for truth as Christianity Today posts its "story" on the Ergun Caner situation. Very little of the actual documentation (court documents, video tapes, etc.) are discussed. The title makes it look like "bloggers" are just out to cause trouble, not that there are documented, serious issues relating to Caner's myth-making. The worst part is the utter-disconnect in the comments given by Elmer Towns, described in the article as "co-founder of Liberty University" and Dean of the School of Religion. According to the article, Towns claims "the Liberty board has held an inquiry and directors are satisfied that Caner has done nothing theologically inappropriate." Lying is theologically appropriate? Creating an entire mythology about your past and your expertise in Islam is theologically appropriate? Then Towns is quoted as saying, "We give faculty a certain amount of theological leverage. The arguments of the bloggers would not stand up in court." Is myth-making and misrepresentation "theological leverage"? And could someone explain how court documents and video and audio recordings would not stand up in court? What kind of documentation would Dr. Towns like to have, if court documents and video recordings are not enough? Could anything suffice, one wonders?
The final comment offered by Towns should cause any honest hearted person to sit back and ponder: "We don't see any way that bloggers will damage Liberty," Towns says. Does Towns have any idea why anyone out here cares about this? Does he really think it is some kind of attack on Liberty? Let's be straight up front Dr. Towns: your institution now has a massive credibility problem on its hands, and you put it there. Had you done due diligence and followed up on the publicly available documentation that is already out there, already obtainable, and then acted properly in demanding an open and honest explanation by Ergun Caner, you could have kept this a personal issue relating solely to one individual. But now, by failing to do what needs to be done on any simple ground of honesty, you have placed your institution squarely in the defense of documented and obvious falsehood. Yes, it seems you are confused about a non-existent connection between Caner's comments about Rankin. You further seem confused that this has something to do with Ergun Caner's synergism and anti-Reformed polemics. If that is so, sir, why wasn't I looking to raise these issues in 2006 after the Liberty debate debacle? No, none of those assertions are true. This is a simple matter of a man making up a past and using it to gain his position in your institution. You had a chance to right the wrong and bring these issues to light, hoping for Ergun Caner to confess and repent of his falsehoods. But you have chosen the "party line" instead. Dr. Towns, many Muslims are watching, and you have just verified for them that for many in evangelicalism, truth is only important when it is expedient.
Finally, I note the real telling words of the article: "Neither Caner brother responded to interview requests from CT." Those who honor the truth do not hide in this fashion. The Caners are under obligation to speak the truth. Until they start doing so, they have no business serving those who claim to be followers of Him who is the Truth.