I 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.