Some folks are forwarding me the responses they get when they contact Ergun Caner about his documented falsehoods. His response is fairly canned: ignore the documentation, attack Columbia Evangelical Seminary. This is, of course, all Dr. Caner can do. He cannot defend himself against the primary witness we have produced against his truthfulness and integrity, because that primary witness is Dr. Ergun Caner! So, attack the messenger.
Dr. Caner falsely asserts that my degrees are unearned. I’m sure my professors at Fuller would find that a shock, but so would those with whom I worked at Columbia. For an unearned degree, it sure took me enough years of work, that’s for sure. In fact, I produced more published material as a result of my work at Columbia than Ergun Caner has produced en toto, and I would put any of my work up against Caner’s in any context—accuracy, depth, documentation, research, etc.—without fear of embarrassment. So his claim that my degrees are “unearned” is, like so much of what Caner says and does, a lie.
Irony of ironies, for a man who teaches as an adjunct for Veritas Seminary (not ATS accredited), Caner shows a cavalier attitude toward honesty and integrity. Columbia has never claimed ATS accreditation, and has eschewed, thankfully, the very commonly taken path of others, that of seeking accreditation by associations and groups that are, shall we say, less than relevant to the topic of the provision of a sound theological program of study. Like a number of schools that have grown up over the past two decades to fill the need, Columbia’s students must bear the light of examination of their actual work rather than merely claim a name and point to a student loan bill.
But fatal to Caner’s attempt to deflect the mountain of evidence that demonstrates his guilt is this simple consideration: I have, from the moment I completed my first period of work with Columbia, openly documented Columbia’s non-ATS status, and, in fact, have defended the propriety of pursuing such a course of study in particular situations, such as my own. I have never claimed otherwise, hence, I have been honest about the topic from the beginning. Hence, Columbia has been honest and forthright, as have I, and it is only Ergun Caner who, again, is shown to have a particular aversion to truthfulness.
So should you contact Dr. Caner and seek his repentance, and should he respond with something like “The irony of a man who has committed serial fraud pretending to have an earned degree calling others a liar,” point out to him that he is again, as he so often does, avoiding the truth through the service of a lie. Even if his allegations against me were true, which they are manifestly not, what would that have to do with his lies? Only liars find more lies a refuge from exposure. Or, you could just hand him this, and in light of his own claims, ask him to read it: والفقير خير من الكذوب
For anyone who has the slightest true interest and concern, may I suggest a simple solution? The only real test of a man’s scholarship is the work you produce as a scholar. Scholarship is not something you buy with massive student loans, it is something you do, over time. That is the only way of proving real scholarship. So, take my body of work—my books, my debates, my teaching—and put it up against Ergun Caner’s. You could simplify it, if you wish. Take Caner’s books on Islam and compare them to my recently published work. Check the references. Look at the research, the grasp of the topic. I will be happy to challenge anyone to such an examination, with full trust in the results. At least when you read my books, you will be able to find my references. You won’t find “Hadith 9:57” in my notes, as you find throughout Caner’s. Somehow my “fake” education taught me to provide meaningful citations, while Caner’s “real” one missed that vital point.