February, 2010. The Ergun Caner scandal exploded into the consciousness of the Christian blogosphere when a Muslim blogger and YouTube video producer sent me direct evidence that Ergun Caner had lied about debating Shabir Ally, Abdul Saleeb, and Nadir Ahmed. This led a group of us to start digging deeper, and over the next few months much more information came out, especially due to the work of Jason Smathers, all indicating that Dr. Ergun Caner, then President of Liberty Baptist Seminary, had made up the vast majority of his past story as a Muslim convert trained in jihad. A quick scan of this blog from March through October of 2010 will provide lengthy discussions, with documentation, that when combined with the relevant Dividing Line episodes (which included playing entire sermons of Ergun Caner, the audio of various video clips, etc., some of which have now been removed from the net as part of the Great Evangelical Cover-Up), will provide full and compelling documentation of Caner’s false claims. Others, such as the indefatigable TurretinFan, likewise provided lengthy and in-depth articles exposing Caner’s falsehoods.
A year and a half has now elapsed since this scandal became public knowledge. More than a year has now passed since Dr. Norman Geisler came to the aid of his adjunct professor at Veritas Seminary. Geisler posted a series of vacuous and easily refuted excuses (we believe produced by Caner himself and originally distributed to faculty at Liberty when the scandal first broke) that remain on his website to this day (found here). After exposing Geisler’s attempted excuses made in behalf of Caner, we posted a video asking three questions of Norman Geisler, found here:
Dr. Geisler has consistently refused to answer these questions, even though these three questions do not even begin to exhaust the breadth of the falsehoods Caner has propounded about his past. Both Ergun and Emir Caner, likewise, have remained silent, evidently hoping that all of this will simply “go away” quietly, and Caner will be allowed to continue on presenting himself as an expert on Islam at various Veritas Seminary apologetics conferences at major churches around the United States (such as the one being held at the main Calvary Chapel congregation in Costa Mesa October 28-29, 2011). At the same time, though Liberty has severed its ties with Caner, it did so in the most politically expedient way, claiming it found no evidence that Caner had, in fact, lied.
All of this continues to represent a royal black eye on the face of Christian apologetics. The idea that the very leaders of the so-called “discernment” movement would be willing to cover over this kind of behavior in their midst provides massive evidence of simple hypocrisy, and that despite the efforts of a a small number of voices calling for confession and repentance.
For over a year now we have called for the end of the Great Evangelical Cover-Up. We have provided more than sufficient time for men like Ergun and Emir Caner and Norman Geisler to admit that they have engaged in this cover-up. They have had more than sufficient time to seek to make amends and repair the damage their actions have done to Islamic apologetics and evangelism. It has become painfully obvious that they have no intentions of doing the right thing. They are insisting upon continuing this charade and ignoring the mountain of evidence that has been presented by Christians and Muslims alike. In so doing, they are putting political alignments and loyalties before the honor and impeccability of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We continue to pray that these men will repent of their actions and do the right thing.
But in light of their continuing on as if nothing has happened in blissful ignorance of the facts, we have decided to put one of the most obvious errors of Ergun and Emir Caner, defended, amazingly, by Norman Geisler, right out front. Since repeated serious, meaningful appeals have had no impact upon these men, it is time for a little humorous satire. With the help of our old artist friend Angel Contreras, together with Carla Rolfe, we have produced the “What is Hadith 2425?” t-shirt. Here is the graphic found on the shirt:
Here Norm Geisler is seen asking Ergun Caner to answer the question we have been asking: what is Hadith 2425? Now, anyone who buys this shirt, or is brave enough to wear it while sitting in the front row of a Veritas apologetics conference, needs to be prepared to explain its meaning and the background so as to get to the important issue: why are these men continuing to put personal loyalties and preferences ahead of the gospel and Islamic apologetics? So let’s make sure we know what is being alleged, and how it exposes the excuses Caner and Geisler have offered.
First, let’s address the main topic, Hadith 2425. There is a hadith numbered 2425 in one of the main collections of ahadith. I can tell you right now that it is found either in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawud, Jami At-Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Majah, or Sunan An-Nasai. The entire point of asking this question is to expose the absurdity of the following excuse, offered by Norman Geisler in his defense of Ergun Caner:
The Charge that no Knowledgeable Muslim Would Mis-cite the Hadith as Caner Did.—It is charged that Caner often cites the Hadith without mentioning the actual name of the collection. But, as even Muslim scholars admit, there is no “official” way to cite the Hadith. It is often cited without reference to the collection.
Once again, this statement appears on the above cited web page, still found on Norman Geisler’s website. We are not told which “Muslim scholars” are being referred to, of course, since the entire argument is beneath the level of absurdity. An excellent way of explaining this to folks who are not familiar with the various collections of “sound” or “sahih” hadith is to contextualize the claim so that they can see how absurd it is. So, ask someone if they would be very impressed with a man who claims to be a former Christian who, upon converting to Islam, would go about speaking about “Bible 9:27” or “Scriptures 3:16.” Obviously, these citations are meaningless, as they do not give you specific enough information in the Bible to find the reference. There is more than one chapter 9, verse 27, or chapter 3, verse 16, in the Bible, which itself is a collection of books. It would be silly for such a person to defend themselves by saying, “Well, Christian scholars admit that there is no ‘official’ way to cite the Bible.” Maybe not, but obviously however you cite the Bible, it has to be sufficiently full to take you to the proper passage. And given that there are a number of collections of ahadith, everyone with the slightest first hand knowledge of the documents knows you must provide the name of the collection to which you refer. Hence, though there are multiple numeration systems for, say, Sahih Al-Bukhari (some use book and chapter references, some just a generic numbering system), no matter what, you have to include the collection name to even get started in finding the hadith being cited, just as you must give the book name in the Bible for the citation to be meaningful (Romans 9:27, John 3:16).
The entire point of our question, then, is to expose the nature of the shallow, easily refuted, and simply worthless excuses Norman Geisler has posted on his website in defense of Ergun Caner. There is no meaningful answer to the question. Surely, I can point to a hadith 2425. But, there is more than one. Without the collection name, Geisler cannot answer the question. Caner cannot answer the question. The very asking of the question proves the point, and believe me, Norman Geisler and Ergun Caner both know they could never, ever defend themselves in debate on this topic. That is why they have chosen the route of silence and ignorance. There is no other path open to them but to confess and repent. And that, evidently, they refuse to do. Angel Contreras has perfectly captured the essence of this absurd situation, with Norm encouraging Ergun to give an answer, and Ergun full well knowing there is no answer. I would never turn to this form of exposure unless those being exposed had proven themselves unwilling to face the truth by any other means, and that is surely the case here.
Now, at the bottom of the graphic our little cricket is chirping (representing the silence of the past year where Geisler and Caner and their fellows have silently moved on in hopes no one really cares about things like honesty and integrity in ministry and apologetics) and asking a question that summarizes just a few of many bogus claims Ergun Caner made about himself between 2001 and early 2010. These include his whoppers about speaking Arabic (which he doesn’t), debating Imams in mosques in Arabic (which he hasn’t), how his father brought “multiple wives” with him to the United States (he didn’t), his claim to have debated Shabir Ally in Nebraska (which he has admitted is not true, but, he has failed to explain who he did, in fact, debate in Nebraska, since, as he knows, he didn’t), his claim that Ramadan is 40 days long (which he repeated many times, and which I assure you, if you ever have observed Ramadan, which is a lunar month of fasting, you know well how long it is), and his repeated claim to have been born in Istanbul (he was born in Sweden). The list of bogus claims is long indeed, and only the most incredulous could possibly buy the idea that this is all just the result of Caner getting flustered while speaking too fast while preaching. There is a clear, documented pattern of at the very least embellishment and, in most cases, simple lying, that has yet to be admitted, confessed, and repented of. Then again, why should Dr. Caner do so when Dr. Geisler has provided him such cover? Hence Dr. Geisler’s complicity as the chief architect in the Great Evangelical Cover-Up.
Now, Zazzle is backed up in producing new items, so Carla Rolfe had to go through the “back door” so to speak to get this shirt available for those of you who wish to have it. I will put my order in as soon as possible myself! So, till the end of this week anyway, you need to get yours through Carla’s blog rather than from her normal Zazzle store. You can click here to get to the blog article that will give you access to the What is Hadith 2425? t-shirt featuring the awesome artwork of Angel Contreras. It would make a great gift for your local fan of Ergun Caner or Norm Geisler! I would love to see someone present them both with their own personal versions at each of the upcoming Veritas conferences! It seems so fitting that at a discernment conference someone might just be asking for a little discernment, especially when the folks up at the podium have shown themselves unwilling to do so.
Help us keep the Norm Geisler Broom from sweeping Ergun Caner’s abuse of the truth under the doormat of the Evangelical “discernment” movement! Get your Hadith 2425 t-shirt here: