“Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” – Galatians 4:16
I don’t make a habit of blogging much anymore, particularly with such a full schedule. And yet, Peter Lumpkin’s latest blog post at SBC Tomorrow leaves my conscience no choice in the matter. The Christian world and Baptists in particular cannot abide a senseless attack on an innocent man by an unrepentant charlatan or the supporters of his deceitful malfeasance in the blogosphere.
First, let me begin with some background. It’s really no secret that Ergun Caner (who inexplicably uses the more-Muslim sounding middle name of his father, Mehmet, instead of the name he used earlier in life, Michael) has fraudulently and repeatedly lied about his conversion and biography in order to pad his evangelical resume’ as an expert on Islam and as an apologist. Caner’s lies are multitudinous, including provenly false claims that he came to America when he was 17 (he was 2), that he was born in Turkey (he was born in Sweden), that his father was a polygamist (this is untrue), that his father was an Islamic cleric (not true), that he was trained in Jihad (untrue), that he used to speak broken English as far back as 1982 (not true), claims he has debated Muslims on college campuses (not true) in 35 states and over a dozen nations (not true), that he has engaged in 48 other debates with people of various religions (not true), that he wore Islamic clothing in high school (not true), that he learned English by watching the Dukes of Hazzard (not true) and many, many other lies.
Note, these are not “small discrepancies.” Does Ergun not know where he was born, that his father was not a cleric, that he was not trained in Jihad in Beirut, that he was not trained as a terrorist? The man known as “Butch” Caner (who also went by E. Michael Caner) became Ergun Mehmet Caner in the turmoil surrounding September 11, 2001. And as Ergun lied about his background, his star rose higher and higher in Baptist circles along with his brother, Emir, who sat by while Ergun told lie after lie about their background.
Claiming to debate a world-famous Muslim apologist, Shabir Ally – along with other fictitious claims – perked the interest of Dr. James White, who had actually debated Ally. People began to investigate and uncovered the many, many lies of Ergun Caner. As the cat was out of the bag, Ergun released a statement on his website and subsequently posted at SBC Today, saying that he was only guilty of “misstatements” and that he would no longer participate in answering questions. Of course he was left with no choice, after being questioned by his then-employer, Liberty University and found to have made (laughably), “factual statements that are self-contradictory” – before then demoting him from his position as dean of the university.
This is a man who has sold his fabricated testimony as a “trained terrorist” for 35 dollars. This is not the behavior of a repentant Christian, but a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
This is a man who has included these lies in his biography for speaking engagements, books, and websites over and over and over again. And this is a man who has yet to repent for his lies and continues to be supported by the likes of Norman Geisler and Paige Patterson (although they seem to want nothing to do with Ergun these days, refuse to admit their erred past defense of the man). This is a man who has given Muslims the very reason they were looking for to assume that all converts from Islam are fake or fabricated.
And from the very beginning, partners in his grave sin (like Peter Lumpkins) have continued to defend his sin and attack those who have brought his sin into light. Even the Associated Press has said, “Caner has since [the scandal] changed the biographical information on his website and asked friendly organizations to remove damning clips, from their websites, but the questions are not going away.” And indeed, Caner has harassed and tried to intimidate individuals who invested his lies and brought them to light. And thanks to those who have helped him cover up his lies (and also the implicit guilt of his brother, Emir), Ergun apparently feels empowered to continue his quest to persecute and prosecute the men who broke the story of his shameless deceit.
One of the handful of Christian men who investigated Caner’s lies, Jason Smathers, is being sued by Caner for posting a video of his lies that Caner DOES NOT own the rights to. Rather, this video is public property under US Law as a U.S. Marine Training Video in which Caner lied repeatedly to our men and women in uniform. What Caner is attempting is the same thing he’s been doing with YouTube clips for years – filing complaints over copyright of his speeches, in which they are subsequently removed until the one posting the video inevitably shows his complaint to be malicious and fictitious and the video is then posted again. In short, Caner is trying to wear people down. Is this the behavior of an innocent man?
Thomas Rich’s blog, FBC Jax Watchdog, posted on Caner’s latest sinfully wicked attempt to sue a Christian in court (and on especially frivolous grounds!) on June 23rd. In the post, he suggests that believers offer Smathers financial support in his legal batter against the Christian imposter. This has reaped the wrath of Peter Lumpkins, who operates the blog, SBC Tomorrow and has a track record of making his own malicious claims toward those who’ve brought Caner’s lies to light (Lumpkins has unrepentantly accused Dr. James White of lying in his own online biography/profile, and has been proven false time and again).
Instead of addressing the issues pertaining to Caner’s ridiculous lawsuit against Smathers, Lumpkins instead attacks Smathers. Knowing that he would be the center of an all-out assault from Caner and Caner’s associates, Smathers bravely told the world what his church (and others who know him personally) already know – that before coming to faith, he had been guilty of a felony. Jason contritely and honestly has confessed to the world something that he has never hid from anyone, basically that Jesus saves sinners. I saw Smathers’ testimony and gave it a quick shrug, knowing that his conversion story – although amazing as grace always is – is nothing scandalous. God saved him, he repented, and now he is being conformed to Christ and has entered ministry. He has never hidden anything about that story to anyone.There’s nothing scandalous about that.
The title of Lumpkin’s appalling and repugnant post is, “FBCJax Watchdogs, Jason Smathers, and financially supporting a convicted felon.” Lumpkins instituted a “no-Caner comment” policy on his blog several months ago. This means that Lumpkins can viciously attack a man who has done nothing wrong except post unedited public-domain video of Ergun Caner’s lies, and censors any and all information relating to Ergun Caner. Lumpkin’s post is literally the most intellectually disgusting, conscience-dulled, sin-oozing and unconscionable thing I’ve ever read coming form a professed Christian. In order to cover up the lies of a fellow rabid anti-Calvinist (for Lumpkins, this is really about his lifelong war against God’s sovereignty) and unrepentant liar, Lumpkins is attacking a repentant believer,characterizing this redeemed man as a “convicted felon.” This is shameful and disgusting.
In the mean time, Caner is continuing to insinuate that all the video evidence is tainted, tweeting just this morning “LOVE IT! // RT: “There are mountains of ‘videos’ that ‘prove’ the moon landing was faked! Biased sources=tainted evidence.” This is not only bizarre, it is pathetic. A simple solution would be to sue one – just one – blogger for libel and to have your day in court. I volunteer. Sue Pulpit and Pen for libel and let’s look at the facts in a court of law. I have no fear, in the case of Caner, of violating the Scripture’s commands to not engage another believer in a public court.
Lumpkins’ iniquitous, revolting injustice has at least accomplished one thing – if I have to single-handedly assure that Smathers has an ample legal defense, I will.
Ergun Caner needs to come to repentance for the good of his own soul. His former defenders need to call him to repentance. But beyond Caner, Peter Lumpkins needs to come to repentance. I do not know for sure the state of Lumpkins’ heart, I would highly doubt that anyone who embraces lies while attacking truth-tellers could possibly be counted in the number of the converted.
“Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”…1 John 2:4