Arkansas Baptist News Speaks Truth about Ergun Caner

Tim Yarbrough, editor of the Arkansas Baptist News, posted this article at the newspaper’s website. It was soon taken down, he told me, because certain comments were in violation of their policy. Not having seen the comments, I asked several Arkansas Baptist pastors the nature of those comments and they spoke of attacks toward Yarbrough and the newspaper for asking these questions. Although I don’t agree with taking down the post entirely (restricting comments seems like the more logical solution) because so much Caner-related material is “Canerized” – in other words, it’s removed from the internet – I appreciate Yarbrough asking these questions.

Offering a quality Christian education in today’s age is difficult at best, but our two Arkansas Baptist institutions – Williams Baptist College and Ouachita Baptist University – do a great job of navigating the waters amid the diversity of the  21st century with a high degree of integrity. That’s why it is a bit disconcerting to see a college like Brewton-Parker College in Georgia, which would be the equivalent of Williams Baptist College in Arkansas, owned and operated by the state convention, jeopardize its integrity.

As a graduate of one of those Arkansas Baptist colleges he mentions – Williams Baptist College – Yarbrough’s comment strikes a cord in me. How terrible it would be if Caner was elected the president of that institution. Although Williams isn’t a perfect institution (and none is) it’s a good one – and it’s one that I care about. One must wonder what Brewton-Parker alumni think about this and what they’re going to think about this when the Caner Project documentary comes out and then the national press begins to ask questions.

In December, Brewton-Parker announced it had hired Ergun Caner as its 16th president. Caner, whose brother, Emir, is president of another Baptist college in Georgia, Truett-McConnell College, comes with an impressive resume as a Christian apologist and former dean and president of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School in Lynchburg, Va.

The problem, of course, surrounds a 2010 controversy in which Caner was accused of embellishing his background as a former Muslim who converted to Christianity. It is not my place in this column to make a judgment based on those accusations, but a question must be asked if this was the best move for a college charged with educating the next generation of Christian leaders.

Caner’s resume’ comes with lots of other things (at least, his former resume’). As stated by Caner in books, interviews, and other forums for over a decade, Caner had over 60 debates with those of other faiths as an apologist. Of course, this is a claim he has ceased making, saying that he didn’t know a “debate” was by definition, moderated. It turns out he’s had no debates. This is one example of the gradually shrinking resume’ of Ergun Caner.

Nonetheless, Yarbrough’s question is correct. I wish that the author would have made a judgment – he certainly has the necessary information to make a sound judgment. But his question of whether or not this is the best move for a college charged with educating the next generation of Christian leaders has to be asked.

 However, when a leader gets caught up in a scandal amid numerous allegations – many of which are supported by video evidence plastered all over the Internet – should the leader continue to be provided a platform of leadership in charge of influential young minds who will one day lead our country?

Yes – many of which are supported by video evidence plastered all over the Internet. It’s so refreshing to see a Baptist journalist speak honest, obvious truth. Yes – Caner has lied and there’s undeniable evidence for it. And then, Yarbrough makes another great point…

It boils down to integrity, not only of the ones chosen to lead – like Caner – but of those in the leadership roles who provide him a pathway to become an authority figure.

The over all controversy here is not merely about Ergun Caner – it must be about those that have provided him a pathway to leadership. It must be about Bucky Kennedy and the Brewton-Parker Trustees. It must be about those who continue to endorse him. And it must be about those like Peter Lumpkins and CB Scott who continue to serve him instead of caring for his soul and calling him to repentance.


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45 Responses

  1. Caner_Repent says:

    I don’t understand. I never got to see the original article or comments so I don’t know what was said, but every article currently available on the ABN website says that all comments are moderated and will not be posted until approved by an editor.

    Why did the editor originally allow the comments if they violated the comment guidelines?

    Why was the entire article removed if it was only the comments that were in violation?

    Why didn’t the editor simply remove the offending comments and disallow any future comments that violated comment policy?

    • JD Hall says:

      Those are some good questions. Tim Yarbrough answered my questions and I have no reason to believe he answered them dishonestly. I suspect he would answer these questions if you emailed him. They are good questions, after all.

  2. They took that down? That article is so under-stated as to be nearly innocuous. This only goes to show that the Canerites do not want any discussion of his previous claims or the controversy over them.

    I believe we need to challenge every Christian media and especially Baptists papers and leaders, including leaders like Al Mohler, etc., that they need to speak up now and if they do not, they can’t be taken seriously as brave cultural leaders. They cannot be considered prophetic voices in a decadent culture if they will not speak up now.

    I appreciate Pastor Hall for speaking up now.

  3. This morning I posted a request for Al Mohler to speak up about Ergun Caner on his formal facebook page, along with the proof (as I posted yesterday in reply to the heckler from Brewton-Paker at this blog.). Just now I went back and noticed that I’m now blocked from commenting to Al Mohler.

    Ergun Caner was featured on a panel discussion along with Al Mohler at SBTS, hosted by Russel Moore (prior to 2006) and still available on Russel Moore’s website. In his presentation, Caner falsely claims that he was a Muslim 20 years; that he came from a majority Muslim culture; that he was in the Mosque every Friday. Caner claimed to have engaged in 41 debates, recounted a specific incident about how he was “hammered” at a debate. He also recited pseudo-Arabic.

    The question now: Will Dr. Mohler speak up and expose Caner or stay a silent partner in the cover-up?

    • SLIMJIM says:

      I hope it’s not just Al Mohler…but more Baptists leaders speak out against Caner…that guy is trouble

      • So far Mohler hasn’t spoken up yet despite the fact that Caner did one of his fictional presentations at SBTS, with Mohler on the platform, complete with the fake-Arabic. You’d think he’d be personally offended enough to take a stand, But do a search of Mohler’s articles at his website and see how many times the name “Ergun Caner” comes up: 0.

  4. alex houston says:

    John I wouldn’t hold my breath with mohler. Same thing happened with the sovereign Grace ministries scandal (I spent time in sgm). All you saw was unflinching support for CJ mahaney by mohler and the T4g crowd.

  5. I’ve had many ask me on Twitter if Dr Mohler has ever spoken out about the Caner scandal. Unfortunately the above comments seem to be all we have to go on. Silence is an answer.

    • Try an experiment: Go to Al Mohler’s facebook page and under the thread on questions for his discussion program, politely ask him to expose Ergun Caner (who lied in front of him at SBTS) and perhaps provide a few links to prove Caner’s deception. Then see if you are then blocked from further posting.

    • Dear Dr. Mohler, In 2003 you took part in a seminar at SBTS, Ecumenical Jihad? Islam, Christianity and the Culture War, with Ergun Caner and Russel Moore. In the first two parts here: http://www.russellmoore.com/tag/ergun-mehmet-caner/
      Ergun Caner, the new president of Brewton-Parker College, falsely claims that he was a Muslim 20 years; that he came from a majority Muslim culture; that he was in the Mosque every Friday. The truth is that he professed Christianity in high school, so well before he was 20; he was born in Sweden and moved to the USA at the age of 2 and never lived in a Muslim majority country; when his parents divorced, his mother specifically petitioned the court to be allowed to raise her children in a religion other than Islam.

      Here Caner claimed before you to have engaged in 41 debates, recounted a specific incident about how he was “hammered” at a debate. He has not been able to produce evidence of any of these so-called “debates”.He also recited pseudo-Arabic. He doesn’t speak Arabic. He made a mockery of the event.

      Will you now speak up to help expose Caner?

  6. SLIMJIM says:

    Sometimes I wonder what is Caner doing behind the scene that leads people to take things down for him or remove things.

    • I think there’s a combination of facts:
      1. Good-Ol’ Boys Club: a man like Caner, who could fictionalize his own autobiography to suit his audience, is probably very good at ingratiating himself with the powers that be;
      2. Propaganda Media: the Christian press already doesn’t like to report on bad news of their own (apparently thinking judgment begins outside the house of God);
      3. Sex Sells: there’s no sex involved;
      4. The Sophisticates: Christian public “intellectuals” (like Mohler), probably think the whole mess is beneath them; they’d rather wax eloquent about “the Christian world view” and describe the problem with homosexuality in an unnecessarily complicated and philosophical way, rather than mentioning the obvious (as Phil Robertson did);
      5. Inoculating Reporting: the half-way, off-target reporting of it, such as from “Christianity Today”, has served to inoculate people to it: e.g., they’ve suggested it’s about “bloggers” targeting an anti-Calvinist;
      6. Bizarre Priorities: for example, “Christianity Today” would rather run stories about the pope’s views on women breast feeding in church services than report on Caner.
      7. “The Old-Time Religion”: Elmer Gantry revivalism really doesn’t have much concern for truth-telling since it’s “good enough for them”, for example King James Onlyism couldn’t survive in an environment where people valued truth;
      7. “It’s None of My Business”: some (like the editor of the NC Baptist paper) that insist “it’s none of my business” (there’s even a blog article about Caner that asserts that);
      8. Politics: Geisler doesn’t like James White and so has apparently chosen to support Caner as a way of getting back at White, getting people like Ankerberg and Richard Land (who may have spiked my article at “The Christian Post”) to defend Caner and block reporting on the story.

      But all these factors together, and we have a nearly total black-out on this. I wonder, though, what will happen if a secular news organization gets hold of this and reports it loudly.

    • JD Hall says:

      Scott Shaver, until you answer (1) Has Caner lied and (2) Has he repented, your every comment will be deleted. You may comment freely after that, but that’s the prerequisite.

  7. John W says:

    One mark of a true man of God is that he will still speak out even though it has become costly to do so. Ask Jeremiah.
    Men like J D & James White have been willing to take the flak over this. Others have dived for cover.
    God is revealing to us who are some of the true leaders in the Body of Christ.

  8. What about it would possibly violate an ethical policy? What’s ethically questionable about it?

    Besides, you haven’t answered JD’s questions: did Caner lie about his past?

  9. Bennett Willis says:

    I have exchanged comments with both Peter Lumpkins and C.B. Scott. Despite the fact that they report to the same person in their jobs, it seems inappropriate to mention them in the same light in a comment. I have found C.B. to be a straightforward person who is willing to state his opinion clearly and firmly. I have never seen him engage in the sort of fact dodging, trashy discussion that is routine on Lumpkins’ comment threads.

    While the posting at SBC Voices stated that it was none of the blogger’s business, the posting was one of the most unambiguous and clear indictments of Ergun Caner’s statements (and Ergun himself) that I have read anywhere. There were 175 comments following that posting and only one commenter (that I could identify) who supported Ergun’s behavior.

  10. Bennett Willis says:

    I went back and read the comments on SBC Voices on the two Caner postings they had in early December (3 and 5). In those there was a great deal of “pride” taken in the fact that the trustees unanimously voted for EC. In my experience, at the end of a vote like this, the chair normally takes the vote (say it was 14-7) as passed and proposes that the decision be presented as unanimous. This often passes and the vote is presented in that manner. Does anyone know if this procedure was followed?

    • JD Hall says:

      No. In a story that will probably break tomorrow on this site, we have been in touch with former VP of comms, David Wallace. He had some excellent things to share, but this was one he would not. Now it would be up to Lumpkins to share this info 😉

  11. Scott Shaver says:

    JD, both you and John can delete my comments from now until the world looks level but yours is not the only forum available. Both here and elsewhere my reponse to JD’s question has been logged. Consequently, if JD and John cannot answer the question of whether or not they’ve ever personally lied about their past etc, then why should anybody venture to answer their questions about Caner.

    If you guys have never lied….just say so.

    • JD Hall says:

      I’m leaving this comment up just to demonstrate your lack of integrity and fundamental ignorance of the doctrine if repentance. Your “everybody has lied” defense is on par with CB Scott’s “You’re not God” defense. You two defend sin like lost people.

    • You still won’t answer JD’s simple questions: (1) has Caner lied about his past? and (2) has he repented?

      That you dodge the question, evade and try to change the subject suggests that you don’t care about lying.

      No, I’ve never spent a decade publicly claiming I was something I wasn’t. I’ve never claimed to be born in any place other than where I was born. I’ve never claimed to be trained to do what the 9-11 terrorists did. I’ve never faked knowing a language I don’t really know, in public, on stage. I’ve never quoted an inscription from the walls of the mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, on at least three different occasion, each time in different fake Arabic. I’ve never changed the name I go by subsequent to a major event in order to capitalize on that event.

      I’m glad JD upholds some standards here. And, by the way, he’s far more tolerant of what he allows than is Caner himself or the ridiculous Peter Lumpkins who will not allow Caner’s lies to be listed or the links provided on his blog.

  12. Mark says:

    JD,

    You don’t know Caner’s destiny, just like those that didn’t know Paul’s destiny when he persecuted Christians. To those that embrace or practice hyper-calvinistic election judge theology you might want to read Matt. 7:1.

    Blessings
    Mark

    • JD Hall says:

      By your analogy comparing Caner with Saul, he’s a lost man persecuting Christians. I’m comfortable with that comparison.

      • Mark says:

        I’m not so sure Paul is lost.

        Reading certain threads in cyber-space by those that profess the gospel, I see self-professed Christians verbally persecuting other self-professed Christians on regular basis, which saddens me.

        The manner in which some who confidently gloat Caners destiny of something they don’t know for sure to be true, by appearence act arrongant an unconcerned for him, which isn’t love.

        It wouldn’t hurt to read Matt. 7:1-5 which is a warning God gives us all.

  13. Mark says:

    JD,

    Yes JD, I can acknowledge I need to be cautious. I have tried to be careful in my words while keeping Matt. 7:1-5 in mind. My intent from my first statement is not to spar with. (and thank you, for you gently reminding me)

    I suggested the “manner” in which some theologians express themselves come accross as confidently gloating and celebrating a sad ending of Caner’s destiny (without really knowing that to be true) that “by appearance” lacks love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

    I don’t know the heart of the theologian, but it just seems risky behavior to me. If celebrating a sad forecasted demise of Caner wasn’t the intent of the author, I am unable to identify it.

    I recently reviewed Phelps forecasting Reverend Graham’s destiny and quite frankly I was saddend.

  14. Mark says:

    JD,

    Yes JD, I can acknowledge I need to be cautious. I have tried to be careful in my words while keeping Matt. 7:1-5 in mind. My intent from my first statement is not to spar with you. (and thank you, for you gently reminding me)

    I suggested the “manner” in which some theologians express themselves come accross as confidently gloating and celebrating a sad ending of Caner’s destiny (without really knowing that to be true) that “by appearance” lacks love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

    I don’t know the heart of the theologian, but it just seems risky behavior to me. If “celebrating” or “gloating” a sad forecasted demise of Caner wasn’t the intent of the author, I am unable to identify it.

    I recently reviewed Phelps forecasting Reverend Graham’s destiny and quite frankly I was saddened.

  15. Mark says:

    JD,

    In a video you confidently proclaimed that Caner isn’t saved and Phelps said the same about Graham.

    • JD Hall says:

      Unrepentant people (those living lives characterized by perpetual unrepentant sin) aren’t saved. Look it up in that one Book. Sorry, I’m notan easy-believist. I believe saving faith produces repentance.

      • Mark says:

        JD,

        I appreciate your dialogue.

        Spiritually, I think it is extremely risky to continually make those kinds of proclamations, when we don’t know their final destination.

        If you haven’t watched yourself or Phelps on the video clip (that has gone viral) I would encourage you to watch yourself. You may be able to compare it to a smoker watching themselves smoke in front of a mirror and then realizing they don’t look so cool smoking a cigarette. (a method used at smokers rehab, to quit smoking)

        In the end Caner (like all of us) will be accountable to God.

        blessings

  16. Mark says:

    JD,

    To those that embrace a more extreme version of election theology, how is it possible for one’s destiny to change?

    Isn’t the chosen, saved already?

    To those that embrace a more extreme version of election theology, when repentance occurs, isn’t it just mere formality and right to passage, to those that believe and practice election theology.

    In Mark 2:16-18 the Pharisee’s practiced their own version of “election theology” on the sinner, tax collector and even on Christ, how did that work out for the Pharisee?

    Theologians within the Calvinist school have differing “Methodologies” and Interpretations” that not only collide with each other but with other Christian Theologians that don’t embrace any form of Calvinism.

    In the end, only God knows Caner’s destiny.

    • JD Hall says:

      There is not an “extreme election theology” and an “unextreme election theology.” You can either believe in that God predestines people before the foundation of the world according to the purposes of his will or can deny it. To answer your first question, salvation begins before one is born (and before the foundations of the world) and ends at glorification (after you die). The chosen, however, are not necessarily regenerate or born again, or converted. Regeneration and conversion are both parts of the Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation) that happen during a person’s lifetime here on Earth. One can be elect and not yet born again.

      Your Pharisee example is reaching, stretching and frankly, nonsensical. Literally – I can’t make sense of it.

      But here’s the thing – one doesn’t need to be a Calvinist to say that Caner will go to hell if he doesn’t repent. All one has to do (Arminian or Calvinist) is believe that saving faith produces repentance and therefore believe the cold, hard Biblical truth that the unrepentant are not saved. Please confer with 1st John, a book given us so we can know that we have eternal life.

      One doesn’t have to be a Calvinist or a psychic to say that the unrepentant are lost and if they remain so, will be eternally lost.

  17. Mark says:

    JD,

    There are those that elect to practice and emphasize their version of “Salvation before Faith”. In their words, “Always saved.” Which could only mean saved before they repented or even before they even knew what repentance was.

    You are suggesting that having salvation and being saved are different?

    I referred to Mark 2:16-18 because the elite Pharisee considered themselves the “Elect” while rebuking Christ for ministering (in the Pharisee’s view) to the “Non-Elect” sinner. Christ responded “it is the well not in need of a physican but the sick.” Who are the well, the Elect or Non-Elect?
    Essentially the same thing happened in my church when the Hyper-Theologian denied access of the gospel to 10-12 children who were sent home from Sunday School because their parents didn’t attend church. (this lead to the eventual ending Sunday School for kids)

    Most of the rhetoric going on in the SBC has more to do with Doctrine and Methodology. I’m not seeing too many Calvinist rebuking Phelps for forecasting in his words “the Arminian” Rev. Graham’s destiny. I’m sure the Calvinist feel slighted at times as well.

    If I fail to recognize sincere love existing in a Pastor’s Methodology or when their rebuke toward a Preachers demise becomes a confident toxic gloat that lacks love and genuine concern, it saddens me.

    I hope you get a chance to review the video clip of you and Phelps. Sadly, Phelps looks dug in deep within his heavy-handed Methodology, not sure how deep you are in yours.

    In most cases, I simply don’t agree with the Method of going viral or the manner in which it was administered, because it effects all Christians.

    If a Preacher has a problem to address, go through the chain of command within the State Convention rather than carrying the load themselves.

    Moreover, some of the rhetoric I’m witnessing in cyber-space are coming from preachers within the SBC with differing doctrines, eager to verbally retalliate against each other, acting more like advasaries that “hate” each other rather than brothers that “love” each other.
    On the outside looking in, I see some battlegrounds being argued (or defended) not when a preacher stumbles but rather what Doctrine or Methodology does that stumbling preacher embrace and the doctrines embraced by those who defend or rebuke him.

    • JD Hall says:

      I’m answering on my phone so I’m keeping it brief. No – I’m saying the process of salvation is more than regeneration, which is only one aspect of the process. Unfortunately when someone is born again we say “got saved” which is imprecise and leads to this kind of misunderstanding.

      • Mark says:

        JD,

        Like I stated in the last response, I simply don’t agree with the Methodology of going viral and the Manner which opinions are being administered, because it effects all Christians.

        Then with Preachers within the SBC sparring like adversaries that “Hate” each other rather than brothers that “Love” each other, it cheapens all of your testimonies, whether you are Christian, Arminian or Calvinist.

        I fail to recognize God’s love.

  18. Mark says:

    JD,

    Preachers who are debating, arguing or defending their views are acting like adversaries who “hate” other rather than brothers who “love each. cheapening all of your testimonies.

    I don’t agree with going viral in the repetitive and toxic manner in which it is being administered or debated.

    We have a creator who we are accountable to for our sins and it is that “Truth” that is sufficient enough for me.

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