Ergun Caner first gained fame in the days immediately following September 11, 2001. The obscure and little-known pastor grew to stardom through his testimony of having been raised an Islamic extremist who found Christ. His testimony, which he recalled many times in audio and video messages – some of which are still preserved to this day – is that he was born in Turkey, raised in a Madrassa in Beruit and trained in terrorism, learned English watching television with Turkish subtitles, and barely knew English when he walked the aisle in a small Baptist church to receive Jesus.
In reality, Caner was born in Sweden and brought to the United States at the age of three, lived with a custodial parent who was not a Muslim but a hippy (his architect father, who was Islamic, did not raise him), English is his only language, and no one from his childhood or background could substantiate any of Caner’s claims. His brother, Emir Caner, also rose to prominence in a small and backwoods corner of Georgia, riding on the fabricated coattails of his brother, Ergun. Soon, Ergun became the Dean of Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world, while his brother, Emir – complicit in his silence – became the president of Truett-McConnell College.
Caner’s house of lies began to crumble, however, when numerous bloggers began to notice inconsistencies in his testimony. Caner went on a rapid quest to delete videos and audio from the Internet that contained his lies. Many churches and organizations hosting his video or audio helped him facilitate the cover-up. Soon, Caner sued two bloggers who – through Freedom of Information Act Requests – posted a video of Caner’s false testimony to the United States Marines. He lost those lawsuits, and had to pay restitution and lawyer fees of the defendants.
Liberty University commissioned a group to look into the allegations – led by “Benedict Arnold” Tim Lee – who said that Caner was only guilty of “self-contradictory facts.” Caner was dismissed from his position as Dean, but retained as a professor. After another academic term, Caner announced he was moving to be president of Arlington Bible College, a very small fundamentalist Bible school. Not soon after, however, a rumor circulated that Caner was being considered for the position of president at a Southern Baptist School, Brewton-Parker College in his brother’s state of Georgia. Mark Lamprect of the blog, Here I Blog, wrote a blistering piece about why considering Caner for the position was a sacrilege. Lamprect was encouraged to remove his blog post by megachurch pastor, Johnny Hunt. Lamprect (who not long-after was invited to go golfing with Hunt) did so, claiming that this rumor was to be disavowed. In reality, Johnny Hunt was the one who was pressuring Brewton-Parker trustees to hire Caner all along, as his staff member confirmed to Pulpit & Pen in an email. Brewton-Parker trustees hired Caner, they claimed, “Not in spite of his critics, but because of his critics.”
Megachurch pastor, Johnny Hunt, continued to promote Caner during this time. After criticizing Hunt for inviting Caner to preach at his Woodstock Baptist Church, Hunt had Pulpit & Pen contributor, Seth Dunn (a member of his church) removed by security preemptively just in case Dunn spoke out the day of Caner’s attendance.
In what amounts to the most foolish move ever, Bucky Kennedy and Brewton-Parker trustees hired a man they knew had a deeply flawed character because they didn’t like his critics. Within a very short time, Caner had caused a racial walk-out at his college for mistreating African American students and using the N-word and for an extra-marital relationship that was demonstrated by “sexting” messages with at least one – possibly two – women. During his tenure at Brewton-Parker, Caner lived separately from his wife. In the divorce proceedings that would follow, both Caner and his wife would claim the other committed adultery. Peter Lumpkins, Caner’s VP of Communications, tried to conceal the real reason for Caner’s departure, omitting the (yet-to-be-revealed) sex controversies and likening Caner to the prophet, Elijah. Lumpkins, who left Brewton-Parker in shame with Ergun, was recently given a job by Emir Caner at Truett-McConnell.
Caner today reportedly receives disability payments and has engaged in a bitter custody dispute. He occasionally makes money preaching at church camps and small events.
Caner announced on Twitter over the weekend that he is now remarried (pictured above).