I met Ergun Caner at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma's State Evangelism Conference last January. He seemed like a nice guy to me.
I first heard about him and his brother, Emir, back in 2002 or 03, when I attended a Global Impact Celebration at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, when I was home on furlough from the IMB. I was impressed when I heard one of them (I can't remember which) speak.
Ergun's story is that he converted to Christianity in high school after having been trained in Turkey as a youth Islamic Jihadist. His testimony in January was spellbinding and funny.
It has recently been alleged that many of the things he claimed may not be accurate. In fact, it appears that he was raised in the US by a Christian mother and grandmother. It appears that after 9/11, he fabricated a fantastic "testimony" that was used to sell books and book speaking venues.
Some bloggers have condemned him without a trial; others have sung his praises from the rooftops.
What these two groups of bloggers have in common is a mutual disrespect for each other as evidenced by the name calling and un-Christ-like accusations.
Frankly, it is embarrassing and shameful.
In any case, Ergun Caner is no longer President and Dean of the university. He is being retained as a professor.
The official statement from the university says,
After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Ergun Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory.The interesting point of the statement is that he "made factual statements that are self-contradictory."
However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence.
This is a point of contention between the two sides.
The side that blindly follows Ergun says that they amount to no more than mis-statements. The side that blindly disregards (for lack of a more accurate term) Ergun says that it is polite way to say that he lied.
I neither blindly follow Ergun or blindly disregard Ergun, but to me, there is no way in the world that any reasonable person could rationalize the testimony he has told as being simple "mis-statements." To me, this is absurd and irresponsible.
I sincerely hope that Ergun Caner comes clean with the incredible claims he has made and is reconciled with the multitudes he has seemingly deceived. Just as much, I sincerely hope that the two "sides" are able to moderate their emotions and begin to treat each other like brothers and sisters in Christ.
As I said in a comment on another blog, I don't have a dog in this fight. But that is what this thing has degenerated into - a dog fight.
The worse part about it is that there are many lost people watching how Christians treat each other when they are in disagreement.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, THE WORLD IS WATCHING. Please act like saved people instead of lost people.