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.
Rick: I neither knew nor had heard of Ergun until this controversy several months ago. I am not SB. Frankly, I didn't care either and had lost touch with this issue until I read about in a daily feed I get from Crosswalk. I now sit in sad amusement as I 1) watch the sides continue and 2) another "less than honest issue" hits the fan. Come clean, clear the air, admit falsehood, reconcile and show the world the body of Christ is bigger than individuals.
I pray you never get caught up in false allegations being hurled your way with no one out there defending you. I can understand someone that does not know the Caner's sitting on the sidelines wondering what is going on. What I cannot understand is someone admitting they do not know but accepting a position on an issue one knows nothing about.
I see your insight and accept your admonition to remember a lost world is watching.
Bill, I, too, am constantly amazed at how we treat our fellow saints. I'm really sick of it; I can only imagine how Jesus feels.
Tim, I pray that for me and for you.
Believe me, I WANT to believe Ergun, and in my heart did for a long time. But the facts simply don't add up.
For me, it comes down to an issue of whether or not I believe his story. I simply don't. I used to, but not any more. I think I have the right to think and believe what I want, based on what I see and hear.
I certainly would not have gone to the lengths to disprove and discredit him as others have done, but, quite frankly, I'm more concerned with tending my own flock.
I hope that when if I ever get a swarm of hornets after me, that I'll have the support of friends like Ergun has had. However, if I've purposely swatted at the hornet's nest, I might just need to get stung.
Brother, while you and I have never met, I love you with the love of Christ! I love Ergun with the love of Christ. I love everyone on both "sides" with that same love.
Like I said, I'm not on either side. I wrote several months ago on this blog that I didn't like the way people were treating each other and mentioned it then that the world is watching. I made that same comment on several blogs. I realize I am "small time" in the SBC Blogosphere; that is OK by me. But I had to say what I said.
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