Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Credentials Issue

Essentially, some folks have raised the spectre of Dr. Caner claiming a false PhD and/or DMin degree. Considering that Dr. Caner did earn a ThD, I'm not sure how serious this charge is, but I've tried to identify the relevant evidence below.

In 2003, when Ergun Caner was moving from Criswell College to Liberty University, the Baptist Press reported the following:
After receiving a B.A. from Cumberland College, Caner received the M.A. from The Criswell College, M.Div. and Th.M. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and completed a D.Min. at Emmanuel Baptist University and a D. Theol. at the University of South Africa.

In 2005, Caner's personal website stated:
Caner has three Masters Degrees and two Doctorates, the Doctor of Theology coming from the University of South Africa.

In 2005, when Ergun Caner was made dean at Liberty University, the Baptist Press reported:
Caner holds a doctor of theology degree from the University of South Africa in Johannesburg; master of divinity and master of theology degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.; and a bachelor of arts from Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky.

At the same time, World Net Daily ran an article by Jerry Fallwell that stated:
In the years that followed, Dr. Caner surrendered to the Gospel ministry and continued his education. He received his Bachelor of Arts in biblical studies and languages in 1989 from Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky. In 1992, he received his Master of Arts in history from The Criswell College in Dallas, Texas. In 1994, he received his Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and in 1995, he completed his Masters of Theology at Southeastern. In 2000, Dr. Caner received his Doctor of Theology from the University of South Africa in residence in Johannesburg.

B.A. Biblical Studies and Languages, Cumberland College: Williamsburg, KY (1989)
M.A. History, The Criswell College: Dallas, TX (1992)
M.Div., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary: Wake Forest, NC (1994)
Th.M., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary: Wake Forest, NC (1995)
Th.D., University of South Africa: Johannesburg (2000) (Dissertation: "Bellum Sacrum vs. Bellum Justum" - Source for title of dissertation, which dates the degree to 2001)

You will notice that the later sources I've identified above omit reference to a second doctorate. The first source above, however, identifies as a second doctorate:

D.Min., Emmanuel Baptist University

In this screenshot (link to screenshot) one can see Dr. Caner's web page claiming a Ph.D. (if you don't the screenshot, visit and read the author profile for "When Worldviews Collide")

Dr. Caner's answers in 2009 seem to admit that this D.Min. was honorary:
In the world of evangelical ministry, honorary degrees abound. The founder of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell, received a number of them. In fact most public speakers get them. I have two- a Doctor of Ministry from one school, and a Doctor of Sacred Theology I received last year.
However, note that the list does not include any PhDs or any explanation of claims for a PhD.

"I've dedicated my life to education. The only reason I went to college is because I didn't know nothin' about the Bible after I got saved. So I went down to Williamsburg, KY, to a little college there, and just kept going. I got a B.A., an M.A., an M.Div. a Th.M, a D.Min. and a Ph.D and guess what, God ain't impressed." (around 46 minutes, 25 seconds into this sermon)

- TurretinFan

N.B. Mirele has studied this issue as well.


mirele said...

I'm not convinced the D.Min is honorary, although I have found a bit of evidence to suggest that "Emmanuel Baptist University" very occasionally gives out "honorary doctorates." It's listed with his other earned degrees in his c.v., and listing an "honorary degree" with the earned degrees on the c.v. is very bad form. A report published in Baptist Press at the time Ergun moved over from Criswell to Liberty indicated it was an "earned" degree. Plus, prior to 9/11, nobody really knew who Ergun Caner was, why would some outfit give him an honorary doctorate? (Unless his mentor Paige Patterson somehow had a hand in it? Who knows?)

Turretinfan said...

I really don't know if it was honorary, or purchased, or what it was.

Anonymous said...

UNISA (University of South Africa) is a correspondence only university, though its degrees would be regarded as genuine enough in South Africa; it is NOT a degree mill.

Turretinfan said...

According to Caner, although they offer correspondence courses, he went there in person:

"Many people attend this school by distance, but I chose to travel there for a series of intensives. Frankly, I loved my experience at UNISA. It was inexpensive, and my promoter (like a mentor) was a great man. I lived in a region called Brooklyn, and truly loved their culture. The university is massive, and the library is amazing."


Anonymous said...

He claims to have a PhD in this interview-