Monday, May 31, 2010

Dr. Ergun Caner - Qualifications

While Dr. Caner may have embellished his autobiography, he does have a number of qualifications. In other words, while I think that what Dr. Caner has done is serious and needs to be addressed, I still think he has the necessary qualifications to be Liberty University's Seminary President.

Dr. Caner's qualifications occasionally come up in Liberty University materials. I have tried to review those to see the extent of Dr. Caner's embellishments, if any. There appear to be few such examples. The following list of materials comes from a Liberty University document apparently from November 19, 2007 (link). While most of the information was verified, there were a few items that were either unverified, or whose accuracy is highly suspect.
  • BOOKS
    editor. Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2008.
  • 27 ARTICLES: Agnosticism, Animism, Baha'I, Buddhism, Christian Identity Aryanism, Church of Christ, Cultural Apologetics, Deepak Chopra, Global Apologetics, Historical Apologetics, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, LogicalFallacies, Mythology, Nature and Attributes of God, Reconstructionism, Secular Humanism, Seventh Day Adventism, Sikhism, Socratic Philosophers, Theosophy, Tibetian Buddhism, Tritheism, Types of Apologetics, Types of Sin, Zen Buddhism

  • with Mac Brunson. Why Churches Die: Lethal Poisons in Body of Christ. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2005. [Verified, about 220 pages]

  • When Worldviews Collide: Christianity against Religion. Nashville: LifeWay, 2005. [Verified, about 150 pages]

  • Christian Jihad: When Christians Kill. Grand Rapids: Kregel 2005. [Verified, with Emir Caner, about 240 pages]

  • Sacred Desk: Addresses of the SBC Presidents. Nashville: Broadman and Holman 2004. [Found "Sacred Desk: Sermons of the Southern Baptist Convention Presidents" B&H Publishing Group (May 2004), with Emir Caner, about 360 pages]

  • Sacred Trust: Sketches of the SBC Presidents. Nashville: Broadman and Holman 2003. [Verified, with Emir Caner, about 260 pages]

  • Voices Behind the Veil: Women in Islam. Grand Rapids: Kregel 2003. [Verified, about 220 pages, Caner is the general editor. He contributed an introduction and his wife contributed one of the chapters, about 5 pages and 15 pages respectively. Chapter 5 by Susie Hawkins becomes significant later in this list. The introduction, at pages 16-17 states: "This book also is written in a decidedly different fashion. We have attempted to allow each contributor to "speak in her own voice," with the only editing being grammatical or textual. In each chapter, the reader will be able to sense the heartbeat of the author."]

  • Out of the Crescent Shadows. Birmingham: New Hope, 2003. [Verified, with Emir Caner, about 160 pages]

  • More Than a Prophet: Islamic Objections to Christianity. Grand Rapids: Kregel 2003. [Verified, with Emir Caner, about 270 pages]

  • Unveiling Islam: Insider’s Look at Muslim Life. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2002. [Verified, with Emir Caner, about 260 pages]

  • Hills and Hearts of Gold. Atlanta: Brentwood, 1995. [Verified, about 445 pages]

  • Baker Cult Dictionary, H. Wayne House, editor. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008
  • 12 ARTICLES: Advaita Fellowship, Ahura Mazda, Ankh, Baha'u'llah, Buddhist Zarathushtra, Maulana Muhammed Ali, Muhammed, Sikh Dharma, Sikh Foundation, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Qur'an, Zoroastrianism [I found a book by a similar title that is planned for publication this year. I could not, however, find any book like this from 2008.]

  • ARTICLES IN PUBLISHED BOOKS
  • Apologetics Study Bible, Norman Geisler, editor. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, October 2007
  • 2 ARTICLES: Is Allah Identical to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?, How is Jihad Understood in Islam? [Verified, 4 and 6 pages respectively.]

  • The Last Sermon I Would Preach If Jesus Were Coming Back Tomorrow, Forrest Pollack, editor [Semi-verified, book has about 420 pages and Caner contributed, size of Caner's contribution not known]

  • Bell Shoals, FL: Encouraging Word, August 2007 "Is God a Man or a Woman?" [I could not verify this, although one of Caner's famous sermons has that title.]

  • ARTICLES IN ACADEMIC JOURNALS
  • "Voices from the Past; Voices for the Pew," Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry. Fall 2004. [Verified, 16 pages, available here.]

  • “The Metaphor of the Veil,” Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Summer 2004). [I could not verify this. The closest result was "The Essence of the Veil: The Veil as a Metaphor for Islamic Women" by Susie Hawkins in the Spring 2004, there is no Summer 2004, issue of the JBM&W. (link to pdf of article)(link to html version of article)(link to entire journal issue) The title line has the following footnote: "This article was originally published in, and has been slightly adapted from, Ergun Mehmet Caner, ed., Voices Behind the Veil: The World of Islam through the Eyes of Women (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2003) 93-106. Used by permission of Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. All rights reserved."]

  • "Disciplinarianism v. Complimentarianism [sic]: Contrasting the View of Woman from the Qur'an and the Bible," Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Summer 2003). [Not verified. There is no Summer 2003 issue. The Fall 2004 issue has an article by Rob Lister that reviews Dr. Caner's Voices Behind the Veil and mentions Ms. Hawkins' article. (link to pdf of article)(link to html version of article)(link to entire journal issue)]

  • “The Doctrine of Holy War in the Hadith,” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. (Spring 2004). [Verified, under the title, "The Doctrine of Jihad in the Islamic Hadith," with Emir Caner, 10 pages, available here]

  • “Answering the Purpose Driven Mosque,” Faith and Mission Journal. Fall 2003. [Verified except date, Fall 2002, abstract available here - see also "The Purpose Driven Mosque," Fall 2005 Christian Apologetics Journal, abstract available here]

  • “The Exhorters Bench: The Call to Decision in the Preaching of W.A. Criswell.“ Criswell Theological Review. Fall 2002, 49-56. [“The Mourner’s Bench: The Call to Decision by Dr. W. A. Criswell” found in CTR, Volume 1, number 1, November 2003]

  • “Resurrection: Myth or Reality- Response to Bishop John S. Spong.” Faith and Mission Journal. Spring 1995, 82-92. [Not Verified - Appears to be a book review of Spong's book.]
As noted above, these are the articles etc. listed here (link). The places where issues arose were:
  1. Baker Cult Dictionary: it appears that Dr. Caner may have contributed articles for this work and may have expected the work to be published in 2008. However, it does not appear that it published then or in 2009, and I cannot find any record that it has actually printed this year either. What's odd is that in anther list of "Qualifications," The date of the dictionary is given as "2004" (see this list).

  2. “The Metaphor of the Veil,” Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Summer 2004). This appears to be the work of Ms. Suzie Hawkins, not Caner.

  3. "Disciplinarianism v. Complimentarianism [sic]: Contrasting the View of Woman from the Qur'an and the Bible," Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Summer 2003). I cannot locate anything that comes close to this. The closest article seems to be Ms. Hawkins' article above, or perhaps the review of Caner's book.
In an October/November 2009 "Faculty Focus," I found a seemingly very accurate list of Dr. Caner's many qualifications. This list omits all of the questionable or dubious items above, but includes one further item that list did not have, namely a book published in 2009:

“Holier Than Thou” Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2009. [Verified, about 110 pages]

Additionally, the list included some qualifications in terms of prior ministry experience. I've summarized and attempted to verify those qualifications as well:

Pastor
Youth Director, Manchester Baptist Church (KY)
Roger Williams
Pastor, Annville Baptist Church, Annville KY
Roger Williams holds an undergraduate degree from Cumberland College, Masters in Education from Eastern Kentucky University, an DMin from Southwestern Seminary and an Honorary doctorate from Liberty University. Williams is a Longtime friend of Liberty University and had the privilege of preaching the installation service for Dr. Ergun Caner as President of Liberty Theological Seminary.

Dr. Williams has pastored 7 churches in Kentucky and Ohio over 35 years of ministry. His 1st pastorate was Manchester Baptist Church, Manchester Ky and while serving this church had Ergun Caner as his youth director. Currently he serves the Annville Baptist Church of Annville, Ky and has been there 6 years.
(source)
While here, I really got my start in ministry. I preached in area churches on weekends, served in the BSU, and then got my first fulltime ministry job, as youth pastor at Manchester Baptist Church in Manchester, Kentucky.
(source)
Twenty-five years ago, I served as a youth pastor at a church in Kentucky.
(Holier Than Thou, page 67)

Pastor Associate and Youth Pastor, Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Vincennes, Indiana
Rev. Ergun Caner had been called in June of 1990, as Associate and Youth Pastor. He began the Powerhouse Youth Ministry which grew to over 100 youth, and ministered to the church membership until August, 1991.
(Source)

Pastor, Wood Baptist Church (Wood, NC)
Dr. Ergun Caner, now president of Liberty Baptist Seminary in Lynchburg, offered many of these challenges to his church when he was a student pastor at Wood Baptist Church, Wood, NC. His church averaged 60 in Sunday School. He actually had to do the sky-diving thing!
(source)

Compare:
In many ways, Ergun is an adrenaline junkie. He has parachuted, bungee jumped, parasailed, and scuba dived. On one occasion, he challenged his deacons at Wood Baptist Church in Franklin County, North Carolina, to a Bible study goal they had never acheived. The town of Wood had a population of 115, and though the worship attendance was equal to the town's population, the Bible study attendance was averaging only 60. So his challenge was this: If on Easter Sunday the church had at least 115 in Bible study, then he and his associate pastor (brother Emir) would parachute at the area airport.
(pages 162-63 of Brunson and Caner's Why Churches Die)

And again:
It was Ergun's first Wednesday night prayer meeting at his new church. It was supposed to be part of the "honeymoon" period. Instead, it turned out to be a nightmare.

Walking into the sanctuary of that small country church, Ergun felt like he was in a dream. It was his first full-time church, complete with a parsonage. In a town of 115, the pastor would obviously be a central character.
(page 47 of Brunson and Caner's Why Churches Die)

One of Emir's biographies provides this description of Emir's presence at WBC:
Interim pastor, Liberty Baptist Church, Hampton, Va., 2004-05; interim pastor, Wood Baptist Church, Louisburg, N.C., 1999-2001; other staff positions in Ohio, North Carolina, Texas.
(source)

And another provides this:
* Interim Pastor, Liberty Baptist Church, Hampton, Va., 2004-05
* Interim Pastor, Wood Baptist Church, Louisburg, N.C., 1999-2001
* Co-Pastor, Friendship Baptist Church, McKinney, Texas, 1996-99
* Other staff positions in Ohio, North Carolina and Texas
* Seminars, mission conferences, mission trips, revivals and addresses in a variety of settings including 25 states, Europe (including The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania), Asia (India and China), and The Bahamas.
(source)

Also compare:
After moving to North Carolina in August 1992, I ended up in my first pastorate! I pastored the Wood Baptist Church in Wood, North Carolina, in Franklin County, where I met my wife Jill. Loved it here, and it was only about a 45 minute drive to seminary.
(source)

Additional evidence in the "middle name" post (link to post).

Pastor, Central Baptist Church (Aurora, CO)

(Plenty of evidence from the era of the Littleton massacre, see the "middle name" post linked above.)

All in all, it is an impressive resume. While Dr. Caner may have embellished his autobiography at several points, he still does have qualifications that can be verified, in terms both of writing and pastor experience.

- TurretinFan

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yep, I guess by today's Pastoral standards Ergun's bungy jumping most definitely makes him "qualified".

natamllc said...

TF,

I am of another opinion. Until his error is disposed of he disqualifies himself from the positions granted to him at both Thomas Road's and LU. He may have necessary academic qualifications, yet be disqualified nevertheless?



I was quite amazed at the 'depth' of understanding Dr. Caner has been given when it comes to the Bible listening to his sermons archived at Thomas Road's. It is impressive and in some sense overwhelming at times.

I would put over some verses that to me suggests that Dr. Caner has a "spiritual cancer" that needs to be excised from him then a period of restoration afterwards given him so that he can be fully restored to function as His Ambassador not from his own self good works as I sense Dr. Caner speaks from but speak rather from the "chosen" good works of God prepared for him to speak from, cf. Eph. 2:10.

Here are some verses that first indicate to me a spiritual cancer needs to be excised and second then what the intented goal of God is for those He sends His Holy Spirit to, to wash, to sanctify and to justify them to participate in the Resurrection and the Life through Christ while alive in this life:

Pro 26:24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart;
Pro 26:25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart;
Pro 26:26 though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
Pro 26:27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
Pro 26:28 A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

He has an autobiographical problem.

Now, for the 'depth' I sense:

Eze 36:9 For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown.

One who is familiar with this prophecy of Ezekiel should note a couple of things. One, the position God takes towards Esau's line, the Edomites. And two, God's willingness to "till and sow" by His Holy Spirit sent through Christ to deliver His Elect, Called and Chosen out of this world system planting them into the Divine perogatives in the Eternal decrees.

Now, if Dr. Caner's handlers at Liberty University and Thomas Road's Baptist Church can excise the spiritual cancer and then provide him the necessary protections surrounding him with maybe a sabbatical of time so he can mend and recover from his errors Dr. Caner can come back with a Divine roar and upset the devil's kingdom!

Consider the "fullness of Christ" in these words which are for all of God's Elect Children to come into in this life:

Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Col 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
Col 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Col 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
Col 1:22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
Col 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

and consider the goal, here:
1Ti 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1Ti 1:6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,
1Ti 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Anonymous said...

TF,

So much to rewrite, so little time!
Go here:

https://www.liberty.edu/media/1162/viewbook2009WEB.pdf

This is from Liberty's website for the Seminary. It is taken from their "viewbook" which appears to be marketing material for LBTS. On page 4, they are still billing EC to have debated Muslims, Hindus, etc over 60 TIMES! Oops.

Anonymous said...

I would think that there would be concerns beyond whether there are sufficient verifiable credentials to meet the minimum qualifications of the position. One would think that whether one was raised Muslim or Christian would matter little in regards to ultimately qualifying to lead a seminary. However, choosing to lie about it, in fact creating an etire falsified childhood does matter.

It further matters that whatever the underlying reasons for the falsehoods--whether he sought self-aggrandizement, or to ride a wave of popular interest, or because he is a compulsive liar--he has done great damage through doing so. In the process he has slandered our fellow followers of the God of Abraham, whether we accept the teachings of Mohammed or not, presenting their beliefs as absolutist and evil and helping to create and perpetuate stereotypes. Further, by associating the Church with such lies, he calls into question the teachings of Christ and the beliefs and actions of all followers.

Christianity is a religion of forgiveness and we must find a way to forgive him. But that does not necessarily include his continued presence as an honored leader.

ChaferDTS said...

"In the process he has slandered our fellow followers of the God of Abraham, whether we accept the teachings of Mohammed or not, presenting their beliefs as absolutist and evil and helping to create and perpetuate stereotypes."

While I do agree that Dr. Caner has lied . I do not believe that Islam has the same God as Christians. Islam does not have the God of Abraham. I do not believe that Muslims are fellow followers. I do believe that Dr. Caner does need to be exposed for the things he has done.

"Further, by associating the Church with such lies, he calls into question the teachings of Christ and the beliefs and actions of all followers."

That would be the error of guilt by assocation. Dr. Caner is being called out on his lies by some Christians on what he has done.