Monday, February 24, 2014

Ashburn Baptist Church (Chicago, Illinois) Sermons

Ergun Caner apparently gave a number of speeches/sermons at Ashburn Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, from 2003-2005.
  • "Dr. Ergun Caner" by Ergun Caner March 3, 2003 (link to mp3) Title: "When the Jailhouse turns into the Churchhouse"
He begins with autobiographical material:

"My full name is Ergun Michael Mehmet Giovani Caner, born in Stockholm, Sweden, where my parents were going to school.  ... Raised in Turkey, and in Cairo, Egypt, and in Beirut, and then I came here .. and I came here when I was 12."

He came at about 3 years old, having been born in Sweden.  He was raised in Ohio.  His name is Ergun Michael Caner.

Caner claims he learned about America, thinking it was all like Mayberry from Andy Griffith.  As mentioned above, he was raised in the U.S.

Around 25 minutes in he continues with autobiographical material:

"I was raised for the first 17 years of my life as a Sunni Muslim. Acar Mehmet Caner, my father, was a muezzin, he was a mulima. A muezzin is the one who does the call to prayer in the minaret, the mulima is the scholar of the hadith. I was raised in the mosque.  And raised and brought here to America to be a missionary to you.  My father was an architect by trade.  He built and renovated mosques. In Brooklyn, New York, in Toledo, Ohio, and eventually in Columbus, Ohio he built and renovated mosques. I was the equivalent of a PK in Islam."

The Islamic Foundation on Broad St., where Acar Caner apparently went, did not have a minaret.  There is no evidence that he was a muezzin or an alim (ulima is a plural noun, and mulima is bad). There is no evidence (that we can find) that Caner's father was actually an architect by trade or that ever built a mosque.

"Even in high school, I would take my prayer rug out of my locker and put it in the bathroom, and begin [Islamic prayers]."

A bathroom is one of the last places a devout Muslim would pick for prayers.

"I came here to be a Muslim missionary to you."

He came as a toddler.

"You have heard of the five pillars of Islam, Abinadab, the Kalima, Salat, Zakat, Swan, Haj, ... we will talk about jihad being the 6th pillar of Islam."

Abinadab is not a pillar of Islam.

"I wore my keffiyah, my gear ..."

Most of Caner's childhood photos show him and his father wearing normal western clothes.

He talks about his first sermon being very short but he claims that both his brothers came forward.

Other times Caner has said that his brothers were saved while he was away in college.
  • "20 Things You Must Know to Witness to a Muslim" by Ergun Caner March 3, 2003 (link to mp3)
"We have had many debates over the past 10 years on university campuses and such."

We can't find evidence of these debates.

"I can no longer travel to the countries. I mean I can't travel to my home country, to Turkey. I cannot go to Lebanon or to Syria or to UAE or Qatar, and neither can my brother."  This is allegedly the result of his publishing against Islam.

I doubt Caner could substantiate these claims, but it is hard to prove that they are not true.  Nevertheless, UAE and Turkey are relatively tolerant of non-Muslims, so it seems surprising that they would care he wrote a book on Islam.

"I have debated in 13 colleges and universities. I have never once found one Muslim ulima, scholar, who would ever say that Allah and Jehovah are the same god."

As noted above, we cannot find evidence of these debates.

Caner claims that Mohammed's first vision was on his 40th birthday.

Muslims, however, say that Mohammed's first vision was during the month of Ramadan (9th month of the calendar), whereas Mohammed's birthday is int he month of Rabi-al-Awwal (3rd month of the calendar)

Around 18:50: "In a debate at the University of North Texas, there were thousands of people there, and there was two Christians and two Muslims. I was the Christian who formerly was a Muslim. I was offensive to the Muslims. And in the middle of this, what was most interesting was that most of the questions that were hostile were not coming from Muslims, they were coming from the media. WFAA in Dallas, Texas the television station - the guy just hammered me, just boom boom, hit me with questions over and over."

We can't find any evidence of this debate.  The only references we could find to Caner on WFAA's website were to Caner getting caught.  One example is shown here:

Around 20:50: "So, in the middle of the debate, after getting hit five or six times with questions, I step back from my podium and I say, 'Abi,' speaking to the imam, I said, 'Abi, may I ask you a question.'"

We cannot locate any imam named "Abi" whom Caner ever debated.

Around 25:50:  "I was a jihadeen. That was my youth group. Do you hear the word? Jihad. Jihadeen is a little boy who trains in the protocols of jihad. If I would have reached the age of 18 as a jihadeen, and I would have made the pilgrimage to Mecca, doing haj, I would have become a muj- put them together mujihadeen."

There is no evidence to confirm that Caner was trained as a jihadist.

Around 30:50: "By the way, let me cite to you what the Hadith is.  This is interesting.  The Koran is supposedly the words of Allah. But the Hadith is different. The Hadith is not just one book, it's actually a large encyclopedia - nine volumes. You can buy one.  It's about $100 to buy the full set. It is not the words of Allah, but it is the words and sayings and examples and protocols and judicial laws of Mohammed."  

That's not a very accurate picture of the Hadith.  There are nine volumes in the English translation of one of the hadith collections (Sahih al-Bukhari).  But there are a number of other hadith collections besides that one.  That's why, when one cites the hadith, one should specify the collection (see the discussion here).

Around 32:50: "I wanted to become an American. I learned your language.  Do know how difficult your language is? Do you have any clue? And I was in high school when I did it!"

Caner came to America as a toddler, not as a high school student.

Around 38:50: "My father said, 'When you come to America, marry an American woman. More specifically, marry a blonde.'"

One really doubts that Caner's dad had such a discussion with a 3 year old, or that Caner would have remembered it.

Around 42:30: "On open line radio with Wayne Shepherd I was debating a Muslim woman scholar and this was the Moody show, the Wayne Shepherd thing, and he said, 'Well, she's on the line, and she wants to disagree with what you have to say,' and she called in and she said, 'You do not understand, you have quoted this verse three times, and you do not understand.  In the Arabic, that means to tap her lightly.' I have two answers: number one, I do understand the Arabic, I do read the Arabic, and no it does not mean to tap her lightly. And secondly, are you insane?"

As far as we can tell, Caner may be able to pronounce the Arabic, but he does not know the language.  I even wonder if this supposed radio discussion ever took place.

Around 43:50: "My mother found out late in her marriage that my father was married to more than one woman."

Caner's mom apparently married his dad while at university. They were divorced nine years later and we cannot find evidence of Caner's mom alleging polygamy as the ground of divorce.  Also, compare this statement to what we see below in some of the other messages at this same church. Caner's father apparently remarried after the divorce, but we cannot find evidence of any other wives.

Around 50:00: "Strict Muslims do not allow their pictures to be taken, because they consider it to be idolatry."

 Sounds like Caner may be confusing Muslims and Amish.

Around 58:10 "That's what those video tapes are for. Have you seen those video tapes of them reading before they go and bomb? This is what they are reading: [Some kind of gibberish that is supposed to be Arabic] I declare who I will send."

It's sad that Caner makes people think he speaks Arabic.

Around 1:10:50 "I think America will survive if, and only if, it's the country I thought I was coming to. Everywhere I lived, I was a majority, Muslims were in the majority. I come to America, I was in the minority."

The evidence we have is that Caner lived in Sweden and then the US, neither of which is a majority Muslim country.
  • June 3 "Dr. Ergun Caner and the Teen Choir and Orchestra from the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida" by Ergun Caner June 3, 2005 (link to mp3)
Around 1:45: "I've been fat my entire life."

The evidence we have suggests he was not fat until after high school, at the earliest.

Around 2:20: "Braxton is after my father-in-law, Paige is after Dr. Patterson, who is my mentor."

I wonder what Patterson thinks of Caner's autobiographical embellishments?

Around 3:30: "I make my living getting yelled at. I spend my time, on purpose, in front of secular audiences. I go into state colleges, Ohio State University, Portland State most recently, UCLA, I go into places where I am not surrounded by sweet, kind gracious kids like I just heard sing and gave testimony. I figured if Jesus was a friend to sinners, and we're here to help those who are sick with sin, I don't want to hang out in the rehab center, I want to hang out where the lepers are. And there are a ton of lepers on our state university campuses. I debate. I go in and a Muslim, or a Bahai, or a Buddhist, or a Hindi, and I get in front of a bunch of people and debate."

 We cannot find evidence of these supposed debates.

Around 9:00, Caner claims that his father-in-law was from Possum Kill, NC.

There is no "Possum Kill" in North Carolina, according to google maps.

Around 11:50, Caner claims to have watched Chicago Cubs baseball abroad before coming to America. Caner then claims to have watched American football.  He also claims to have watched the Dukes of Hazard and to have wanted to marry Daisy.  He further claims to have watched Andy Griffith.

It's literally impossible he watched the Dukes of Hazzard as he claims (see discussion here).  And, of course, keep in mind he was a toddler when he came to America.

Around 12:50: "But my favorite show came out of Georgia.  Because Atlanta, GA, small station television station there was shipping its tapes to Europe.  And Turkey being half European and half Persian, we would receive these tapes, and it didn't need to be translated. And every two weeks we got to watch Georgia Championship Wrastlin' - and I thought it was real, because nobody told me it was fake."

There is no evidence that Caner lived in Turkey and watched Pro Wrestling on Turkish TV via internationally shipped tapes.

Around 13:50: "All the Turks you see on television are what? We are either devout, which I was, wearing the robes ..." 

As mentioned above, from the photos we have, Caner dressed like a typical Western person.

Around 14:30 "I did, however, work at a convenience store. My first job was at a place called 7-11. The only place that would hire me. I was Apu."

 Elsewhere, he has claimed he didn't work at a convenience store. (see here, for example)

Around 14:50: "I came to this country as a 13 year old boy, and I came here with a father as the oldest of three sons of my father, and my father said, 'Marry an American.'"

He came as a 3 year old boy, and his youngest brother was born in Ohio.

Around 21:40 "Because in debates that I've had in philosophy classes, in theology classes, in divinity schools, among a bunch of heathens, among coffee houses, I only go to Christian coffee houses when I want to get coffee. I go to secular coffee houses when I want to have a good evangelical encounter."

Where are these debates?

Around 30:00 "I came over during the Iranian crisis. Ayatollah Khomeini had taken control. The shah had of Iran had been kicked out. And Ayatollah Khomeini said this: 'We will not stop, until America is an Islamic nation.' And so in 1978, my father, my mother, my two brothers, my father's other wives, and my half-brothers and sisters came to this country."

Remember above where supposedly his mom only late in their marriage found out about the supposed "more than one woman"?  Also, while Caner does have two half-sisters, we cannot find any evidence of any half-brothers. Caner came to America in 1969, long before the Iranian crisis, and the Ayatollah was of a completely different sect of Islam (Shia), which is at odds with the Sunni sect that Caner was allegedly part of. Furthermore, Caner's half-sisters were born after his father and mother divorced.   Caner's youngest brother was born in the USA.

Caner continued: "How is that Muslims can come to this country with other wives? Well, it's called the Abraham lie. This is my sister. It explains our last names being the same. And so he would say, 'these are my sisters.' We settled in Brooklyn, NY, and moved to Columbus, OH, for the express purpose of what? My father was an architect and he built mosques. We would build mosques.  And my father in the mosque on Fridays, would climb to the top of the minaret and there at the top of the minaret - that's a long tower - he would begin, 'Alahu akhbar, Alahu akhbar, Alahu akhbar, Alahu akhbar' the call to prayer."

As mentioned above, there was and is no minaret at the Islamic Foundation on Broad St. where Caner's father went.  There is no confirming evidence that his dad built any mosques.  Likewise, there is no evidence that Caner's father was a polygamist.

At 31:30, Caner said: "We moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Toledo, OH, where we saw the big mosque there, off of I-75. We moved south to Columbus." If they lived in Brooklyn or Toledo, it could not have been long.  Emir Caner was born near Columbus.

At 32:45, Caner said: "We were devout Muslims. Now devout - that's a word that's thrown around a lot today, isn't it. Let's just say we were following the dietary restrictions, praying five times a day, we wore the hijab, my mother wore the chador, we wore the keffiyah, and I took the Koran very seriously."

Other places, we learn that Caner's mother was not a devout Muslim by the time Caner professed faith. 

Around 34:00, Caner said: "You fall down and break your leg, you say, 'inshallah,' it's how you live." 

Muslims would instead say Al-Hamdolilah or Alahu Akhbar.  Inshallah is a forward-looking statement.

Around 36:05, Caner said: "It's why there's no shortage of young men, going to be trained in a Madras, like I was - and now, young women. It is not act of devotion, it is an act of desperation.  We believe that by dying, we get hope."

It's "madrasa" not "madras" and there is no evidence we can find that Caner went to anything more than the Muslim equivalent of Sunday school.

Around 38:40, Caner said: "For three years: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior years, I said 'no.' Three years. He didn't stop. In the summer of the year between my junior and my senior year, I finally got sick of it. 'Would you quit!' 'Dude, we got a lock-in.' You all know what a lock-in is? Do you guys know what a lock in is? They are evil. A lock-in is the Protestant equivalent to Purgatory. It is time served. Because you are, 3 a.m. in the morning, wondering who did you offend to get stuck doing this. You have been covered in shaving cream by some obnoxious kid, you are filled with horribly cheap check cola, you have eaten things that don't even taste like oreos, and you're tired and you want to show a carmen video, hoping they all go to sleep! And then you find out, 'umm, Tommy's missing, and so's Sally,' 'Get the flashlights!' So you're searching through the church, lookin' in Sunday school classrooms, and you find them under a stairwell somewhere. 'What are you doing!?!' 'Uh, dude, uh, she needed somebody to pray with.' 'Yeah, well you're praying tongues. How about coming out of there if you would, please. Punk! She is not a hollah-back girl.'  

In other places, he has claimed his conversion experience was in November 1982.  In any event, the summer between junior and senior years would be 1983.

Caner continued: "I said 'no,' I said 'no,' I said 'no,' I said 'no,' a hundred times I said, 'no.' He wouldn't quit. I have no idea to this day why he made me his topic. Finally, I was going to show him. So I walked into the Stelzer Road Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio, mad. Have you ever walked into church mad? A lot of people were made that day. I found out since, a lot of people come to church mad. But I was going to show him, and I came in full gear, and I came in, Koran in my hand, about as thick as a Jack Hyle study Bible, that thick, and I carried it big, and I walked to the front, and that little, store-front church loved me to the cross. Didn't make fun of me, didn't make fun of my name, didn't call me names, didn't make fun of my accent, didn't call me a towel-head or a camel-jockey and they didn't call me a sandn*gger.  The meaner I was, the nicer they were."

What accent?  Caner was raised in Ohio.

Around 42:25, Caner said: "All I'd ever heard was that Baptists were snake handlers, and I was looking around for a box. I don't like snakes, neither do camels."

What do camels have to do with it? Caner is not from the desert.

Around 42: 40, Caner said: "And the minute the service was over, Jerry Tacket took me to Clarence Miller and he - Clarence Miller was the pastor of the church - he said, 'Clarence, here he is!' like you've gotta point out the boy wearing the dress."

It seems unlikely Caner wore a dress to the church, since photos of him from that time period show him wearing normal western clothes.

Around 45:00, Caner said: "One of the number one arguments I get in debate, is when a Muslims will say, 'What does his death have to do with my blood.'"

Where are any of these debates?
  • June 4 "Dr. Ergun Caner and the Teen Choir and Orchestra from the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida" by Ergun Caner June 4, 2005 (link to mp3)
Around 11:20, Caner said: "I spend the vast majority of my time in our culture." 

What does that mean?

Around 30:00, Caner said: "When I was in baptist student union in college, we went to a retreat - I had only been saved about one year. And we went to a retreat, and I was excited about being discipled. I had been saved one year, I'm a minister of the gospel, I barely know the Bible, I wanna be taught, I wanna be fed. I want somebody to step on my toes."

Notice this implicit claim that he was born again his senior year of high school.

Around 43:30, Caner said: "If I'm doing a debate, and there's an audience, someone will raise a well-intentioned hand and say, 'Dr. Caner, ...'"

 Where are any of these debates?
  • June 5 A.M. "Dr. Ergun Caner and the Teen Choir and Orchestra from the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida" by Ergun Caner June 5, 2005 (link to mp3)
Around 21:00 "Man, I fear no man, but I feared my grandma. My mormor was 5' tall at her tallest, she shrunk the older she got. Like a jumbo shrimp - just [sound effect]. If you look at my right earlobe, it's longer than my left one - 'cause she dragged me all over creation by my ear. Never learned English. Came to America with us, never learned English. But never missed her soap opera. Always watched The Edge of Night. I guess she just make up stories with it. Man, I fear no man, but I feared my grandmother. And when my grandmother got saved, she didn't speak the language, she was a testimony to all the senior citizens, 'cause she got saved at 99 years old."

Mormor is a Swedish term for grandmother.  That's appropriate, because this grandmother was Swedish.  Isn't it interesting how Caner suggests that his grandmother spoke another language, rather than English, but he never mentions here that the language was Swedish?

Around 23:25 "I lost my father at my salvation, because I was disowned. That wasn't hard. In my country, you are killed for becoming a Christian. So I had no family."

In what country? Turkey didn't have sharia law, nor did Sweden, and obviously neither does the USA.  He had his mother and grandmother even after he lost his father, as far as we can tell.

Around 24:15 "One tiny little church that doesn't even exist any more, I stand here because they invested in me."

The Stelzer Road Baptist church evidently does still exist.

Around 30:00 "I was a faithful and devout Muslim my entire life, into my teenage years."

You have to chuckle about the "my entire life," coupled with "into my teenage years."  And we certainly can question how devout he was, although it is difficult to definitively prove.

Around 30:10 "We watched in our madras, our training center, we watched Christian television to critique it."

As noted above, it's "madrasa" not "madras."  Granted that Christian TV is pretty bad, but surely he would not get the impression that "you hated me" from that TV.  One really doubts, however, that Caner was in a "training center" that encouraged watching Christian TV.

Around 30:35 "It took three years for me to enter the church. A year later both my brothers got saved after I was saved. Took them four. My mother didn't get saved until 1991, it took her nine. My grandmother didn't get saved until 1995, it took her 13 years. I have half-brothers and half-sisters in Chicago, in New York, and in Turkey, who live here, who are still lost as geese. Still in the slavery of Islam. But I will not give up. How dare I give up! My father died in '99.  His wives are still alive. How dare I give up! My half-sisters are still alive. How dare I give up! My half-brothers, my uncles, my aunts, How dare I give up! He didn't give up on me. He didn't stop. God didn't stop hunting me down."

Here he says "three years," which suggests his senior year of high school.  Also, as mentioned above, we don't have any evidence of these alleged half-brothers.  Likewise, while Caner's mother and Caner's step-mom may both be alive, Caner's comment seems to refer back to his father's alleged polygamy.
  • June 5 P.M. "Dr. Ergun Caner and the Teen Choir and Orchestra from the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida" by Ergun Caner June 5, 2005 (link to mp3)
Around 2:05: "I am presently finishing a commentary.  It is 2.3 million words, it's about that thick, it is a commentary on every verse of the Koran from a Christian perspective. It's the first time it's ever been tried. They went after Salman Rushdie when he did one verse in Surah 58 of the Koran. I'm doing all of them."  

We have yet to see Caner produce this alleged commentary.

Around 6:25: "I want to speak to you as somebody who did not pick up a Bible until he was 18 years old."

Interesting how he's supposedly critiquing Christian TV in a madrasa, but yet he never picked up a Bible.  Likewise, "18" seems an unlikely number.  Caner graduated from high school in 1984 and was born in November of 1966.  Thus, Caner would have been already graduated from high school before he turned 18.
Around 10:25: "In the last semester, UCLA, Otterbein, University of South Florida, Mingut(?) College, Winthrop University, one more, Mitney(?) State, I walk into those schools and - I want to set the stage for you, pretend with me if you would, please, that we are not a church, but we are in some sort of a hallway, an auditorium, as you enter in, if it is a debate, you are searched. Behind the scenes, I sit in a room with the imam, who is the pastor of the mosque, or a Hindi priest, or a Buddhist priest or monk, or maybe even a mulima, a Muslim scholar, or an atheist. We sit in the back and we discuss the protocols and rules of this debate. They go as follows: both of us go by making a 10 minute introduction explaining our position. We then answer and rebut the other person's statement and launch into a defense of our position that is allowed to last up to 35 minutes. A final ten minute rebuttal is offered by either one of us, and then the fun starts. We open the floor to questions."

When has Caner ever done this kind of formal debate? Notice that Caner cannot claim that he just means some kind of informal dialog or a chat in a taxicab.  He's referring to a structured debate with timed speeches.

 Around 12:00: "It's often hostile, it's certainly tense, there's often catcalls, they try to shout you down, they have rushed the platform on me.  I have had to have, you know, men line up at the front. Sometimes they scream, sometimes they threaten, sometimes they're just mad, they don't know why they're yelling."

When did any of these things happen?  Where is any record of them?

Around 22:30: "I had to speak, I started crying. There's my boy - my boy - my little half-breed. What?! I speak Turkish to him, Jill speaks redneck to him, we teach each other."

It is hard to believe Caner knows any appreciable amount of Turkish.

Around 49:00, Caner said, "After 12 years of doing these debates, seeing no results, none, I had my first. A Hindu boy, a sophomore in college, waited for afterwards and said, 'I want Jesus as my only God.'"

Which debate was this?  And since when has Caner been debating for twelve years?  Caner was speaking in 2005, so that would be since 1993 or so.

Around 49:15, Caner said, "I will never be the guy who has those great testimonies ..."

 Sadly, Caner had a very dramatic testimony that included a lot of information that doesn't check out.
  • "Men's Steak Fry" by Ergun Caner September 3, 2005 (link to mp3
Around 7:05: "My father-in-law is from Possum Kill, NC"

As mentioned above, there does not appear to be any such place.

Around 8:10: "I was raised a Sunni Muslim until I was almost in college."

If the November 1982 date is correct for Emir's conversion, and if Ergun was converted the previous year (as in their book), then Caner still had several years of high school to go before college.

Around 9:40: "It just isn't part of my culture. I lived in Istanbul - it's a city."  (Explaining why fishing is not his thing.)

As far as we can tell, Caner never lived for any significant amount of time in Istanbul.

Around 29:25: "And where Hussein was killed in Iraq, Muslims who are Shia will make this pilgrimage and you will see us, cutting ourselves with machetes. Cutting on this flesh. And they say [gibberish] umm - Turkish - [more gibberish] the - the - what is the word I'm looking for - blood guilt - we should have defended you - By our blood, we should have defended you."

Caner wasn't a Shia, so the "we" doesn't seem very appropriate.  And the gibberish does not sound to me like the Turkish words for "blood guilt."

Around 32:25, Caner said: "I lived my entire life assuming that I was going to die for Allah, that my blood would buy my pardon, that my blood would deal with my guilt."

There is nothing we have found to confirm that Caner had an expectations of dying as a martyr.  Also, notice the "entire life" language.
  • "21 Similarities between Islam and Mormonism" by Ergun Caner September 5, 2005 (link to mp3
Around 13:50, Caner said: "You've heard me say, I said it the first time I ever came here, and now it's 60 debates, I just had two more debates, and in sixty-some-odd debates, I've never met one Muslim, not one who has ever said, not one, who has ever said that the Allah of Koran - the ninety-nine names of terror and glory - that the Allah of the Koran is the same god as Jehovah God of the Bible. Not one!"

Where is the evidence of these debates?

Around 14:35, Caner said: "Sometimes I'll get a Muslim who has bought into the American culture a little bit, and they say, 'When you speak of Allah, you're speaking of God, and when you're speaking of God, you're speaking of the God.'"

 The Koran itself makes the claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same god.  The particular one is the one that is most relevant to the field of apologetics with Muslims.  You would think that Caner would have run into it if he had actually debated many Muslims, or if he knew the Koran from being "devout", and especially if he wrote a 2.3 million word commentary on it:

 Surah 29:46 And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him."

Around 14:35, Caner said: "We fall down, we say, inshallah, God willed it." (just after comparing Kismet to Caner's concept of hyper-Calvinism) As mentioned above, Muslims would instead say Al-Hamdolilah or perhaps Alahu Akhbar.  Inshallah is a forward-looking statement.

Around 24:30, Caner said: "August the 21st, I was in San Diego, David Jeremiah's church - at Shadow Mountain, and at Shadow Mountain, one of my best friends, Charles Billing has become their worship guy. Charles for some reason was being stupid, he announced on television, 'Former Muslim coming.' Well if a former Muslim's coming, present Muslims are going to show up too, to yell at me! And so they showed up, and what did I hear? [some kind of hissing sound] Why? Because I met something I had never in my life ever met - ever. It's only been two weeks, I met something I had never met - gay Muslims. I met gay Muslims. And see I offended both of them, because I make fun of both, you know, in my normal speeches. And, uh, I got mocked by gay Muslims. And there is nothing like hearing Arabic with a lisp. I've never in my life dealt with this type of thing."

I could find some evidence that Caner has been a speaker at the Shadow Mountain church, but I couldn't find any recording of this particular speech.  The speeches from the 2009 conference (including Caner's speech, but not just his) are linked on the church's website, but seem to be missing.  That's too bad, as it would have been interesting to see what he said there.  If anyone has either of those recordings, please let me know. I'm not sure how Caner would know the difference between Arabic pronunciations, given that he doesn't speak the language.

Around 26:45, Caner said: "If you speak Swedish, and you read a Swedish Bible, it's not called Genesis or Exodus, it's called Första Moseboken, Andra Moseboken, Tredja Moseboken, because it's the first book of Moses, the second book of Moses, and like that ..."

This does seem to check out.  That's probably because the foreign language spoken in Caner's household was the Swedish of his grandmother, who evidently never learned English.  It's remarkable that he leaves out this reference to his own heritage, though less remarkable given how poorly it fits in with the persona he had crafted in the other remarks we've seen here.

Around 27:15, Caner said: "One of our celebrations, one of our Eids, that's what the word for celebration E-I-D, you spell it in English, is the celebration, the commemoration of a story you and I know. Abraham goes to the top of Mount Moriah. At the top of Mount Moriah, he's going to sacrifice his son. He plunges the knife down and at the last minute, according to the Koran, Allah spares the life of Abraham's son, Ishmael. Y'all know the story from Genesis 22, doncha? It was Isaac! 2200 years after Moses wrote it down, and 2700 years after it actually happened, Mohammed flipped the script."

As we've discussed elsewhere, the Koran doesn't specify Ishmael, and Mohammed himself does not appear to have specified Ishmael - or at least the Hadith is inconsistent with respect to whether he said Ishmael or Isaac.

Around 28:30, Caner said: "That's why the dome of the rock stands on top of the rock! When I take tours - I'm leading a tour to Israel in March, of students, March 12th-20, I'm taking like 300 students to Israel. And I can't take all of them at once, but I take them. And if you've ever gone down, it's a stairwell down to the rock, where there's two Muslims sitting - both are ulimas, scholars - and it's the rock quote-un-quote supposedly where the sacrifice took place. I tell them before we go in, we're going into the mosque, you have to take your shoes off - you have to take your shoes off whenever you walk into an Islamic mosque. And when you take your shoes off, we're going to go downstairs, I am going to tell the story in Arabic, just to make them mad. You crackers won't understand a word I'm saying, but I'm telling the story.  And I will say here is where Abraham sacrificed Isaac, and they lose their mind."

It's hard to see how this could possibly be true, since Caner is not fluent in Arabic.  Also, the plural of alim is ulima - not "ulimas."

Around 37:15, Caner said: "He [a Muslim] comes, he says, 'I want to speak - he's lying - I want equal time,' you say, 'Man, I would love to let you,' 'this Sunday,' I will let you do it the Sunday after I get to preach in the mosque.' You can't.  Not every one of y'all, can speak in a mosque. Because if you stand on the stone, we don't have pulpits, we have the stone, if you stand on the stone and share the testimony of Christ, you have defiled the stone, they have to tear it all down, because you are an unbeliever.  They cannot do wudu on the stone, they can't clean the stone, they have to tear down the mosque."

There is a pulpit-like structure in mosques, called the minbar.  If Caner's dad was really an architect of mosques, one would expect Caner would know this.  Caner may never have spoken in a mosque, but other Christians have.  In fact, my friend Dr. White has debated in mosques, even in the same room where the minbar is located (though not from the minbar).

 Around 39:30, Caner said: "In Islam, Surah 61 of the Koran says, when Jesus said I must go so that a comforter, the word for comforter is messenger, and messenger is Mehmet in Turkish, Mohammed in Arabic."

Caner seems to be conflating several things.  The Koran claims that Jesus promised to send an apostle or messenger.  Moreover, the Koran claims that Mohamed is the messenger.  However, the typical Islamic argument is that John 14 and 15 have the term "comforter" as a textual transmission error.  According to some Muslims, the original word should be "exalted one," which is the meaning of the name "Mohammed." 

Surah 61:6 says: And remember Jesus the son of Mary said: "O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of Allah (sent) to you confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad Tidings of an Apostle to come after me whose name shall be Ahmad." But when he came to them with Clear Signs they said "This is evident sorcery!" (previously discussed similar issue here)

  • "Mighty Men of Valor" by Ergun Caner September 5, 2005 (link to mp3)

Around 0:25, Caner said, "Being the dean of a seminary is more of a distraction to me - I love doing debates - I love being in the midst of the world, and I have told the men before, that if you ever hear that I leave Liberty Seminary, it's not going to be because I'm going to another seminary, I would love, eventually, to end up some day in a secular university. Surround me at a state school and let me be the only Christian on one floor. Surround me with leftists, and liberals, and lesbians, and I'm happy, because I feel like that's where we are the most effective."

We know he didn't end up at a state school, but rather at more Christian colleges.  Furthermore, despite his professed love of debates, we don't actually see the evidence of him debating, except - apparently - for one engagement with rational response squad.

Around 1:15, Caner said: "The one we are working on right now is going to take us years to finish. We are completing the commentary on every verse of the Koran from a Christian perspective. Every single verse of the Koran that a Christian could read, if somebody cites it to them, and so that they may understand it and know how to refute it."

Over eight years later (i.e. in 2014), this commentary has yet to surface.

Around 1:55, Caner said: "This sermon came out of a debate point. Now, when I debate, I do not allow Christians to ask me questions. When we debate, its on state campuses, community colleges, I only allow non-Christians - cynics, skeptics, etc. - to ask me questions, because I like the engagement there - that they know I have nothing to fear, and we have no set up. And during a most recent debate, in May of this year, I heard an argument, by a Muslim, that caught me off guard, and I have to be very honest, he was correct. We were discussing American culture, and I had said that as a husband and as a father here in America I think that Christianity is the only hope that we have for American survival.  And I had just thrown in the husband and the father parenthetically - everywhere I go I speak about my family, my wife of 11 years, our two children Braxton who is 6 and Drake who is now 9 months. But he caught on to the parenthetical phrase and he said, and I quote, 'If you Christians believed that Jesus is the only hope, why is it that in your churches you cannot even get your men to come.' I had no response. I asked him if he had statistics to back that up. And so, he emailed them to me."

It would be great if we could locate this supposed debate.

Around 12:45, Caner said: "I knew how to be a Christian, because I'd been a Christian then for 12 years." (referring to when he got married at age 30, implying he became a Christian at age 18)

Caner's own claims about when he got saved are quite a mess.

Around 25:45, Caner said: "In my culture, in Turkey, in Istanbul, a woman's husband - his love for her, is measured by her shoes. What I mean is, if a woman is wearing rubber-soled shoes, she works in the fields; if she wears full shoes, she works in walking much, if she wears heels, however, it means that her husband makes enough money that he can afford to work alone - and she doesn't have to work - she wears these high heels - the higher the heel, the richer the husband. We had been married about a month, I talk half my paycheck and went and bought her six inch stiletto heels.  I put them in a box, I bring them to her. I let her open it. I said, 'Baby, this is for you.' 'What? I couldn't wear these!' I said, 'I want you to wear them.' 'What you want me to dress like a hooker?' 'No, no, no, I give these to you because I want to show you that I want to care for you.' 'You better give me this to make you wear them!' Now the culture wears toe rings. Do you know that in my culture we wear toe rings to show that we're single. A woman wears a toe ring because it's the only thing that you can see. She is covered. And so when Jill started wearing a toe ring, I said, 'Baby, you advertising - what's the deal here?' I didn't understand."

Clearly Caner's stories get a laugh, but Caner was raised in Ohio.  His Turkish family would not have been dressed in such extreme amounts of covering as to have only their toes visible.  And, of course, Caner went to public high school, and so on.  Is any of this true?

Around 34:50, Caner said: "It was hard because I had been raised, my father referring to his wives as 'woman.'"

Notice the implication that his father was a polygamist.  Yet, as far as we can tell, Caner's father had only one wife at a time.


No comments: