Dr. Geisler begins:
Reviewing these allegations reminds me of the numerous similar statements I have made in the past. I could easily be proven a liar on similar ground. For example, when ask where I was born, I have given at least three different answers over the years: In Detroit, in Warren, and in Van Dyke, Michigan. All are true. It was metropolitan Detroit (literally a half mile into the northeastern suburb). It was in a place once called Van Dyke and now called Warren.The comparison to Dr. Caner is almost comical. While those three answers are all different, there is a real sense in which they are the same. There's no way that the answer "Stockholm, Sweden" is the same as the answer "Istanbul, Turkey" (see the documentation here). That's not similar to saying Detroit, or Warren, or Van Dyke. It's not like Stockholm is a suburb of Istanbul. Now, if the two answers were Istanbul and Constantinople, ok (see discussion here). But Stockholm vs. Istanbul is not comparable.
When asked what my father’s name was, I have said Fonse (which is what most people called him, or Alphonse, or more formally Alphonso). If one’s motives are to discredit, it would not be hard to discredit me or almost anyone with the kinds of arguments used by Caner’s critics.I doubt Dr. Geisler has gone around claiming that he watched a show years before it came out in a country in which he never lived. (compare the discussion documented here) It's not hard to see how someone could view him negatively for making that kind of claim - it does not take "motives ... to discredit" in order to get to a negative result. I myself entered the discussion trying to discredit the Muslim critic's claims, but there are simply so many (as they have been called) self-contradictory statements of a factual nature.
If, on the other hand, one wants to be fair, then there are no real grounds to support the allegations of Caner’s critics that he is a liar and a fraud who repeatedly embellished things to support his own claims. No group authorized to investigate his statements have proclaimed any such conclusion. Nor did the Board committee at Liberty University that examined him. Rather, they said, “After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has some factual statements that are self-contradictory [as we have discussed above]. However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager…. [as his critics had charged]. Hence, The university has offered and Dr. Caner has accepted an employment contract for the 2010-2011 academic year. Dr. Caner will remain on the faculty of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary as a Professor.”No grounds? Seriously? What level of a pattern of wrong claims about his past would be necessary to be "some grounds" if the current evidence is "no grounds"? More likely, however, Dr. Geisler is simply unfamiliar with all of the evidence. He hasn't had to sit down and listen to Caner speaking for hour on end, hearing the different stories in their relevant context. Perhaps I'm wrong about that, but if I am - I have to wonder how Dr. Geisler could say what he says in good conscience.
As far as "No group authorized to investigate his statements have proclaimed any such conclusion" goes, I'm not sure we will actually ever know. Do we know who the investigative committee at Liberty was? Was their report, which was given to the committee of Liberty trustees, ever released to the public? Will it be released to the public? Does Dr. Geisler have access to it? Have any other groups except that one been authorized to investigate his statements? Did Dr. Geisler's school authorize an investigation in parallel to Liberty's investigation?
Clearly, Liberty found no moral culpability or doctrinal deviation or else they would not have kept him on the faculty. One can only speculate as to why his contract as Dean was not renewed. Certainly, it could not have been because Liberty is an institution that has eschews controversy. For it could be said that the founder Jerry Falwell, whom I have greatly admired and praised, had “controversy” as his middle name! My own guess, having taught at Liberty University and knowing many of its leaders and workings quite well, is that the decision was more institutional in nature.What does "institutional" mean? Was Dr. Caner unfairly relieved of his position at Liberty? If he was, and if someone can show that to me, I will be his most vocal advocate to get that position back.
Or does Dr. Geisler think this was just a coincidence? It's a little hard to buy that.
But if it was fair decision, doesn't it suggest some form of moral culpability was the perception of the trustees? Or was the reason a question of competence? Or something else?
The trustees certainly did not say that they found no evidence of wrong-doing on Dr. Caner's part, something we would hope to see in any announcement that also announced that Dr. Caner was not continuing as Dean, if that's what the trustees wanted to convey.
Perhaps we will never know - and we can speculate all day about what motivated the Liberty trustees. To all appearances, the Liberty trustees are not talking about this any more than they already have. All we can see is that they found that statements were made that were not true (self-contradictory), and they took negative action with respect to Dr. Caner. They confirmed what we already knew: that Dr. Caner was a Muslim who converted as a teenager.
If only Geisler were as cautious as the Liberty trustees, he would not be faced with putting himself in the position he now finds himself, as he digs himself deeper and deeper in his attempt to defend Dr. Caner. While I can certainly appreciate his obvious loyalty, I think he's making a mistake here.
Then again, perhaps there are appropriate answers to the responses I have provided above. I would like nothing better than to be shown that Dr. Ergun Caner is completely innocent of all the charges that have been placed against him. If Dr. Geisler or anyone else can do that, may God give them speed to do it quickly!