Saturday, May 29, 2010

Turkey, Many Wives, and Many Half-Brothers and Sisters

Lecture: "Don't Mess with the Book" (mp3) dated 1/5/2009 according to

The recording of the sermon starts off with Ergun Caner making more claims about watching TV in Turkey (no Dukes of Hazzard mentioned as in other lectures). When the congregation laughs at his claim that all of America was like Mayberry he says, "it's true" and when gets to the part about watching Georgia Wrestling he says, "this is a little embarrassing, but it's true" and goes on to claim that he would get this wrestling show every two weeks in Istanbul for two hours. He even specifies the channel as "BEER-oo-key."

Like a number of other countries, Turkey's television channels were originally numbered channels. TRT 1 is the first channel, TRT 2 is the second channel, and so forth. More recently, with a proliferation of television, there have been additional channels. However, it appears that until 1986, it was just TRT 1 (TRT 2 began transmission in 1986)(TRT 3 began transmission in 1989)(TRT 4 began transmission in 1990)(and so forth).

My familiarity with Turkish is obviously limited, but the Turkish word for "one" is bir (apparently pronounced "beer") and the Turkish word for "first" is birinci (apparently pronounced "beer-EEN-jee"). There is apparently a separate word, ilk, for the one-and-only, first-of-a-kind. So, it occurs to me that it is questionable whether there was a channel "BEER-oo-key" in Turkey before 1982 and whether or not Dr. Caner is simply mispronouncing birinci to try to provide some gravitas to the presentation of what otherwise appears to be a false story of growing up in Turkey.

This sermon is also one where Caner makes his infamous joke about women being behind the pulpit. He says something to the effect of that when people ask him about whether women should be behind the pulpit, he responds "how else are they going to vacuum back there." The joke get the hoots and hollers of the crowd, although Caner goes on in the next line to point out that the feminists who advocate for women in the pulpit will not only learn his view on the subject, but will also refuse to talk to him about this for a while, which he views as a good thing. Some people have suggested that this is a "sexist" joke, but I don't buy into that - he's poking fun at feminism and feminists, not at women as women. I'm not saying it is a wise joke to tell from the pulpit, but it's hardly a matter of major significance, compared to the other things we've seen.

In an interesting twist, in this same sermon, Caner suggests that the pastor who lead him to Christ, Clarence Miller, was a KJVO pastor. Caner even claims that Miller taught them to sing: "The B-I-B-L-E, and the version is the K-J-V, I'm going to heaven with the 1611, the B-I-B-L-E!" and then Caner followed that song up with another like it: "I dreamed I went to heaven, and I dreamed I went to hell, because you wouldn't witness to me, I walked along the lake of fire and read the N-I-V."

Later in the sermon, Caner states: "In my family, my father had many wives. I had many half-brothers and sisters." (around 21:29 into the sermon) The only children that Acar Caner mentions in his will, however, are Caner's two half sisters who were both the daughters of Acar Caner's second and surviving wife (link to copy of will). At least, we cannot find any record of Acar Caner having any other wives except Ergun's mom and the woman who married Ergun's father after Ergun's father and mother got divorced.

One interesting thing is Caner's comment (around 43 minutes in) that "my grandma didn't have 81 types of medicine, she had Bactine, Merthiolate, monkey blood, y'all know what I'm talkin' about?" The comments suggests Caner was raised by his grandmother, although the rest of his references were to "mama" so perhaps it was just a misstatement by Caner.

- TurretinFan

UPDATE: In a lecture called The Gospel According to Oprah (mp3) dated 2/8/2010 according to, Caner makes similar comments around 30 minutes in suggesting that he was raised by (and even received corporeal discipline from) his grandmother in addition to his mother. Perhaps it is just a coincidence but he mentions them as being the ones who disciplined him.

N.B. It seems that some of materials I have been linking to have been disappearing from the sites where they are hosted. The same thing may happen to this sermon, but permits you to download this sermon at the link I've provided above.

UPDATE: to replace Mathylaid (sp?) with Merthiolate, thanks to John Bugay.


Anonymous said...

I remember Emir Caner says on a recording that their grandmother had a significant part in their raising. I believe it was in relation to her being in a nursing home and he says how could I leave the woman there who was involved in my raising.

Fredericka said...

"Many wives" where? What U.S. state allows bigamy? If Turkey, it's been illegal there for a long time; it was outlawed in 1926. Double-checking, though, I discovered that some in Turkey still surreptitiously fill up their Koranic quota of four wives:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone has tried to track down that "debate" he makes reference too he did in Scotland?

Turretinfan said...

I think it would be pointless

StimMind said...

Who knows for certain why those materials seem to disappear after you link to them... but if it's a matter of Canerites or Liberty U trying to remove evidence that he said various damning things, that would just be an awful shame. Isn't that what happened with Mohammed Khan's videos? That is not the right way to answer the issues! Thanks for your level-headed treatment of the issues surrounding Dr. Caner.

gypsyrose said...

This is the Turkish article I translated, notice the date is 6/13/2033

Ruşen Çakır 13.06.2003

2 Türk rahip kardeş yazdıkları kitapla İslama'a bayrak açtı
The title says: 2 Turkish pastor brothers have declared war upon Islam

Türk asıllı iki kardeşin yazdığı bir kitap, bir yıldır ABD'nin Hıristiyan köktendinci çevrelerinde baştacı ediliyor

The brothers' book has been a bestseller in Christian fundamentalist circles

Türk asıllı iki kardeşin yazdığı bir kitap, bir yıldır ABD'nin Hıristiyan köktendinci çevrelerinde baştacı ediliyor. "Unveiling İslam: An Insider's Look at Müslim Life and Beliefs" (İslam'ın Gerçek Yüzü: Müslümanların inanç ve Hayatına içerden Bir Bakış) adını taşıyan kitap, Müslümanlara yönelik misyonerlik faaliyetlerinin temel referanslarından biri olmuş durumda. Kitabın yazarları Ergun ve Emir Caner, diğer kardeşleri Erdem ile birlikte küçük yaşta Hıristiyanlığı seçip en tutucu kiliselerden Güney Baptist Konvansiyonu bünyesinde rahiplik eğitimi almışlar. Halen Konvansiyona bağlı eğitim kurumlarda hocalık yapıyorlar. Caner kardeşler, kısa sürede 100 bini aşkın sattığı söylenen kitapları sayesinde değişik eyaletlerde konferanslar veriyor ve görsel ve yazılı medyaya konuk oluyorlar.

tells of the background of the Caner brothers and their activities

Ağır hakaretler var

There are Serious allegations

Kitabın ilk duyulması, Konvansiyonun geçen Haziran ayındaki kongresinde Başkan Jerry Vines'ın sarf ettiği sözlerle olmuş, "İslam'ın Hıristiyanlık kadar iyi olduğuna inanmamızı istiyorlar. Hıristiyanlık bakire bir anadan doğma Tanrı'nın oğlu İsa tarafından kuruldu" diyen Vines, Hz. Muhammed hakkında, eşlerinin sayısı ve bunlardan Hz. Ayşe'nin yaşından hareketle çok ağır hakaretlerde bulunmuş ve İslam'ı "şeytani bir din" olarak tarif etmişti. Yoğun tepkiler üzerine Vines kendini şöyle savunacaktı: Ben bu bilgileri, iki eski Müslüman'ın yazdığı bir kitaptan aldım. Onların da kaynağı hadis kitaplarıymış. Eğer bir yanlışım varsa Müslümanlar beni düzeltsin.

Describes Vines' view of Islam and quotes from him on the book

Dışardan bakıyorlar

They (the brothers) are looking from the outside at Islam

Caner kardeşlere göre İslamiyet bir korku ve korkutma dini.

According to the Caners, Islam is a religion besed on fear and a religion to be feared

Onlara göre İslamiyetin Allahı ile Hıristiyanlığın Yehovası aynı değil.

They claim that Allah and the Christian Jehovah are not the same God

Kitapları çok satıyor ama Canerlere "İslam uzmanı" demek zor.

Their books sell well, however it is hard to call the brothers experts in Islam

Part 1

gypsyrose said...

Part 2
Öncelikle, Ne Arapça biliyorlar, ne de babalarının dili olan Türkçeyi.

First of all, they do not know Arabic or their father's language, Turkish.

Başvuru kaynaklarının hepsi İngilizce ve bunların çoğu da üçüncü sınıf polemik kitapları. Herhangi bir İslam ülkesinde yaşadıklarına dair bir ipucu da yok.

All their empirical data originates in English, and most are third-rate books on polemics. There is no indication of which-ever Muslim country they have lived in. There is no thread at all about this.

Anne de Hristiyan

The mother is a Christian

Caner kardeşlerin hayatına bakınca, kitabın en büyük avantajı olan "içerden bakış" iddiasının pek de doğru olmadığı görülüyor.

As one looks at the lives of the Caner brothers,their one advantage that they were "looking at Islam from the inside", does not seem to be borne out by the facts.

Örneğin Ergun daha 15 yaşında, babası rahip olan bir arkadaşı aracılığıyla Hıristiyan olmuş, onu hemen diğer kardeşler takip etmiş.

The example that Ergun gives that he became a Christian though a friend at the age of 15 whose father was a pastor, and that his brothers followed him afterwards into the religion.

Köklü bir İstanbul ailesinden gelen babaları da dindar ama laik değerlere bağlı bir mühendismiş.

His father's family had its roots in Istanbul. His father was an engineer and a religious man who was also attached to his secular values

İsveç'te mühendislik okuyan Acar Caner, Müslüman olan İsveçli eşiyle 1969'da Ohio eyaletinin başkenti Columbus'a yerleşmiş.

Acar Caner studied engineering in Sweden and then moved to the capital of Ohio, Columbus, in 1969, with his Swedish wife who had converted to Islam.

Çift kısa süre sonra boşanınca üç kardeş anneleriyle yaşamaya başlamış ve İslam kültüründen iyice uzaklaşmışlar. Bir süre sonra annelerini de yeniden Hıristiyan yapmışlar.

Soon after, the couple were divorced and all three of the children lived with their mother. They had already been distanced from Islamic culture. After that they also reconverted their mother into Christianity.

Babaları reddetti

Their father disowned them

Caner kardeşler İslam'ı kötülemek için hiçbir fırsatı kaçırmıyorlar.

The Caner brothers never pass up any opportunity to criticise/condemn Islam pass.

Örneğin babaları hakkında şöyle yazıyorlar:

Here is an example of what they write about their father:

Bizi evlatlıktan reddetti.

He disowned us as his children.

Ama daha kötüsü de olabilirdi. Çünkü bir hadise göre üçümüzün de öldürülmesi gerekirdi.

Yet it could have been worse. According to a Hadith, he could have caused/asked for our deaths.

"Türk kültürünün bir parçasıyız"

We are part of Turkish culture

Dallas'taki Criswell Koleji'nde Kilise tarihi dersi veren Dr. Ergun Caner sorularımızı şöyle yanıtladı:

Dr. Ergun Caner, who teaches Church History at Dallas's Criswell College, answered the (our) questions put to him, thusly:

gypsyrose said...

Part 3
* Kendinizi Türk olarak görüyor musunuz?

Do you see yourself as a Turk?

Caner: Evet, tabii ki baba tarafından Türk'üm.

Of course, from my father's side I am Turkish

Ailemin büyük kısmı İstanbul ve Ankara'da yaşamış.

Most of my family has lived in Ankara or Istanbul

Halen çoğu orada, ama 1969'da ABD'ye göçtüğümüz için herhangi bir temasımız yok.

Most of them are still there, however since we moved to the USA in 1969, we have no contact.

Bir Türk olarak geçmişimden gurur duyuyorum. Hepimizin evlerinde Atatürk resmi bulunur.

As a Turk, I feel proud of my heritage. We all have pictures of Ataturk in our houses. (tr. founder of the Turkish republic M.K. Ataturk)

Zaten çok sayıda Türk Hıristiyan da var. Biz de Türk kültürünün bir parçasıyız.

Anyway, there are many Turkish Christians, we are ALSO part of Turkish culture.

* Kitabın "içerden" olduğunu söylüyorsunuz...

The book is written from Inside of Islam (tr, written as one who was Muslim)

Caner: "İçerden" sözünü yayıncı koymuş başlığa.

The word "inside", (tr. meaning devout), was added by the publisher.

Ne kadar "içerden" olduğumuza pek emin değilim.

I cannot be sure how much "inside" (devout) we are/were.

Ama birer Sünni Müslüman olarak yetiştirildiğimiz ortada.

Yet, it is a fact that we were raised as Sunni Muslims.

Zaten babam da ölene kadar camide çok aktifti.

My father was active in the mosque until he died.

Ne zaman ki İsa'nın sadece bir
peygamber olmadığına inandık, o zaman Hıristiyan olduk.

When we finally came to the conclusion that Jesus was not only a prophet, we became Christians

* Neden böyle bir kitap yazdınız?

Why did you write a book like this? (Unveiling Islam)

Caner: Biz İslam uzmanı filan değiliz.

We are not experts in Islam.

Sadece Kuran'ı okuduk ve camideki imamı dinledik.

We only read the Qur'an and listened to the Imam.

Amerikalılar'ın Müslümanlarla ilişkileri olmadığı için onlara İslami hayatı, Müslümanlar'ın Kuran'ı nasıl farklı farklı yorumladıklarını anlatmak istedik.

Because Americans are not aware/familiar with Islam, we decided to write a book about Islamic life, how differently the Qur'an is used by Muslims
. We wanted to explain it.

* Kitap neden best-seller oldu?

How/why did the book become a bestseller?

Caner: Daha çok satan kitaplar var. Bizimkinin şansı belli bir Hıristiyan okuyucuya yönelik yazılmış olması.

There are those who sell more books. Our biggest luck was in writing for a particular Christian audience

* Eleştirilere ne diyorsunuz?

How do you feel about the controversies it created?

Caner: Hiçbir şey.

Nothing at all.

Bazı Müslümanlar sırf Türk olduğumuz için bizi eleştiriyor.

Some Muslims find it controversial because we are Turkish

Çünkü hala Atatürk'ün hilafeti kaldırmış olmasına kızgınlar.

They are still angry that Ataturk abolished the Chaliphate. (tr. 1924)

Bazıları Hıristiyan olduğumuz için kızıyor. Bazıları da genç yaşta Hıristiyan olmamıza bozuluyor.

There are some who are angry that we converted to Christianity, others, that we converted while youngsters.
Yazarımızın Tüm Yazıları İçin Tıklayınız...

Turkiye nin bağımsız gazetesi

gypsyrose said...

sorry the date is 6/13/2003

Bennett Willis said...

Dr. Caner seems to find it much easier to stick with the truth when he is working in Turkish. The translation seems both correct and reasonable when compared with the documentation (other than many of Dr. Caner's contributions). Maybe he thought they would know if he embellished.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Willis

you wrote: "Dr. Caner seems to find it much easier to stick with the truth when he is working in Turkish.....".

I have been going to Thomas Road's webpage and listening to all of the Dr. Caner messages there. I have noticed another trend. For instance in his April 8th, 2007 "layman" talk you get a glimpse of the "real" Ergun as he talks about his son Braxton being 8 years old. He assimulates audibly talking to Braxton, presumably Braxton and his sugar bear are in the audience when he says of himself, "when I was eight years old I had to mow the lawn".

I don't know, maybe it's just me but I could relate to that because when I was eight years old my dad made me mow the lawns at my house!

gypsyrose said...

Bennett Willis said:
"Dr. Caner seems to find it much easier to stick with the truth when he is working in Turkish."

The article states:

Öncelikle, Ne Arapça biliyorlar, ne de babalarının dili olan Türkçeyi.

First of all, they do not know Arabic or their father's language, Turkish.

So the interviewer is saying "they" meaning Ergun and Emir Caner, they do not know any Arabic or Turkish.

Most likely, the questions were not given to them in Turkish because it WAS KNOWN that they did not know Turkish and most likely the English answers were translated
into Turkish for the written column. I noticed asterix marks, I think this would be for clarification of language and dates of the interview. I did not see that however, this is an old column. The writer would have his notes or the paper that ran them, VATAN.
I had seen Ergun reference this interview somewhere but cannot find it now. He said the newspaper was "Haberda--", something that I knew had to be incorrect. He obviously did not remember the name of the newspaper, yet remembered, the SITE NOTATION that the interview was found under in the newspaper.
That suggested to me he was not familiar with Turkish publications on or off the internet, so why did he give the interview to a newspaper he did not know anything about?
That's the reason I see very little spin in this article because they did not ask him specific personal questions but only those to expose himself and his claims further.

Turretinfan said...


Are you a native speaker of Turkish? I ask this, because I assume I will get the same question from others if I reference your translation of this article.


Anonymous said...

Just continuing with Mr. Willis' words: " "Dr. Caner seems to find it much easier to stick with the truth when he is working in Turkish.....".

I have been listening to the Thomas Road's archive messages of Dr. Caner.

Again, when listening to a series he did in July of 2007, on the evening of July 15 about mid way through the message Dr. Caner gives another insight into what I believe to be the truth. He talks about being bullied on the school bus on his way home from school. He says it was during 3rd Grade. Because I started Elementary school when I was 4 and a half years old, born in November, I would have been 8 years old in the third grace. Also Dr. Caner talks about doing Prom nights and letting the adults do the dancing so as to humiliate the present youth pushing for a Prom night being sanctioned by Thomas Road Baptist Church. He talks about envisioning Dr. Falwell Jr. doing a kind of dance and another Peer of Thomas Road doing another kind of dance and himself doing "break dancing" which was a new thing during the early 1970's in N.Y. among the black youth and the Hispanic youth which again seems to indicate Dr. Caner was very much a part of the latest "American" culture and fads of that era, the 1970's. It makes me wonder if "break dancing" was ever a fad among Turkish youth in Istanbul during the 1970's?

gypsyrose said...

Turetinfan, yes I was born in Turkey and came to the US at the age of 8. I may not speak the language quite as someone who grew up in the country and who had more schooling, yet I can read the language and translate from it. Remember that most mass-read is on a very low scale as the article shows. Not complicated, yet the cultural perspectives are nuanced as with any other language.I translated as accurately, within the bounds of an English speaker's understanding.
I tried the google translator and it was atrocious and devoid of any meaning. I see nothing that any other native speaker would translate differently or contrary in the sections I referenced.
He actually referenced this article in speaking to a woman as far as the transcript I viewed, however I can't find it now. I have also commented about that in this same thread.

Eric O said...

You know,
I think there are far more important issues in this speech than any supposed inconsistency's. Keep in mind that God requires a man to have several qualifications to be an Elder, Teacher, preacher. Mr. Caner has a clever tongue, but does his speech reveal his heart, thus disqualify his Eldership. What struck me was his repeated reference to fighting or wanting to fight people, for instance the deacon. Is this the heart of an elder. It's one thing for the elder to tell the congregation that he had to repent for the sin of hating a brother (wanting to fight him) and another to refer to the incident as a joke. Much more could be said.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Opsahl,

I believe your remarks can best be summed up with this Proverb:

Pro 26:8 Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool.

I have listened to several of Dr.Caner's talks and speeches and watched some video clips. I get a sense everytime I listen to him a stone is being slung and I find as I listen I always want to duck and cover!

There is something I would go for now based on some of the thinking of our Beloved Brother, Francis Turretin:

This quote comes out of Dr. J.V. Fesko's brillant book: [Justification, Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine], chapter 11, on Justification and Sanctification, page 283.

The paragraph begins: "Francis Turretin in his usual perspicacious and precise manner explains how good works relate to the various stages of the ordo salutis:

[Works can be considered in three ways: either with reference to justification or sanctification or glorification. They are related to justification not antecedently, efficiently and meritoriously, but consequently and declaratively. They are related to sanctification constitutively because they constitute and promoste it. They are related to glorification antecedently and ordinatively because they are related to it as the means to the end; yea, as the beginning to the completment because grace is glory begun, as glory is grace consummated]".

You raise the issue of Dr. Caner's ordination. Francis Turretin, in my view, establishes a correct order the Eldership should follow, the means to the end, the ordination of one to a position among a flock of True Believers to keep charge over their souls.

When you note his fighting spirit and then see it by the words he speaks and from the worlds these words come from, one wonders by what criterion one is elevated to a position of leader at both the pulpit lectern and the school lectern Dr. Caner has been elevated to at Thomas Road's and Liberty University?

Another Proverb is in order here:

Pro 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

I believe everthing that is being brought into the Light here is based on the fruits of his own words!

Oh, what a tangled web he weaves?

Mat 12:33 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.
Mat 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Anonymous said...

I would offer some more verses to brighten what I wrote to Mr. Opsahl:::>

1Co 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1Co 10:32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,
1Co 10:33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

I am not sure why one should offend any of these realms? Two of the realms are temporal, the Jews and the Gentiles and the third is the Eternal Realm that God plows and sows His Word in?

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

Fredericka said...

gypsyrose, it is interesting that he says, "As a Turk, I feel proud of my heritage. We all have pictures of Ataturk in our houses." If he grew up with a picture of Kemal Ataturk on the wall, would that tend to indicate a more secular home versus an Islamist home where they would not be so fond of Ataturk? Or do all Turks like Ataturk?

Anonymous said...

"pixie sticks as a child and no hair when he was sixteen".

Pixie sticks came about in the 1950's. I am wondering gypsyrose if you remember enjoying pixie sticks from candy stores in Turkey when you were a child and before you left when you were 8 years old?

Also, in the Saturday May 15, 2010 blog thread TurretinFan posted pictures of Dr. Caner from his high school year books. In each of the pictures Dr. Caner had a head of hair.

Here again are just a couple of examples from his message preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church on July 13, 2008 where in one statement about having pixie sticks as a child, he is recalling the truth from his childhood then a short time later he protests he was bald headed by 16 years old.


gypsyrose said...

Sorry I have no idea what "pixie sticks" are.

Fredericka, that is an excellent point of the pictures. No, not everyone would, only those who are secular would have Ataturk's picture hanging.
Yet, most of us will have the Arabic prayers (calligraphy) of the Fatiha, the names Mohammed and Ali also hanging along with this picture. Sometimes with pictures of different mosques.
Ergun is saying this to establish that he is like "Turks" he knows, which is true, but a devout person (of the type he described himself when he was growing up) would never do that.It is idolatry to give allegiance to any man and by extension, forget that God is the only one to be adored.
Also, the more than one wife issue is strange. Even though you can only have one wife at a time, some (generally in the SouthEast) do take 2 wives illegally. It is seen as a family preference for the authorities because most do not do that because of Islam, but as a way to show prestige among their clan.
There are reasons for it like no children by the first wife being the most common.
There is no way to stamp out this practice because they go across to Syria to get wives and now they advertise for Moroccan women on the internet.
Much like keeping a girlfriend on the side in Western culture, yet the children of these unions will be claimed by the father as his own.They are still considered as illegitimate and cannot have birth certificates except by the father going to court to legally claim them.

Anonymous said...


can you tell us when you lived in Turkey? What years was that? I am assuming you were "born" in Turkey?

Debbie Kaufman said...

“Dr. Caner, do you believe in women behind the pulpit? My answer is well, yeah, of course, how are they going to vacuum back there unless they get behind it….[laughter, and hoots and hollers]…..and that’s going to be in half of your pulpits next Sunday. FEEL FREE!!! I LOVE THAT LINE!! But you know one line like that shuts it all up, ’cause they’re not going to talk about it, and they’re not going to talk to you for a while, which is good, which is good.”

This is the whole quote concerning his view of women behind the pulpit and women. I guess unless you are a woman who has undergone these types of stereotypes it wouldn't be a "big deal." But I assure you it was not made just to women's libbers, which would be bad enough, but it was for pertaining to all women who don't know their place. It is a big deal.

Turretinfan said...


This is the only situation in which I explicitly recall hearing him crack this particular joke. It is unlikely the only time, just because jokes tend to get reused by public speakers. If you are aware of other contexts where he's used this joke, please let me know.