Thursday, June 03, 2010

Pastor Lloyd Interviews Ergun Caner

One of the readers of this blog, bruineric, brought to my attention an interview of Ergun Caner by Pastor Lloyd (link to interview). The interview is dated January 2009. The listing for the interview states:

Pastor Lloyd interviews Ergun Caner

Ergun Caner is the President of Liberty Theological Seminary at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. When Dr. Caner was named to the position in 2005, he became the first former Muslim to become the leader of an evangelical seminary. Along with his brother Emir, Caner has become a leading voice for evangelicalism on the national stage. He has been a guest on such networks as FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC, the BBC, and TBN. Dr. Caner has debated Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Bah'ai over sixty times at universities and colleges. He has written fourteen books, including When Worldviews Collide (LifeWay 2005), on the subject of global apologetics and defending the Christian faith.
The fourteen books are not listed. The debates are not listed. To my knowledge, we cannot find evidence of "over sixty" debates in which Dr. Caner has participated. (see here regarding his debates) (see here regarding his books)

The first 45 seconds are Pastor Lloyd essentially reading the paragraph above. I won't repeat the critique already provided above.

Starting at 1 minute, 4 seconds, Caner gives his one-minute testimony. He states:

"I am Turkish, raised 100% Turk, and came to America in 1978 as a teenage boy. We came here because my father was a muezzin in the mosque, the one who does the call to prayer. And very devout Muslims - and settled in Columbus, OH, because my father built mosques. And so, as an architect, his use to the mosque was that he would do that, and he did that until his death in 1999. And so that brought me here. I'm the oldest of his three sons from our mother. He had other wives, but - the conversion took place in 1982 - I became a believer in Jesus Christ and subsequently lost my family. And so, from that time until now, in studies and basically getting my degrees because I was just curious. I had never been around Christians until I became a Christian and so I had a lot of catching up to do, as you can imagine."
  1. From what we know, Dr. Caner's mother was Swedish. Someone has suggested she may have been adopted from Turkey. I've seen no evidence to support this. Furthermore, as we have illustrated in Caner's own words elsewhere, Caner's Swedish grandmother was active in his upbringing (link to comments).

  2. Dr. Caner came to America, from the records we have, around 1969-70, as a toddler, not 1978 as a teenager.

  3. Dr. Caner lost his father, which is a terrible loss. He did not, as far as we can tell, lose his mother and grandmother.

  4. While I don't approve of serial polygamy, as far as we can tell Dr. Caner's father only had two wives, which would not qualify as "other wives."
Continuing on, Caner is presented with a question regarding the importance of anonymous Christians. As a part of his answer, Caner responds:

"In my case, it was a high school boy who was an AWANA RA/GA type kid. And was trying to earn a badge and for four years came after me. And for four years kept witnessing to me to become a believer in Jesus. And of course I dressed differently, I didn't look like anyone else, spoke differently, ate differently (I lived by halal and haram - you know the dietary restrictions). And so, a huge influence on me."
  1. As far as we can tell, Caner converted not later than 1982, which would have been the first part of Caner's Junior year. So, that's less than three full years of high school in which Jerry Tackett could be influencing him.

  2. As far as we can tell, Caner dressed like everyone else. Even if Caner dressed like a Turk, Turks typically do dress in "Western" clothes, so Caner's "look" would be expected to be similar to that of his classmates.
The final discussion I'd like to address comes from about 14 minutes in:
Lloyd: On a lighter note, I just happened to come accross that you were recently, in fact I saw the video, I believe it was you, that you were tased in a church service. What on Earth were you thinking, man!?

Caner: Every Wednesday night, here at Liberty, I do Campus Church. And its what we call "Church for the Rest of Us." It's volunteer service and six thousand kids. It's a grunge service. The music is industrial, more goth-oriented. I'm not in a suit. I'm not much of a suit person to begin with. But I'm not in a suit, its more of a --

Lloyd: Well, you don't have to wear one here.

Caner: Well good. Hallelujah. It's more like Diesel Jeans and Afflication Shirts, and a lot of tatted kids and pierced and etc. And I just had to have an illustration. And I decided that, you know, if I'm going to pick an illustration that's going to fit, the illustration was, small sins cause the biggest problems and the largest doors of God's blessings turn on these tiny little hinges. So, I showed them the tiny fish-hooks from the taser and then just said, "Why not? Let's do it."

Lloyd: (chuckling)

Caner: And 50,000 volts later- uh - I'll never do that again.

Lloyd: I was going to say. That's probably a one-in-a-lifetime thing. I had a little electric thing I got someone on. I got this big old cop and he was crying and whining, "uh whaddya do to me man - it's killing me - my mouth won't work" I can't imagine getting tased.

Caner: Oh, it was brutal, and I had to finish the sermon.

Lloyd: [3rd commandment violation removed]

Caner: My point is that not all sermons look the same, not all pastors look the same, not all preachers look the same, you know I've got a beard that's about a foot long, ZZ Top-ish. That's just because it's what works for me right now.
My response:
  1. First of all, yes, he really had the ZZ Top-ish beard, see the videos linked-to below.

  2. The tasing incident can be found on Youtube (far-away shot from audience right)(shot of screen at event)(close shot audience left)(close shot stage right - from front of Caner)(close shot stage left - from Caner's back) From a distance, it looks like he's getting tased, and the taser makes the distinctive buzzing noise. However, as can be seen from the two close shots, one of the barbs bounces harmlessly off Caner's back, thereby preventing the taser from actually shocking him (compare reported testimony of a cop regarding the function of a taser).
One of the reasons I posted this is because some people have suggested that Caner's apparent embellishments are simply an occasional misstatement given in the heat of the moment in the midst of a sermon, where the details of the testimony were not the issue. In this interview, Caner is plainly speaking cold. It's not "riled up" sermonizing, it's a calm interview without any live audience to stir up the emotions or confuse Caner's memory. This is not a "fog of war" scenario. Caner is asked to give his testimony up front, and he immediately provides a testimony that does not appear to square with the facts that have come to light. As the discussion continues, he continues to apparently misstate the facts in a way that appears designed to make him sound less like a nominal Muslim and more like a devout Muslim.

Finally, he seems to insist that he was really tased, although the video evidence appears to indicate that one of the leads didn't actually make a connection, which would have made it hard for the taser to actually deliver 50,000 volts. Getting jabbed by one of the barbs is doubtless not a fun experience, but Dr. Caner has the opportunity to say, "It wasn't actually as bad as it could have been," and instead says, "Oh, it was brutal, and I had to finish the sermon."

- TurretinFan


Anonymous said...

Caner appears to be what I call "a blurter". He just can't help himself. He speaks before he thinks, or he just plain doesn't think.

Anonymous said...

Ya know, most of Caner's antics are far more suited for the WWF than they are for a man in his position.

His hubris and machismo-mania is going to eat his lunch very soon.

I pray he sees himself for who he is and that he can save himself the great disaster that awaits him.

The irony, IMO, is that if he had simply apologized for real and admitted his failing from the beginning, all of this 'dirt' and micro-attention would never have happened.

He brought it all on himself.

hutchman said...

I picked up on one of the taser probes not sticking pretty quick.

I've been around training with them in the Military and I know how they work and that was the first thing I picked up on. We also have police officers in our unit so I showed it to one of them and they said "No way". If one probe doesn't stick .... depending on what brand of tazer it is you may still get a shock but it will be no where near what it would have been if the circuit was complete. The probes don't have to stick in the skin to get a shock but again, the shock is way less effective. So if he did get a shock it was minor.

The idea is you shoot the probes to maintain distance and if that doesn't work and an attacker closes on you then you have to use the probes on the end of the device to make contact.

The other tell tale reason I don't think he got zapped is the sound. They may have trumped up the sound but you can clearly hear the crackling of the taser fairly loud. That means the circuit isn't complete and the energy ISN'T going into the target!

And I like the comment about the mouth piece so he wouldn't cuss. Just what a Seminary President should be afraid of.

hutchman said...

One more taser comment. One of the guys I was deployed with was Capitol Police in DC. He has been shocked before when his partner tased a perp that was laying on him (the were rolling on the ground). Knowing that story, one of the first things I thought was the guys holding E. Caner would have been shocked too since they were bare arm touching him. I asked my police friends about this and it turns out it depends on how the probes hit and the circuit is completed. Since the current didn't flow through Ergun in a way that would have passed through those holding him .. they didn't get a shock.

Anonymous said...

Breaking news, drum roll please.

I just got off the phone with my niece's husband. He is currently employed by the Sheriff's department of the county I live in. He is on duty as I write this.

I asked him specifically if he has shot his taser and what effect it has if only "one" barb makes contact with the suspect? "Nothing", you have to have two barbs to complete the circuit.

He did say that if he shot his taser gun and that were to happen that only one barb penetrated the skin, he could come up to the suspect and press the tip of the gun to him and make contact with the person to complete the circuit he would be zapped! They don't like doing that though unless necessary because the suspect is usually very uncooperative and ready to fight.

Methinks I am just gullible as I shamefully admit after watching that very youtube video, I thought Dr. Caner got zapped!

He is a very good thesbian. Maybe, if he is removed from office at LU, Hollywood would want him for a character actor part? :)

Ergun Caner Conman said...

SBC & Baptist's populations please stop encouraging stuff like these--sensationalism, gimmicks, comedies, etc.--stop your thirst for strange stories and braggamonies; especially the personality worship. This disease has created the monster EC. Stop all the noise and just study Bible doctrine seriously.

Anonymous said...

Jim, Me hopes you are not using your real name. You might be out of a job soon. Elmer Towns seems to think EC has no moral or integrity issues. Even Falwell approved the bio he put up and then took down. And of course took a swipe at bloggers in the process but decided to responded to the real "media". So, it seems to be more of an issue of image and not truth.

Seems to me most of your leadership has integrity issues considering the way they handled this. And I certainly do not believe they did not know Caner embellished for 9 years.

I think they were happy with the enrollment numbers.

Anonymous said...

Here is the dirty little secret about Jerry Jr., He does NOT attend church! (Anywhere!)

Turretinfan said...


I expect he attends Thomas Road Baptist church.


Ergun Caner Conman said...

If you go to Baptist church (I was in Baptist church for more than 10 years) you can't grow spiritually. Because every Sunday we were only given salvation message. If not salvation message it was about anti abortion and anti gay morality. I guess that is all Jerry Jr. knows.

hutchman said...

"I am Turkish, raised 100% Turk"
Ah, you're of 50% Turkish ancestry, your mother was Swedish. I'm Dutch/English so what, I wasn't born or reared there!

"He had other wives"
Hmm, the evidence suggests he had two ... but NOT at the same time, but I'm sure the audience wasn't thinking that. He claims they were in the major cities in Turkey ... it is illegal in Turkey to have more than one wife ... the practice does happen if you are living out in the boonies where it isn't policed up but not in the major cities and if you do you are keeping a low profile.

Oh by the way, I live in Lynchburg too. I've personally heard E. Caner speak at my church several times and other venues so I've heard these stories a few times and they aren't slip-ups.

BruinEric said...

Firstl, this interview adds to the set of data which counters the argument that certain claims are "slip ups" as you correctly point out.

Second, I was truly put off by the "Diesel Jeans" and "Affliction Shirts" comments. This isn't a truly serious issue, but the tone of those lines was offensive to me and it had a sick worldly tone to it. Minor point and personal preference... not an attack.

God knows that I have so many sins and temptations of my own that I am in no way claiming to be perfected by pointing out these matters.

Ergun Caner Conman said...


I spoke regarding EC lies for decade with some believers in church yesterday (they are not pastors or seminary students) and all of them think EC should not be seminary president. Who wants to listen to this guy teach? Liberty seminary students? Why? For lies, jokes, and braggamonies? I know you have hundreds of good teachers. Why ruining the integrity of LU by keeping this arrogant liar? EC should join the WWF instead.