Thursday, July 08, 2010

Zola Levitt - Has Anyone Let Him Know? (Answer: Too Late)

On June 22, 2010 (according to iTunes), Zola Levitt released a podcast (ZL 338 - Signs of the End 2001: "Now A Christian" with Ergun Caner). You can get the mp3 here (link to mp3). It's important to realize that these are claims that were apparently recorded back in 2001 before Dr. Caner joined Liberty University. Why are they still being played? Perhaps no one has bothered to tell Zola Levitt about the issue with Dr. Caner's autobiography.

(UPDATE: As one alert reader noted, it's a little late - Zola Levitt has gone to his grave. Substitute the name of whoever is running his podcast these days.)

Dr. Caner states:
  1. (1:25) "We came to America in 1978"

  2. (1:29) "Exposed to Christianity for the first time here in America."

  3. (2:00) "Everything that I had been taught about Christianity and about Christians specifically, just didn't bear out when we came to America. We were taught that you hated us. And coming to America - perhaps in Europe it is a little bit different - it certainly was for me - but coming to America they weren't hateful, they were loving."

  4. (2:27) "I had lived in fear of the scales for so long, you know the Injeel on both shoulders, writing down the good and the bad ... "

  5. (2:48) "I was disowned in 1982 - disowned by my father." Zola: "Really? Formally?" Caner: "Oh, Yes yes - just like in the Jewish faith - where there's a funeral service."

  6. (8:35) "As a young man, I was in the Islamic Youth Jihad - as was my brother - both of my brothers. We were in youth groups that were taught these verses of the Hadith."

  7. (9:07) "Hadith 9:50 says 'no one can be killed for killing an infidel' Hadith 9:57 says 'if a man changes his Islamic religion, kill him.' That's not ambiguous."

  8. (22:41) "Fine, you don't like what I say, you don't like what I say about Mohamed, you don't like the fact that I speak in Arabic and translate the Qur'an for you -- you know - one of their lines is, 'oh, you don't know - you're just speaking in English.' Well, fine. Bring me the Arabic Qur'an and I'll read it with you. And they don't like that."
As to (1), we have a sworn affidavit from Dr. Caner's mother which seems to demonstrate that Dr. Caner was in the United States prior to 1978 (link to affidavit).

As to (2), if Caner came to America at age 3, how much Christianity could he have been meaningfully exposed to before he came. Combined with (1), it's hard to see how (2) could not be misleading if what Dr. Caner's mother swears is true, is in fact true.

As to (3), see above about (1) and (2). If Caner came at age 3, how is statement (3) not misleading?

As to (4), Injeel is not the Arabic word for "angel" it is the Arabic word for "Gospel." It's possible he was just nervous, but this is not the only time that Dr. Caner made that error. Here's another example. When this example was brought to my attention, I basically just wrote it off - I even tried to defend Dr. Caner about it (see my attempted defense here - and here). Now that I've seen a second example, I think it just goes to show that Dr. Caner isn't that familiar with Arabic.

As to (5), I question whether Dr. Caner's father held a fake funeral service for him - but I lack any proof that Dr. Caner's father did not do that. Perhaps Dr. Caner is telling the truth about this. Perhaps someone who knew the Caners can confirm this?

As to (6), check out the context of the "Islamic Youth Jihad" statement - does it convey the idea that the boys were trained as terrorists? or does it convey some other meaning?

As to (7), while there may not be any one "official" way to cite the hadith, this particular citation format leaves out the name of the collection making these citations similar to the citation "Bible 10:3." (see more discussion here)

As to (8), it's possible that Dr. Caner can sound out the Qur'an phonetically in Arabic, but it's hard to believe his claim to be able to translate it, particularly in view of item (4). It's also unclear how Dr. Geisler can claim, as he has, "He only claims to be able to speak Arabic the way most non-Arabic Muslims do. Although he was raised in Sweden by a Swedish mother, Ergun learned enough Arabic (as most Muslims do) to read the Qur’an and speak it in prayer."

I should note that "raised in Sweden" is kind of a strange description if Dr. Caner actually came to America in 1969 at age 3. That would make it sound more like he was raised in America. But, it is not completely clear whether Dr. Geisler has endorsed the 1969 date.


I'm not sure why Zola Levitt is still using this show as a re-run. Perhaps no one has mentioned the Ergun Caner situation to him, or perhaps he really believes that the statements above are all true, justifiable, or excusable.



The Squirrel said...

Well, you know what they say, "Dead men pull no podcasts."



Ex N1hilo said...

There was a radio interview that TF linked to in a previous posting where EC claims that the Arabic word for "demons" is "injeel."

gary dilworth said...

Geisler argues that Caner does not teach false doctrine. How does myriad falsehood coupled with a presentation of the true gospel adorn the doctrine of God?

Chafer DTS said...

Zola Levitt passed away several years ago. I am not sure if his ministry knows the details of the lies Eugen Caner has said or not. I do post on the message board that they operate. Maybe I can make a thread on the issue of Caner to expose what has gone on with him.

Turretinfan said...

May I suggest that you simply raise the question of whether they know - and if so - what their rationale is for replaying episodes that contain the autobiographical comments that this one contains.

Perhaps they think the good outweighs the bad - a sort of "scales" approach. There are useful things on the program, if one ignores the autobiographical portions.

Chafer DTS said...

" May I suggest that you simply raise the question of whether they know - and if so - what their rationale is for replaying episodes that contain the autobiographical comments that this one contains."

I will follow what you suggested. I am in good standing over there as a poster. So hopefully I wont take too much heat over this at all.

"Perhaps they think the good outweighs the bad - a sort of "scales" approach. There are useful things on the program, if one ignores the autobiographical portions. "

I will focus on the autobiographical problems. And see how that goes. And raise my concerns over it.

Chafer DTS said...

I just made the post in their Questions & Answers Forum. I will await and see what happens.

Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin said...

Zola Levitt went to be with the Lord in 2006 (due to lung cancer). At that time, nobody was aware of Dr. Caner's tendency to twist his background. I believe his widow and Jeffrey Seif are operating the ministry today.


Fredericka said...

This discussion of jihad is lacking. The listener comes away with the impression that Muslims fall into two groups; they either a.) support bin Laden 100%, or b.) have not read the Qur'an and do not know they are exhorted to holy war. EC should have taken notice that some Muslims think attacking unarmed civilians is unIslamic, because:

"When we were with the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) on an expedition, he saw some people collected together over something and sent a man and said: See, what are these people collected around? He then came and said: They are round a woman who has been killed. He said: This is not one with whom fighting should have taken place. Khalid ibn al-Walid was in charge of the van; so he sent a man and said: Tell Khalid not to kill a woman or a hired servant." (Hadith, Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 14, Number 2663: Narrated Rabah ibn Rabi.)
To say "This is not one with whom fighting should have taken place" implies a distinction between combatants and non-combatants. EC should have taken notice of these traditions, even if only to rebut them.

Majestatic said...

In listening to an interview Ergun did back in Jan 2010 I heard him asked didn't you live in Istanbul, Cairo and Lebanon as you mentioned last night. Ergun replied "Our family travelled a lot"

(2 mins into)

Fredericka said...

In this latest installment:

they are doing the same two-step as homosexual rights advocates. First they say he did nothing wrong: "While Dr. Caner categorically denies these charges. . ." Then they say, oh, why won't you forgive him?: "If God only used perfect vessels, who among us would be qualified? I know of none." The now-you-see-it, now-you-don't apology answers everything, except there is nothing to answer for because he did nothing wrong.

Who has not heard: 'Christ forgives sinners. Why won't you forgive?' OK, so homosexuals are sinners? 'No! Only bigots say so!' So make up your mind: do you want vindication or forgiveness? People who insist they are innocent have sat in jail because they would not accept the governor's pardon, thinking that accepting it was an admission of guilt. You can be one or the other, innocent or forgiven, you can't be both.

Kelly said...


With regard to your no. 5, see here:

In this talk, Dr. Caner states to the attendees of the 2009 Pastors Conference of the Kentucky Baptist Convention the following:

"I lost my family after I became a believer, and so I didn't have Mom, Dad--I didn't have any of that, and so my church was my family" (00:38) .

Had they been in attendance, I really wonder what his mother and grandmother would have made of Dr. Caner's statement here.

It certainly appears that he's telling his audience that his father and mother disowned him when he became a Christian at whatever point in whatever year that event transpired.

"I lost my family after I became a believer, and so I didn't have Mom, Dad--I didn't have any of that, and so my church was my family" (00:38) .

Is he seriously maintaining that his custodial parent (his mother), long-since divorced from Dr. Caner's Muslim father, in an unrelated context (that is, from without the context of long-past marriage to a Muslim), disowned him for leaving Islam and becoming a Christian believer?

Again, I truly wonder what his mother would have said to Dr. Caner following this talk, had she been in the audience.

Your responses have been spot-on and quite helpful.

Keep on.


Bennett Willis said...

It seems that it is almost impossible to carefully listen to any EC talk and not find examples of things that never happened. :(

Anonymous said...

Kinda ironic that you are asking why Zola Levitt doesn't know about the Caner controversy, and then it turns out you don't even know Zola is dead! That was a good one. Goes to show you shouldn't assume that everyone has been keeping up with everything.

Anonymous said...

All the contradictions about his parents and stuff are so complicated I don't even care to follow them. But this saying that Injeel is Arabic for angel...even I wouldn't make that mistake and I don't know Arabic. But I know the most basic things about Islamic terminology for the Gospel of Torah, that the word for gospel is Injeel and Torah is Tavrat. I would not confuse Injeel and angel. Besides, he clearly was looking for the word Jinn, from which we get the English word Genie, and since we derive and English word from that Arabic word, and since it describes spirits both good and bad, there is no excuse for the mistake. Yet, it does appear on his face that somehow he realizes he is using the wrong term. Probably he was just drunk or like most Protestant due to their faith onlyist belief, has killed most of his brain cells over his life via drinking....kinda like Luther.

Anonymous said...

How many different occassions did Caner claim to have come to the USA in 78?

Richmond news

Turretinfan said...


The allegations against that man are allegations of private sin, not public sin. They are also allegations of crimes. And there does not appear to be any evidence to corroborate the accusations. So, I don't think the situations are remotely comparable.

- TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...


Yes. Private sins and public sins should be handled differently.


Turretinfan said...

Let me say that obviously there can come a time when a preacher's private life can become an issue. It did with Haggard, for example.