Friday, March 28, 2014

Ergun Caner - Harold Hendrick Interview

Apparently, on September 3, 2009, Harold Hendrick interviewed Ergun Caner (link)(link to mp3).

0:35 Harold Hendrick: "He's the son of a Muslim leader, born in Turkey I believe, right Dr. Caner?"
Ergun Caner: "Yes Sir"

Ergun Caner was born in Sweden.

4:45 Ergun Caner: "Even my country, Turkey, which is sadly trying to be part of the European Union, refuses to admit - you know - refuses to admit what we did - the genocide on the Armenians, which we actually did do, and refuses to admit that honor killings take place in Turkey as well."

There may in fact be "honor killings" in Turkey, and there may be some sense in which Turkey is Caner's country: it's the country where his father and paternal ancestors were born and he may possibly even have received a Turkish passport when he was a child.  By itself this statement wouldn't be very objectionable, but in this case it serves to reinforce the previous "Yes sir" to the direct question about being born in Turkey.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jacques Le Goff - Reflecting on "The Birth of Purgatory"

In The Medieval Imagination, at p. 86, Jacques Le Goff reflects on his earlier work, The Birth of Purgatory (footnote omitted):
Not long ago I completed several years of work on the birth of Purgatory. From the early days of Christianity Christians have shown by their prayers for the dead that they believed in the possibility of remission of sins after death. But the time, place, and manner of purgation for a long time remained quite vague, despite the suggested solutions to the problem put forward by Clement of Alexandria and Origen in the East, where Purgatory never took hold, and by Augustine and Gregory the Great in the West, where the location of Purgatory was never really defined before the twelfth century, in the final three decades of which the noun purgatorium first emerged. This veritable "birth" of Purgatory can be seen as part of a major shift in attitudes and feelings that took place around the turn of the thirteenth century, resulting in a new geography of the other world and in a new relation between the society of the living and that of the dead.
I offer several comments:

It should be clear that Purgatory was not an Apostolic tradition.  It was something that developed over time, and developed primarily in the West.  There were some early Christians who prayed for the dead, hoping that their sins would be remitted, but keep in mind that some of these were hoping that people would be released from hell.

It is understandable that Christians "believed in the possibility of" or more precisely "hoped for" remission of sins after dead. After all, we ourselves would wish to have such a chance, should we find ourselves in a similar position.  Nevertheless, such a belief or hope should not serve as a basis for our doctrine, however. Instead, we should cling to divine revelation.

Purgatory is like many other doctrinal innovations.  It can be traced back to a number of lesser precursor errors.  Nevertheless, in the final analysis, it plainly is an innovation.  The reason there was no vocabulary word purgatorium before the second half of the 12th century was because there was no concept of such a place that needed that name.  It's not that the place used to be called something else, it's that - as Le Goff says, there was "a major shift in attitudes and feelings that took place" and consequently there was born "a new geography of the other world and in a new relation between the society of the living and that of the dead."

We ought to reject these innovations, because they are not authentic Christianity: authentic Christianity is based on divine revelation.  These doctrines of Purgatory are not apostolic tradition, nor do they become apostolic tradition, simply because some people had hope for posthumous remission of sins before the innovation of these peculiar doctrines.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ergun Caner - International Missions Conference 2008

Apparently, on November 2, 2008, Ergun Caner delivered a message to the International Missions Conference 2008 at Forest Baptist Church (link to page)(link to mp3). The message was titled, "Your Mission Call" and Psalm 145 was the text (all times are approximate).

1:15 "I've been preaching for twenty-five years"

That would put his beginning to preach back in 1983.

2:20 "My wife and I are a mixed marriage. My wife is from Haw River, NC, and I am from Istanbul, Turkey."

He's not from Istanbul.  He was born in Sweden and grew up in Ohio.

12:00 "I came to this country as a missionary to you - as a Muslim, Turkish, Sunni, Muslim."

He came as a toddler.

24:25 "Do you know who reached me for the gospel? raised as a Muslim, raised as jihadeen, living in a madrassa, coming to America to build mosques, worshiping a false god named 'Allah'?"

There is nothing to suggest that Caner was raised as a jihadi and - as noted above - he came as a toddler.

25:20 "Because if it wasn't for a high school boy, trying to earn his AWANA badge or an RA badge or whatever he was trying to do, I wouldn't be in front of you, I'd be behind you, and up to no good."

This suggestion that Caner would be "up to no good" seems to part of this "jihadi" mystique.  But there is no evidence that I've even seen that the Columbus, Ohio Muslims his dad was associated with were jihadists.

25:30 "Jerry Tackett started when I was a freshman in high school and did not stop until I was a senior. Jerry Tackett never took no for an answer. Jerry Tackett didn't care. I played on the soccer team, I played on the basketball team, he played on those teams. I would be praying on my prayer rug in the locker room, look up, and there he's standing."

Soccer yes, basketball no (according to his yearbook).

Also, Caner graduated in 1984 - his senior year was 1983-84.  I realize some churches make men preachers who are novices, but that would really be something - if Caner were converted and became a preacher in the fall of 1983.  Of course, that still wouldn't fit with his 1982 claims elsewhere.

It's hard to say whether Caner actually said his prayers in the locker room at high school.  I would think that would not be the most likely spot for a devout Muslim to pick.


Reading Like an Egalitarian

Owen Strachan wrote: “The curse bore down upon Eve’s primary activity, childbearing, showing that her intended sphere of labor and dominion-taking was the home (Genesis 3:16).”

Rachel Held Evans responded: “Classic. Root feminine identity in the curse rather than the redemptive work of Christ... .”

I'd call Evans' response unfair, if I thought she was smart enough to figure out what Strachan actually meant.

Strachan's point was simple: each was being cursed in his respective sphere. The curse identifies the spheres, it doesn't define them. Women were made for childbearing before the curse, but the curse made that a burden to them. And keeping in mind Christ's redemptive work, the Apostle writes: "she shall be saved in childbearing" (1 Timothy 2:15). Female identity is rooted in creation not merely the curse.

The Teacher tells us: "he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." (1 Corinthians 11:7-9)

Furthermore, in that state of innocence in the garden, the woman - not the man - was deceived. The Apostle again, now in fuller context:

1 Timothy 2:11-15
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

The curse is not what led to women being responsible for childbearing. The curse is what made childbearing laborious and painful. And redemption doesn't free women from maternal responsibility, it urges them on to it!

Titus 2:1-6
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

What Rachel Held Evans has a problem with is God the Father's creation ordinance of human patriarchy. I'm not sure whether she has the ability to read clearly, so I'm loathe to say that she intentionally misrepresents the Bible. Nevertheless, her unwelcome and illogical teachings do not conform to Scripture.


Ergun Caner - Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma - Annual Meeting 2009

Ergun Caner apparently addressed the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma at their annual meeting in 2009.  The following are some excerpts from that address (all times approximate) (link to mp3):

0:55 "I was born overseas, to Turkish parents, as a Sunni Muslim. We came to America with my father who built mosques. We settled in Columbus, OH, and it was in Columbus, OH, in 1982, that I found Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior."

a) Did Caner's dad actually build mosques?  I'd love to see some evidence of this.
b) Was Caner's mom Turkish or Swedish?  Her mother was apparently exclusively Swedish speaking.
c) I hope Caner got saved in 1982 as he claimed, but compare below:

8:40 "As a matter of fact, when I got saved at the age of 17 going on 18, I knew nothing about what church was supposed to look like. I knew nothing about Baptists, I had never been in a church, never held a Bible, I didn't go through AWANA, I'd never been to a GA coronation, had never been in a VBS, I knew nothing."

Caner turned 17 in November of 1983, and 18 in November of 1984.  So, was it in 1982 or some other year?

34:10 "I have an entire group of people - an entire cottage industry, dedicated to attacking me and my brother, and those of us who are former Muslims. 'He was never a Muslim! No Muslim has ever converted!' Well, here's one right here. 'Oh, this is all lies - this is all lies.' I maybe see five people saved a year out of Islam. My job is not about keeping score, my job is to be faithful to the task to which He's called me."

a) I hope that Caner has reached people for the gospel.
b) I don't think Caner's characterization of the "group of people" is very accurate.

37:10 "Do you know who reached me for the gospel? A Muslim who moved to this country to build mosques to you? Whose father was, for lack of a better term, a missionary to you?"

a) Caner came when he was a toddler.
b) A better term would be "engineer."  Caner's father was not, from what we can tell, an occupational "missionary" or anything like that.

38:00 "Thank God for Jerry Tackett. You'll never know his name. He's a high school teacher in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, who hates it when I use his name."

I bet he does hate it.  People probably ask him whether these stories are true, placing him in a difficult position.

41:00 "I live a weird life. My kids see me on TV. I got all these books. But I'm the same idiot I was when I was 18 years old and didn't know Ha-bak'-kuk from Ha-ba-kook' - and called Philemon, "Filet Mignon," and I couldn't find a church that would hire me as a pastor, because my English was poor, and look at me - fat, balding since I was 16 - not the good-looking preachers with hair gel - I wear a vest because it's a male girdle. So I couldn't find a church to call me."

Why would his English be poor?  He grew up in America - he was involved in theater in high school.  How "poor" are we to believe his English was?

- TurretinFan

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ergun Caner - Northwest Baptist Convention - 2007 and 2009

Ergun Caner apparently spoke at the November 2007 NW Baptist Convention (Number 1, Number 2) and at the 2009 NW Baptist Student Convention (Number 1, Number 2)  (link to the Northwest Baptist Convention homepage).  All times in the following are approximate.  If history is any guide, it may be beneficial to download the audio soon, before someone asks that it be removed.

  • 2007 NW Baptist Convention - Number 1

4:00 "My full name is Ergun Mehmet Caner"

No, it isn't.

6:15 "I came to faith in Jesus Christ in 1982"

I hope he did, but that date doesn't match his testimony on other occasions.

10:05 "We have two beautiful half breed children - they ignore me in two languages.  ... I speak to them in Turkish, Jill speaks to them in redneck ..."

As far as we can tell, Caner doesn't speak Turkish.

10:25 "With my name Ergun Mehmet Caner, Jill does not call me Ergun Mehmet Caner, she calls me Butch."

"Butch" was apparently his nickname going back at least to college, but "Ergun Mehmet Caner" was apparently his pseudonym following 9/11.

10:40 "I learned the language, coming to this country. And I learned that in the South, each region of the South has a different flavor of their dialect."

I guess that's technically true, given that he came as a toddler.  I doubt he learned about dialects as a toddler, though.

11:20 "Her father is from Possum Kill, NC"

It would be great to see some evidence that this place really exists.

19:45 "I leave here after tonight's service, Dr. Cruz, I have to - apologetically I have to miss, but I'll steal your sermon later, cause I steal everything I've got - I was all into the Warren Wiersbe "Be Stolen" series back when they were coming out.  I drive from here back down to Seattle, because I'm an idiot. I get on an 11:00 flight, I fly to Washington, DC, then to Roanoke, I pick up my son.  The 9 year old Braxton and I then go to Kenya. We got on a 4 pm flight tomorrow.  And I speak at Kabarak University and debate the Maathai tribe there - the Muslims there."

Ergun did go to Kabarak University (as documented here) to sign an academic deal with that university on behalf of Liberty University (see the image and further discussion below).

I'm not sure what tribe Caner had in mind. Presumably, Caner meant the Maasai people (link), but as far as I can tell, those people are not Muslims.

Is there any actual debate that took place? I cannot find any evidence to corroborate that story.

21:00 "For some reason, the little world that I travel in, debate, is big now. And so when we debate, it builds the crowds, and people come and we have a chance to present the gospel."

I can't see how he lives in the world of debate, seeing as he does not seem to have any significant amount of actual debating experience.

22:15 "I'm happy if in a year, Emir and I will see together maybe 5, 6, 7 Muslims come to Christ.  When they come forward, they come forward to yell at us. Arcade Baptist Church in Sacramento, California, a thousand Muslims showed up. At the invitation, the pastor at the time, Daniel Henderson gave the invitation, and they came down both aisles, with Korans in their hand, yelling. Now how do you report that to the director of missions? There's not a block anywhere in that form. They come forward to yell - they throw things - they scream."

I would love to see some documentation of this supposed event.  Is there any audio or video from that day?

Also, I hope that Muslims do come to Christ through the work of anyone at all, including Ergun and Emir.  That said, when would this happen? I've found dozens of recordings of them speaking to Christians - where did they speak to Muslims?

40:15 "I had to become like them. I tried. I got FFA magazines - I did.  If you don't know what that is, Future Farmers of America, I got 4H, I got 4H, I got all those magazines and I'd write down the words they said on post-it notes, and I'd tape them, put them up on my mirror and then as I shaved, I would practice the words they use. And I would try to use the real phrases so that they could understand me.  One Sunday, I was trying to illustrate noetic sin, that man is not a sinner because he sins, he sins because he's sinner, that it's part of who you are, it's your DNA.  And I said, 'It's as natural for a man to sin as it is for a bull to chase after a --' and I forgot -- I know, I know, cow, cow, I know, I know but I said, 'as it is for a bull to chase after a she-bull.' God's truth! I couldn't even give the invitation, I had to walk out. It's the truth!"

I have trouble believing that Caner couldn't remember the word "cow."

  • 2007 NW Baptist Convention - Number 2

4:40 "You know, eight months after I got saved, I went to college. I didn't know much, I didn't know anything. I went to Bible college, because I wanted to catch up."

That would imply he was saved in his senior year of high school.  That does not match with some of his other testimonies.

21:45 "My father had many wives, but from our mother, three boys."

His father, as far as we know, only had Caner's mother and one woman afterward as wives.

26:30 "My mom was divorced when my brothers became Christians. My father left her, blaming her for our conversion."

Ergun Caner's parents first filed for divorce when he was only 8 years old (see evidence here).  His father may have blamed his mother for their conversion, but that could hardly be the reason for the divorce, unless they were converted far younger than any of their testimonies have said.

32:05 "I spend the vast majority of my life, on purpose, among heathens who hate me. I go to community colleges, and universities, and state schools - that's why I'm going to Narobi, to Kabarak, because they throw things, and they yell things, because they've never seen Christians half the time."

Actually, why he went to Kenya was for the reason you can see in the embedded image.  It was to sign a deal between that university and Liberty University (as discussed on Liberty's site here).

And Liberty describes Kabarak University this way: "The country’s second president, Daniel T. Moi, founded the school in 2000 to provide Kenyan students with an academically excellent and biblically sound college education."  That's hardly "heathens," at least as described by Liberty.

35:00 "You go to Youtube and type in Caner and taser and you'll see that I got tasered live on stage in front of 5,000 kids. Why? I can't remember, it hurt that bad."

You can see this event from one angle and it looks pretty convincing (one link).  If you look at this event from another angle (second link), notice the taser operator picking up one of the leads from off the floor.  Then in this third angle, you can see the second lead bouncing harmlessly off his shirt (third link).  A lot of people recorded this, so you get yet a fourth angle here (link).  Still, those second and third angles make it clear that he did not get both barbs.

39:20 "I was 18 years old and hated you. You know what reached for the gospel as a Muslim given to jihadeen? A Muslim who hated the Jew and the Christian? A kid whose father was muezzin in the mosque - not the imam but the muezzin and an ulima?"

"An ulima" is not grammatically correct.  It should be "an alim," as "ulima" is a plural noun meaning "scholars."  I question whether Caner's dad was a muezzin in any greater sense that he volunteered to do the call to prayer a few times.

If Caner was 18 when he still hated Christians, that would put his conversion at the earliest in November of 1984, which is after he graduated from high school. That does not fit well with his own claim about when he was converted.

40:00 "Jerry Tackett hunted me down for three years. I got kicked out of my home, I lost my family, everything. I lived in people's garages and basements. A year later that same boy in the same little tiny church  reached both my brothers. All three boys, raised as jihadeen, born again."

Apparently, Caner's non-custodial dad disowned him.  However, there is nothing to support the idea that his hippy universalist mother or Swedish Lutheran grandmother did.  So, I really question this "kicked out of my house" idea and the "lived in people's garages and basements" idea.

Likewise, Caner seems to be suggesting that he and his brothers were raised as Jihadis.  There is no corroboration of this story.

  • 2009 NW Baptist Student Convention - Saturday Morning

2:20 "I was bit nervous because, let me explain it this way, and you're probably going to think less of me, but that's the nature of the beast isn't it. When I lived in Istanbul, the only American television that I saw, became the window that I had into your world. The only thing I knew about America, I learned through television. Until I was getting ready to go into high school, that's all I knew was whatever I saw on TV. And so I thought that was America."

Caner came to America when he was about two years old, not when he was getting ready to go to high school.  There is no evidence that Caner ever "lived in" Istanbul, though possibly he visited it.

3:10 "Everything I knew about you, I knew through television. And so I watched Andy Griffith."

He goes on to compare Mayberrry to Brooklyn.  But I doubt a toddler would have noticed the difference.

3:30 "I watched the Dukes of Hazzard. I wanted to marry Daisy."

The Dukes of Hazzard didn't even begin to air until the late 70's, after Caner and his parents had been living in America for a decade or so.

3:50 "Every other week, for two hours, on Mehmet television, in Istanbul, Georgia Championship Wrestlin' - WWE and all that, was America to me."

As far as I can tell, this is a fictional television station.  Also, apparently Georgian Championship Wrestlin' went onto national cable in 1979 (see the discussion here). It's hard to believe it was going international before it went national.

4:45 "So I moved to America and the first two things we did, we went to a Cubs-Mets game ... and then we went to Madison Square Garden to watch wrestling."

I doubt a two year old went to those things as his first thing upon entering the U.S., although I supp

7:10 "You need to understand, my children ignore me in two languages. I speak Turkish and they speak Turkish sometimes, but with a southern accent."

28:00 "So when I talk to those people, and I say, 'Let me tell you what my parents went through. See, my father left my mom, because he blamed her that we got saved.'"

As noted above, that story does not fit the documented timeline.

  • 2009 NW Baptist Student Convention - Saturday Afternoon

0:00 "You don't have to sign anything, you just download whatever debates. I have a two hour debate with the homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, every type of Muslim and Buddhist you can imagine, a Baha'i, I'm going to debate a Baha'i on Monday again. It will be my second one of this four week break. It's just something I want you to have, and I only give it to you because (a) I don't get to spend that much time with you and (b) it's coming here."

I've previously analyzed these so-called debates (see the discussion here).  Calling these interviews "debates," is very hard to justify, as there is hardly any interaction that I could hear.  They may be useful for students, in terms of hearing how various "world religions" describe themselves to Christians, but they can hardly be considered "debates."

0:30 "Every eight years there's a meeting of the caliphat, when the caliphat meets. The caliphat basically religious rulers in the Islamic world - all Sunni. What they do is they target certain states in the United States. They just finished with Hawaii they built three mosques in Hawaii. They just finished Washington, DC - the largest mosque that they built was in Washington, DC. Seattle's next - Seattle, WA, actually the state of Washington itself is next. And what they do is pump money in to that state."

The caliphate is the rule by the caliph, like a monarchy is a rule by a monarch.  There has been no caliphate since Turkish military leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk abolished it on March 3, 1924 (see information here). I have no idea what shadowy group, real or imagined, Caner has in mind.  There is a large mosque in DC, but it opened in 1957 (see information here).

The closest thing I could find to this "every eight years" reference was the following, which describes a practice of Shia Muslims (not Sunni) in Iran:
The faqih generally oversees the operation of the government to ensure that its policies and actions conform to Islamic principles. The faqih is a spiritual leader whose religious authority is above that of the president and any other officials. However, in keeping with the practice established by Khomeini, the faqih is expected to refrain from involvement in the day-to-day affairs of governance. An 83-member Assembly of Experts, popularly elected every eight years, is responsible for choosing the faqih (or a council of three to five faqihs, if there is no consensus on a single faqih) from among the most politically and religiously qualified Shia clergy.
(source) - but I see no way to get from that to anything that Caner is saying.

6:10 "When I came to America, it was my job to get married. I'm the oldest of three sons to my father,he had other wives, three sons to our mom. As the oldest, it was my job to be the first one to get married. I was the  teenager. I had been sworn in marriage at age 8, in Istanbul, but because we moved, I didn't have to be married to that girl who had a better mustache than I did. Turkish women: my people, every Friday night, all the women Nair on their upper lip, all the men, shaving to separate the eyebrow. We all have hairy backs. Is that graphic enough for you? Well I didn't want to marry a Turk - I didn't want to marry a female version of this."

Caner had already been living in America for about 6 years by age 8.  The idea that he came to America as a "teenager" i.e. in late 1979 or later (he was born in November of 1966), doesn't match the facts we know.

Finally, this description of Turkish women is untrue and - of course - offensive.

9:00 "I want to do something with you that I can't do in most places, especially if I'm being taped, because it's sort of giving away our cards. But if I go into a community college or I go into a state university, I have two rules for every debate - I will come anywhere - I don't care where it is, I will come, as long as there is somebody who is sponsoring me, and I don't care - I will debate anyone any world religion as long as I know who they are before I walk in. There are two rules by which I operate: Rule number 1, nobody gets paid. What's the first thing they always say about Christians? 'It's always about the money, isn't it.' ... Rule number 2, a little harder - no Christians are allowed to ask me questions. When I go into a debate, I go in knowing that it's going to be hostile. I go in knowing that the questions that going to come to me are from unbelievers. I believe Christianity is only effective if it is applied in a lost world. And thus, I don't even allow Christians to ask me questions in the debates. Cause a lot of you come because you are of that first group - you don't like fights - and you start feeling sorry for me.  And you're not supposed to feel sorry for me. You know, you hear them calling me names and yelling and cussing and you're like 'it's horrible, let's send him an e-card!' or even worse, you will stand up and ask a question."

Where are any of these debates?

And how is that somehow giving away a debating secret or otherwise showing our cards?

18:10 "Inevitably in the debate, somebody will raise their hand and ask what I refer to as the Oprah question. The Oprah question goes like this: 'Umm, are you saying that a good Buddhist is going to hell?' 'Yes.' Don't ever stutter, don't ever hesitate."

What debate, dialog or interview of Caner has ever included a question like that?

21:10 "I would do my prayer time. Do you know what we're doing, aside from putting our foreheads to the ground and sitting up.  Do you know what we're doing? We are repeating the first chapter of the Koran over and over.  That's all we do. Six verses." 

It's actually seven verses, not six verses, in the usual enumeration.

- TurretinFan