Friday, April 04, 2014

Follow Jesus

Jesus said:

  • Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)
  • Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. (Matthew 8:22 / Luke 9:59)
  • (To Matthew aka Levi) Follow me. (Matthew 9:9 / Mark 2:14 / Luke 5:27)
  • (To Philip) Follow me. (John 1:43)
  • If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24 / Mark 8:34 / Luke 9:23)
  • If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (Matthew 19:21 / Mark 10:21 / Luke 18:22)
  • And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)
  • Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
  • My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (John 10:27)
  • If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:26)
  • (To Peter) Follow me. (John 21:19)

Do what Jesus said: follow Jesus.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

"Many Wives" or "Other Wives" vs. "Two Wives" - Norman Geisler's Indefensible Defense of Caner

In his so-called apology, Ergun Caner claimed "I have never intentionally misled anyone."  I don't see how to reconcile that claim with the many times (not just one or two times) that Caner has described his father as having "many wives" or "other wives."  How was that not intended to mislead the listeners?

Recall that Norman Geisler attempted to defend Ergun Caner in this way (link to defense):
7. Ergun claimed his father had many wives and two half-brothers and two half-sisters, but there is no evidence for the half-brothers.

Response: Ergun’s father did have two wives, having divorced the first one.  He had three sons by his first wife (Ergun and his two brothers).  So, Ergun has two full brothers and two step-sisters (from his father’s second wife).  While speaking quickly on one occasion, he mistakenly called his brothers his “half” brothers.  This is hardly evidence of an attempt to embellish or deceive.  After all, he had the right number of each sibling, and he didn’t claim to have ten brothers or sisters!
Ergun's father did have two wives - one after the other -  not many wives.  Yet Ergun repeatedly claimed his father had "other wives" besides Ergun's mother.  "Two wives" does not support that claim, even if it could somehow be used to support the "many wives" claim.  Ergun also claimed that his father immigrated with "wives."  That also does not match the two serial marriages story.

Furthermore, Ergun did not use the "half-brothers" claim only once.  He used it at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge and in two different messages at Ashburn Baptist Church.

And Ergun was not referring to his brothers when he said it.  At Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, Ergun said "I have half-brothers and sisters who don't know Jesus."  Likewise, at Ashburn Baptist on June 3 Ergun said, "And so in 1978, my father, my mother, my two brothers, my father's other wives, and my half-brothers and sisters came to this country."  And then again at Ashburn Baptist on June 5 Ergun said "I have half-brothers and half-sisters in Chicago, in New York, and in Turkey, who live here, who are still lost as geese" and again a few second later "How dare I give up! My half-brothers, my uncles, my aunts, How dare I give up!"

In short, while part of what Geisler wrote in defense of Ergun on this point is true ("two wives" and two half-sisters) much is untrue: it was not just once that he referred to "half-brothers" and he was not referring to his own brothers when he did so.  Even the true part falls short of defending the "other wives" claim or - bluntly speaking - even the "many wives" claim.

This and a number of other serious problems with Caner's autobiographical claims are documented in the Caner Affair article (link), which is mostly an index to other posts that document a lot of what Ergun Caner has said.  Currently, the list of source posts is around 54 or so (and growing), but some of those source posts deal with more than one speaking occasion.  For example, Dr. Caner has spoken multiple times at some churches, and generally those messages are grouped together in a single source post.


Ergun Caner - West Cabarrus Church

Apparently, on July 18, 2010, Ergun Caner spoke at West Cabarrus Church, on Acts 12, "Will You be a Rhoda?" (link) This was after the results of Liberty's investigation of Caner had been completed (link to source).

1:00 "Turkish, born in Stockholm, Sweden, but Turkish"

It would be nice if he said "half Turkish," but ok.

1:20 "I ended up in the ministry, having been raised in Islam, and then born again later in life, I ended up in the ministry"

"Later in life"?  Try high school?

6:10 "We have two kids who are beautiful half-breeds, half me and half mama, and some day they're either going to speak Turkish in a southern accent, or they're going to ignore me in two languages."

Since when does Caner speak Turkish?

6:25 "Jill does not call me 'Ergun,' my name, Ergun Mehmet Caner"

No, Ergun Michael Caner.

25:50 "Raised as a Muslim, do you know what we did five times a day? We faced Mecca, and we prayed! But do you know what we're doing when we pray? We're repeating the first chapter of the Koran over and over. Six verses."

No, seven verses.

28:25 "the guy with a 2.0 through high school"

We know he was a pretty good student in college, but interesting claim nonetheless.

32:50 "We came to America to build mosques."

He came as a toddler.

33:15  "One boy, one boy heard from God, Jerry Tackett. And when nobody believed him, and when he kept coming and I kept telling him no, freshman year, sophomore year, junior year - I kept telling him shut up, leave me alone, I don't want to go to your church, I go to the mosque ... "

If it was the first half of his junior year, that could have been 1982, but that would still not match the account in the Caners' book.

37:00 "A year later, my brothers were both Christians."

That has been one of the constants in the various stories.  I hope it is true.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Emir Caner - Salem Baptist Church

If you have an interest in the Ergun Caner affair, consider listening to a message Emir Caner delivered in 2013 at Salem Baptist Church (link to page)(link to mp3). You will hear things like "My father's Turkish, my mother's Swedish" and "Swedish was my first language, English was my second language."  I do wish Emir would come out and correct the many errors that we have documented Ergun making (link to documentation).

Then again, if I followed the sermon correctly, it sounded like Emir placed his own disowning by his father close to his conversion, and says he did not see his father for - if I heard correctly - "fourteen" years, which would seem to place Emir's conversion around 1985, rather than the 1982 mentioned in his book.

Ergun Caner - First Baptist Church, Mount Vernon, Georgia

Dr. Ergun Caner very recently (March 2, 2014) spoke at the First Baptist Church, Mount Vernon, Georgia (link to video).   Pastor Karl Hay (apparently one of the trustees that voted to call Ergun Caner to Brewton-Parker) has a rather gushing introduction to Dr. Caner at the beginning of the video.  It is another one of Caner's sermons regarding the feeding of the 5,000, exalting "anonymous" saints. It avoids some of the more extravagant embellishments we've seen - but the historical account it provides is not consistent, neither with itself nor with the testimony provided in the Caners' book.

8:05 "Turkish, born in Sweden, immigrant, Yankee"

That's better than some of the older presentations.

8:15 "Born as a Muslim, you know, raised in an Islamic home, born in Stockholm, Sweden, but Turkish. Come to America, my father builds mosques. Got saved in Columbus, Ohio."

a) I have yet to see any evidence corroborating this idea that his dad built "mosques."
b) He was apparently "raised" primarily in the non-Muslim home of his mother and grandmother.
c) He was "raised" after coming to America.  I know he doesn't say he's telling the story in order here.

8:50 "I got saved going into college, in high school going into college."

That does sound like he's suggesting his senior year, doesn't it?

9:30 "My full name Ergun Mehmet Caner."

No, it's Ergun Michael Caner.  Ergun Mehmet Caner is a pen-name or pseudonym, like "TurretinFan."

9:40 "Ergun, Ergun [using a different pronunciation], Mehmet, my father's middle name - I took it when he died and Caner is Caner [using a different pronunciation]."

Well, it's nice to see him pointing out that this was not his birth name.  But the evidence is that Caner took this name as his pseudonym shortly after the September 11 attacks in late 2001, rather than in 1999 when his father died.

10:30 "Her father is from Possum Kill, NC."

It would be great to see any evidence that such a place exists.

23:40 "It was a high school freshman who wouldn't shut up until our senior year, Jerry Tackett. Almost four years, Jerry Tackett kept coming - invited me - invited me. Now picture this, the Muslim kid moves to Columbus, Ohio, I don't look like you people, I don't know what you people do in your church, I have no idea what these Christians are, I don't want nothin' to do with you. We go to the mosque. Except in that case, the masjid was not yet built, but we would go to gather, we would do our prayers, we would spend our time, and we were surrounded by you people. And anything I ever heard about Christianity, I heard by rumor."

a) Aside from his Swedish Lutheran grandmother that lived with him?
b) Was he really saved in his senior year 1983-84 or earlier, like around 1981, as alleged in his book?
c) What does he mean, the masjid was not built yet?
d) He did look like us people based on the photos of his childhood.
e) Doesn't he mean "Muslim toddler" to be more precise? That's not the impression his story gives, is it?

25:40 "I couldn't even tell you how many times Tackett asked me. He'll tell you. 'Cause he and I are still buddies, and you'll see him, 'cause I'm bringin' him. And when that guy shows up, he hates it when I use his name. 'Cause that's all he does is witness."

This should be interesting, if Tackett will clarify the timeline.

27:00 "Finally, in my senior year in high school, at Gahanna Lincoln High School, in Columbus, Ohio, I decided to shut him up."

Still sounds like senior year...

33:25 "I go home, that night, to tell my father, [something apparently gibberish, sounds like mubin-allah], I'm saved. It's the last night I see my dad, until seventeen years later when he passes away."

His father died in 1999.  1999-17=1982  But that would be his sophomore year or junior year, since he graduated in 1984.  So, which is it?

33:45 "A year later, both my brothers got saved, all three boys raised as devout Muslims"

There's some kind of edit in the video around 34:20.  I have no idea what was deleted or how long the deletion was.  My guess, based on similar sermons, is that it was only a few seconds of lost/removed material, but there is no way I know of, to be sure.

- TurretinFan

Ergun Caner - First Baptist Church Pearl City, June 1, 2007

Ergun Caner spoke at First Baptist Church Pearl City, June 1, 2007, as part of a conference from May 31 to June 2, titled "Possess the Land:Equipping for Evangelism" (see this archive).  This message is the one that, if I recall correctly, opened my eyes to the fact that there was something fishy going on with Dr. Caner's autobiography.  I would love to link you to a copy of the full video for this, but unfortunately for you the church's website no longer carries this video or indeed the conference materials found at the archive above.

0:10 "My brother is exactly right I am sure that serving here you guys probably have people all the time going 'You know, brother, I feel led to come,' because it's Hawaii. Well, let me assuage some of your fears. I am not going to the beach once. No offense to the beach - the beach is beautiful and it's gorgeous - I'm just not a beach person. I was born in Istanbul, Turkey. I am a sand monkey. Been called worse. I came to America after going to Beirut and then Cairo. And when I came to America in 1978 at the age of 14 years old, I have lived a very urban life. I am a very citified person. Never had a lawn to mow, I've never fished - hunted - I'll share more about this in a little while, but it's all to say, I wanted to come for a number of reasons, one of which was the work that I do. Being raised a Sunni Muslim, speaking Arabic, and being raised in the world, we have - my brothers and I - find out about some of the things that the Muslim community is doing ... ."

a) No, he was born in Stockholm, Sweden.
b) There's no evidence we've seen that he came to America from Sweden via Beirut or Cairo.
c) He came in about 1969, not 1978.
d) He was two or three when he came, not fourteen.
e) He does not "speak Arabic," though he has apparently memorized the Surah Al-Fatiha and the Shahada, and knows a smattering of other Arabic words.

2:30 "I have seven degrees post-high-school, and I am going to continue to take classes and get degrees until I die."

We have found evidence of five earned degrees (link to discussion here).  Where are those extra two degrees? Is there any evidence he took any degree work after he was awarded his doctorate from the University of South Africa?

4:15 "I married a girl who does not call me by my full name. My full name is Ergun Michael Mehmet Giovanni Caner. She calls me Butch."

No, his name is Ergun Michael Caner.

27:05 "I graduated 216th out of a class of 394. Top third of the bottom half."

Compare with his claim at Olive Baptist to be 207 out of 404 (link to Olive Baptist excerpts).  I'm guessing both numbers are just made up.

29:05 "Young'uns, there was a time when I was 18 years old, and had a foot-long Muslim mullet hangin' off the back of my head"

It is possible he grew his hair out when he was 18, but he was apparently in Bible college in November 1984, when he turned 18.

35:25 "I spend my life, on purpose, around heathens."

It looks like he was spending a big chunk of his life speaking to churches and church groups.

41:45 "Until I was 18 years old, I hated you. I know that's harsh, but that's absolutely the truth. I can state it. I was raised to hate you. My father was a muezzin in a mosque - the one who does the call to prayer. And so we came to America because he was an architect and he built mosques. And He built the mosque in Columbus, Ohio and he modified the mosque in Toledo, Ohio, built the mosque in Kettering, Ohio. My father was an architect. We came here as missionaries to you."

a) Notice the reference again to age 18.
b) I question whether his father did anything more than occasionally do the call to prayer.
c) I also question this claim that his father was an architect.
d) I looked for a mosque in Kettering, Ohio.  I couldn't find one.  Maybe you can?
e) He came as a toddler, and there is no evidence I've seen to corroborate the idea that his father intended to be a "missionary."

42:25 "I dressed differently, spoke differently, acted differently, walked differently, ate differently, and I lived in a country, for the first time in my life, as a minority. And I hated you."

a) We've seen his photos.  He looked pretty much the same and I would be surprised if he sounded much different.

b) Muslims were a minority in Sweden, his birthplace, as well as America, the place he moved.

44:10 "One kid who for four years, hunted me down. He started when we were freshmen in high school in Gahanna Lincoln High School, in Gahanna, OH, and he did not stop until I was a senior - going into my senior year. 'Dude do you want to come with me' 'Dude, do you want to come with me to roller skating?' 'yeah, there's not a lot of roller skating in sand, so no.'"

a) He was a senior from 1983-84, i.e. when he was 16-17, and if it was the summer before his senior year, that would be 16.

b) What does sand have to do with it?

45:45 "so, finally, going into my senior year, I decided I would show him. Now bear in mind, I am in full keffiyah. "

He may have worn "Muslim" garb on some rare occasions, but the pictures we have of his childhood almost all show him in western clothing.

51:50 "Papa, Isa bin Allah - I believe in Jesus - [some gibberish apparently supposed to sound like Arabic] It was November the 4th, 1982, and it was the last day I saw my father. I was out. His oldest son, and I was out. I lost my family, and discovered that the church was my family. I lived in people's basements and garages."

a) It's disappointing that Caner would pretend to speak in another language.
b) His mom had custody of him at that time, so there is no reason he would need to live in someone else's home.

53:10 "A year later, I was called to preach. I don't know how y'all do it, but I came forward that morning. My grasp of the Bible was horrible. I didn't know what he was calling me to. But Clarence turned me around in front of that church, and here's what he did - handkerchief again, he said: 'Well, Bless God! This morning Brother Arrogant' - 'cause he never could get my name right - "This morning Brother Arrogant comes forward to surrender to the gospel ministry. He'll be preaching his first sermon, tonight.' I had four hours, 'cause our church didn't get out at 12, honey. It was a seven minute sermon and it was the night that both my brothers got saved."

That would mean he was preaching some time after his senior year, but he apparently when off to Bible college after high school.

55:20 "Now listen, the rest of my family - my father died a Muslim, his other wives, his other children, still Muslims."

Dr. Caner's dad apparently remarried once after divorcing Caner's mom.  But "other wives" would imply at least yet another wife beyond those two.

- TurretinFan