In Further Defense of Ergun
By Norman L.
Since issuing a recent
defense of Ergun Caner against his critics, a number of unjustified
attacks have come to my attention. Many of them are just a
rehash of old ones already answered with a futile attempt to prove
his intent to embellish and deceive. Not one of these charges
is substantial, involving any major doctrinal or moral issue.
Nonetheless, since left unanswered they tend in the minds of some to
imply moral guilt; a brief response to them will be helpful.
It is charged that many times Caner embellished and deceived in
Caner claimed to have been born in Istanbul when he was actually
born in Sweden.
Response: All of Caner’s books (see
Unveiling Islam, 17) and nearly all of his interviews and
sermons state that he was born in Sweden. Since both Ergun and
his father were Turkish citizens, he strongly identified with that
ancestry. Thus, an occasional misspoken word about his
birthplace is understandable. Nonetheless, Ergun publically
apologized for this and other mistakes on February 25, 2010 (see
claimed to have once lived in Ankara (Turkey) and along the Iraqi
border which he did not.
Response: Ergun traveled with his
father to Turkey several times. Later, he was along the Iraqi border
as he said he was. It should not be deemed strange that Ergun
has spent time in Turkey. After all, he has a Turkish father
and was a Turkish citizen who came to America on a Turkish
passport. This allegation against him is a mere assumption
without evidence which illustrates the desire to defame Ergun by his
3. He claimed
to have watched Dukes of Hazard and longed to marry Daisy Duke while
growing up in Turkey before the show was even on TV in
statement was intended as humor and was taken as such by the
audience. Indeed, Ergun has made this joke for more than a
decade and never once was it taken as a matter of fact. He was
illustrating the misconceptions between Americans and
4. He claimed
in one place to have become a US citizenship in 1978 and in another
place he claimed that it was in 1982.
Response: It is well known that Caner
became a US citizen in 1978. The other date is from the period
of his call to the ministry and is sometimes lumped together with
the earlier date in his testimony. No intent to deceive
existed, nor has it been established by this conflation of
dates. Since it is well known by Bible scholars that this kind
of thing is found in the Scriptures (which are without error), then
any Christian pressing this charge would, by the same logic, have to
impugn the Bible as well (see The Bible Knowledge
Commentary, vol. 2, p. 40).
claims to have worn a Muslim "keffiyeh"(head covering)
before his conversion to Christianity, yet photos show him with his
head uncovered. This reveals that he was not a devout Muslim
and that he intended to deceive when claiming to be one.
brother Emir vouches for their devout Muslim background. He
has provided a picture (below) of Ergun
his head covered (sitting down).
course, there were other times when he had no covering on which
would be natural.
Other evidence of his being a
devout Muslim is available, such as Ergun’s circumcision ceremony
and participation in the reading and recitation of the Qur’an.
Ergun was reared a devout Muslim is proven by his father’s testimony
recorded in the divorce proceedings documents which ironically
Ergun’s critic placed on the internet.
6. Ergun claims he was saved
in 1982 but also claims his brother Emir was converted in 1982, yet
elsewhere Emir’s conversion is said to be a year later
Response: Both men agree that Emir was
saved a year after Ergun. There is some confusion about the
exact year. Given that Ergun was converted in 1982 (as he
claims), this would put Emir’s conversion “a year later” (as they
both acknowledge). Again, there is no intention to deceive
here but simply a problem of memory about exact dates.
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!
Finally, a Note about Ergun’s Critic:
First, Ergun is an outspoken converted
Muslim which in Muslim lands is a capital crime. Since this is
contrary to law in the United States, his Muslim critics have
resorted to character assassination instead. Unfortunately,
other extremists who disagree with some of his theological views,
have piled on and are kicking him while he is down.
Second, a blogger-critic refuses to
give his real name, using a pseudonym. This violates a moral
and legal rule that one has a right to face his accusers. [This is
also a good way to avoid libel charges.]
Third, his critics often assume,
contrary to American law, that one is guilty until proven
innocent. Really, the burden of proof for these allegations is
on the accuser, not on the accused.
Fourth, not one of these accusations
is about any serious doctrinal or moral issue. Ergun has never
been found guilty of either of these.
Fifth, out of a couple thousand
sermons, nearly twenty books, and hundreds of media interviews, the
relatively few mistakes are trivial by comparison. It is like
looking at a glass 97% full and complaining that it is 3% empty!
I am sure that anyone who wished to do a search on other
leaders who have communicated as much in the past decade or so could
do a hatchet job on some of them too.
Sixth, Ergun has readily admitted the
mistakes he has made and has apologized for them publically.
In February, 2010, he said in part on his Web site that he “never
intentionally misled anyone…. For those times where I misspoke, said
it wrong, scrambled words, or was just outright confusing, I
apologize and will strive to do better.” Even the public
statement made by Liberty University on June 29, 2010 made this
clear when it said, “Dr. Caner has cooperated with the Board
committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements
that led to this review.”
Seventh, by comparison, his critics
have not apologized for anything they have done, even though they
have wrongly: a) assumed Ergun’s guilt without proof, b)
impugned his intentions, and c) assassinated his character.
This is to say nothing of the pain, misery, and agony they have
afflicted on Ergun, his family, and the problems this has caused at
Liberty University. For this they owe Dr. Caner a clear and
contrite public apology.
Finally, his critics have not followed
the instructions of Matthew 18 by going first to their brother and
then to his church privately on these allegations. Rather,
they have practiced unbiblical gossip in passing on defaming charges
about another brother in Christ to others—indeed, making these
My experience with Ergun, as that of
those who know him well, is that he is a devout zealous believer who
lives a life in obedience to Christ and who works diligently to
extend his kingdom. It is a crying shame that other believers
have jumped on a band-wagon which is discrediting this sincere,
earnest, and faithful follower of Christ.
For Kregel & Caner| See this