How Believers Ought to Behave toward Dr. Ergun Caner

Back in 2004, my wife and I attended the First Baptist Church Jacksonville, Pastor’s Conference and were introduced for the first time to Dr. Ergun Caner.   The first message that I ever heard him preach was such a blessing to me, that before we left, I purchased the CD. 

Over the last 6 years, Dr. Caner’s fame, and influence has grown tremendously.  Oratorally gifted, quick witted, intellectually sharp, and Biblically astute, he has become one of the most sought after speakers among the Baptist ranks.  In fact, his influence and recognition is much wider than the Baptist ranks, and even the rest of professed Christendom, into the secular realm.   My first, (and lasting impression) of him is that he seems to be a perfect cross between a deep water scholar, and a common sense redneck. 

His brother Emir has been even more impressive to me over the last few years, as he seems to be a more reserved scholar, equally passionate, tactfully eloquent, and truly a deep thinking man who understands the significance of what the term “Baptist” really means in all of it’s fullness.  So much so, that I have Dr. Emir Caner scheduled to preach in our churches Bible Conference for 2011.

Now all of that being said, in recent weeks, (months maybe) allegations have been levied against Ergun Caner directly, and Emir by association, that his background is not what he has proclaimed it to be.  The Caner brothers, Ergun moreso, have presented the testimony that they were raised as devout Muslims, until they came to Christ, thus being considered Christian experts on the faith of Islam.

Accusations have been made, documents have been retrieved, and charges have been levied, publicly, privately, and seemingly permanently that Ergun Caner has been lying to the Baptist world, in order to gain it’s trust, fame, fortune, and keys to the Baptist kingdom.

After chasing down my own research (mainly googling) I have found what others have found, and that is this.  There is in fact clear discrepency between what Dr. Caner has said in the past, and the documents of his families actual history.  There is no denying that, if in fact the documents that some have presented are authentic.

However, while there is no denying the discrepancy, there may be an explaining of the discrepancy.  I don’t have one, but I am sure that Dr. Caner does.   It does seem to me that many of the people who have pointed out the discrepancies, and looked at the evidence have gone ahead and rendered a verdict.  Add to the fact that Dr. Caner has apparently not responded or replied directly to the discrepancy, his guilt seems to be all but settled by some.  I will say that He may in fact be guilty.

But then again . . . he may not.  We have not heard from him on this issue.

We do not have ALL of the evidence, we only have SOME.  There are facts that are not unknown they are just unknown to us, (being those outside of the Caner Core).  Until Ergun Caner feels lead to answer his critics, he is innocent until proven guilty.

The reality is that there is no deadline for a verdict.  The appearance of guilt is not necessarily guilt, of which I think everyone really knows that.  There are just a few people that enjoy dropping the hammer hard and fast anytime any Christian leader gives the appearance of wabbling. 

Now before someone accuses me of defending him blindly, I will readily admit that if all allegations are in fact true, he does have some serious apologizing to do.  What I do not accept is that accusations, allegations, and documents close the case.  I have sat through enough court trials to know that the trial is not over once the prosecution is finished.  There is more to hear.

Now when/if Dr. Caner chooses to address it, we will know more about it then. 

In the mean time every believer who has an opinion of Dr. Caner ought to be reminded of a few things:

 Proverbs 18:13 – “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

  Proverbs 17:15 – “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.”

The boiled down controversy rests in the fact that up to this point, Dr. Caner has been saying one thing, and apparent documents say another.  We have not heard his explanation of this.  All Christians ought to hear his answer, before they answer what they’ve heard.  That would be a wonderful Change Worth Making.


8 comments on “How Believers Ought to Behave toward Dr. Ergun Caner

  1. Thank you for posting this. Evidence has been presented which proves that Ergun Caner is not a devout ex Muslim as he says he is. For example – he does not know the Shahada and confuses it with Surah Al Fatiha (on no less than two occasions) + many more errors regarding Islamic fundamentals that all Muslims know.

    He openly professes the acquisition of a Ph.D which he does not have (I have 3 clips of him saying he has a Ph.D), he then edited his website so it does not say “Ph.D” anymore. He has lied about the date he moved to America. He has conned people into thinking he has the ability to speak other languages. He lies about his upbringing by not admitting that his mother was in fact a non-Muslim Swedish lady. This is a very small list of issues raised, so I am not quite sure how you believe he is innocent until proven guilty when his guilt has already been proven. If he is a innocent, it should not be hard for him to come out and do a point by point explanation and shut us all up.

    If these videos, documents and audios were put before a court of law, the evidence will be undeniable and will in fact, be classified as proof that he is a liar.

  2. Mr. Khan,

    Thank you for your reply.

    You said, “If he is a innocent, it should not be hard for him to come out and do a point by point explanation and shut us all up.”

    That is exactly what I am waiting on. I merely reserve my verdict until he does come out and either confesses or explains. All that I am asserting is that we need to wait on that before we issue sentencing.

    You also assert that in a court of law the videos, and documents would convict him of being a liar. I do not argue with that. I would argue that in a court of law that no amount of evidence would convict him, until after his defense or explanation was issued. The same verdict might still be rendered, but it would be rendered after that fact.

    I would be interested in whether or not you sir are a Muslim? I would gladly welcome some dialogue concerning your faith.

    Thanks again – CWM

  3. Tom R says:

    Hi Jeff – I agree with you about Emir. I have never seen evidence of him exagerrating his past. I have seen him in videos speak of his upbringing and Christian testimony, and it is not sensationalized one bit. I don’t mean in my blog articles to imply that he is guilty of the same exaggerations as his brother.

    I understand your call to people to reserve judgment until Caner speaks to these allegations, but you’ve overlooked something very critical here that you’ve overlooked.


    He already responded to these allegations, about a month ago at about the same time he apologized publicly for calling Jerry Rank a “liar” on an SBC Today podcast. In his statement, he acknowledged he has made some misstatements in the past, and has misspoken at times, and that he would be surprised if he had NOT misspoken given the thousands of times he has preached.

    So there is no waiting, Jeff. He addressed these charges by not really addressing them, and calling them missteps. How ironic…Ergun’s friend and coauthor Mac Brunson slandered me last year in our newspaper calling me a “sociopath” and “mentally unstable”, and he never apologized or retracted or clarified his remarks. He told his church that what he did he did as he was just exercising his God-given duty to protect his church, and then in November 2009 he referred to his remarks as a “stumble”, and made himself to be the victim at the hands of a news reporter who reported his “stumble”. Ergun’s deceptions are mistatements, Brunson’s slander are just “stumbles”.

    But that is how things work in the SBC with these rock star celebrity preachers, Jeff, especially the “Pattersonites”…they view themselves as God’s special Annointed Ones, God’s men who are commissioned by God Himself to do God’s work here on earth, akin to the Old Testament priests…and for a lay person to question the integrity of one of these special annointed ones is to speak against God. It is to be a hindrance to God’s will. Thus the vitriol poured out against me by Brunson and his President of Trustees in our newspaper. Thus the vitriol poured out by Tim Guthrie and other Pattersonites against me, James White, Debbie Kaufman, and Mohammad for daring to call attention to the Ergun Caner deceptions.

    So Ergun has addressed this, and under normal circumstances he would be able to ride out the storm and let things blow over.

    But he is not a mega church pastor with yes men trustees…he is the head of a seminary that might not have yes men trustees beholden to Ergun Caner. They will take seriously their charge to guard the academic integrity of Falwell’s institution, and Caner’s reputation is not worth damaging what Falwell built at that school.

    I still believe that if Caner has a snowball’s chance of surviving, he will have to apologize and repent for these deceptions, and even then, his position may not be salvagable.

    I might be wrong, just one man’s opinion.

  4. Tom R says:

    Jeff – here is Ergun’s statement, posted at SBC Today:

    He claims not to have misled anyone.

    Well, I claim that he purposely misled myself and about 9000 other worshippers at FBC Jax on November 20, 2001, about “being raised in Europe”, and “being trained to do that which was done on 11 September”, and “until the age of 15 I was in Islamic Youth Jihad”.

    Those aren’t jumbling words, or getting a few inconsequential facts mixed up.

    He wasn’t raised in Europe.

    He didn’t come to America at age 15.

    He made us believe that he was a trained terrorist who came here as a terrorist until he accepted Christ.

    And he owes Jerry Vines and FBC Jax a big ole “I AM SORRY” for playing on our fears after 9/11 to make us think he was something that he is not.

  5. Dear Tom R,

    Ergun has since removed this statement because it lacked any explanation to even a single point raised. Only a metaphorically blinded person would take that statement as a justification of all the things he has said. Please stop tryi to convince people that what Ergun had written was a good explanation.

    In fact, you can read my response here:

    I admit I am very blunt in my response, but there is no use in beating around the bush.

    It’s quite humorous that Ergun lies about having being trained in Turkey to carry out terrorist activity when he was not raised in Turkey, he lied about being born there in order to convince people he is a native Turk from a Muslim country.

    But the reality of the scenario is this – Ergun’s dad was Turkish, his mother was non-Muslim Swede, his parents split up when he was young so he lived with his mother, and his mother fought against the idea of them being Muslims and thus the separation agreement confirms that the parent with which they are with at that moment in time will be free to train them in whatever faith they wish, and thus we find they spent 76% of their time with non-Muslim (anti-Islamic) mother and only 24% with their father who was a “devout Muslim” (who smoked heavily and celebrated birthdays and never even had a beard)…right….now compare that to what Ergun has been telling you people for the last 10 years. Spot the difference.

    Oh and by the way, a “Muezzin” is merely somebody who gives the call to prayer, it does not mean that the person is a devout Muslim. Besides, Unveiling Islam freely admits that Erguns father would give the Athaan merely “on occasion” – does that give Ergun the right to call his father a “Muezzin”?

    Please don’t believe the lies he speaks. I read everything you people write, particularly the small segments you throw in about Islam, and you lack knowledge in that particular field. So feel free to contact me regarding those particular issues and I will happily explain. Many of you have neglected the fact that almost all of the fatal errors I have acknowledged Ergun say are to do with Islamic fundamentals that all Muslims (Even children) are aware of, and due to your lack of knowledge of Islam you do not fully comprehend the enormity of a lot of the things he says, which is why many you of blindly say that the term “fake ex muslim” is wrong.
    Feel free to e-mail questions, I will gladly answer your questions about this topic, even if your message is rude.

  6. Im sorry Tom, I never meant to aim that message at you. I was in the middle of writing my e-mail to and accidentally wrote it in this message too 🙂

  7. starrstruck says:

    I listened to Ergun Caner’s message given at Prestonwood Baptist Church in 2001 as replayed on Focus on the Family.

    Ergun Caner stated the following:

    I was born in Sweden.
    I was raised in Turkey.
    I was trained in Islamic Jihad to do what the terrorist did on 9/11.
    I was like a preacher’s kid.
    I was taught to believe that Americans hated me.
    I came to America in 1978.
    I arrived in Brooklyn.
    I spoke broken English.
    I went to a revival at the invitation of a friend.
    I was saved in 1982.
    I preached my first seven minute sermon and my younger brothers got saved.
    I led my mom to Christ in 1991 over the phone.
    My brother led my grandmother to Christ in 1995.
    He defined rakats as prayers.
    He defined injeel as angels.
    I rolled out my rug and prayed in the bathroom at school.
    I wore a turban on my head.
    I had an accent and spoke broken English.
    I was not made fun of by Christians because of what I wore.

    What is the truth? Who knows, but the following contradictions exist. Ergun Caner has stated on The John Ankerberg Show that he was born in Istanbul, Turkey. In other places he states that he had nothing to do with his brothers coming to Christ. Court records indicate that Ergun immigrated to America in 1969 and was raised in Ohio. His high school yearbook shows that he was very active in school, including drama. There are no pictures of Ergun wearing a turban on his head. Since he was raised in Ohio from age three on, he speaks fluent English. Rakats means verses, not prayers. Injeel means Gospel, not angels. His dad was not like a pastor in Islam. He wasn’t trained in Islamic Jihad in Turkey or Europe. He didn’t meet Americans for the first time in 1978 and discover that they didn’t hate him. He was not disowned by his family, only his non-custodial father.

    From just one sermon, given at Prestonwood Baptist Church in 2001 and replayed on Focus on the Family in 2010, flows numerous falsehoods. Did he just misspeak all of the following? Is that even possible? Or was he intentionally misrepresenting his testimony to make it more appealing to the audience?

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