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 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.