Posts Tagged ‘ergun caner’

By Dr. James Ach and Dr. Elisha Weismann

As independent fundamental Bible believing Baptists, we avoid most other denominations due to several doctrinal differences that we believe mandates separation from such believers. However, we still acknowledge many of the truths that some of them espouse to, and still consider many of them Christian brothers and sisters. Nevertheless, there are times when the actions of some churches and their leaders and supporters have an impact that affects us all.

We started this website after the scandal surrounding former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Jack Schaap, was arrested and convicted of child molestation. While we were still in America, we saw how the scandal affected the credibility of many Baptist churches across the US. Baptists had doors slammed in their face when out door knocking, and several new Facebook groups (“Do Righters”) were started that gained thousands of followers, and many of those groups are now a virtual haven for atheists and skeptics. One man’s actions turned several thousand people into critics, skeptics, atheists, and fundamentalist bashers. (We have dealt with facts beyond that generalization elsewhere, so don’t go into a tizzy about commenting us that it wasn’t just Schaap.)

The scandal surrounding Ergun Caner is beginning to have the same effect, even here in Israel (thanks to James White constantly reminding the Muslims about it for the last four years). Although it has not been so prevalent a topic as we have seen in America, there have been more than one occasion when we have attempted to witness to Muslims in Jerusalem where Ergun Caner has been brought up. It has already been dangerous enough with some of the work we have done (and hence why our personal information has been kept private) without the problems faced with this added scandal.

In our opinion, if Ergun Caner was to be tried in a criminal court with the testimony given by him in videos, and publicly written statements by him, he would be convicted of perjury.

We fear that many of his supporters are supporting him out of the fear that since the majority of his attackers are Calvinist, that it will somehow lend credibility to them as a group if Caner concedes to their accusations. Now those who follow us on here know we are just as much opposed to Calvinism as most of Caners supporters, and we are by no means a fan of James White, who has been undoubtedly the loudest opponent against Caner. But, James White has a point, and regardless of his other faux pas, I believe it is to the detriment of all of the churches involved to ignore this issue’s importance. Anytime any popular “religious” leader is involved in a scandal, it is always used as fodder against the rest of the church. Now we can’t be expected to police every little action or stupid thing some pastor or church member does, but we need to at least address the ones we can, especially when they have the potential to ruin the reputation of Christians on such a large scale.

We are going to view the following facts as we would have when we were both working in the legal field.

The Investigators Defense

This is probably the number one defense that others have offered for Ergun Caner. The problem with this is that, to our knowledge, we don’t know who the investigators were, and specifically, what they were looking for. Investigators always begin with a “hunch” which often leads to additional evidence. Or, they have a few very specific questions and suspicions that are the hallmark of the case, and the investigation begins by building a view based upon certain facts relevant to what the investigator believes is necessary to prove the case.

If the investigators were not specifically looking for deliberate lies, then their ultimate findings will be “we find no fault”. Furthermore, it also depends on which lies they were looking at. If the only matter they investigated is whether Ergun Caner was untruthful about the date of his arrival in the United States, then a simple acknowledging by him that a mistake was made would lead an investigator to conclude that their was no deliberate misconception. But we don’t know what they were looking for. 

As an independent investigator, I would have to conduct my own review of the facts and questions if the full report from the previous investigator is not available or disclosed. I could not simply rely on the conclusion without knowing how they arrived at their conclusion, because I need to know whether or not those conclusions can survive cross-examination in court. Investigators some times have biases, and I need to be able to prove my investigator a credible witness before I put him on the stand.

Therefore, we could not simply rely on the conclusions of these investigations without knowing their qualifications for investigating these kind of matters, what evidence they considered, and what kind of questions  they asked.

Apparent Cover Up of Information

This matter above all else, is what sold us on the scandal. When we first located Ergun Caner’s bio, this is what is now posted on his website, and pay close attention to what we have highlighted in bold:

Ergun Caner is a Professor & Apologist at the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School in Lynchburg, Virginia. Raised as a devout Sunni Muslim along with his two brothers, Caner converted in high school. After his conversion, he pursued his call to the ministry and education. He has a Masters degree from The Criswell College, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Theology from the University of South Africa. [1]

However, we decided to use a website that maintains a permanent cache of information on websites. The following was Ergun Caner’s biography in this same section as above as follows from July of 2009:

Ergun Mehmet Caner (B.A., M.A., M.Div., Th,M., Ph.D.) is president of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School at the Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Raised as the son of a Muslim leader in Turkey, Caner became a Christian shortly before entering college. Serving under his Chancellor and President, Jerry Falwell Jr., Caner led the Seminary to triple in growth since his installation in 2005. A public speaker and apologist, Caner has debated Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and other religious leaders in thirteen countries and thirty-five states. [2]

The first issue to notice is

a) Caner’s initial bio stated he was raised the son of a Muslim leader IN TURKEY. This information is removed from the recent bio. If the contention was that Caner simply lived there for a short time, or merely visited there, why not correct the mistake by revising the bio to read “was raised in Ohio, and born in Sweden”. Why doesn’t the current bio reflect where he was actually born? It is common to include place of birth in bios, and he had already listed it once, but not only is the information now different, but any information about his birth place is totally missing from the bio altogether.

b) The original states that Caner has debated Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and other religious LEADERS in 13 countries and thirty-five states.

(i) One of those who he listed as debating was Shabir Ally, although he has at least now conceded that he never met Ally. But we find it highly unlikely that with as popular as Shabir Ally is in the Islamic community, that a person who claims to have been raised a devout Muslim and speaking Arabic would confuse his name with someone elses. That would be akin to us being raised Jewish confusing Moshe Dayan with Chaim Weizmann, or claiming to have debated James White when it was really Norman Geisler.

(ii)There is not one single report, video, audio program, witness of any debates or formal debates. Others have defended this statement as simply that he may have had an argument and mistook that for a debate. As a person trained in apologetics, we find it hard to believe that he could misconstrue what “debate” means, and considering that he listed it as a credential on a biography, it is simply too illogical to conclude that he did not intend to convey that he  had actually had formal debates, just as he said, with religious leaders in 13 countries, and thirty-five states.

We have also seen that lawsuits that have been filed demanding the removal of videos and internet articles. Why remove them if the truth about your testimony is actually in those videos? If they were “doctored”, then leave them there because they would serve as exemplars to any future “doctored” videos. And, if they were “doctored”, then simply produce the original. Filing a lawsuit, and claiming that videos were doctored implies you can produce the original testimony. Otherwise your complaint would be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Why not produce the original testimony and compare it with the “fake” videos? That would shut James White up permanently (well, maybe not permanently).

There are a number of other anomalies in what we have seen. And keep in mind, this is not based upon ANY information from James White or his crowd. It is no secret how we here, as King James Only Bible believers view White’s views and vise-versa. This is based on our own independent research. These facts alone that we have presented would be enough for us to obtain a warrant for probable cause if we were to try this as a criminal case in court, and deliberate embellishment was a crime.

Now we have clearly shown on here how biased James White has been, the cruel antics of his followers and down right vile tweets, and White’s selective prosecution of those outside of his Calvinist circle (see our article titled “Where was James White” and “Response to James White”) [UPDATE/CORRECTION-Since JD HALL has clarified that he did not intend to state that Al Mohler was complicit, we will be removing those argumentative points when we get a chance] However, even a broken clock is right twice a day, and even though we believe White to be broken in several places doctrinally, he’s right on this one.

If you believe that Calvinists have a bad habit of twisting simple commonly understood terms like “love” “all” “world” etc..then don’t do the same thing to Ergun Caner’s testimony. Would we expect White or Hall to ever repent or apologize for any of their actions? I doubt it, they haven’t so far, and probably never will. But if you want to prove that these Calvinists are dishonest and use misleading rhetoric to the detriment of potential converts, then stop giving them an excuse to point fingers at those of us who oppose their doctrinal views and are trying to engage them in a battle for the truth. Will White and others use it against him forever if he concedes? Probably. White still uses out-of-context quotes from Dave Hunt even after the man has been dead for quite some time now. But who cares about their opinions? It is right to either correct their errors, or confront the accusers and set the record straight, not because James White and his ilk say so, but because it’s simply the right thing to do before God. Caner can still have a productive ministry just as David did, but not if he keeps avoiding this matter, and others continue enabling him to do so.

I understand this will not earn us any brownie points, but the name of our blog is Do Right Christians. Doing the right thing is doing the Godly thing no matter what it costs, and let God sort out the fallout. We are not going to compromise what we believe just because we might lose a few friends over it. And if that’s why any of you are afraid to admit the obvious, then who do you fear more, God or men? Acts 5:29

James White responded to this article on the Dividing Line and our response to *that* response is here which replaces this. White never replied to our rebuttal but we are leaving this mess of an article up for now as a point of reference since it is referred to in White’s response as well as ours.

UPDATE 9/7 This article will be AMENDED but not RETRACTED IN FULL due to the response offered by James White. There will be issues deleted, and issues added that James did not respond to, and of course, we will TRY (no promises 🙂 to be more gracious in our response to James White’s video than he was with ours. We promise to use a spell checker this time before publishing the edit so that Mr. White doesn’t have a heart attack over KJVOs that misspell words.

We do note that James White repeatedly and erroneously attributed our grammatical errors and citations what we admitted in the very beginning of the article that we could be wrong about to our being King James Onlyist. As if being a King James Onlyist determines the outcome of how an article is written grammatically. 

James also neglected to respond to the comments from his sister.

We will also be adding or rather asking James White to answer the question that was posed to him by Peter Lumpkins regarding his teaching at Golden State.

We also note that James White failed to notice the articles we have hosted on here from Will Kinney that address some of White’s errors cited against the KJV since bragged that this is the first KJVO site that never mentioned his book “The King James Only Debate”. As much as we digress in catering to his ego here, we actually do have references.

White’s response to this article is here. It takes a few minutes to get passed all of his self aggrandizement before you actually get to the response so be patient. 

UPDATED: We have updated this article with new information at the bottom, and comments that give a defense of the Caner issues. We could really give 2 flipped pickled eggs about Ergun Caner’s issue, what we are concerned about is James White’s hypocrisy, and now statements made from his own sister about intimidation regarding her sexual abuse allegations against their parents.

The following may be total speculation on my part, and may be refuted at some later time, of which I will gladly retract what I am about to write, but a pattern I have noticed from James White, popularly apologeticist and debater, has become quite disturbing.

*James White debated Ergun Caner, a teacher and president at Liberty University, over the issue of Calvinism [Accordingly, this information will be amended as there has been no evidence of an actual debate. A supporter of James White erroneously labeled a video link as “Ergun Caner vs. James White On Calvinism” but it is merely excerpts of a sermon by Caner. James White claims that Caner changed the rules for the debate 12 days prior to the debate, so White canceled from fear that Caner would again change the rules hours before the debate was scheduled. I have not heard the other side of this excuse but seems to be the second or third time we have heard such excuses, ie. Peter Ruckman where White did not post the final letter sent to him by Ruckman]. In 2010, James White later went on a personal witch hunt to dig up dirt on Caner which led to a large controversy over the veracity of Caner’s testimony that he was actually raised in Turkey as a Muslim as he has claimed for several years, a matter of which 3 years later, White is still addressing [1]I have watch White’s videos on this, I have also read Dr. Norman Geisler’s exhaustive response [2] . Both sides have compelling arguments.

But what concerns me most is James White’s MOTIVE for searching out this information? James White has an extensive history of debating Muslims, and thus should have been (and likely was) aware for quite some time that Caner was also among the noted scholars that debated Muslims. Yet White’s attack on Caner seems to have come only AFTER his debate with White on Calvinism. [3]

White published a book titled “The Potter’s Freedom”, a response to Norman Geisler’s book, “Chosen But Free”, Geisler’s refutation of Calvinism. Geisler then published a video response to White’s book titled “Why I Am Not A Five-Point Calvinist” . White is now accusing Norman Geisler of covering up for Ergun Caner and demanding that Geisler remove Caner from his position in Geisler’s ministry.

White also had a debate with Dave Hunt over Calvinism, and White later accuses Dave Hunt of misrepresenting Calvinism and being dishonest about his knowledge of the Reformers. One James White support even goes so far as to accuse Dave Hunt (now deceased) of refuting Calvinism due to a Jesuit conspiracy. [4]

Now here is my question for James White.

With all the controversy that he stirred over Ergun Caner, and the amount of evidence that he amassed to argue his case, enough to demand that he resign his position, how is it that James White remains SILENT about the lawsuit and allegations against C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries (“SGM”) involving the cover ups of dozens of sex crimes and abuse cases?? SGM is undoubtedly one of the most popular Calvinist movements in the United States, and several of C.J. Mahaney’s cohorts are also collegues of James White (Mark Dever, Albert Mohler, Ligon Duncan). Some of SGM’s own staff published accusations against C.J. Mahaney. [5] .

With such a high-profile lawsuit and accusations against one of the most popular Calvinist groups extant, it would be foolish to think that James White was/is not privy to these matters. And yet from what I have been able to find (or rather unable to find) is any response from James White whatsoever about the abuse at Sovereign Grace Ministries. I have spent hours upon hours scouring the internet for a response from White and have found none.

James White was eager (3 years in the running now) to oust Ergun Caner for being dishonest about where he was born and demanding that those whom he serves with in ministry denounce him, but when it comes to his own camp about SEXUAL ABUSE, James White is SILENT.

Can anyone explain this??

UPDATE: We have also learned from other sources that James White’s sister has called him out intimidating her for her allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of their parents. She states in part:

I was born into the same family as my brother, James R. White. Our parents were both victims of abuse as young people. They carried those scars as people in those days did: silently. Silently, and without resolution, because no one talked about those things. You just toughed it out and did the best you could.

After spending a lengthy time working through the sexual abuse that my father subjected me to for years, I had to confront my brother with the truth.

“my brother James was hostile, defensive, and threatening. He warned me to “watch what I said” about my parents. He also made a very feeble comment about hoping he could “help me” someday” http://abbaslittlegirl.blogspot.com/2009/04/out-of-darkness-cross-i-carry.html

And her follow up story here: http://abbaslittlegirl.blogspot.com/p/out-of-darkness-rough-draft.html

We have found at least one response from James White but does not appear to address his sisters sexual abuse allegations. What is odd though is White repeatedly refers to his sister by her married name, and as “Mrs Bonds” instead of “Patty” or “My sister” and refers to the Catholic priests he mentions as “FR” (for “Father”).

 

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