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Steve Lemke

It all makes me very sad, Peter. Not a good day for the people of God and very painful for a man I believe to be one of His good servants, but a reminder of the fallibility of us all.

It reminds me of Jim Wright's famous speech in resigning as Speaker of the House in response to ethics allegations: "It is grievously hurtful to our society when vilification becomes an accepted form of political debate, when negative campaigning becomes a full-time occupation, when members of each party become self-appointed vigilantes carrying out personal vendettas against members of the other party. . . . That's not what this institution is supposed to be all about. When vengeance becomes more desirable than vindication, harsh personal attacks on one another's motives, one another's character, drown out the quiet logic of serious debate on important issues, . . . surely, that's unworthy of our institution. . . . All of us in both political parties must resolve to bring this period of mindless cannibalism to an end. There's been enough of it. . . . I'm going to make you a proposition: Let me give you back this job you gave me as a propitiation for all of this season of bad will that has grown up among us. . . ."

Wright acknowledged that he had made mistakes, and my friend Ergun acknowledges that he misspoke at some points. But the concern that Wright raised is about the tone of the discussion pulling down the whole community. As Christians, the larger issue is whether we can deal with each other in a genuinely redemptive and distinctively Christian way when we make mistakes such that God is glorified. I do not feel that happened in this instance.


Peter, I think Christians often confuse being American with being Christian - there's this "entitlement" attitude "I have questions and I demand answers and I demand you discipline in such and such a way. I'm entitled to some answers by golly." The NT church was not a democracy. I think many of the debates in the blogosphere go the heart of "Do Christians submit themselves to those the Bible has placed in authortiy?" A lot of Christians have serious issues with any kind of authority.


Again Peter - I love your post. As painful as this has been, and knowing some of us put our necks out there on the line - well - it's never any fun to watch the captain go down, and your own head roll.

Thankfully most have been merciful to me - but then again, I'm not looking out there either! Self-preservation reigns supreme!

I hope that Dr. Caner and his family will stand strong, and weather this storm. It's really hard to look up when you're beat down, and my heart and prayers really go out to them....particularly their kids who are too young to really understand.

God bless you Peter - I hope we can meet one day! You have been a great comrade through all of this, and I am blessed to thrown into your lot, and call you friend!! ~d.


Another wonderfully well-written piece. Thank you for your kind, supportive words for our friend. May God protect our school and church from further attacks from these "people" who have literally, created a mountain out of a mole-hill.

Carla Rolfe

I've never commented here before, but was linked over by a friend this evening.

I'm just curious, have you read the court documents uncovered that would appear to contradict the claims Ergun Caner has made about his background?

If you have read them, I wonder if you could share your thoughts on how the two (court docs and Caner's claims) can be reconciled?



Some Proverbs from chapter 16 that seems to me to be a cause for me to move on now from this situation:

Pro 16:1 The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

Liberty University officials were faced with this controversy. Dr. Caner brought it about. They dealt with the controversy as they said they would and then rendered their decision last Friday.

They, after some exposure from bloggers, Preachers, Pastors and finally the "main stream" media sorts, made a decision to investigate the matter. They developed a "plan" and through a four man investigative body investigated the controversy [“thorough and exhaustive”] as you have noted above, Peter.

This four man internal investigative body reviewed information provided to them and by some means, either in person or over a conference link up, discussed this matter with Dr. Caner.

They provided their findings to the appropriate level of authority at LU.

Ecclesiastes provides us sufficient understanding of the "levels" of authority involved here, I suppose, since all Scripture is to be utilized for our edifications:

Ecc 5:7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.
Ecc 5:8 If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them.
Ecc 5:9 But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.

The appropriate level of authorities together rendered an answer, a decision, a determination and according to Proverbs 16:1, True Believers are to regard it as from the Lord.


Pro 16:6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.

To what degree Dr. Caner failed morally by misspeaking and embellishing, the appropriate authorities must have consider and then are now satisfied with their decision and have given it.

Are we now going to accept the answer as from the Lord? If so, then from out of us should spring profusely steadfast love and faithfulness as our part in this process Dr. Caner goes through in his repentance for his sins. As an aside, if Dr. Caner is anything like me, he most likely will be at the Altar of the Lord's Grace many more times as he walks out the Faith he has been given from the Lord?

Here is "how" exacting the Apostle John put it, our part now, the forgivers forgiving part. You know, now we have our part now, ah, which is to forgive and restore Dr. Caner. It seems to me we ought to heed his Word immediately and on to the business we all have been called to be a part of in this dark world, devils full?

1Jn 4:9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jn 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

The Love of God or as Proverbs asserts it, "the steadfast love and faithfulness" of God, is this, God sent His Son that we should live through Him to love and forgive others of "all" sins, no matter if they be of one kind or another! If you violate just one jot or tittle of the Law, you are guilty of all the Law!!

Why can we be so forgiving of Dr. Caner now? Because He is the source of our own propitiation for our own sins!

And, if there is any here who this does not apply, so be it, but for the rest of us, those who know their need for the propitiation that comes only from Christ's atoning Love, then there is presented to us another opportunity to claim our birthright and inheritance and with that rise up in all humility and let His Love begin to profusely extend to Dr. Caner in a measure of steadfast love and faithfulness well beyond the amounts we know we personally need ourselves. Is that too much to ask seeing John did not mince words there, 1 John 4:9-11?


Pro 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Pro 16:10 An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.

My guess is the decision Liberty University put over Friday can be akin to the words of the king rendering his decision in the matter: "his mouth does not sin in judgment".

Finally, you may ask, how did they come to make the decision they made?

I would hope it would have been close to or similar to this Proverb as it shows a measure of Faith that that decision is of the Lord, "is of the Lord":

Pro 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
Pro 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Pro 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.


Carla, does a family buying a home in Ohio 1969 = family or some portion of the family never left US or Ohio for extended periods? Do all parents follow to the letter what's proscribed in a divorce degree? There are a lot of holes in the time line. A lot of unaswered questions. It'd be interesting to know the answers, but I don't really see how I'm entitled -Liberty got their answer and that should be the end, but I fear it won't be.


I fear that our common adversary is rejoicing in seeing the bickering among us these last few months. Paul warned about the subtle schemes of the enemy that would fracture the unity of the church. This scheme is not so subtle in my opinion. The world is watching how the church manages disagreements and internal conflict, and during this particular scenario there was very little that was distinctly Christian with a few notable exceptions: Dr. Caner's response being one of them. I realize that Dr. Caner has not self-castigated himself in front of the world as some of his accusers are calling for, but what I have noticed most is his silence. He has not answered those who have hurled stones at him from every direction or lashed out at anyone involved in this debacle. This is significant to me. Let's face it, Dr. Caner is not a quiet man. In fact, if I were to haphazard a guess I would say that his lack of "quietness" may be what planted seeds of "discrepancies and misstatements" in the first place. He has a larger than life personality, speaks his mind openly, has not met a topic that he views as taboo and sometimes says things that are a bit controversial, over-the-top and borderline inappropriate. I don't know what really happened; maybe his larger than life personality and tendency to give quick and direct answers resulted in him saying some things without thinking; maybe he exaggerated some facts, maybe he did it on purpose, maybe he didn't. I don't know and maybe never will. He does not owe me an explanation, even though I admit there is a part of me that would like to sit down with him and ask these things directly.
What I do know for an absolute fact about Dr. Caner is that he loves God passionately and as a result he loves people with that same passion. He is a man on a mission; to spread the Gospel and to teach others to spread the Gospel effectively. Dr. Caner is determined to raise courageous and competent leaders for the cause of Jesus Christ. He is a leader that has made decisions at LBTS based on what is best for others not necessarily what would ensure him another year as Dean or a smooth ride with the Board. He has courage and conviction and from what I have seen, a genuine heart for others.
Whatever the case may be in regards to his past I stand ready to offer complete and unconditional forgiveness to him and also to those who have accused him. It is my hope that the leaders of the campaign against him will soon lay down their arms and begin to see the error of their ways as well. I have been horrified and heartbroken over the name calling, swearing and generally despicable behavior that I have seen from both sides of the issue. This is not pleasing to the Lord. Dr. White could have reigned his followers in yet he chose not to do so, and those who support Dr. Caner would do well to follow his example of silence if they cannot honor God with their speech.
In spite of all the brokenness that has resulted from Dr. Caner's missteps and Dr. White's misguided crusade, I know that I serve a God of redemption, restoration and reconciliation. How much pleasure must our common adversary take in the broken relationship between men as gifted as Dr. Caner and Dr. White. Imagine what they could accomplish in a unified state.

Looking forward to His return,

Steve Allem

A well written piece Peter...once again well done.

What I have learned through this is that those who hounded Dr. Caner would most likely, if they had lived in the day, have wanted King David dethroned and banished. After all it seems adultery and murder are much greater offenses then what Dr. Caner has admitted to. Thank goodness the God Most High is not as vindictive as Dr. Caner's attackers.

David's transgressions most certainly cost him dearly...his first born son. However God ultimately forgave him and allowed him to restore his relationship with HIM.

My prayer is that Dr. Caner's attackers will finally let him serve out his ministry in peace.

As for his attackers...well they have to look at themselves in the mirror every morning don't they.



A couple of things: a) if a comment is logged merely listing the "missteps" of Dr. Caner, it will not be published. This post deals with LU's public statement; b) if you post as an anon, more likely than not, your comment will not be posted

With that, I am...


Hi Peter,

"He or she who possesses anything but doubt please step forward" Thank you for the invitation :)

Brother, you said "Hence, on the one hand there is definitive vindication (similar to what others have dubbed exoneration); that is, Ergun Caner did not make up his life testimony. He is who he said he is."

It is interesting that in your mind 'is' = 'if'! "There 'is' definitive vindication" != "'If' this is so ..."

The gist of the Liberty statement is "We found problems serious enough to not retain Ergun as President of the Theological Seminary and Global Apologetics". The statement was carefully word smithed (probably by lawyers and media/public relations) to to be a response but respond in a way that was generous to all parties involved and not give specifics. The date (Friday) and time (5pm) was also engineered to go out at a time when people would be less likely to notice ... You have seen Washington do the exact same thing on legislation topics that were unpopular quite a bit recently.

Those who know the issues, know that claiming to be a Muslim born and raised in a Muslim country is quite different than being a Muslim that grew up in Ohio since age 4. So I really don't see how you can say "Ergun Caner did not make up his life testimony" or "Dr. Caner was fully vindicated concerning his life testimony" if in fact you truly "[Stand]ing on principle".

You can wreck your car badly and say "the engine still runs so everything is OK". There is still damage to fix. What we have here is a damaged man, family and institution. Now the restoration work needs to begin. I pray for repentance and healing for for all parties. The Lord can (and will) bring good out of this situation.





Very good thoughts on this. As always, Brother, you've hit the nail on the head. I have also learned much of what you stated in your OP.

What I find really sad is that way that some people of certain groups went after a fellow Brother in Christ with such a venomous, hateful attack. Then, even after Dr. Caner apologized for exaggerations, mis speakings, etc.; they still would not forgive and move on. Some of these groups claim to be champions of grace, yet they showed none.


Kyle in WI

Pretty sad Peter, just really sad. A man can lie anout who he is and where he is from to churhces and you don't care. You just don't care

wade burleson

David Worley,

You wrote: “What I find really sad is that way that some people of certain groups went after a fellow Brother in Christ with such a venomous, hateful attack. Then, even after Dr. Caner apologized for exaggerations, mis speakings, etc.; they still would not forgive and move on. Some of these groups claim to be champions of grace, yet they showed none.”

David, could you direct me to this confession? I really would like to see it or hear it. All I’ve heard is the following, written from a student in Ergun Caner’s classroom lecture last week, on Wednesday, June 21, 2010. The student writes:

“Within the first 20 minutes of class Ergun is chatting about the accusations against him, but he made it clear that he isn’t worrying about the issue or looking in to it…yet he gave my class an explanation, which I was extremely grateful for since for the next 4 days he would teach me a basis of theology that I would use throughout the rest of my academic life. If you’re interested I have 7 minutes of his innocence recorded on my cell phone. *(I have recently been contacted about this media clip via blog comments, and let me make it clear that I will not be giving out any information).”

The link to the above quote is provided at http://faith2move.blogspotcom/2010/06/theology-day-1.html

The young lady has turned down all requests for a copy of the recording where Ergun Caner proclaimed his innocence. Yet, you are now saying he has “confessed” and “repented” of exaggerations and misspeaking and we should forgive him. I’m not trying to be difficult. I truly am trying to understand how someone can profess innocence in a classroom but have his friends outside the classroom say he has “confessed and repented” of his exaggerations.

Again, would you please direct me where I can see this statement of confession and repentance for his exaggerations? David if you cannot or will not, why not?





“All I’ve heard is the following…”  Please. 

A) There is recorded on the SBC Today site a contrition statement Ergun made.  You’re very well aware of that.  B) The LU investigatory statement itself mentions Ergun’s apology which they obviously accepted.  I assume you’re also very well aware of that.  To suggest, in the face of what you are very well aware “All I’ve heard is the following…” is patently absurd.

Also, you write: “I truly am trying to understand how someone can profess innocence in a classroom but have his friends outside the classroom say he has “confessed and repented” of his exaggerations.” Wade if you see a contradiction in this, it’s because you are staring at it through a foggy lens. 

Frankly, there is only a contradiction *if* “profess[ing] innocence” means innocence from every criticism made against him. Has Caner ever pleaded innocence to all charges of embellishments, all charges of factual errors, all charges of confusion?  He has not so far as we know. In fact, we have evidence to the contrary. 

And, contrary to your view, the link you provide offers nothing to substantiate your innocent-of-every-criticism-made-against-him dilemma.    Hence, for you to frame the question the way you did is quite revealing of the standard but skewed reasoning of Caner’s most vocal adversaries.

With that, I am…


P.S.  Sorry, David.  I did not mean to step on your question…

Bennett Willis

Peter, do you feel that the apology that LU mentioned in their statement refers to the February apology that is available on SBC Today?



Thank you for a wonderfully written article. Early on in this mess, I got a chance to read Dr. Caner's apology that was briefly on his website -- apologizing for mispeaking by saying he had debated someone when he hadn't. He stated that he didn't know why he said that. He was VERY humble about it, did not try to make any excuses and asked for forgiveness.

Forgiveness -- AS REQUIRED -- has not been given. It just got worse and worse and worse -- with mor and more gleeful attempts at character assasination of Dr. Caner. And, from a couple of comments here, I see that it continues. It reminds me of the Pharisees.

What really STILL concerns me is the fact that some of these "Pharisees" teamed up with Jesus haters (enemies of the cross;, i.e., Muslims to try to assasinate Dr. Caner's character. That is something they will have to answer to Jesus for. And, I leave it at that. God does say this: Vengeance is Mine!!

God bless you Peter, and thank you.



You have an interesting question about what I write. I'd love to respond. First, rework your comment taking out the unnecessary info not related to the LU statement. I'll then post it and and respond.

With that, I am...



Go ahead and step on it.





You said: "More significantly, the investigation bore “no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager…” (emphasis added), which by all accounts was the original charge leveled against Dr. Caner first by a British Muslim, then by two Calvinists—one a Southern Baptist and the other a Hyper-Calvinist “Reformed Baptist”." But that was not the charge according to James White, as he says here: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=4002 (Number 1). The issue is not whether or not he is a former Muslim. The issue, is whether he is a former devout Muslim raised in Turkey and trained in Jihad. Dr. White never argued that he wasn't a former Muslim, The British Muslim argued that, Dr. White disagreed.

You also said: "Hence, on the one hand there is definitive vindication (similar to what others have dubbed exoneration); that is, Ergun Caner did not make up his life testimony. He is who he said he is. If this is so, then those who’ve likened him to Mike Warnke or other charlatans who created a fictitious background should drink their own tonic and offer public apologies." I asked, who is Ergun Caner? If he is who he said he is, then who is he? To listen to the "Focus on the Family" sermon, he is a former Devout Muslim raised in Turkey and trained in Jihad who moved to American in 1979 and learned his English from the "Dukes of Hazzard". But, court documents have proven that he actually moved here in 1969 and was raised in the public school system. Both of those can't be true. So I ask you, which is true? Who is he and where is he from?

Also, those people who you claim should offer public apologies have produced numerous video evidence and those court documents that show the contradicting stories. I think that if the court documents are true, which, how could they not be, Ergun should do the right thing and go back on "Focus on the Family" and apologize to their listeners for what he said.



You wrote: “The issue is not whether or not he is a former Muslim… Dr. White never argued that he wasn't a former Muslim, The British Muslim argued that, Dr. White disagreed.”  I gave the link to Tom Ascol’s twitter reference to White’s expose on the “former Muslim” who happened to be Ergun Caner. That was 2/11/10  Nor did White argue differently so far as I know until much more recently. Your link is less than a week old.

As for the rest of your comment, Samuel.  I am not going to pitter-patter around rehashing the “evidence” that’s been mulled over ad infinitum, especially when the LU investigatory committee has considered it, made a judgment of it, and gave their verdict on the outcome.  By no stretch will I think you could have done a more fair and judicious reading of the documents than they, and Lord knows I couldn’t.  I accept their judgment.

As a byline, I am no prophet but I actually did predict Caner’s most vocal critics would not accept the LU judgment unless it was a clear, decisive vindication of their charges.  Contrary to such, they would continue the hunt. How far I am off from that prediction I’ll let others judge.   

And, from the way I understand their statement, while there were discrepancies (dates, times, etc), their ruling was Caner is who he said he is. Hence, if you do not read their statement like I do, be my guest.  You may believe as you wish.

Now, if you’d like to ask something else about what I wrote, I’ll be glad to consider it. No more exchange on the “evidences,” however. 

With that, I am…


Jim Upchurch


I understand if you boot this comment since it's not directly related to the post, but instead related to your most recent comment. That's fine. I just wanted to point you to a couple of posts:

First, the original complaint from James White was that Ergun Caner had claimed to "debate" many Muslims. That was his original beef with him (except for the whole planned debate in 2006). Here's a post in Oct, 2009 concerning that issue: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3569

Second, it seems that at least as early as 3/08/10, James White was pointing out and criticizing the claim that Caner was a "devout" Muslim, referenced here: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3801

Grace and peace,




I appreciate the update. I'll take your word for it concerning the links (honestly, I'm dead-dog tired at this point of going any further in this entire debacle). And, you're link pushes White making a distinction much earlier than did Samuel's.

On the other hand, when I entered this controversy in early Feb, I did so partly because Ascol and White were wed together in a liaison concerning Caner. And, definitively the term employed toward EC was "fake Muslim." It was only later changed to "fake *devout* Muslim." That's the basis of my assertion that from the beginning, the charge was leveled toward EC's Muslim conversion.

That's about it.

Thanks again.

With that, I am...



I do appreciate the encouragement I've received from many commenters above. This has been a draining experience for me. Indeed I'm really charred right now (not as in 'angry' but as in 'beat').

Over the past few months--both in public and via private email--I've been accused of living a lie, covering for people who lie, and being a lie. A couple bloggers of note have dubbed my actions more morally despicable than the one I'm covering for.

While those charges are personally hurtful, more significantly, I'm willing to risk being either misunderstood or even misrepresented if that's the price tag of resisting the internet jerks who feel it is their dutiful calling to make sure everybody else in God's Kingdom behaves themselves.

I write that not to sound either courageous or holy. Truth be told, I'm probably more of a wuss.

I'm through with this for now. Don't expect anymore exchange on this thread.

With that, I am...

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