Shame on Liberty U! : 2010-05-05
I'm embarrassed and disgusted. What sort of testimony is it to Muslims when Liberty University decides to wield their power to have Mohammad Khan's YouTube account suspended? This action shouts out that they are unable to respond to his questions about Ergun Michael Caner's veracity. For the unaware, Khan is the Muslim from London who runs the fake ex muslims
website and who has documented many of the lies and exaggerated claims of Liberty Theological Seminary President Ergun Caner. His YouTube account showed clips of Caner's wild claims, documenting their contradictory and demonstrably false claims.
I thought that a Christianity Today article would be the final straw that would cause Caner to be toppled from his seminary position, but the first sign that it would be a puff piece was the title, Bloggers Target Seminary President
. Why not "Seminary President Falsified Past," or something similarly accurate? Then came the shocking response. According to John Kennedy's article,
Elmer Towns, co-founder of Liberty University and dean of the School of Religion, says there will be no official reprimand or demotion of Ergun Caner. Towns, who had a hand in hiring Caner, says the Liberty board has held an inquiry and directors are satisfied that Caner has done nothing theologically inappropriate.
Apparently lying is now acceptable. The board members should hang their heads in shame, led by Towns.
"It's not an ethical issue, it's not a moral issue," Towns told Christianity Today on April 27. "We give faculty a certain amount of theological leverage. The arguments of the bloggers would not stand up in court."
Towns is either infuriatingly uninformed, going senile, or unbelievably arrogant. Perhaps he just buried his head in the sands that Ergun Caner didn't come from. Lying about your credentials is both ethically and morally wrong. The arguments of the bloggers would stand up anywhere but Liberty's kangaroo court, because legal documents such as the Caner parents' divorce papers would stand up in any valid court in America. The motivation for Towns' bizarre claims becomes clear as we read on:
Caner is an energetic, entertaining, and engaging professor who has tripled enrollment at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary since his installation
Apparently it's all about the money. Go ahead and lie about your past. Make up entertaining stories, claim to be a foreign-trained jihadist even though you lived in Ohio since your preschool days, and we'll give you fame and money. We'll even use legal means to shut down anyone who raises valid questions. Unbelievable. Jerry Falwell must be attempting to roll over in his grave.
Caner responded to his critics on February 25, although that post is now removed from his website. The statement was preserved on the SBC Today blog
with the acclaim of the editor, Tim Guthrie, who wrote:
The issues raised are addressed and the validity of who he is and what he is doing is proven repeatedly. I appreciate Dr. Caner going the extra mile to address these issues. He is a Biblical man doing the Lord's work!
Apparently Mr. Guthrie is not interested in the facts, as anyone who has researched the issue can easily determine. What does Mr. Caner say? He restates his testimony in much tamer terms than he uses in sermons and then attempts to soften the charges:
Every minister has made pulpit mistakes. Being called a "liar," however, is a serious charge, especially when it is made by Christians. That would indicate that (1) the accusers can know the motives of the accused person's heart, and (2) the accused person intentionally misled people. I have never intentionally misled anyone.
I don't claim to know his motives, but Caner intentionally misled people in the prior statement, not to mention in many of his sermons. That is why they were so damaging that Liberty had to get them off of YouTube. Of course, in this information age, they might as well try to drain the ocean. Caner's statements are a matter of public record. Just over a week ago I listened to the Focus on the Family broadcast of his testimony, "From Jihad to Jesus." I'd link to it, but they've already removed the broadcast, apparently realizing the problems in promoting a jihadist toddler who still spoke broken English in high school despite having lived in Ohio since the age of 2 or so.
After bragging for years about his numerous debates and finally being called to provide even one recorded debate, Caner claims that podcasts of discussions with minimal theological interaction qualify as debates. That doesn't help the situation in which he claimed to have debated Muslim apologist Shabir Ally. Since Ally denied even meeting Caner, Caner repents for his "unintentional but nevertheless horrible mistake." He has been unable to come up with the actual name of the Muslim he supposedly debated in Nebraska, but maybe the location was an "unintentional but nevertheless horrible mistake" as well. I mean, who would want to go to Nebraska for any reason? (Just kidding, Courts and Scollards--I'm a Colorado football fan, and Nebraska is the enemy.)
Caner closes by attempting to claim the moral high ground:
This constant stream of criticism, blogging and berating is not acceptable between believers. I am as guilty as anyone else in instigating such things over the years, but these personal attacks are too much. I shall not participate in this anymore. This is absolutely of no interest to me.
The stream of blogging is not acceptable? The criticism is over the claims that Caner made and has been unable to substantiate even though he was personally enriched by those false claims. To whom much is given, much is required. Go public with wild claims, and you are open to public scrutiny. This response is simply a cop out, but that is consistent with Liberty founder Elmer Towns' arrogant final statement in the CT article:
"We don't see any way that bloggers will damage Liberty," Towns says.
Maybe bloggers won't, but the truth sure will if Christians wake up and stop sending their kids to Liberty until they stop covering up their scandal.
I would disagree with Mohammad Khan on many things, but it is fully appropriate and justified for us to be on the same side in asking for truthfulness from Ergun Caner and Liberty's leadership. What a sad day for Christianity when so-called "Christian leaders" stand behind a proven liar and defend his lies, thereby discrediting all who seek truth and want Muslims to see the truth in us. They will answer to God for this travesty.
I have college-aged children and would strongly encourage them or their friends to avoid Liberty University until they demonstrate integrity and deal with their seminary president like any non-religious school would do--demand his resignation or fire him. If he repented of his specific falsehoods, perhaps he could be reinstated as a professor, but he should never again be a president or dean of an institution.
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