"Rip the Roof Off" – Ergun Caner 2010

Some time in 2010, Dr. Caner preached a sermon titled “Rip the Roof Off,” at Bell Shoals. One interesting thing about this sermon is that it appears to be more like the cleaned up testimony we will see in some of the post-2010 sermons, but the description posted with the video still reflects the pre-2010 testimony. The description currently states:

Raised as the son of a Muslim leader in Turkey, Ergun Caner became a Christian shortly before entering college. Today, he serves as president of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He has debated Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and other religious leaders in 13 countries and 35 states. Ergun lives in Lynchburg with his wife, Jill, and two sons.

We have searched hard but haven’t found actual debates. Dr. Caner was raised, as far as we can tell, in Ohio, not Turkey.

(3:15) “Seven miles down the road, they called Steven Rummage. I’ve had the blessing of following him, of seeing God use him, and let me say it publicly – and you’re recording – stealing every sermon he has ever preached. Unashamedly. I even use the illustrations and pretend they’re mine.”

I assume Caner was joking in the above, but it does seem a little troubling, in view of some of the illustrations we’ve considered in his sermons

(4:00) “I’m a Turkish, immigrant, and I discovered that I’m a Yankee – because that’s what her daddy told me, with an adjective. Jill’s daddy – neighboring county – his people are from Johnston County, NC, specifically he’s from Possum Kill, NC. So, you can imagine how thrilled he was, when the towelhead showed up at the door to date his daughter. My full name is Ergun Mehmet Caner.”

Caner has listed his “full name” a number of different ways, but “Michael” seems to be his legal middle name, based on what we’ve seen in official records.

(6:00) “I didn’t get saved until later in life. I wasn’t raised in church. I wasn’t raised with AWANA, RAs, GAs, WMU – didn’t know none of that. Didn’t have Sunday school; didn’t have vacation bible school. None of it. Didn’t go to church camp until after my conversion. And so, I got saved in Columbus, OH. My family had moved to America, and from America to central Ohio, Gahanna specifically, where I graduated Gahanna Lincoln High School, 1984. I learned English, there. Couldn’t find a college, because I got called to preach, lost my family, lost everyone, lost everything I had. Sent a letter to all these colleges, because I wanted to study the Bible. Didn’t know that I was called to ministry, didn’t quite understand that concept. All I knew, is that I wanted to study the Bible. And I wanted to go to Bible school, but I didn’t have a cent to my name. Finally, found a school in Kentucky, Williamsburg, KY, that would have me. And so I found myself about a year, eight months, after my conversion, in Kentucky, where I had to re-learn English.”

I suppose Caner did learn English here in America – considering he learned to talk in America.

Caner claims to have “lost my family, lost everyone, lost everything I had.” On the other hand, it seems that perhaps Caner was simply disowned by his non-custodial father. That’s a pretty big deal and very sad for Caner, but if that’s all that happened, then that’s not “everyone” and “everything.”

(32:20) “You know the reason I’m here is because one kid was my warrior. I came to America as a Muslim, moved to Columbus, OH, as a Muslim, my father built mosques, until the day he died, as an architect. I’m the oldest of three sons. I should be doing what my father did. But one boy – one boy – for four years – one boy – one high school kid wouldn’t shut up.”

I have no idea why Caner is so insistent on making it “four years.” He graduated (as he stated above) in 1984. He apparently professed faith some time in 1982 or so. Indeed, that 1982 date seems consistent with claim to be going off to college about one year and eight months later.

Also, saying he “came as a Muslim” seems a little strange, since most 2-3 year olds are too young even to say the Shahada, much less be meaningfully Muslim.

(33:00) “He nagged me, he begged me, he pleaded with me, he did everything he could until finally I decided I was going to give in. And I said, ‘You know what? I’ll go with you to church if you come with me to the mosque.’ And he came. Who’s got that kind of guts. Most of us, if we were trained in any way, we knock on the door, if they slam the door in our face, we go, ‘Huh- he must not be elect.’ And we mark him off our list.”

Do people really do that? That looks like a caricature of Calvinists, but not like anyone I’ve ever run into.

(35:50) “In 1995, my grandmama got saved. Age of 93, at Wood Baptist Church in Wood, NC, where she is buried. This little woman, who never learned English, is buried around a bunch of people who can’t speak it. But do you know why she’s buried there? Because that’s where she met her Lord. Because that’s where somebody shared the gospel with her. That’s where sweet old ladies would blow up versions of Scripture so she could read it in her tongue. Where they loved on her.”

Interesting that Caner does not mention that her tongue was Swedish.

(all times are approximate)

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