Archive for April, 2014

Ergun Caner – Ohio Free Will Baptists – Men’s Retreat Early 2007

April 30, 2014

A number of recordings of Ergun Caner have been removed the Internet, including four or so from an early 2007 Men’s Retreat of the Ohio Free Will Baptists, featuring Ergun Caner.  An amalgamation of several clips from these messages is apparently preserved over at FBC Jax Watchdogs (link) and is also discussed at A Squirrel in Babylon (link).  The amalgamation is only about 7 minutes long.

The first part begins in the middle of a sentence and continues until about 2:25:

… until I came to this country, I saw through television. It was whatever the Turkish government allowed into the country that passed through the censors, and secondly it was what was basically free, or didn’t have to be translated. And so we got a lot of sports. And we got a lot of shows that would be almost self explanatory. And that actually became this big window into America for me. For instance, ‘Andy Griffith’ was a show that we would get. I didn’t understand it, but I thought all of America was sort of like Mayberry, and, it’s true, I thought all of America was like Mayberry. It was in black and white and they sent it for free, and so I thought, and I moved to New York. And its not a real good comparison there.
The second thing was American baseball. And, the, Cubs, WGN, would send Cubs games. And I learned American baseball by watching, they didn’t have to translate it, you just – you watch the game. You would hear, apparently it turned out to be Harry Carey in the background, and that’s how I thought Americans talked, but that was, that was, you didn’t have to translate it.
The third thing that I got, which is a little embarrassing, but it’s true, was out of Atlanta, Georgia – and in Instanbul it played every two weeks for two hours, we would get a tape, of – and I guess it was a tape, they’d put it on, Turkish television, there on Biruki, which was the station. Georgia Championship ‘Wrastlin’. And nobody ever told me that it was fake, you understand. So you will hear me constantly throw out references to things from my youth, because I thought Americans were the toughest people on the planet. Y’all got hit in the head with shoes and boots and chains, and I thought Rick Flair was the governor, and, Dusty Rhoads was the mayor and so that was my upbringing.

I think Caner definitely did watch wrestling growing up, but he grew up in America, not Istanbul.  He moved when he was a toddler, not a teenager.

The next part begins around 2:25 and continues to about 2:45:

Turkish, twenty-one generations Turk, came to America in my young teens. Moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Marion, OH, from Marion, OH, to Columbus, OH, Whitehall, from Whitehall to Gehanna, OH.

As mentioned above, he moved to America as a toddler.

The next segment is part of Caner’s typical story about his in-laws not being thrilled about him dating his now-wife, with assorted ethnic slurs and stereotypes. (2:45-3:15)

The following segment is him saying that if he could get a PhD then anyone could. (3:15-3:33)  Some people have pointed out that technically he got a different doctorate, not a PhD.

The next part begins around 3:33 and continues to about 4:23:

I was devout. We dressed differently, we spoke differently, we acted differently, and I drove up that highway to go to the Mosque in Toledo every Sunday. I played soccer in Marion and in Galleon, as a Muslim. And we came to this country and came to this state to build mosques here. We were quote-un-quote missionaries to you. We came in ’78 when Ayatollah Khomeni said “We will not stop ’till America is an Islamic nation.” And now my people come here – the olive skinned come here four times faster than any other people group except for the Mexicans, and we’re not in the back of Chevys. 

The photographic evidence suggests he dressed like normal Americans.  Also, he came in the late 60’s not the late 70’s.

The next part begins around 4:23 and continues to about 4:45:

I was 30 before I got married. Some of y’all waited a while too, didn’t you.  But in my culture you are sworn off at 5, and you are married at 9 or 13. I wasn’t in any rush. Turkish women got better mustaches than Turkish men.

By the way, this is not true of any of the Turkish women I’ve known.  Turkish culture has (in the past) included arranged marriages, but Caner wasn’t raised in Turkey.

The next segment is him talking about how as a younger single preacher (“finally, the churches that would call me as pastor, were the ones who would put up with my bad accent, and loved me in spite of me”), old women tried to fix him up with their unattractive granddaughters. (4:45-6:05)  If they didn’t care for his accent, it was because he was a Yankee.

The final segment is about him joking about “women behind the pulpit” and the reason for them being there is to vacuum, and how this will shut up the people demanding women pastors. (6:05-7:01)

Update: MP3s for this have been posted and described as Caner1Caner2Caner3Caner4)


0:00 “The definition of a fraud is somebody who looks like something, but is actually something else.”


0:45 “Turkish, twenty-one generations Turk, came to America in my young teens. Moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Marion, OH, from Marion, OH, to Columbus, OH, Whitehall, from Whitehall to Gehanna, OH.”

Discussed above.

2:00 “My full name is Ergun Michael Mehmet Gioviani Caner.”

No, it’s Ergun Michael Caner.

2:25 “Her father – this is not a joke, this is the truth, anybody from North Carolina will know this city – her father is from Possum Kill, NC, right near Smithfield.”

It’s not a place on Google maps in North Carolina.

6:10 “I’ve had the honor of having 14 books written.”

13:25 “‘But Paul, being grieved’ – There’s one language translation in the Latin, that uses a great word here – ‘annoyus’ for the word ‘grieved’ What’s that sound like? Y’all ever been annoyed on your way to church?”

It’s a mystery where he came up with this, as the Vulgate has “dolens” not “annoyous.”  In fact, the root for “annoy” is French, which may be related to the Latin term, “inodiare.”

20:20 “I have only been a Christian, and thus a Baptist, since I was 18.”

By the time he was 18, he was apparently already at a Bible college.

21:00 “I’m not a smart man. If I got a PhD anyone can get one.”

Discussed above.

32:25 “I had to learn the language on Broad St. in Columbus, Ohio. You can learn the language.”

His grandmother never learned the language, according to his reports.  But maybe that’s because she came as an adult, not as a toddler, like he did.

32:40 “I moved to this country. Come join in our reindeer games, but I learned English.”

Same note as above.

40:30 “I lived in this state, until I was almost 18 years old, and hated you and thought that you hated me. I wasn’t just any old Muslim, I was devout.”

40:45 “We dressed differently, we spoke differently, we acted differently, I drove up that highway to go to the Mosque in Toledo every Sunday. I played soccer in Marion and in Galleon, as a Muslim. And we came to this country and came to this state to build mosques here. We were quote-un-quote missionaries to you. We came in ’78 when Ayatollah Khomeni said “We will not stop ’till America is an Islamic nation.” And now my people come here – the olive skinned come here four times faster than any other people group except for the Mexicans, and we’re not in the back of Chevys.”

Discussed above.

41:45 “And anything I knew about you, I only learned from the imam or in my mosque – the mosque in Toledo – the mosque in Monclova – the mosque up in Cleveland – the mosque on Broad St. that my father built – as a muezzin.”

His father didn’t build that mosque and calling him a “muezzin” — well, he clearly wasn’t vocationally a muezzin.

42:05 “Abinadab, Salat, Zakat, Swan, Haj, all of the five pillars.”

The first pillar is the Shahada – not “Abinadab” whatever that is.

44:20 “For three years – y’all hear me – he was a high school buddy.”

We hear this “three years” a lot, and it fits with his “going into our senior year” comment below, but not with the 1982 date he has other times said, or the 1981 date implied in his book.

44:30 “How many of us knock on a door. We’re getting ready to give them the Roman road, we’re going to walk them down the four spiritual laws, we knock on the door – or the Calvinists – they knock on the door and ask the two questions, knock, knock, knock ‘You elect? No? Alright, see you!'”

That’s not what Calvinists say.

45:15 “I don’t roller skate. There’s not a lot of roller skating going on in the sand.”

Considering Caner grew up in Ohio, not Iraq, the sand reference is quite misleading.

45:50 “For three years, I dressed differently, I would take my prayer rug and roll it out in the high school bathrooms.”

a) The photos we’ve seen have shown him dressed more or less like all his peers when he was with his peers.

46:35 “I got a B.A., an M.A., an M.Div., a Th.M., a D.Min., and a Ph.D. and guess what – God ain’t impressed.”

He didn’t earn a Ph.D.

46:55 “Finally, I decided – going into our senior year – I’ll show him.”

Discussed above.

49:10 “Jerry said, ‘here he is,’ like you gotta point out the boy in a dress, right?”

Discussed above.

52:45 “November the 4th, 1982, I go home, I tell my father, I say ‘Baba, I’m saved’ and it was the last day I saw my dad.”

I’m not sure why he called his father “Baba.”  As for the 1982 date, it’s inconsistent with the “three years” and “going into my senior year” comments, since he graduated in 1984.

55:15 “I’ve written fourteen books.”

It would be interesting to see that list of titles.

56:40 “I was 30 before I got married. Some of y’all waited a while too, didn’t you.  But in my culture you are sworn off at 5, and you are married at 9 or 13. I wasn’t in any rush. Turkish women got better mustaches than Turkish men.”

Discussed above.

57:15 “finally, the churches that would call me as pastor, were the ones who would put up with my bad accent, and loved me in spite of me”

Discussed above.


0:00 “… until I came to this country, I saw through television. It was whatever the Turkish government allowed into the country that passed through the censors, and secondly it was what was basically free, or didn’t have to be translated. And so we got a lot of sports. And we got a lot of shows that would be almost self explanatory. And that actually became this big window into America for me. For instance, ‘Andy Griffith’ was a show that we would get. I didn’t understand it, but I thought all of America was sort of like Mayberry, and, it’s true, I thought all of America was like Mayberry. It was in black and white and they sent it for free, and so I thought, and I moved to New York. And its not a real good comparison there.
The second thing was American baseball. And, the, Cubs, WGN, would send Cubs games. And I learned American baseball by watching, they didn’t have to translate it, you just – you watch the game. You would hear, apparently it turned out to be Harry Carey in the background, and that’s how I thought Americans talked, but that was, that was, you didn’t have to translate it.
The third thing that I got, which is a little embarrassing, but it’s true, was out of Atlanta, Georgia – and in Instanbul it played every two weeks for two hours, we would get a tape, of – and I guess it was a tape, they’d put it on, Turkish television, there on Biruki, which was the station. Georgia Championship ‘Wrastlin’. And nobody ever told me that it was fake, you understand. So you will hear me constantly throw out references to things from my youth, because I thought Americans were the toughest people on the planet. Y’all got hit in the head with shoes and boots and chains, and I thought Rick Flair was the governor, and, Dusty Rhoads was the mayor and so that was my upbringing.”

Discussed above.

3:15 “Stelzer Road Church is still there, it has a new name now.”

Really?  Looks like it has the same name to me.

3:25 “I got to see Jerry Tackett for the first time in 20 years, just a couple years ago, and he’s just a preacher boy.”

I thought he was a teacher?

5:10 “When we finally settled in, we moved to a little place called Whitehall, OH, and then we moved from Whitehall to Gehanna.”

What happened to Brooklyn, Marion, and Columbus? (see Caner1 message)

14:00 (This is where he makes the women preacher joke, discussed above.)

15:45 (This is where he sings the KJVO Bible song, claiming that Clarence Miller taught it to him.  The crowd cheers with amens for it.)

16:50 “I had the honor of being in London, England, debating, and in Glasgow, Scotland”

It would be lovely if there were any evidence of this.

21:20 “In my family, my father had many wives – my father had many half-brothers and sis– I have many half-brothers and sisters.”

His father had two wives, one after the other.  He has two half-sisters, but that’s apparently it.

35:35 “I’m a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church that has 28,000 members, quote-un-quote, the CIA couldn’t find half of them. I’ve learned its harder to get a church to move than it is to get somebody off a membership rolls.”

That’s probably not exactly right, but it’s one of the more candid statements I’ve heard from him.

36:50 “We begin facing, I don’t know East, which way is East?”

They pray towards Mecca, which is mostly East, but not exactly East, from Ohio.

37:40 “Do you know what he’s doing? He’s repeating the first six verses of the Koran, over and over and over. A Muslim repeats the first chapter of the Koran, the first six verses, over and over and over.”

The first Surah has seven verses, not six verses.

38:05 “If you fall down and break your leg, my father said, you get up and say ‘inshallah’- God willed it.”

No, you might say something, but inshallah is a forward-looking statement like “Lord willing.”


12:20 “I told her, I said, ‘In Turkey, you have Persian, Arab, and Anatolian, I’m Anatolian. In the Anatolian world, the man is not in the birth room, the man is in another room.”

And Swedish …

29:35 “I spank my boys. Why? ‘Cause my mama did it to me, my grandmama did it to me, I pass it on to them, I hope they pass it on to their kids.”

It is interesting that Caner does not mention his father.  This seems unusually candid.


2:40 “The Muslims hunt me down. More often than not— I’m not talkin’ ’bout them hunting me down to try to kill me, they just try to shout me down. And so I spend most of my time in secular audiences. I have two rules when I go to a college – I go to any school, I don’t care where it is – I prefer to go to state schools, community colleges and universities, because that’s where the Muslims are teaching. Now I’m telling you this, because this is one of my deepest passions. We got it somehow wrong in the last 80 years. The way we think of it, as Christians, is we think well, man, if I’m really good at what I do, I’ll get a church to call me, and if I’m really good at that, then I’ll get to a bigger church and then a bigger church, and if I’m really good I’ll end up in a denominational job, and then if I’m really good I can end up in a Bible college, and then maybe even be in a seminary.”

a) Has this Muslim shout down happened even once?  I can’t find any evidence corroborating this claim.
b) It is sad that Caner sees the gospel ministry as a stepping stone to bigger and better jobs.

4:10 “Because the really good guys end up in college and seminary, the guys who can’t get those jobs end up teaching in community colleges and such if they can find a job at all.  Schools that look for diversity want to hire somebody who’s got a name that seems unpronounceable. They end up being the only voice for faith reason to kids in the state schools and the state university.”

There are Christian professors in state universities, and they are good in their fields.

4:50 “If you ever hear that I leave Liberty University, it’s not going to be to go to a seminary. As a matter of fact I fought becoming the president of Liberty Seminary in the first right, until Dr. Fallwell explained to me I could keep doing what I do.  If you ever hear that I leave Liberty University, it’s going to be to go to some tiny community college, some state university. Put me on the floor as the only Christian teaching in that department. Surround me with leftists and liberals and lesbians and losers and put me around those people so I can be the only candle in the midst of the darkness.”

a) It sure didn’t turn out that way.  He went to Arlington Baptist College and now he’s at Brewton-Parker College, while apparently continuing his connection with Veritas Evangelical Seminary.

5:50 “I’m going to one of our sister – our brethren schools. Northwest Baptist Seminary is a regular Baptist seminary out in Tacoma, Washington, but it will be for the purpose of debating a Hindu, specifically he is a Shaivite, and debating a Christian professor who doesn’t believe much who’s published “The Sister Faiths,” a book that has to do with all religions being basically the same.

a) I can’t find any record of any debate by Caner at Northwest Baptist Seminary.
b) I can’t find any book called “The Sisters Faiths,” but Martin A. Cohen wrote “Two Sister Faiths: Introduction to a Typological Approach to Early Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity.”  But Cohen is a Rabbi, not a Christian professor.

8:05 “I have in my contract for every debate, two rules. Number one, no money. So, if you’ve got a community college you want me to come to and you know – we gonna set up a debate – you find somebody that’ll debate me, I don’t want a cent. And I don’t want that guy making a cent, because what do they say about us, they always say, ‘well, you’re always after money, you’re always after money.’ Well that way, I can look ’em in the eye and say, ‘Look, just pay my plane ticket and put me in a room.’ The second thing is, no charge. That is, everything – you go into iTunes, all you gotta do is download it. It’s free. And some of the things you can get is I preach at campus church, every Wednesday night on Liberty mountain. And its not just for Liberty University students.  We have 5000 kids that come, every Wednesday nights. And they are Liberty kids, but they are also kids from Randolph-Macon – it’s an all-girls school. And you’ll know ’em because these girls look like they can whoop you. They are – they wear the triangle – they’re the lesbians and they all sit together, but they come because we respect them enough – I’m not going to point them out, but I’m not going to back up one lick. I’m never gonna say ‘well, that’s a lifestyle choice,’ I’m ona say ‘it’s sin before a righteous God,’ but I’m also going to turn to the kids and say, ‘But all y’all who are playing around by going to second base and thinking you’re getting around God’s rule, you’re messing up too.'”

a) Where are any of these supposed debates.  If there were contracts signed, someone should have copies of them.

b) We’ve gone to iTunes and seen what was there – there weren’t debates.

c) Caner is referring to what is now Randolph College, formerly Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, in Lynchburg, VA.  Interestingly enough, they changed their name July 1, 2007, and began admitting men.

d) I would encourage anyone to listen to those campus church messages on iTunes and see if you ever once hear him addressing sexual sin.

10:00 “So y’all can go get those things. You can download those. Now, let me just tell you ahead of time that the music is not southern gospel, it’s industrial goth.”

I’m sure it wasn’t southern gospel music, but come on – “industrial goth” isn’t really a specific musical genre, and I doubt they were playing Marilyn Manson (which is kind of goth/industrial rock) or the like.

11:30 “The problem with Southern Baptists is this: they are so reserved, they don’t know the difference between dignity and death.”

And now he’s the president of a Southern Baptist seminary.


Ulfila and Early Church Priorities

April 29, 2014

Ulfila (also sometimes written as Ulfilas, Ulphilas, Uliphilus, or the like) is possibly the most famous of the Goths in church history.  For those caught up in the terminology of today, no we’re not talking about Emo types, but the Germanic warriors who dominated a big chunk of Europe toward the end of the Roman Empire.

Sozomen’s Ecclesiastical History 6:37 at 11 (Heather et al. translators of this and other works in “The Goths of the Fourth Century,” p. 100) describes Ulfila in this way:

As a matter of fact, he had given the greatest proof of his courage, resisting many dangers on behalf of the faith at the time when the Goths were still worshiping in pagan fashion. He was also the original inventor of their letters, and translated the holy books into their native language. It is for this reason, then, that the barbarians from over the Danube in general adhere to the doctrines of Arius.

I’m certainly not supportive of any of the anti-Nicene groups that existed in the fourth century (especially not those associated with Arius).  Nevertheless, it is notable that it was a priority even at that time to translate the Bible into the language of the people as a predicate to evangelizing them.  Likewise, keep in mind that Nicaea in the fourth century did not necessarily have the prestige it now enjoys.  Heather et al. explain (p. 131):

To take up Sozomen’s second point, the fact that Ulfila was not a declared opponent of Nicaea does not make him a supporter of it — if indeed this whole way of seeing the matter is not anachronistic. One suspects that in the fluidity of the first ‘post-Nicene’ generation adherence to that settlement was not the touchstone of orthodoxy that it later came to be.

Philostorgius’ Church History 2.5 (Heather et al. pp. 134-35) provides a similar report to that of Sozomen (and Sozomen may, in fact, be reliant on Philostorgius, see pp. 96-97):

It was this Ulphilas who led the exodus of the pious ones, being the first bishop appointed among them. He was appointed in the following circumstances: sent with others by the ruler of the race of the Goths on an embassy in the time of Constantine (for the barbarian peoples in those parts owed allegiance to the emperor), Ulphilas was elected by Eusebius and the bishops of his party as bishop of the Christians in the Getic land. Among the matters which he attended to among them, he was the inventor for them of their own letters, and translated all the Scriptures into their language — with the exception, that is, of Kings. This was because these books contain the history of wars, while the Gothic people, being lovers of war, were in need of something to restrain their passion for fighting rather than to incite them to it — which those books have the power to do for all that they are held in the highest honour, and are well fitted to lead believers to the worship of God.

One interesting point to note about this is that clearly Ulfila (or more likely his group, rather than just him personally) had a pretty clear concept of the canon of Scripture.  We can’t accurately judge that canon today, because the Goths were non-Niceans (and generally classified therefore as Arians) and consequently most of their literature was destroyed by the dominant orthodox.
Heather et al. explain (chapter 5, p. 124):

The precarious survival of these texts is a reflection of the thoroughness with which the victorious ‘orthodox’ church of the fourth and later centuries succeeded in eliminating the writings, and in large part the reputation, of its opponents.

Indeed, a similar fate awaited the Gothic translation of the Scriptures.  Very few manuscripts survive and much of the evidence we have for the text is based on the fact that parchment was expensive and consequently reused (Heather et al., p. 147):

It is noteworthy that all these texts, like the Codex Carolinus referred to above, are preserved as palimpsests, that is to say on pages of parchment cleaned of their Gothic texts and re-used, but still decipherable beneath the later writing: we can easily imagine how, as the Gothic kingdom of Italy was replaced by Byzantine domination, copies of the Gothic Bible would become superfluous and join the stocks of discarded books whose materials were available for re-use.

Not only were Gothic Bibles not useful to non-Gothic-speakers, they were suspected.  Salvian, in De Gubernatione Dei 5.2.6 (Heather et al., pp. 156-57) argues:

They read the same things, you say, that are read by us. But how can they be the same, when they were written in the first place by bad authors, and are badly interpolated and badly translated? They are not really the same, because things can in no sense be called the same when they are defective in any part of themselves. Things that have lost their completeness do not keep their integrity, nor do they retain their authority in any way when they are deprived of the power of the sacraments. It is only we who posses the holy scriptures full, inviolate and complete: for we either drink them at their very source, or at least as drawn from the purest sources through the service of a pure translation.

Heather et al. again (p. 148):

To summarise, no part of the Gothic Bible survives complete, though the relatively extensive remains of the New Testament that we do possess are perhaps the most useful from a historical point of view, because of the Graeco-Roman terminology which they contain; in a manner of speaking, this replicates the Goths’ own experience in confronting the Roman empire and its institutions. Enough fragments of the Old Testament survive to attest to its existence in Gothic; the absence of the Books of Kings from the surviving fragments is consistent with Philostorgius’ assertion that these books were not translated by Ulfila, but obviously insignificant as evidence, given the tiny quantity of the Old Testament text that does survive.

In short, the Bible was an important priority in the early church, even for those “Christians” whose theology included serious Trinitarian errors.  Lord willing, I’ll address some of those errors in a subsequent post.


Ancient Historians – More or Less Reliable than Modern Historians?

April 28, 2014

The fathers weren’t always good historians. When we challenge some of their particular historical claims, it’s not rare for people to argue “Surely father X, being over a thousand years closer to the event in question, had access to better sources than we do. Therefore, we should trust the fathers’ account.”

There is some intuitive appeal to that argument. After all, time does wreak havoc on documents, and presumably all the documentation we have from those events necessarily existed in the time of the fathers, together with further documentation now lost.

Still, the argument is flawed. The documentation may have existed, but the individual fathers may not have had access to the documents. Documents from one part of the empire were not necessarily available throughout the empire.

Furthermore, some of the fathers very uncritically accepted others’ historical accounts. In some case, such acceptance was a rational necessity: there was no way to verify every detail, and what could be readily verified seemed to be more or less accurate. Sometimes a historian was working from the account of a previous well-respected historian.

Peter Heather and John Matthews have written “The Goths of the Fourth Century,” (Liverpool University Press, 1991, Volume 11 of the Translated Texts for Historians series). This work is a go-to work for understanding the Goths of the 4th century, and incorporates a wide variety of historical research into the subject, including archaeology.

The authors note this problem I’ve mentioned above (chapter 4, p. 97, internal citation omitted):

In adapting his predecessor’s narrative, however, Sozomen compounds several errors of Socrates, notably in supposing Ulfila to have been active in Gothia in the time of Fritigern and Athanaric, and he moves from he persecution of the late 340s, as a result of which Ulfila left the Gothic territories, to that of the early 370s without any apparent awareness that different events are in question, or that Ulfila, expelled from Gothia in the first persecution, had no personal connection with the second. Further, his conception of the chronological connection between the Hunnish attack on the Goths, the settlement of the Goths in Thrace, the supposed dissension between Athanaric and Fritigern and the latter’s conversion to Christianity is, to put it mildly, confused.

That’s Socrates the noted historian, not the much earlier Socrates, the noted philosopher.

You may recall other examples of this same kind of principle. When you read the Koran, it seems pretty clear that Mohammed was under the impression that Jesus’ mother Mary was the same person as Miriam, Moses’ sister. The name of the two people was the same, but – as most people familiar with the Bible know – the two were eons apart, chronologically.

Mohammed is a fairly extreme example, but he was over 1200 years closer to the time of Jesus than we are, yet was in a vastly inferior position in terms of his historical knowledge. So, when we consider modern historical research against patristic historical assertions, we should be open to the idea that modern historians often do have access to better quality resources, research materials, and methodologies than their ancient predecessors.

-TurretinFan and National Conference On Christian Apologetics – October 2013

April 26, 2014

National Conference On Christian Apologetics had sessions that were apparently recorded on October 11, 2013, in Charlotte NC (link to page).  Ergun Caner had two sessions respectively titled “Jihad Me At Hello,” and “The Allah-leuia Movement.”

Apolo13-88 – Ergun Caner – Jihad Me At Hello

2:40 “I will tell the pastors, ‘I can do one of two things: I can speak to Christians about Islam, or I can speak to Muslims about Christ, but I can’t do both at the same time.’ It becomes too combustible.”

I am not aware of any recorded cases of Caner speaking to Muslims about Christ.  But why would it be combustible to do both things at once?  That’s the very essence of what apologists do in a debate – speak to both groups at the same time.

6:15 “I had not seen my father in 17 years.”

That suggests he was disowned by his father in 1982 (which is 1999 – 17).  This is the same information found on April 26, 2014, on his website (link):

I did not see our father for seventeen years after my conversion. In 1999, I got word that my father was dying, and the three brothers decided that we would try and see him. We all flew in, and after some time, I got to see him. He died three days later. He died a devout Muslim.

As noted above, that would imply a conversion in 1982 when Caner was 15 (or 16, if it was the end of the year in 1982).

This is a suitable place to address the next item on that same web page:

Most former Muslims live in fear for their lives because of threats (see the first question above). Thus, those who would ever dare speak or write publicly usually take pseudonyms. Emir and I chose not to use fake names. We are proud of who we are as former Muslims and now Christians. Every book we have written has been under our real names.

Actually, though, Ergun wrote under the name “Ergun Mehmet Caner” instead of his real name of “Ergun Michael Caner.”

7:30 “In August of 1999, I was in Aurora, CO, the last church I pastored, before I started teaching full time. I was finishing up my PhD and that church, Central Baptist Church, allowed me to be gone a good portion of the time to-for my study.”

Technically, that would be a D. Theol., not a PhD, although as Caner’s website (same one as above) says:

From: University of South Africa
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Year: 2001
Thesis: Bellum Justum vs. Bellum Sacrum. I examined the apolgetics of the “Holy War” and “Just War positions in Church History, and the ethical considerations.
NOTES: I get asked often about UNISA (the abbreviation for University of South Africa), because it is a British-system University. The Th.D. at UNISA is the equivalent to the Ph.D., according to the World Education Service (WES). The requirements are the same. Many people attend this school by distance, but I chose to travel there for a series of intensives. Frankly, I loved my experience at UNISA. It was inexpensive, and my promoter (like a mentor) was a great man. I lived in a region called Brooklyn, and truly loved their culture. The university is massive, and the library is amazing. The Pauw Building houses all the Theology faculty, for both the Ph.D. and the Th.D. programs. The British system of post-graduate work is focused on the dissertation, and is called a “thesis.”  Quite a few professors in the United States have been graduated from UNISA, and around the world.

Notice that Caner claims he “chose to travel there for a series of intensives.”  I’m not sure what exactly he means by that.  I should note that 2001 is a couple years after 1999.  There is something odd about that 2001 date, though – beyond the claim about finishing up in 1999.  You may recall that some years ago the first page of Dr. Caner’s thesis was posted (link to post):

It may be hard to see from the above, but the date on that thesis was 2003.  At the time, I thought perhaps the thesis had been published later as a book, as is sometimes done.  However, upon further research, it turns out that the University of South Africa considers him a 2003 graduate (link).  The university’s entry for him states:

Dr Ergun Michael Caner
DTH (Systematic Theology)

That makes the “finishing up” in 1999 claim even more odd – as well as raising a question mark as to why Caner would have the 2001 date on his website.

7:55 “My grandmother got saved at the age of 92.”

I have no idea when she actually got saved.  Caner has used a number of different ages.

8:50 “When we walk in, the ulima, the scholars, are standing around my father’s bed.”

Really?  What ulima were in Ohio in 1999?  This is reminiscent of Caner’s previous even more grandiose claims about his father’s death (link), which included “surrounded by muezzins and mullahs and caliphats, and imams”.

42:45 “I’m not Persian, I’m not Arab, I’m a Turk, I’m Anatolian.”

He makes a similar claim on his website:

As far as we can tell, those who question our conversion do so for the following reasons:

2. Because we are Turks, and Turks are Anatolian, not Arab or Persian. In history, these three major groups from our region of the world have not gotten along. We were raised speaking Turkish. 

a) Really?  Raised speaking Turkish?  Why couldn’t Caner speak Turkish to the Turkish newspaper that interviewed him? (link to evidence)
b) Maybe the real reason people question it is because of the glaring mistakes about Islamic beliefs and the false statements about your immigration and conversion/pre-conversion experiences? Maybe those “factual statements that are self-contradictory” are the reason people question it.

Apolo13-05 – Ergun Caner – The Allah-leuia Movement

12:50 “He’s from Possum Kill, NC, outside of Smithfield.”

I’ve looked at a map of North Carolina, and specifically in the area all around Smithfield.  No place called “Possum Kill” was found.

19:25 “That’s me in maşallah – I’m not Persian and I’m not Arab, I’m Turk. This is our rite of passage.”

The image he’s apparently pointing to may have been from a rite of passage, but the term “maşallah / masha’Allah (Mā šāʾ Allāh)” literally means “Allah has willed it” and idiomatically refers to something good happening.

37:10 “In Surah 61, Jesus says ‘I must go so that I will send a Parakletos, that’s Mohammed, Ma-ha-mood.’ He was prophesying the coming of Mohamed.”

That’s not a particularly accurate paraphrase.  Instead, Caner is conflating the text of Surah 61 and the way that some Muslim apologists attempt to draw a connection to John’s gospel.

Surah 61:6 says (in the Sahih International translation):

And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”

In the Yusuf Ali translation:

And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.” But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, “this is evident sorcery!”

A more complete discussion can be found here (link).


Ergun Caner – Janet Parshall’s "Talking it Over" – January 10, 2009

April 25, 2014

Moody Audio has posted audio from Janet Parshall’s “Talking It Over” show, featuring Ergun Caner as the guest (link to page for audio).  It apparently aired and/or was recorded on Saturday, January 10, 2009.  All times are approximate

5:10 “I had a gentleman in a debate say that I must have had a mercy bypass.”

I wonder what debate that was?

11:05 “It’s like someone quoting Scripture to me in a debate – and they’ll say, ‘well the Bible says’ – you know – I had a debate with homosexuals just very recently, and he said ‘the Bible says, judge not that ye shall not be judged,’ and I go ‘that’s a wonderful quote, where is that,” and he said ‘you should know! you should know!’ I said, ‘I do know, I’m asking you,’ and he gave his little talk but he never gave the answer. And I said, ‘I’ll tell you what, I won’t quote from your authors, if you don’t quote from mine’.”

Which debate was this?

22:30 EC: “I said that – you know –  ‘I’ve been called every name in the book, towel-head, camel-jockey, sand-monkey, etc. but I don’t care'” JP: ” and by the way, Ergun, at that point you need to tell people that’s because at one time you were Muslim.” EC: “Oh, yeah, and ethnically I’m Turkish, 100%, raised as Muslim, came to America as an immigrant.”

He was raised more after coming to America than before, and his mother is Swedish as is his grandmother, who only spoke Swedish.

34:20 “I mean I came out of Islam. I was raised in it until I was 18.”

By 18, he was apparently in Bible college.

35:00 “You know, I have a nickname. My full name, Ergun Mehmet Caner, is tough on a southern tongue – so my nickname is Butch.”

No, his full name is Ergun Michael Caner.

Moody Audio also has another recording allegedly of Ergun Caner (link to page for audio). Unfortunately, that audio is actually Walid Shoebat.

– TurretinFan

Ergun Caner – Shades Mountain Independent Church – Missions Conference 2010

April 24, 2014

“See the Fields,” is the title of a message that Dr. Ergun Caner apparently preached at Shades Mountain Independent Church (SMIC) at the Missions Conference 2010, on February 21, 2010 (link to page – you may need to scroll almost to the bottom). All times below are approximate:

1:30 “He was in my dorm, eight months after I got saved, in college!”

That does seem to suggest he was saved during his senior year in high school. That does not align with some of his other claims about when he got saved.

2:15 “I am a Turk. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, but Turk.”

It is nice to hear him acknowledging his real birthplace.

3:35 “Her father is from Possum Kill, NC.”

It would be nice if there was any evidence that this was a real place.

28:00 “Turkish kid, active, devout Muslim, living in Gahanna, Ohio. I don’t eat with them, I don’t talk with them. The Koran teaches, Surah 5, do not take friends from among the Jews and the Christians, you bring their judgment upon you. I have no friends who are Jews or Christians. One guy, Jerry Tackett, who doesn’t stop for over three years. He’s going at me with the gospel. I eat differently, I speak differently, I pray differently, I’m talkin to a different god, yet here’s this guy who won’t quit.”

I don’t think he didn’t eat with them or talk with them. He did sports, singing, and theater throughout high school (according to his yearbook).

29:00 “Four days later, when I become a believer and I lose my family, and I lose everything, one church takes me in.”

Why would his custodial, hippy-universalist mother care? His non-custodial father may have disowned him, but “lose my family” and “lose everything” looks unsupportable in the face of the facts that we can document.

29:45 “A year later, this boy who had converted from jihad to Christ finds out that both my brothers got saved. All three of us from our father and our mother, our father had other children and another wife, but from our mom, Ergun, Erdem, Emir, all three born again, all three ministers, all three married to amazing, godly, Christian hot wives, and it all goes back to one person.”

a) This suggests that Caner was off to school when his brothers were converted.
b) Where is any evidence that Caner was involved in any serious jihad.

30:50 “My grandmother got saved at 93!”

Elsewhere it has been other ages, always over 90, if I’m not mistaken.


Ergun Caner – United States Marines New River, NC – September 15, 2005

April 23, 2014

On September 15, 2005, Ergun Caner delivered two messages that were recorded and subsequently released by the U.S. Marine Corps in response to a Freedom of Information Act request (see the videos here – and more background here).  The two videos are identified as “Base Theater” and “Officer’s Club.” All times are approximate in the following summary:

Base Theater

2:05 “Just as I only understood American culture by what I’d seen on television, so do too do most Iraqis who only get their television from controlled sources.”

He came from Sweden when he was a toddler – so this is hardly surprising.

2:30 “I spend half my time debating in formats. Debating Muslim ulima – those are scholars – or debating imams, the pastors – I spend most of my time cutting through cliches.”

Where is the evidence of that half of his life?

3:10 “My father had more than one wife at a time. As you know, the Koran says in Surah 4 you’re allowed up to four wives. My father had three.”

No, his father didn’t have more than one wife at a time.

4:05 “Written on the wall of the mosque in Kabul: [gibberish that is apparently supposed to be Arabic] – do not teach the women to read and write.”

It’s a shame he has to resort to pretending to speak other languages.

4:15 “Democracy is like cr*p out of a bull, you cannot put it back in. Once you have allowed it free, it’s there.”

I realize that people use profane language and crude analogies, but it is disappointing to see it from a person who often fills pulpits.

5:55 “‘Umm, excuse me, why are you always picking on Canada?’ Cuz our Salvation Army could kick your *ss if you wanted us to.”

Same comment as above about crude language.

6:15 “Please don’t release this to Dr. Falwell, I will so get hammered over this.”

This seems to acknowledge that the recording was not Caner’s to control.  It also seems to reflect Caner’s recognition that he was not acting appropriately.

7:00 “I want you to look very carefully at my face, not because it’s worth looking at, but this is the face of the declared enemy. I wasn’t just a Muslim.  My training in madrassa was three generations deep as a jihadeen. My father was a jihadeen, my grandfather was a mujihadeen. Welcome to my world.”

The idea that Caner or his father (or his grandfather) was a jihadist is not supported by any evidence we’ve seen.

7:20 “Coming to America I did not wear jeans, pants and I wore keffiyah – I wore my robes.”

Considering he was a toddler when he came …

7:30 “We came in full gear.”

That’s not what the photographs of his father show.  They always show him wearing normal Western clothes.

8:15 “… pants so tight you can see the seams split the mangina. Did you really think I was going to talk like a professor?”

This question actually elicited a loud “yes” from one leader in the crowd, while most of the crowd was audibly grossed out by the crude speech.

9:00 “My father was an architect, so we came here to build mosques as missionaries to you. Again, welcome to the face of the enemy.”

There does not seem to be any evidence supporting this claim that his father was an architect or that he came to America to build mosques or as “missionaries” to non-Muslims.

9:55 “My training in my madrassa in Istanbul, my training in my madrassa in Cairo, before we came to America, I was taught that you hated me.”

He came from Sweden to the US as a toddler.

11:15 “Five pillars of Islam: abinadab, salat, zakat, swan, and haj.”

The first pillar is the shahada – he often says “abinadab,” but where he got that – who knows!

36:50 “Mohammed was a Qureshi tribe, I was a Kurdush tribe.”

I would love to see any documentation showing that the Caner family were Kurds rather than Turks, as Caner usually claims.

41:40 “I have heard them, Muslims who were debating me in St. Louis, who said ‘Sadat – he was a traitor, he shook hands with the unclean,’ meaning he shook hands with a Jew.”

I would love to see any documentation of this supposed debate in St. Louis.

43:00 “The Quran supposedly came to Mohammed on his 40th birthday.”

No, he was supposedly 40 years old, but it was not supposedly on his birthday.

43:30 “But there is also a collection, called the Hadith. Now this is a term you will hear in Iraq often, because, there are four different collections of the Hadith, Al Bukhari’s Hadith, the Hadith are not the sayings of Allah, they are the words and sayings and protocols of Mohammed.”

It’s interesting that he seems to know that there is more than one collection, and that Al Bukhari’s is one, but there are not only four.  There are, however, six major Sunni collections, which are collectively referred to as the Kutub al-Sittah:

  1. Sahih Bukhari, 
  2. Sahih Muslim, 
  3. Sunan al-Sughra,
  4. Sunan Abu Dawood, 
  5. Jami al-Tirmidhi 
  6. Sunan ibn Majah,

There are also other collections, particularly those of other sects of Islam.

45:00 “Hadith, volume 9, number 57”

Even after tipping his hat to the fact that there are multiple collections of hadith, Caner goes back to citing hadith without identifying the collection.

49:45 “Where you stand in the square and you declare yourself, I am now to be a jihadeen.”

I mostly provide this to show that when Caner says “jihadeen” he does mean jihadi.

50:10 “When I came to America, in 1978, I ran into the first group I had ever – I had never seen a Nation of Islam person.”

He came in the late 60’s as a toddler.  I’m sure there weren’t any Nation of Islam people in Sweden at that time in any significant numbers.

51:20 “There is two nations of Islam.  As I said, I didn’t run into them until ’78 when we came here to America. But there are two nations of Islam.”

As noted above, he came in the late 60’s.

56:00 “Whenever – in a debate with a Muslim – most recently Texas Tech University home of Bobby Knight – and in this genre in Lubbock, TX, the imam that I was debating, he said ‘Islam is a religion of peace,’ and I said, ‘Wonderful – look into that camera’ because it was being taped ‘look into that camera declare that the jihad was not of Allah, call Muslims to lay down their arms.’ And they cannot.”

If it was being taped, then the tape hopefully exists. Where is it?

1:00:05 “We got stopped at the border, because my father had listed my mother as property. It’s true. And the guy said, ‘Your wife’s not property,’ and he said, ‘of course she is.’ And then he brought his ‘sisters’ – it’s his other wives, it’s how we bring our other wives into America, we call them our ‘sister.’ “

Caner’s dad was not a polygamist.

1:02:10 “One of our celebrations is called Eid al-Fitr, it’s at the end of Ramadan. It is the commemoration of Abrahim – Abraham – going to the top of Mt. Moriah to sacrifice his son.”

No.  The Eid that celebrates the near sacrifice of Abraham’s son is Eid al-Adha, which is on the 10th day of the 12th month, as opposed to the 1st day of the 10th month (the date of the Eid al-Fitr).

1:07:00 “I taught – and our debate, which was subsequent to that – followed that – I taught that Michael Moore was an exponent of Hatriotism.  Hatriotism: mock America, get applause. But the great thing is, as we’ve discovered, is that that doesn’t represent that vast majority of Americans, it may represent some. But it doesn’t represent the vast majority of Americans. Neither does it represent the vast majority of Muslims. And so my context in our debate, was that I said, ‘Dude, you don’t even speak for my people. Oh, you want us out of here, we’re the occupying force. Listen, you fat pig! Do you understand that you have every right to  make whatever movie you want. I love fantasy, but I don’t look for hobbits underground. But your documentary is being purported to be real when it is much more fantasy than it is truth. ‘Well, disprove it!’ And I pointed out six things – six things that he taught that were wrong. One, he had a Muslim who was screaming in Arabic and had it – made it look like they were screaming against America, when in fact he was screaming against the Sunni. He was a Shia protesting the Sunni. Then he had another woman, who was weeping and crying and saying, ‘look we’re exporting America, yada yada yada’ and in fact, she was a Christian woman in Iraq whose husband had been killed by the Muslims. And I said, ‘Now, are you going to change those things in your movie?’ ‘Argh-argh-argh-argh’ ‘You fat pig.’ You see, you understand, I like to argue. I get paid to debate. It doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is when people swallow what he says hook, line, and sinker.”

Caner wrote an article called “Hatriotism” (link to article) against Michael Moore.  But debate him?  Where’s the evidence of that? We have records of Caner being interviewed about the article – where is the record of this supposed debate? (link to interview)

Officer’s Club

7:10 “I have two half-sisters who are learning how to read for the first time in their lives”

Considering his dad died in 1999 and this was already 2005, I really doubt that Caner’s half-sisters were just learning how to read.

8:00 “My full name is Ergun Michael Mehmet Giovanni Caner, Turkish, Sunni, mujihadeen, my father was mujihadeen, my grandfather was mujihadeen, Kurdish – Eastern Turk”

No, his full name is Ergun Michael Caner.  He was not a “holy warrior” and there is no evidence his father or grandfather was, either.  Also, it’s very doubtful his family was Kurdish rather than Turkish, as he usually claimed.

8:30 “I get to speak in churches most of my life, or in debates. I debate Muslims and B’hai and Buddhists and Hindi and all types on university campuses. So like I said, I spend most of my time getting yelled at.”

Speaking in churches, yes – but where are the records of these debates?

9:25 “I knew nothing about America until I came here when I was 14 years old. Everything I knew about American culture, I learned through American television. Whatever they allowed into the Turkish region, so that they could broadcast for free. And so for me America was anything I saw on television that came from American television that was allowed through by the censors.”

He came when he was 4 or less, not 14.  And he was born in Sweden, so Turkish TV doesn’t enter into it.

09:50 “Didn’t understand what they were saying, there was the captions beneath.”

Notice how he implies he can read Turkish.

10:05 “I watched Dukes of Hazzard. I wanted to marry Daisy Duke.”

The Dukes of Hazzard didn’t air until 1979.

11:05 “They were getting stomped like a preacher at a topless bar.”

More of this uncouth speech.

11:20 “The last television show that I watched, I’m embarrassed to tell you. But for the sake of authenticity, I should tell you. I watched, every two weeks, for four hours: Georgia Championship Wrestling.”

Notice the allegation of “authenticity”!  Amazing.

15:00 “Her father is from Possum Kill, NC.”

We can’t find any record of such a place.

16:45 “My little half-breed child who ignores me in two languages.”

Unless he means “English” and “Swedish,” then this seems hard to believe.

20:35 “My madrassa in Istanbul, Turkey, my madrassa in Cairo, Egypt, there’s no question what the doctrine of jihad was.”

What madrassa did he ever go to in those countries?  He grew up in the U.S.

20:55 “I was sworn to jihad, at the age of 9. Until I was 18 years old and I became a believer in Jesus Christ. I was sworn to jihad.”

They swore him to jihad in Columbus, Ohio?  If so, the government really should be investigating that group.

21:50 “You can see now that when I get into debates, I’m probably not their favorite candidate to debate. Some cracker, telling them that everything’s going to be ok, maybe. But if you know the language, and you understand why they say what they say, and you understand the doctrines behind it …”

Caner himself doesn’t know the language and doesn’t seem to have a very deep understanding of the doctrines.

23:40 “I was Sunni. What’s interesting is that my parents were a mixed marriage, in that we were Kurdish as well, and my mother had Suffi.”

His mother was Swedish with a Swedish Lutheran mother.  She later became something of a hippy, apparently, but that’s not the same as Suffi.

28:05 “I would sit in the mosque, in the masjid, and I still go to the mosque, because I will go in – I will not take the positions of prayer but I will go and listen to the masjid on jumiyata, I will hear the prayer, I will go hear the sermon. And it is just replete – it is replete with these teachings of [gibberish that is apparently supposed to sound like Arabic] – the Christian Crusaders are coming.”

Notice how Caner is pretending to know and speak Arabic.

30:20 “I couldn’t imagine when I went to my first church, I had never walked into a church before, and I’m 18 years old, I could not imagine that they were nice to me. And you’ve gotta picture me now, I’m walking into the church in full gear, in full keffiyah.”

You’ll have to imagine it, because he was apparently already off to Bible college when he turned 18.

40:05 “But you always see video of us now, saying, reading into the camera ‘I am jihadeen,’ or ‘I am mujihadeen,’ if you’ve made haj.”

You have to love this apparent claim that the “mu” means that the person has gone on haj.

42:05 “I tell you these things because most of you have been bored to death with people lecturing about the five pillars of Islam, the six foundations of Islam, abinadab, salat, zakat, swan, haj, the halal and haram the dietary restrictions …”

As noted above, “abinadab” is not one of the pillars – the one he missed is the shahada.

46:30 “I love asking that question to the Muslims when I debate them.”

And when, exactly does he debate them?

49:45 “I often say, ‘Freedom is cr*p out of a goose, because you can’t put it back.'”

Note my comment above about his crude language.

53:30 “But I did work at 7-11. I worked at a 7-11. I was Apu. Yeah.”

Elsewhere he says he did not.

54:15 “This guy comes up and he’s trying to hook me up, trying to be my friend, trying to sell me something. and I said, (some gibberish twice) I’m not interested, I’m not interested.”

Notice him again trying to suggest he speaks some middle-east language.

54:30 “The really tight, tight, tight – if there wasn’t a female here, I would tell you how tight – tight tight jeans I could tell if he was Jewish, tight jeans. And I said, (gibberish) This is violation! This is violation! He said (more gibberish ending in America) Come on, I can be American!”

Note the crude selection of illustrations. Ironically, Muslims are also circumcised.  And note the fake foreign language.

1:13:00 (Similar Michael Moore story to the one provided at the Base Theater at 1:07:00, although without any explicit debate claims.)

1:14:40 “‘Raise your right hand, who’s the president right now?’ ‘Ronald Reagan,’ ‘You’re an American citizen.'”

Reagan became president January 20, 1981.  I note this only because some people have claimed that Ergun gained U.S. citizenship in 1978.

UPDATE: Someone made a compilation of clips for many of the items quoted above:


Is it Important to Pronounce Biblical Names "Authentically"?

April 6, 2014

Some people point out that the way we pronounce “Jehovah” and “Jesus” today are definitely not the way that the names were pronounced at the time the Pentateuch and Gospels were written.  For one thing, pronouncing the names with a hard J sound at the beginning represents the evolution of English/French.  Similarly, pronouncing “Jesus” with an “H” sound at the beginning represents the evolution of Spanish.

So, in some sense, we are pronouncing the words “wrong,” in the sense that we are not pronouncing them as they were originally pronounced.  But does or should that matter?  With respect to Dominic Bnonn Tennant (who provides three nice reasons opposite to mine), the answer is no.
After all, the New Testament itself does not provide Greek transliterations that would lead to identical pronunciations of the Hebrew proper names that are being referenced.  Instead, the New Testament generally applies the same kinds of transliteration concepts that we see in the ancient Greek translations of the Old Testament.
Thus, for example, the name “Jehovah,” is not even transliterated, but merely replaced by κύριος (kurios).  Likewise, the name “Jesus” is actually a transliteration for the same Hebrew name we transliterate in the Old Testament as “Joshua.”
That first example is also the rebuttal to one of DBT’s “particularly egregious examples.”  DBT argues:

The fact that we inherited a silly Jewish superstition that YHWH should be pronounced “Adonai” (lord) in Hebrew, because to say the actual name of God amounted to blasphemy, is not a good reason to render it “LORD” in English. 

The problem with that argument is that we seem to have inherited it from the Holy Spirit who inspired the New Testament, in which the quotations of the Old Testament do not transliterate YHWH.  I’m not saying that transliteration is forbidden – but I think calling it a “silly Jewish superstition” seems extreme.


Follow Jesus

April 4, 2014

Jesus said:

  • Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)
  • Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. (Matthew 8:22 / Luke 9:59)
  • (To Matthew aka Levi) Follow me. (Matthew 9:9 / Mark 2:14 / Luke 5:27)
  • (To Philip) Follow me. (John 1:43)
  • If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24 / Mark 8:34 / Luke 9:23)
  • If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (Matthew 19:21 / Mark 10:21 / Luke 18:22)
  • And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)
  • Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
  • My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (John 10:27)
  • If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:26)
  • (To Peter) Follow me. (John 21:19)

Do what Jesus said: follow Jesus.


"Many Wives" or "Other Wives" vs. "Two Wives" – Norman Geisler’s Indefensible Defense of Caner

April 1, 2014

In his so-called apology, Ergun Caner claimed “I have never intentionally misled anyone.”  I don’t see how to reconcile that claim with the many times (not just one or two times) that Caner has described his father as having “many wives” or “other wives.”  How was that not intended to mislead the listeners?

Recall that Norman Geisler attempted to defend Ergun Caner in this way (link to defense):

7. Ergun claimed his father had many wives and two half-brothers and two half-sisters, but there is no evidence for the half-brothers.

Response: Ergun’s father did have two wives, having divorced the first one.  He had three sons by his first wife (Ergun and his two brothers).  So, Ergun has two full brothers and two step-sisters (from his father’s second wife).  While speaking quickly on one occasion, he mistakenly called his brothers his “half” brothers.  This is hardly evidence of an attempt to embellish or deceive.  After all, he had the right number of each sibling, and he didn’t claim to have ten brothers or sisters!

Ergun’s father did have two wives – one after the other –  not many wives.  Yet Ergun repeatedly claimed his father had “other wives” besides Ergun’s mother.  “Two wives” does not support that claim, even if it could somehow be used to support the “many wives” claim.  Ergun also claimed that his father immigrated with “wives.”  That also does not match the two serial marriages story.

Furthermore, Ergun did not use the “half-brothers” claim only once.  He used it at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge and in two different messages at Ashburn Baptist Church.

And Ergun was not referring to his brothers when he said it.  At Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, Ergun said “I have half-brothers and sisters who don’t know Jesus.”  Likewise, at Ashburn Baptist on June 3 Ergun said, “And so in 1978, my father, my mother, my two brothers, my father’s other wives, and my half-brothers and sisters came to this country.”  And then again at Ashburn Baptist on June 5 Ergun said “I have half-brothers and half-sisters in Chicago, in New York, and in Turkey, who live here, who are still lost as geese” and again a few second later “How dare I give up! My half-brothers, my uncles, my aunts, How dare I give up!”

In short, while part of what Geisler wrote in defense of Ergun on this point is true (“two wives” and two half-sisters) much is untrue: it was not just once that he referred to “half-brothers” and he was not referring to his own brothers when he did so.  Even the true part falls short of defending the “other wives” claim or – bluntly speaking – even the “many wives” claim.

This and a number of other serious problems with Caner’s autobiographical claims are documented in the Caner Affair article (link), which is mostly an index to other posts that document a lot of what Ergun Caner has said.  Currently, the list of source posts is around 54 or so (and growing), but some of those source posts deal with more than one speaking occasion.  For example, Dr. Caner has spoken multiple times at some churches, and generally those messages are grouped together in a single source post.


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