Archive for the ‘Issues Etc’ Category

Ergun Caner on Issues Etc.

July 30, 2010

I’ve tried to go through the episodes of Issues Etc. on which Dr. Ergun Caner appeared, and tried to review them in light of statements related to Caner’s autobiography and other issues that have swirled around him of late.

April 16, 2003, Hour 3 (last two-thirds, 12:00 onward) “Islamic Sects” (Todd Wilken, Interviewer)(link to wma version)

(17:31) Myself, I am Turkish, twenty generations back Muslim, you know I’m the first Christian – I converted to Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, and God, you know, when I was a senior in high school.

  • If Caner converted on November 4, 1982, as he has said a number of times, he was in the first half of his junior year.

(18:40) And we saw, just a few days ago, a Shi’ite imam hacked to death – actually he was an ulima, a scholar – hacked to death because he was seen to be complicitous with Saddam Hussein.

  • The word “ulima” is a plural noun, not a singular noun.

(33:30) Yeah, this is difficult for me, because of course I was not born in this country. I was a m- You know, my father being a muezzin, we came to this country as Islamic missionaries, to use an Americanized term. And I began to see the panopy (?) – I began to see the landscape of Islam. I would say the vast majority of Muslims here in America – perhaps 85% are Sunni. I teach here in Texas, I will be teaching at Liberty University starting this fall. I think you will run into maybe – most – the vast majority of the Muslims you run into are Sunni, the rest are divided among Shi’ite, Suffi on the West Coast, and Nation of Islam, which I never – I never saw a Nation of Islam ’till I came to America.

  • Obviously, if Caner was only a toddler when he came to America, he is using the term “we” to simply refer to his family in general. However, on other occasions he has said that his family came to build mosques. Building mosques is not quite the same thing as engaging in da`wah (the Arabic term for calling folks to Islam).
  • If Caner came to America when he was a toddler, how would he even remember whether he saw a Nation of Islam member before then? This is one of those kinds of statements that is probably true (there are not a lot of Swedish Nation of Islam folks) but might still give someone a very wrong impression (much like saying, “I’ve never had such tasty Swedish meatballs before” when it is your first time trying the dish).

(44:55) This is something I only hear here in America. If you would have said to me when I was Muslim, and I was a Muslim until I was almost twenty, if you would have said to me when I was a Muslim that Allah and Jehovah-God of the Bible are the same god, I would have been offended. As a Christian, I find it blasphemous. There is no comparison. There is – This is only something that we learned in America, because they want us all to be religious – they want us all to be – basically – all of us are seeking the same god.

  • If Caner converted on November 4, 1982, he was barely (by less than a week) 16. If he converted earlier than that, as his book Unveiling Islam, suggests, he was even younger.
  • The statement about this being “only something that we learned in America” is almost certainly true (it’s hard to imagine a toddler learning any significant amount) but also tends to give an impression that is wrong.

(48:26) Let me tell you great news, Willis, the Lutheran Hour not only here in America – but you have on your mission work, something that spreads into the middle east. And please do not think – for all those who say, “Well, we give our money and want to know, you know, is it being of any effect?” Speaking on behalf of all immigrants, I heard the gospel before I came to America. I heard it because of your transmissions, because of your work, because of the fact that you gave your money. Continue to do so, because you will never know what a profound effect it has on the lives of those — I was in Islam! I was the son of a muezzin – the one who does the call to prayer – and yet I heard the gospel because of such moves as the Lutheran Hour and others. You got into our lives, because you got into our radios – you got into our televisions – and now, because of satellite, you have an incredible opportunity. This is a time for the church to rise up. For the Lutheran church to rise up, for the various denominations that preach Jesus Christ as the only savior to rise up. Man, this is our chance.

  • If Caner came to America as a toddler, it is hard to imagine that he heard the gospel in a particularly meaningful way before then.
  • There seem to be other places in Caner’s speeches where he claims that everything he knew about Christianity was what he learned in his mosque. Was it that way, or was it this way, where he heard the gospel via Lutheran (or some similar) radio?

July 14, 2003, Hour 3, “Muslim Beliefs about Jesus & Christianity” (Todd Wilken, Interviewer) (link to wma version)

(10:27) Anyone reading the Koran, and I encourage Christians – to reach my people, you must read the Koran – you must, you know, get to see what the Koran is about. Anybody, reading the Koran, will run across an amazing number of allusions to Scripture. But they are not correct allusions to Scripture, they are – things are charged. For instance, Abrahim at the top of Mount Moriah (Abraham) sacrifices his son in the Koran – he sacrifices Ishma’il.

(11:05) But until I became a Christian, in my late teens, I thought Abraham sacrificed Ishmael, his oldest son.

  • 15-16 is not really “late teens” is it?
  • He may have thought that, as Muslims do teach that – but not because of what the Koran says.

(22:09) And, of course, one of the arguments we used, and the most famous one I used, in London was: “So you’re telling me,” I said to the imam, “You’re telling me that the Old Testament was perfect and then corrupted?” “Yes.” I said, “So then you tell me that the New Testament was perfect and then corrupted?” He said, “Yes.” And I said, “So then why should I trust if Allah could not preserve the first two, why would he preserve the third?” And it elicited boos from the Muslims, but it’s a valid point, and it won the debate for us.

  • Does anyone have a recording of this supposed debate? What was the name of the Imam?
  • Incidentally, that is a good question to ask your Muslim friends. I have asked a similar question before, and received not much of an answer back.

(23:23) They believe that all the prophets of the Old and New Testaments, some of the ones we wouldn’t even consider prophets, like Barak – Deborah and Barak – not Deborah, but Barak himself. David, Noah, they believe these to be prophets.

  • But Barak is not one of the 25 prophets of Islam (link to discussion – text may need to be highlighted to be read in some browsers)
  • And, of course, Christians believe David, Deborah, and Noah to be prophets.

(30:44) Interviewer: Does the average Muslim know his own book — know the Koran? And does the average Muslim know the Christian Scriptures? Caner: No, he doesn’t. The average – you’re talking about the average Muslim here in America, the answer of course is “no.” I am the son of an ulima – that is one who is a scholar of the Koran – and that is the only explanation why we knew the Koran the way we did. Now, a Muslim may read it, but he is told that, unless he reads it in the original Arabic, he is not reading the true Koran. The equivalent of King James Only Christians – those that say there is only one version of the Scripture that is true. They say that only the Arabic is correct. Well, most Muslims don’t even read the Arabic. Only 20% of the Muslim world understands Arabic. So they will read it in a language they don’t understand.

  • I have seen no evidence, aside from Caner’s claims, that his father was one of the ulima.
  • Ulima is a plural noun, not a singular noun.
  • There’s no evidence that Caner reads Arabic any better than the 80% that he seems to write off in his comment.

(35:30) And, from the moment we are born, there is a reckoning, that is a good and a bad. You are taught that there is a jinn – it’s hard to explain what a jinn is – it is somewhat like a spirit-being, not an angel though, it’s not an angel, but it’s somewhat like an angel. A jinn sits on your right shoulder and a jinn sits on your left shoulder. And they write down – the one on your right shoulder all the good that you do – the one on your left shoulder writes down all the bad that you do.

  • What is interesting about this clip is that here Caner seems to know the right word – jinn, as opposed to other places where he makes the serious error of referring to the jinn as the injeel (Gospel). He also seems to understand the concepts correctly, though perhaps a Muslim reader would disagree with me.

(37:39) And what we have in the Wahabi is the doctrine of the female jihadeen, which is – if a woman dies, she does not go to paradise for – you know the virgins who are waiting for and the pomegranates. Instead, she – if she dies as a suicide bomber – is allowed to pick who she wants to go with her to paradise.

  • What Caner probably means is “mujihad” (singular) or “mujahideen” (plural). While there may be a word “jihadeen” it would not appear to fit in Caner’s sentence.

November 6, 2003, Hour 2 (first half), “A U.S. News & World Report Story on Women in Islam” (Todd Wilken, Interviewer) (link to mp3 version)(link to wma version)

(2:25) We didn’t know – of course, you know, I was raised Muslim and then we came to this country – We didn’t know that it was oppressive. You know, we never thought, “Oh, I’m being oppressed,” this is all we ever knew, was the wearing of the chador or the wearing of the niqab, or – of course – the most germane one is the burkah. But this was all we ever knew.

  • The statement that he was raised as a Muslim and then came to America suggests to the average person something different than that he came to America as a toddler.
  • Likewise “this was all we ever knew” tends to suggest more than the first 2-3 years of a person’s life experience.

(5:52) I have lived under socialism, and fascism, and of course Islamic sharia law and in democracy and I would say, as an immigrant, this is far superior, but it is also riskier.

  • Let’s grant that Sweden, which is really a democracy, can count as socialism. Socialism isn’t really a form of government – so the grouping is bad – but whatever.
  • When did Caner supposedly live under fascism? Is he making a joke at the late Jerry Fallwell’s expense? That doesn’t seem to fit the context. It looks like he is claiming to have lived under a fascist regime in Turkey.
  • When did Caner live under “of course” Islamic sharia law? Turkey does not have sharia law (even if he supposedly lived there). So, how is this claim to “of course” have lived under sharia law anything resembling the truth?

(7:05) It’s been thirteen hundred years since Mohamed died in 632, as women have been seen as half – you know – hell is full of two-thirds women. The teachings of Mohamed about a husband being able to have four wives, and a woman being only able to have one husband at a time. This inequity continues. And its down to the core – it’s endemic. My mother was one of many wives for my father – and it was just passed along culturally like this.

  • Notice that in this context, Caner’s oft-repeated claim that his father had “many wives” is specifically linked to polygamous practices.

(9:45) The Muslim will say, “This is the revealed will of Allah. This was received from Allah, beginning on Mohamed’s fortieth birthday. …”

  • No, Islam does not claim that Mohamed’s fortieth birthday was the date of the first revelation. He was – they claim – forty years old at the time, but it was not on his birthday.

(17:34) Well, when I as Muslim, we had a madrass. Madrasses are now very famous, because they are the places where the jihadeen are training. But one of the things we do in a madrass is that we learn about Christianity. If the Muslims are so adamant about their work, to try to learn about Christianity, why do we not, as Christians who have the truth, and the peace, and the grace – why do we not learn about their culture – learn about their religions – use it as a bridge to build into their lives. My mother did not hear the gospel, as much as we tried, my mother did not hear the gospel ’till nine years after my brothers and I were disowned. And thankfully, from the bottom of my heart, thankfully one woman – one Christian woman – broke through the barrier – and broke through the distrust and reached my mother for the gospel.

  • “Madrass” is not the singular form of “Madrasses.” Instead, Madrasah is the singular form with Madrassas as a Latinized plural (Madaris is the real plural).
  • “Jihadeen” is not the right word. The right would would be “mujahideen” as noted above.
  • Caner’s presentation does not say that his mother was a Muslim woman reached for Christ by a Christian woman, but it certainly gives the listener that impression.

April 14, 2004, Hour 1 (1st half), “The Islamic Holy City of Najaf & Islam & Democracy” (Todd Wilken, Interviewer) (link to wma version)

(13:09) Let’s just use a comparison here. I happen to be a baptist, I was saved Black Baptist, a national baptist, I am now Southern Baptist. Presbyterians and I worship differently, but I believe Presbyterians are going to heaven. They believe in Jesus Christ and so do I. In Islam it is different. In Islam, Sunni declare that Shia are Gulat – Cult. In every mosque I lived in, before I came to America, the mosque was defined by whether it was Shia or Sunni or Suffi – Suffi the third, it’s a minor sect. And so, they do not believe that – Sunni do not believe that Shia are going to be in paradise, and Shia do not believe that Sunnit are going to be in paradise – at least the theologians don’t.

  • Jerry Tackett, who allegedly led Dr. Caner to Christ was a white guy. Of course, there could be a white guy in a black church.
  • I have seen no evidence that Steltzer Road Baptist church was actually in the National Baptist conference.
  • The statement about “every mosque I lived in, before I came to America” implies that Caner lived in more than one mosque before coming to America. Leaving aside the issue of people living in mosques, is there any evidence that Caner was in more than one mosque before coming to America?

June 24, 2004, Hour 3 (2nd half), “The Crusades” (Todd Wilken, Interviewer) (link to wma version)

(29:22) Interviewer: 1) The escalating violence in Iraq. As a former Muslim and as a former resident of that area of the country – of the world – how do you see that escalating violence? Caner: I see it as the natural progression. I mean, this is something that – we were just asked about this in Washington, DC, and I said, “if I was a betting man, I’m not, but if I was a betting man I would guess that there will be even more, after we made the initial exchange of power.”

  • Notice that the interviewer is under the impression that Caner was a resident of the Middle East, and that Caner does not do anything to say, “Well, I was born in Sweden, and raised in Ohio …” or anything of that kind.

(41:39) We chose to convert by the sword, just like the Muslims do. Exactly like my people, like I was trained to do, as a young man. We were trained that Allah will be glorified when every country becomes an Islamic land and Sharia law holds forth. They just said this on the news, not more than an hour ago, my wife comes running down with the press report, and it says that, that you know, here the al-Zawahiri has made the statement that “we will not stop ’till the world is Islamic again.” That’s the way I was raised, that’s my world.

  • Notice Caner’s claims to be involved in radical Islam. He not only claims that he was trained to convert by the sword, but even that he was raised in the way of al-Qaeda leader, al-Zawahiri.

May 3, 2005, Hour 2 (first half), “An Associated Press Story about a Muslim Convert to Christianity” (Todd Wilken, Interviewer) (link to mp3 version)(link to wma version)

  • I didn’t notice any particular items worthy of note in this one. I also included the link here to be fair to Caner. I’m not trying to pick on only select interviews, sermons, and lectures.

August 13, 2006, Hour 1, “Islam” (Todd Wilken, Interviewer) (link to mp3 version)

(2:16) Interviewer: If you had five minutes, alone with President Bush, to talk about Islam, what would you say to him, Dr. Caner? Caner: I would tell him that this is not political – I think that’s the biggest mistake we can make, is to assume that this is a political issue. This is theological, for Muslims. This is eschatological. This is their desire. This is what we were trained from birth – that this is the holy war. And I think that the President has to be aware that this constant advice that he’s receiving that this is just a political thing is just – it underestimates our enemy. It underestimates those who want to do us serious harm. I think the second thing I would tell him is that they are not terrorists, they are devout. In thirteen hundred years of history – thirteen hundred – I would ask him, “Can you name one period of time where Islam has coexisted peacefully in any country?” The answer, of course, is “no.”

  • Notice the claim that Caner was trained “from birth” (understandable hyperbole) for holy war. Are we really to believe that Caner was trained to do what Muslim terrorists do?

(4:45) To a Muslim, a Sunni (myself) does not consider a Shi’ite to be a good Muslim. In fact, he does not consider him to be a Muslim at all.

  • That’s interesting, because it appears that the Sunni Muslims who don’t permit non-Muslims in Mecca do permit Shi’ite Muslims there. Also, Caner’s own “Islamic Foundation” appears to have held events of some kind that were also attended by the Shi’ite family of Jamal Jivanjee (in fact, the families apparently even had dinner together).

(33:42) Jesus strapped himself to a cross, so that I wouldn’t have to strap a bomb to myself.

  • There does not appear to be any evidence that Ergun was in any way planning to strap himself to a bomb.

(UPDATE: the item below added thanks to Fredericka, who pointed this out in the comment box)
(42:57) There are contradictions. Of course, any man-made book will have contradictions. And so there are any number of contradictions in the Qur’an that seem to fight against each other. Surah 19 is one of them, where it talks about the birth of Mary, I mean the birth of Jesus in Mary, and it makes some amazing claims. They come from the Gospel of Barnabas, which was a book that came centuries after our Lord and the other gospels. And in those teachings they teach some things that even Muslims cannot espouse.

  • Caner notes that there seems to be a relationship between the “Gospel of Barnabas” and the Koran. The relationship, however, appears to be the reverse of what Caner has stated. It’s generally thought that the Gospel of Barnabas was written around the 14th century. It is a fairly obvious forgery (see the discussion at this link, for example), written – to all appearances – by a Muslim forger of European extraction (the work uses lines and thought gleaned from Dante Alegheri’s Divine Comedy).

August 17, 2009 “Islamic Sects” (link to mp3)(Todd Wilken, Interviewer)

(03:24) I have on-going debates with Muslims who are from different sub-sects of Islam, and they will say, “we have never done this,” or “we don’t face this direction,” or “our Ramadan is only thirty days” etc. And I quickly add that – you know – that Sunni Islam is, as you said, it’s like – it’s as divided as Christianity is, in that they have four major schools – if you will – sects. But from those four major schools, there are myriad of different denominations, if you will.

  • What debates? Can Dr. Caner document the debates that were on-going in August of 2009?
  • The issue of Ramadan being thirty days is not really a “sub-sect” issue. Ramadan is either 29 or 30 days long (since it is a lunar month, it can go either way).

(22:39) They are the ones who controlled Mecca, they are the largest theological school, they do most of the training for the imams who come to America, the training that takes place overseas, in places like my city, Istanbul.

  • That’s not exactly the same as saying “I was born in Istanbul,” but it does suggest to the listener that Caner is from that city, which Caner is not (as far as we can tell).

(30:16) Catholics have Lent, Muslims have Ramadan. Catholics have the rosary, and in Islam we have “masallah” which is the – which are the beads – you count the ninety-nine names of Allah – it looks exactly like a rosary.

  • I suppose that Caner means misbaha, which is one name for Muslim prayer beads.
  • “Masallah” sounds like the Turkish word for “congratulations” or “cheers”.
  • I had previously speculated that Dr. Caner got his wrong idea that Ramadan is 40 days long from conflation with Romanism. This quotation doesn’t prove that, but it does suggest that it may be the reason.

– TurretinFan

The New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses

January 18, 2009

I happened to come across some recordings of Dr. James White being interviewed on the program Issues, Etc. regarding witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses. This discussion may be very handy for those of us who wish to try to share the gospel with the followers of this particular group.
The New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Part 1, with James White on Issues, Etc. (The segment from Dr. White starts aroudn 40 minutes into the file.)
The New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Part 2, with James White on Issues, Etc. (The segment from Dr. White ends around 24 minutes into the file.)

To the glory of God,


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