If you haven’t been following the Ergun Caner controversy, you can find background info on my blog, as well as James White’s blog here.
As of June 30, Dr. Ergun Caner is no longer the President of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. After the investigation, Liberty released a statement that Caner would be replaced. Here is how I see it:
Caner is a man of God. Do you think Jerry Falwell would have appointed someone head of the seminary who he did not know, had not vetted, and didn’t trust? Come on. Listen to his sermons, read his books, attend his classes, and tell me he is not sold out for Christ.
Caner is a dynamic speaker, an entertaining speaker. I’ve heard him on several occasions. He has a great sense of humor, on stage, in classroom lectures, and I imagine, at home. As I see it, giving Caner the benefit of the doubt, he misspoke in his excitement on several occasions. As someone who speaks quite often, I would imagine that I have given facts, figures, etc. wrong on occasion. I’m human. Here’s the point: if someone would just come up and ask me, I would be able to clarify why I mispoke (“Oh I didn’t realize I said that”, “I said that? I meant to say”, “That’s true…let me explain…”, etc.) No one asked him. They blogged instead. ( I have my theories on that. Maybe I’ll share them later). And if you comment on this post, arguing with this point, and have never spoken on more than one occasion to over 500 people – your criticism is invalid.
In short, there are several problems here:
1) Caner was viewed as guilty until proven innocent.
2) Caner’s Christian accuser’s ignored the process of Matthew 18 for settling problems such as this.
3) Caner’s primary attackers were either Muslim or Calvanist – both of which dislike Caner for his positions.
4) All of the “lies” can be adequately explained, as shown by Dr. Norman Geisler.
I think that Liberty University and the semimary are playing a bit of politics with their decision. Which is fine. As I’ve said before, Liberty is bigger than any one person (including the name Falwell). I think that Liberty decided it was best for the school to remove Caner and avoid any further smears in the media. The school will survive. Check that – thrive. However, Caner will stay on as a professor. Doesn’t this say something? I think it says: “Look, we are tired of the accusations from kooks with too much time on their hands, but to avoid hurting our school we are removing Caner from the spotlight. He’s too controversial for such a position. He is, however, irreplaceable in the classroom, which is where he will stay”.
As for Caner? I think justice has been served. His passion is teaching. He has said that, clearly, over and over. And if you believe his story about how Falwell surprised him at graduation by introducing him as the next seminary dean, it was not a role he had too much time to think about anyway. But he did his job – the seminary has grown leaps and bounds in the last several years, and now it can settle in and build on that growth with a less “controversial” dean at the head. Perhaps now Caner can return to his true love – his students.