Patterson Puts Ergun Caner Back into the Spotlight


For the first time in well over a year, Google Alerts pinged users with a news story relating to Ergun Caner. Polemicists were shocked to read the article; Ergun Caner was coming back to the big stage, and with prominent friends.

Ergun Caner rose to prominence in the days following September 11, claiming to be a Turkish born trained Jihadi who came to the United States when he was 17 and while walking down the aisle in radicalized Islamic garb, accepted Christ in a Baptist Church. Caner was soon promoted by Paige Patterson, Johnny Hunt and other Southern Baptists leaders and he became the Dean of Liberty University.

Several years ago, Caner’s testimony was exposed as fraudulent, with dozens of audio and video messages from Caner repeating the same demonstrably false claims. Caner was born in Sweden to a non-Muslim mother and non-radicalized, Islamic Father (who was an architect, and not a cleric as he had claimed). He came to the United States at 3 years of age, and English is his only spoken language. He was raised by his non-Muslim mother, witnesses from his upbringing say they saw no Islamic elements in his life, wardrobe, speech or lifestyle, and witnesses at the church where he made his profession of faith refute the details of his conversion stories. Liberty University demoted Caner, after which he made a timely departure from the university altogether.

Caner went on to sue to Christians – including one Southern Baptist pastor – for placing videos of his lies to the United States Marines (which is not property of Caner, but the American public) on YouTube. He subsequently lost those lawsuits and they were dismissed with prejudice, and both defendants won large settlements against Caner for their attorney’s fees (link).

Later, Caner went on to serve as provost of a small Christian college in Texas, and then moved to Georgia to become the president of Brewton Parker College, a Southern Baptist School that was troubled both financially and with their accreditation. With the recommendation and endorsement of megachurch pastor, Johnny Hunt (link), Brewton Parker board of trustees said they hired him not in spite of the evidence of against him, but “because of the relentless pagan attacks against him” (speaking of discerning Christians who had warned them against Caner’s hire – link).

Less than a year later, Caner resigned from the college, claiming he needed emotional healing regarding an tragedy in his family, and his VP of Communications claimed he was stepping down because he was a “Man of God” (link). In reality, only days later the truth came out that Caner had been exposed for racism, using the words “ni**ger-di**ed” and “ni**ger-fu**ed” while on the phone with his brother and president of another Georgia Baptist college, Emir Caner (link). This was compounded upon charges of racism from employees and students that began almost as soon as Caner took over the post at the college, and culminated in a third of the student body walking out on him in chapel. It was also reported from a Brewton-Parker VP and others that Caner immediately resigned when questioned about an extra-marital affair with an employee, with phone texts provided as evidence (link). Brewton Parker trustee, Pastor Bucky Kennedy, helped to cover up the circumstances of Caner’s departure, while more honest individuals prevailed in speaking truth to the matter (link). Caner then filed for divorce from his wife (with whom he was estranged before Brewton Parker College hired him), who charged him with adultery in their divorce documents (link).

In none of these incidents – the thousands of continual lies about his testimony, the racism, the lawsuits against believers for exposing him, or the adultery – has Caner admitted error or repented. Neither, in any of these incidents, has his supporters like Paige Patterson, Johnny Hunt (who had one of his own church members – in good standing – hauled off by security for expressing dislike on the Internet that Caner was filling Hunt’s pulpit – link) or Jerry Vines spoken regret that they had supported Caner for so long and helped his rise to fame.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President, Paige Patterson, along with prominent politics-oriented pastor, Robert Jeffress, Georgia Baptist Index editor, Gerald Harris, and “soul-winning” evangelist, Bailey Smith, are some of the Southern Baptist Leaders sharing the stage with Ergun Caner at the upcoming Real Evangelism Conference at Wheeler Grove Baptist Church in Corinth, Mississippi on November 2-4.

Ostensibly, and yet surprisingly, Caner was invited to speak at the event, and not invited in order to be properly evangelized.

 

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