No Apologizing

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Factual statements that are self contradictory…what does that mean!?


Kevin and I have been following the Ergun Caner controversy since it popped up.  We haven’t’ posted anything on it because we wanted to allow Liberty to do its job and make a decision.  The decision has been made and… Even now, we disagree on exactly how we should respond to this news… Kevin would prefer to leave it all alone and silently disassociate with the school, but I believe that we need to take a definitive stand on this issue.  While we applaud Liberty for taking some action and also in trying to do so with a measure of grace and forgiveness, I have to admit I am very disappointed by the statement offered up by Liberty. In fairness, this fiasco played a major role in Kevin and my decisions to not return to LBTS in the fall – The lack of a definitive statement in the official statement cemented the decision. 

Before I continue lets get everyone filled in.  Ergun Caner is the Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary (through June 30, 2010).  He proclaims to have been a converted Muslim, and a staunch Apologist for Christ.  About a year ago someone started putting videos on YouTube claiming that Ergun Caner was lying about his past (Part 1 starts here).  So that we are up front about this… the YouTube videos are presented by a Muslim and, at some points, come off as being condescending, and sarcastic.  I watched all of these videos and there were some clear contradictions in some of the things that Ergun Caner was saying.  Without diving too far into it let’s just say that he had three or four different versions of his childhood, move to America, and his testimony.  Each different story was a contradiction to the other.  If you watch the video (and I suggest you do) you can see the clear contradiction.  As I watched them, I wondered… this either had to be intentional, or he has lost his mind.  I started to look into this because this is a story we have all seen too many times.  I found a press release from Caner.  Caner saw fit to call into question the sincerity of one’s Christian faith for challenging him and asking questions.  I immediately e-mailed Chancellor Falwell to ask for clarification.  I found it hard to believe that that the school would endorse such a thought.  I received a response from Falwell himself saying that they take these matters seriously.  We just found out how seriously they take it.

Ergun Caner’s contract will not be renewed on June 30.  He has been asked to stay on as a professor.  In Liberty’s announcement they make the following statement:  “After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Ergun Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner has made factual statements that are self-contradictory.”  Factual statements that are self contradictory?  What does that mean!?  That is incredible.  How can you make a factual statement that is self contradictory?  Can someone help me out here?  How can anything contradict truth? 

Caner was offered and has accepted a position as a staff professor at the university.  I wonder what he will be teaching? Truthfulness is critical when teaching anything, ESPECIALLY the Bible and even more so, for apologetics (which is what he has historically taught).  Is this what happens when Universities become too big?  Do they all become political in the way they handle their business?  I would have expected Liberty to have been the exception!  But it seems like they have fallen into the same trap as secular schools.  Rather than being completely up front and honest about the situation, we get a tap-dancing type statement… “factual statements that are self contradictory.” Liberty’s statement is reminiscent of political correctness, and an effort to sweep things under the rug.  Once this enters into a school it is hard to stop this type of secular thought.  Rather than facing the truth they have decided that a half truth would protect their image, and protect their pocket book.  Does this honor God?

Again, we are glad that Liberty is attempting to show some grace and mercy – that is to be commended… However, the statement they have released and the current lack of a public statement of contrition by Dr. Caner (this should probably have been required by LBTS for Caner to stay on staff) is  a little weak from a conservative Baptist Seminary.

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2 responses to “Factual statements that are self contradictory…what does that mean!?

  1. Mike DeLong June 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    There are several things I would want to see before drawing conclusions here. One would be the Liberty employee handbook. Another would be Caner’s current contract. A third would be the seminary’s organization chart for the Fall semester. A fourth would be a seminary class schedule for the Fall semester.

    I believe but do not know that Liberty faculty are hired a year at a time. I do not know if star faculty get longer contracts, for example. I would expect the employee handbook to outline the code of conduct for faculty with descriptions of fireable offenses.

    At the moment I would hesitate to characterize Caner’s new position as either a place to stay while the current situation blows over or a place to stay while he finds a new job outside the ministry in a difficult job climate. If I were looking for clues I’d look to see what his Fall course load is and whether he holds a position of dean at the university or pastor at the church, and whether the next president of the seminary is a full president or an interim president.

    ==

    All of that is really secondary, however. I’m more concerned at the events that have marked the current chancellor’s tenure at Liberty, including the treatment of the local student Democrats chapter, his dealings with the city of Lynchburg, his interactions with a certain television show host, and the handling of the Caner situation. I guess I would have to say I sometimes wonder what he’s thinking.

  2. G J Lape November 16, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Mike DeLong has some reasonable requests for additional information.
    I know from experience that the faculty have always had one-year contracts and law school faculty having longer.
    The fact that President of the Seminary was called “only” Dean is a lousy attempt to save face similar to the rest of the attempt to avoid ‘fessing-up by only demoting the President. I suppose self-contradictory factual statements are only sufficient to remove leaders but not teachers.

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