Ergun Caner

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Ergun M. Caner
Born Ergun Michael Caner
(1966-11-03) November 3, 1966 (age 48)
Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation Unemployed
Religion Southern Baptist Convention
Spouse(s) Jill Morris (m. 1994)

Ergun Michael Caner (born November 3, 1966) is a Swedish-American academic, author, and Baptist minister, who became well known for his book, co-authored with his brother, on Islam and his claims that he was a devout Muslim trained as a terrorist, claims since disputed.[1] He emigrated to the United States at a young age and converted to Christianity in the early 1980s.[2]

Caner is the former[3] President of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia. He previously served as the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Arlington Baptist College and was the former dean of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School of Liberty University. He was removed from this position after it became clear to Liberty University faculty and the Liberty University Board that he contradicted himself while making factual statements.[4]

On January 20, 2015, Brewton-Parker College announced that Dr. Caner was stepping down due to the inability to properly grieve for his deceased son, Braxton, who had committed suicide on July 29, 2014.[5] However, it has since been alleged by several sources, as reported in the publication Southeast Georgia Today that Dr. Caner was forced to resign over some racially insensitive remarks he had made.[6]

He has authored and co-authored several books, many of which discuss Islam and Christianity. His book, Unveiling Islam, co-authored with his brother Emir, sold more than 200,000 copies and has been translated into six languages. It also received a 2003 Gold Medallion Book award by the Evangelical Christian Publisher's Association.

Early life[edit]

Caner was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1966 to Acar, a Turkish national, and Monica, a Swede.[2] Caner immigrated to the USA in 1969 with his parents, moving to Ohio.[7] His parents divorced on April 14, 1978, but his father, through court order,[2] initially established that the boys be raised in Islam.[8] Caner's mother Monica successfully fought against the provision in the divorce decree that the children be raised Muslim by making an appeal to the court on February 6, 1979. The court allowed Monica's petition that religious instruction be "according to the desires of each parent" while in their custody.[9]

Public career[edit]

In 2002 Caner and his brother gained national attention after publishing a book, Unveiling Islam, about the Islamic faith.[10][11] IslamOnline's Ali Asadullah called it "a diatribe against Muslims and their faith."[12] The book, an insider's look at being raised as a devout Sunni under their father's tutelage, was a commercial success; selling 100,000 copies in a year[13] and winning a Gold Medallion Award.[14]

In the years following the publication of Unveiling Islam Caner became a well-known and popular speaker at evangelical schools and churches. After teaching at Criswell College for two years, Jerry Falwell of Liberty University asked Caner to join the faculty in Lynchburg, Virginia. Caner quickly became a popular professor. In February 2005, Falwell announced that Caner was to be the first former Muslim to become the President and Dean of an evangelical seminary, making Caner head of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.[15] Caner's leadership at Liberty Seminary and with the faculty he built saw the enrollment triple in a relatively short period of time.[16]


In 2010, Christian and Muslim bloggers[17] accused Caner of making up and lying about his life story by citing details that were incongruent with his regularly stated, printed, and often repeated story. The critics particularly challenged Caner's claims to have grown up in Turkey, when he actually grew up in Ohio; being raised in a devout Muslim home, rather than a nominal one; having been trained as an Islamic jihadist; having debated dozens of Muslims, although they say there is no evidence of such. Mohammad Khan, a Muslim from London, England was the first to show that Caner's recitation of what he claimed was the Shahada, an Islamic creed, is actually the first two verses of the Qur'an.[18]

On May 10, 2010, Liberty University announced that it would launch a formal inquiry into allegations of discrepancies in the claimed background of Caner, the Dean and President of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School.[19] Caner said, "I am thrilled that Liberty University is forming this committee, and I look forward to this entire process coming to a close."[20] On June 25, 2010, Liberty University removed Caner from his position as Dean of the seminary after finding "discrepancies related to the matters such as dates, names and places of residence."[21] Liberty University did decide to retain Caner as a full-time faculty member of the seminary for the 2010–2011 school year.

On September 24, 2010, Caner was the keynote speaker for the Twin City's 12th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast in Bristol, Virginia. When interviewed about the controversy, the chairman of the local prayer breakfast committee said that members were aware of the controversy, but the invitation had been issued before the controversy became apparent. He also noted that the Community Prayer Breakfast does not delve into the backgrounds of their motivational/inspirational speakers.[22] At the meeting, Caner claimed that he and his brother had seen the controversy coming for years. The bloggers were simply "frustrated people in their basements", he said, adding that it would take more than edited videos to take him down.[23]

Caner left LU in June 2011 to become Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Arlington Baptist College.[24] The President of Arlington Baptist College, Dr. Dan Moody, stated that Caner's controversy was in the past and the new Vice President had his full confidence.

Caner instructs Marines in New River, North Carolina

Caner filed a lawsuit on June 18, 2013, in the U.S. district court in North Texas claiming copyright infringement for reproducing, uploading and maintaining his videos without permission.[25] The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on April 17, 2014. The judge ruled the videos had been posted in their entirety and were not edited as Caner had earlier claimed.[26][27] Two courts ruled the lawsuits were frivolous and ordered Caner to pay a combined total of $59,183.39 in legal fees.[28] Following the court order, YouTube made the videos available again.[29][30]


  • Caner, Ergun, and Emir Fethi Caner. Unveiling Islam: An Insider's Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs. Updated and Expanded ed. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2009. ISBN 0-8254-2428-3
  • Caner, Emir Fethi, and Ergun Mehmet Caner. More Than a Prophet: an Insider's Response to Muslim Beliefs About Jesus and Christianity. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2003. ISBN 0-8254-2401-1
  • Caner Emir, and Ergun Caner. The Sacred Trust: Sketches of the Southern Baptist Convention Presidents. Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2003. ISBN 0-8054-2668-X
  • Caner, Ergun Mehmet, and Emir Fethi Caner, eds. The Sacred Desk: Sermons of the Southern Baptist Convention Presidents. Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Publishing Group, 2004. ISBN 0-8054-3059-8
  • Caner, Ergun Mehmet, ed. Voices Behind the Veil: the World of Islam through the Eyes of Women. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2004. ISBN 0-8254-2402-X
  • Caner, Ergun Mehmet, and Emir Fethi Caner. Christian Jihad: Two Former Muslims Look at the Crusades and Killing in the Name of Christ. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2004. ISBN 0-8254-2403-8
  • Brunson, Mac & Caner, Ergun. Why Churches Die: Diagnosing Lethal Poisons in the Body of Christ. Nashville: B&H Books, 2005. ISBN 0-8054-3181-0
  • Hoffman, Paul K., and Norman L. Geisler, eds. Why I Am a Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe. Rev. and expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2006. ISBN 0-8010-6712-X
  • Cabal, Ted, ed. The Apologetics Study Bible: Understand Why You Believe. Nashville, Tennessee: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007. ISBN 1-58640-024-X
  • Pollock, Forrest. The Last Sermon I Would Preach If Jesus Were Coming Tomorrow. Encouraging Word, 2007. ISBN 0-615-15940-0
  • Hindson, Ed, and Caner, Ergun, general editors. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics. Eugene, Or.: Harvest House Publishers, 2008. ISBN 0-7369-2084-6
  • Falwell, Jonathan, general editor. InnovateChurch. Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Books, 2008. ISBN 0-8054-4826-8
  • Caner, Ergun Mehmet. Holier Than Thou: When Faith Becomes Toxic. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009. ISBN 0-687-65840-3
  • Allen, David L., and Steve W Lemke, eds. The Return of Christ: A Premillennial Perspective. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2011. ISBN 1-4336-6972-2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Caner, Ergun, and Emir Fethi (2002). Unveiling Islam. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications. ISBN 0-8254-2428-3. 
  2. ^ a b c Caner, Ergun, Emir Caner Unveiling Islam (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2002) 17
  3. ^ "Dr. Caner steps down as Brewton-Parker President". Brewton-Parker College. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Liberty U. removing Ergun Caner as seminary dean over contradictory statements". Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "BPC VP Refuses to Resign, Fired". Southeast Georgia Today. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  7. ^ Acar Mehmet Caner's Immigration and Naturalization form
  8. ^ Court Order Decision by Ohio Court, June 8, 1978
  9. ^ Court Order
  10. ^ "Converts take heat for book about Islam". The Robesonian. July 26, 2002. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  11. ^ Breed, Allen G. (June 21, 2002). "Former Muslims Stir Anger With Book Assailing Islam; Brothers Who Became Baptists Call Former Faith 'Violent'". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ Asadullah, Ali. "Former Muslims Attack Islam in New Book". IslamOnline. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  13. ^ Oh, Susie L. (June 6, 2003). "Christian Authors Writing Book on Islam". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  14. ^ "2003 Gold Medallion Book Awards Winners". ECPA Christian Book Expo. Retrieved April 26, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Ergun Caner named dean of Liberty Baptist Seminary". Baptist Press. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Seminary Plans to Move to Old TRBC". Liberty University. 
  17. ^ Geisler, Norman. "In Support of Ergun Caner". 
  18. ^ "Issues - Ergun's Shahada". 
  19. ^ "News & Events – News Article – Liberty University". May 10, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Ergun Caner Out as Seminary Dean". Christianity Today. February 7, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010. 
  22. ^ McGee, David "Liberty's Caner to speak at prayer breakfast" 9/19/10
  23. ^ McGee, David "Caner defends background in Bristol speech" News and Advance 09/25/10
  24. ^ SBC Today
  25. ^ "Lawsuit Summary - Dr. Ergun M. Caner v. Jonathan Autry et al". Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  26. ^ Pulpit and Pen "Leavening the Lumpkins: Nine Questions for Brewton-Parker’s VP of Communication"
  27. ^ Allen, Bob "Judge says use of Caner video fair" April 21, 2014
  28. ^ Allen, Bob "Caner ordered to pay attorney fees" July 3, 2014
  29. ^ United States Marines "Ergun Caner trains US Marine Corps (o-club)"
  30. ^ United States Marine Corps "Ergun Caner trains US Marines (Base Theater)"

External links[edit]