Desperate Muslims and Ignorant Christians Part 1

As a former Muslim, a convert to Christianity, Reformed and one who Muslims have attempted to discredit as an ex-Muslim, I struggle with this war against ex-Muslims, which Muslims instigated and Christians are perpetuating and perfecting. Some Christians have accused me of “skirting” around the issue surrounding Dr. Ergun Caner because I have not “publicly” stated my stance, while in fact I have. Others have accused me of lying. One person even went to the extent of posting a comment “on my behalf” using my name and URL on the Christianity Today website attempting to ruin my credibility. (Thanks to CT for investigating and taking action!) This has become an emotionally charged and a very serious matter!

The way the attacks on Dr. Caner have played out is mind-boggling to Christians who are involved in outreach to Muslims. I am a part of a network of 200 plus professionals and laypersons that is directly involved or facilitate outreach to Muslims in Canada and the United States. So far, everyone I have talked with is glad that Liberty University carried out its initial investigation sans the comments Dr. Elmer Towns made in the Christianity Today article. There is a second investigation in progress and let us keep Liberty University and all those involved—including Dr. Caner and his family—in our prayers.

My fellow Christians, Muslims and their sympathizers—I am not implying any Christian here—want this issue to drag on, and anything short of a public apology from Dr. Caner, possibly with an audio or video available, is an unacceptable to them. Since they have a lot of time and possibly money invested in this endeavor, they want to put an “icing” on their cake with evidence. It is unbiblical that this issue is being “juried” and judged” on blogsphere, with Muslims as some of the jurors and judges.

This issue would not have gained any traction had Dr. James White and Dr. Ergun Caner been in good terms. I have met neither of these men but have spoken once to Dr. White on the Dividing Line. There are a few instances where he has spoken dismissively of Dr. Caner on the radio program. For instance, on April 20, 2010, he said, “I have had no overt fascination with Ergun Caner since then,” just because the debate in 2006 [podcast track 21:50-24:35] failed to materialize.

I emailed him with my concerns soon after the program had aired; bringing to his attention some of the charges he had discussed on-air regarding Dr. Caner observing Muslim prayer in a high school bathroom. When he failed to respond, I called into his radio program because he had blogged that he was going to discuss Dr. Caner again and would be taking calls. He dismissed [podcast track 43:45-45:50] the scripture (Galatians 6:1-2) in regards to his discussion of Dr. Caner on-air and told me that it did not apply because he had to go public with the story due to Dr. Caner’s failure to answer his questions and Dr. Caner being a public figure.

Dr. White must have had this issue on his mind for quite some time because he misconstrued what I had said regarding how, while interacting with the audience, I had mispronounced Arabic words or recited the wrong chapter of the Qur’an and he concluded that that just proved his point that the Caner Brothers embellished their testimony, “making things up,” because of the need supposedly was great for expert on Islam after 9/11, even terming it “preacher exaggeration” while I wasn’t implying that. I was trying to help him realize that it was possible that Dr. Caner mispronounced Arabic words.

It dawned on me during our discussion that his Muslim scholar friend Shiekk Yasir Qadhi, who had emailed him, would give the benefit of the doubt to Dr. Caner and wouldn’t draw a conclusion because he did not know if his prayer rug was waterproof. That was when I realized that Dr. White has an underlying problem, perhaps beyond these accusations of Dr. Caner being a liar.

I am a Reformed Christian and I am utterly ashamed of Dr. White. In my opinion, he is a disgrace to the Reformed faith—sola scriptura—because of his meddling in this matter and his disregard of the scripture. He is tacitly helping Muslims with their war against Muslim converts to Christianity. He even is going a step further in perfecting it by discussing Dr. Emir Caner on-air yesterday. His main issue with Emir is that he “erroneously” stated that Jesus was mentioned in the Qur’an 93 times [podcast track 52:00-56:00].  Would that prove him as a fake expert on Islam when he was quoting John Esposito, Professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies and the director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, who says, “Jesus is referred to in ninety-three verses of the Quran” (The Oxford History of Islam, pages 306-307)?

Carl Medearas says in his book Muslims, Christians, and Jesus, that, “The Qur’an mentions Jesus almost one hundred times…” Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2008, 66.  Does that make Mr. Medearas, the most visible “international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations,” a fake expert on Islam? Jesus is mentioned by name 25 times but he is referred to directly or indirectly “almost one hundred times” in the Qur’an and that does not make one a fake expert on Islam. Muslim scholars read every chapter of Mr. Medearas’ book prior to its publication and concluded that it was “fair” to Islam (page 20). This is one other instance that shows Dr. White has a grudge or jealousy issue, partly due to that scheduled debate that never took place.

The initial issue was whether the Caner Brothers were fake ex-Muslims. None of the evidence has proven that. Court documents have revealed that they indeed were brought up as Muslims. That debunked Muslims and some Christians’ initial assertion. There is even an eyewitness and some of us dismiss him because he has not divulged enough information. They now want us to focus on the lies and inconsistencies in the testimonies but as Christians we should not forget that when any believer—unless some of these Christian critics think Dr. Caner is not a Christian—asks for forgiveness, we believe that he or she is forgiven. Even God forgives and forgets our sins on account of the sacrifice of his beloved Son on the cross. Why don’t we set aside our pride and forgive our brother Dr. Ergun Caner?

Muslims would like to make Drs. Ergun and Emir Caner the “face” of their “fake ex-Muslims” propaganda. It wasn’t just by coincidence that they stumbled upon their testimonies. There are at least 10 different “fake ex-Muslims” videos—mostly based on these converts’ accent pronouncing some Arabic words—on YouTube that do not involve the Caner Brothers. The fact that these brothers are leaders in the Christian higher education is a constant reminder to these Muslims that Islam is under threat. If they weren’t, Muslims would not have resorted to these tactics.

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  • http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/ TurretinFan

    TimG: It’s sad how you shoot the messenger instead of heading the message. -TurretinFan

  • http://hereiblog.com/ Mark

    Hussein,

    The charges of you not comprehending due to culture actually make sense to me. I thought of this before White put up his response. The reason I thought along this line of reasoning is because you just make assertions rather than arguments that deal with the evidence. You also continue to mention motives. I’ve seen several Muslim argue against Christianity and for Islam in the same manner. They make assertions, ignore logic and don’t deal with the evidence.

    Gene directly answered your charge of slander upon White with full documentation. Instead of answering him you say he did not listen to the Dividing Line, but that you would discuss it.

    Well, where is the discussion? Instead of addressing the answer to your own charge you move the issue.

    Also, you’ve stated “More than three pastors have told me that Dr. Ergun Caner has repented of his sins.” And if you’ve read others calling for repentance you can find more than three pastors who say he has not repented of his sins. This line of reasoning does not prove anything. If it does, now we’re back to square one.

    Would you please stop merely asserting things and deal with the evidence presented such as in Gene’s link he provided.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Mark,

      If you agree with Dr. White that I do not understand what is going on, blaming it on my upbringing, I do not know what make of it. What do you say of other SBC folks who have the same views as me? Dr. White’s argument falters right there. I have said it over and over and people don’t seem to get it. I am not involved in this discussion to defend the discrepancies in the Caner Brothers’ testimony. I just have an issue with Dr. White the way he discusses them. That is all. By the way, I have posted a rebuttal to his question 20 on the open letter to Liberty University. I wonder if he will edit his letter, with original showing.

      I am not making any assertions. Dr. White’s argument dies because there is enough evidence to give any human being the benefit of the doubt that the Caner Brothers are fake experts on Islam. Why do we have to go on and on, damaging people’s character, only to repent later when the damage has already been done?

      The issue regarding “more than three pastors” that told me about repentance, they are akin to the situation. I believe they are keeping in touch with the brothers. Now do your “more than three pastors” who doubt his repentance have the same privilege? Why can’t we wait until June 30th, when Liberty University will publish its findings? Why the rush to judgment?

  • William Tyndale

    I look forward to reading your blog on Hadith.

  • http://sbctoday.blogspot.com Tim G

    TurretinFan,
    Since you love to discuss vagueness, will you now reveal your identity? It is a simple question and only requires a simple revealing. To question one’s integrity while hiding one’s identity is complete and total hypocrisy.

    Reminds of Rom Rich. Surely you are more spiritual than this!

  • William Tyndale

    “Why do you think Dr. White is entitled to anything from Dr. Caner? Can’t he just be satisfied that Liberty University is now carrying out an investigation? Isn’t that what he had hoped for? What else does he want?”

    Certainly, if the questions Dr. White posed are answered satisfactorily, I think he will be satisfied. At least, I would be. As I recall, it wasn’t just Dr. Caner not addressing the issues with Dr. White, but there was no facilitator from Liberty to see these things handled in private. A respect and care for the truth AND the reputation of the gospel would (I would think) have been sufficient motivation for someone to mediate such an encounter. Dr. Caner’s issue is partly with Dr. White since they are co-laborers in very closely related fields of apologetics.

  • William Tyndale

    Yes, I admit Dr. White does come across as arrogant sometimes. Honestly, I don’t have a defence for that except (by way of explanation more than anything) that he is an apologist who engages in a lot of debate. And it is possible that the tactics that a debater uses have become more a part of his personality than should be. And in a generation where any confrontation at all is viewed as wrong (more, often, than the issues at hand), it is possible that some of that presentation isn’t necessarily bad. That is, his aggressiveness – while often grating – is a necessary part of his manner. Has that sometimes spilled over into issues where he might be more gracious? Absolutely (from my perspective, anyway). But is his attitude as significant an issue as Caner’s statements? Not as far as I can see. His sins MAY be more social than scriptural. And those that aren’t can’t be judged by men the same way Dr. Caner’s public claims can be.

    If what you have tackled in this blog entry (for example) can be called lies, then both White and Emir Caner are guilty of lies. Caner for stating something that isn’t true based on White’s definition and White for stating something that fails to take into consideration Caner’s sources. But then that raises, again, the issue of why an expert in Islam would make a statement like that. That’s why I think this issue is a triaviality. Something that is more on the level of a “misstatement”. Dr. White is using it not as a lie in and of itself, but as one point used to support a larger “thesis”. This, on its own, does not constitute anything resembling fraud. I don’t think Dr. White believes it does (though I could be corrected on that).

    It goes to credibility. Thus, the statements about Hadith references. I am no scholar and can only go based on what I hear, but if Dr. White is correct, then a basic error (repeated many times) certainly does raise serious questions of the credibility of Dr. Caner (both, I think). What good does it do any apologist who deals with Muslims when a high profile Christian teacher (former Muslim) cites something that any Muslim knows is a nearly meaningless reference? A muslim who saw this would unjustly think that Christians are seriously ignorant about their religion.

    As far as Paul’s conversion story, there is a big difference between contradiction and different details. Caner’s story contradicts court documents. Paul’s going to Jerusalem differs in the two accounts but is not contradictory. Further, Acts is Luke’s account of Paul’s life whereas Paul’s writing in Galatians is his own account. With Dr. Caner, we have Dr. Caner against himself and Dr. Caner against court documents.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      I was just teasing you about the Apostle Paul’s testimony which you had brought up. I have used that same argument to debunk Muslims’ arguments. By the way, I am working on a new post on how aHadith (plural for Hadith) should be cited and you have taken quite a bit of my time. Please come back and check out the post and see for yourself if there is any valid reason Dr. White should continue pontificating. Have a blessed day!

  • William Tyndale

    I think you are making the same mistake others are making – assuming this is about Dr. White vs. Dr. Caner. And some are trying to make it that. Even if Dr. White has impure motives here, the fact remains that Dr. Caner has made irreconcilable statements about his past to attract people to the faith and to his school. We can’t judge Dr. White’s motives – at least not the same way we can judge public statements. And the more it is made about the personalities, the less justice the truth receives. If Dr. Caner were to provide a viable, coherent picture of his past that lines up with public documents and public statements, Dr. White would have no choice but to accept that and move on. And if he had done so in spite of Dr. White’s perceived attitude towards Dr. Caner, then he would have that as a public record of the facts. Dr. Caner has done that in no forum whatsoever (at least not to my knowledge).

    One man’s motives do not justify another man’s actions.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Why do you think Dr. White is entitled to anything from Dr. Caner? Can’t he just be satisfied that Liberty University is now carrying out an investigation? Isn’t that what he had hoped for? What else does he want? By the way, I am not reducing this saga as “White vs Caner.” Dr. White has a major ego problem. Do you listen to the Dividing Line? He is the only apologist I know that calls everyone he criticizes by name. Can’t just tackle the issues. That is how he scores his points. Have you read his entry today? Just so you know, unless he quits discussing Dr. Caner, especially the part about his expertize in Islam, I will not quit exposing his lies. He is my fellow Calvinist and that is not how we deal with issues. Have you noticed that he is the only theologian, of all apologists out there, that meddles in this matter?

  • William Tyndale

    Or to take another perspective, what if it had been found (and conclusively proven) that Paul the apostle really wasn’t the ardent persecutor of Christians he claimed to be. What if he (as a young boy) just happened to be in the synagogue when Stephen was being stoned and was given the task of holding the cloaks. What if he never really went out and persecuted Christians but rather had gone his way and ended up being converted to Christianity by another apostle – through means of discussion and prayer? What would that say about his credibility? Wouldn’t we have serious problems accepting ANYTHING he said (much less accept it as scripture)? And what if churches in his day were to find out he had exaggerated his conversion story? What then? How could he have had any serious authority as a teacher (much less an apostle)? Doesn’t James say teachers receive the greater damnation?

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Please do not misunderstand me. I am not here to defend everything Dr. Caner has said. I just have a problem with Dr. White dismissing him as an expert on Islam and Mr. Khan labeling him as a “fake ex-Muslim.” By the way, even the Apostle Paul’s conversion story is not consistent. Maybe that should be what Dr. White should focus his energy. Muslims are questioning it. And we are devouring each other instead of tackling their questions. How sad!

  • William Tyndale

    “Really? Who says so? Does that justify Dr. White talking about this matter in public?”

    If you don’t repent before the ones against whom you have sinned, how is that repentance? That is the point of my statement re:Swaggart etc… Their repentance in private would not (and should not) have satisfied the church.

    Dr. White’s making it public only took place after attempts to deal with it privately. If what Dr. White says is true, Dr. Caner simply refused to address the issues at all.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Dr. White is very prejudiced and in my opinion he would be the last person Dr. Caner would like to discuss with. Have you heard or read his arrogance? Please check his tweets and blog entry for today. If that is not settling scores, even claiming that I do not comprehend this situation because of my culture, is beyond comprehension!

  • William Tyndale

    (Sorry…shouldn’t have hit “Submit” so quickly)

    Should the world (never mind the church) have been satisfied if the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker and Ted Haggard merely “repented privately”? I imagine many will say that those situations can’t be compared – but aren’t both liars and adulterers shut out of the Kingdom? At least with Dr. Caner, one could have given him the benefit of the doubt. But that benefit is quickly being passed over by what seems to be a resolve to not explain any apparent inconsistencies.

    And only making an issue of it because the media does?? That is just as telling (to me) as anything else. Liberty thinks this is a PR battle. That is probably the most scary of all. Since when does the church determine what do deal with based on what the world says?

  • William Tyndale

    Hussein,

    The problem is that the claims made by Dr. Caner were public – they put up an image before thousands of students, debaters and opponents. Private repentance is not repentance. If it were, then it would be made clear and public. That’s why all the questions are being asked – Dr. Caner has not retracted anything significant.

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Private repentance is not repentance

      Really? Who says so? Does that justify Dr. White talking about this matter in public?

  • William Tyndale

    Hussein,

    While I have to agree with many of your points, your article seems to major in the minors. Admittedly, there are many issues that Dr. White has raised that, in themselves, do not merit investigation on the scale that we are seeing now. However, given the way this has played out, it seems to me that the bigger issues were addressed first – the matters of Dr. Caner falsifying his history and making claims that couldn’t be supported about debating certain people at certain times. In a sense, I suppose making an exaggerated claim like that might even be considered understandable – but in light of the fact that Dr. Caner has not once provided a serious explanation or apology for these statements (neither publicly or privately), it points to a deeper issue. One that goes to the very heart of academic integrity and public religious profession. No longer, it seems, are Christians supposed to be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect. No more does the light of the gospel shining in the dark heart of man require perfect honesty. That has been subordinated to “We are all brothers in Christ” (or Baptists, or whatever). Proverbs states, on more than one occasion, “Though hand join in hand, he shall not go unpunished”. Unity cannot be based, in any sense on a lie. It cannot tolerate untruth. If men are to glorify God because of our good deeds, then those good deeds must be a direct reflection of God, not of us. How can God, in any sense, tolerate any untruth?

    Dr. Caner has had opportunity either to explain clearly or repent. He has done neither. His apology was vague and typical of one who doesn’t want to repent, just kind of say “I’m sorry for whatever it was I did, now let me go on”. And an apology is not repentance. Any Christian should know that (though it is sad that fewer and fewer seem to realize it). Liberty appears to value its numbers more than its credibility and Dr. Caner his position and reputation than the truth itself.

    Dr. White may well harbor resentment. He may well have some motives that are wrong. And if he does, he will (he knows) find a rebuke from the Lord that will not be easy to bear. But the fact remains that we can’t judge that like we can the clear and public statements of Dr. Caner. Both parties may have serious fault before God, but that doesn’t excuse either of them, nor does it justify trying to hide what is now even becoming obvious to the world. The time is fast approaching that the worst part of Proverbs 28:13 will be realized :

    He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
    [b]Proverbs 28:13[/b]

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      More than three pastors have told me that Dr. Ergun Caner has repented of his sins. What else do I need as a Christian other than waiting to see through his life if he has indeed repented? Matthew 7:16. Dr. James White doesn’t buy that. I have personally talked with him about my concerns and he dismissed the scripture I shared with him. Jesus Christ said we should not “give what is sacred to the dogs.” I wonder how his discussion of other Christians on the Dividing Line does not fit this criteria.

      If you would like to know for a fact whether he has an issue with anyone who challenges him or not, please check his newest blog entry which addresses me. I doubt you will get an opportunity to let him know your thoughts on his post because he censors comments. My problem with Dr. White is how he dismisses the Caner Brothers as scholars of Islam. The sad thing is, he claims to be a student of Islam and yet teaches Islam at a graduate level. A student who is a teacher on the same subject? What an oxymoron!

  • http://sbctoday.blogspot.com Tim G

    “Dear TurrentinFan,

    It seems odd that a man (assuming you are one) who is not willing to put his name in print should not discuss ambiguities.  I find it ironic that Ergun Caner was willing to put his name in print while you, a supposed man of integrity, hide behind the wall of anonymity.  I would, according to Scripture, who has more integrity in this matter?”

  • http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/ TurretinFan

    Tim G: I’m not sure how to respond to your vague comments. You don’t identify what charges you think I’ve made, which one of those you think that I have indicated are proven, and what standard of proof you think I used to decide which are proven and which unproven. In fact, to all appearances, it doesn’t look like you know what you’re talking about. Possibly you haven’t actually read my blog and seen the points on which I’ve defended Dr. Caner and the points where, conversely, I have criticized his statements. But who knows. Whether you are knowledgeable or ignorant can’t be determined from your vague comments.
    -TurretinFan

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  • http://selahvtoday.typepad.com Hariette Petersen, (a.k.a. selahV)

    Thank you for this post. It would help if more of we Christians truly understood what Muslims endure when they convert to Christianity and are sought after by Believers as speakers. I agree with you that we should forgive. We should let go of the stones we think we have some inalienable right to hurl. Oh but for the grace of our Lord Jesus. selahV

  • http://babyloniansquirrel.blogspot.com Squirrel

    Hussein,

    You said, “I am saddened that a great ministry like the Diving Line is being used to slander brothers in Christ.” Slander is “making false statements injurious to a person’s reputation.” The key phrase being “false statements.” What false statements about Dr. Caner has Dr. White made? Can you document them?

    Dr. Caner has made numerous false statements about himself, and those false statements have been extensively documented.

    Squirrel

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Squirrel,

      You apparently have not listened to yesterday’s podcast about what Dr. White said of Dr. Emir Caner. Please listen to it with the link and minute track I provided in the article, then I will gladly discuss with you. If you do not mind me asking, what do you think was Dr. White’s intention of bringing up Emir for discussion? Thank you.

  • http://dianaruth.wordpress.com/ Diana P.

    Great post. I think I said kind of the same thing here: http://wp.me/pIKnh-4V I so agree with you!!! James White has been throwing a tantrum over not getting his “debate” since 2006!!

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Diana,

      Thanks for the comment. I disagree with you that Dr. White “has been throwing a tantrum.” I think he is trying his best to present what he thinks is the truth, but his inherent human incapability has gotten the best of him.

  • http://babyloniansquirrel.blogspot.com Squirrel

    The initial issue was whether the Caner Brothers were fake ex-Muslims.

    As I recall, the initial issue was Dr. Caner’s claims to debates that no one can find records of. “Caner has debated Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and other religious leaders in thirteen countries and thirty-five states.” Who? When? Where? It was the total lack of evidential support for this that started people looking more closely at his other claims.

    Squirrel

  • http://sbctoday.blogspot.com Tim G

    TurretinFan,
    Your last comment leads one to assume that your charges are proven and guilty is the verdict. Interesting!

    What if your charges are wrong?

    Are you ready to deal with that aspect? Pronouncing guilt without due process is not Christian.

  • http://sbctoday.blogspot.com Tim G

    Great post. I appreciate you for your stand and your ministry!

    May God bless you!

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      Thanks Tim,

      I am saddened that a great ministry like the Diving Line is being used to slander brothers in Christ. The show is becoming all about Dr. White and his vendetta, especially when he quipped, this “is very important to me,” ignoring the rest of the callers, and continuing to bash the Caner Brothers. I hope and pray that he goes back to the first love. We all need to repentance of our sins.

  • http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/ TurretinFan

    You stated: “as Christians we should not forget that when any believer … asks for forgiveness, we believe that he or she is forgiven. … Why don’t we set aside our pride and forgive our brother Dr. Ergun Caner?”

    I have two questions:

    a) Does forgiving any dishonesty he (or any other Christian) may have committed mean that we from then on ignore the subject? I’m asking your opinion, not trying to saying dogmatic myself. It seems as though your comment suggests that, but I’m not sure.

    b) Do you think that Dr. Caner has communicated to the Christian community that he has repented of dishonesty and wishes the community’s forgiveness? If so, what’s your basis for thinking so.

    c) Do you think that Dr. Caner has asked God to forgive him for being dishonest with respect to the various accusations of him being dishonest? If so, what’s your basis for thinking so.

    I don’t raise these issues to be argumentative, but because I’d like answers. Please feel free to delete this comment, and to reply privately be email if you prefer.

    -TurretinFan

    • http://www.cracksinthecrescent.com Hussein

      TurrefinFan:

      Thank you so much for the comment. Just so you know, I hardly delete comments, even of those fellows who curse me, unless of course they are totally out of line or irrelevant to the discussion. Browse the comments and see for yourself :-)

      a) As a Christian, even though I am human and my inadequacies get the best of me, through the grace given to me, I try my best to ignore and hopefully forget whatever the Lord has “forgiven and forgotten.” I hope and pray that this controversy comes to an end soon.

      b) I have been told by more than three pastors and also read that Dr. Caner has repented of his sins and that suffices for me. The only way I can know of if his repentance is not genuine is through his “fruits.” Matthew 7:16. Only time will tell.

      c) I do believe that Dr. Caner is a child of God and he has asked for God’s forgiveness in this matter. 2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” NKJV. I have never talked with him but I believe the words of those pastors.