Southern Religion

Liberty sticks by embattled seminary president

Officials at Liberty University say accusations of dishonesty against the president of the school’s seminary are neither an ethical nor a moral issue.

Ergun Caner, the president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, is under fire regarding his biographical information, including his Muslim background. The discrepancies have led some to call for the Southern Baptist Convention to distance itself from Caner and others to ask pointed questions of the seminary president.

But Elmer Towns, co-founder of Liberty University and dean of the School of Religion, told Christianity Today that the university’s board of directors held an inquiry and determined that Caner had done nothing theologically inappropriate. He said there will be no official reprimand or demotion of Caner.

“It’s not an ethical issue, it’s not a moral issue,” Towns told the magazine. “We give faculty a certain amount of theological leverage. The arguments of the bloggers would not stand up in court.”

Christianity Today highlights what Caner’s critics call exaggerations and lies, including:

  • Growing up in Turkey, when he actually grew up in Ohio.
  • Being raised in a devout Muslim home, rather than a nominal one.
  • Having been involved in Islamic jihad.
  • Having debated dozens of Muslims about the Islamic faith, although there is no video or audio evidence.

Caner must have a ton of “theological leverage” for school officials to consider such issues neither ethical nor moral. The arguments against Caner might not stand up in a government courtroom, but public opinion is another matter.

Towns affects a lack of concern. He said:

We don’t see any way that bloggers will damage Liberty.

Can school officials not see that highlighted publication of Towns’ statement in a national Christian magazine is evidence that damage has already been done? The article’s real subject was how much damage has been done, not whether any will occur.

Liberty officials can expect more, unless they’re willing to deal with the issue more directly.

Some sign of repentance from Caner would be a start.

Update: More damage

Oklahoma Baptist pastor Wade Burleson blogs that after reading the article we commented on above, he can “no longer recommend Liberty University to students or seminarians.”

FBC Jax Watchdog throws up his hands in despair at Christianity Today’s timidity.

Attack rather than repent: Fake Ex Muslims YouTube channel terminated via complaints, thus eliminating a much-linked-to body of evidence from ready access.

At AO, home of links to Ergun Caner Materials, James White is dismayed by the CT piece.


May 4, 2010 - Posted by | Religion, SBC, Uncategorized | ,

1 Comment

  1. Can Elmer Towns really predict the future regarding what the University will do about Ergun Caner?

    Comment by jack | May 11, 2010

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