Caner no longer dean but stays on faculty
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Ergun Caner will no longer serve as dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Va., but will remain on the seminary's faculty, according to a public statement released by Liberty University.
"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," the June 25 statement said. "However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence."
Under Caner's leadership, seminary enrollment has tripled to about 4,000 students since 2005.
Caner's contract as head of the seminary will not be renewed when it expires June 30, but he has accepted a teaching contract, according to the Liberty statement.
Caner has "apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements" that led to the investigation, the statement added.
University Provost Ron Godwin led the investigation.
Caner came to prominence in the aftermath of 9/11, as a speaker about the subject of Islam. He was a guest on a number of news shows and at other high-visibility forums, including two Southern Baptist Pastors' Conferences.
When Caner was named dean of the seminary, Liberty described him as a Turkish immigrant and son of a Sunni Muslim scholar and architect who helped build mosques in the Midwest. Divorce documents obtained by Lynchburg's News & Advance newspaper indicate Caner was born in Sweden and moved with his father and mother to the United States about four years later. Caner's parents separated a few years after they moved to Ohio. His father was a Muslim and did seek to raise his children in the Islamic faith, but he had only part-time custody of his children after the divorce.
Caner is the author or coauthor of 11 books, including "Unveiling Islam" (2002), named by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association as a Gold Medallion recipient. He resume lists degrees from the University of South Africa in Johannesburg, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.