Posted May 25, 2011 by The Underground Staff in Commentary and News

Caner leaves Liberty University for Arlington Baptist College

Ergun Caner, the controversial religion professor at Liberty University, is leaving LU to join Arlington Baptist College in Texas, where he will serve as its provost and vice president.

Caner, the former president and dean of Liberty Theological Seminary was demoted when it was discovered that he was lying and exaggerating about his Muslim childhood, according to the Associated Baptist Press.

Arlington Baptist College, a fundamental bible Baptist institute, was founded in 1939 by J. Frank Norris and is affiliated with the World Baptist Fellowship. Caner, aside from serving as provost and vice president of academic affairs, will also teach theology, apologetics and church history, the ABP said.

Caner has coauthored many books, including “Why Churches Die,” “Unveiling Islam,” and “When Worldviews Collide.” He  was taken into Arlington on a unanimous vote from the board of directors of the college, Baptist Press said.

Ron Godwin, LU’s administrator said, “We wish Ergun the very best in his new assignment and would have been delighted to have him continue serving here. We will miss his contribution,” The News & Advance reported.

Of his new assignment, Caner said, “I am thrilled to be joining the Arlington Baptist College. This is an historic institution, founded by one of Christianity’s most courageous voices, Dr. J. Frank Norris,” ABP reported.

Norris, founder of Arlington Baptist College and the World Baptist Fellowship, was a Texas fundamentalist Baptist leader and one-time editor of the Baptist Standard. He was once called the “Texas Tornado” over a long-term feud with the Southern Baptists, ABP said.

Norris founded his own independent fundamentalist group, originally called the Pre-millennial Baptist Missionary Fellowship but renamed the World Baptist Fellowship after a split, ABP said.

Caner said, “The vision of President Moody is profoundly exciting — to train a generation of Christian warriors who are prepared for ministry on every level, intellectually and spiritually,” The News & Advance reported.

9/11 circuits

Caner rose to fame after 9/11 when he shared his testimony of being a trained jihadist terrorist before his conversion to Christianity in several speaking engagements and during the Southern Baptist Convention, ABP said.

However, blogs and news reports emerged that he was actually raised in Ohio. Liberty trustees investigated his case, and, among other things, reviewed recordings of Caner’s speeches, according to ABP.

LU determined that “factual statements … are self-contradictory.” In 2010 Caner was demoted after a committee headed by Godwin looked into the professor’s claim of having grown up Muslim and converted to Christianity as a teenager, The News & Advance said.

The committee determined that there seemed to be no doubt that Caner had converted to Christianity. However, Caner did make “factual statements that are self-contradictory,” and demoted Caner, giving him a one-year teaching contract, ABP said.

Caner often said he is a Turkish immigrant and said in speeches he gave in other states that he was trained as a teenager in Islamic jihad. However, documents of his parents’ divorce which are filed in an Ohio courthouse indicate otherwise, The News & Advance said, indicating that Caner was born in Sweden and the family moved to the U.S. when he was four years old.

Last fall, Caner taught two online cases, and in the spring taught two classes in LU.

Utmost confidence

President D.L. Moody of Arlington Baptist College presented Caner to the Texas school’s board of directors and said, “I have the utmost confidence in Dr. Ergun Caner,” according to The News & Advance.

Moody said, “I believe that he has the abilities, wisdom and passion to enhance the work and ministry of Arlington Baptist College as we prepare a ‘Generation of Giants for Jesus Christ.’ He shares the values that I have for biblical authority, evangelistic fervor, and godly example,” BP reported.