The Lynchburg News and Advance reported this morning that yesterday at a Bristol, VA prayer breakfast Caner addressed the Liberty University investigation, downplayed the seriousness of the allegations, took a swipe at his blogger critics, and basically said "any pastor in America" would be in trouble for lying if they listend to 200 hours of their sermons.
This sickens me. If you ever thought Caner was repentant for his 8 1/2 years of perpetual exaggerations to congregations all over the United States about his past, you were wrong. I will admit, I was wrong. At least Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker had the sense to appear as though they were repentant. Swaggart at least shed a few public tears and looked to the heavens and declared he had sinned. Not Caner. He is full steam ahead, attack the critics, mischaracterize the allegations that led to his dismissal as seminary president, and to top it all off, he feels compelled to brush all pastors to be just like him. Shameless, shameless, shameless.
Thank you Liberty University and Jonathan Falwell - you have created this monster by mishandling this entire fiasco. You waited to investigate until the main stream media got involved. You pooh-poohed the bloggers' claims until the press realized we were telling the truth. Then and only then did you do an investigation, but then refused to release any the investigative committee report findings, and simply slapped him on the wrist and kept him at your university. He now will use his position as "Professor at Liberty University" to continue his speaking circuit - and while he may tone down his rhetoric of being "raised in Europe" and learning of America from Turkish television - it seems he is content to use his engagements to mischaracterize what has happened in 2010 that led to his dismissal to rehabilitate his image and keep the gravy train rolling.
Let me say this as well: in the News and Advance article you'll read that he speaks of his conversations with the LU investigative team, and that Caner refers to "edited videos" as though somehow the evidence against him was manufactured. Well, I would like to speak about my knowledge of the evidence used by the LU investigative team, and I can assure it was not "edited videos". You see, like Caner, I too had conversations with the LU investigative team. I was contacted by a very respected member of the LU faculty whose last name everyone reading this would immediately recognize. In their quest of the truth about their seminary president the team needed to get copies of sermons that were not available on the Internet. This faculty member didn't apparently view me as a "frustrated person in his basement" and considered me a very reliable source for copies of complete, "unedited" sermons. This person told me that they did read the blogs but desired to get complete copies to hear Caner's statements in their full context.
This faculty member was very kind and gracious, and appreciative of me being willing to share information that had been removed from the Internet including the infamous FBC Jacksonville November 2001 sermon, and the four classic Caner sermons delivered to the the Ohio Free Will Baptist men's retreat in early 2007. So while Caner told the bunch up at Bristol that it was "edited videos" that couldn't bring him down, I can assure you, the committee investigating him sought original, complete, in-context statements made in his sermons. But he didn't tell the Bristol bunch that.
It is too bad that Caner is going this route. I don't know why he did not just come out after his month-long haitus following his dismissal as seminary president and make a blanket confession of exaggerations and ask for people to forgive him, and then move on. Instead it seems the approach is to take pot shots here and there at his critics, paint himself as a victim of frustrated bloggers out to "take him down", to continue to use congregations and speaking engagements to defend himself, and mischaracterize what happend this year. Perhaps he has every intention of still telling his stories - after all, yesterday at Bristol he rolled out the 'ole "Jesus died on a cross so I didn't have to strap a bomb on myself" routine.Lastly, I want to make a comment about this statement from Caner:
“Every pastor in America, ask them if you can go through 200-odd hours of your sermons. Would they find where you said your kids’ names wrong or dates wrong? Yeah, of course. You just smile and move on.”So his view is that if every pastor in America had an examination of 200 or so hours of their sermons, we'll find the same kinds of lies that were found in his. Well, I myself didn't have to go through 200 hours of your sermons, Ergun.
All I had to do was go through 0.75 hours, Ergun, when you came to First Baptist Jacksonville in November 2001, and lied to us about your past to convince us that you were a trained terrorist who was in Islamic Jihad, trained in Europe. That has nothing to do with your kids' names or dates. It has to do with you misleading us about your past, and who you were, which helped to create a caricature of yourself as a former terrorist trained in Europe in Islamic Jihad. And you still haven't apologized to the people of First Baptist Jacksonville for your lies in our pulpit in 2001 that helped launch you to SBC-stardom. I hope you have at least privately apologized to Jerry Vines, who sat behind you nodding and amening as you lied to our congregation that morning.
And Ergun, you're wrong about other pastors. None of my pastors - none of them - have ever lied to me about where they were raised, or born, or when they learned English, etc. None, not one, ever.
Pastors, I hope you appreciate Caner trying to lump you all into one category as being liars just waiting for disgruntled bloggers to dig up your lies. Sad that to defend himself, he is content in dragging his cohorts down to his level.
Shame on you, Ergun.