"He has a great story," Christian blogger Jason Smathers told The Tennessean about Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary president Ergun Caner. "I wished he'd tell that story and stop where the facts end."
Smathers is one of several bloggers who raised doubts about Caner's testimony about leaving Islam for Jesus.
On Friday, an investigation by Liberty University trustees found “no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager,” but said he “made factual statements that are self-contradictory.” The school announced that it would not renew Caner's contract as seminary dean (which expires at the end of the month), but would let him stay on as a faculty member.
Few critics had doubted that Caner had some sort of Muslim faith or background in his youth. But at issue were details, especially his description of his faith as devout and militant.
"Until I was 15 years old, I was in the Islamic youth jihad," Caner told a Florida congregation in November 2001. "Until I came to America, until I found Jesus Christ as Lord, I was trained to do that which was done on 11 September." But divorce documents say Caner was born in Sweden, moved to the United States at age 4, and was raised by his non-Muslim mother.
He also told television network CBN, "The only thing I ever learned about Christianity I learned from my imam and the scholars in the mosque. Then when I began to be trained in Madras we heard even more about Christians, that they are our enemies."
As the Associated Press pointed out, "It's not clear if the transcript should read 'madrasas,' a type of religious school for Muslims, or 'Madras,' a city in India. Neither makes sense in the context of a 1970s boyhood in central Ohio."
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