Yesterday afternoon, I heard that Kregel, the publisher of Unveiling Islam, had issued a statement supporting one of its top authors Ergun Caner, until recently dean of the seminary at Liberty University.
Of course, Caner, who authored Unveiling Islam with his brother, has become an enormously controversial figure due to many questions about his biography and expertise in Islam.
These questions from bloggers and the news media, including CT, caused the university to initiate its own internal investigation and on Friday, June 25, issue notice that Caner's contract as dean would not be renewed for the coming academic year. Caner remains as a professor at the seminary.
This turn of events caps a staggering setback during the past year for Caner. One year ago, he was signing books and giving media interviews at the SBC convention.
Kregel, which released the full statement early this morning to CT, said in part:
On June 25th Liberty University released a statement regarding its investigation of statements by Dr. Ergun Caner. Part of the Liberty report concluded:
"However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager. . . ."
While Liberty University's investigation did conclude that Dr. Caner made "factual statements that are self-contradictory" in sermons and speeches, Dr. Caner's story, as presented in his 2002 national bestseller Unveiling Islam (co-authored with his brother Emir), has been verified by numerous persons who knew the Caner brothers as teens and throughout their adult lives. Kregel Publications has found no credible evidence that contradicts the biography as presented in Dr. Caner's books.
Kregel Publications has concluded that the Kregel titles by Dr. Caner are trustworthy, factually accurate, and helpful to both Christians and seekers wanting to know more about Islamic beliefs and how those beliefs compare and contrast with biblical Christianity. We accept as sincere Dr. Caner's statement, posted on his Web site in February, that said he "never intentionally misled anyone. . . . For those times where I misspoke, said it wrong, scrambled words, or was just outright confusing, I apologize and will strive to do better."
Meanwhile, scholar, author, professor Dr. Norman Geisler has posted two lengthy documents on his website, addressing critics of Caner point by point.
Click here for the full text.
Despite these endorsements, from the critics' point of view, there remain many unanswered questions about Caner's expertise in Islam as well as puzzlement about Caner's unwillingness to respond to media requests for interviews or produce some physical evidence (an old passport, visa, or a birth certificate, for example) that would corroborate his story.
I spoke at length by phone yesterday with Dr. Geisler, more off the record than on. He makes no secret of his personal support for Caner. He had no problem admitting that the "full truth" had yet to be told and that Caner had been "hung out to dry."
There are unconfirmed reports that Liberty University has placed a gag order on Caner. So far, the school has said very little other than its June 25 statement.