Demoted 'Jihad to Jesus' Liberty U Dean, Exposed by AlterNet as Fraud, Moves to Tiny Fundamentalist College
Ergun Caner, the former head of Liberty University’s seminary, was demoted last year after media attention, including an article I wrote for AlterNet, forced Liberty officials to investigate glaring discrepancies in the “Jihad to Jesus” life story Caner had peddled after 9-11 to raise his profile in the evangelical world. Caner told some audiences that he had been raised in Turkey to be a jihadist and learned about America from watching television. In fact, he was born in Sweden (to a Turkish father) and raised in Ohio.
Caner, an engaging speaker and one-time rising star of the Religious Right, is headed to Texas, where Arlington Baptist College has hired him as its provost and vice president. Arlington Baptist College was founded by J. Frank Norris, an anti-evolution crusader who Caner describes as “one of Christianity’s most courageous voices.” Here’s how the Associated Baptist Press describes Norris:
Norris, founder of both Arlington Baptist College and the World Baptist Fellowship, was a fundamentalist Baptist leader in Texas in the first half of the 20th century. The one-time editor of the Baptist Standard and longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Forth Worth was nicknamed the “Texas Tornado” during a long-running feud with the Southern Baptists.
Once loyal to the Southern Baptist Convention, Norris became alienated by the Seventy-Five Million Campaign, forerunner to today’s Cooperative Program of unified budget support of both state and national Baptist conventions. He spent the rest of his days seeking to undermine the SBC, accusing Baptist schools of teaching evolution and tolerating “modernist” theories of Bible study.
After his exclusion from his local association, state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention, Norris founded his own independent fundamentalist group, originally called the Premillennial Baptist Missionary Fellowship but renamed the World Baptist Fellowship after a split over his authoritarian leadership.