Mar 28, 2006

Caner first president of LTS

by Hillary Dyer

 

On March 6, Ergun Mehmet Caner was installed as President of Liberty Theological Seminary. Caner is the fifth dean of LTS, though he is the first president ever. Caner is the fifth dean of LTS, though he is the first of which to assume the position of president of the Seminary.

Caner said, “I consider it an honor to be the first president of the Seminary, but in no way does this change our deep connection and accountability to Liberty University.  It is an honor up to which I want to live”.

“We believe this president will take the seminary to new levels,” said Chancellor Jerry Falwell.

The inaugural service was held at Thomas Road Baptist Church, with a reception following in the Grand Lobby of Liberty University.  About 400 people were in attendance. Caner’s brother, Dr. Emir Caner, gave a brief biography of his brother, speaking with poignancy and humor, as is reflective of the relationship they

Emir spoke of Caner’s unrelenting stand for Christ, and expressed his confidence in Caner’s ability to lead LTS into the forefront of spiritual battle. “If you want someone who would rather die than retreat, you have the right man ... He is someone that we can gladly, whether at an institution or a church, thank God he is leading us,” said Emir.

Rev. Roger Williams was also present. During his undergraduate studies, Caner served as a youth pastor in Williams’ church. Williams is a man that Caner has a deep respect for, and considers him a “surrogate dad.” Falwell and the academic provost joined Caner in honoring Williams by awarding him an honorary doctorate.

Williams then proceeded with his charge to Caner. Addressing him as “Butch,” Williams challenged Caner’s mission statement to “confront culture with the gospel without fear, without failure and without flinching.” Caner sat on stage and humbly took notes as he listened to Williams. “How in heaven’s name are you going to confront the culture with the gospel when one in six are of your former religion and hate the gospel?”

Williams closed with this statement, “And so I charge you, Dr. Caner, to not let them leave, not one, without feeling the love of the faculty … without seeing that you’re real, that you can get on your knees in prayer.”

Caner and his wife, Jill Morris Caner, were asked to come stand together on stage. Dr. Boyd Rist then presented Caner with the Dean’s Medallion. The couple then knelt together, as they were prayed over by various trustee members. Former dean of LTS, Dr. Danny Lovett, then passed the Seminary Bible to Caner as a symbol of Caner’s responsibility to know and teach the Word of God.

Caner then took the podium and expressed his humble gratitude for the opportunity to serve the Lord through this ministry. “I can’t promise you anything except my best effort, and ask that you would pray,” said Caner, “I pray that the investment you have made in me may bear fruit in souls, in missions, in churches. Till Jesus comes, we are going to kick hell’s door wide open. Thank you very much.”

Contact Hilllary Dyer at hadyer@liberty.edu.
 

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