Jewish Journal

Former Muslim to lead Baptist college

by Brad A. Greenberg

August 19, 2008 | 7:47 pm

Emir Caner, who converted from Islam to Christianity when he was a boy, has been tapped as the next president of Truett-McConnell College in Georgia. Kudos to Caner, but man do I disagree with his opinion of why someone should choose a Christian education.

“A parent should choose a Christian higher education for their child because of the investment in the student’s mind. When they send their child to a Christian liberal arts college like Truett-McConnell, they are doing it for two primary reasons. First, they are sending their child to an institution that guards the mind from the destruction that can come from a secular education, and second, that prepares their child not just for a profession but also for how to live a life of character,” Caner said.

“A Christian cannot be defined by what he or she does but by their character. That character, in turn, is formed by the investment of professors and staff who pour themselves into a student who will gain a thoroughly Christian worldview.”

I hope he wouldn’t think less of me for choosing to attend a big, liberal, secular university, where I had to consciously decide how I wanted my worldview shaped. Really, it’s not as scary as many of good Christians think.

The more interesting element of Caner’s story, though, is not his vision for Truett-McConnell, which, forgive me, I had never heard of. It’s that he chose Christianity over Islam, despite what it cost him:

Caner, 37, is the son of a devout Islamic leader and most of his family, including his father, has disowned him. He converted to Christianity in 1982 with the help of a Christian friend who invited him to a prayer meeting at a Southern Baptist church.

After accepting Christ as his savior, he attended Criswell College in Dallas and earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies. He went on to earn a master of divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Texas.

Caner has written and contributed to a total of 16 books, including Unveiling Islam, which won the Gold Medallion Award by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Though I doubt Caner’s dad was a shotcaller for Islamic Jihad, the consequences of conversion sound similar to those suffered by the Hamas scion I wrote about earlier this month.

The reason the Christian Post states “most of his family” is that Caner’s older brother, Ergun, is the president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You know the name Liberty because its the Lynchburg, Va., school founded by Jerry Falwell.

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