Answering Islam: An Interview with Norman L. Geisler (1994)

Answering Islam: An Interview with Norman L. Geisler

by Ron Rhodes

1994

 

Norman L. Geisler is a theologian, teacher, and the dean of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has recently co-authored a book with Abdul Saleeb entitled “Answering Islam: The Crescent in the Light of the Cross” (Baker Books). In this issue of the “Newsletter”, Dr. Geisler is interviewed on a variety of issues related to this book.

Newsletter: Why do Christians need to be concerned about Islam?

Geisler: One out of every five persons on the face of the earth is a Muslim. One out of every five! In the United States Islam is growing at an astronomical rate. There are more Muslims than Methodists in the United States.

These are people who are diametrically opposed to Christianity’s most central belief — that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead. Historically and theologically, many Muslims have been committed to the annihilation of unbelievers — which includes us.

Muslims believe Christians have committed the unpardonable sin of attributing “partners” to Allah — namely, belief in the Trinity. In Saudi Arabia they recently cut somebody’s head off for blaspheming the prophet Muhammad, which, by definition, my co-author (Abdul Saleeb) and I do on practically every page of our new book. Islam is a serious threat to Christianity.

Newsletter: But this book is not written in a hostile fashion towards Islam, towards the Qur’an, towards Muhammad, is it?

Geisler: No, it’s not. We take an objective, dispassionate, scholarly approach in dealing with (1) what Muslim’s believe (and, by the way, we believe a Muslim could pick this book up and agree with how we’ve described Islamic beliefs); (2) a Christian response to Islamic beliefs; and (3) an apologetic defense of what we believe as Christians.

Newsletter: Muslims are monotheists, right?

Geisler: Yes. Monotheism is the belief that there is one God. Jews and Christians are monotheistic. But Muslims are the most rigid monotheists in the world. They believe there’s not only one God but that there’s only one person in God (i.e., God doesn’t have a son). They confuse unity and singularity. Any other persons associated with God is considered blasphemy. It’s the great sin. God has no partners, Muslims say.

Newsletter: So, to say that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that He was equal with God would be considered anathema.

Geisler: You just lost your head in Saudi Arabia!

Newsletter: Muslims say Muhammad was a prophet. And Muhammad in the Qur’an said Jesus Christ was a prophet. Assuming that prophets do not speak error, wouldn’t this present a logical problem for Muslims? After all, according to John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So, Jesus the “prophet,” being one-hundred percent correct, refutes Muhammad and all of Islam, right?

Geisler: That’s correct. And that’s a good approach to use. But you need to keep one thing in mind here. What Muslims say to that line of reasoning is that while they believe in the Christian Gospels, which represent Christ, they’ve been corrupted down through the centuries. And so Christians must answer that allegation.

We do this in our book, Answering Islam, by showing that we have manuscripts of the New Testament that go back hundreds of years prior to the time of Muhammad. Now, keep in mind that Muhammad referred to the New Testament Gospels of his day — and indicated their reliability. After all, he said to Christians: “Go and look in your own Gospels.”

Well, if the Gospels of his day (A.D. 600) were accurate — and we’ve got manuscripts that go back even before that — then they’re in a pretty tough dilemma to explain why you shouldn’t follow the logic you suggested above: Jesus is a prophet; He always teaches the truth; and if He taught He was the only way to God, then how can Christianity not be true?

Newsletter: What specifically does the Qur’an teach about Jesus Christ?

Geisler: It’s strange that while Muslims think Jesus was only a man — a prophet superseded by Muhammad — at the same time the Qur’an teaches that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the Word of God, a speaker of truth, a sign unto men of mercy from God. It teaches that Jesus was virgin born, sinless, performed supernatural miracles (including raising people from the dead), and bodily ascended into heaven. All of this is affirmed of Jesus Christ in the Qur’an. The crucial thing Muslims don’t believe is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead.

One must emphasize to the Muslim that the Jesus of the New Testament claimed to be God, not just a prophet. We have a whole chapter in our book on the deity of Christ. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). In John 8:58 Jesus said to some Jews, “Before Abraham was, I am,” thereby claiming to be God (cf. Exod. 3:14). He received worship on many different occasions. One of His disciples bowed before Him and said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28), acknowledging His full deity. Jesus forgave sins, which only God can do (Mark 2:5-7). Jesus resurrected people from the dead, which only God has the power to do (John 11:38-44). So Jesus in many different ways is shown to be God, not just a prophet. The Bible and the Qur’an are irreconcilable on these ideas.

Newsletter: Interestingly enough, the Qur’an does not claim Muhammad was a miracle worker, does it?

Geisler: You’re right! And that’s a very important apologetic point. Nowhere in the Qur’an does it record Muhammad performing any supernatural feats of nature. In fact, he disavowed such an ability. When asked, “Why don’t you perform miracles like the other prophets did?” he responded: “This is my miracle, the Qur’an.” The Qur’an is said to be the only miracle of Muhammad.

Newsletter: Speaking of the Qur’an, this book does not portray God as a heavenly Father, does it?

Geisler: No, it doesn’t. There are 99 names for God in Islam. We have them listed in our book. Out of the 99, there is no mention of “Father.” And the reason for that is that Muslims are rigid monotheists. They believe that being a Father implies that he has a son, and that is considered blasphemous. God has no partners.

Newsletter: What is the Islamic concept of God in terms of human beings relating to him?

Geisler: The Islamic God is very remote, very transcendent. He is not immanent; he’s not personally involved with his creatures. The main thing in Islam is not fellowship with God, but service and allegiance to God. There is no fatherly concept of God at all. It’s very different from the concept of God found in the Christian Bible. In Christianity, believers are adopted into God’s family (Eph. 1:5) and can personally address God as Father (Rom. 8:15). It’s a relationship of great intimacy. Not so in Islam.

Newsletter: Islam and Christianity, then, set forth clearly different views of God and Jesus Christ, among other things. Both systems cannot be true.

Geisler: Right! There’s a big difference between the two systems. The answer to the question of truth is of eternal importance. If there’s a substantial difference between the two systems — and if your eternal soul depends on a correct choice of one system or the other — then it behooves everyone to examine seriously all the evidence and make a truly informed decision.

We can’t just say, “Well, I believe it, I was taught it, I was reared that way.” The question is, Which one is true? If Islam is true, Christianity is false. If Christianity is true, Islam is false.

Remember what Jesus Christ said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). If Islam is right, then Jesus Christ was lying when He said that. Muslims say Jesus was a prophet, and prophets can’t lie. So they’re in a real dilemma here.

Newsletter: Any closing thoughts for Christians who want to become equipped for the work of apologetics?

Geisler: One of my teachers — a man who spent some twenty years in the Middle East, and made a great impression on my life — used to say that with regard to education and preparation for serving Christ, Get all you can! Can all you get! And sit on the lid! Then you’ll have everything you need to defend the faith as opportunities arise. Becoming equipped for the work of apologetics is an absolute necessity for Christians today.

 


 

End of document, CRN0072A.TXT (original CRI file name), “Answering Islam: An Interview with Norman L. Geisler” release A, July 31, 1994 R. Poll, CRI

An article from the Interview column of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 7: Number 1, 1994.

The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.

Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute.

COPYRIGHT/REPRODUCTION LIMITATIONS:
This data file is the sole property of the Christian Research Institute. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as “freeware,” without charge. All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright notice (i.e., “Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute”). This data file may not be used without the permission of the Christian Research Institute for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold. This includes all of its content with the exception of a few brief quotations not to exceed more than 500 words.

If you desire to reproduce less than 500 words of this data file for resale or the enhancement of any other product for resale, please give the following source credit: Copyright 1994 by the Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-7000.

 

The Story of Abdul Saleeb (Answering Islam)

The Story of Abdul Saleeb

My name [pseudonym] is “Abdul Saleeb.” I was born and raised in a Muslim country in the Middle East. Even though I lived in a very conservative Muslim society I grew up in a somewhat of a liberal Muslim family. Furthermore, my Muslim upbringing was unique due to my mother’s serious involvement in Islamic sufism. So I can honestly confess, that I have had first hand experience of every aspect of contemporary Islamic movements. I personally did not consider myself very religious. At one point I even turned to Marxist ideologies thinking that they could provide real solutions to my country’s social ills. However, throughout all this time I never doubted the fundamentals of my religious faith. I thought of Islam as a faith with such high ideals that I did not consider myself worthy of the name Muslim but I wholeheartedly believed that Islam was God’s last and most perfect religion for all mankind, based on God’s final revelation, the Qur’an, and the prophet Muhammad, God’s seal of prophethood. My view of other religions (especially Judaism and Christianity) was that although they were fundamentally the same since they had all been revealed by one God, they were all inferior to Islam because all of them had to various degrees corrupted the original message of their founding prophets, something that we as Muslims have not done.

My religious views were radically challenged when I left my country because of its civil turmoil and went to Europe for the continuation of my studies. By the providence of God and because of various circumstances, I ended up enrolling in an International Christian School. My first “theological” question to one of my Christian teachers, was extremely childish but looking back at it now, the response of my teacher revolutionized my worldview. I asked my question after sitting in my first class about some of the teachings of the Bible. My question was, “How come Christians can drink wine but Muslims cannot? How come your word of God says one thing and our word of God says something different?” My teacher, not knowing much about Islam at all, gently asked, “How do you know the Qur’an is the word of God?” I was taken aback by that response. I had lived in a world in which everyone simply presupposed that the Qur’an was dictated word for word by God to the Prophet Muhammad and no one ever questioned that assumption. That brief encounter forced me to start on a journey, engage my Christian friends in hours of cordial discussion and debate about the truthfulness of the Christian faith.

Like almost any other Muslim, my original reaction to the claims of Christians about Jesus Christ was that of utter shock. These claims not only seemed like plain blasphemy but also quite nonsensical. How could any rational being believe such things about an honored prophet of God? Despite my fundamental theological differences with my friends, there was something about their life and faith that impressed me a great deal. There was a sincerity in their relationship with God and other people that I had not encountered among my own Muslim people. So I would often tell them that I did not want to deny their faith but I just wanted to find a compromise so that I could hold to the truth of Islam and they could continue to hold to their faith.

However, I was in no doubt that their belief about Jesus was based on statements that the prophet Jesus had never actually claimed for himself. My difficulty in understanding Christian belief was very much along the lines that have historically seperated Islam from Christianity.

First, there was the issue of the deity of Christ. How can anybody believe that a human being was actually God incarnate? How can that be logically possible?

The second obstacle was the doctrine of the Trinity, an issue closely related to the first problem. Again, this Christian belief seemed to me was a logical absurdity and grossly compromised the belief in the Oneness of God.

Finally, I did not grant in any way that the Bible, especially the New Testament documents, were reliable when it came to reporting the words of Christ. Anything in the Bible that disagreed with the Qur’an was automatically rejected as being a corrupt teaching in the Bible.

My spiritual journey went on for months. Oftentimes I did find comfort in the Qur’an, but I was encountering more questions in that book than answers. For example, the violent tone of many of the Qur’anic passages (especially against the unbelievers but also against the Jewish and Christian people) began to bother me, when compared with the emphasis on love in the New Testament. One particular passage that troubled me, especially in light of my good friendship with many Christians, was in Sura 5:51.

“O ye who believe! Take not Jews and Christians for your friends and protectors; they are but friends and protectors to eachother. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily God guideth not a people unjust.”

However, the most troubling section of the Qur’an had to do with the character of the prophet Muhammad himself. According to Sura 33:37, God sanctions Muhammad’s desire to marry the divorced wife of his own stepson, “in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their marriage) with them. And God’s command must be fulfilled.”

I vivdly remember the first time that I came across that verse in my study of the Qur’an. I began to sob with great sorrow and shame. All my life I had been told that Muhammad was the most perfect and ideal moral example for mankind and yet the Qur’an had a good number of examples of how the “revelations” could be so self-serving to the prophet himself!

I immediately wrote a letter to my mother back home with some of these troubling questions that I was encountering in the Qur’an. The response that I received to my letter from one of the most prominent religious leaders in my country was that I should just continue my secular studies and not focus too much on religion. On the other hand, as my understanding of the Bible was increasing many of my questions were beginning to get answered. Even as a Muslim I came to believe that the crucifixion of Christ was an undisputable historical fact that no honest person that deals with evidences of history could deny.

The character of Christ himself, as manifested for example in his beautiful Sermon on the Mount, was gradually making a great impression on me. But for me, the most impressive factor about Christ, were the multitudes of Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. Some of these prophecies were so specific and they were fulfilled in the life of Jesus to such a detail that it amazed me to see how God had taken hundreds of years of Jewish history to prepare the coming of the Messiah; prophecies ranging from Messiah’s ancestery, his manner and place of birth, his life and ministry to the circumstances surrounding his death by crucifixion. I was very attracted to Christ and yet I could not deny my own tradition and past. Becoming Christian seemed a definite betrayal of my own family and Islamic heritage. The tension in my life was so strong that I felt torn asunder between these two faiths.

But I still could not bring myself to accept that Jesus was anything more than a human being. Since he had never explicitly said, “I am God and you must worship me,” the Christian claim about Jesus was based on speculation and historically unreliable Gospels. Surely the incredible statements attributed to Jesus were invented by later church and put in the mouth of Jesus.

In the midst of all this anxiety of thought, I woke up one morning and was suddenly struck by the meaning of a verse written by the prophet Isaiah in his ninth chapter. I had read this verse several weeks prior to that morning, but I had never understood its meaning. In Isa.7:14, we read,

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Isaiah then goes on to write in chapter 9,

“[…] in the future he (God) will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan the people walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned […] For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne […] from that time on and forever.”

I could not believe it! The fact that the Messiah was not going to be just a prophet but Mighty God himself, was therefore a truth that had been prophesied seven hundred years before Christ in the Old Testament, and not something that had been made up by Christians many years or centuries after Christ! It was God’s own promise that he will come in flesh (Immanuel = God with us) and will establish a kingdom that will last forever.

I came to trust in Christ, the next day on January 20, 1985. I cried uncontrollably as I was praying and turning to Christ in faith. I did not know why, and though I had never felt much burden of guilt, I was feeling a great sense of peace and relief from the burden of my sins. A greater satisfaction was the sense of rest in finally finding the truth about God and His revelation of love to mankind in Jesus Christ. A book that helped me (and several other Muslim friends of mine who became Christians around the same time that I did) tremendously in answering many of my questions about the deity of Christ and the reliability of the New Testament documents was Josh McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands A Verdict.” I highly recommend it.

Soon after my own conversion, I decided to dedicate my entire life to promoting the Good News of Christ among Muslims and especially the people of my own country. I later came to the United States and received my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Biblical and Theological Studies. I also co-authored a book with Norman Geisler, a prominent Christian philosopher, with the title “Answering Islam: The Crescent in the Light of the Cross.”

Abdul Saleeb,

Ramadan of 1996


 

I sincerely welcome any interaction that Muslim friends might have with my testimony. Since both Muslims and Christians believe that our eternal destinies depend on our right relationship to God here on earth, therefore, it is of utmost importance to seriously consider not only the Qur’anic claims but also the claims of Jesus Christ. If the Socratic dictum is true that “the unexamined life is not worth living”, it is even more true that “the unexamined faith is not worth believing.”

If you would like to contact me, send an email to Abdul-at-integrity-dot-org.

(This offer was open in 1996 but probably not open any longer.)

 

In Support of Dr. Ergun Caner

In Support of Dr. Ergun Caner

By Noted Christian Leaders

Released July 9, 2010

Converted Muslim, Dr. Ergun Caner has been under attack by extreme Muslims and others who have challenged his integrity and character, claiming that he was not a Muslim, let alone a devout one, and that he intentionally made false statements related to his Muslim background and conversion to Christianity. While Dr. Caner categorically denies these charges, he acknowledges making several misstatements over the past decade for which he publicly apologized on his web site in February, 2010, saying in part, I “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.”

Ergun’s brother Emir (also a converted Muslim) who has been in the best position to know almost all the facts, writes: “Over the past year or so, my brother has sustained an unprecedented and orchestrated barrage of attacks from extreme Muslims and extreme Calvinists.  The attackers first attempted to prove that Ergun (and I) were never Muslims, a lie that was easily exposed.  Then, their bitter efforts alleged we were never devout Muslims, an attack that even took cheap shots at our father, his devotion to Islam, and his devotion to his family.  Documentation including court records once again illustrated their lies.  Finally, they are now attacking my brother’s character, alleging a few incorrect statements are the equivalent of embellishment and intentional deceit.  Through this entire ordeal, my brother has shown an unquestionable Christian character, asking forgiveness for any mistakes and persevering while his entire life was unbiblically placed in front of the world. As his brother, I am prouder of him today than I even was before this situation occurred.  His character, integrity, and bold witness are truly an emulation of a shepherd’s heart (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and an evangelist’s passion (Ephesians 4:11).  I am simply grateful to be his brother.”—Emir Caner, President of Truett Mc Connell College, Cleveland, GA.

Liberty University (where Dr. Caner teaches) announced:  “After a thorough and exhaustive review of Dr. Caner’s public statements, a committee consisting of four members of Liberty University’s Board of Trustees has concluded that Dr. Caner had made factual statements that are self-contradictory.  However, the Committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager….  Dr. Caner will remain on the faculty of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary as a Professor.” —Liberty University Statement (June 29, 2010, emphasis added)

While Caner’s exoneration* from the false charges has not satisfied all his critics, who continue to rehash old criticism, a flood of support has come in for him from noted Christian leaders and others around the country:

“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.” —Kregel Release July 6, 2010

“[TV host] John F. Ankerberg, who interviewed Caner for more than a dozen television programs, has posted on his website that he is disheartened by the attacks upon his friend’s integrity and character.  Ankerberg said he believes Caner’s testimony is ‘completely true.’” —Christianity Today, posted 7/02/2010

“ In a day of negativism and bad news, I am rejoicing today over many things.  I rejoice over faithful witnesses of Jesus in a small Ohio Baptist church that loved two Moslem boys to Christ and then encouraged them to live for Jesus.  I am grateful to God for the many people that have come to Christ through the witness of those two men.  I continually thank God for His unbelievable plan to use sinners and mistake-prone men like the Caners, and even more amazing, people like me, to accomplish some things of great value in His kingdom business.   Only eternity will reveal the good that two former Moslems have done.  I thank God for them both.”— Paige Pattersonn, president of Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

“I know Dr. Caner and have done a number of apologetics conferences with him, and have witnessed God using Ergun in a powerful way. He has always spoken words of grace to others, and I thus find it disturbing that some have chosen to show NO grace to Ergun in the midst of his current trial.  If God only used perfect vessels, who among us would be qualified?  I know of none.  I urge all those who respect my work to take the word of someone who knows Ergun personally (me): He is a good man with a heart for God.” —Dr. Ron Rhodes, author and President of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries

Apologist Dr. Norman Geisler declared: “We posted complete and detailed response to criticisms against Dr. Caner on our website (www.normgeisler.com).”  He concluded that, “Having examined all these charges against Dr. Caner carefully and having looked at the related evidence, I can say without hesitation that all of the moral charges against Dr. Caner are unsubstantiated. Further, no one had demonstrated moral intent on any of the factual misstatements he made (which we all make).”  He added, “Dr. Caner is a man of honesty, integrity, and loyalty to Christ.”—Dr. Norman Geisler, author and Professor of Apologetics at Veritas Evangelical Seminary

“Dr. Geisler’s response to the charges brought against Dr. Ergun Caner by some Muslims and other groups has hit the mark.  The charges on the surface sounds formidable until they are met with TRUTH, then they quickly evaporate away losing all power to condemn – leaving the accusers to contemplate their actions. Dr. Geisler’s responses serve to confirm what I had already known about Dr. Caner’s sincere character and tireless efforts to reach the lost with the gospel and equip Christians to defend the faith in a hostile world. Dr. Geisler and Dr. Caner are the two spiritual warriors I would most like next to me in the trenches doing battle for the cause of Christ.” —Dr. Joseph Holden, President of Veritas Evangelical Seminary, Murrieta, CA

*“Tim Rogers of SBC Today (A Southern Baptist news organ), declared and defended his claim that Ergun Caner was “exonerated” of the charge against him by citing Merriam-Webster’s definition “to clear from accusation or blame.”  He wrote, I used “exoneration” in the post announcing the completed investigation of Dr. Ergun Caner….  If one looks at the definition and then looks at the statement released from Liberty University, one has to admit that exoneration is not a stretch.  Why?  Notice what the statement says; “the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager [which was the claim challenged  by the critics]….Thus, I used the term “exoneration” because according to the statement released by the committee from Liberty University they cleared him from accusation or blame” (Posted June 29, 2010).

 


In Further Defense of Ergun Caner

By Norman L. Geisler

July 6, 2010

 

Since issuing a recent defense of Ergun Caner against his critics, a number of unjustified attacks have come to my attention.  Many of them are just a rehash of old ones already answered with a futile attempt to prove his intent to embellish and deceive.  Not one of these charges is substantial, involving any major doctrinal or moral issue.  Nonetheless, since left unanswered they tend in the minds of some to imply moral guilt; a brief response to them will be helpful.  It is charged that many times Caner embellished and deceived in that:

 

  1. Ergun Caner claimed to have been born in Istanbul when he was actually born in Sweden.

 

Response: All of Caner’s books (see Unveiling Islam, 17) and nearly all of his interviews and sermons state that he was born in Sweden.  Since both Ergun and his father were Turkish citizens, he strongly identified with that ancestry.  Thus, an occasional misspoken word about his birthplace is understandable.  Nonetheless, Ergun publically apologized for this and other mistakes on February 25, 2010 (see “Sixth” below).

 

  1. Caner claimed to have once lived in Ankara (Turkey) and along the Iraqi border which he did not.

 

Response: Ergun traveled with his father to Turkey several times. Later, he was along the Iraqi border as he said he was.  It should not be deemed strange that Ergun has spent time in Turkey.  After all, he has a Turkish father and was a Turkish citizen who came to America on a Turkish passport.  This allegation against him is a mere assumption without evidence which illustrates the desire to defame Ergun by his critics.

3. He claimed to have watched Dukes of Hazard and longed to marry Daisy Duke while growing up in Turkey before the show was even on TV in 1979.

Response: This statement was intended as humor and was taken as such by the audience.  Indeed, Ergun has made this joke for more than a decade and never once was it taken as a matter of fact.  He was illustrating the misconceptions between Americans and Muslims.

4. He claimed in one place to have become a US citizenship in 1978 and in another place he claimed that it was in 1982.

Response: It is well known that Caner became a US citizen in 1978.  The other date is from the period of his call to the ministry and is sometimes lumped together with the earlier date in his testimony.  No intent to deceive existed, nor has it been established by this conflation of dates.  Since it is well known by Bible scholars that this kind of thing is found in the Scriptures (which are without error), then any Christian pressing this charge would, by the same logic, have to impugn the Bible as well (see The Bible Knowledge Commentary, vol. 2, p. 40).

5. Caner claims to have worn a Muslim “keffiyeh“(head covering) before his conversion to Christianity, yet photos show him with his head uncovered.  This reveals that he was not a devout Muslim and that he intended to deceive when claiming to be one.

Response: Ergun’s brother Emir vouches for their devout Muslim background.  He has provided a picture (below) of Ergun with his head covered (sitting down).  Of course, there were other times when he had no covering on which would be natural.

Other evidence of his being a devout Muslim is available, such as Ergun’s circumcision ceremony and participation in the reading and recitation of the Qur’an.  Further, that Ergun was reared a devout Muslim is proven by his father’s testimony recorded in the divorce proceedings documents which ironically Ergun’s critic placed on the internet.

6. Ergun claims he was saved in 1982 but also claims his brother Emir was converted in 1982, yet elsewhere Emir’s conversion is said to be a year later (1983).

Response: Both men agree that Emir was saved a year after Ergun.  There is some confusion about the exact year.  Given that Ergun was converted in 1982 (as he claims), this would put Emir’s conversion “a year later” (as they both acknowledge).  Again, there is no intention to deceive here but simply a problem of memory about exact dates.

7. Ergun claimed his father had many wives and two half-brothers and two half-sisters, but there is no evidence for the half-brothers.

Response: Ergun’s father did have two wives, having divorced the first one.  He had three sons by his first wife (Ergun and his two brothers).  So, Ergun has two full brothers and two step-sisters (from his father’s second wife).  While speaking quickly on one occasion, he mistakenly called his brothers his “half” brothers.  This is hardly evidence of an attempt to embellish or deceive.  After all, he had the right number of each sibling, and he didn’t claim to have ten brothers or sisters!

Finally,  a Note about Ergun’s Critic:

First, Ergun is an outspoken converted Muslim which in Muslim lands is a capital crime.  Since this is contrary to law in the United States, his Muslim critics have resorted to character assassination instead.  Unfortunately, other extremists who disagree with some of his theological views have piled on and are kicking him while he is down.

Second, a blogger-critic refuses to give his real name, using a pseudonym.  This violates a moral and legal rule that one has a right to face his accusers. [This is also a good way to avoid libel charges.]

Third, his critics often assume, contrary to American law, that one is guilty until proven innocent.  Really, the burden of proof for these allegations is on the accuser, not on the accused.

Fourth, not one of these accusations is about any serious doctrinal or moral issue.  Ergun has never been found guilty of either of these.

Fifth, out of a couple thousand sermons, nearly twenty books, and hundreds of media interviews, the relatively few mistakes are trivial by comparison.  It is like looking at a glass 97% full and complaining that it is 3% empty!   I am sure that anyone who wished to do a search on other leaders who have communicated as much in the past decade or so could do a hatchet job on some of them too.

Sixth, Ergun has readily admitted the mistakes he has made and has apologized for them publically.  In February, 2010, he said in part on his Web site that 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.”   Even the public statement made by Liberty University on June 29, 2010 made this clear when it said, “Dr. Caner has cooperated with the Board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review.”

Seventh, by comparison, his critics have not apologized for anything they have done, even though they have wrongly:  a) assumed Ergun’s guilt without proof, b) impugned his intentions, and c) assassinated his character.  This is to say nothing of the pain, misery, and agony they have afflicted on Ergun, his family, and the problems this has caused at Liberty University.  For this they owe Dr. Caner a clear and contrite public apology.

Finally, his critics have not followed the instructions of Matthew 18 by going first to their brother and then to his church privately on these allegations.  Rather, they have practiced unbiblical gossip in passing on defaming charges about another brother in Christ to others—indeed, making these charges public.

My experience with Ergun, as that of those who know him well, is that he is a devout zealous believer who lives a life in obedience to Christ and who works diligently to extend his kingdom.  It is a crying shame that other believers have jumped on a band-wagon which is discrediting this sincere, earnest, and faithful follower of Christ.

Kregel & Caner

Kregel author Dr. Ergun Caner will no longer serve as Dean of the Liberty Seminary following an investigation by a university committee of allegations that Dr. Caner made misleading or false statements regarding his past. His contract to serve as Dean of the Seminary expired on June 30 and was not renewed. Dr. Caner does, however, remain a faculty member of Liberty University.

While news sources and anti-Caner bloggers have been quick to seize upon the committee’s finding that Dr. Caner made “factual statements that are self-contradictory,” the report also concluded:

However, the committee found no evidence to suggest that Dr. Caner was not a Muslim who converted to Christianity as a teenager, but, instead, found discrepancies related to matters such as dates, names and places of residence. Dr. Caner has cooperated with the board committee and has apologized for the discrepancies and misstatements that led to this review.

In February Dr. Caner issued a statement on his Web site that said in part that 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.”

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 facts presented in Dr. Caner’s writings.

Moreover, evidence presented on anti-Caner Web sites, such as the legal documents related to his parents’ divorce proceedings, confirm that his father was a devout Muslim who did his utmost to insure his sons’ training in the Muslim faith. As Dr. Caner acknowledges in the introduction to More Than a Prophet (Kregel, 2003), “We were both [Ergun and Emir] raised to be faithful Muslims with the Turkish culture, yet our religious upbringing and understandings were those of devout Sunni Muslims everywhere. . . . Whatever deficiencies we may have had in our understanding have been compensated by over twenty years of study in Islam as we have tried to understand the Muslim mind” (pp. 19–20)

Kregel Publications has found no reason to withdraw Dr. Caner’s books from publication or revise any substantive statements in his books. We believe the books are trustworthy, factually accurate, and helpful to both Christians and seekers wanting to know more about Muslim belief and how those beliefs compare and contrast with biblical Christianity.

 


 

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

JJJudeIDoNotHaveEnoughFaithToBeAnAtheistByGeislerTurek__82984_zoom

 

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

Crossway Books, 2004

Free preview at Google Books

Order the book here

Order the eBook here

Order the MP3s

Order the Audio CDs here

Order in Logos/Libronix format here


Translations available:  Dutch, Korean, Portuguese and Romanian

Translation in Brazillian Portugese: Não tenho fé suficiente para ser ateu

Não tenho fé suficiente para ser ateu

Norman Geisler

Editora Vida

Idéias com o objetivo de destruir a fé cristã sempre bombardeiam os alunos do ensino médio e das universidades. Este livro serve como um antídoto excepcionalmente bom para refutar tais premissas falsas. Ele traz informações consistentes para combater os ataques violentos das ideologias seculares que afirmam que a ciência, a filosofia e os estudos bíblicos são inimigos da fé cristã.

Antes de tocar a questão da verdade do cristianismo, essa obra aborda a questão da própria verdade, provando a existência da verdade absoluta. Os autores desmontam as afirmações do relativismo moral e da pós-modernidade, resultando em uma valiosa contribuição aos escritos contemporâneos da apologética cristã.

Geisler e Turek prepararam uma grande matriz de perguntas difíceis e responderam a todas com habilidade. Uma defesa lógica, racional e intelectual da fé cristã.

from http://www.apologia.com.br/?p=33