Believe, reach and teach: A transcript of Dr. Emir Caner's remarks to messengers assembled at 2nd Baptist Church, Warner Robins, for the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
Greetings from Truett-McConnell College where our enrollment has gone up 40 percent again this year, from 900 to 1,300....
Last Tuesday night, when I went to bed, my heart sunk just a little bit as the elections were over.... I wondered when I woke up in the morning what would I tell my children who were even interested at their young age in what happened during the election. The next morning came [and] it dawned on me what I would say when I looked them in the eye: I was not looking at a generation that inherited our problems, but I was looking at a generation that may inhabit a revival.
The question is: Do you believe a revival can come?
Do you believe that there is a possibility in this generation of all generations that God will do a work that He hasn't perhaps done in generations since we've seen the Second Great Awakening?
I want to encourage you -- if you were pessimistic like I was last Tuesday night -- that you drive up to Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland and you watch every Thursday morning as more than 600 students and staff gather to worship the Lord. You watch in the dormitories as souls are saved nearly every week. You watch every week as men and women are called out to ministry and to missions.
We have got to recognize ... that if we are to reach this generation we have got to teach this generation.
And if we are going to win this world to Christ, it has to begin in our own territories.
God has blessed us with schools that are His and they have to be fully His. This is His work in His time and for His glory. We must totally, fully give these institutions to Him, in the academy, in athletics and in every arena because a student who is not taught for example that creation began in six days -- if he does not believe God began this world -- he will not continue to believe that God works in his world.
A student who is not taught that God's Word is the answer for every problem in life will not seek God's Word when problems like this age come.
There are two institutions that God has created: the family and the church. And both are under severe attack from this pagan culture in which we live. We need to teach our students to love the Lord, and love His Word and love the Church and love the lost. We have to defend these institutions that God has created.
In this generation, 18-29 year-olds, according to a "Wall Street Journal" survey just last week, 62 percent affirm homosexual marriage. It is incumbent upon our colleges to teach the traditional view of marriage. That is one man, one woman, for life. If we are going to reach this generation, we have to teach this generation.
In January we mourn the anniversary Roe. v. Wade. It will be 40 years since that tragic decision came down form the Supreme Court. And now 40 years later we are told thru a mandate of healthcare that we as college institutions -- Christian institutions -- we will have to hand out abortion inducing drugs to our students or we will risk [punitive government action]. But I promise you one thing: At Truett-McConnell College, we will never, ever, ever hand out abortion inducing drugs. It does not matter what we have to sacrifice, we will never sacrifice one life in order that we will protect our safety and ourselves.
This generation will be a sacrificial generation. We have got to invest in this generation, teach this generation, love this generation, believe in this generation, and then we can watch -- you and I, if the Lord tarries his coming -- as God can bring about a revival like we have not seen in 200 years in our country.
But the question of the hour simply is this: Do you believe? Do you believe so much in these students that you know God is doing something in their lives that we have not seen in my generation or in your generation?
In the end, God will raise up an army of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, who will stand for Him, and His Word, and His power, and His Church. [Therefore] we will not give up on this generation but we will invest in this generation.
We are [launching additional curricular and athletic programs] at Truett-McConnell College. But at the end of the day, if not every class, in every field, and every faculty does not love the Lord and stand for His Word, it won't matter. But if we do, we could see not only our state turn around, but maybe this world turn around for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God bless you all.
Photos by Norm Miller